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Barry Jones: An Australian politician and one-man socialist think-tank was the first to put into words the notion that every technology has equal capacity for good or evil depending on how it is used. This was written in his most famous work, “Sleepers Wake!” a somewhat prophetic work about the future of labour and work.

Robert Louis [Balfour] Stevenson (1850-1894): RLS was born in Edinburgh, Scotland the son of another Robert (a successful engineer – the inventor of the system by which lighthouses can be identified by a unique system of flashes of their main light) which probably goes some way to explaining his use of his middle name. He did not always enjoy good health. As a consequence he visited many exotic locations in search of relief from his suffering, including California. He died in Samoa in the South Pacific seeking some remedy from the privations of tuberculosis. Before his health failed he undertook two innocent tours one in Belgium in a canoe and again late in the same year (1878) he trekked across the Central Massif in France in the company of a Donkey called Modestine… RLS followed his father into engineering but after only a semester/session switch to law and eventually qualified as an Advocate in 1875. His true calling, however, was for writing and he embarked upon a path to fame in this area through his engaging turn of phrase and his observation of the human condition. RLS was the author of many works of fiction, short essays, poems and other works. Undoubtedly he is best known for the classics, “Kidnapped” and “Treasure Island” but he is also the author of “Dr Jekyll and Mister Hyde”, “The Black Arrow”, “Catriona”, and “Ballantrae”. The unfinished, “Weir of Hermiston” is often considered his best work for its scope of characters and issues. RLS left no children but was the step-father to the son (Lloyd) of his wife Fanny Osbourne. As noted above RLS died when he was only 44 and the world lost forever its, “little master,” who knows what greater heights he may have reached given more time… There is a cautionary note in the early demise of so many great people, carpe diem!

Denim - The blue jeans so popular in western culture like so many other things owe their origins to France. Blah blah blah…. Have you ever noticed how the word for these ubiquitous bluse serge trousers is the French word for John. Are they originally from John’s Serge factory in Nimes – hence De Nimes, Jeans? Of course the lazy (and probably largely illiterate) factory workers in the US would contract and corrupt the spelling to be Blue Denim Jeans. I wonder…

Lyons – A potted history: Always a settlement since the earliest times the confluence of the two major rivers was first a Celtic stronghold and then a centre of roman administration. Famous for…. Blah blah blah….

Posted by plomeley 21:44 Tagged armchair_travel

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