My review of the week. Here’s some of the things I’ve been in to:
A TV series: It feels surprising that this is the first time they’ve done a series showing daily life in the House of Commons as it sounds like such an uncontroversial idea, but Inside the Commons is a fascinating series even for those like me who have some idea already on how it works. Whilst it shows the way our democracy operates in all its ridiculousness, what I feel it also shows is that MPs are on the whole decent normal people. For some reason the series is only available on iPlayer for seven days and so I missed the first programme, but they seem to be planning to repeat it fairly quickly.
A YouTube video and an article: It’s maps, transport and London, all things that I have a nerdy interest in. This film is about how the tube map will cope later this year when Transport for London take over of a number of railway lines and the first changes are made in preparation for Crossrail. Geoff Marshall’s films about transport in London are always good, but you can either watch the film about it or if you have less time read the article on the Londonist website.
A radio series: This week was the start of a new series of Radio 4’s The Long View. It’s one of those programmes that those of us who work full time don’t usually get to listen to as it’s on during working hours but it’s definitely worth seeking out as all previous episodes can be listened to on iPlayer. The idea is simple. It takes a current issue that’s being debated and then looks at what is said about it now but also finds parallels from history when the same sort of issue was being debated, usually talking to historians, journalists and politicians. This week it looked at contemporary discussion about immigration alongside debates about the Aliens Act 1905.
A piece of art: Magnesium Bird by Sutapa Biswas is a piece of contemporary audio visual art that is on display in the Graves Gallery in Sheffield, and I’ve always found it magical, mysterious, a little bit eerie but also strangely relaxing. It’s difficult to give a real sense of it just from words and stills but this website post explains what it is. But instead to get a real feel for it you’ll just have to visit the gallery to see it in person. It’s always been one of my favourite pieces of art on display in the Graves Gallery.
A TED talk: There’s a few talks on TED about how workplaces and business can be run better, but this one from Ricardo Semler called ‘How to Run a Company with (almost) no Rules’ is a little bit different. Although he’s not well known in the UK he runs one of the most successful businesses in Brazil and has a quirky and very unconventional way of running the business. Perhaps not all of it can be duplicated but it presents some interesting ideas.
A website: One of my earliest transport interests was ferries. An unconventional one admittedly, but I think it stems from travelling between Sweden and UK as a child. This week I discovered the Ferry Crossings website which whilst largely intended to be a guide for people wanting to know more about the best routes to use for taking a ferry across the English Channel, North Sea or Irish Sea and how to find the best deals, it also contains a little bit of history about ferry companies. This article about The Rise and Fall of the Sealink Ferry Service is quite interesting if you’re in to your transport history.