Have you thought of…

12 October 2011

...a smoother ride?

Well, those bods at the Centre for Alternative Technology have, as part of their two-day Apple Festival in Snowdonia. Held in its HQ building at the devilishly difficult to pronounce Machynlleth, the organisation sought energy-free ways to educate the public to take a bigger bite of the forgotten fruit. Yes, despite there being more than 7,500 varieties of apple, CAT’s Alex Randall says that “most consumers have very little choice in the apples they buy — and that those growers who are trying to preserve ancient varieties face an uphill struggle”.

But not as uphill, it appears, as the poor teens that were forced to sing for their supper by making their own pedal-powered apple smoothies. With all that energy expended on pulverising their Orange Pippins, it seems they’ve none left to actually move them anywhere. Still, with the same muscle groups being activated, it must be working wonders for their core strength.

...taking the road to wembley?

“They think it’s all over. It is now.” Kenneth Wolstenholme’s 1966 World Cup commentary might similarly be applied to this pic of Nobby Stiles looking like he’s taking a particularly unpleasant-looking “header”. Stiles, in the England World Cup team, and who famously ran around Wembley Stadium with his dentures out holding on to the FIFA trophy, was pictured opening plant hire company Speedy’s new superstore in Wembley last month.

Holding £3.5m of equipment, we hope Nobby was well compensated. This time last year he emotionally waved goodbye to his World Cup medals and memorabilia at an auction for his son’s future, prompting the the Daily Mirror to come up with the headline “Nobs sobs as he flogs togs”. Money woes aside, and despite all the distractions going on behind his head, it’s good to see that living legend Nobby has still got his eye on the ball.

... letting pylons by pylons?

Secretary of state Chris Huhne thinks not. He’s heading DECC’s drive, with a RIBA competition, to redesign the much maligned British electricity pylon. The pylon as we know it was designed by the American Milliken brothers in 1928, under the guidance of the fierce anti-modernist and Royal Academician Reginald Blomfield. Over 80 years they have become a looming yet benign staple of the British landscape.

But apparently it’s time to spruce them up with some “real” design. Cue the shortlist, including proposals that look like an inverted artificial Christmas tree with stand, a giant wishbone, an enormous catapult and a kaleidoscope. They might look quite sexy on their own, but you wonder what it would be like if any of these ended up peppered over the landscape. A classic case of the shock of the new? Who knows, but with the government’s “presumption for development” in planning, it may not be so much a case of “if” but “watt”.

... taking the road to hell?

Slough. What do you do with it? John Betjeman wrote its eulogy, 50 Crap Towns said its number was up and David Brent nailed the lid on the coffin. In the latest attempt to resuscitate the notorious Berkshire town, Slough council got Bblur (yes, Bblur) Architecture to create a new focus for the town centre with this eye-catching £7m design for its Brunel Bus Station. Part of the town’s Heart of Slough masterplan, contractor McLaren has pulled out all the stops (all 20 of them) to create this curving canopy of aluminium shingles. The press release hopes it will create a “memorable last impression of Slough”. Sounds more “terminal” than “terminus”.

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