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Friday, 12 March 2021

The World In A Selfie By Marco D'eramo - An Enquiry into the Tourist Age - Book Review

 The World In A Selfie

An Inquiry into the Tourist Age

By Marco D'ramo Published in English in 2021

Press Release

We were all tourists at some point in our lives. So, why did we look down on people taking selfies in front of the Tower of Pisa? What licensed our condescension? Was there really much to distinguish the package holiday from hipster city-breaks to Berlin or Brooklyn? Why did we invest so much in an activity we professed to despise? 

The World in a Selfie offers a spirited critique of the cultural politics of a tourist age that, at least for a while, has come to an end with the pandemic. Marco d’Eramo investigates what might happen if that virus-inspired pause proves permanent. Tourism is not just the most important industry of our century, generating huge waves of people and capital, calling forth a dedicated infrastructure, and upsetting and repurposing the architecture and topography of our cities. It also encapsulates the problem of modernity: the search for authenticity in a world of ersatz pleasures. 

D’Eramo retraces the grand tours of the first globetrotters – from Francis Bacon and Samuel Johnson to Arthur de Gobineau and Mark Twain – before assessing the cultural meaning of the beach holiday, the ‘UNESCO-cide’ of major heritage sites, and the impossibility of tourism during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Will the industry recover from the coronavirus lockdowns or has self-isolation taken away our wanderlust – not to mention the earnings to pay for it? The impact of an end to tourism will be immense but, as d’Eramo suggests, may also be liberating.

About the Author

Marco D’Eramo is an Italian journalist and social theorist. He worked at the newspaper il manifesto for over thirty years. He writes for New Left Review, MicroMega and the Berlin daily Die Tageszeitung. His books include The Pig and the Skyscraper, which has been translated into several languages.

My Review:

I really didn't know what to expect when I received this book to review. It's definitely opened my eyes to just what damage tourism can do. I had no idea how the ski slopes, which are for fun and obviously professional sport, are causing untold problems to the ground beneath. I don't think people realise that everywhere now is becoming a tourist attraction and somewhere to escape to.

I suggest everybody reads this book especially now after all of the lockdowns we've had due to the Covid Pandemic, and that they take stock and appreciate what they've got at home, and not to go flying round the world to sit on a beach as a way of escape. I hope they think of the damage to the environment that's caused, decide not to add to it, enjoy what they have nearer home and at the same time treat all destinations as the precious places they are. 

Ellen Dean Recommends

Thursday, 21 January 2021

That's Sew Belle Handmade Clothing

 That's Sew Belle

Let me introduce you to That's Sew Belle handmade clothing by showing you some of their amazing products. All handmade. 

From their Facebook page: At That's Sew Belle we aim to provide quality custom clothing and accessories for children that are long lasting and will grow your child.

Ellen Dean definitely recommends

Thursday, 14 January 2021

The Curse Of Mary Ann Cotton by E. P. Kelly - Book Review


The Curse of Mary Ann Cotton

Synopsis from back of the book:

In October 1872, Mary Ann Cotton was arrested for poisoning her Stepson, Charles Edward Cotton, at their home in West Auckland County Durham England. The truth only came to light once Mrs Cotton tried to put her stepson into the local workhouse and was told that she would need to go in too. She told the villagers “of course, he will never be able to get up; he will go like the rest of the Cotton family”. A few days later the child was dead. This raised concern with the locals and the local doctor and the bodies of some of the victims were exhumed. Once tests were carried out on the organs, traces of arsenic were found and Mary Ann was arrested on suspicion of murder. Once the police started to look into Mary Ann’s past, it is believed that she murdered 3 of her 4 husbands, 11 of her children, and a lodger. All of this was by arsenic poisoning and to collect insurance money from each victim. Mary Ann Cotton was hung at Durham Prison in March 1873.In Mary Ann’s last residence, on front street in West Auckland, strange things were happening to the tenants that lived there. An angry spirit seemed to reside on the top floor, a boy was seen on many occasions and people were being scratched.A team of local paranormal investigators were invited along to see if they could discover what was happening within the home. It was a night that they will never forget, but that was only the beginning of a roller coaster journey that has lasted for 4 years.This is the story of what happened on that ghostly night and what has happened since.

About The Author:

E. P. Kelly (Elaine) has, with her group Spectre Detectors, been investigating the paranormal for over nine years in the north east of England, and London. They have videos I recommend you watch on YouTube  

My review:

I have had an interest in Mary Ann Cotton's case for some years now. As children we had all heard the story along with a song made up about what happened. This book isn't about the story as such, it's about a paranormal investigation by a group of spiritual detectives who talk to the spirits of people Mary Ann was alleged to have murdered. I have researched evidence of the alleged murders by Mary Ann Cotton and, if it was presented to court today, it would be thrown out. The book is advertised as For Entertainment Purposes.

I enjoyed reading the book but had to keep going back and forth to ascertain who was doing the talking i.e. spirits or the spectre detectors as there were so many names to contend with. I believe there is another world where spirits reside and I believe we get messages from the spirit world. I also have to wonder if the spirits, over the years, heard residents in the said house talking about Mary Ann (what she allegedly did) and thought the stories were true so passed this information on to the spectre detectors. Who knows?

Shown below is a copy of the actual death certificate of Charles Edward Cotton one of her children she was supposed to have murdered with arsenic poisoning. But, the whole house, utensils and contents, were forensically analysed and no traces of arsenic were found. The teapot, possibly belonging to Mary Ann, which is in Beamish Museum will not be analysed for arsenic (according to the museum) because they are not sure if it is Marry Ann's teapot. 

We also have to remember Mary Ann has living descendants who are constantly bombarded with theories about her. Because of this I think it would be an idea to open a cold case investigation and then we will really know what happened. It can be done.

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