Volcano Club

Volcano Club only offers one type of membership - and that's lifetime. To become a member send some volcanic themed work to the HQ (volcanoclubhq@gmail.com) and you might get a codename or some other cool shit.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

If anything will ever make you want to go anywhere

I've just watched this programme Julia Bradbury's Icelandic Walk where she walks up to Eyjafjallajokull and sees lots of beautiful volcanic landscape, hot springs, sulphur vents, nice huts and lovely Icelandic people with jumpers. I really enjoyed the simple explanations of geology which are made easier to understand by seeing the stunning effects they have on the landscape. Another thing that was significant was the recentness of the landscape which means it is quite barren so this not only fascinating from a geological point of view but also a biological one as you will actually be able to see the vegetation and life forming. I just think I'm going to have live in Iceland, be a hut warden and paint volcanoes every day, going to Sweden should bring me a step closer. The lunar like landscape slightly reminded me of the Outer Hebrides which have a similar barren bleakness, geographically they are fairly close too I suppose. I also watched this video which has a nice culinary slant on the guardian website. It's really great for me to see so much about Eyjafjallokull as its eruption was really what restarted the Volcano Club and while I do love all volcanoes, there is something really magical about Iceland; maybe it is the new landscape, the contrast of fire and ice or just the fact that it's like no where else in the world. If you're not an Icelandophile (it's a real term) then here are some more pretty pictures of volcanoes, having said this if you're not an Icelandophile you really need to look at your life. I just did a Google image search for Iceland and literally every picture was amazing so I just picked the first one.

Now I have to find a costume for Fake Christmas- which is tomorrow incase you were unaware, I can dress up as anyone from history, ever. Which is a harder theme than you may think. 

Monday, 12 December 2011

Happy Volcano Listening.

For a while now I've been mentally compiling a volcano play list (and slightly on this blog) and I aim to do a pop culture zine special soon. The main reason I haven't is cos my friend Alice said she'd write me a volcano song and I am currently too wrapped up in guilt for not contacting her in ages to ask her about said song. So Alice if you're reading this then writing you a letter is lit on my to do list- well it will be as soon as I can find a pen. But anyway I recently got notified to some new volcano music by a friend Rob. Firstly here is a pretty picture of a volcano record he bought (records with pictures of volcanoes on is a whole new field that my mind had never considered before but I'm pretty sure I don't have any).


Then we have a band called Volcanos with (It's Against) The Laws of Love, which is a lovely little song.

This has reminded of another band called Volcano who are a punk/country supergroup! Formed by one of the Meat Puppets, I haven't listened to this song yet because I'm listening to the radio now, its Josie Long's show and I need to pay attention so I can convince her that we should be best friends one day. But anyway it must be a good song as the band, album and song are all called volcano.


Finally the Bjork volcano song cos I don't think I've posted it here yet, even if I have, you can never have too much Bjork. 

Feel free to post more volcanic music below. 

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Volcano Quiz!

If like me the cold and dark days are getting you down and all you want to do is play online quizzes, then this website is for you. Although I should say that is what I want to do about 80% of the time anyway. But anyway here is a little a NatGeo volcano quiz there are also lots of other fun things on the website especially if you are a child, if not its still pretty great. http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/games/puzzlesquizzes/quizyournoodle-volcanoes/
I got 100% so no pressure.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Volcano of the Week #23 - Santa Maria

This is the decade volcano that I don't know much about and therefore decided to feature as the next volcano of the week whenever I could be bothered to write it, that time is now. The volcano is in Guatemala in the Sierra Madre range, which is featured in the excellent film 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre' starring Humphrey Bogart. For obvious reasons I get the 'Treasure of the Sierra Madre' confused with 'High Sierra' but 'High Sierra' is the one with Ida Lupino and the dog and the 'Treasure of the Sierra Madre' is the one with gold, hope that clears things up. That's probably enough about Humphrey Bogart films so back to the volcano, Santa Maria was responsible for a massive eruption (VEI= 6) in 1902, making it one of the 4 largest eruptions of the 20th century. Before this eruption the volcano had been dormant for around 500 years and the eruption was preceeded by an earthquake in April that year. The eruption began on the 24th October and produced around 5.5 cubic km of tephra and was seen in San Francisco. 5,000 were killed as a result of the eruption however a following outbreak of malaria killed many more, wikipedia is unable to tell me if these two things are linked so we will never know.

In 1922 a new lava dome was formed in crater of the eruption 20 years earlier, this has been christened Santiaguito. Santiaguito erupts almost constantly, the summit of Santa Maria is above Santiaguito making exciting eruption viewing opportunities. Santa Maria is a decade volcano which means it is thought to be possible of damaging civilisations, the main threat from the volcano is lahars (mudflows), they are slow moving so more likely to damage buildings than people. The volcano has previously damaged the town of El Palmar in the Quetzaltenango department, so severely that the town has had to be relocated twice a bridge was also destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Stan. The origin site of the town is now to be entered at YOUR OWN RISK but I suppose that's true of anywhere. It is also close to Guatemala's second largest city Quetzaltenango.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Being volcano-mad was madder than being picture mad

I've just started reading The Volcano Lover by Susan Sontag which is perfect for me as it combines my two great loves- volcanoes and feminism (I'm also gonna talk about plants so this will be shit hot). I've only read a bit of it but it seems to be about a mad old British Ambassador who loves volcanoes, paintings and collecting things and lives by Vesuvius and I imagine that his marriage will suffer due to his obsession. I think that I may find it hard to understand as I find volcano obsession completely normal- I think that being volcano-picture-mad must be the height of madness.

When Pliny described the 79AD eruption of Vesuvius he described the smoke plume as being like an umbrella pine, from this description we get today's term of Plinian eruption.
It was not clear at that distance from which mountain the cloud was rising (it was afterwards known to be Vesuvius); its general appearance can best be expressed as being like an umbrella pine, for it rose to a great height on a sort of trunk and then split off into branches, I imagine because it was thrust upwards by the first blast and then left unsupported as the pressure subsided, or else it was borne down by its own weight so that it spread out and gradually dispersed. Sometimes it looked white, sometimes blotched and dirty, according to the amount of soil and ashes it carried with it. 
It is also mentioned in The Volcano Club when the Ambassador sees an eruption of Vesuvius which has exactly the same umbrella pine appearance. Which you can imagine is a perfect description of a large eruption.

When I've read more of The Volcano Lover I'll write something more comprehensive about it. 

Monday, 14 November 2011

Oh Em Gee

Nyamuragira is erupting which I did hear about the other day, its in the Democratic Republic of Congo and along with Nyiragongo it makes up for 40% of the eruptions in Africa. The eruption which is its biggest in a century has doubled tourism in Democratic Republic of Congo which is a fairly unwelcoming country. It's seems to be a fairly beautiful eruption with lava fountains of up to 300m. Nyamuragira is part of National Park with Mountain Gorillas, elephants and lowland forests so what's not to love maybe the 12 year civil war and the fact that the DRC is one of the worst places to be a woman. Maybe I'll write this in more depth when I can be bothered.

But this photo gallery is pretty, is what inspired the title of this post "Oh Em Gee".

Here's a picture if you're too lazy to click on the link. 

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Decade Volcanoes- Part Two, with added quiz!

Here's the second half of the decade volcanoes post, there may or may not a quiz at the end depending on how I feel (obviously I won't be able to edit this when I've decided). Anyway - less rambling, more volcanoes, that's going to be the title of my autobiography.

9. Sakurajima, Kagoshima, Japan. This volcano erupted violently in 1914 which dramatically changed the islands and the lava flows connected several smaller islands together. It has been erupting pretty consistently since the 50s and is part of a national park which is known for growing a large radish, volcanic soils tend to be for growing stuff in, you can tell I'm a Plant Scientist.

10. Santa Maria, Guatemala. I barely know anything about this volcano yet it was responsible for one of the largest eruptions in the 20th Century, maybe I don't know because it doesn't have a big Wikipedia article. This massive eruption with a VEI of 6 killed around 5,000 and was detected in San Francisco, the volcano is currently erupting. I think that this will have to be my next volcano of the week.

11. Santorini, Greece. Responsible for the decline of the Minoan civilisation, origin of Atlantis, great wine and agriculture, it's a personal favourite.

12. Taal, Luzon, Philippines. There was a massive eruption in 1911 which caused the volcanic island to sink and merged the various lakes of different colours into one large crater lake, which is a shame but it's still pretty.

13. Teide, Tenerife, Canary Islands. I've written about this volcano before so read that if you really want to. The Canary Islands were formed by volcanic activity, like many islands (due to microclimates and speciation) the flora and fauna is unusual and diverse, here there are also volcanic soils so it's really great.

14. Ulawun, New Britain, Papua New Guinea. OMG, this volcano has the shortest Wikipedia entry ever I will have to compensate by writing more about this volcano than any other but I refuse to use any other sources. In the last few years the volcano has been almost constantly active and issues passive steaming which may be part of the reason that volcanoic activity in PNG is one of the largest sources of sulphur dioxide in the world, Ulawun contributes to 2%, obviously using only Wikipedia I can't check this fact out further, but it sounds dubious. The volcano is part of the Bismarck Archipelago, I don't know whether it was discovered by THE Bismarck or is named after the state capital of North Dakota. William Dampier recorded the first eruption in 1700 and lots of people live near the volcano. SEE WIKIPEDIA, IT'S NOT HARD, LOOK AT ALL THAT INFORMATION.

15. Mount Unzen, Kyushu, Japan. Unzen is responsible for Japan's worst ever volcano related disaster when the 1792 collapse of a lava dome created a megatsunami which killed around 15,000 people. In its latest eruptive period 1991-1996 there was large eruption that killed 43.

16. Vesuvius, Italy. Because there's so much say on Vesuvius I won't really bother now especially as I felt the last zine was a bit Vesuvius centric. Oh but in other Vesuvius related news, I did buy Susan Sontag's 'The Volcano Lover' which I'm really excited about reading.

Due to the fact that I'm quite bored and to the lasts post overwhelming response (when I say overwhelming response I mean absolutely no response, I don't do this for the good of my health) I have decided that I will again feature the fun quiz.

So match these pictures of volcanoes to the descriptions above, answers in the comments.


Monday, 7 November 2011

Decade Volcanoes - Part One, with added quiz!

The Decade Volcanoes are 16 volcanoes that are carefully monitored due to their potential for destructive eruptions especially in light of the closeness to civilisation. I have written about them before; a few have been volcano of the week, think I also did a feature in the zine but I can't remember all the crap I put in there. The volcanoes are Avachinsky- Koryaksky, Colima, Mount Etna, Galeras, Mauna Loa, Mount Merapi, Mount Nyiragongo, Mount Rainier, Sakurajima, Santa Maria, Santorini, Taal, Teide, Ulawun, Mount Unzen and Vesuvius. Here is a map, you will have to coordinate which is which from the list below alternatively don't bother. I do think it's interesting that the volcanoes are so well spread out which I suppose reflects the fact that they also have to be of significant menace to humanity. This is probably why Mount Erebus isn't included, that's funny cos it's in Antarctica and I've just remembered that it was on Frozen Planet, they filmed from inside it but I can't really remember as I fell asleep so it could have all been a dream. Now back to the decade volcanoes, pay attention there will be a quiz at the end.

1. Avachinsy- Koryaksky, Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia, These are actually two volcanoes in Siberia which has the highest concentration of volcanoes of anywhere in the world, I always go on about how amazing I think that is so I will resist the temptation to do so now. But they are very pretty volcanoes and erupt quite a lot, an eruption was recorded by John Ledyard on Captain Cooks last voyage.

2. Colima, Jalisco and Colima, Mexico. It's quite neat Guadalajara and has a set of of parasitic domes on the  northeast flank, but I wonder how they can be parasitic because surely they are still part of the volcano I'm not sure if geological features can or should be classed as separate entities but I'm sure it is actually an accepted term (it was on wikipedia after all). It has erupted this year and eruptions often result in the evacuation of homes.

3. Mount Etna, Sicily, Italy. I'm sure everyone knows about Etna you're not idiots.

4. Galeras, Colombia. It's located near Pasto and is Colombia's most active volcano. In 1993 during a volcano conference in Pasto 6 scientists and 3 tourists were killed by an eruption following after an impromptu expedition. Luckily and partly due to this tragedy our skills at predicting eruptions are now much better, although Katla (that Icelandic one) still hasn't erupted or I totally missed it.

5. Mauna Loa, Hawaii, USA. It's the worlds biggest volcano, which if that's not exciting I don't know what is, Hawaii's big island is entirely made up of volcanoes. An ascent of Mauna Loa was attempted by John Ledyard and Captain Cook (they got around) on his third voyage, which was the same one where he got killed by Hawaiians; they had a fight over the harvest festival, I think.

6. Mount Merapi, Java, Indonesia. Merapi had a fairly large eruption (VEI = 4), the death toll was 353, which puts it as the centuries worst eruption, the casualties included the spiritual gatekeeper of the volcano.

7. Mount Nyiragongo, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nyiragongo is on the border with Rwanda and it is currently erupting which has led to the formation of a great lava lake.

8. Mount Rainier, Washington, USA. As it is an icy volcano its eruption would lead to lahars and flooding of the Puyallup River valley however it has not erupted for over 100 years. It has the worlds largest volcanic glacier cave network with 2 miles of tunnels if you want to have a look the easiest ascent is by Disappointment Cleaver.

I have decided that this post is long enough already and even I'm getting bored so I will continue with the rest of the decade volcanoes tomorrow (my definition of tomorrow is loose) but I will still do the quiz otherwise it's just not fair. What you have to do is match the pictures of the volcanoes to the volcano, I'll put the answers in the comments (so it looks like someone has commented and read this).


Thursday, 3 November 2011


Here are the little volcano watercolours that I just got framed, my father will be interested to see they have been mounted. You can also see them in their beautiful surroundings.

Sorry about quality, think I really really need a camera.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Volcano of the Week # 22 - Mount St. Helens

This weeks volcano of the week is mainland's USA most famous volcano, Mount St. Helens, its best known eruption in 1980. It's in Washington (near Vancouver, not to be confused with the Canadian Vancouver) and part of the Cascade Volcanic Arc which starts in Alaska and through Canada and back down into the USA. I do find it annoying how it's American then not and then is again (incidentally America and Not America is how many Americans think the world is divided). It's a pretty volcano and known as the Mount Fuji of America due to dominance over the landscape, however after the 1980 eruption much of the volcano was destroyed and it has become less pretty and Fuji-like. Compared to other cascade volcanoes it is very active and young so the Justin Bieber of volcanoes if you will (is it worrying that he was the first young person I could think of?) As the 1980 eruption is the most famous and probably the most culturally important I will mainly write about that, I will however run through the other eruptive stages as some of them have great names. First we have Ape Canyon (40,000-35,000 years ago); then Cougar (20,000-18,000 years ago); followed by Swift Creek (13,000- 8,000 years ago). The period after those is Spirit Lake which is further divided into Smith Creek, Pine Creek, Castle Creek and Sugar Bowl, then 700 years dormancy was broken by the Kalama period in 1480, the Goat Rocks period lasted from 1800-1857.

 Pre eruption
During eruption

On 18th May 1980, Mount St Helens erupted with a VEI of 5, it was mainland USA largest eruption for 100 years. Prior to this climatic eruption there had been smaller less violent eruptions and earthquakes for a couple of months and there had been a zone of exclusion around the volcano. Due to the forewarning of the eruption it is one of the best photographed eruptions in history, this also helped to limit the fatalities however there were 57 in total. Among these was Harry Randall Truman, as well as the president he also shares a name with the fantastic character from Twin Peaks, who refused to leave Mount St. Helens lodge where he was a caretaker despite the numerous warnings. He became a minor celebrity, gave interviews and received fan letters throughout this time and is thought to have died with his 16 cats but friends and family said he would have wanted to die with the lake and mountain and couldn't have lived without them as he knew them. The eruption caused the north face of the volcano was destroyed which changed its shape dramatically, Spirit Lake which lies next to the volcano is significantly smaller and shallower after the eruption. After the eruption the area was preserved as a National Monument by Ronald Reagan, Mount St Helens last erupted in 2008.

From Portland

Monday, 24 October 2011

Finally, a good film called Volcano

I am aware of the 1997 film starring Tommy Lee Jones however I am wary of watching it as it looks appalling and I fear it may reduce my love of volcanoes ever so slightly (which may not be a bad thing). I have also seen Twister and I don't think it is actually necessary to watch every single disaster movie when all they do is substitute the natural disaster. But the film that actually looks good is Icelandic, like most good things, it won prizes at Montreal film festival and also been nominated for Reykjavik film festival's Golden Puffin (see everything Icelandic is good). My favourite types of films are very slow and depressing, however I did watch Dancer in the Dark last night and it was a bit too much (I'm really resisting writing another Bjork related post but I'll try), Volcano seems to fit this bill- slow and depressing not Bjork related. After retiring and returning to the capital which I think is due to an eruption, Hannes starts to get know his family again but due to years of neglect this doesn't seem possible. I can't really write a proper review as I haven't seen it but I think it looks pretty great. So watch it if you can and it has footage of a volcanic eruption which should surely be enough reason to watch it. Here is a link to website with a trailer and reviews from people who have actually seen the film. 

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Issue Five

Free poster

Let me know if you want a copy

Mount Fuji Scape

Here is a picture of Mount Fuji, I want to position it somewhere in the flat so it looks like a fake window so I can pretend I live in Japan. The little things in the forest are ghosts, I wanted to have people committing suicide but apparently that is distasteful- luckily the forest was rumoured to be haunted by ghosts as well as being the 2nd most popular suicide location.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Evil Troll or Kettle

I wrote a post the other day about the possible El Hierro eruption on the Canary Islands but for some unknown reason it got deleted. I think that this unknown reason might been that I changed the language to Finnish and couldn't understand anything, I'm now back to English (UK) so we should be fine. As it wasn't a very good post and went widely off topic, by the end it was more about a surprise birthday party where I dressed up as a lobster, I didn't care that it was lost so you will never hear my views on El Hierro. But anyway there is a now another potential eruption. I don't know what it says that that I am now writing about potential eruptions as opposed to actual ones; that I am so well tuned into the world of volcanoes I can predict eruptions, that there are a lot of potential eruptions now, that they have been featured on The Guardian website (which in itself could mean a whole host of things). The eruption that is now thought to be imminent has actually been in the magma for a while now, since the eruption of Eyjafjallajoekull last year. People may remember that one of the main fears about the Eyja eruption was that an even bigger even more powerful eruption would take place afterwards, from the volcano Katla. The sudden interest in Katla is due to the fact that earthquakes have been detected in the area and the volcano tends to erupt twice a century and hasn't done so since 1918. The volcano is either named after a kettle or an evil troll and I really don't know what I'd prefer to be true (it could make a really good Arcade Fire song though, maybe I'll pitch it to them).

The 1918 eruption lasted about a month, blocked off sunlight which killed crops and melted ice caps which flooded farms. All people seem concerned about now is even more flight disruptions, I know that when Eyja erupted and people missed flights it was awful as people lost money, couldn't see friends etc but it's not that bad compared to say death or something. I suppose we are so certain that in the Western world our lives can't be properly affected by volcanoes, that we are so advanced, that we will be able to cope. But I think it could be worse as it could have a knock on effect causing homelessness and loss of crops which is assuming that this eruption will be around the same strength but it could be greater which will obviously have much larger effects. I know there are strategies in place in Iceland so the villagers are likely to be fine as this volcano is well monitored and that this eruption probably won't cause the end of life in Europe, I just feel we are being a bit complacent if flights are our main worry. Volcanoes and nature are a lot more powerful than we realise and with all our scientific advances we are still unable to control nature.

The next issue of Volcano Club is slightly delayed due to bad editing on my part, so I would like to take this opportunity to tell my editor that I read this post carefully thrice but apologies for any mistakes (I think that this is probably a bad way to communicate with my mother) 

Friday, 7 October 2011

Volcano of the Week #21 - Anak Krakatau

It's erupting again which is pretty exciting, the volcano isn't actually that exciting, the main interest of Anak Krakatau is that it was Krakatoa. When Krakatoa erupted in 1883 it blew itself and its island apart, over years and years of tectonic activity another volcanic island Anak Krakatau grew and was visible in 1927. However due to frequent eruptions that followed the island kept disappearing and reappearing, Anak Krakatau in its current form didn't materialise until 1930 and it continues to grow at about 13cm per week. I like the idea of a young volcano struggling to form and become its own entity especially when it has such a large legacy to live up to. It's one of my favourite volcanoes though because of this history and also because it has such a distinctive shape. It is still growing and erupting so I suppose the future for this young volcano is fairly unknown but eruptions are frequent and tend to be Strombolian, the last one has been going on for a while and it has erupted earlier this year.

I wrote a sonnet about the original Krakatoa (when I say wrote I mean it was found in the ruins after the 1883 eruption) for the new travel zine which has just gone to print (when I say gone to print I mean sent to my parents) and I was going to post it here in celebration but I can't remember it. So you can have Bjork's plate tectonic song instead. The moon one is also really really good so if you want to diverse from volcanoes I strongly recommend that one.

New zine should be printed and up next week, let me know if you want one (when I say want one I mean to buy, I am unemployed)

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Volcano Love, Metro Incompetence

When I was at work today I started reading the metro in the kitchen, it was my last day so I obviously wasn't going to do any actual work. The article I was most interested in was about a couple who met through their love of volcanoes and went to Kilauea for their second date. Now the article doesn't say where they are from but we can assume they are either from Hawaii or not, if they are from Hawaii then going to see a volcano wouldn't be that remarkable however if they're not from Hawaii then it is fucking mental because Hawaii is ages away from everywhere. They got married on Kilauea and live there, again if they're from Hawaii it's not that amazing because there is probably nothing else to do there. But the shoddy reporting of the metro doesn't report this vital fact. Earlier I was commenting on how bad wikipedia is for getting information but you can get some quite humorous stuff like when it said that a'a lava makes hiking difficult. The metro just leaves out important information but I will forgive it as it once ran the headline 'Teacher Made Me Photocopy My Face'. Another piece of vital information missed is that living on Kilauea isn't very dangerous as it erupts so slowly and viscously, it's not like they are living on Vesuvius or something.


Anywhere here is the article, I don't think that the pun is very good, in future they should come to me for volcanic puns. 

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Krakatoa, East of Java

There are times when you see the title of something on iplayer and think wow I have to watch/listen to that. Obviously this happened to me with Krakatoa, East of Java which according to the BBC 

"Adventure film. Nineteenth-century treasure seekers head for the Dutch East Indies, where the greatest volcanic eruption on record is about to destroy most of the island of Krakatoa. The ship's captain sets sail with a crew that includes a group of convicts and his mistress, who knows the whereabouts of the sunken treasure, though her real concern is her young son, lost somewhere in the doomed region." According to Halliwells

"Mindless spectacular, technically quite impressive but with no dramatic interest whatsoever. (Krakatoa is actually West of Java)"  

and gives it no stars which I think is pretty harsh. There was loads to like about the film; some great songs, a bit where loads of convicts get hosed off the ship, an old diver with knackered lungs going on laudanum infused frenzies, a balloon falling into a caldera, lots of diving and a volcano. There was a slightly boring bit a the end where they are trying to ride out a tidal wave but it only went on for about 10 minutes. It was a lot better than The Perfect Storm, which is possibly the worst film ever made and I wasted time watching in the cinema when I could have been watching something good like Stuart Little which is a great film on so many levels. Here is the trailer which is worth watching just for the song which is definitely going on the Volcano Club CD, which I am actually planning on making, I'm not just saying it for comic effect (actually maybe I'll make a mix tape)

The film will be on iplayer for another few days if you want to watch a cinematic masterpiece. 

Monday, 26 September 2011

I'll plug your volcano

When listening to the Twenty20 (I am reluctant to use the term) cricket yesterday although it was quite exciting, someone, I think it was Ed Smith, mentioned climbing one of the Pitons in St Lucia (as Darren Sammy is from St Lucia). Bear with me this is about to have some volcanic relevance. After Ed saying he nearly died several times climbing the Pitons (which could be due to all the poisonous snakes and weed) they obviously needed researching and very excitingly it turned out that they are two volcanic plugs. Which while they sounds pretty gross are actually rather cool. 

A volcanic plug is formed when pressure causes magma to build up in a vent which can then solidify. This rock is harder than the surrounding rock which can get eroded away while the magma core stays intact. I know that you are thinking that this mass of hardened mass of magma seems like a great place to build a fortress. Trotsky castle (Czech Republic) which was once home to Good King Wenceslaus, Edinburgh Castle and Sigiriya Rock Fortress in Sri Lanka are all built on volcanic plugs. Sigiriya as well as being on part of an old volcano is home to beautiful frescos, it was once used as a Buddhist monastery and has some of the oldest examples of landscape garden and urban planning in the world. But I think the most exciting thing about Sigiriya is that it has a mirrored wall so the king could look at himself while he walked, the mirror was made of well polished stone and has inscriptions from the 8th century. It is believed that the complex was built by King Kashyapa as a retreat and leisure palace (I wonder if people will think of Butlins as such a thing of wonder in the future) in around 480 AD however its use as a monestary dates from around 5th Century BC.

 The entrance has lions feet!
It's basically my new favourite place

Saturday, 24 September 2011

In Our Volcano

Sorry for my recent inactivity, it is not because I'm losing my love of volcanoes quite the contrary, it's because I'm so busy working on the new zine that all my volcanic energy is going into that. As if a new fissure vent has been opened and the normal caldera is quiet while the newly opened vent is streaming with lava. I hope everyone enjoyed that volcanic simile. However I have just listened to a very good episode of In Our Time about volcanoes - obviously, I find the bits about monitoring volcanoes really interesting especially with respect to where they are monitored and this correlating to places with lots of money whereas the big dangerous ones are barely monitored and likely to erupt.
I also submitted a wall to Only Connect so if you, as I hope you all do, are playing online and you see a wall with lots of volcanoes and Ingrid Bergman films in then I made it. My friend Jiff who sent me the link to In Our Time is now waiting for types of eruption to come up on Only Connect.
Finally here is the film teaser for the exhibition at Salford Zine Library that Volcano Club will be in, it's in October so that should be fun.
This post is very rushed, but it should give blog editor a lot to do!

Monday, 12 September 2011


Last Wednesday I went to the Semiconductor exhibition at FACT in Liverpool, semiconductor are a Brighton based duo who do volcanic video installations, needless to say I have been wanting to go to one of their exhibitions for a while. They did a residency in Ecuador studying volcanoes and also the practices involved in studying volcanoes, the methods used and the people who do it. The videos from Ecuador really showed how much the volcano is part of daily life, workers were playing football in the foreground of the volcano and there were also pictures of it drawn onto the windows. There were also images of volcanoes in beautifully untouched landscapes which gave a sense of timelessness and absence of the man made which was juxtaposed with images inside laboratories reminding me how modern science compels us to understand and research everything. While I do find beauty in scientific findings there is also great beauty in mystery and bizzare yet logical interpretations of it. Other videos were the formation of crystals which were created from sounds, this is so like Bjork's single, which isn't a criticism as similar things often happened around the same time like convergent evolution which is one of the coolest things in the world. And I if could convergently evolve to be like Bjork I'd be pretty happy. 

While Bjork and convergent evolution are of course incredibly relevant, they weren't actually what the exhibition was about. There was however a room which looked like a junkyard of discarded TVs which showed archive videos of people studying volcanoes. Again one on hand it showed how much a volcano becomes part of life, while monitoring people were eating sandwiches and drinking coffee, but it also showed the wide range of completely mental ways people study volcanoes such as running up to lava lakes with massive sticks and ramming them in and then using whatever is on the end of the stick to light cigarettes. But I can really understand how people do become that obsessive (especially about volcanoes) and I always love to see it probably because I can see myself becoming one of them. There was also a room where you could make your own volcano, by make I mean pour some bicarb, vinegar and washing up liquid down a papier mache volcano, but it was amazing. Sadly it has now finished so you can't go and make your own volcano but I suppose you could actually make your own volcano.