Author, illustrator, speaker, songwriter, skeptic, Blue Peter badge winner, ‘QI’ Elf and researcher/writer for ‘The Museum of Curiosity’. Stevyn Colgan has done many things in his life, including a 30 year stint in the Metropolitan Police, but here he tells us about his passion for the humble Viewmaster.
David Bradley has been writing about sciencey stuff for a quarter of a century and is the author of ‘Deceived Wisdom‘, a book about how everything you know is wrong. In this guest post, David tells us about his fascination with the Rubik’s Cube and demonstrates his uncanny toy juggling ability.
In the first of a series of guest posts, former TV-AM weather presenter and all-round nice person Wincey Willis shares her memories of the very first toy she remembers owning. Although well known for her weather forecasts, Wincey is most proud of her work as a writer and as presenter of television programmes about animals, notably Animal Watch on TV-am and the Granada TV series Wincey’s Pets.
My love of toys spans many different mediums and none more so than the relatively recent craze of Designer Vinyl. This type of toy is usually identified by its limited quantity and unusual appearance, due partly to its creation by artists and designers.
One of my favourites in this field of ABS plastic is the ‘Lunartik In A Cup Of Tea‘ by Matt JOnes. Matt first conceived of the Lunartik in 2004 and has been producing many different flavours, and sizes, ever since.
No toy story would be complete without LEGO, and for the first of many mentions that this capstone (or should that be capbrick?) of childhood will be getting I have chosen my very first set.
As a long-time lover of toys and an avid, albeit frugal, collector I have amassed quite a hodgepodge of plush, plastic and die-cast metal. Each one of these treasures speaks to me on varying levels, some hold deep rooted memories whilst others simply look cool. Over the coming weeks I would like to give you a glimpse into my collection and share these toy stories with you.
To begin with, I’m going to start at the beginning…
There are many books debunking everyday wisdom and old wive’s tales, but very few are written with such wit, charm and affection for the size of the male appendage as ‘Deceived Wisdom’ by David Bradley (@Sciencebase) and as someone who was lucky enough to secure a review copy from David I got to work devouring its pages immediately.
As a rather reluctant reader, I found the book’s short, easy to digest chapters a welcome relief. This is not to say that they aren’t jam-packed with amusing and informative paragraphs, far from it. Each bite-size chunk of science was as tasty as the last and I felt myself always looking forward to the next meal.
But enough with the food metaphors, what makes up the ingredients of such a delicious book?
Despite my best intentions the words you are about to read will in no way resemble the linguistic poetry that flows like silk from the mouth of Russell Brand or the rigid intelligence discharged by Robert Webb, and neither do they carry their celebrity clout that would see them poured over and shared by more than a few of my closest friends. But this is a democracy, it is the 21st century and I have an opinion that I intend to share.
Whether or not you agree with the idea of Brand’s revolution and his incitement not to vote, it is impossible to ignore the fact that the current political power structure is toxic. This is at the core of Brand’s passion. Why are we not discussing this? The barrage of lazy journalism that sort to deride Brand for his use of long words and naive views does not in any way address the real issue that he seeks to highlight. And to those who raise the ‘our fathers fought so that we could have the right to vote’ argument I say that you are no better than those who led to the creation of Godwin’s Law.
People don’t refuse to vote because they hate your Grandfather, and they are not all apathetic stereotypes that hang around on street corners waiting to mug old ladies. Some of them have come to the conclusion that none of those who would choose to frequent the richly decorated halls of Westminster are worth voting for.
What choice do these individuals have when it comes to polling day? How do they express their views? Spoiling your ballot is of no use, it is a powerless exercise that only serves to add your ‘hard fought right’ to a pile of papers that contain the indecipherable scribblings of those who didn’t fill the form in properly. Where is your chance to vote for change?
Only when we have an option to cast our vote for none of the candidates do we have a true democracy and a real representation of the views of the people.
You cannot tell from appearances how things will go. Sometimes imagination makes things out far worse than they are; yet without imagination not much can be done. Those people who are imaginative see many more dangers than perhaps exist; certainly many more than will happen; but then they must also pray to be given that extra courage to carry this far-reaching imagination. But for everyone, surely, what we have gone through in this period this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.