Tagged: England

Dame of the Day: Ada Lovelace

ada lovelace

Today’s Dame of the Day is Ada Lovelace (December 10, 1815-November 27, 1852). While her mother disapproved of her interest in mathematics, Lovelace defied her wishes and continued to explore the subject. As a colleague and contemporary of Charles Babbage, Lovelace created the first algorithm to be used by a machine. She frequently checked Babbage’s work, making her the first debugger in the nascent digital world.

Dame of the Day: Juliana Buhring

Juliana Buhring


Today’s Dame of the Day is Juliana Buhring (June 2, 1981-). After growing up in a cult in the English countryside, Buhring escaped and took up long distance cycling. In 2012, she set the record for the Fastest Woman to Circumnavigate the Globe by Bike; Buhring traveled 18,000 miles over the course of 152 days. Buhring is frequently the sole female competitor in races and she is widely considered one of the best long distance cyclists in the world.

Remembering Amy Winehouse

July 21st marks the four year anniversary of singer Amy Winehouse’s death, and I plan to spend the day watching Asif Kapadia’s new documentary, Amy: The Girl Behind the NameNormally, I’m critical of biopics; I still haven’t watched Whitney in spite of its favorable reviews. Particularly in instances of drug and alcohol abuse, it’s easy for directors to portray the subject as a train wreck instead of a person. But from what I’ve read, Kapadia goes beyond the tattoos and the beehive to highlight her wit and talent. While her family is less than pleased with the result (they argue that the film portrays them as doing little to intervene and help Amy), I’m interested in seeing this other side of her. Clearly, other people are, too: the documentary’s opening weekend in the UK broke attendance records.

Here’s a clip from the film and the original trailer from the film.

Dame of the Day: Shappi Khorsandi

Shappi Khorsandi

Today’s Dame of the Day is Shappi Khorsandi (June 8, 1973-). Born in Iran, Khorsandi and her family were forced to flee to Britain during the Islamic Revolution. She chronicled how the move impacted her family and childhood in her book, A Beginner’s Guide to Acting English. Khorsandi continues to tour throughout Britain and internationally.

Dame of the Day: Constance Markievicz

Constance Markievicz

Today’s Dame of the Day is Constance Markievicz (February 4, 1868 – July 15, 1927). While she married a Polish count, Markievicz identified with her Irish roots and took an active role in the fight for Irish independence. She taught young scouts how to bear arms, commanded troops in St. Stephen’s Green during the Easter Uprising and, after the British army captured her, served time in Kilmainham Gaol. Following the formation of the Republic, she became one of the first women in the world to hold a cabinet position as the Minister of Labor.

Little Simz: Time Capsule

Certain rappers have voices so distinctive that you can pick them out in the first four bars. The Tribe track “Busta’s Lament” is a great example of this phenomenon; instantly, Busta makes his presence known by rhythmically repeating the word “yo.” Nicki Minaj has a similar effect; from the first syllable of the verse, it’s clear that Ms. Minaj is on the track. Certain voices assert their presences and grab the listener’s attention from the get-go.

Little Simz

Photo courtesy of Little Simz

Islington rapper Little Simz’s flow had a similar effect on me the other day. While I first listened to “The Square,” I feel her new release, “Time Capsule,” best highlights her strengths. From the first sixteen bars, the 20 year-old bursts onto the track with a surge of confidence.

They put me down as the one to watch/
Haters put me down as the one to stop/
I can’t even lie, tick all of the boxes/
Still I’m thinking outside the box.

The track oscillates between Simz declaring her dominance over other rappers and reassuring a younger self that the challenges she will face will eventually lead to greatness. This back and forth is not surprising; her other recordings range in subject matter from calling out the music industry to procrastinating on homework assignments while watching Breaking Bad. I’m certainly not the only one who’s impressed by Little Simz’s lyrical abilities. In this typically male-dominated industry, Little Simz was one of three women on Complex Magazine’s 25 rappers to watch list, so she has no choice but to bring her A-game. While the American hip hop market can be rather unforgiving, I hope that Little Simz will make a space for herself at the table.

Dame of the Day: Nicola Adams

Nicola Adams

Today’s Dame of the Day is Nicola Adams (October 26, 1982-). Adams started boxing at age 13 and worked the English circuit while financing her career as a builder and a soap opera extra. The ICC supported funding for women’s boxing in 2009, so Adams began fighting every chance she could. With the inclusion of women’s boxing at the 2012 Olympics, Adams became the first woman and first openly LGBT person to win a gold medal for boxing.

Dame of the Day: Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Franklin

Today’s Dame of the Day is Rosalind Franklin (July 25, 1920 – April 16, 1958). Franklin’s use of X-ray diffraction images discovered the structures of coal, graphite, viruses and RNA. While Watson and Crick are often credited for the discovery of DNA’s double helix,  Franklin independently mapped the structure and her findings informed the team’s research. She also delved deeper into the structures of tobacco mosaic and polio viruses before succumbing to ovarian cancer at age 37.

Cecile Emeke: “Strolling” Series, Episode 8

Tumblr is an amazing tool for connecting with creative folks, and Cecile Emeke is currently one of my faves. Her “Strolling” series follows each subject on a jaunt through the streets of London and engages them in casual conversation about crucial issues. This most recent episode discusses the pill, mental health, anxiety, depression, the dreaded “where are you from?” question, healthy eating, and books; it’s a lot to pack in to 15 minutes, but Emeke succeeds with ease. Check out the latest installment and cruise through the archives to catch up on the earlier releases.

Schoolin’ Life: Kerry Warwick

Today’s Schoolin’ Life interview comes from D-Duff’s cousin, Kerry Warwick.
Kerry Warwick
Give us a quick bio: who are you, what are you into, and how do you spend your days?
My name is Kerry Warwick, formerly Callaghan. I am a primary school teacher, which I love. I live in a gorgeous part of the English countryside with my husband, Hugh, and my cat, Eddie. I love to swim, particularly outdoors, so I spend time looking for tempting lakes and I love the sea. I like old martial arts films and I love to sing.
When you were in your 20s…
What expectations did you have for yourself over the coming decade?
I don’t think I really had any expectations for myself when I was in my 20s. I spent my time trying out different things and working out what was going to be right for me by failing at some things and succeeding at others. I think you try to spend a lot of time in your 20s doing things that you think will make others happy, so your actions are more linked with other people’s expectations rather than your own. I did expect to have a good time, though!
In what ways did society shape your expectations of yourself?
As written above, I think a lot of the decisions you make in late teens and 20s are a reaction to what you think those around you want or would approve of. Your parents’, teachers’, boyfriends’, friends’, colleagues’ opinions all seem so important and you can try and second-guess them and do things the way you think will make them happy. This method often doesn’t work and I think as you get older you become more sure of what you want, your views and where you want to be. In the end, you realize that making decisions can only come from you. The people around you will either congratulate you and jump on board, or learn to deal with it.
Short answer: society can entirely shape your expectations and the path you take if you let the views of others shout louder than yours.
What was your first job like?
My first job was an office job which kept me inside all day. I had to sell advertising space in magazines I wasn’t interested in. I took the job because I didn’t know what I wanted to do; it was close to home and I had to pay the rent. I hated it!
What was your first apartment like?
When I left university, I moved in with my (now) husband. We had no money. We lived in a tiny flat above a very noisy pub with a great couple from the Czech Republic. We had a great time!
Did you experience any big life changes?
I moved to different parts of the country 3 times, which seemed pretty life-changing at the time. I went to South America for 3 months which was an awesome experience, although someday I’d like to go back and take my time a little more. I decided I wanted to be a teacher, quit work and went back to university. I got engaged. I got married. Standard things when you are growing up, but everything you do is life changing, I think.
In what ways did your friendships change?
I realized during my late 20s who I could depend upon if I really needed someone. I learnt to identify who was a good friend for a boozy night out, who was a good person to call if I needed a laugh, and who would be there no matter what. I became more confident in who my true friends are. I began to spend more time looking after my relationships and have some real friends for life.
What did you learn through your romantic relationships?
Never try and be something different for someone. Always be honest. Be with someone who makes you laugh, who makes you feel special, who loves you just the way you are. Love isn’t possessive or jealous. Happiness is key.
How did your relationships with your family change?
I went from desperately trying to please my parents to knowing that I’m doing a good job; I was doing my best, knowing that they would support me no matter what I did. Sometimes relationships with parents can feel like a battle of wills when you are younger. Often you just need time to party, travel, date unsuitable boys, etc., before you can get to the parent-pleasing stage. Now I have a great relationship with my folks. We are much more like equals. There is much more respect and less resistance from my side!
How do you feel society viewed you?
I thought everyone was judging me, everything I did seemed to matter: what I wore, what I said, what I did for a living.
In actual fact, I’m sure society in general thought, “There’s just another girl trying to find her place.”
How do you feel you changed emotionally?
Now that I’m older, I am much more resilient. I worry less about what others think. I realize that people sometimes say stupid things and don’t think about how it will affect others. I wear my heart on my sleeve less.
How did you change intellectually?
When you go to uni or school, you absorb so much information and never really know what to do with it. When you start work and living in the real world, all of the info changes into skills. I’m much more practically intelligent these days.
In what ways do you feel your identity changed?
I don’t feel like my identity changed, but I became aware of who I was and what I wanted to be.
How did your worldview change over the course of the decade?
I developed much a clearer, objective world view. In my early twenties, I was quite introspective and self-centered. It was harder to put yourself in someone else’s shoes because you weren’t comfortable in your own. Now I can empathise more, reason more and understand different viewpoints.
What was the most embarrassing moment?
I once tried to chat up a guy with marmite smeared up the side of my face.
What was your biggest disappointment and how did that affect you later?
I was disappointed that I applied to university courses thinking my school grades would be bad. When my grades came back, they were great. I should have not gone to university that year and applied for a more challenging course. Though I think I would probably still have ended up in the same career!
Who was your biggest influence and why?
Probably my sister. She has always worked hard, been successful and encouraged me. She has been the one constant friend, confidant and critic throughout my life.
Is there any one experience that you feel defined the decade? Or one historical moment that changed you?
I think my decade was defined by all of the tiny, funny, scary, embarrassing, heartbreaking moments. It’s hard to pick just one.
Do you have any regrets? Are there things you wish you’d done, hadn’t done, or done differently?
No regrets. Try and do everything you get the opportunity to do. (Within reason!)
Pass it on: who else do you know that would make a good interview candidate?
Hannah Shackley.