Monday, 28 April 2008

Polaroid and Grass

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Wall Planners and Conveyor Belts

So right now the dot I should be following is Red, now Red means that I should be spending time on my dissertation....but right now it actually means I should be completing my unfinished and unhanded in Professional Journalism work....but we ran out of coloured dots.

In the Blue Corner we have, 'Library Time', whenever a blue spot is in sight then I must be in the Library researching, reading, writing and the like. Representing always lowering prices...we have the green, no i don't have to be at my Eco-Warrior cult meeting when this coloured dot creeps up, it's there to represent my money, the dosh and dollar. It is there to remind me of my time well spent in ASDA, conveyor belt dreams, suicidal thoughts, ASDA Radio 'text in competitions' and being on the receiving end of chat up lines from foreign men, "I like you eyes, I fancy yousssse".

Cue an extract from my first day back at the delightful Perry Barr ASDA store, at the start of last week. The old bill were in on three separate occasions, and not one or two, a gang, with bullet proof vests on show and radio talk, alpha...over...receiving?
I then get yet another very forward advance on me and my eyes.
I also ask a very hairy man, as I do EVERY CUSTOMER I SERVE ,if he would like help with his packing, after him staring at me blankly and me repeating myself several times he finally opens his trap, making me look an idiot to surrounding customers and staff, "I don't know English".
Then one of the checkout girls behind me, I say girl, I mean grandma, she's pushed past 50 and is trailer trash, so blates has a No1 Grandma chain in her jewellery collection, yeah get me?
Well said colleague bellows from behind me, "I'm from Handsworth mate if you wanna know where I'm from...yeah fucking have that and go piss off...go on, get out piss off you twat."
I then hear a man passing my till, "Shut up you fucking fat bitch!"
"Nobrash!", replies Gran who then gets the last word in too "Fuck off you Bastard."
Then a drunken black man in a nice hat, at the top of his lungs, adds, "God is Black!" however, this was on a separate occasion, but still adds to the madness.

This is where I work. the wall planner says the next shift is this Sunday, theres a green dot there.

Ive touched lightly on Red, but dissertation is a dirty word so I won't continue.
Orange is Production Project, now that's a whole different ball game, I'll save that for when I get used to using InDesign again, so I can then design and create a 20 page 'eco' publication.

Purple is Uni.
I quite like the colour purple because its not on the Wall Planner alot.
I like the next one even more,

Oh yellow, my favourite colour and the key to 'Me Time'.
Except my favourite of the Wall Planner pallet doesn't appear all that often, and the trouble with that is,
it sticks out the most.

Wall Planner, Wall Planner on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?

Monday, 4 February 2008

Lesbian Studies Institute

By Jessica James

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The internet is a wonderful thing! I stumbled across an institute for Lesbian’s this week. A certain search engine spat out a link to this website that I couldn’t help but click on. My initial thoughts were that this would be an organisation that was pro-homosexuality, more specifically pro-lesbianism. Yet one should learn not to assume.

On clicking the link for the Lesbian Studies Institute website, and as the loading time ticked away, I had hopeful positive thoughts about this finding, I wondered to what extent this institutes work, studies, and research would educate me further about a community I belonged to? I envisioned positive outlooks on the ‘Lesbian way’ and new information about a minority group, showcasing real life situations, trials and tribulations, statistics and facts. Some of which I was hoping I had never heard of, or even come across before. Previous ‘research’ into the gay community, particularly the’ Lesbian way of life’ educated me in more ways than one, one being dental dams and the other finger condoms. But that’s another story.

“To track, synthesize and expose the secret, social and political corruption of America's powerful, government financed Lesbian Mafia.”

Safe sex aids aside, I couldn’t have been more wrong, one should definitely learn not to assume. On the page finally loading; The Lesbian Studies Institute’s mission statement smacks you in the face, “To track, synthesize and expose the secret, social and political corruption of America's powerful, government financed Lesbian Mafia.” So the Lesbian Studies Institute isn’t hiring new members? Or at least we need not apply.

After the initial shock, I calmed myself and took to clinking links on the website and got to reading various articles, according to the Lesbian Studies Website, the No1 Lesbian controlled ‘gang’ is head by no other than a First Lady, Hilary Clinton, who currently is in the run to be the first female president in history. She is not alone in this ‘number one mafia group’, who I’m sure you have guessed, are high flying female figures. Hilary’s political right-hand bitches are Janet Reno, who was the first, and to date, the only female Attorney General of the United States, followed by Donna Shalala, who served for eight years as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and is currently the president of The University of Miami. The list continues to ‘name and shame’ the members of The Lesbian Mafia, which oddly includes a Women’s Cancer Research Group.

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Hillary signals her support of gay rights at a rally in New York.

The Chairman of the Institute is a Mr Steve Lashuk, a man who is proud to make many bold, irrational and highly homophobic statements about Lesbians on his site. It seems that any woman in a high place, of high stature, or anyone with a pair of ovaries and an opinion, is pulled into extreme discussions, and showcased as a feminist activist. A ‘member of the mafia’ who is infiltrating the public sector, and who he claims is part of a world spread organisation carrying out illegal practices and receiving government funding to do so. Lashuk has no qualms in airing his theories on outspoken, intelligent women, either in the media spotlight or not, he offers this advice on how to spot a ‘member of the mafia’, and even offers this so called advice to ‘average’ women, so they too can be aware of these unknown and corrupt ‘feminists’, “When mentioning lesbians to the average woman, the first image conjured is a few butches working in a warehouse or a construction crew or playing on an all butch baseball team. This perception is a dangerous notion because a high percentage have proliferated the medical profession, law, psychology and psychiatry. The mental and physical sicknesses wrought upon women who have chosen to abdicate their womanhood and practice lesbianism is a deep rooted secret which the medical profession doesn't want the public to know.” This man is clearly living in the 1920’s or belongs to a sordid religious cult, one of which becomes more apparent as I skip through his website, searching for evidence about Hilary Clinton being a Lesbian, (which isn’t that surprising) and how women with stature and a high salary to match have slipped through the palm of heterosexual society, into the Lesbian net and away from the safety of being monitored by men.

Lashuk’s website declares loud and proud that, “It's a clinical proven fact that lesbianism is a mental disorder with profound antisocial behaviours, paranoia, violent aggressive outbursts and forever seeking but never finding gratification and fulfilment,” which if a true, makes Lesbians perfect candidates for members of a ‘secret’ mafia gang that is funded by ‘back-hands’ from the government- ‘violent’, ‘aggressive’, precisely the personal attributes that Reservoir Dogs would be proud of, either that, or the U.S Army.

“I receive stares of bewilderment when I describe how the 14 million strong Lesbian Mafia has hijacked the media, academia, psychiatry, courts, federal agencies and all legislative branches of government.”

Details on this website do include scholarly research into the field of ‘feminism’ and ‘lesbianism’, but one man’s feminist is a Lesbian and the other man’s is his wife, which in Ex-President Clinton’s case, is a Lesbian. This Institute is recruiting- investigators, researchers and writers, in order to ‘bring down’ the power that is this secret government funded Lesbian Mafia, that operates on a world wide scale, “I receive stares of bewilderment when I describe how the 14 million strong Lesbian Mafia has hijacked the media, academia, psychiatry, courts, federal agencies and all legislative branches of government,” states Lashuk. Come on Steve, It’s not that surprising! Not as surprising as condoms for your fingers, that come in an array of colours and flavours?
But I suppose that is just another Lesbian Mafia bi-product, in order for World wide dominance over all men and Durex.

Despite this website displaying extreme homophobic comments and theories, surrounding even the idea of ‘Lesbian’, its hard to see the funny side of the matter, until you have navigated your way around the site some more. This website has the largest hate for Lesbians I have ever experienced, and eventually your thoughts on what your reading will turn to those of humour, but there’s still anger, resentment and hate in there too.

To all current ‘Lesbian Mafia’ members and all you new recruits, let’s strap on our weapons and give him a beating the Godmother would be proud of. Alternatively you can catch him on this number, 412-731-8200, if female, sex-toy aided mob violence isn’t your style.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Research into the creative use of…

Paper, inks and special finishes


How its made:

* As every craftsperson will tell you, it all begins by using only the very finest materials. We take great care to collect super-fresh sheep poo from the beautiful (and rainy) mountains of rural Wales and take it back to the mill, situated in southern Snowdonia. We don't just make Sheep Poo Paper™ and for our other papers we use waste paper, rag and textile off-cuts and just about anything else we can think of that has good length cellulose fibers in it. Of course, we don't use tree - we like trees.

The girlsWe like trees!

* The sheep poo we have collected is completely sterilized by boiling it in a specially designed pressure cooker at over 120 degrees centigrade (using only the purest Welsh mountain water, of course) and then washed repeatedly over a period of days until it has lost approximately half its original weight (Sheep Fact: a sheep only digests 50% of the cellulose fibers it eats).
* The washing process produces a big pile of usable fibers and, as a by-product it also produces a clean, sterile, rich, liquid fertilizer which we store in a tank at the mill and pass on to local growers. (Do you want some fertilizer? Why not contact us to ask?)
* It takes many hours to beat the cellulose fiber and blend it with other recycled pulps until it reduces to a pulp suitable for making paper. This is a difficult process to get right and the exact method is a closely guarded secret.

Pulp ready for making paperSpecialist equipment

* Using only traditional papermaking techniques we then form the pulp into sheets using special sieves (called a "mould and deckle") and lay them out in stacks using felt in between each sheet to keep them from sticking together.
* The stacked and felted sheets are then pressed under huge pressure to remove most of the remaining water and encourage the cellulose fibers to bond at a molecular scale - this is what gives the paper its strength. Hanging the paper up in the roof rafters of the mill to season them finishes off the drying process.

Sieving - the fun part!

* We also make some of our paper using a very old working example of a 'Fourdrinier' continuous papermaking machine which we periodically hire from a UK papermaking museum - this machine sprays the liquid pulp onto a continuous moving mesh and the water is squeezed out between heated rollers - this gives a stunningly smooth finish, although you can still see the flecks in the paper that come from the sheep poo.
* You don't need to have all the expensive specialist equipment we use at the mill to make a little paper at home though. Why not have a go at making some paper yourself?


Ink is available in dozens of standard colours and hundreds of non-standard inks which are called Pantones, which have there very own distinct colour, number reference and price!
The following is a list of some of the standard ink colours provided by many label suppliers:

* The ink can be applied in various ways:
o Spot Colour - colours applied using separate plates to add colour in specific areas, each plate having a different image that is printed.
o Duotones - two halftone images, which were produced using different screen angles that are printed over each other. Duotones are generally printed in black and another colour.
o Tritones - three halftone images, produced at different screen angles, which were made from the same image and then printed over each other in three different colours.
o Quadtones - four halftone images, produced at different screen angles, which were made from the same image and then printed over each other in four different colours.
o Process Colour - four process colours, cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, printed on top of each other. Each colour uses the same image produced at varying intensities, to reproduce a full colour image.
o High Fidelity Colour (hi-fi) - a method of colour printing which utilizes additional process ink colours to produce a greater range of colour.
o Prismatic Ink - the blending of two or more colours in a single printing unit. This produces a blend of colour that is difficult to duplicate. It is most often used as a security feature.

Specialist Inks

* UV Inks - UV inks provide denser ink coverage than conventional inks. They cause minimal dot gain, resulting in excellent quality when printing fine lines, vignettes and process colour. The ink must be cured by a UV light source, which hardens the ink rather than the ink drying as it does when conventional inks are used. UV ink also provides rub resistance, chemical resistance, colour consistency and opacity. A negative aspect of UV inks is that it has environmental issues which can cause skin irritations and allergic reactions.
* Glitter Ink - Glitter ink contains flucks of shinny mylar that result in a printed image with a shiny reflective look. This ink is used on labels to create special effects.
* Metallized Ink - The use of metallized inks can give your label a distinctive look. They can give your label the look of foil. Different types of metallic powders are blended into the ink such as aluminium powder to create the look of silver and bronze powder to create the look of gold.

Paper Finishing

There are many different types of finishing including die cutting, drilling, scoring, folding, creasing and kiss cutting. There are also many different coatings that can be applied to give a different look and feel.

UV Spot Varnish
Spot varnish is a high gloss UV varnish applied to selected areas of a printed image to enhance the product impact or form part of the graphic design. A raised texture can be achieved using UV Spot Varnish this is known as High Build UV.

UV Textured Varnish
UV textured varnish is a satin effect textured coating applied to selected areas of a Printed image to form a tough protective barrier to the underlying print surface that enhances product impact.

UV Sparkle Varnish
Sparkle varnish is a high gloss UV varnish containing metallised polyester flakes that adds "sparkle" when applied to selected areas of a printed image and will provide "shelf appeal" to a wide range of printed products.

Gloss OPP Lamination
Gloss OPP (oriented polypropylene) lamination provides a wide range of uses across the whole spectrum of printed products. The properties of good gloss are strength and low cost which make it suitable for all the following applications:
Company report and accounts, Brochures, Catalogues, Carrier bags, Greeting cards, Book jacket covers, Magazines, Maps, Labels, Point-of-sale and Displays.
The standard film thickness is 12 micron but 19 micron is available if you require extra durability. Film can be laminated over apertures and a window lamination created.

Matt OPP Lamination
This Matt finish coupled with its smooth texture offers a very high quality image to brochures and book covers. Matt finishes are also particularly suited to surfaces which need to be easily read such as wall maps, but can be prone to scuffing and should be handled with care.

Foil Blocking
These finishes can provide the ultimate in decorative appeal. They are not limited to gold and silver foils, but extend to an impressive range of pigmented, holographic and security foils.
All of these can be combined with embossed images to produce varying tactile effects – Any one of which will enhance the printed message and provide shelf appeal for greetings cards, cartons, magazine covers, brochures etc.

Embossing & Debossing
This is where an image, pattern or logo can be embedded into the paper.

Ilford Classic Papers
Classic Pearl and Gloss papers offer the professional photographer the colour stability you would expect from a polymer coated paper. Manufactured to meet the demands of today’s dye based desktop printers, offering excellent image stability with superb consistency.
With the choice of either traditional gloss or professional pearl finish, the Classic range gives the professional the opportunity to create the right look for a competitive price

Ilford GALERIE Smooth Papers

The Galerie Smooth range of Ilford papers have been developed for “out of the box” usage, which is particularly true with Gloss and Pearl surfaces which utilises instant dry, nanoporous coating technology.
The Ilford range of smooth papers are compatible with the latest dye and pigment ink printers. Also included in the range are Smooth Fine Art Paper, a 100% rag, acid free paper for prints with a traditional fine art look and Smooth Multi-Use Paper. This is a true double-sided coated bond paper, ideal for producing brochures and leaflets.
The range as recently been extended with the addition of High Gloss Media and Heavyweight Matte Paper. High Gloss Media has the same instant drying nanoporous coating as the Smooth Gloss and Pearl papers. It is ideal for creating high gloss, professional quality photographic images. Heavyweight Matte Paper is a double sided coated paper ideal for fine art, high end brochures and presentations

Sunday, 18 November 2007


The earth turned to bring us closer,
it spun on itself and within us,
and finally joined us together in this dream
as written in the Symposium.
Nights passed by, snowfalls and solstices;
time passed in minutes and millennia.
An ox cart that was on its way to Nineveh
arrived in Nebraska.
A rooster was singing some distance from the world,
in one of the thousand pre–lives of our fathers.
The earth was spinning with its music
carrying us on board;
it didn't stop turning a single moment
as if so much love, so much that's miraculous
was only an adagio written long ago
in the Symposium’s score

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Lesbian Mafia

Gay or not gay, or just looking to be entertained by someone with some intellect, you should check out New Yorker- Sandi T's MySpace page here.

I'm actually going to be interviewing this fine woman and profiling her, and hopefully spreading 'her word' to the fine readers of DIVA.

Watch this space.

But also watch hers.

Monday, 15 October 2007

EDITORS. Carling Academy 14/10/07

I attended the Birmingham stint of the recent Editors UK tour on Sunday.


The support acts for the night were also talented musicians, sharing much of their obvious talent and stage space with the Birmingham grown headliners.
First support Kissaway Trail.
originating from Denmark, with interesting vocals, at first I couldn't seem to get my ears round, the lead guitarists both passed around the microphone, and this gave the band a whole new sound with each new song they played. Very strong vocally and a very strong stage presence. Especially when all four guitarists (bassist being the fourth) have a microphone stand in front of their face at all times, and in one particular song, which I forget the name of, they all show of their vocal abilities and mash up an impressive harmony. They remind me alot of early Arcade Fire, with a lot more kick and less instruments.

The Kissaway Trail start their own UK tour on November 4th in Norwich, calling at Birmingham again, and finishing in Glasgow on the 18th, go have a listen.

Second support band were Ra Ra Riot.

Immensely impressive!!!

The line up includes:

Milo Bonacci: guitar

Alexandra Lawn: cello

Wesley Miles: keyboards / vocals

John Pike: drums

Mathieu Santos: bass guitar

Rebecca Zeller: violin

....and keyboards 'get involved' with lead singer and cello player taking turns to tinkle.

YES, a cello and a violin.

This band were quiet obviously quiet music 'geeks' that have turned it all around on their peers and wooed them with their apparent musical talent and love for making music, together.

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I'll try not mention Arcade Fire again, but seriously they share similar traits, I think thats just because of the involvement of classical instruments, and being highly successful with it.

The string arrangements work more than well with this bands collective sound.

I highly recommend going to see them live, they definitely put on a show.
And if you can't manage that then have a listen to the tracks they have on their Myspace.

Which leaves me to say that EDITORS were just plain and simply OUTSTANDING.

Tom Smith's vocals are nothing short of beautiful.
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..and they even finished on a personal favourite 'Fingers In The Factories'.

Go buy their new album, you won't regret it.

You must see them live to experience and understand what I'm saying. Sheer musical brilliance....and EDITH BOWMAN seemed to enjoy her self up on the backstage balcony too, what a top notch girlfriend.