Saturday, 27 August 2011
This amazing concrete landmark, the most ambitious inner-city development of its time, was opened in 1961, to replace slum terraces. It was a hugely popular place to live, with its 'streets in the sky' and innovative external decks for access.
The original architects Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith's brutalist design created three different types of apartment above, below and adjacent to the deck to suit the full range of home owners from single pensioners to families of six or more. Over time, Park Hill became a victim of circumstance. Conceived in the 50's and delivered in the 60's, Park Hill emerged into a very different world. By the 1980s Park Hill had become dilapidated and was no longer a popular place to live. Park Hill caretaker, Grenville Squires, referred affectionately to Park Hill as his grand old lady who has 'come on hard times. She just wants to wash her face and put on a new frock, and she'll be out there!' - From Urban Splash Ltd.
Park Hill in Sheffield is a large council estate comprising 995 flats. The structure was inspired by the famous architect Le Corbusier. Constructed of reinforced concrete combined with yellow, orange and red brick curtain walling it demonstrates 'brutalist' modernism on a European scale. It is now Europe's largest Grade 2 listed building. We hear from Dr Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, and Tom Bloxham, commercial developer of Urban Splash, about plans to renovate Park Hill - From BBC Learning Zone.
Further information here, here and here.
Friday, 19 August 2011
Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama (born October 27, 1952) is an American political scientist, political economist, and author. He is a Senior Fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford. He is best-known for his book The End of History and the Last Man (1992)...
By way of an Introduction:
The distant origins of the present volume lie in an article entitled “The End of History?” which I wrote for the journal The National Interest in the summer of 1989. In it, I argued that a remarkable consensus concerning the legitimacy of liberal democracy as a system of government had emerged throughout the world over the past few years, as it conquered rival ideologies like hereditary monarchy, fascism, and most recently communism. More than that, however, I argued that liberal democracy may constitute the “end point of mankind’s ideological evolution” and the “final form of human government,” and as such constituted the “end of history.” That is, while earlier forms of government were characterised by grave defects and irrationalities that led to their eventual collapse, liberal democracy was arguably free from such fundamental internal contradictions. This was not to say that today’s stable democracies, like the United States, France, or Switzerland, were not without injustice or serious social problems. But these problems were ones of incomplete implementation of the twin principles of liberty and equality on which modern democracy is founded, rather than of flaws in the principles themselves. While some present-day countries might fail to achieve stable liberal democracy, and others might lapse back into other, more primitive forms of rule like theocracy or military dictatorship, the ideal of liberal democracy could not be improved on.
The original article excited an extraordinary amount of commentary and controversy, first in the United States, and then in a series of countries as different as England, France, Italy, the Soviet Union, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, and South Korea. Criticism took every conceivable form, some of it based on simple misunderstanding of my original intent, and others penetrating more perceptively to the core of my argument. Many people were confused in the first instance by my use of the word “history.” Understanding history in a conventional sense as the occurrence of events, people pointed to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Chinese communist crackdown in Tiananmen Square, and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait as evidence that “history was continuing,” and that I was ipso facto proven wrong.
And yet what I suggested had come to an end was not the occurrence of events, even large and grave events, but History: that is, history understood as a single, coherent, evolutionary process, when taking into account the experience of all peoples in all times. This understanding of History was most closely associated with the great German philosopher G. W. F. Hegel. It was made part of our daily intellectual atmosphere by Karl Marx, who borrowed this concept of History from Hegel, and is implicit in our use of words like “primitive” or “advanced,” “traditional” or “modern,” when referring to different types of human societies. For both of these thinkers, there was a coherent development of human societies from simple tribal ones based on slavery and subsistence agriculture, through various theocracies, monarchies, and feudal aristocracies, up through modern liberal democracy and technologically driven capitalism. This evolutionary process was neither random nor unintelligible, even if it did not proceed in a straight line, and even if it was possible to question whether man was happier or better off as a result of historical “progress.”
Both Hegel and Marx believed that the evolution of human societies was not open-ended, but would end when mankind had achieved a form of society that satisfied its deepest and most fundamental longings. Both thinkers thus posited an “end of history”: for Hegel this was the liberal state, while for Marx it was a communist society. This did not mean that the natural cycle of birth, life, and death would end, that important events would no longer happen, or that newspapers reporting them would cease to be published. It meant, rather, that there would be no further progress in the development of underlying principles and institutions, because all of the really big questions had been settled...
Transcribed by Andy Blunden.
Photo by Teru Kuwayama for Newsweek.
More information here, here and here.
Born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1941. Educated at Brewood Grammar School and Imperial College, London, where he gained a degree in Mathematics. Joined the BBC in September 1963 as a Studio Manager specialising in radio drama. Following a short-term attachment to the Radiophonic Workshop he became a permanent member in April 1967.
David's work included a radio production of T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland in 1967, for the BBC Rothwell Group. In the same year, he composed a full sound score for the BBC Home Service's production of War of the Worlds and in 1968 David recorded the theme to BBC Radio Four's production of The Day of the Triffids.
His 30-second composition Crossbeat was used as the original theme for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's morning radio current affairs program AM, which premiered in 1967. The show no longer uses the theme.
Other projects included some exploratory work in the use of concrete and electronic sounds, as accompaniment to song and poetry in the television series Six Bites of the Cherry and composing the music and special effects for BBC Radio Four's 1968 serialisation of Tolkien's The Hobbit.
In 1969, David recorded The Seasons, as part of the BBC schools programming for radio, which was later issued on LP, with the intention of providing teachers with a valuable resource for drama workshops.
In 1973 he produced a dramatised version of Isaac Asimov's Foundation book series for BBC Radio Three. Production techniques were simplistic by the standards of today's radio dramas, but the feat has never been attempted again. The series had only its second broadcast repeat as part of the first month's programming on the the BBC's new digital service, BBC7...
Further information here, here & here.
Video content here, here & here.
Wednesday, 3 August 2011
An ATV Network production. ITV 1972-1972, 6 x half-hour. The series was produced by Alan Coleman, directed by Richard Bramall, designed by Don Davidson and adapted by Ruth Boswell. Regular cast: Vicki Chambers (Marianne Austen), Steven Jones (Mark), Sonia Graham (Mrs Austen), Patricia Maynard (Miss Chesterfield), Edmund Pegge (Doctor Burton).
Confined to bed after fracturing her leg in a horse riding accident, young Marianne Austen is fed up with her predicament – until she discovers an indelible pencil in an old sewing box. After drawing an imaginary house and garden in a sketchpad, Marianne falls asleep and finds herself on a remote cliff top facing the house from her picture, now seemingly given form. Marianne goes on to draw a boy inside the house – and when she dreams again, she meets the same boy, Mark, who seemingly also has a life back in the real world. As the two children slowly become friends, they discover that this dreamworld is also home to a terrifying menace: huge, menacing stones with fearful glowing eyes are approaching the house – and unless Marianne and Mark can escape, these monstrous creatures will surely kill them.
Based on Catherine Storr’s 1958 children's novel ‘Marianne Dreams’, ‘Escape Into Night’ was adapted for television by Ruth Boswell (‘Timeslip’, ‘Shadows’, ‘The Tomorrow People’). Despite its low budget and small cast, this six-parter is an amazingly atmospheric foray into the world of nightmares, illness and morality, with a particularly impressive performance by then-newcomer Vikki Chambers as young Marianne.
Sadly, although originally made in colour, only black and white copies of the episodes exist – but if anything, this only adds to the show’s feeling of menace, by accentuating the shadows in the crooked house of Marianne’s dreams, and making the sinister stones with their terrifying glowing eyes even more threatening.
This is a show that scared a generation of children witless. Indeed, it’s one of the programmes I get the most emails about, “do you remember the children’s programme with the really scary stones in it…?” If you’ve never seen ‘Escape Into Night’, then make sure you do – and I dare you to watch it with the lights off.
Text by Clive Banks.
Further information here, here and here.