Sunday 24 July 2011

The pornography of grief

One of the certainties of the massacre in Norway is that the number of Journalists and media in general will exceed the the dead and injured by some considerable degree. Whenever there is a large loss of life either by the actions of the deranged, as in this case, or natural causes such as earthquakes or the japanese tsunami the media appear, at speed and en masse.
They are there to bring us every last detail to tut tut over whilst shovelling down the morning cornflakes and brushing the croissant crumbs from the lapels before starting our day, where would we be without them. Probably a lot happier, and before you slag me off for being an uncaring cynic I maintain that the victims would be a lot better off without them as well.
They arrive at these 'entertainment' venues and feed off the grief and anguish of the witnesses and survivours like J K Rowlings Dementors.
"You've just seen some of your friends shot in front of you how do you feel about that"
Jerry she's crying, are you getting that. Would she be better into the light to show the tears.

One clip from the tsunami sticks in my mind of a reporter doing a piece to camera, standing in the midst of complete devastation, looking as though he'd just stepped off the catwalk, suit and tie immaculate. They must have carried him into place as there was not even a speck of dust visible on his, obviously expensive, shoes.

Given my background in photography I know full well that I would be able to cover such an event and be worrying about composition, lighting, exposure etc. Had I covered all aspects, any angles on the subject that others may have missed. So does that make me a hypocrite for feeling the level of disgust I do for the whole media circus surrounding these tradgedies? Maybe, I'll let others judge that.
I think what bothers me is the excessive overkill (inappropriate but I can't think of a better description) of so many of the human animals involved in the feeding frenzy and the often crass pointless questions driven by deadlines ( it seems difficult to avoid these unfortunate puns) and the desire to top the opposition network or paper.
There is one point to consider, if I can be allowed to argue against myself for a moment, and that is the eventual cumulative effect on those covering the event.
All of those split second black moments as the cameras mirror flips up to allow the shot to be taken eventually mount up and leave a black stain on the soul. Always assuming said soul hadn't already been traded to the devil in exchange for a Pulitzer prize.

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Now where was I?

I've not been here for nearly a year?
I had a note from me Mum but the dog ate it, honest.
No excuses just loads of other inconvienient stuff to do like work and all writing exploits directed to, well learning to write better'n wot I did before.
An ongoing process which may well result in another blog at some stage, hopefully sooner than later.

I've resisted for some time now but it looks like I'll have to join the merry throng on Twitter. Just about every program on TV or radio not only trails their Twitter and Facebook address but constantly quotes anyone and whoever on Twitter as a news source. The Arab spring and Ozzy Bin Lid meeting his deserved end to the Tweeted announcement of helicopters overhead from from a guy who ironically had moved to the area for a bit of peace and quiet being cases in point. To say I've resisted for ages is somewhat of an exaggeration I actually opened a Twitter account in 2008 but at the time it was just another oddity amongst many others.
With the hacking scandal I think we may now be looking if not at the death of the news media in print then certainly at a serious moving of the goal posts. In a world where you can get the direct information even before the papers who is going to wait 24 hours for some hack to chew it up and spit out his own biased version once the presses have rolled. If you want longer than 140 characters then many of those who Tweet also blog (who me?), not least the very reporters working for the print media.

The Times they are a charging if you want to see their online product. Somehow in this case I think Mudrock will have as much success as Canute would holding back the Japanese Tsunami.

Whilst driving the other night in the pouring rain I was listening to the extensive reports on the resignation of the Met chief Paul Stephenson and his unsubtle swipe at Cameron who, just possibly, may now be at risk.
I had one lingering image in my mind that I couldn't shift.
Brad and Janet driving towards Frank N Furters mansion with the Nixon 'No whitewash in the Whitehouse' speech playing on the radio.

Johnny Marbles pies (foams) Mudrock! You couldn't script it better if you tried.
How many others are going to have their faces in a mess once this massive game of Kerplunk finishes.

Monday 9 August 2010

Totally burgered

Four plus weeks of little else but work, eat and sleep is not something to be recommended but as it ends with two weeks hoilday I'll try and push it to the back of my mind.
So here we are in the home of the Mouse, where every day should be had nicely and the streets are paved with cholesterol.
Don't think I'm joking. Scotland may have invented the deep fried Mars Bar but America invented the deep fried bit. You're in danger of being run down in any of the theme parks by any number of mobility scooters all carrying someone for no other reason than that they have a waist expansion problem / are corpulently challenged / have an eating disorder. Sorry let's stop being PC for a minute, they're fat and it would take two pounds of Semtex, or at the very least a crowbar to get the fork out of their hand.
Don't for one minute think I'm laying this on too thick I checked the map just yesterday whilst in Magic Kingdom and looking for a rest room. I wondered what the red symbols were, dotted all round the map, Automated External Defibrillators. Human jump starts dotted all over the place and you have to wonder in this litigious society what you'd stand most chance of being sued for, using one and the person dying .
"Sir you willfully killed this person by the application of a completely unecessary massive electric shock"
Or not using one.
"Sir you had the means to save this poor unfortunate by the simple application of a minor electric shock from the equipment already consideratly provided by Walt Disney World"
If I see one of them so much as sigh too deeply I'm running.

Land of the free and home of the brave but the only thing free is the coffee refills and all the braves were banged up on reservations years ago. Just a few being let out every so often when John Wayne or any other of Hollywoods firm jawed and rugged finest needed to shoot a few more and save the ranchers wife, town or state (all three in some cases). Quite how they managed to find the time whilst winning WW2 all on their own I'll never know.

If I'm sounding too bitter about the place I'm not. In oh so many ways they make the UK look like a bunch of cheap skate amateurs. Yes the staff in the parks and restaurants may seem OTT to our reserved eyes but they're smiling and even if they're acting at being "happy to be your server tonight" they're doing a bloody good job of it.

Come on, get up, there's no time for a lie in we've got to have fun. If we rush over to Space Mountain now we'll have time to fit in the Buzz Lightyear ride before the Disney Parade then we can fit in the two shows in the afternoon and get back for the firework display later tonight.
"Oh my god he's having a heart attack, please someone show me how to use this defibrillator"
"Okay Maam, d'you want fries with that"

Thursday 1 July 2010

The Matrix

ma·trix   ('trĭks)
A situation or surrounding substance within which something else originates, develops, or is contained:

As in the motorway signs we all know and love.
Obstruction ahead, lane restrictions, reduce speed, the all encompassing "Tiredness kills"
All operated skillfully and concientiously from a central command centre to help and speed us on our way.
Bollocks. This is what really happens.

"Jock have you cleared the signs on the 62"
"No not yet"
"They cleared the accident half an hour ago"
"Aye, I know but look at camera 42"
"What the fuck is he doing"
On camera 42 is an 18 wheeler straddling the middle and outside lane, blocking both, with the drivers arm out of the window giving the finger to a Merc trying to fit itself through a mini sized gap.
Obviously fed up with traffic toeing it down the outside lane despite the lane closed signs he'd had enough and decided to form his own rolling roadblock.
"Watch this"
"Jock what are you doing"
Jock punches a few buttons and the sign just ahead of the entertainment changes from outside lane blocked to inside lane blocked.
The 18 wheeler moves completely to the outside lane and the middle lane immediately closes up, so you can't get a Rizla between the bumpers of any vehicle, to prevent the mass of now indicating traffic in the inside lane from moving over. The Merc driver is turning puce as he's now stuck behind the truck and can't see the sign, the drivers in the inside lane are screaming and shouting at the middle lane occupants who are doing their level best to not notice and the driver of the 18 wheeler goes back to his mobile and cup of coffee, steering with his knees.
The two people in the control room watching this are now pissing themselves laughing.
"Jock. You are going to get the sack"
"Och awa wi'ye, it's only one o' ma tricks"

Monday 28 June 2010

Oh dear!

Well they've all been in the back of my car last night, the whole spectrum. The flag drapped, xenophobic, sweating, overweight bigot who couldn't kick a habit, let alone a football, mouthing obscenties and bile in every alcohol fuelled, spray accompanied word ("thats a fiver mate" now piss off). All the way to the terminally disinterested some 5 hours or so after the game "Oh did we lose?".
There was a bit of considered converstaion with those who hadn't drowned their sorrows completely but were only going down for the first time, surprisingly little 'we were cheated' due to the goal that wasn't given though.
Most of it centred around the overpaid, over pampered couldn't give a toss theme but I don't think it's that simple.

We have, by common agreement, pretty well the best league in the world but we have that because we have a great number of foreign players playing here.
Our problem exists at a grassroots level. My son played in a kids football team for years up until about three years ago and you get sick of hearing well meaning Dads who manage a team but have no coaching qualification screaming things like "get rid of it" and "your out of position". Obviously working out their own frustrations or previous failures on a bunch of 10 year olds.
They're still young, sod position and get rid of it. Play with it, if your not starting to learn that at 10 when are you going to learn it and as for insisting that they play on a full sized pitch at such a young age! Words fail me.
I've seen more than enough stressed out 10 and 11 year olds, because they, can't get a game, get subbed off, the managers screaming at them or just as often their Dad, with the same language they'd use at the club they support.

We all had a laugh at the nutter Maradonna before the World Cup playing half the population of Argentina in the run up and only just qualifying but they are playing with freedom and enjoying themselves. Did anyone see any of our players, in any of the four matches, so much as smile. Thats all just a starting point and this is only a blog post not a book.
It is frankly ludicrous though that you watch a replay of a goal that was a full yard over the line from half a dozen different angles within seconds of the incident and you can't see a huge swathe of grass behind the net as it's lined with cameras from the worlds press. Yet up in the stands is Septic Bladder, a cross between Canute and Nelson, trying not to squirm as the worlds accusing eye focuses on him.

Expect a few sackings, lots of finger pointing, but essentially no change for the Euros.

Tuesday 22 June 2010

World Crap

After our national heros put in that pitiful display against Algeria every reporter, broadcaster, pundit and the woman who brings the tea trolley round at broadcasting house have been banging on about what's gone wrong.
Revolution, mutiny, incompetence? Sixty odd million people in the country and at least that many opinions on the reason.
So why should I deny myself.

The best yet was Chris Waddle on 5Live. "They're sitting around in their rooms with nothing to do and probably munching on a pack of biscuits"

Brilliant, they've got more money than a politicians got bullshit, they're getting paid that amount for doing something that millions of us would give our left nut to be able to do for nothing just for one half, not even a full match and they're bored and full of biscuits.
Is there a 'Just giving' site where I can donate to assuage the boredom of these poor oppressed sportsmen?
Rooney "probably wants to be back with his new baby" Ah bless'im, so do half the squaddies serving in Afghanistan and they've got a bit more on their mind than whether there's enough ice left for the Bacardi and Coke.

John Terrys obviously upset that the Wags have been left at home as he can't screw anyone else's wife for at least another week so he's mouthing off as the self appointed leader, they may have taken the armband but forgot to pack a muzzle. Ashley Cole's probably working on a complicated spreadsheet working out who's getting more per kick than he is.
David James is looking down his nose at everyone, including Cappello, wondering what makes them think they're worthy of being in the same team. Robert Greens surfing the suicide websites weighing up whether a shot to the temple or throwing himself of a tall building would be preferable but he'll probably miss whichever one he chooses.
The only thing certain about Wednesdays game is that if it's still 0.0 at half time bottles will well and truly have gone and one S. Gerrard will be launching himself over every opposition bootlace within  three yards with that pained expression only he can manage.

Go on then you lot, prove me wrong, at least look as though your trying.

Friday 18 June 2010

The eyes have it

We don't have enough surveillance. They're missing huge possibilities, cameras on the roads and buildings are all very well but where are the cameras in cars and in houses. An internal camera in every car coupled with a sensor and you can spot a drunk driver before he even sets off, something sniffing the air will pick up drugs. We could even take it further and wire up one of those devices that diabetics use to shove a little needle in your thumb when you grab the steering wheel to take a blood sample. Simplicity itself then to have the car self-lock, contact the police via the ever present mobile phone which will also give them the exact location via GPS.
See we're all instantly much safer on the roads.

All new houses and a 3 year limit for converting existing housing to have Webcams installed in every room. Think of all the domestic violence that would pick up and if your not doing anything wrong what have you got to fear? We could even use them to check when those working for the government we're legitimately sick or just fancy a day off, any doubt and the sensors in the room would breathalyse the individual and automatically dock their pay. I'm sure that for a suitable fee the government would allow certain trusted private companies to access the technology.

We could even track individuals by chipping them at birth much like we do our pets. We would need external visual proof of having been chipped though. Due to the density of population in cities scanning for individuals would be just a bit too difficult at the moment. Maybe we could tattoo people with a number or bar code somewhere visible, like the outside of the forearm.

I'm sorry I have to go now, the phone is ringing and it's probably the government Proctologist arranging the appointment to have the camera installed to track my every movement.