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Post Tagged with: Media Musings

Can you guess who it is yet?

Can you guess who it is yet?

About two weeks ago, the BBC Radio Wales programme Mousemat came a-calling, looking for strident voices in the eternal PC-vs-Mac debate. Thus, those of us with a suitable opinion in the office (including uber-designer Mark Boulton) were vox-popped for the programme.

Now, the final edited piece has hit the Internet. Mark’s carefully considered points about design and that “it isn’t wrong to pay for good design” were alas dropped, but mine and that of two or three other colleagues were left in.

I’m off for a week, dropping in on various places, so in the meantime, listen to the MP3 (less than 90 seconds) and see if you can guess which voice is mine! You will have to turn the volume up, as it seems to have lost a lot of volume in the process.

See you next Thursday!

(Does this count as my first podcast?)

I'm a gagsmith!

I'm a gagsmith!

I’ve finally submitted my various pieces based from the Doctor Who press launch that I attended on Tuesday night. (And lo, Doctor Who 2006 is good. Oh yes. Tennant *is* the Doctor. And it’s old Who. and yet new Who. Together.)

The powerful editor-that-be wanted some gossippy pieces to go alongside the coverage – and I was unsure as to what material there could be gleamed from a relatively dull press night (no major celebs, minimal nipple count). but, blimey, working with a professional talented journalist does wonders for your copy. By the time we’d batted it back and forth, sending amendments and suggestions to each other’s copy, we’d unearthed a few sparkling gems of wit. Even if I do say so myself.

I’m not too sure how many of them will get used, but permit me the chance to blow my own trumpet for once, and you’ll be rolling down the aisle with these gags. Alright, maybe not but it might raise a smile.

(I did once intend to use a blog as a way to sharpen my comedy skills by trying to write one gag a week based on the news’ events. Might just try that again, as soon as I can start watching the news again!)

Another persistent bit of tabloid Who gossip doing the rounds is that Jordan (Peter Andre’s wife, not the middle eastern country) is set to join the cast. But writer Russell T Davies vetoed the idea in no uncertain terms in front of the 200 strong press pack. Perhaps he didn’t want to repeat himself – after all, the last series had plastic dummies taking over the world under the power of evil transmissions.

Annette Badland, who played an evil Slitheen masquerading as the Lord Mayor of Cardiff in the last series of Doctor Who, was spotted at the press launch, as was Nicholas Bourne, leader of the Conservative Group in the National Assembly for Wales. So watch out if there are suddenly plans to demolish Cardiff Castle in favour of a nuclear power station. Still, at least Nicholas had a golden ticket, which is more than we can say for the partner of another Welsh AM, heard loudly demanding entry to the screening. You’d think they’d have something better to do than watch an example of a much derided institution reinventing itself for a contemporary audience.

Another persistent bit of tabloid Who gossip doing the rounds is that Jordan (Peter Andre’s wife, not the middle eastern country) is set to join the cast. But writer Russell T Davies vetoed the idea in no uncertain terms in front of the 200 strong press pack. Which is understandable. You can have farting aliens faking an alien invasion before destroying Big Ben, but having a former glamour model who marries a former pop star better known for his abs and banana diet, who then renews her wedding vows before the first year is even up would really break the bounds of believability.

Another persistent bit of tabloid Who gossip doing the rounds is that Jordan (Peter Andre’s wife, not the middle eastern country) is set to join the cast. But writer Russell T Davies vetoed the idea in no uncertain terms in front of the 200 strong press pack. Shame really – after all, the Doctor prides himself on changing appearance, body shape, companions and personality every couple of years.

Despairing at the state of Welsh media

Despairing at the state of Welsh media

When it happened the first time, I shrugged. The second time, I was amazed. The third time, I’m now just shaking my head at the sheer stupidity and insularity of some of the people who work in Welsh media.

First, there was Lowri Turner writing for Wales’ national newspaper on why gay people shouldn’t run the country.

What she says is bad enough, but then you have to query what on earth Ms. Turner is doing writing for Wales’ national newspaper in the first place. She’s a fashion journalist so it’s obviously not for political gravitas. She was born and bred in London, so by most definitions I wouldn’t say that she’s Welsh. So what on earth is she doing writing for them in the first place? It’d be like having professional Scotswoman Edith Bowman commenting on political issues for The Times.

Secondly, students. Bloody students. Specifically, the student editor of Cardiff’s student newspaper who took the brave decision to be the first UK publication to publish the very controversial Mohammed images. At quite possibly the biggest university in Wales. On a campus teeming with students from all walks of life. Including Muslims. In a city that has the biggest and oldest concentration of Muslim people in Wales. Leaving aside the issues of freedom of speech vs responsibility, it’s not a very sensible decision to make – even fellow student newspapers say so.

Thirdly, church newspaper editors. To illustrate a Welsh-language article about the shared ancestry of Christianity, Islam and Judaism from the Church of Wales, they again included one of the controversial Mohammed images. Resulting in the recall of 500 prints. Whoops.

Sadly, this time around, I’m less amazed than bemused. Familiarity breeds contempt.

Cardiff gets Metro-ized ?

Cardiff gets Metro-ized ?

When I lived in London, one of the ways in which I’d figure out what was going on in London and feel somehow connected to a city of 7m people was by picking up the free daily copy of Metro outside all the tube stations. Then I could see what was going on, and get my daily news feed as it were.

Fast forward 5 or so years, and Metro has come to Cardiff. As many people in the office have commented, I’m not too sure how this is going to work – hardly anyone I know in Cardiff uses public transport to get to work. They either drive or walk, but they don’t sully themselves with the outrageous prices charged by Cardiff Bus – the bus company that’s apparently owned by us. Pah!

I, of course, have no such compunction. Caught the bus to work this morning, and found a newspaper dispenser stuffed full of Metros. Given that this was about 10am – a time when in London, Metros would be rarer than a viable dotcom plan, this was quite surprising.

Perhaps the commuters just didn’t feel the need for a anodyne daily newspaper. Because Metro feels about as relevant to Cardiff as the New York Times. There are two pages of listings culled from the PA (spreading its net as far as that other bustling metropolis Newport), a couple of tiny news stories, and a couple of tiny interviews with artists who are “coming to Cardiff soon” – and that’s about as Cardiff as it got. For the launch issue. Oh, and a free voucher for a bottle of Japanese beer.

Still, at least I can finally catch up on the adventures of mainstream goth girl Nemi.

Why do we tip taxi drivers?

Why do we tip taxi drivers?

Taxi drivers are paid to get us to our destination in a professional manner. Once they’ve done that, why on earth should we give them extra money for that privilege?

There’s a simple reason to tip bar and restaurant staff – they earn a low wage, but we’re also far more likely to see them again. A good tip will ensure good service the next time you see said waiter – but that doesn’t apply with taxi drivers. One black cab is the same as another.

So why do we tip taxi drivers? Answers on a postcard please…

No more Christopher Robin

No more Christopher Robin

Sarcasmo’s Corner decries a news story that in Disney’s forthcoming Winnie The Pooh movie, Christopher Robin is being replaced by a six-year-old tomgirl.

Like Sarcasmo, I first reacted with more than a small hint of outrage at more descreation of our beloved childhood characters. Then I thought again.

Christopher Robin is/was the symbol of British chilren’s literature – but he was also stuffy, introverted and somewhat boring. A lead into the wonderful world of Pooh, but he didn’t actually really do anything. Mention the Poohniverse to anyone, and it’s all Pooh and Eeyore. Not Robin.

If we are all to embrace a wonderful diverse non-sexist/racist universe which embraces things like sexual equality, then we need to revise some of our childhood stories for a new generation. After all, Pooh was written in a time when women weren’t exactly expected to amount to anything much. Now they are, so why not change the odd character?

Of course, if it doesn’t work, I’ll be calling for their heads on a spike the size of Mars. But give Disney, for once, a chance first!

The joys of Radio 2 ?

The joys of Radio 2 ?

When it comes to planning a marathon (to me) 700-mile round trip between South Wales, mid Wales, North Wales and Milton Keynes, planning becomes extremely important. But not about the route, oh no – it’s the tunes, man. What is going to stimulate your brain on those lonely roads.

However, my fiendish plan to sample podcasting with my iPod came a cropper when I picked up my otherwise lovely-if-petrol-guzzling car. It didn’t have a cassette player to which I could attach said iPod – just a radio and CD player. So I was stuck with the radio – at least in those fortunate times when the mountains of Wales didn’t shield me from radio transmissions.

And so it came to pass that on a Saturday afternoon, I was idly scanning through the radio stations. And I came across the bliss that is Saturday afternoons on Radio 2.

Now, normally I wouldn’t go anywhere near Radio 2 since I still, for some unfathomable reason, like to think of myself as a reasonably hip dude – even if I can’t stand gangsta rap. (that’s sooo 5 years ago anyway). To my diseased trend-following brain, Radio 2 has always been a bit of a slippers-and-Ovaltine radio station, while Radio 1 and 6 Music has been the hip young thing. A bit too hip, since I cannot bloody stand Sara Cox, and she still pollutes the airwaves on Sunday afternoons.

But then I stumbled across the tail end of Jonathan Ross, then came a glorious hour of “comedy analysis”, basically an excuse to stitch together a bunch of comedy clips. Then came Chris Evans, and he sounds as interesting and zany as he ever was – except it’s far more palatable on a Saturday afternoon driving up the A470 than on a bleary-eyed morning. Those three hours were radio heaven, as far as I’m concerned.

So get my slippers and Ovaltine on standby, and slot a Val Doonican 8-track tape into the player, would you?

Nothing divides the sexes more than "wet" or "moist"…

Nothing divides the sexes more than "wet" or "moist"…

It has been my humble experience that nothing divides the sexes more than the words “wet”, “moist” or things of that nature.

One of my favourite quotable authors is Stephen Fry. One of his most memorable phrases was “moist gusset”. I just like the sound of that, the way the words roll into each other. But I had to stop saying it in company after women everywhere complained.

I’d heard really good things about the new Robert Downey Jnr. / Val Kilmer / Shane Black movie Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but after I saw this killer quote:

I was tired, I was pissed, I was wetter than Drew Barrymore in a grunge bar.

I know that film will be my next new favourite.

But so far, when I’ve gleefully told people, their reaction has been somewhat divided around gender lines.

Is it the actual quote? Or more the fact it has the word “wet” in it, in a dubious sexual connotation?

All about writers

All about writers

This is so true: from I find your lack of faith disturbing (a successful screenwriter’s blog):

“In short, writers whose parents ignored them so they became class clowns like to pitch first and write second. On the other hand, writers whose parents ignored them so they became awkward little geeks who stayed in their room and read Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators like to write first and pitch never.

Writers who were both class clowns and awkward little geeks like to create blogs.”

Reasons not to date a redhead #1

Reasons not to date a redhead #1

We interrupt our specialist programming to inform you that Sun editor and fiery redhead Rebekah Wade (not 36-24-36 presumably) was arrested (and later released without charge) for an alleged assault on her husband, former EastEnders actor Ross Kemp. Who had an onscreen image for being a bit of a hard man.

According to BBC News, “Scotland Yard said Mr Kemp, 41, sustained a “thick lip” but declined medical aid”

I cannot get out of my head the image of a shaven-head Ross Kemp quivering and cowering as he’s confronted with the rage and furious anger of a tabloid journalist editor *and* redhead. And then I ponder on the news headlines tomorrow and wonder if the headline of the day will be “Kemp is a *** scumbag” with full details about his lovemaking technique – or something like that. Hell hath no fury than a scorned tabloid editor of the UK’s most widely-read newspaper…