Friday, August 31, 2007

(No) Logo

I'd rather this man's logo was used instead of the rather less attractive official logo. Sausages will always be in fashion but new-rave will not.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Another Start

Well I haven't written on this for while have I? What to say...

Well I start gainful employment on Monday in London with a company called Hemming and I will be working across a few of their magazines and doing a bit of everything by the sounds of it.

This blog, which was started as part of a course assignment, will remain much the same, but will now be written from the perspective of a full-time Londoner (as if there aren't enough of them) and full-time journalist.

I wonder what will have changed by next September...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hidden Histories

On ITV last night, at 11pm, was a program entitled: "The War on Democracy"by John Pilger. It was one of the best pieces of television I have seen in a long time.

It dealt with the various regimes the USA has helped install in South America since 1945 and how, by and large, these were undemocratic regimes, which installed puppet dictators, such as General Pinochet, in power at the expense of leaders who had originally been democratically elected - Salvador Allende - by the peoples of the country.

The program also highlighted the USA's support of the failed coup d'etat which took place in Venezuela in 2002, during which Hugo Chavez (interviewed in the documentary) was over-thrown, but then re-instated when the population of Caracas marched on the presidential building and demanded his return. Chavez is a man who, despite unrelenting media criticism (likening him to Hitler on many occasions), has overseen the setting up of a constitution for the first time ever in the country - something which those ordinary civilians interviewed by Pilger made clear was something they held to be highly important for them, and their children, if the future of Venezuela was to be secure.

The coup sought to remove this security and the US government went on record - a clip was shown from the press conference - claiming to be in support of this new government. Presumably because the new government was full of business tycoons who would ensure good business for the USA.

The most shocking part of the entire program was when a former CIA chief Duane Clarridge not only ignored Pilger's hard evidence, that thousands of people had been tortured and executed in Chile after the coup, by many men trained in the USA, but when he then claimed Chile was better off for this in the long run (i.e. Life's Cheap for Oriental / Latin American): Pilger then interviewed a woman who had been kidnapped and tortured, and known pregnant friends to be murdered, a man who was 18 at the time and had been beaten, alongside hundreds of other prisoners of politics at Chile's national stadium, and then a couple living in poverty on the outskirts of Santiago who saw little benefit from the regime of Pinochet.

The whole point of this program was to show that America is no "Champion of Democracy" at all. It is infact a champion of it's own interests. Democracy / Dictatorship - which ever suits the US government best is what will be looked for. So if Cuba turns Communist they launch the Bay of Pigs invasion. If Chile elects a man who doesn't conform to their ideals - who sets about introducing land reforms that could damage US imports, then they remove him, through a puppet, and then either ignore the problem or deny it ever happened - or even worse, claim it was for the best anyway.

I suppose the length of this post underlines how frustrated I felt that this type of history goes so unreported and unknown in the western world. I also felt the documentary should have been shown a lot earlier, with far more advertising, and with the premise of the show stated clearly. If they repeat this show, or release it on DVD, I urge you to see it. If Michael Moore can make documentaries that people rent out, then this is also worth your time.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Good or Bad?

This article here about Facebook and it's creator is very interesting but it is the final quote at the end that really hits you: "Adds co-founder and VP of Engineering Dustin Moskovitz: "I have a note on my account that says Facebook will saturate the world population by 2010. It's not a joke."

Which is amazing as it means one company, almost one person, would in theory be able to contact the vast majority of the entire world. Even the president can't do that at present. But some mid 20s guy from Harvard could potentially write what he wanted on the news feed and we'd all be able to read it - and we probably would.

Of course if it became controlling then people could easily move away and find a new site, but it is an astonishing thought that one website could feasibly contact the entire planet's population - or at least those that have access to a computer and are on Facebook - and with $100 laptops in production and Facebook being a fully open site, that's not as impossible as it sounds.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Better late than never?

So did the Olympic Committee not notice the pollution when they visited some eight years ago? Did they just say someone was having a bonfire? One year before in 2007 and someone asks, "Er, why can't we see the sky?".

Monkey News

I love stories like this - Passenger 'hid monkey under hat' - and mainly I love the captions. You just never know what you are going to have to write next in journalism. It said he came from Lima, Peru so the hat they used to smuggle in Paddington Bear must have been massive.

Monday, August 06, 2007

R.I.P. T.V.

T.V. is dead. Or at least linear T.V. is dead. T.V. that involves sitting down at a set time of an evening and gathering around together. Why bother to be a slave to the clock after work now we have Sky Plus or Virgin OnDemand? Just record it and watch it whenever you want. Watch the most violent film ever at 7am, or Doctor Who at 3am after a night out (bit sad though)...Or even watch it online via Youtube or Google Video - and now the BBC's iPlayer thing they have launched is the latest of these gizmos.

Interestingly my parents believe this is a "bad" thing. I suppose they could be right: the loss of a communal, national, conscious for a truly great T.V. program - Pole to Pole in the early 90s maybe? But the fact remains it will become a rare event. Not that rare, but not common either. The other day I watched all six episodes of The IT Crowd on Google Video over two days because I could. I didn't have to wait six weeks for an entire season. Peep Show series four was on at 9:30pm on a Friday evening. Now I missed most of them because of this as I was out. But by Sunday they were online and I was able to watch them and discuss them on a Monday morning.

Perhaps another reason for this death of linear T.V. is that the companies themselves seem fully of aware of this. Or at least, this must be the reason, surely, for the utter dross that is on every night at the moment? The summer season might not be the best for T.V. but even this year is a new low. Baby Ballroom? Big Brother 8! The BBC is just churning out cookery show after cookery show - although whether or not we should trust the BBC that these people are indeed cooks is another point entirely...

Still though, if T.V. does become a format that becomes random and unscheduled - perhaps all shows just being made "available" at some point during the week - what will this mean? No advertising? Less money? Or more specific shows for more refined audiences? Well, who knows just yet, but like the advent of colour and then extra channels this could be the start of a new, significant chapter, in the history of T.V.