Media Matters

Media musings and grumbles from a grouchy old git......

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Situation in Somalia Bad and Getting Worse

Saturday was a busy day we went to Uxbridge to collect our tickets and currency for our Dubai trip, in the afternoon we went to see a local production of the Pajama Game which was entertaining.

Today I met with Mr Awale and Haydara to talk more about the Somalian TV project - this against the backdrop of the worsening situation that Bill is highlighting on his website .

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Saturday, March 25, 2006


A week where a predator finally jumped cover

After around two years of talk a move for ITV has come- the move is not one I personally think is the best for the company but at least it identifies the need for a fresh approach to that of Charles Allen and potentially releases shareholder value, Dyke is behind this and it seems personal.

I have taken my 10% profit and am now looking for a fresh opportunity to speculate on but for those with a stronger constitution there could be a bigger reward, personally while ITV remains a minnow I think its limited and I can see a good fit with either a yahoo or google or alternatively one of the big mobile players.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

From today's papers

Some good stuff in today’s paper particularly taken with Bill Talen featured in Sunday Times’s life in the day of feature -Bill is communicating against consumerism with his church of the stop shopping seems admirable to me.

Even more impressive was the story of a woman who is working to enlighten Muslims around the world her name is
Wafar Sultan and she seems a very brave woman.

some audio too!

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hopefully some audio too!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

my 'fave' film

Ignore the earlier entry I can't keep away...

So have become inmpressed with videoegg it's a really easy way to add video to your blog above

is a short bit of my favourite film Diva - hope no copyright issues also made my first entries to Wikipedia adding some details of Robert Holles who wrote the screenplay of Guns at Batasi.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Democratisation of the media?

When there is a subject for debate or viewpoint I find it useful to put a question mark.

Listening to BBC radio’s Broadcasting House (BH) last Sunday morning I was drawn by an item about podcasting – there is a real discussion that should be entered into on the removal of mediation within broadcasting or perhaps a better term to describe it is the disintermediation of mass communication (I deliberately avoided the use of media here!) – in parallel to this phenomenon we now have; mediation of the what used to be the personal (like buying a book or a ticket). I’m often drawn to the requirement to provide my own views (is it good or bad) here I will try to remove that emotive desire of mine and be more objective and offer some conjecture on where this is taking us, and explain why I’ve decided to discontinue (perhaps stop would be a better term) my own blog.

I will contribute to others (like Digital lifestyles info I hope) on specific themes but my period of navel gazing is at an end.

So why is this? Well the aforementioned item on BH was a personal Damascus for me – democratisation of the media is a questionable end goal – what is needed to make it of value is democracy and we’re a long way from this. What we are moving towards could be termed a dictatorship of consumption – where ownership and transactions replace experience and relationships, many people are more inclined to communicate the events in their life than to live and experience them, people in pubs talking on their phones and ignoring their companions, concert-goers sending photos’ to those not there.

Just because I talk doesn’t mean anyone listens a conversation is much more than people talking.

I love all the technology and the BH listen distilled this – wow I could add a podcast to my site and video- for what, it’s all
bread and circuses .

Sure the internet is great but perhaps there’s more too? (another question mark), anyway I’ll take a rest from too much blogging and keep it until until I’ve got something worth saying.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Joy of Capitalism

I'm re-evaluating my political position and reading this book -I saw a good programme on TV Tory ! Tory! Tory! made me wonder aboust the post war British consensus and the merits of Socialism.

I've started this book -need I say more?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Somalian Drought starts to get UK TV coverage

BBC 1 TV's flagship news programme the 10 O'clock news this evening had the Drought Crisis in East Africa as it's top story. Let's hope the international community sits up and takes notice while lives can be saved. It is not only Somalia that is being hit by drought but it's problems are more severe as there is no effective government there at this time and the country is still under the grip of warlords.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Sadly Beatling away

so farewell to a couple of figures from Beatle films

Ivor Cutler (Buster Bloodvessel In Magical Mystery Tour before the days of semi-Ska group Bad Manners). Ivor was a great character in the surrealist mode looking like a civil servant but being way out there before there was even an out there to be at.


John Junkin (Shake in A Hard Day's Night)- John was a great comedian and writer from Ealing, he worked with Tim Brooke- Taylor (Hello Cheeky), Marty Feldman and so many others.

Sadly too this week we've lost a dear neighbour, Catherine, her last year or so was difficult for those around her as she battled against Alzheimer's but in her better days she still had a little twinkle in her eye.

Goodbye to you all- you'll be remembered.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Cycling ..
so I've decided to start riding a bike again and to help with this I've bought a bike from Halfords. It seemed a bit wrong to drive down and collect it but it's dark and raining and I will be only a fairweather cyclist

Great to see John (soon to be Dr) who I was lucky enough to work with in Hong Kong being given a send off.

48 Crash*!?#

I did send a friend an e-mail on his 48th birthday with this subject line but did not realise at the time that it was apposite but I heard one of the writers on the smash single that Suzie Quatro sang in the seventies explaining it...
48 crash is about how life falls apart when you reach 48 and the 'silk sash bash' is the dressing gown you wear (?)- unlike many of their songs this has a subject at least to paraphrase either Chinn or Chapman interviewed recently for a TV show about the Glam rock decade.

In fact for my money the best single Suzie did was really underated in the UK but a monster in the US and was a ballad where she dueted with the husky voiced Chris Norman (formerly of Smokie) - and this is about something I'm sure -Stumblin' in was the title it gloried under.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Googling into the past

One of the great things about goole (used to be there share price:-) ) -is the way you can see what was on the web- here's how Univ TV stood for a while -Monday is an important day for the infant Somalian TV service - I think now they're running a service they deserve to survive but proper management is important too.

Tate Modern

We visited the Tate Modern on Saturday via the infamous Millennium bridge- it was cold but London by the River Thames on a bright crisp day takes a bit of beating. The bridge which was famous for wobbling when it was first opened is now functioning well and the Tate Modern is attracting a great tourist presence - I would personally think a small charge is actually worthwhile for the venue at the moment there are too many peope visiting, if you make something free there's a danger it's seen as being worth nothing at all - with works by Dali, Picasso and Bacon this is certainly not the case for the Tate but not sure that all there realise what riches are being cast in their direction. Talking of the Tate, there's an interesting web piece on the Economy of Love here which talks of the Tate Modern as a cultural bank. We went into the centre of London by tube it's painful (for me) to see how many people enjoy a drink while travelling on the train- going out there were a bunch of Poles sharing a beer and an older gentlemen having a 'wee dram' to keep out the cold and on our return a young guy with the obligatory iPod was getting stuck into a Stella Artois and a packet of peanuts- is this good? I'm not inclined to think it is - we seem to be moving away from drink being a social enjoyment to it being a social lubricant ( I waited until I got home to have my beer!) - another view on tube drinkers here

Friday, March 03, 2006

Changes due at BT ?

Interesting to see so much about BT and private equity (PE) - my feeling is that the original Times story was speculative and riding on the back of the increasing activity around PE investments this has now spawned more speculation , the original article merely gave BT as an example of what PE could target (in terms of scale) - this has now triggered a share price rise in BT. There's some good backgrtound on Private Equity here.

BT could benefit from splitting various of it's divisions away from BT group at the moment it's size is hampering its ability to act quickly and decisively- Openreach should be a company in its own right, the changes that are needed at BT can be carried out within the current structure and would release share holder value - without some action there will always be stories of a speculative nature.

BT's media and broadcast business is also in the news, there's talk of a strike hitting TV sports coverage -our old friend Petra finds out more.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Ace Cafe

So lunch today at the Ace Cafe - I was on a short break so couldn't indulge myself but really liked what I saw and ate (French Onion soup for me) - nice to go somewhere with character (and beer)- I hope to make it a regular haunt .


Against the odds Campbell as the new Lib Dem leader - could be a good choice he's got the least to lose and most to prove, it's been a fiasco-we'll see what happens over the next few months- but I'm not sure where the Lib Dems stand with a renewed Tory party and Gordon Brown keeping Labour on the centre ground are they serious or just a protest vote?

Smart Water

Now when I walk down to catch my bus to work each morning I pass the local police station and I've noticed that they're letting me know about Smart Water - it sounds like something out of a questionable TV drama set in 2025 - can it do what they say?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

St David's Day

Happy St David's Day .The new Welsh Assembly was opened today by the Queen and by all accounts it's an impressive enviromentally friendly construction with good public access built at the expense of British tax-payers.
I read that the Welsh assembly is the first forum that has an equal balance of representatives of men and women - all the parties leaders though are currently men perhaps their succesors (or their deputies at least) should be women.

Talking of Saints

As well as St Mungo's I support St Giles - they help London's homeless in a real and down to earth way - if you want to help them on a regular basis or another worthwhile cause ( give just a few pounds a month) I doubt you'll notice and gift aid could probably add a further 28% to your contribution if you're a UK taxpayer.

Tessa Jowell
Now I've seen Tessa Jowell take questions on UK Broadcasting matters at a forum held in Portcullis House and to be honest I was impressed with her grasp of her brief and her directness (considering she's a politician and cabinet minister) but she's in deep mess at the moment - seems that in such a position it's far easier to prove guilt than innocence and the current Italian premier is a distinctly dodgy cove - I hope she's not brought down but if she remains as an injured 'player' she'll do the government no good at all. Rumour has it that the reason she's still in the DCMS is that no other suitable figure wants the job - we'll see