Saturday, August 30, 2008

Zoriah - Stories from behind the headlines

Until recently Zoriah Miller was working as an independent photographer and journalist covering stories from Iraq that don't usually make the headlines. His amazing photography, often carried out under the most difficult of conditions however, lead to him being "disemebedded" i.e kicked out after he showed images of dead American soldiers. As the New York Times says;

"The case of a freelance photographer in Iraq who was barred from covering the Marines after he posted photos on the Internet of several of them dead has underscored what some journalists say is a growing effort by the American military to control graphic images from the war."

In WWII the same policy was in place and even in Vietnam where the reporters were given free rein many media outlets refused to run stories or images that showed the US military in a bad light. Like Philip Jones Griffiths before him Zoriah is finding that its not just the military censors that have to be dealt with when covering a war zone but also the indifference of the public unwilling to hear about a war they so enthusiastically supported until very recently.

The revolution will not be televised. More on our 6pm bulletin.

In less than a week there will be a protest rally to mark the arrival of the prime minister of Greece, Kostas Karamanlis to open the annual trade fair here in Thessaloniki. He is guaranteed a "warm reception" by trade unionist and many other groups unhappy with the New Democracy administration's handling of the economy. Unemployment, rising prices, stagnant wages combined with this weeks swingeing tax hikes means that the only people happy to see Karamanlis in the city will be the cops looking to boost their overtime bonuses.

It's almost a year since Greece's finest kicked the crap out of me for taking pictures (click here) during last year's peaceful march. Lesson learned. This time I'll have my running shoes on.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


BMX, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Oh summer's day

Oh summer's day, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Despite what the picture may show I am in fact back in Greece ( I just liked the idea of contrast) and sweating it out in 35c heat. It's taking me a bit of time to get back into the swing of things. Still, the good news is that offers of work have been coming in which is great.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The party on the hill

The party on the hill, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

This guy was trying to get people to dance at the Party on the Hill, Bristol. I asked if I could take his photo while he complained about how so few people seemed to dancing or enjoying themselves.

Monday, August 25, 2008

As I walked out one Sunday morning

I have literally walked my feet off today going from place to place here in Bristol to try and take some final pictures before I leave on Tuesday. There have been so many events today that you'd need to be in three place at once just to jeep up. First I decided to go to the Islamic Fyre in Eastville.

"Farooq Siddique, Bristol Muslim Cultural Society spokesman, said the event was about bringing communities together." Click here to find out more from BBC Bristol.

After I thought I'd also have a look at the Party on the Hill at St Michael's Hill and as I walked from Eastville I came across this concert in St Werberg's in a small square near the Albany Centre.

Then not sure if my legs would carry me up the incline I made it up to Cotham and watched more music played in a closed off street for the Party on the Hill. Great fun.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Iconography for the modern world

Jerusalem - Elgar

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green
And was the holy lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen

And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark Satanic mills

Bring me my bow of burning gold
Bring me my arrows of desire
Bring me my spears o'clouds unfold
Bring me my chariot of fire

I will not cease from mental fight
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
'Til we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land
'Til we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land

More flowers for the dead

"Police have arrested a 22-year-old man on suspicion of the murder of 28-year-old Simon Bampton in Bristol.

Mr Bampton, a construction worker from Southampton, was assaulted in Marsh Street, Bristol, just after 0230 BST on 19 August.

Police said two men were walking along Marsh Street when they were involved in an altercation.

A man got out of a car and punched Mr Bampton to the ground, causing him to hit his head.

He was taken to the Bristol Royal Infirmary where he later died.

Police are appealing to witnesses or anyone with information about the incident to contact them. "

From BBC Bristol news.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Drawing to an end

My holiday is drawing to an end and soon I'll be going back to Greece. Once again there will be uncertainties about work and money as there always are at this time of year. I suppose I've got used to it, though I do not feel comfortable about the situation.

Anyway, the impending end to my summer break has made me bolder and bolder about what I take photographs of. Knowing that time is limited and there are not going to be many second chances I've been swallowing my shyness and been taking pictures of all and sundry. Airbourne BMX riders, artist displaying their latest works, people absailing in the shopping centre(?), tourists walking in the shoes of pirates, man mugged in the street and lots more. Pictures will follow,

Friday, August 22, 2008

Shakespeare in the park

You're an actor, Max. You should be
doing Shakespeare in the Park.

Oh, I did Shakespeare in the Park, Max.
I got mugged. I was playing Richard the
Second and two guys with leather jackets
stole my leotard.

Annie Hall


iconography, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Complete guide to Bristol iconography

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lydia on the farm

Lydia, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Getting my goat


Me and Lydia took a packed lunch, and spent the day at the Windmill Hill city farm which was great as she got to see and feed the animals, make friends with other kids and play in their adventure playground. I recommend the place if you're figuring out what to do next with the kids during the school holidays and live in the Bristol area.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Close, closer, Dude

Close, closer, Dude, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough."

Robert Capa

Teaching English using mobile phones

Playing shop

A couple of days ago I mentioned an idea for using audio tours as the basis for an efl/esl lesson. The actual lesson plan was for more advanced students and perhaps would not be useful for many teaching situations. So here is another idea which can be used for post beginners/intermediate students and can be more easily organised in a classroom context.

Lesson plan

1 Explain what a audio tour is. Ideally, have one ready top play on your mp3 player/mobile/PC etc. Click here to see a list of Lonely Planet Travelcasts to get some ideas.

2 Students listen to a short, easy section and then ask them in groups to discuss how this could help a tourist or visitor to their country.

3 Now explain that they are going to do their own mini audio tour/podcast/travelcast. However, this is not going to be about historic sites or landmarks but about their own home.

4 To help them with this work on the kind of vocabulary needed to describe the outside of somebody's home. Elicit ideas for categories;. For example;

type: flat, two bedroomed semi, etc.
size: small, huge, square metres, etc.
location: in the centre, next to a park, on the corner, etc.
other: old, modern, etc.

5 Students then write a short description (2 to 3 sentences) and check it with each other. the teacher quickly has a look to help or correct student work.

6 Now ask students about ways in which they can describe the inside of their home. What would we need to know?

rooms: kitchen, living room etc
colours, light yellow, bright white,
shape: square narrow, low,
atmosphere: friendly, cosy etc.

7 Explain to students that they are going to give a tour of their home and record it. The easiest way to do this is to use a mobile phone. Most models now have the ability to record audio which can then be transferred to a PC (though this is not necessary).

8 To help students oragnise their thoughts get them to draw a floor plan of their home. It maybe necessay to draw one of your own on the board to make sure they get the right idea.

9 Students then outline the route the tour will take on the plan.

10 Help them with useful phrases such as;

On the left you can see....
straight ahead is the......
just opposite......

11 Students write out their descriptions, either in full or in note form. Remind them that they are going to talk for just a few minutes and that they do not need to describe everything in too much detail. However, do get them to add a few personal details such as;

"This is my study where I revise for my exams etc."

12 Students record their descriptions on their mobile phones. Encourage them to repeat the process until they are happy with their presentation.

13 The descriptions can be posted on a class/personal blog along with either pictures or video if the students wish . Once again the mobile phone is an ideal way of doing this.

As you can see this lesson allows students to revise many areas of vocabulary such as shapes, colours, rooms, housing vocabulary, adjectives describing personal feelings etc. In addition it allows them to personalise their learning experience and finally, the act of recording and listening is a wonderful way to improve speaking skills.

For more teaching ideas using mobile - cell phones click here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fire on College Green

Fire on College Green, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

A cigarette carelessly discarded outside a bar led to a blaze which consumed the top two floors of the Greenhouse pub on College Green, Bristol. The resulting fire which started at approximately 3.30pm, required five crews to put it out.

Nobody was injured in the fire, however, the building suffered extensive damage.

Actually, I got there just after the fire crews arrived and before the police and the media. So, in a sense this is a first. Click here to see what the BBC said.

No 4 Kafka Heights

No 4 Kafka Heights, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

For your own protection please comply with all and every request made of you by the authorties. Anyone wishing a more detailed analysis of the formal charges filed against them must fill in form 23a(i) which can be obtained from the Department of Intelligence Extraction on the Third Floor

Monday, August 18, 2008

Rainbow over St Mary Redcliffe

Teaching listening skills with audio tours

One of the things about being on holiday is that it gives you time to think and not just rush about from one job to another so here is a teaching idea I've been playing with.

As the internet and mp3 players have become more popular so has the use of audio tours. Once the preserves of museums which handed out clunky cassette players to visitors wanting a tour of the place audio tours have broken out of the geek ghetto to become the vital accessory for any self respecting tourist site. Cheap to produce, easy to use the mp3 audio tour can now be downloaded within minutes to your mp3 player or cell/mobile phone and then used as you wander around Athens, Bilbao or Crakow. So here are some ways they can be used to teach EFL/ESL.

Lesson plan 1

This lesson is aimed at upper intermediate or advanced students and is an excellent way of practicing listening skills.Also it is a great way of getting out of the classroom. Great perhaps for students studying English in UK summer schools. Learnerss will need;

an mp3 audio tour in English of a tourist site in their area,

mobile phone or mp3 player

mobile phone or digital camera

access to a pc and the internet

1 Students download an audio tour onto their mp3/mobile phone. Click here to find an example of such a tour in Bristol.

2 Explain to students that they are going to illustrate the audio tour using their own pictures and images off the internet. So they will need something that can take pictures such as a digital camera or their mobile phones. If students do not have either of these the form groups in which at least one person has one.

3 Go to the start of the place mentioned and section by section follow the tour in groups of 2 - 4. Each group has to do one of two things;

a make a note of any names mentioned e.g The Watershed Media Centre, Charles Dickens etc.

b take pictures that show what is being described.

4 At regular intervals the teacher should stop each group and allow all students to swop any information they have noted or help with any problems of comprehension.

5 In the next lessons students once again form their groups in the classroom, each with access to the internet. For the next stage of the exercise you'll need either Windows Movie Maker (which comes as standard with Windows or Photostory 3 which can be downloaded free from the Microsoft site (click here to get it).

6 Students use the net to find and download any other images that could supplement their own photos such as maps, historic illustrations etc.

7 Go through the basics of your programe of choice such as how to add mp3s and pictures.

8 Students then use the programs to add photos and other images to the mp3 audio tour to make a visual version.

9 Students could then post their own version on YouTube, a class blog or even send it to the city/tourist site and ask if they could use it on their page.

Of course this is not the kind of exercise that all teachers would feel comfortable with. Lack of access to PCs or internet, unfamiliarity with the technology or even not being able to take students out of the classrrom are all factors which must be taken into account.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Thelma and Louise

Thelma and Louise, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Thelma: Driiive Louise! Drive! Drive the car! Go! Go! Go go go go go go!
Louise: What is it? What happened?
[Thelma holds up money]
Louise: You robbed the store? You robbed the whole damn store?
Thelma: Well we needed the money.
Louise: Oh shoot!
Thelma: It's not like I killed anybody for God's sake!
Louise: Thelma!
Thelma: I'm sorry, we needed the money, now we got it.
Louise: Oh shoot! Oh shoot, Thelma!
Thelma: Louise, get us to damn Mexico.
Louise: Allright, oh shoot! Oh shoot! Oh shoot!

Amidst golds and glory Tibet protest continue

Amidst an upsurge in nationalism brought on by the British Olympic team's continuing success media criticism of China's on going crack down on Tibetan protesters has faded from TV screens and front pages. However, Tibetans in the UK have continued their attempts to keep the issue of Chinese repression in what Beijing calls the Tibetan Autonomous Region in the public eye.

Yesterday Tibetan and British demonstrators marched from the Chinese embassy in London to Downing Street, the official residence of the British prime minister, Gordon Brown, where they handed in a petition calling upon Brown to urge Beijing to halt its bloody crack down inside Tibet and find a peaceful solution to the issue of the country's future.

In Bristol, south west England protestors held their own mock Olympics in the centre of the city in order to bring attention to a side of modern China, the communist regime would rather the world forgot at a time when the country is hosting the Games.

Tibetan forced to flee their country told of their struggle to protets and the reprisals they risk from the Chinese police for even the most beneign of protest gestures such as putting up posters. Tashi, who fled to neighbouring Nepal in 2007 and then England told of his own personal story when he narrowly escaped arrest for protesting the Chinese occupation of his country. His friend, whowever, was not so lucky and was caught and has not been heard from since.

Nor is this an isolated incident, according to Amnesty International more than 1000 protestors arrested during protests earlier this year in Lhasa and other parts of Tibet have not been accounted for. Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific director sam Zarifi was reported as saying that the situation in Tibet was "a dire picture of arbitrary detentions and abuse of detainees".

Despite making commitments to the IOC when winning the Olympic Games in 2001 to improve its human rights record China has continued to harrass, arrest and detain critics of its regime. Most recently, Independent Television News reporter John Ray was detained and reportedly physically abused by Chinese police for trying to cover a Free Tibet protest near the Olympic Bird's Nest stadium. Similarly, Tibetans protesting in Bristol spoke of China failing to live up to their pre - Olympic commitments concerning press freedom in Tibet itself, saying that the level of repression had increased in the run up to the Games and that contact with the country had been made extremely difficult for those living outside Tibet.

Amidst golds and glory Tibet protest continue Amidst golds and glory Tibet protest continue Amidst golds and glory Tibet protest continue Amidst golds and glory Tibet protest continue


In the streets

The last couple of days have been hectic and I seem to have seen so much on my walks through the city. Film crews making costume drama, Tibetan protesters, homeless disabled people wandering the streets, weddings, weird art galleries, concerts, bikers en masse, belly dancers performing, drunks and addicts and the whole swathe of human drama and excitment.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Free Tibet

Free Tibet, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

The Mock Olympics held on College Green, Bristol today to protest Chinese occupation of Tibet. 020 7272 1414 020 734 4605 07725 501 995 07919 661 609

Friday, August 15, 2008

"A moment of respect, for the Don"

Michael Corleone: Where does it say that you can't kill a cop?
Tom Hagen: Come on, Mikey...
Michael Corleone: Tom, wait a minute. I'm talking about a cop that's mixed up in drugs. I'm talking about a - a - a dishonest cop - a crooked cop who got mixed up in the rackets and got what was coming to him. That's a terrific story. And we have newspaper people on the payroll, don't we, Tom?
[Tom nods]
Michael Corleone: And they might like a story like that.
Tom Hagen: They might, they just might.
Michael Corleone: [to Sonny] It's not personal, Sonny. It's strictly business

The Godfather

Tibetans protests Chinese occupation

There will be a protest and fun events on College Green, Bristol, this Saturday, 16th August, 1pm till 4pm.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lydia and Maisie.

Lydia and Maisie., originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

It was off to the zoo for me, Lydia and her cousin, Maisie. taken advantage of a brief window of good weather we spent the day looking at lions, seals and ferrets.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Man in trouble

Man in trouble, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

I was walking up Union St when I saw this guy passed out on the pavement outside the travel agent's. Most people seemed happy just to negotiate their way around him and so I went over and asked if I could help. He was blindly trying to re-insert a catheter so I thought that maybe he was sick. I called for an ambulance and stayed until there was nothing else I could do.

The irony of the situation was that I had been discussing a similar situation with abusker whose picture I wanted to take just minutes before this.

Monday, August 11, 2008

At the faire

At the faire, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

These guys were going around the Bristol balloon Fiesta and when I saew them I stopped ans asked to take their picture. We chatted for a bit and when I turned round I realised that there were about ten other photographers behind me taking pictures as well.

Taken as part of my Flickr 100 Strangers project.

In Bristol

In Bristol, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Balloon fiesta hits new high

Despite rain and cloudy skies the 30th annual Bristol International Balloon Fiesta saw a record turn out as over 100 ballons from all over the world took to the skies above the English city. The fiesta, which started with just 29 balloons and a few thosand spectators in 1979 has grown to become the second largest event of its kind worldwide, regularly attended by over half a million people.

The brain child of ballooning legend, Don Cameron, the event has now become a landmark in the city's social calender with the Night Glow, in which hundreds of illuminated balloons, in combination with fireworks and music, drawing massive crowds.

The fiesta started with an unusual proposal of marriage when Bill Miller,the leader of the Exist Parachute Display Team went down on bended knee to Vivien Morley, event commentator, just moments after he had touched the ground. Vivien said that the venue was particularly appropriate as they had fallen in love during a previous fiesta.

Balloon fiesta hits new high Balloon fiesta hits new high


Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2008

The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is held during August in Bristol, United Kingdom. Teams from all over the UK and other parts of the world bring their hot air balloons to the site and participate in mass ascents where as many as 100 balloons may launch at a time.

"The event is one of the largest in Europe and it is common to have crowds of over 100,000 on each of the four days of the festival. It takes place in a large country estate Ashton Court. Balloon launches are attempted twice a day, at 6am and 6pm, subject to weather conditions."

Click here to read the article I wrote about this year's fiesta for