Tuesday 30 November 2010

'Science Spotlight’ 11/12 Sir Clive Marles Sinclair

Sir Clive Marles Sinclair, born in 1940, Inspired by his father and grandfather who were both engineers Sinclair began designing at an early age. At school he excelled in mathematics and in 1955 he took his O-levels and A-levels in physics, pure maths, and applied maths. Three weeks before his A-levels he drew up the Sinclair Micro radio kit and wrote his first article for Practical Wireless. He decided against going to university and left school before his 18th birthday to sell his miniature electronic kits by mail order. He formed Sinclair Radionics Ltd and in the 1960’s designed and marketed pocket transistor radios and micro-amplifier kits, making Sinclair a pioneer in the field of miniature consumer electronics. In 1972, he marketed the world's first pocket calculator, 1976 the first digital wristwatch and in 1977 the first pocket TV.
In 1979, he set out to build a simple, easy to use personal computer for under £100 and in 1980, The Sinclair ZX80 was launched selling over 100,000 starting the home computer revolution in the UK. He was made chairman of the British Mensa Society in 1980 a role he served for 17 years and in 1983 he received a knighthood. In 1985 he launched the Sinclair C5 an environmentally friendly, streamlined electric vehicle.
Sinclair Research Ltd. continues to market Sinclair's inventions the most recent being the A-Bike a folding bike for city commuters and his latest electric vehicle the Sinclair X-1.

© Arfon Jones 2010. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Monday 29 November 2010

The Jekyll and Hyde Pub, New York

I’ve frequented the Robin Hood in Nottingham and the Sherlock Holmes in London but had to go to New York to drink at the Jekyll and Hyde… The Jekyll and Hyde is a restaurant and social club for explorers and mad scientists located in Greenwich Village and the banner outside drew me in like a moth to the flame. Guests are warned that anything can happen here as they dine as the place offers an interesting mixture of live entertainment and ‘spooky’ special effects. My brother and I nipped in for a ‘quick’ drink last year on our way back from visiting the Ghostbusters headquarters. As it was pre-lunchtime it was fairly quiet and laid back in there and sitting by a bar that came to life every ten minutes or so while the television looped classic horror movie trailers was brilliant.
The only ‘scary’ moment (for me) was an awkward conversation with a man playing a butler that mingled with visitors, full credit to him and his performance but to be perfectly honest I’ve never been terribly good at ‘interacting’ with actors in character be they Henry Hound, Daleks or Butlers! But once that moment was over with my curiosity got the better of me and I had a wander round. The walls were filled with artefacts supposedly collected from around the globe that would also spring to life but as previously mentioned this was during the morning so there wasn’t much life in them at this time. BUT I did enjoy looking round though and took some photos as I went along.  Hope to go back there someday.

© Arfon Jones 2010. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Saturday 20 November 2010

How to Survive A Zombie Apocalypse In Wales

I had been waiting months for this evening! The How to Survive A Zombie Apocalypse cast was coming to Harlech to present a seminar in zombie survival! I discovered this cult show online last year and followed their work with great interest since, listening to their weekly podcast series and reading the latest news and reviews on their facebook page. But tonight I was finally going to experience the fringe sell out show for myself!

So it was off to Harlech once again. As we made our way towards the theatre I wondered if the building would meet the requirements needed in a zombie invasion. After collecting our tickets, we sat in the lobby to wait for ‘curtain up’ only to be greeted by Donald (David Ash) the HTSAZA survival expert who informed us that being a seminar we needed name stickers. Having attended various forms of seminars over the years it was refreshing to attend one tackling a subject that was of interest to me we stuck the name badges on and made our way to our seats. Dr Dale Seslick (Ben Muir), a leading expert in zombology and HTSAZA founder walked up to the podium and gave a brief introduction to what the seminars were about, Namely survival! The audience didn’t quite know what to expect! He introduced us to the rest of the HTSAZA team science expert Dr Judy O'Dea (Jess Napthine) Dr Dale’s nephew Tristen Granger (Lee Cooper). Having recently been invited to capture the good Dr's likeness for the official web site it was strange to see him ‘in the flesh’ taking questions from the audience.
Having delivered several survival pointers and tips, ranging from the importance of dancing skills during a zombie apocalypse to avoiding vegetarians, it was time for a short break. We remained in our seats and reflected on what we had learnt and as we finished off a bag of M&M’s it was great listening to other audience members discussing zombie movies and questioning if zombies could run.
The second half was excellent, the audience had warmed to the team and were happy to play along with the survival scenario. If a wrong answer was given it cost you your life and so you had to remove your name badge, the audience number was whittled down to 2 survivors, which was a rather good score by all accounts. After the show the crew met the audience in the lobby to sign autographs and pose for photographs I was also able to pick up a signed copy of ‘Dr Dale's Zombie Dictionary: The A-Z Guide to Staying Alive’. We had a fantastic night, it was well worth the wait! It was improvisational comedy at its finest, with its well-acted endearing characters and hilarious slant on a situation familiar to many tackling a topic we have all thought about at some point! Well, I know I have…

This was the last stop of their 2010 tour but check out the offical site for 2011 tour dates!
© Arfon Jones 2010. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Frankophilia! Exhibition: Opening Night

Last night was the opening night of Frankophilia! An exhibition celebrating the life and times of Frank Sidebottom and his creator Chris Sievey. Suzanne Smith Curator the Chapman Gallery at Salford University was inspired to create the show after seeing the creative ways that fans paid tribute after his sad passing in June.

I submitted two pieces for the show, ‘Alas poor Little Frank’painted back in 2006 inspired by Lord Ronald Sutherland Gower’s statue of Hamlet in Stratford-upon-Avon. (A piece he not only signed for me but he also compared it to the works of an old master!)

The Indestructible Frank Sidebottom' Frank made no secret of his passion for the works of Gerry Anderson so, in this piece Frank is depicted in a precarious situation reminiscent of the classic Ron Embleton paintings seen at the end credits of Captain Scarlet. Both pieces framed in ‘antique’ puppet pal cherub frames.

On arrival we were greeted by an array of touching tributes. Frank’s likeness beamed back at us from every angle ranging from plasticine models to scarecrows. His trademark big blue eyes realised in every medium. Everybody seemed to be enjoying the exhibition, taking photos and chuckling as they made their way around the room. I was honoured to be a part of this exhibition and thank Suzanne for inviting me to participate, and I congratulate everyone involved! I’m sure he would have loved it!

Frankophilia!, runs until December 18 at The Chapman Gallery at Salford University Wednesday to Saturday between 12pm and 5pm.

Sunday 7 November 2010

From the Vaults: 1999 ‘Quest for the Celtic Chalice’

In 1999 I was commissioned by the Daily Post to illustrate the ‘Afanc’ a lake monster from Welsh mythology for their ‘Quest for the Celtic Chalice’ treasure hunt competition. The paper offered readers the chance to win a Rauni Higson jewel encrusted silver chalice worth a thousand pounds by solving the clues provided by the paper each day. Being Welsh, born and bred I was fascinated with Welsh mythology and the Mabinogion (medieval Welsh manuscripts) I knew about the Afanc and loved to draw monsters so I relished the idea of illustrating it. More often described as either a crocodile or a giant beaver it was said that the creature would attack and devour anyone who entered Llyn Ffynnon Las. Granted free-reign in its design I decided to base the creature on a Pike and to my delighted he not only featured in the competition’s centre spread he also made the front page!

© Arfon Jones 2010. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Thursday 4 November 2010

Frankophilia! In the media

The Frankophilia! Exhibition is attracting a lot of interest!
Along with a great article by Simon Poole of the City Lifers blog it has also made the BBC Manchester news site

The Manchester Evening News


The Natter

17 November - 18 December 2010 (Wed-Sat, 12-5)
For further information about 'Frankophilia!' contact Suzanne Smith at the Chapman Gallery, Chapman Building, University of Salford, M5 4NT or by emailing


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