Monday, September 30, 2013

How to handle a dog attack

For most people, dog attacks are not very common. But they happen occasionally, and the experience can be traumatic. Incidentally, they are also a good reason why I am not a big fan of barefoot walking or running. Broken glass pieces and nails can be a problem if you are barefoot; so can dog attacks.

The photo below, from, shows a charging dog. It reminds me of an incident many years ago where a dog attacked my two oldest sons, who were very young at the time. They were unsuspectingly playing at a park in Southern New Jersey, when I saw a dog running in their direction across the park. Part of what I will say in this post is based on experiences like that.

I should also say that I grew up around dogs. My grandfather had a farm that was managed by my uncle, and dogs were critically important in managing the farm. One problem we had was that domesticated pigs would often become feral, or would mate with wild boars, in some cases leading to a particularly vicious breed of large feral pigs. I was once attacked by one of these feral pigs while hunting. One of the farm dogs came to my rescue and probably saved my life.

If you are like most people, when you go walking outdoors, you do not carry a walking stick or a cane. Maybe you should. But if you don’t, thick-soled sneakers can be used in a reasonably effective defense in a dog attack situation.

Dogs attacks’ main targets: The faces of children

Dogs tend to be loyal friends, but they must be monitored for signs of aggression, and can be particularly dangerous to children. A significant proportion of dog attack victims are children 5 years of age or younger, who more often than not sustain injuries to the face, with secondary target areas being the hands and feet ().

At the time of this writing the web sites and had some grisly photos of dog attack victims (, ). They show evidence that the face is often targeted, and some possible consequences of real dog attacks.

Artificial selection: Dogs and Moby-Dick

Modern dogs are descendants of wolves who came into contact with humans about 12,000 year ago. (This general date is often cited, but is the subject of intense debate, with DNA studies suggesting much earlier contact.) Wolves are apex predators; this was true also for wolves that lived around the time they first came into contact with humans. They hunt and live in packs, and rely on fairly complex body language, a variety of sounds, and a keen sense of smell to communicate.

Even being apex predators, wolves were no match for humans. Therefore, as humans and groups of wolves co-evolved, dogs emerged. Dogs evolved instincts that made them sociable toward and submissive to humans, particularly those humans who fed them and also asserted authority over them – those become their “owners”.

Humans, in turn, came to rely heavily on dogs for protection and hunting, and probably evolved instincts that are still largely unexplored today. For example, there is strong evidence suggesting that having pet animals, many of which are dogs, is generally health-promoting (, ).

The evolution of sociability and submissiveness traits is an example of what is often referred to as “artificial selection”, where animals and plants evolve traits almost exclusively in response to the selection pressure applied by humans. In the case of dogs, this was later taken to new heights through selective breeding; leading to the emergence of a variety of dog breeds, some for utilitarian purposes and others for pure vanity, each with very distinctive characteristics.

Interestingly, artificial selection applied by humans does not always produce more sociable and submissive animals. The opposite happened around the mid 1800s due to excessive hunting of sperm whales. The least aggressive were easier to kill, so they were overhunted. Over generations, this placed selection pressure in favor of the evolution of aggressiveness toward humans. The attack on the Essex by a large bull sperm whale, which served as inspiration for Herman Melville's novel Moby-Dick, was one of the first incidents that resulted from this selection pressure (). Whaling increased, and, predictably, attacks started becoming more and more frequent.

When a dog attacks, stand your ground in a non-threatening way

Dogs, like wolves, are territorial animals. Many dog attacks are likely motivated by humans invading what a dog perceives as its territory at a given point in time. I mentioned earlier in this post that a dog once attacked two of my children. They were playing at a park during the winter. Nobody else was there. I saw this large black dog running from a distance in their direction, and I immediately knew that it was trouble. The dog probably saw us as invading its territory.

Having grown up surrounded by dogs, I pretty much knew what to do. I walked toward my children and placed myself between them and the charging dog. I told the children not to move at all, just freeze. The dog came running until it realized that we were not running. It was a “fake charge”, like most are. It stopped close to me, and barked very aggressively, coming closer. I was wearing boots. I raised one of my boots toward the dog’s snout, and when it bit it, I pushed the boot against its snout.

Here is where I think most people would tend to make a key mistake. They would probably try to hurt the dog to scare it off, by, say, kicking the dog as they would kick a soccer ball. The problem is that, because the dog is a lot faster than they are, if they do that they may end up missing the dog entirely and worse - they may end up losing their balance and falling to the ground. This is when dogs can do the most damage, since they would go for the face of the fallen person.

As a side note, often you hear that dogs attack the throat of their human victims, but that is not what the statistics show. Most victims of dog attacks display injuries on the face and extremities. The "myth" that dogs target the throat is probably based on the notion that dogs attack humans because they see them as prey. However, with exception of feral dogs such as Australian dingos, evidence of dogs preying on humans is very rare. I've reviewed many dog attack photos for this post, and could not find one with evidence that the throat was targeted.

So I pushed my boot against the dog’s snout a few times, firmly but not with the goal of hurting the dog, and did not do anything threatening toward the dog otherwise. This calmed the dog down a bit, but it was still acting aggressively and would not go away. Sometimes firm commands to "seat", "stop", "go away" make the dog react submissively. I tried them but they didn't work; instead they probably made the dog more excited. Then I did what probably is the one thing that most land animals instinctively fear from humans …

Sapiens the thrower

I picked up a few pieces of ice from the ground and threw at the dog. One piece of ice hit the dog on the side of its body; a couple of others were glancing blows. As a result the dog became visibly confused and submissive (telltale sign: tail between the legs), and ran away. Here is where another big mistake may happen. People may try to hurt the dog and become too excited when throwing objects at it. In doing so, they may end up not only missing the dog with the flying objects that they are throwing, but they may also excite the dog, and face another attack.

The best approach here is to focus on having whatever you are throwing at the dog land on top of or as close to the dog as possible; explicitly without trying to hurt it, in part because this improves your aim. Having flying objects coming from you toward the dog is enough to trigger the dog’s instinct to get out of the way of “Sapiens the thrower”. Moreover, if you don’t try to hurt you’ll be relatively calm, displaying the type body language that will trigger submissiveness.

I’ve long suspected that throwing has been a key component of Sapiens’ climb to the top of the food chain, to the point that all land animals have an instinctive fear of humans – even large predators, and much bigger animals such as elephants (as long as they are not “in musth”). One short video has been circulating on YouTube for years; it has various hunting scenes where primitive spears are used (). Many find this video cruel. It clearly shows the enormous evolutionary advantage of humans being able to throw pointy things at other animals. If humans happened to live when Tyrannosaurus rex was around, there is no doubt in my mind that the latter would be the prey.

Keep your face away and your hands closed

Typically you’ll avoid a full-blown dog attack by only standing your ground for a while and not acting aggressively toward the dog. After a short standoff period, you’ll just walk away unharmed. Unfortunately this may not happen if you are facing a dog that has been trained to attack. In this case, having a stick or something like it will help a lot. (In circus acts lions are “pushed around” by trainers holding objects like sticks and wooden chairs; sometimes that doesn't end well - .) If you don’t have one it would be useful to be wearing shoes that can withstand several bites. If not, you can use a piece of clothing, such as a bundled jacket, as a shield.

If you have a stick, or something like a stick, you should not try to hit the dog with it. You should place it near the snout, and push the stick against it each time the dog bites. If you do this calmly and firmly, without trying to hurt the dog (remember, the dog is a lot faster than you are), you will probably discourage biting after a while, turning the attack into a standoff.

What if you don’t have anything with which to defend yourself at first, and a dog attacks you? Keep your hands closed into fists, to avoid having fingers bitten off, and do your best to keep the dog away from your face. As desperate as these situations may be, try to be calm and look for objects that you can use to push the dog away, that you can throw at the dog, or that can be used to wrap around your arms. Frequently there will be objects around that can be of use – e.g., sharp stones, glass bottles, pieces of canvas, loose pieces of a fence, a hose, a tree’s branch. If you fall, try to stand up right away. Very likely you'll sustain injuries to your arms, and possibly legs.

Military and law enforcement personnel are often trained on fighting techniques to handle dog attacks barehanded, such as neck cranks, sharp blows to the throat of the animal, and blinding techniques. I am not sure whether these would be really useful to the average person. In any case, this post is not aimed at military and law enforcement personnel who deal with dog attacks on a regular basis.

Eat beef liver

Beef liver is nature’s super-multivitamin. (Beef heart is just as nutritious.) Dogs, like wolves, have an exquisite sense of smell. If you have seen one of the documentaries about the groundbreaking research by Shaun Ellis (a.k.a., “The Wolfman”), you probably know that wild wolves tend to strongly associate consumption of organ meats with very high status in a pack, to the point that they will instinctively act submissively toward humans that consume organ meats. It is quite possible that dogs do that too. So if you eat beef liver, maybe a dog will “think twice” before attacking you.

Offer the dog a cigarette and a beer

Most dogs can become aggressive from time to time, but not dogs that know how to chill. Therefore, you may consider carrying special dog cigarettes and beer around - only some brands work! Okay, a clarification: the "eat beef liver" advice is not a joke, nor are the others above it.

Notes and acknowledgements

The “charging dog” photo is from The “drunken dog” montage was created with photos from the blog Agrestemundica.

Cesar Millan's site has a number of good suggestions on how to handle dog attacks (). However, I personally think that the way he handles dogs (e.g., often with open hands) is dangerous if copied by an inexperienced person. There is a great deal of "hidden" information that is conveyed to dogs by nuances of Cesar's body language. Those nuances are difficult to copy by an inexperienced person.

An interesting source of information on how to handle dog attacks is the web site (, ).

Saturday, September 28, 2013


First of all, a huge welcome to Manchester to all of you attending the Conservative Party Conference. Whilst I'm sure the weeks agenda is a full and exciting one, the wonderful world of Arts and Health offers you the most splendid welcome if you'd like to have a conversation about 21st Century well-being and health. Arguably the crucible of this growing global movement that sees culture and the arts playing a critical role in how we put patients at the heart of care. (lets remember the word q u a l i t y) But beyond the expanding and contacting landscape of the NHS, wellbeing is best promoted in all those schools, shopping centres, prisons and streets - the places that we all live our day-to-day realities. So, if you're a member of parliament, a minister of state, a civil servant or an interested other and you genuinely care about health and wellbeing, get in touch and find out more about our offer to you.

I got an intriguing email from the designers, Conway and Young. To mark the 65th anniversary of the NHS; a healthcare system that is free for all at the point of delivery, based on clinical need and not ability to pay - they were speculating what a future NHS might look like. With a chilling provocation, they asked me to imagine, THE YEAR IS 2078 AND THE NHS NO LONGER EXISTS and I was invited to speculate along with 64 other people, what this landscape might look like. I’m not quite sure that I’ve produced what they wanted, but I share with you some dystopian ramblings. I’d like to think of this as the bastard progeny of Jonathan Swift’s economist in A Modest Proposal married to a Riddley Walker aesthetic, with the uplifting people-friendly, feel-good-factor of Soylent Green. Whilst I was able to play with this, I am in debt to Sarah Lawton for her interpretation, her eye for a grand thing and uncanny ability with an A0 printer! A couple of variants will be posted on the blog over the next couple of weeks. I can’t wait to see what Conway and Young entice from other contributors and how they turn all this material around and of course, I’ll link it on the blog when it comes to fruition.

The above image is one of two on this posting by the sublime poet, Robert Montgomery.

Last week, a few people got in touch about the Hidden Mothers images, so this week I can’t resist a friendly little jab at our friends in haute couture who wrap their fetish-based misogyny in grander terms, but don’t half like to hide/olize women too! Here is Jean Shrimpton, courtesy of Avedon. Much as though I'm tempted to post photographs of Femen activists taking to the catwalks - I can't have that one misconstrued! So, just a respectful acknowledgement and a nervous smile.

Just, What do we know about the role of the arts in the delivery of social care?
A new report into the role of the arts within the delivery of social care has been published this week, the culmination of a study commissioned by Creative & Cultural Skills, Skills for Care, and Skills for Care and Development. Catherine Large, Joint CEO, Creative & Cultural Skills, highlighted the need for greater dialogue between the creative and social care sectors: “The care sector needs to recruit an estimated 90,000 qualified workers per year to replace those leaving the sector through retirement and career progression. At the same time, there are thousands of young people graduating from creative arts courses every year who struggle to find employment – surely there is a way we can work together to create meaningful roles for creative practitioners whilst also benefiting those in care settings?”

Download the full report by clicking on the lovely green and unfurling frond.

2014 Hippocrates Prize
With categories for the NHS, young people and an open call, this is a must for poets concerned with health and wellbeing. With a 1st prize for the winning poem in each category of £5,000, the Hippocrates Prize is one of the highest value poetry awards in the world for a single poem. In its first 4 years, the Hippocrates Prize has attracted over 5000 entries from 55 countries, from the Americas to Fiji and Finland to Australasia. Click on the second Montgomery piece below to find out more.

Clore Poetry & Literature Awards
The Clore Duffield Foundation has announced that the sixth funding round under its £1 million programme to fund poetry and literature initiatives for children and young people across the UK is now open for applications. Through the programme, schools, FE colleges, community groups, libraries and other arts/cultural organisations can apply for grants of between £1,000 and £10,000 to support participatory learning projects and programmes focused on literature, poetry and creative writing for under 19s.

The closing date for applications is the 7th March 2014. Read more at:

I will be out of the county next week, but I hope that the blog will, at the very least, contain a tasty morsel on the humble Puffer Fish. Here's a clue for the public art aficionados, or those of you with an eye for global inequalities.

Nominet Trust Digital Edge Programme 
The Nominet Trust has announced that the next advisory closing date for its Digital Edge programme is the 27th November 2013. The Digital Edge programme aims to support projects that use new technology to engage young people in new, more meaningful and relevant ways and enable their participation in building a more resilient society.  There is no upper or lower funding limit as the Trust like to encourage applicants to be realistic about what they need to achieve their project objectives. The Advisory Stage 1 date is set to allow enough lead time for successful applicants to have sufficient time to complete their Stage 2 application. There is also a final deadline date for Stage1 applications; any applications received after this date will not be included in the current funding round. The final deadline for applications is the 11th December 2013.

This little wood engraving is by the minor artist John Farleigh and is called melancholia. I include it simply because sometimes, artists just get it so, so right.   Thanks as ever...C.P.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hidden Mothers, Artlines, Music, Money and more...

Looking up images of the niquab to enable a succinct contribution to the debate as to whether doctors and nurses should be able to wear the veil at work, I found myself rather distracted not by the usual images, but something I’d never seen or heard of before: HIDDEN MOTHERS. Good grief! In early photography, if the subject for the image was your squirming bundle of joy and poor old mamma was to be kept out of shot, the photographer would drape a suitable swatch of damask over her bonce! So - the resulting historical images are known as Hidden Mother Photographs. As to the ‘debate’ on the niquab, I’d much rather hear what the women involved think, rather than politicians and hacks putting disquiet in our minds where it never was in the first place. The molecular biologist and activist, Sahar Al Faifi at least talks about wearing the niquab, first hand and perhaps sets the scene less sensationally.

And with fleeting thoughts on misogyny in mind, news that Tony Abbott has appointed himself as minister for women's issues in a cabinet of 19, where there is as yet, one female minister, brings no surprises. I wonder if UKIP will offer the ludicrous MEP (‘’re all sluts’) ((Oh - and 'everybody laughed, including all the women.' Well that's alright then)) Godfrey Bloom to serve on Abbott’s crack team, I’m sure there’ll be some old post-colonial sabbatical opportunity for him. 

Back to Blighty and some excellent news from my colleague Langley Brown, to whom my biggest thanks.

Arts for Health and Special Collections at Manchester Metropolitan University have received an award from the Wellcome Trust to commission an archivist and a conservator to assess the extent and condition of archives relating to arts and health, and to make recommendations as to how best to preserve, link, develop and promote these collections.

This award follows an AHRC funded audit by Dr Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt of archives held by organisations across Greater Manchester, and a UK national consultation by Arts for Health Research Fellow Dr Langley Brown as to the wishes of organisations with regard to any archives held. Those organisations who expressed appreciable interest in the archives project, and whose work is representative of the field, will form the first strand of a long-term project to link such archives worldwide, and to grow ARTLINES as an evolving timeline and family tree connecting culture, health, the arts and wellbeing across time and place, and among domains of knowledge and experience.

The time from today back to the expansion of the arts:health movement in the 70s and 80s represents a career span; this means that those who were involved at the beginning of this journey are approaching or have attained retirement age. Some have died. If we are to gather together the patchwork of histories that have formed the arts:health phenomenon, we must act quickly to ensure that the documentary evidence is preserved, coherently managed, and made accessible to researchers and public, whilst the pioneers are still around to help contextualise the material.

Those represented in this first phase of the archives project are the network of 13 Greater Manchester organisations including Arts for Health and Lime, the Centre for Medical Humanities at the University of Durham, Healing Arts Isle of Wight, and Artlink West Yorkshire. 

Archivist Judith Etherton and conservator Helen Lindsay will be based at Manchester Metropolitan University during November, and their report will inform the next phase of the ARTLINES project. If you’d like to know more about ARTLINES, email 

Music for Health has moved from the RNCM to become part of the award winning charity Lime, forming Lime Music for Health which will deliver a comprehensive music programme at Central Manchester University Hospitals. You can read more about this on Music for Health patron, Jules Holland.

With the continued support of the Charitable Funds Committee and a significant investment from Youth Music, the Music for Health team is now looking to recruit three new Apprentice Musicians to join a team of Experts (Ros Hawley, Mark Fisher and Holly Marland) and Mentors (Cecily Smith, Ruth Spargo and Tom Sherman) for the Medical Notes Programme which will run for 2 years at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. 

A description of the programme, the brief for Apprentices and application details are available on the Blog.

Esmée Fairbain Trust
Esmée Fairbairn aims to improve the quality of life throughout the UK. They do this by funding the charitable activities of organisations that have the ideas and ability to achieve change for the better. The Foundation like to consider work which others may find hard to fund, perhaps because it breaks new ground, appears too risky, requires core funding, or needs a more  unusual form of financial help such as a loan. They also take the initiative where new thinking is required or where we believe there are important unexplored opportunities. Main Funds are within four areas of interest – the arts, education and learning, the environment and enabling disadvantaged people to participate fully in society. They prioritise work that:
· Addresses a significant gap in provision
· Develops or strengthens good practice
· Challenges convention or takes a risk in order to address a difficult issue
· Tests out new ideas or practices
· Takes an enterprising approach to achieving its aims
· Sets out to influence policy or change behaviour more widely.
Application Deadlines: First stage applications can be made at any time, if successful applicants will be advised by the Foundation on how to proceed with the next stage. Full details of the application process can be accessed via the following link: 

British Academy Small Research Grants 
The British Academy, the UK’s national body for the humanities and social sciences, has announced that it is planning to issue a call for a further round of Small Research Grants on the 4th September 2013. Under the Small Research Grants programme grants of between £500 and £10,000 over two years are available to support primary research in the humanities and social sciences. Funds will be available to:
· Facilitate initial project planning and development
· Support the direct costs of research
· To enable the advancement of research through workshops, or visits by or to partner scholars. The closing date for applications will be the 16th October 2013. Read more at: 

And finally, my massive thanks to the artist Sarah Lawton this week, who has helped me with a big NHS Modernisation project that I hope to reveal over the next few weeks.  

Thank you as ever for reading....C.P.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Quark for Health...

A small blast from Italy
What a week! I AM: Art as an agent for change has seen the fourth partnership meeting in Pescara, Italy. As guests of the Italian health agency, FeDaSerD people from Pescara and Pistoia in Italy, from Kütahya in Turkey and from Liverpool and Manchester in the UK have begun designing an artists exchange between the three countries which will see a series of artist led workshops, exhibitions and symposium exploring culture and the arts in the addiction/recovery process.

I am thrilled to announce that we will be working with some quite outstanding international artists who each in their own way, have ploughed a unique furrow. Ali Zaidi (UK) will be pulling all the artists together and his work around food and our eating together, promises to excite and engage and be invaluable to the collaborative process. Cristina Nuñez through her beautiful and provocative photography, explores self-portraiture, creative identity and self-esteem - particularly through moments of crisis. Selda Asal is a film-maker who enables people to tell their stories in distinctive ways, often people marginalized by forces seemingly beyond their control. Leon Jakeman is an artist who constructs work that responds to his own experiences, stripping away original meaning and creating new identities in the materials he works with.

Unique and challenging, all of them - but working together to explore just how the arts might be central to the recovery process. I’m pleased to say that building on our Manifesto for arts/health/wellbeing, I will be working with all the artists and partners involved in this work, to develop a European Recovery Manifesto to be launched between July and September 2014. Think bill of rights, think what it is to be human, think again that, “standing on the world's summit we launch once again our insolent challenge to the stars!”

A big thanks goes to Nicoletta D’Alosio for being such a wonderful and generous host and to Giuseppe (Joe) D’Abruzzo who was the kindest and most giving of friends, even with advice on my own fragile health! And a HUGE thanks to Dr. Giovanni Cordova and all at LAAD for their warmth (and food)...and of course, the indefatigable Mark Prest.

Getting International in Arts and Health
Artists International Development Programme
The Artists' international development programme is a £750,000 fund, jointly funded by the British Council and Arts Council England. The programme offers early stage development opportunities for individual freelance and self-employed artists based in England to spend time building links with artists, organisations and/or creative producers in another country. The next deadline for applications to the fund is 5pm Friday 4 October 2013.  Decisions made mid-November. Read more at: 

Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation Grants Programme 
Organisations and schools in the UK that wish to develop links with Japan and Japanese schools are able to apply for funding through the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation. The Foundation makes small grants to support activities that support the study of the Japanese language and culture, School, Education and Youth exchanges. In the past the Foundation has made grants towards visits the between the UK and Japan between by teachers and young people and the teaching and development of Japanese language and cultural studies in schools.

It seems that the Australian media (well the Sunday Telegraph at least) were right in their almost prescient front-cover, which I reprint here for the sheer bliss of sharing an oh-so-subtle, unbiased, politically neutral 21st century press. I am thrilled to be speaking at the 5th International Arts and Health Conference in Sydney this year between 12 - 14 November and hosted this year, by the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales. More details can be found by clicking on the Koalas below! To find out a little more about what I'll be speaking about, click on, fiction-non-fction.

On the joys of European working...
Driving from Pescara to Rome through the most outrageous landscape, I dwelt heavily on the week’s work. I’ve spent time with some remarkable people...exhausting, committed and wonderful people. My traveling companions this week have been a heady crew: Musical score by Bill Callahan (Smog), Knock Knock - Film and light entertainment provided by Frederick Wiseman, Titicut Follies and something light to read - Sarah Kane, Blasted and 4:48 Psychosis.

Melancholic by nature, I was lifted from my torpor and found myself near to hysteria by the strange charms of idyosyncratic translation. I’d recently been interviewed by the Turkish news channel, TRT - and probably talking much hyperbole and gibberish, they dubbed over me (if you speak Turkish, please tell me, what they said, that I said!!) So, throwing ego out of the window, I share with you a snippet of this interview and my new identity! Excuse the sweaty pallor and over-enthusiastic nature. Please note my full name and place in the universe.

Footnotes on Fundamental Cheese-Based Products...
A Quark is an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. There are six types of quarks, known as Flavours: up, down, strange, charm, bottom and top! 

Quark is a type of fresh dairy product, made by warming soured milk until the desired degree of denaturation occurs. It is soft, white, unaged and curd-like.

Good grief...C.P.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Waist-to-weight ratios in pictures: The John Stone transformation

John Stone is a bodybuilder and founder of a bodybuilding and fitness web site (). There he has provided pictures and stats of his remarkable transformation, which were used to prepare the montage below.

John’s height is reported as 5' 11.5". Below the photos are the months in which they were taken, the waist circumferences in inches, the weights in lbs, and the waist-to-weight ratios (WWRs). Abhi was kind enough to provide a more detailed plot of John Stone’s WWRs ().

Assuming that minimizing one’s WWR is healthy, an idea whose rationale was explained here before (), we could say that John was at his most unhealthy in the photo on the left.

The second photo from the left shows a slightly more healthy state, at a reported 8 percent body fat (his lowest). The two photos on the right represent states in which John’s WWR is at its lowest, namely 0.1544. That is, in these two photos John minimized his WWR; at a reported 14 and 13.8 percent body fat, respectively.

When we look at the WWRs in these photos, it seems that he is only marginally healthier in the second photo from the left than in the leftmost photo. In the two photos on the right, the WWRs are much lower (they are the same), suggesting that he was significantly healthier in those photos.

Interestingly, in both photos on the right John reported to have been at the end of bulking periods. Whenever he entered a cutting period his WWR started going up. This suggests that his ratio of lean body mass to total mass started decreasing just as soon as he started cutting. I suspect the same would happen if he continued gaining weight.

Which of the two photos on the right represents the best state? Assuming that both states are sustainable, over the long run I would argue that the best state is the one where the WWR was minimized with the lowest weight. There whole-day joint stress is lower. This corresponds to the photo at the far right.

By sustainable states I mean states that are not reached through approaches that are unhealthy in the long term; e.g., approaches that place organs under such an abnormal stress that they are damaged over time. This kind of damage is essentially what happens when we become obese – i.e., too fat. One can also become too muscular for his or her own good.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


“MILLIONS of dollars in taxpayer-funded grants for obscure research projects - such as the role of public art in climate change - will be scrapped or redirected to find cures for dementia and other diseases as part of a Coalition crackdown on government waste.”

There’s a sentence to strike fear into our hearts eh? Sounds like histrionics? Well actually, its from the Australian press last week and preceded the ‘landslide’ victory of Tony Abbott as the new premier. Worrying times ahead eh? Great news that he’s going to find a ‘cure’ for dementia, but in the meantime, perhaps invest in some research around how arts and culture might just improve the quality of life for people living with dementia. Click on the apparition above to read the article.

A Small Scale Global Phenomenon
Working with colleagues across the UK and more recently in Lithuania, Italy and Turkey, I've had the opportunity to begin to understand some of the complexities of working in the arts and health field across different cultures and in different languages. This podcast is a version of a paper that I gave as the opening address to the Art of Good Health and Wellbeing International Arts and Health Conference, in Australia 2012. This was work that I had been developing in Lithuania (in Menas Žmogaus Gerovei) and which I presented at the first UK Arts and Health Research Network seminar at the University of Nottingham in March 2013. More recently, I worked this up into a journal article (Inequalities, the arts and public health: towards an international conversation) with Mike White for Arts & Health: An International Journal for Research, Policy and Practice. This podcast then, is an early iteration of these thoughts. If you find it too turgid listening to my ramblings, let me know and I’ll send you a pdf.

Arts Council England (ACE) Guidelines in Paying Artists
ACE has issued some handy guidelines for all applicants to their GfA lottery grant programmes on information on rates of pay for artists. The guidelines are available by clicking on the typology above:

As far as I can see, their key piece of advice is: “Following a ruling by the Office of Fair Trading on competition law, we are not able to offer guidelines on rates of pay for artists.”

If you find this sage advice a little too benign, I suggest shouting from the rooftops - I WANT A DECENT LIVING WAGE! Perhaps then, my advice isn’t to click on the not-so-ace guidance, but go for the jugular instead.

BLAST TWO ( B A N G ) - Why not read the excellent David Pledger’s, Re-Valuing the Artist in the New World Order published by Currency House. Here’s a taster, but click on the book cover below for more details.

“What is the real value we put on our artists? The author examines the long-awaited National Cultural Policy and finds it offers much to praise but fails ‘to penetrate the lower depths wherein the independent artists hang out’. His paper addresses the problems and achievements of the independent artist and their role as outriders of the arts, sometimes so far ahead they are out of mind. What kind of an industry do we work in, he asks, when its primary producers live on or below the poverty line? What would happen if artists decided that they would no longer work under these conditions? Pledger proposes action to find out.”

OK - a pause for some uplifting music, because music can remind us, life is beautiful...

Department of Health Innovation, Excellence & Strategic Development Fund (England)
The Department of Health (DOH) has announced that its 2014-15 Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development Fund (IESD) is now open for applications. The fund is open to not for profit organisations that are be carrying out activities that involve  providing a service similar to a service provided by the National Health Service or by local authority social services.  The Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development Fund (IESD) provides funding to support proposals in the health and care field, supporting projects with the potential for national impact in line with DH objectives of better health and wellbeing and better care for all. Organisations can apply individually, or in partnership with others. All proposals under this Fund will need to demonstrate they will have a national impact. The closing date for applications is 12 noon on the 25th October 2013. Read more at:

Can I recommend something? Am I allowed?
"nous magazine is a Manchester based publication dealing with contemporary philosophy. If you look up the word nous in your dictionary it will tell you that the ‘nous’ is necessary for understanding what is true or real. It is the processes working within us - our mind or our soul. nous is taking its readers on a journey to a land we may never completely understand even though it lies within us. A land we often pay no attention to in our hectic everyday life. What do we care about? What is really important to us? How do we share our compassion with the ones around us? We believe that dealing with our fears and hopes in a creative way and being more conscious of this part of ourselves can not only help prevent and deal mental health issues but also make living in our society easier. We give young creatives of all fields a platform to present their work addressing the nous but also will make mind culture gain centre stage again. nous is published quarterly with changing topics orbiting the depression and mental illness. More details by clicking above."

                              Vladas Urbonavičius
I’m thrilled to be working with friends and colleagues in Lithuania this autumn, delivering artist’s training for practitioners new to the arts and health field. This builds on the bespoke training that I offer each year here in Manchester, which explores individual artist’s practice and some of the knowledge and skills needed to embark on this ever-evolving field of work. This work is being developed in partnership with the Vilnius University Oncology Institute, the British Council and the team at Socialiniai Meno Projektai.
For more details, click on the pipe above!

I am working away this week, so please excuse the lack of response to email. 

                                                         Clean Mad Vision...