Russell Brand and Jeremy Paxman made me think: long view or gut feeling?

Posted in Uncategorized on November 6, 2013 by Asher Rospigliosi

Finally made time to watch the Russell Brand, Jeremy Paxman interview. A bit tragic it took me so long, guess I am a bit stuck in work mode at this time of the academic year. My thanks to digital photographer Derek Rangecroft for reminding me to watch it, I get why he was excited.

Brand comes across with a passionate immediacy and ease with Paxman, it is almost shocking. I did feel for Paxman when his tears over his ancestors are condemned as emotional porn, though I would have to agree on many levels.

Does Brand offer an alternative I can take seriously? That is harder to evaluate. He certainly is articulate about the many ways the current political class fail to offer a believable sense of engagement with the deep structural problems we face of the environment, or the escalating and disastrous unequal of distribution and of resources and opportunities.

I certainly think this debate is good watching, not just for the fireside manner of Brand (in a posh hotel room), with his funny asides about beards and armpits hair mingling, nor just for Paxman trying to get at what a revolution would look like, but for getting the viewer to think. What would Make a difference? What matters in the choices we make? Can we do better?

These questions have both gut instinct responses and more long term, and thoughtful responces. I suspect the interview was so galvanising, partly because the appeal of Brand and Paxman are so opposite. Brand really does grab our emotional outrage, at the patent unfairness of much about how the western word works, Paxman articulates the long view “what would it look like, this revolution?” Yet as television talkers, they share a common capacity to have us participate in their conversations.

JAN ŠVANKMAJER: The Inner Life of Objects some really cool creatures

Posted in art, Film, films, fotos, Uncategorized with tags , , on October 12, 2013 by Asher Rospigliosi

I really enjoyed seeing the sculptures Jan Svankmajer made with found objects. A fantastic  form of taxidermy.JAN-SVANKMAJER-The-Inner-Life-of-Objects

His film looks interesting, I love Tenniel’s visualisation of Alice, but his 1986 film looked pretty cool too.

Nice evening out with Mitch and Eme, topped and tailed with a great session preparing the Business School for open day with a cool bunch of international students to start and a Meat Liquor burger to finish, and a quick couple of fine bourbons in the Great Eastern along the way.


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Asher Rospigliosi

Enjoyed another sensitive Hong Sang-soo film: Woman on the Beach

Posted in Film, films on October 10, 2013 by Asher Rospigliosi

My second Hong Sang-soo movie in a month. This director really catches something about relationships and feelings. I love how universal his characters seem, and yet for me as a European male, also exotic. They are so situated in Korean culture. It makes me look (and think) twice. Like his earlier Power of Kangwon Province,  Woman on the Beach felt innovative in the storytelling, with out contrivance. I want more


Forward Guidance: is Mark Carney bringing rastaman vibes to uplift the UK economy?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 8, 2013 by Asher Rospigliosi

When I was a youth the word, sound power of forward guidance was a rastaman vibe  that offered an uplift to one who heard it. I loved to shout it, in situations such as a crowd, making careful progress through the gate to a dance. Songs such as Forward Ever, Backwards Never (Jacob Miller RIP), quoted Maurice Bishop and Guidance by Michael Prophet ensured these words were widely shared, at least among my spars in North London in the late seventies and eighties.

Mark Carney, is a only a few years younger than me. Did he get these same good vibes, growing up in the Salad Bowl of multicultural Canada? I really hope so!

Sure would be great if the stability his economic planning seems to offer includes an ‘enshallah’ and a prayer

Update on the 101 Happiness activities book, progress so far

Posted in happiness with tags on January 19, 2013 by Asher Rospigliosi

In December, Tom and I asked for contributions to the book we are writing: 101 Activities for Happiness Workshops; this is an update to let you know how we are progressing.

The call was circulated by several national and international happiness studies and positive psychology organisations. We are very grateful for the kind effort of those who forwarded our call for contributions.

We received many contributions as a result of this call in many different forms, from one-line ideas and suggestions to fully structured activities.  We are now working on writing these up in a format suitable for the book. We have made good progress, and have about fifty gathered so far.

We feel it is likely that there will be enough to justify the title of the book, but whatever happens, we will share the resulting collection with all those who contributed and will let contributors know how we are progressing as we work through the ideas.

We are still happy to receive further suggestions, if you have more to offer!

asher and Tom

When is a gun not an assault weapon, asks Ana Marie Cox, in sobering article on guns and suicide

Posted in News and politics on January 18, 2013 by Asher Rospigliosi

Why Obama’s gun control orders miss the target | Ana Marie Cox

A very cogent and statistically explanation of why having a gun in the home, makes it much more likely that someone will die.

Ana Marie Cox also highlights the decrease in spending on mental health, but manages to disagragate suicide from broader issues of mental health. Here is where she is good with the stats, driving home the argument, that all types of people are at risk of death by suicide, if there is a gun in there house.

More detail on the proposed: 101 Activities for Happiness Workshops

Posted in happiness with tags on December 21, 2012 by Asher Rospigliosi

Title: 101 Activities for Happiness Workshop (provisional)

Rationale: We want to live in a society with more happiness and less unhappiness. We believe that workshops can make a significant contribution to that goal. To that end, we would like to encourage the development of more happiness workshops. A book containing 101 activities for happiness workshops would be a valuable resource to stimulate the development of such workshops.

Over the last 2 decades, evidence-based knowledge of the sources of our happiness has been accumulating. And over the last decade, many books have been written to popularise the results of happiness research. Books can only go so far, however, as increasing happiness needs more than intellectual assent; it requires action to apply that knowledge, new behaviours and new habits. Workshops can be an effective way of initiating changes in behaviour than reading alone. This is why workshops are so frequently used in fields of professional development and personal development which depend for their success on behavioural change. Workshops are a proven way of disseminating knowledge and turning it into changes in behaviour that support personal development and growth

In summary, the main rationale for this book is to facilitate the development of happiness workshops that can contribute to more happiness in the world around us.

Coverage and features: The book will contain an introductory chapter about the accumulation of knowledge of happiness, ways of disseminating it and the role of workshops in communicating and applying such knowledge. This will be followed by 101 activities as a resource for those who run workshops on happiness and how to share it, or would like to develop such workshops. The book will also contain advice on how to use the activities to run an effective workshop i.e. a happiness workshop that really works.

Who are we:

Tom is emeritus professor of personal and professional development at the University of Brighton in the UK. Asher is senior lecturer in e-commerce, digital marketing and information systems at Brighton University. Both have a long-standing interest in workshops. In the early 1990s Tom published (jointly with Phil Race and Viv Martin) the book Workshops that Work, (Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill), 1993.


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