Thursday, August 28, 2008

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

What, in the name of sanity, has Kate Moss done to deserve having £1.5m spent on making a gold statue of her? As far as I am aware she doesn’t have a discernable talent apart from ‘looking pretty’. Essentially she’s done all check-list of pointless celebrity things – clothing range, music video, some charity fundraising – although PETA have criticised her for continually wearing fur – and she’s dated some other famous people.

If Moss is a charitable soul then surely she would want the £1.5m to be given to charity, rather than wasted, on this irrelevant statue, that is nothing more than another hollow example of the all pervasive cult of celebrity. One suspects though she probably isn’t and what work she has done was a case of ‘good PR’.

It’s not to misunderstand art and what it tries to achieve to simply and openly criticise such pointless endeavors as these, and if Marc Quinn comes out with any quotations along the lines of ‘it challenges people's perceptions…’ then we really are entering the world of the mundane – a gold statue of a ‘beauty’ passing for a meaningful piece of art?

She’s, according to Quinn, ‘the ideal beauty of the moment’, which is an incredibly asinine thing to say. That it’s being said of a well-known cocaine abuser who has done nothing of note that will live on beyond her demise is more than a little depressing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Shome mishtake shurely

A 'world' game of Monopoly is to be played - see here - and London secured a 'red' position. What about the blues, I hear you cry? Riga and Montreal. Honestly - see here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Minis anyone?

What can we learn from the 1948 Olympics? I like the comment from Dorothy Tyler MBE, 88 – who competed at the 1948 games, who says, ‘a great big no to any pop groups, it should not be made into a pop occasion. This is a serious thing.’

I couldn’t agree more. You fear it will be so that we just wheel out a load of crap pop stars and singing a load of rubbish songs. However, they had the imagination to have Jimmy Page play at our eight minutes (even if it was with Leona Lewis – although she did conquer American so in terms of global awareness she’s probably a good choice), which suggests they might look beyond the obvious.

It’s pretty clear you can’t compete with Beijing in terms of scale and size of show, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be good. I think something involving minis driving around, doing stunts, almost crashing, but not quite crashing, would be fun. Any other suggestions? (No 'comedy' pearly queen, morris dancers, tea drinking replies allowed).

Friday, August 22, 2008

The blog eats itself (or doesn't pay its way)

A very interesting article here on why blogging hasn't taken off in the UK with regards lucrative money making. Point six, regarding the BBC, and how it swallows up huge amounts of internet traffic because of its position, coupled with its reluctance to link to any other media sites, small or large, would certainly hamper growth of UK blogging, as a professional, money-making tool. Of course in the US (where blogging can make money) there is no 'one' media outlet that has such a control. Certainly if you're paying £139.50 for your license fee you might as well get your moneys worth and use the BBC.

Secondly the BBC's own technology blog has commented on the story and referenced point six as well which is an nice piece of naval gazing within the world of blogging.

A final, pertinent, point comes from a Patrick Altoft, who runs a 'blogging consultancy' (that wouldn't even have existed 10 years ago) who says, quoted on the BBC blog, "You have to develop your own niche, you need to break news, you need to write stuff that nobody else is writing."

That is if you want to make money though. This raises then, some questions. If you need to do that to make money, which many don't (me for one), then why do people blog, and blog endlessly? For fun? Because it's an outlet for your voice and opinions?

The blog is so new everyone asks, 'why do people blog?' and so on. But perhaps the point is people have always wanted to 'blog' (i.e. have an outlet for their voices), but it is only now with Web 2.0 and broadband internet, that millions of people across the planet can do just that, where before they were limited to writing letters to newspapers and magazines, at best.

It's up to you, your content, and probably a little dumb luck, as to whether you'll make any money from it. Ultimately though, it doesn't bother me, and it clearly doesn't both the millions out there doing the same. It would be nice, but it's not why any of us do it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Hard Sell

My editor has written a book. You can buy it here on Amazon.

She made me publish this.

She didn't really. But an interesting diversion nonetheless.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oh dear

Well I don't know what they were expecting. The term 'undisclosed sum' suggests they probably paid a little too much than they would like to admit.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday afternoon

How did they get the penguin to 'actually' inspect the troops like that?

A link

This is a very well-written and moving piece from someone who survived the Omagh bombing in 1998 and underlines the power that can be achieved through simple, plain, everyday language.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Was it...

A Sign O' The Times.

I love the video game billionaire and football pundit additions. Very modern.

He's Back!

Not content with appearing once, or twice, on this blog, Cliff is back again. This time he's promoting his desire to get another(!) number one. How did he even get one? Doesn't he know the number single position is now uttely irrelevant?

"He's got some support at Woolworths, at least, as the retailer has agreed to sell copies of Thank You for a Lifetime - a special exception to their decision not to stock singles."

Why Woolworths, why?!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Where to start?

The BBC News, alongside many other media outlets, has reported that Policy Exchange's latest report 'Cities Unlimited' argues:

"Cities in northern England such as Liverpool, Sunderland and Bradford are "beyond revival" and residents should move south, a think tank has argued. Policy Exchange said current regeneration policies were "failing" the people they were supposed to help. A mass migration to London, Cambridge and Oxford would stop them becoming "trapped" in poorer areas, it said."

It's an incredible claim to make. Author Tim Leunig, a lecturer in economic history at the London School of Economics (proof indeed that at the end of the day intelligence is an unquantifiable trait), said: 'No doubt some will claim that these proposals are unworkable, unreasonable and perhaps plain barmy.' Plain barmy? That's putting it mildly.

It's all quite mind-boggling. If the north is 'beyond revival' as this think tank, that advises the Tories on key issues, suggests, then we should just give up on it and tell everyone to move south? Is that actually what they’re suggesting? The report is (now) online, you can download it here. Their site is is a load of rubbish though; the search function doesn’t work and the layout is garish.

Surely a mass migration to other cities will just ruin those cities? Does this ‘think’ tank really believe this is the best course of action? It almost seems like practical joke and if it was April 1st it would make more sense. How on earth have we evolved to a system of government and 'thinking' where a major think tank can suggest such outlandish, spurious, almost comical claims?

On the 'thisislondon' website they've included a great image comparision piece in their article to show the differences between Oxford and Liverpool - pictured. It's utter rubbish. You could find two shots of any two cities and make one look nice and the other like a dump.

Perhaps they're right. Perhaps everyone oop' north should just give up, come down here, (we've got loads of room!) and find jobs here, (can't give 'em away!) and let's allow the northern cities to turn into wild, ghost towns, that we can use for movie shoots in post-apocalyptic films.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Not surprising, but...

Front page of the londonpaper last night:

Page 3: Sienna's dishy lunch date.

Page 8: Russia continue with Georgia attack.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Talked down to?

Britain From Above was a bloody odd show. It never really knew what it was trying to show, aside from that representing different things around the country in the form of colourful sperm looked quite interesting.

At times it was almost childlike: “look here, a train taking people to work, and over there some people having a swim”. Then it bordered on a Steve Coogan pastiche – the traffic engineer who controlled traffic light timings saying, ‘we have to be ready for the unexpected, once a milk float overturned’. Is that his best anecdote?

But the single most interesting, and depressing, aspect was the man whose job was to watch for the end of Eastenders and be ready to ensure there was enough energy to match the sudden demand for a cuppa the end of the show causes. How utterly pathetic is that. Again, not sure how it linked in to ‘Britain From Above’ but they put it in anyway.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I like Sport, but...

Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe has told the BBC "it is vital" that Team GB reaches the target of 41 medals from the Beijing Olympics.

Is it though? Is it really? Of course we want to do well and if we were to finish fourth it would be great for the country and the continued progress we are making in these areas. But it’s not ‘vital’ that we reach our target. It’s vital we curb knife crime, it’s vital we try and ensure a proper, rounded education for all, it’s vital we address the roots of international terrorism. But it's not vital we make sure we win a gold for sailing a boat around a pre-determined course of markers faster than someone else. Or that we jump further than someone else into a sandpit.

Isn’t this taking a large proportion of what makes sport the enigma it is away? The best thing about sport is its unpredictability. The greatest matches are so because you’re never sure of the outcome, or an under-dog comes from nowhere and produces a performance that defies expectation. You don’t want to just be crossing off medals as and when you’ve predicated them to come in.

And based on Lucca Barra’s (who forecasts the Olympic medal table using the results of recent world championships in each sport) Athens performance chart (in which he got 2 / 10) it’s clearly not the most exact science, despite him saying we will surpass our target.

Monday, August 04, 2008

They all laughed

Interesting BBC Magazine story here about the continued existence of people who genuinely believe the Earth is flat. It's well written as it lets the bizarre individuals and their beliefs be shown up by themselves and their quotes in attempting to justify what they believe, rather than the author trying to do it with his own words. It is fascinating though that people still believe this stuff, if a little worrying.

As the final lines say:

"While we all respect a degree of scepticism towards the authorities, [says Ms Garwood] the flat-earthers show things can go too far. It is always good to question 'how we know what we know', but it is also good to have the ability to accept compelling evidence".

Plus gives me the opportunity to put in one of my favourite quotations:

"It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small." - Neil Armstrong