24 03 2009

I have one, tail end now. It’s delayed my review.

Brief observation: anyone else noticed the recent surge in UK fear stories regarding terrororist attacks?

If the UK government is so worried why are there still bins in Central London? I remember a lot less squawking in the 80s when I was growing up and a lot less bins. Of course there was more litter.

Also: constant threat of nuclear annihilation. That’s gone now. I mean it’s not like there’s an ex-KGB agent in charge of a stockpile of weapons, or a Chicago academic with a weak voting record and poor choice in jokes on another pile, or a country on the brink of destabilisation with it’s own arsenal and an equally armed hostile neighbour.

Naturally, we should be afraid of the bearded fanatic in the cave. Glad we cleared that up.

Sarcastic? Moi?

Interruption to service

6 02 2009

I haven’t been around for a few days.

Tempting as it is to blame this on snow it’s actually because I’ve had a couple of days off and have been doing Stuff. A few draft posts are backing up now and so you can expect normal service to resume in the next few hours or so.

For now, having read this, and having no real wish to defend Clarkson I will simply point out that yes: criticising someone for being optically challenged and Scottish is foolish, especially in the current media age. However, to take issue with someone (even Clarkson) calling our current (unelected) Prime Minister a liar is desperately stupid: ALL politicians lie. Although I’m sure they would say they were merely stating the truth from a different point of view…

True though it is, it’s not really news.

Walk on by…?

24 01 2009

Things that demonstrate bias in reporting:

1. Only reporting one side of a conflict in a positive light.

2. Using emotive language such as terrorist or heavy handed that reflects a moral judgement on one side over the other.

3. Taking up arms for either side.

4. Providing intelligence on one side to the other.

5. Suppressing material that either portrays one side in a positive light or one in a negative light.

What bias isn’t:

Helping people who are in need with an appeal for humanitarian aid.

Serious BBC FAIL. That is all.

Election night

5 11 2008

My fun late show video on youtube got pulled, annoyingly. I guess whoever uploaded it didn’t have permission.

Anyway, up late watching the amusingly pro-Obama coverage and so far the big guy is winning although it’s as early as it is late, if you see what I mean. I’m surprised how many people outside the US are following it.

People really do want change.

Also, Fox just called Ohio for Obama. Someone spiked my coffee right?

On this day…

29 10 2008

- An earthquake in Pakistan kills at least 170 people
– Suicide bombers attack Northern Somalia killing 31 (and targeting amongst others the UN)
– Congo rebels close in on Goma and the UN Secretary General warns of a humanitarian crisis of “Catastrophic dimensions”
– Following an alleged US helicopter attack in Syria there are reports the US embassy in Damascus may close
– David Banchflower (member of the UK MPC) has a pop at his colleagues for not reducing interest rates sooner
– UK Chancellor Alistair Darling relaxes “fiscal rules” paving the way for the British Government to attempt to “spend” its way out of trouble it caused by encouraging easy credit and poor regulation

And what does our great British media lead with:

Russell Brand & Jonathan Ross behaving badly (BUT ‘FESS UP AND APOLOGISE)

Front page or lead story on: BBC, The Guardian, Evening Standard, London Metro, Daily Telegraph, The Sun, Daily Express, Daily Mail, Reuters UK, ITV news, Sky News and even newsnight.

AND guess which of the above stories our Prime Minister chooses to comment on?

Yes that’s right. In a time of unprecedented (if you had your head up your arse for the last twelve months) financial turmoil, and arguably a crushing indictment of his ten years as chancellor, Gordon Brown decides to weigh in on the issue that really matters:

Russell Brand & Jonathan Ross behaving badly (BUT ‘FESS UP AND APOLOGISE)

One can only imagine he’s watching their apologies carefully in order to match his own apology to all the people nearing retirement whom will now have to work until their seventies to heat their homes and service their negative equity. Good to see you have your finger on the pulse there Gordon.

Makes yer proud to be British don’t it?

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7 10 2008

There’s no particular reason for the title other than it amused me.

It’s a phrase I made up and have been generally using in conjunction with the latest fearmongering twat’s journalist’s piece on the current financial shenanigans. It seems like ninety-percent of these people have either been lobotomised or are deliberately trying to scare the shit out of people. Newsflash: you don’t need to scare people, we all get it: the world’s gone a bit shit.

Ironically, or not depending on your world view, many people might find the number of wars going on, the millions of starving and the fact the ice caps are melting quicker than you can ask for ice with that are reason enough for thinking this.* And all of those things were happening when we were all still footloose credit junkies.

The simple ugly truth, known to anyone with even the slightest rudimentary knowledge of economic history, is that markets do crash; they crash because just like every other human construction they are subject to error and human nature (greed, ego and poor memory). And, eventually, they go back up again.

Granted current events are happening faster than normal but hell: it’s the 21st century; everything is faster than it used to be. Granted this is a bad one (another point: the size of the trough is usually relational to the size of the peak) but it is just a moment in time, the world doesn’t actually stop (in the living and dying sense) because the markets freeze. Everyone needs to calm down. ‘kay?

Liquidity (the flow of money through the system) is what makes the whole thing work, confidence (the hydraulics) of the system is what powers the liquidity and fear is what bungs the pipes up. Like any plumbing this happens and the whole system has to be flushed before it works again but chucking more fear (as the press is doing) at the problem is not going to clear anything.

I may have carried the metaphor too far. You get the idea.

And before anyone jumps on me for not having skin in the game – I’m not sitting in some ivory tower here, I’m sitting in my largely bank owned terraced house nervously eyeing the shrinking advertising budgets that enable me to eat.

Short version: I’m in the shit along with everyone else and I haven’t worked for a bank a day in my life. But I promise you one thing you can do to make things get better: turn off the news, kick that fudgebucket into touch and do something fun.

It’s for the good of the economy, now pass the ice cream, fudge flavour naturally.

* Indeed I’m sure there are many other examples of the world going to shit that have nothing to do with the credit crunch.


10 02 2008
Express Headline from 6th February
The Express showed its usual levels of sensitivity in reporting on that news story this past Wednesday. Only two days later it’s forced to report:

“Philip Walters, coroner for Bridgend and the Glamorgan valleys, said he is concerned about young suicides, and wants an all-Wales strategy created to deal with the problem, but does not believe the recent deaths in the Bridgend area are connected.”

Oddly enough it doesn’t make the front page.

The Internet: bad for your health?

23 01 2008

A couple of people have asked me about Bridgend hitting the news, yet again, for all the wrong reasons. For those of you who don’t know, that was one of the places I lived when I was kid – actually where I stayed put longest. It recently hit the news because of this.

Anyway, I had no idea this had happened but now I am aware – and I was asked – here is my view:

It is a terrible tragedy for the families and friends involved, my thoughts are with them.

The media coverage is inaccurate, sensationalised and insensitive to the relatives of those recently affected as well as the many families in the area who have gone through this in the last ten to fifteen years.

There have always been a high number of teenage deaths in the Bridgend area (suicide and accidental) for reasons that are complex and varied but none of which include social networking sites. These include the close proximity of unstable cliffs, dangerous tidal conditions around the Ogmore estuary, inadequate speed limits on the A48, social deprivation due to the decline of manufacturing, high levels of drug abuse, and frankly inadequate support services for teenagers particularly males.

Reports warning of the evils of sites such as Bebo show a high level of ignorance both of how the internet works and how teenagers interact. And that’s all I’m willing to say.

The mood will lighten later with Columbo Villain of the week. Promise.


15 01 2008

I wasn’t sure if I was going to blog about this. And to be clear it’s not about Roger Avary, it’s about journalism.

As most people who would be bothered know, because Neil G blogged it yesterday, Avary was involved in a car crash on Sunday that killed a friend of his and left his wife seriously injured.

The story was widely reported across the internet. Yahoo carried it in their entertainment news, that’s where I originally saw the story. It was deemed newsworthy because Avary was arrested on a suspected DUI charge and is the co-writer of Pulp Fiction.

And it made me angry.

Not at Roger. It’s not my place to judge and to be fair nothing has been proven yet, nor is anyone in full possession of the facts. No, my anger was with the journalist and Yahoo (although I suspect the copy originated from one of the news networks).

The article began, I’m not prepared to link or reprint it here, with a pretty factual description of what had happened. I personally don’t think it merited national news but I accept people will read it, hell I did. Had it stopped at the related facts it would have been OK.

But there was more.

They then went on to explain who Roger was and then to go into an ill advised description of how Avary fell out with Tarantino, that his involvement in Pulp Fiction was downplayed. And the final swipe was that he wasn’t anywhere near as successful as Tarantino instead spending his time rewriting other people’s work.

I mean for pity’s sake. Regardless of whether he was under the influence or not the guy’s friend died in the crash and his wife is in hospital. Is that really the time to embark on a pseudo and possibly quite poorly researched critique of his career? Even under different circumstances is it entirely fair to compare his career against one of the most successful movie director’s in recent times?

Most important of all where’s the relevancy? There is no way within twenty-four hours of the event you can establish a causal link between his career and the accident much less as yet unproven charges. The journalist was painting Avary in a bad light, somewhat redundantly if the charges are proven correct and totally inappropriately if they’re not.

So this post, or more accurately: rant, is not about Roger Avary.

It’s about journalism, and a plea best articulated in the voice of Ray Winstone:

Right you slaaags. Stop taking liberties and sort it awwwt!

We shall go on…

1 07 2007

We shall go on to the end,
we shall fight in Haymarket,
we shall fight on the tube and the airports,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the Charing Cross Road,
we shall defend our rights,
whatever the cost may be,
we shall fight on the Marble Arch,
we shall fight on the Barbican,
we shall fight in the Mall and in the streets,
we shall fight in the heaths;
we shall never surrender,
they will never defeat us. 

That’s right Ladies, Gents, small children, people of indeterminate gender, aliens, animals. 

Fight the good fight: 

- No More Free London Papers


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