Sunday, 25 July 2010

BBC n SAN DIEGO

So the BBC is underfire about the licence fee,excess spending on executives, and the threat in cuts which, as I said a few days ago, really means cuts to programmes rather than the idiots that infest the bureaucracy...

so who paid for Yentob at San Diego Comicon?



ht: Rich

Saturday, 24 July 2010

MORE FEAR OF HEIGHTS


Karen Berger has confirmed that all "DC" Vertigo characters will be heading back to home to DC.

Bah!

As I explained in a previous post Vertigo essentially was created to give DC's horror and...less mainstream shall we say... comic books a place to hang out away from the tighter controls of DC.

Orginally formed from seven books - Animal Man, Doom Patrol vol. 2, and Shade, the Changing Man vol. 2; the Black Orchid miniseries The Sandman vol. 2, and Hellblazer and The Saga of the Swamp Thing - its stated aim was to allow creativity and to allow comics to grow up.

Since 1993 it has encompassed thrillers, sci-fi, fantasy, politics, horror and westerns to name a few.

And now the devoid-imaginations of DC wants their toys back.

F*** em

Seriously.

DC seems to be taking the same path as Marvel with multiple titles of the same core characters, non-event event books, depressing decompression and this fills me with dread.

Granted Doom Patrol and Animal Man have already gone back to DC Universe but they are probably a better fit over there, especially Animal Man whom, Grant Morrison's thrid-wall, decontruction heroics aside, didn't really fit in Vertigo that well while I never really got on with Doom Patrol tbh.

But now you are seeing Death with Lex Luthor?


And there are rumours abound that Swamp Thing will be in DC's latest bump to the Lantern franchise!


Sigh, just waiting for John Constantine to wear a nicotine patch, drink smoothies and when he whips off the trenchcoat we will hear him shout: "This is a job for Magus Man!"

GET WELL SQUIRREL



Long-term 2000AD artist and comic legend Carlos Ezquerra has had a lung removed in a fight to beat cancer.

Carlos (the Squirrel) is a legend in UK comics. He originally started off on the likes of Battle, drawing the Rat Pack before he created the design of Judge Dredd. Yup, drokkin Dredd, the pads, helmet, city, that was him! Of course he was also the co-creator of Strontium Dog and drew the first cover of infamous Action #1!



Unfortunately Mike Mahon's tale was the first to be in print.



It was down to his art that I picked up the Stainless Steel Rat series and have followed his work down the years whether in UK press or in stateside books although, alas, I have never met him.


Anyway, consiga bien pronto Squirrel!!

Friday, 23 July 2010

THE SMOKING GUN

Now this is interesting



Dizzy found the pic and has rightly pointed out that it doesn't look real.

Besides the point that the smoke is obviously behind the child's head and not in its face the smoke itself doesn't look real.

If you look at Piper's mouth and cheeks it is clear that she is inhaling, which means there shouldn't be that much smoke!

Well done the Mail

Such honesty and being the moral watchdog of our society becomes you

Sunday, 18 July 2010

CALING AUNTIE



Jeremy Hunt has put the BBC on notice about cuts when its Charter comes up for renewal.

Now there is a couple of things that makes me nervous about this and is actually symptomatic of the Civil Service culture anyway.

1) Do you think the cuts will be in the huge infratructure that the BBC employs? All those middle-tiered managers, training officers, diversity and health n safety officers etc?

Nope, it will be the programmes themselves that will face the cuts. Doctor Who is already on a 5% cut in budget, rumours abound that Top Gear is also facing stringent cuts as well - this is despite them being vast money earners for BBC Worldwide.

2) What do you think the response of the BBC will be? It will be that this is a threat to programmes that will be scrapped, cut etc, like the NHS. Not the management system. The programmes themselves, programmes that are already being cut to pay for the infrastructure of the BBC.

This is what gets me. Cuts can be made, jobs can be axed, without a massive threat to services. Why all these managers etc? What do they all do? This is what the BBC and all of the public sector should be looking at. For the BBC, the non-creatives; the NHS, the non-medical/front-line. Get rid of all these people who seem to be there to propogate their own jobs.


Also, I do think the BBC has lost its way as it's grown to its behemoth-size.

It is meant to educate and entertain and also supply programmes/services that aren't available elswhere.

I know it's a bit of a damned if we do, damned if we don't position vis a vis rating but:

1) Scrap/sell off Radio One. There's no need for it to be paid for by the licence fee.
2) Scrap News 24 - waste of resource. If something major is happening then report it on the main channels.
3) Scrap BBC3 - or reform it. There is some gems on the channels, otherwise it's full of dross that can be replicated on Channel 4.
4) Boost BBC 2. Get it back to its former glories instead of the home/cookery channel is seems to have been morphed into.
5) Ditto for BBC 4. There has been some crackers on this under-acheiving channel. The thing is, I only know because I look at what's on - most people need a bit of a push.
6) BBC Worldwide. We know from its accounts that it is profitable. We know that it's top earners are facing cuts - why? Surely each programme should have "ownership" of some of its own branding. I think that a percentage of each individual profits should be plowed back into that programme whilst it is on the air and then the rest should be diverted to programming.
7) Increase the freelance output. Make the BBC more of a publishing house for, say 60% of output. This gives jobs to the industry and would probably be cheaper.
8) Seperate BBC Films from the licence fee - make it stand on its own succes/failure.

I'm sure there are many more but to begin with, this is a start!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

TIME TO REFORM THE LOBBY


According to Mandy's latest missive from behind the firewall:

“Mad, bad, dangerous and beyond hope of redemption… flawed, lacking perspective and having a paranoia about him… He’s like something out of the mafiosi… He’s aggressive, brutal…there’s no one to match Gordon for someone who articulates high principles while practising the lowest skulduggery.”


Now I'll leave it up to Guido to ask why Blair didn't remove him but it is clear that the Lobby as some serious questions to answer.

If you don't know, the Lobby is that group of journalists who hang around Parliament with their passes and the subsequent privileges - including the subsidised bars.

Westminster is known as the village and if you're in it - even just drinking in one of the pubs regularly - you become part of that village. Two-shags affair for instance was talked about in the bars and pubs for at least a month before the papers reported on it. And there are still things I heard ten years ago that are still verboten to the wider world.

Now couple this with patronage.

The Lobby is dependent on patronage. They all go as a huddle to the various government briefings, get asides from SPaDs and "insiders" - usually the minister themselves or his head of press - and generally get their copy from inside the Palace and the deparments.

Think about it - when was the last time there was a genuine exclusive from the Lobby?

There hasn't been one, because of patronage.

Patronage allows the politicians to control the Lobby. Once patronage is gone, it isn't long before you would be shunted to the local government desk by the editor.

So it needs to be reformed.

After all the Clegarons whitter on about transparency then surely this should also apply to the Lobby.

Now there are genuine cases where anonymity should be protected - hell there were a couple of stories I got which were dependent on hiding the leaker - but at the end of the day you have to ask...

Everyone knew that Gordo was a loon - why did it take Guido and the bloggers to push it fully into the public's eye? And why did the Lobby not examine this as it happened rather than allow the likes of Mandy to come out with comments like above unchallenged?

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

FIREFLY

I love Firefly and Serenity. Cowboys in space, fused with the wit of Joss Weedon. However, the geeks over at io9 felt that the credits didn't draw in the viewers and what was needed was a kick-ass credit sequence...80s stylee -

Enjoy





UPDATE: Simon Tam's lack of appearance is, of course, because he was in a spin-off:

SHAM DEMOCRACY

Deputy PM Nick Clegg has disclosed that it doesn't matter how many people want the repeal of the smoking ban it is not going to happen.

A twee little video shows him saying how wonderful all this consultation is but as far as the smoking ban is concerned it is a done deal.



So what exactly is the point of the consultation. With pubs closing at a ridiculous rate, vilification of smokers that have been forced onto the street, along comes a consultation that...isn't.

Like free speech, consultations on laws and freedoms should not be a pick n mix. Except that all a lot of people want is a room in a pub where they don't have to drown in rain or freeze in the cold, to be allowed to smoke on an open platform when, yet again, their train is delayed and to enjoy a product that is not only legal but also brings in a healthy net income to the government.

Otherwise don't bother with this sham.

CAT FORCEFIELD



ht: Geekchic

Monday, 12 July 2010

MOORCOCK'S WHO


As I noted last year, Michael Moorcock is writing a Doctor Who book, here's the publisher's blurb:

Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
by Michael Moorcock

‘There are dark tides runing through the universe...’

Miggea – a star on the very edge of reality. The cusp between this universe and the next. A point where space-time has worn thin, and is in danger of collapsing... And the venue for the grand finals of the competition to win the fabled Arrow of Law.

The Doctor and Amy have joined the Terraphiles – a group obsessed with all aspects of Earth’s history, and dedicated to re-enacting ancient sporting events. They are determined to win the Arrow. But just getting to Miggea proves tricky. Reality is collapsing, ships are disappearing, and Captain Cornelius and his pirates are looking for easy pickings.

Even when they arrive, the Doctor and Amy’s troubles won’t be over. They have to find out who is so desperate to get the Arrow of Law that they will kill for it. And uncover the traitor on their own team. And win the contest fair and square.

And, of course, they need to save the universe from total destruction.

A thrilling, all-new adventure featuring the Doctor and Amy, as played by Matt Smith and Karen Gillan in the spectacular hit series from BBC Television written by the acclaimed science fiction and fantasy author Michael Moorcock

APPLE

So Apple have developed Friends Stores so those i-bores can witter on to someone else for a change instead of me ;)



ht: Geeks

GOOGLE STREET VIEW





HT: Gizmondo

Sunday, 11 July 2010

REIGN OF DEATH

Here's a treat for you - former Doctor Who companion, Noel Clarke has been doing the rounds with this short film.

Him and the writer/director Matthew Savage are now looking to make it into a full feature film.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

BLOG V JOURNOS


This has been an ongoing issue since the blogosphere appeared - does traditional media represent true journalism?

With the Times going behind a paywall, what function does a paper hold in the modern world?

WIth 24-7 news, why would someone pay to look at the news section of the Times when an app on their phone or a quick trip to one of the numerous newssites would give someone an overview of the world?

So what is the print media's function?

What is the model to counteract falling readerships and sales?

For newspapers, there is going to have to be a shift into views, comments and special features which are unique to the identity of the paper.

Also what coverage does a newspaper have?

The illustration below is based on a study by journalism.org which looked at the US stream and what is driving blogs, newspapers and twitterers.



By its very nature, the web can offer a broader, disparate number of views than traditional print. The complaint that the blog is not true journalism ignores the very origins of newspapers ie. the pamphleteers.

Blogs and tweets are the modern equivalent - people pushing their opinion onto the public.

If the pay-model for traditional media fails then we could see media falling into a world of citizen-journalism, one powered by personal opinion rather than driven by commercial, editorial, owner-needs.

A world where every person is plugged into their own network of information and opinion, not relying on pravda, newsinternational etc for news and views. A network where the person is relied on to filter through the rubbish.

Could it work? Or would a million voices drown out the one screaming "fire"?

Pic ht: flowtown

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

ON A LIGHTER NOTE...


My daughter's been published at the grand old age of five!

It was a fund-raiser book for her school but I thought you'd like to read what she wrote.

G ruffalo's child was feeling brave
R un mouse the child is coming
U h ha! Trap the child
F rightened of course
F ighting of course
A h roasted mouse
L ucky us
O f course

I blame the parents ;)

FIVE YEARS ON


Do you remember where you were on 7/72005?

I was on a freelance contract at Moorgate and thanks to the incompetence of the Tube I was both put at risk and saved from risk at the same time.

The Northern Line was down due to a broken train - which was why that bomb went off on the bus - so I jumped on the District Line thinking I'd change at Aldgate East.

My train was being cancelled at Tower so I jumped off at Mansion House and walked up to Moorgate - I would have been at Aldgate East at the time the bomb went off.

Got into work to find hardly anyone in, everyone caught up in what we thought was the usual chaos from London Transport.

As the clock ticked round and reports began streaming in on the wires about explosions, a colleague turned round and said: "That is no accident."

When I had got in, I'd heard of the "exchange" explosion, so phoned my wife to say I was OK - which was lucky as the mobile network was shut down shortly afterwards so she could tell anyone who phoned that I was OK.

It was extremely surreal in the office, no work was done as people just stared at the images on the TV.

More surreal was a line manager who wanted a meeting at 4pm. I pointed out that maybe we should have the meeting the next day as people would have to get home - to which she replied: "So? I have to get home as well."

Sanity prevailed and the office was shut at 4.

The walk over to Waterloo was amusing in its way. People who have never seen Cheapside, Blackfriars or Fleet Street from street level, or only from through a cab, looked lost, wandering around trying to pick up the last available A-Z from the few shops still open.



After the bombing, our fine tradition of liberty and freedom (what you think the Americans invented it? They were British y'know) took a pasting with more and more obscene "anti-terrorist" laws being enacted.

On today, five years since the bombings, I would hope this government will finally live up to the true traditions of both Tories and Liberals, and remove these pernacious laws permanantly from the statute books.

People died and were maimed in the attack because of our liberal traditions, not so the British people could be considered potential criminals by their own State.

MORE FROM THE AGE OF AUSTERITY


The government has revealed that it spent nearly £100,000 on apps for mobile phones.

Seriously, £100,000 on four apps.

Here they are

* NHS Drinks Tracker £10,000
* NHS Quit Smoking £10,000
* Jobcentre Plus £32,775
* DVLA Masterclass £40,000

According to the Beeb, apparently these apps don't work with the iPhone 4.

Amusingly the Home Office turned down the FoI request on grounds of national security. What sort of apps does it have? An i-Spy app???

53,000 people apparently downloaded the Jobcentre Plus app, though as has been pointed out - how can people be on benefits if they can afford an iPhone?

Jeez, the expense and incompetence of departments - and they wonder why the private sector thinks it's about time the Civil Service is exposed to private practice?

Oh and lets remember that there is to be a review of all 820 government websites. 820?!?! The government spent£94m on website development and running costs and £32m on web staff in 2009 - 2010.

SPINNING AROUND

There has been a lot of coverage over the latest Special Advisers list from the government.

The interesting thing is that, yes numbers have gone down, but the thing is - why does a government need that many advisers? What do they all do? Most are comms experts but I worked in organisations that had one or two PR people, not 18.

Also, how does less people cost more? Then again I suspect there has been some dodgy accountancy in the past considering how stable the figure was previously.

In this age of austerity, surely the numbers could have been cut even further.

Anyway, for your enjoyment here's the breakdown from 2003 to 2010 of No. 10 SPaDs and SPaDs in total:

David Cameron
2010 -
Number of No10 SPaDs: 18
Total Number of SPaDs: 61
Total Cost: £6.8m
Hansard: 10 Jun 2010 : Column 34WS


Gordon Brown

2008-2009
Number of No10 SPaDs: 25
Total Number of SPaDs: 69
Total Cost: £5.9m
Hansard: 16 July 2009 : Column 74WS


2007-2008
Number of No10 SPaDs: 23
Total number of SPaDs: 73
Total Cost: £5.9m
Hansard: 22 July 2008 : Column 100WS

2006-2008
Number of No10 SPaDs: 18
Total number of SPaDs: 68
Total Cost: £5.9m
Hansard: 22 Nov 2007 : Column 149WS

Tony Blair
2005-2006
Number of No10 SPaDs: 22
Total number of SPaDs: 74
Total Cost: £5.9m
Hansard: 24 July 2006 : Column 90WS

2004-2005
Number of No10 SPaDs: 20
Total number of SPaDs: 68
Total Cost: £5.5m
Hansard: 21 Jul 2005 : Column 159WS

2003-2004
Number of No10 SPaDs: 26
Total number of SPaDs: 76
Total Cost: £5.3m
Hansard: 22 Jul 2004 : Column WS41