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.

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.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Volcano Pottery

Poole Pottery have launched a volcano range, which is supposed to be erupting with red and orange hues. It really doesn't suggest a volcano to me I think that a red inside and black outside would be far more volcanic but what do I know.
 This is the metropolitan vase. Here are the other items in the volcano range if you think they are gross then check out the African Sky or Sunrise range.
. I like this effort far more. 

I have also found out about the volcano art centre which has an annual pottery sale, it's in the village of Volcano on Big Island, Hawaii. I think I know where I want to live when I grow up. 
I also went to the semiconductor exhibition in Liverpool which I'll write about when I have more energy.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Volcano of the Week #20 - Whakaari

This is a tiny volcano island in the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand and is also known as the White Island, but that's not as fun. Its about 2km in diameter and the volcano rises about 300m out of the sea. It is an active stratovolcano which last erupted in 2001. While the volcano had obviously previously been known to Maori who named it Whakaari, which means 'that which can be made visible' which is an accurate name as much of the volcano lies underwater, it was 'discovered' in 1769 by Captain Cook who called it White Island. This was because it was immersed in a cloud of smoke so it looked white, but the didn't realise it was a volcano, I know I'm no explorer but I could have probably told you that the large mountain spewing fire and smoke was probably a volcano. I'm glad I was never in Cook at St Peters- to explain this reference my junior school houses were divided into explorers, I was in Scott which totally ruled, the others were Cook, Raleigh and Drake- they sucked. The Maori used the sulphur from the volcano as garden fertiliser and ate the muttonbirds that lived on the island, the later sold the island to the Dutch for 2 barrels of rum - sounds like a great deal.

Later they tried to use the island to mine sulphur, which may sound like an incredibly stupid thing to do but there are volcanoes in the world where they still mine sulphur. The stopped doing it on Whakaari after a mudflow from the volcano killed all 10 workers- according to wikipedia the camp cat survived- I hope by this they mean he was a bit hammy. The sulphur was used for an anitbacterial aid to sterilise corks and stuff. The island is a scenic reserve and you cannot land without permission so take this into consideration when visiting all volcanoes of the world. There is a drama school called Toi Whakaari which looks pretty cool if you like that sort of thing.

Finally I strongly recommend looking at this on googlemaps- but I say that about everything.