Let’s return to the Playground. I need to do some work…


A fellow one day had inspiring ingredients for lunch and thus…

Recently I have been studying about babies. Now please understand just what I mean about that. Developmental psychology is the title of the module, and while we spent an age initially looking at how babies grow up in the womb, we eventually did come to learn some actual psychology.

And what we basically learnt was this: if a baby is to grow up well, into a responsible, capable, sociable adult, it needs a stimulating environment to grow up in, that is, it needs interesting toys, colourful furniture and someone to look closely at their face going “who’s a pretty baby.” And the idea is that this helps them have a balanced development, to learn to recognise what’s good, which will turn in to social skills.

And it seems that this doesn’t just apply to babies! The Bangor university library looks in parts like it has been made out of duplo and lipstick. Lots of chunky contemporary furniture in bright red, contrasting from a contemporary grey surrounding.

At one point I was not a large fan of all this fashionable art that we see all around us these days, what with brightly coloured tower blocks and abstract art filling city centres, and I’ve often approached anything with caution if it looks like the queen or James May wouldn’t approve of it, but it has dawned on me recently just how important it really is to keep a stimulated mind.

Just a short time ago, I went to Liverpool for the first time. A lot of the people who I told about the trip asked me if I was looking to find a way to get myself killed, and I’m sure if that had been my goal I could have managed it, but it wasn’t. We were there to explore, and boy did we! They have interesting looking buildings, classy docks, cultural displays, museums and super lamb banana’s (oh, and something about a few guys who called themselves the beetles… Anyone know anything about them? No? Ok…). I always used to think of Blackpool as Britons playground, and I guess it is if you want to spend all your money and hide from your morals, (and maybe even get killed), but slide south down to Liverpool, and you are in that amazing adventure playground you remember from when you were a kid.

 Have you ever noticed that when you’re with company, it may be hard to get quantities of work done, yet some of the best ideas come when discussing or chatting with others? Or that a bit of music and a pumped mind can go a long way, while at other times it may be distracting. Sigmund Freud took cocaine in order to work more avidly to develop psychological theories. Does not our body already produce some natural stimulating chemicals when given the right circumstances? And do we not note that such environments do not usually resemble hours in the study of Lord Henry Stewart Dimble of Winchester?

 It’s always good to take a rest, but what are you going to do for it? I think I’m going write my next blog post from the sandpit. 

Doing What My Dad Did

Thirty years ago, my dad was my age. He had a British racing green sports car, equipped with a radio, and he’d say “Breaker 19, this is Chrome Bumper”, to find out about potential traffic jams, car enthusiast gatherings, or simply dangers ahead in the road. Now some people would argue that that culture is past, gone and unless you’re a trucker, forgotten. But I don’t agree.

The reason I say that, is because this morning, I finally decided to get Twitter, something that up until now I’ve been reluctant to do. But it’s amazing! On twitter, I can follow a twitter-thing (I haven’t found out yet technically what it’s called), called the M62, where official traffic updates are posted, but then Twitterers all over the M62 have posted their observations, making an open pool of comments and discussion, not dissimilar from the CB Radio scene of the 80’s.

That’s not the only example either. 15 years ago, my Dad got a pocket TV for his birthday. We still have it, and it still works, apart from that in September they’re going to turn off the signal for it. The Pocket Television appears generally to have died. But can I not watch BBC News live over the air, or catch up on the latest TV from the iPlayer of Youtube. Or, because no one ever really watched television on the train anyway, the content of the media is readily available to read also over the air, using a modern smartphone.

And that’s still not all, maps have become Sat-Navs, Books are becoming Kindles, Cameras have become digital, photos are stored on Hard Drives, I see my bills online, our streets are policed by Cameras. Even my dictionary now has the suffix ‘.com’ attached to it. The Oil age in which we live, could be given a sub-category: The electronic age.

Some might argue that it is sad that our fine engineering advances and manual ways of doing things has been eroded away, and this technology does have its vices. For example, my Dad still has his Pocket TV, but the few remaining iPhone First and Second generations are now practically obsolete. Not to mention that both of the above mentioned handsets cost about 3 times the price of the Pocket TV, never mind the price of the iPhone 3gs and the iPhone 4. You could also say that these advances are making us as a people become more lazy and stupid.

To that last point, I can’t really argue. It is, let’s say, a different type of skill following a Tomtom, but it doesn’t do much for your navigation skills. But other than that, in principle we’re still doing the same things as we were doing in 1980. We’re still eating, going to work, watching the news, going on holiday, taking photos and thousands of other day to day tasks. And the technology we have makes is easier. If you are feeling it has taken the joy out of your life, you may find that you are focussing on the wrong things. Perhaps you have bought the technology, expecting the technology to become your hobby, when really it should only be a means to an end, this end being a fulfilling activity such as exploring nature, where real joy lies.

I honestly believe that when given the correct approach, modern inventions and innovations can give us new thrills, can improve our lives, even allowing us to do what made people click 30 years ago, and more.