Twenty million people, most of them bad drivers, whizzing around a smoggy city a mile above sea level: Mexico City doesn't seem like the ideal place to navigate by bike. Before I moved here a few months ago, I almost put my Bianchi into storage. But I packed it at the last minute, and thank goodness. Mexico's sprawling capital is one of the most bike-friendly cities I've been to. It beat London to the bike-hire business with the launch of its Ecobici scheme in February. And it's still ahead in two other areas, which cities in Britain could and should copy.
In recent years, almost unremarked, a new confidence has crept into how the British use public space. As George Monbiot argued in these pages recently, and as Owen Hatherley shows in his forthcoming book on the built environment created by New Labour – A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain – this is a country ever more dominated by roads, shopping malls and other uncivic private developments. Public space, in much of the media at least, means CCTV, windswept pavements and 24-hour drinking.
A Dutch designer says resurrecting the microcar is the key to reducing congestion and maximizing efficiency.
Ralph Panhuysen, whose Space Efficient Vehicle (SEV) seats three in a sideways V formation and parks two abreast like shoes in a shoebox, dreams of a world in which small, lightweight cars sip fuel and travel two-abreast in a single lane.
Nominations have opened for this year’s Manchester Blog Awards. I’ve put Spinneyhead forward for everything except Best New Blog. It’s been around since 2001, I can’t really claim it’s new.
That I can legitimately put my blog forward for all but one of the categories is a sign of the strength of Spinneyhead. It’s also the reason I probably won’t win anything or even make it onto any of the shortlists. This is a personal blog, in that it reflects what I’m doing and the subjects which fascinate me at any given time, though it’s not of the confessional type you’d normally associate with the genre. It’s a city blog because I go out and explore bits of Manchester and come back with pictures and commentary, but I do that everywhere I go so it’s not exclusively Mancunian. It’s a vehicle for my writing, with the longer prose pieces being fiction, but there are a lot of short link filled posts. And it covers art and culture, even if that culture is almost entirely low brow. However, Spinneyhead isn’t exclusively dedicated to any of these areas, so it won’t sit right in any of the categories. Such is life.
I’ll admit that I’m a little sad that the eclectic nature of Spinneyhead means it doesn’t really stand a chance in the awards. It’s a bit like hoping a mongrel will even be let through the door at Crufts. Nonetheless, I love my mongrel, and it’s thriving far better than any of the pedigree single theme blogs I’ve tried to maintain over the years.
I was a big fan of earlier Gran Turismo releases. But I don’t own a PlayStation 3, and I’m not sure I know anyone who does. Maybe when I’m rich I’ll have one, and a big television to go with it, just to play the latest version of “The real driving simulator”, which is due for release in November.
Slightly screwed up my trailer post this week. Here are a load I didn’t get to before the posting deadline.
Bonded by Blood.
Night of the Demons.
Drew: The Man Behind The trailer.
Machete Maidens Unleashed.
Dylan Dog: Dead of Night.
My Soul To Take.
Juan of the Dead.