Arts One Rocks

Arts One Rocks make the Sgt Pepper album cover

My daughter made me special proud this weekend – she rocks!

Lizzie is part of a group of young musicians called Arts One Rocks.  They meet on Saturdays, to learn and rehearse rocks songs as part of different band formations.  The students range in age from 13 to 18, and they learn a range of instruments as well as vocals. Lizzie plays guitar, and is very good at it, in my humble opinion!

Last September the group embarked on an ambitious project to learn and perform all the tracks from the iconic Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, culminating in an incredible performance the following March.  And seven months of dedication and effort reaped their rewards.

Some of the extended Coady Clan came along to support Lizzie and her friends, 15 of us in all.  The show was an amazingly high standard, preceded by a short documentary film of the Fab Four themselves talking about the concept of the album followed by the student’s thoughts on the project.  From start to finish the quality and emotion of each song shone through.  The whole group were relaxed and looked as if they really enjoyed being centre stage.  Having followed Lizzie’s and the group’s progress through the various levels I can safely say this was by far the most accomplished performance to date. Hard work certainly did pay off, in no small part down to the teaching staff who have coached the young musicians over the past years.  Mr Ingham and Co, take a bow!

I took some photos, below, and other half took phone video of the two songs Lizzie performed on.

Good Morning Good Morning

Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Gallery:

Projecteo – size doesn’t matter!

Projecteo
Projecteo Instagram projector

Small yet perfectly formed!

 

 

As an avid Instagram user, I was recently offered a Projecteo to try out.  For those who haven’t come across this unique little product before, Projecteo is a tiny replica of one of those old fashioned slide projectors, where you can display your Instagram images via a slide wheel that slots into the top of the gadget.

The ordering process is very simple and straight forward, linking directly to my Instagram feed via their API (application program interface) as many of these Instagram related product sites do. The graphics on the Projecteo site are slick, you can select, deselect and swap images around with ease.  I would have liked to have been able to choose from more than my last 120 posted images, but that aside, I selected my nine images easily enough and sent the order on its way.

Priced at $34.98 (£21.25 at current exchange rate) for the projector and one wheel of 9 images, the price includes postage and packing from the US.   Individual and additional wheels are priced at $8.99 (£5.46), and if ordered separately are also free shipping.  I was a bit concerned at the warning about possible charges, should my package be unlucky enough to be stopped at UK customs, but mine slipped through unnoticed. (Not always the case I hasten to add, I was stung for around £24 once for an item costing less that £70!)

I have to confess that I lost track of how long the package took to arrive but arrive it did, pretty quickly and all in one piece.  First impressions?  It’s rather sweet and dinky, and seems well made enough.  Very easy to use, just slot in the provided battery pack underneath, slot in the wheel at the top, press the red button and Hey Presto!  There’s no bells and whistles, it just works.  It’s pretty sturdy for something so small and while I didn’t put it’s robustness to the test by throwing it against a wall or suchlike, I did (deliberately) drop it on the floor a few times and it’s still in one piece!

Projecteo with simple instructions

Simples!

The images can be viewed from a range of distances, roughly from 12 inches to 3 feet, obviously the closer to the viewing surface the smaller the image.  Clearly, this isn’t a precision piece of equipment, and the image is a bit rough round the edges but perfectly acceptable as a novelty – let’s not pretend it’s anything else!  It has a focusing barrel on the front of the Projecteo and I was pretty happy with the image at around 12 inches in size projected from about 3 feet away as well as projecting an image from floor to ceiling!

Projecteo display

Picture show

If I did have a criticism, like the Projecteo itself, its a small one.  I would like to have seen it provided with some sort of case, a simple drawstring pouch would be fine, just to keep the dust and dirt out when carrying it around.  Or maybe that’s just me!

All in all though, a nifty little fun novelty gadget that can be customised with my own work is always going to be a hit with me.

Projecteo - size doesn't matter

Projecteo – size doesn’t matter

 

One Projecteo with one 9 image wheel was provided free of charge for the purposes of this review.  It can be ordered here.

World Zombie Day 2013

World Zombie Day 2013

This year World Zombie Day was celebrated on 12th October 2013.

World Zombie Day 2013

Carmen Miranda with her hand on her head!

An international event commemorated in over 50 cities worldwide, started in 2006 at the very shopping mall in Pittsburgh where George Romero filmed his iconic first zombie movie Dawn of the Dead.

Apart from being good natured fun, the event also raises money for the homeless charity St Mungo’s and the participating zombies donate items of food to the Hackney Food Bank.

World Zombie Day 2013

Donations for the Hackney Food Bank

 

I got word of the event some time ago from my eldest daughter, who happened to part of the organising committee.  In the run up to the day, I was deliberating as to whether I should take a more active part and apply a few scars, dripping flesh and blood of my own.  But in the end I decided that I couldn’t cope with being the lone old-enough-to-know-better woman traveling in from the suburbs to Marble Arch where the zombie hordes converged before setting off on a shuffle around the streets of central London.

Thankfully I didn’t feel out of place, you know, the one person who couldn’t be arsed to make the effort at the fancy dress party!  There were probably as many photographers and bemused tourists as there were zombies.  Some of the costumes were absolutely stunning, cleverly applied bits of rotting flesh, entrails, maggots, and all sorts of posts, sticks and other implements worn to look like they had been impaled.

World Zombie Day 2013

Bloodied trio

The hundreds of assembled zombies then set off from Marble Arch and dragged themselves groaning along Oxford Street to the utter bemusement of the masses of Saturday shoppers.  There were plenty of screams from unsuspecting young girls and, sadly, there was also a child who burst into tears.  I’m assuming he was scared by a zombie rather than not being allowed to go to McDonalds!

Needless to say, as with any celebration, the route included a few watering holes along the way, with a whole street set aside with beer and bands for the after life after party at the end of a long, tiring and fun day.

World Zombie Day 2013

The undead stare

A fun way to celebrate a cult following  that has seen a recent resurgence in popularity, with TV series such as The Walking Dead and movies like World War Z.

Here are a few snaps I took during the early part of the day.

Morden Hall Park – a surburban oasis

Morden Hall Park

What could be more pleasant, relaxing, theraputic, and mind clearing than a slow contemplative stroll around a stunning area of outstanding natural beauty.  But the best part is that I don’t have to travel into the countryside to be at one with nature, it’s all here, as part of south west London surburbia, in Morden.

Probably more famous for being at the end of the London Underground northern line, and also subject to a quaint pop song by Good Shoes (whatever happened to them!).  But the National Trust’s  Morden Hall Park really is an oasis in the heart of surburbia, and I took the opportunity to visit early on a misty autumn Sunday morning.

Morden Hall Park dog walking

Early morning dog walking

 

I have visited the park a few times before, but never quite so early in the day.  Having dropped off my son to play football for his Sunday morning team, I made the most of my early start and headed into the park, which was on my route back home anyway.  I was expecting to see a bit of gorgeous mist, and I wasn’t disappointed!

Misty morning Morden Hall Park

Misty morning sunburst

There is a magical eeriness about mist rising from the ground or floating across water.  I’m no meteorologist so I won’t pretend I know how it works, but I’m glad it does.  As I entered into the park, it was like entering another world – the mist was gently hovering above the open grassed areas, floating through the rose garden and gently rolling over the river Wandle, which runs through the park.  It was a show stopper for me.

Misty morning trees at Morden Hall Park

Mist rising between the trees

 

On a regular day, Morden Hall Park has a lot going on, loads of activities for kids, as well as a garden centre and cafe for the adults to hang out after a healthy stroll.  It’s not a huge park, standing between Morden and Mitcham, it also leads to Deen City Farm, another fabulous activity for kids.  The park also boasts a rather lovely kids adventure play area too, just a shame about the juvenile, and offensive, graffiti spoiling it!

The park has has plenty of history about it as well, it was a country house retreat (being as it’s in Surrey!) for two significant families of the area, the Garths and the Hatfields.  Morden Hall was also at the heart of industrial activity, having two snuff mills taking advantage of the river Wandle’s current to turn a water wheel so that tobacco leaves could be crushed in the making of snuff.  Not much call for it now of course, but many of the buildings still stand, and are used to host many of the community activities on offer.

Definitely worth a visit at any time of the day, there is free entry to the park as well as ample free parking.  I look forward to returning again myself soon.

Here is a small gallery of the images I captured during the morning.