The Pripyat Ferris Wheel (photograph by Alexandra Jade Flintoff)
Children’s playgrounds were prolific in the USSR.
They formed an integral part of the urban landscape, and by the 1970s and 80s these basic metal affairs appeared in almost every park across many of the larger Soviet cities.
They were built outside schools, beneath church towers, and on the side of roads.
As with many of the other fittings associated with the USSR, playground accessories were usually produced en masse at large manufacturing plants.
As a result, there was a tendency for these to follow repetitive patterns and designs: with playgrounds and parks from Eastern Europe to Russia’s Pacific Coast often featuring identical sets of swings and seesaws, rockets and roundabouts, bridges and monkey bars.
An abandoned Young Pioneer Camp in a forest in Russia (photograph by Darmon Richter)
“As we accelerate towards a warmer planet we inevitably question familiar images, places or ideas that are susceptible to irreversible change.
Islands seem primed for the symbolic and metaphorical, and as a consequence have long been made to accommodate the projections of western ‘explorers’, writers, poets, scientists. Edenic paradise, ecological sanctuary or sites of complete loneliness, islands are constantly reduced as such by those new arrivals.”
Veteran cabbie Ian Gordon alights from his cab at the KK Knowledge School to teach a lesson in London geography to a classroom full of aspiring cabdrivers. To gain a London cabbie’s license, a candidate has to memorize all 25,000 streets and the locations of another 20,000 landmarks within a six-mile (9.6-kilometer) radius of Charing Cross.
by Roff Smith
Photograph by Elizabeth Dalziel
LONDON—Steve Scotland had better reason than most for thinking he knew London like the back of his hand.
Not only was he a native Londoner, born and bred, but he’d spent years working as a chauffeur in the city, driving his passengers wherever they wanted to go, finding the shortcuts, negotiating the city’s traffic-clogged streets swiftly, accurately, and with a minimum of fuss.
So he quietly fancied his chances of passing “The Knowledge” test—the demanding test of London’s back streets and landmarks that confronts anyone who wishes to join the elite ranks of London’s cabdrivers.
“It was something I always wanted to do,” Scotland says.
In pursuit of this dream he went to the Public Carriage Office, which regulates taxis in London, and signed on for The Knowledge.
After paying his fees and taking a map test and some written exams, he got hold of a motor scooter and set off to familiarize himself with his city in a whole new way.
Although “Knowledge Schools” exist to offer advice and help would-be cabbies prep for the series of examinations you have to pass along the way, the intensive learning of the city’s streets and landmarks, the thousands of miles of exploration by scooter or on foot, is very much a do-it-yourself affair, all of it on your own time and at your own pace.
Nearly five years later, and with more than 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers) clocked on the scooter, Scotland is still at it—although now, at least, it’s with an end in sight.
A good enough score on his next test, or “appearance,” in a fortnight’s time, and he’ll have done it—cracked The Knowledge and earned himself the coveted green-and-white badge of a London cabbie.
“I had no idea how tough this would be,” he says. “I really thought I knew the city well, but what I knew, or thought I knew, was nothing compared with what it takes to do The Knowledge.”
The five years he has spent on the quest is fairly typical. The Knowledge does not come easy.
Forget Mensa and armchair brainteasers. The Knowledge of London is a real-time, street-level test of memorization skills so intense that it physically alters the brains of those who pass it.
To qualify for that elusive green badge, you need to learn by heart all 320 sample runs that are listed in the Blue Book, the would-be cabbie’s bible.
You will also have to commit to memory the 25,000 streets, roads, avenues, courts, lanes, crescents, places, mews, yards, hills, and alleys that lie within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross.
A series of conceptual fine art prints by Lee Howell, exploring the connection between the aesthetic beauty that visually lies in the delicate luxurious opulence of avian plumage and the sexual femininity of the female form.
Bugs Bunny is a fictional main character who starred in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of animated films produced by Leon Schlesinger Productions, which became Warner Bros Cartoons in 1944.
Bugs starred in 167 shorts during the Golden Age of American animation, and made cameos in three others along with a few appearances in non-animated films. He is an anthropomorphic hare or rabbit.
According to Bugs Bunny: 50 Years and Only One Grey Hare, he was born in July 27, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York in a warren under Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
In reality, he was created by many animators and staff, including Tex Avery, who directed A Wild Hare, Bugs’ debut role, and Robert McKimson, who created the definitive Bugs Bunny character design.
According to Mel Blanc (pictured above), the character’s original voice actor, Bugs has a Flatbush accent.
Bugs has had numerous catchphrases, the most prominent being a casual “Eh… What’s up, doc?”, usually said while chewing a carrot.
He is the most prominent of the Looney Tunes characters as his calm, flippant insouciance endeared him to American audiences during and after World War II.
He is a mascot of the Looney Tunes series, and Warner Bros. in general.
‘I’ll rip yer bloody arms off’: Grahame Bond, Garry McDonald, Rory O’Donoghue and Sandy MacGregor in The Aunty Jack Show. Photograph: LanternIn
In 1965, American primetime TV went all colour; the UK did the same in 1969.
But Australia couldn’t afford a war in Vietnam and new technology at the same time – so despite leading the world in TV firsts like nudity and sexual taboos, none of it happened in colour until the mid-1970s.
When colour came to Australian TVs, it came in a uniquely Australian way: ushered in by an outrageous comedy legend named Aunty Jack, whose catchphrase to “little kiddies” everywhere was: “If you don’t behave, I’ll jump through your set and rip yer bloody arms off!”
It’s no surprise that the show – one of Australia’s first and most surreal sketch comedies – caused howls of protest when it first hit the airwaves in 1972.
Aunty Jack (Grahame Bond) looked like a cuddly pantomime dame – until you noticed her moustache, boxing glove and baritone. Older viewers were horrified, but their kids loved her from night one.
It was their enthusiasm that kept the show on air, when many executives would have loved to have yanked it off as soon as possible. But The Aunty Jack Show became a phenomenon; a spin-off single, a re-record of its closing theme
Farewell Aunty Jack, stayed on top of the Australian music charts for 10 straight weeks.“Back then, we had to be wildly innovative to have a point of difference to British and American shows,” the producer Maurice Murphy says.
Images have long provided a means of protesting political regimes bent on censoring language. In the 1830s a band of French caricaturists, led by Charles Philipon, weaponized the innocent image of a pear to criticize the corrupt and repressive policies of King Louis-Philippe (see Front Image).
Patricia Mainardi investigates the history of this early 19th-century meme.
La Caricature, 9 January 1834, no. 349.
“Around this damnable tyrannical pear there gathered a great howling mob of patriots. There was such fury and incredible unity in their stubborn demand for justice that when we leaf through old humor journals today, we find it a subject of enormous astonishment that such unrelenting warfare could continue for years.” — Charles Baudelaire,
“Wherever open speech is prohibited, symbols and allusions abound. The historian Peter Gay lamented that in our positivist age, this metaphoric language has waned because we now see in only one dimension, the literal and obvious one.
Gay traced the beginnings of this loss to the Enlightenment, beginning with the rise of science as a paradigm and the gradual eclipse of religion; an example would be the formerly near universal comprehension of calling someone “a good Samaritan”, a term that simultaneously invokes the present and a biblical past, enabling us to think on two parallel planes at once.
Caricature, with its mixture of word and image, the literal and the allusive, does this better than language alone, which has caused it to be highly regulated and often prosecuted by authoritarian regimes. Under one such authoritarian regime, nineteenth-century French caricaturists produced one of the most powerful political metaphors in modern history: the representation of King Louis-Philippe as a pear.
The era was, with apologies, “ripe” for this kind of messaging because caricature, imported to France from England during the revolutionary period of the late eighteenth century, was ideally suited to evade the draconian censorship laws instituted by the Bourbon Restoration of 1815. Censorship could occur in several intensifying degrees.
In France, censorship of images was always more severe than censorship of text because images were thought to have a more direct appeal to the lower classes whose literacy was limited. It was customarily exerted in one of two ways: normally, censorship was post-publication, meaning that if a text or image was judged offensive, it would be seized and the author, artist, and publisher tried, fined, and imprisoned. In periods of great instability, however, the more severe measure of prior censorship was instituted.
This meant that nothing, neither text nor image, could be published or even exposed to public view, unless it had first been submitted to government censors and approved by them. Not only artists, authors, and publishers could be held responsible, but even printers were liable and could lose the license that permitted them to work.
This is why so many publications (Diderot’s Encyclopédie, for example) falsely identified their origin as outside France — usually Switzerland, where laws were more liberal.
During the Restoration, artists created a metalanguage of symbols to evade censorship: censorship itself was personified as a large pair of scissors always on the attack, the clergy were represented as candle snuffers busily extinguishing the light of the Enlightenment, and the regime’s political figures as crayfish who knew only how to walk backwards.
In 1830, however, after the “Three Glorious Days” of the July Revolution, the absolutist legitimist monarchy was overthrown in favor of a new constitutional monarchy governed by what was called “The True Charter”.
Brazilian street artist Ficore, well known and respected for working in the graffiti medium for the past 20 years since 1997, brings us this cool geometric mural on a housing complex in Vitória, Brazil.