Saturday, 25 May 2013

Tiered skirt

In from Definitions is this lovely Tiered Skirt.

It's really sexy!

Concealed side zip. Fully lined. Length 20ins. Polyester. Trim: Silk. Lining: Polyester.
Machine washable. Black.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Segregated education

I'm not feeling that brilliant today to be honest but I felt like talking just a little around education policy today.
Education in the UK is something of a hodge podge between ownership (private, independent and local authority), structures (age ranges, selective or comprehensive admissions), specialisms (arts, IT, sport etc) and so on thanks to considerable parental choice and alternating national and local government ideologies support by pet theories.
One point of considerable and sometimes very bitter controversy is about how children with disabilities should be taught and with many things often their are agendas.
For a long period, certainly going back to the Victorian era in so much that education in general was considered back then if a child didn't fit in well with the school system then it either wasn't educated and maybe placed in some institution or send to a  'special school' such as schools for the blind to learn Braille and a skill.
Since 1945 a system of special schools was established in many authorities to cater for the needs of different groups of disabled people such as those with physical disabilities (70's no longer approved term Physically handicapped), what was then classed as Educational Subnormal (aka a 70's term 'mentally handicapped') and a loose category for what is termed emotional and behavioural needs that from the outset didn't exactly co-relate to prevailing definitions used by medical authorities and other arms of government.
In the 1970's increasingly the model of separate provision was questioned as for the most part the need for special schools for physical disabilities often had more to do   inaccessible buildings,  deliberate exclusion from any kind of pe never mind not in many instances being prepared and entered for regular national examinations in everyday school subjects.
Because you maybe lost a limbs function doesn't mean you lost your brain!
Equally it could be argued that differences in intelligence span are part of the human condition and that comprehensive intakes were supposed to take account of.
Not unsurprisingly the combination of opponents to special provision and those who often saw the budgets including the transportation budgets as money that could be better spent meant many schools were either shut down or had their categories for admission altered.
One area of considerable discussion is around the handling of children who exhibit behavioural and emotional difficulties as increasingly reports came out suggesting that the trend toward integration with such children in mainstream schools was causing difficulties when it came to holding efficient classes with incidents breaking out and high levels of support by classroom assistants for such children.
Recently the National Autistic Society has got involved in projects to establish 'free schools' specifically for those with Autism and Aspberger's syndrome one of which will be a few miles away from me in currently redundant 1970's Elementary school building where unlike schools in the 60's thru late 1980's children will follow a standard school curriculum but with a lot of work around understanding and relating to everyday social skills and structures.
It may be step away from total integration but if it helps to realize the gifts those with Autism/Aspberger's have and better enable them to use them in the so-called 'normal' world to everyone's advantage then maybe taking a step back from a theory can be step forward.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Head Games

Well the term "Head Games" sometimes covers the kind of games some folk play  it has been and may  even apply given just how long from announcement to issuing these discs have been.
You might recall the first two albums had been re-issued by the specialty label Mobile Fidelity in the form of super audio cds that also play on regular players from the 'original master tapes'.
Originally issued in 1979 on lp, cassette and 8 track (still have mine!) it was Foreigner's reaction to the criticism of their rock being too smooth and commercial and an answer to the English new wave being somewhat more edgier something hinted at in the cover that remains at least with me just a little disturbing
The album features the singles Head Games, Dirty White Boy which did produce some allegations of racism (misguided imho) and Love On The Telephone. One criticism of it is the sound where producer Roy Thomas Baker had a sound that involved getting a dirty feel featuring distorted drums so while this version is less harsh in part because digital mastering has improved over the years, it remains rough round the edges.

After a lineup change, in 1981 the band issued 4 which is a play on the fact it was their fourth album and it was one of several top selling hard rock albums of 1981/2 sitting aside Reo Speedwagon's Hi Infidelity, Journey's Escape and AC/DC's For Those About To Rock
It also sold extremely well in the UK aided by the popularity of  the 45 "Waiting For  A Girl Like You" although Juke Box Hero also was a big worldwide seller.
1981 also was a format transition year so while it was issued on lp and cassette it was briefly issued on 8 track and also in Europe the original cassette was re-issued with a higher quality Chrome dioxide issue as people started to buy more tapes for car and walkman usage.
It also was one of the first cds I bought in 1986 with a period green 'target' crosshair pattern on the top layer.
This new super audio cd is a bit better sounding although a friend of mine informed me the High Resolution files from HDTracks recently put out sound better.
Both discs come in a gatefold mini lp style presentation with full insert featuring lyrics with the disc held in a lint free pouch

Wednesday, 8 May 2013


It's about a week long reverberating around and shows no sign of letting up but a day tomorrow will go down in British political history as the day the worm turned.
I don't talk much about party politics much here or at UKA but what happened has been described by many commentators as a earthquake and I intend to talk about about it.
For those outside of the UK, last Thursday a series of Elections occurred in just some not all parts of the UK  for Local Government, one Elected Mayor and a bye election for House of Commons. In Government nationally there is a Tory (Conservative)/Liberal Democrat coalition with the left leaning Labour Party as the opposition.
One thing that unites all three is there support for keeping the UK in membership of an institution called 'The European Union" that the UK joined some 40 years ago, a position it has been clear for a good while isn't in tune with many voters.
This man is the leader of a party that makes no bones about wanting to leave the European Union (EU) and he is called Nigel Farage. He's married, has a non UK born wife and possesses very much a personality that appeals to everyday non politically minded people.
His party, the United Kingdom Independence Party (AKA Ukip) has been going for a short while and appears to know pretty much what it is about and critically what it isn't.
The first thing I will say is it isn't racist and actually it bans members of the British National Party that most would say are from membership and has been known to thrown anyone belonging who holds such views under a bus.
A person on Thursday emailed something that I think is significant and it is this for him Ukip stood for Sovereignty and Democracy as ideals. Sovereignty put simply means  having and respecting the National Parliament, putting it and its citizens first and Democracy as in respecting the expressed will of the people. Too many politicians of all persuasions in my experience don't.
It isn't a one issue party either supporting creating modern Grammar Schools for instance. He, the candidates and supports have been called clowns by senior politicians (Yes Mr Osborne I mean you in Knutsford too!).
On Thursday his party won over 140 Local Government seats  taking over 25% of the popular vote, came second in Parliamentary bye-election to Labour and appeals to people who have voted Conservative and Labour building on increased support of the last few years. The mainstream parties belated have woken up the the schism between their rather cozy world of almost identical politics (spot the difference between New Labour and Cameron's Tories) and what voters really feel but when people have been promised a referendum on continued EU membership only to find it rescinded they won't fall that trick again.
Have I voted for them? Yes with zero apologies in the European Parliament elections and for the Cheshire Elected Police Commissioner elections cos I liked the candidate.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Buzz off!

Well, the week has started buzzing as at last the sort of weather you'd expect of late spring finally arrived - fingers crossed it doesn't leave us - so I've been out of doors a bit today for some fresh air.
I noticed outside of seeing the flowers in bloom that the insects were in full forcing hovering around the flowers, water feature and bushes.
Unfortunately the British Bee has been having a tough old time of it with numbers declining quite rapidly between climate change  bring in other species  on the one hand and changes in agriculture practises specifically chemicals alleged to damage its reproductive chances.
Fortunately one institution I haven't usually much time for - the EU - is to bring about a ban on these pesticides alleged to harm the bee.
Let's hope  the bee recovers soonest.