Newsletter 142 – July 2008
——– MANTEX NEWSLETTER ——–
Number 142 – July 2008 – ISSN 1470-1863
Music, Arts, Culture, and Technology
as seen from digital hub Manchester UK
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0— F.r.e.e Online Study Skills Courses
Preparing for the New National Curriculum
From September onwards all teachers will need to equip
their students with the skills for learning *before*
they start teaching the key elements of their subject.
These are called in the trade ‘generic study skills’.
And teachers will need all the help they can get.
Computer-aided self-instruction study courses is one
way the teacher’s job can be made easier. And we’re
making it easier still, by offering f.r.e.e trial courses.
Students learn the study skills in their own time,
at home, or even via mobile phone.
Our courses have been developed at City College
Manchester. They’re designed to help students with
study skills at Key Stages 3 – 5.
They’re also suitable for work-based learners and
adults returning to learn in FE and HE.
* Writing Essays
* Taking Notes
* Lab Reports
* Healthy Living
* Page Layout
* Writing Reports
* Web Design
* Organising yourself
Courses are completed entirely on line,
using interactive self-assessment exercises
and video tutorials.
Students successfully completing the course are
awarded a certificate from City College Manchester.
Teachers can try these courses f.r.e.e of charge
up to September. After that there will be a very
small charge, which can be met from development
and innovation budgets.
Have a look around the courses, and contact us
if you want further details
0— Pub Quiz Question #1
Which musical features Sky Masterson and Nathan Detroit?
0— ‘Uncommon Relationships’ – new book
This book undoubtedly gets top billing this
issue in terms of human interest and pure
It’s a study of six ‘unusual’ relationships
from the literary world of the early 1900s.
They include H.G.Wells, who kept a succession
of mistresses with his wife’s consent; Lady Una
Troubridge, who acted as loyal ‘wife’ to Radclyffe
Hall whilst she had a nine-year affair with a
pretty young Russian girl; Vanessa Bell who often
kept her husband, lover, and ex-lover under the
roof at the same time.
How did they do it? Why did people put up with
Those are the questions Katie Roiphe asks in
this fascinating study. She doesn’t always know
the answers, but the details of what she reveals
are still challenging even by today’s more
liberal standards. Read further details here –
and be prepared to boggle.
0— Pub quiz – Question #2
What is a cassoulet?
0— ‘Working at Home, Living at Work’
Here’s another book on interior design – focused
on people who want to work from home. Or work where
they live – which is almost the same thing.
It’s a. book of glamorously photographed living
spaces where artists, designers, musicians, and
writers have carved out a working space in the
homes where they live.
Or in some cases have fitted a living space
into the places they work.
Either way it’s a compendium of fascinating
design solutions, with lots of good ideas thrown in.
It helped me through the final phase of my own
upheaval to new quarters – now thankfully finished.
0— Pub quiz – Question #3
What is Pinot Noir?
0— ‘How to Get a Good Degree’ – new book
Is your son, daughter, niece, or nephew going
to university this autumn? Or are you maybe
even going ‘up’ yourself?
Phil Race has a new book which will guide you
through exactly what to expect at every stage
of your three years – ending with how to
maximise your chances of the best result.
Many students think that university life is
just attending lectures and writing essays –
and getting drunk of course.
But to get the most from the experience, there’s
a lot more to it than that. Race guides readers
through making the best of libraries, student
support, seminars, and even where to live.
0— Pub quiz – Question #4
By what name is Kal-El better known?
0— ‘Oxford Guide to Literary Britain’
This book proves why people from all over the world
possibly regard Britain as a nation of writers.
It’s an encyclopedia of places in Britain (and Ireland)
which have the slightest association with literature.
Starting at the most obvious, there’s the Lake District,
to which tourists flock constantly, retracing the
experiences of Wordsworth, Shelly, de Quincey, et al.
But at the other extreme the smallest hamlets can
yield rich associations.
The microscopic village of Mells in Somerset (where
my noble scion lives) has connections with Siegfried
Sassoon, Evelyn Waugh, and Ronald Knox.
This illustrated resource lists every city, town,
and hamlet that has a literary connection – and
every novelist, poet, and non-fiction writer who
has the remotest connection with a place in the
0— Pub quiz – Question #5
Who wrote the song ‘White Christmas’?
0— ‘How to Succeed in your Masters Dissertation’
Most people don’t know what to expect when it
comes to writing an MA dissertation – mainly
because they’ve probably never even seen one before.
John Biggam’s guide looks at the entire process from
start to finish. He begins with the issue many students
find most difficult of all – knowing how to define the
project they wish to undertake.
0— Pub quiz – Question #6
How many stars appear on the New Zealand flag?
0— ‘Bloomsbury/Freud: the Strachey Letters’
This has been around for a while now, but I have
only just had time to catch up with it.
James Strachey was Lytton Strachey’s younger
brother. He and his wife Alix were two of the
first people in the UK to study and then
practice as psychoanalysts.
They worked with Freud and his associates,
and translated his work for publication by
the Hogarth Press.
This fascinating exchange of letters covers
a year in 1924-1925 whilst Alix was in Germany
being psychoanalysed as part of her training.
The letters are packed with the vibrant culture
that was present in London and Berlin at that
time. Diaghilev, Stravinsky, Picasso, and many
other well known names flit across the pages.
0— Pub quiz – Question #7
In which country is the port of Valparaiso?
0— ‘Nabokov: Discourse & Ideology’
This is one for specialists – either Nabokov
buffs or fans of modern literary criticism.
It’s a collection of conference papers which
take something of a tilt at Nabokov’s reputation.
He had a habit of disarming criticism with his
lofty and aristocratic manner. But these
post-modernists are having nothing of that.
They take potshots at his reputation and
seek to unmask his scarce-hidden sexism.
Do they succeed? Well – judge for yourself at:
0— Pub quiz – Question #8
What is an auctioneer’s small hammer called?
0— ‘Wordless Books’ – new publication
The graphic novel erupted into European and American
culture following the First World War. The visual
element was heavily influenced by German expressionism.
It’s a well established genre these days – with
bandes dessine probably leading the way.
But this book is a collection of the originals –
dark and angst-ridden woodcuts trying to sum up
a world in which life was nasty, brutish, and short.
0— Pub quiz – Question #9
Who designed the original Volkswagen?
0— Gadget News – Latest
Those people waiting to buy an Asus eee PC
should have their hands on one by now.
These are the ultra-portable, lightweight,
200 UKP notebooks which are run on the
Linux operating system and packed with
Open Source software.
But they’ve become so popular that Asus
have brought out new models. The latest
has a slightly larger screen, more memory,
and a bigger hard disk.
You can find out where they’re available,
read user reviews, and track progress at
this excellent price comparison site:
Meanwhile, those contemplating the
purchase of a USB mobile broadband
dongle might like to know that the
one we’ve been using comes out tops
in a recent PC Pro test:
0— Pub quiz – Question #10
What would you do with an ocarina?
0— Tour de France – on screen
Google has just added an amazing novelty
to its interactive maps service.
You can follow the route of the Tour de France
at street level, seeing exactly what the
riders see as they whiz round the 3,500 km.
I’ve just climbed the notorious ascent of
Alpe d’Huez without getting out of my chair.
I can tell you that even the sight of those
multiple hairpin bends on a computer
screen makes your stomach turn.
0— Pub quiz – ANSWERS
#1 Which musical features Sky Masterson and Nathan Detroit?
ANSWER: ‘Guys and Dolls’
#2 What is a cassoulet?
ANSWER: A stew
#3 What is Pinot Noir?
ANSWER: A wine grape
#4 By what name is Kal-El better known?
#5 Who wrote the song ‘White Christmas’?
ANSWER: Irving Berlin
#6 How many stars appear on the New Zealand flag?
#7 In which country is the port of Valparaiso?
#8 What is an auctioneer’s small hammer called?
ANSWER: A gavel
#9 Who designed the original Volkswagen?
ANSWER: Ferdinand Porsche
#10 What would you do with an ocarina?
ANSWER: Play it – it’s a musical instrument.
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