Water or Savannah Apes? Where did humans evolve from?

Water or Savannah Apes? Where did humans evolve from?

As you can imagine the debate is getting heated. After Attenborough did his programme on humans evolving from marine apes the conservative human evolution establishment is up in arms. They do not like their current theory being challenged.

Human beings evolved from apes in the Rift Valley area of Africa about two million years ago. Not many, apart from the flat-eithers and creationists, are disputing that. We have the fossil evidence.

It is widely believed that we became bipedal on the African savannah in order to hunt and hold tools. The development of intelligence, along with binocular sight and the opposable thumb, necessary for tool manipulation, is well documented.

What David suggested was that we did not become biped on the savannah for hunting but developed this from wading in water to live off molluscs.

So what is the evidence for our aquatic past?

a. Evidence that primitive man ate a lot of bivalves

b. We have blubber (a thick layer of fat under the skin)

c. Babies are born with an immersion syndrome. They naturally hold their breath and can swim under water.

d. We have a physiological change when immersed. Our peripheral blood system shuts down and there are changes in metabolism and brain activity.

e. The hair deposition is of an aquatic animal.

f. We have an affinity for water. We love it.

It is an interesting idea. I look forward to seeing where it goes.

Paul Lamb and the Kingsnakes – Whitby Blues Festival – Photos

Paul Lamb and the Kingsnakes – Whitby Blues Festival – Photos

What a great band. They gave a storming performance. It had everything. Had a chat on the way out – really nice friendly guy too.

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Kyla Brox – Whitby Blues Festival – Photos

Kyla Brox – Whitby Blues Festival – Photos

Kyla has a great Blues voice in the tradition of Big Maybelle. With her husband on accompaniment she did a great set. She’s quite a lade. I like her best on her rocking numbers like ‘Rock Me Baby’.

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Margaret Atwood in York! New book Hagseed! One of the world’s greatest writers!

Margaret Atwood in York! New book Hagseed! One of the world’s greatest writers!

Well I had quite a literary day yesterday and this morning. I went to see Margaret Atwood talk about her new book Hagseed (a reworking of the Tempest – she calls it a reimagining.).

I don’t write this as a review so much as an homage.

I rate Margaret as one of the greatest living writers (along with the likes of Iain McEwan, Haruki Murakami, Salman Rushdie and Kasuo Ishiguro) so it was a rare opportunity to see and hear a living legend.

She talked about the new book and the themes that were in it and urged us to watch the Helen Mirren film of the Tempest before reading the book – which I shall do.

She talked briefly about The Handmaid’s Tale and the way fundamentalists only want to ban the things people want to do. In this age of religious madness (hopefully its death-throes) I think it should be compulsory reading – if only to see the misogyny in religion.

She also talked about the death of the oceans, from which between 60% and 80% of all the world’s oxygen is made, and that the rich were probably at this minute constructing their underground homes with oxygen making facilities and looking forward to being rid of us all. (There’s a book in that!).

I shall watch the film and then read the book. It was a pleasure seeing a living legend.


The graphics before the show were great. The words from Hagseed were used as figures walked through them or they squiggled about. p1140538 p1140540 p1140541 p1140542

Margaret was lucid and delightful.

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Loudon Wainwright with Chaim Tannenbaum at York Barbican – photos

Loudon Wainwright with Chaim Tannenbaum at York Barbican

Loudon has a long history of working with Chaim that goes right back to the early 1970s and Kate McGarrigle. Chaim played on Loudon’s Grammy winning album – The Charlie Poole Project – which I love. They only played one track from that album – which is a shame – I would have liked to have heard more.

The duo worked well together – not just musically – there was a lot of humour and appreciation between them. The repartee and theatrics was very good. I’d like to see a lot more of them.

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The Gansey Girl – Bridlington Sculpture

The Gansey Girl – Bridlington Sculpture

The Gansey Girl is a sculpture by Steve Carvill. It is situated on the pier at Bridlington. It depicts a girl sitting there knitting while she waits for her man to come back from fishing.


Gansey sweaters were knitted by the wives for their husbands. It is an East Riding corruption of Guernsey. A Gansey was normally knitted in blue and white in distinctive patterns. They served two purposes. Firstly they kept the men warm on their long fishing trips out into the frigid North Sea. Secondly they helped identify them when their bodies were washed up. After time in the water the jumper was the only identifying feature.


Fishing was one of those working class trades that was exciting, well paid, hard and exceedingly dangerous. It has largely gone now and has been industrialised, mechanised and taken over by the huge fishing companies.

I think the sculpture captures the emotions of the girl as she patiently waits for her man to return and knits him a new sweater – a Gansey Sweater.

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Rolling Stones Exhibition – Saatchi Galleries London

Rolling Stones Exhibition – Saatchi Galleries London

Just back from London and the Rolling Stones Exhibition at the Saatchi Studios. What a great exhibition that set out the whole story of the Stones (rather airbrushing Brian Jones and Ian Stewart though).

This was a brilliant exhibition with some great ideas. The photos, diaries, information, costumes, videos, artwork, design, split-screen story, quotes and a 3D concert extract. Pretty much had it all apart from the Stones themselves.

It took two hours to go round and absorb and captured the excitement and evolution of the group. Came out zinging and wanting to put on a bit of that iconic music.

Recommend it.

P1120507 (2) P1120508 (2) P1120511 (2) P1120522 (2) P1120523 (2)P1120521 (2) P1120513 (2) P1120509 (2) A mock up of their flat from 1963

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Roy Harper – Edinburgh Usher Hall – Photos – in case you get fretful.

Roy Harper – Edinburgh Usher Hall – Photos – in case you get fretful.

Well I’m still zinging from seeing Roy perform with such brilliance after a three year enforced lay-off. He has lost none of his voice or power and the song arrangements were superb.

I hope he is back home with renewed energy and enthusiasm for a new album and another great tour.

In case you, like me, are fretful – here’s a few photos:p1140077 p1140082 p1140083 p1140084 p1140088 p1140112 p1140095

Photography – The Dales – Pt3

Photography – The Dales – Pt3

We started going uphill a bit.

If you click on the pictures they blow up into much better shots.

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The mother might be a bit confused about her offspring. p1120775 p1120776

I don’t think these were standing stones – probably gateposts from a long gone wall


Ingleborough caves

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It was quite desolate and we hardly saw anyone. There was a bleak beauty to it.

We wondered what it would have looked like long ago. Probably the natural climax is trees. We thought it wouldn’t have looked as beautiful. But then it would have been teeming with life – insects, birds, mice, rabbits, boar, wolves and bears. We only see the tiny rump of what once was thriving here. The volcanoes, ice and erosion  created the basis – We merely destroyed the rick tapestry of life that lived on it.p1120791 p1120797 p1120801

Photography – The Dales Pt. 10 – Salmon skies & home for a pint.

Photography – The Dales Pt. 10 – Salmon skies & home for a pint.

We turned for home. The sky was brilliant with those salmon cloud effects. I was very taken.

You really do need to click on the photo to get the full effect.

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Somewhere out there was where my Nanny was born. She died in her fifties when I was fourteen but I remember her well. She was a big jolly lady – full of fun. I wished I had known her as a flighty young girl. She was full of life and rebelliousness. I think I’ve got a bit of her in me.