Poles, Politeness and Politics in the age of Twitter

I sometimes think that when I die there should be two graves dug: the first would be the usual kind of size, say 2 feet by 7, but the other would be much, much larger. The gravestone should read: ME AND MY BIG MOUTH.

I suspect most of you will have heard of the shitstorm that howled about the head of Jan Moir, a journalist who wrote a beastly article in the Daily Mail about the death of Stephen Gately the day before his funeral. I don’t propose to stop and pick over the carcass of that epically ill-judged piece of gutter journalism. Its malice, stupidity, incoherent illogicality and crass insensitivity have been superbly anatomised by many others and besides, too much time has passed, a whole 24 hours at the time of writing and for the online world, which is still a child, a year is a decade and a day a whole month.

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This blog was posted in Blessays and General Related topics: , , , , and

Kingdom Come, Kingdom Gone

Sad news from TV-land. Well sad for me and for some others. It may well have you skipping about like a lamb on ketamine, trilling with joy.

Our masters at ITV have decided that there shan’t be a fourth series of the television drama Kingdom. I am sorry because it was such a pleasure making them in my beloved Norfolk. I am sorry because the crew of mostly local East Anglians was so cheerful, professional and delightful to work with: the riggers, sparks, grips and location; the camera, caterers, dressers, make-up and props, production assistants, accountants and co-ordinators, the sound men and the drivers, assistant directors and runners, the security, police and councillors who always tried to help. The cast of local people who cheerfully subjected themselves to the indignities of a background artist’s day. They will all be missed and their memories cherished.

Above all, the people of those Norfolk towns and villages on which we descended for days on end. The citizens especially of Castle Rising, Wells-next-the-Sea and above all of Swaffham who put up with our desire to control traffic (something of a vain, Canute-like hope in Swaffham’s central buttermarket – Norfolk’s Piccadilly Circus). They were kind to us, considerate and understanding. It was a charming and cheerful experience for us all. I am lucky to live there much of the time – for the rest of the Kingdom cast and crew it will be a sad farewell that was never properly said.

All things must pass. That is why we must be so grateful to Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory, and mother of the muses. Heigh ho. Onward and upward.

This blog was posted in Miniblog Related topics: , , and

Digital Devicement: Part Three – BlackBerry Picking Time

It’s only mail and text, but I like it, like it

I remember attending a Rolling Stones concert at the Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles last year. When it was apparent that the final encore had been given and that the event was over, the audience stood to leave and the darkness was punctuated by the twinkling of ten thousand BlackBerries: the Rolling Stones generation checking their inboxes. No cigarette lighters held up in the air to honour the band (there probably wasn’t one smoker in a thousand at the venue), just handsets held up to their own faces to honour the bandwidth. The moment seemed to distill some truth about our culture that simultaneously amused, depressed and delighted me. Go, as they say, figure.

The Canadian company Research In Motion introduced its first BlackBerry, a duplex pager, ten years ago. Since then RIM has established itself and its device as one of the great success stories of the digital age. BlackBerry is a kind of cult – a verb, a metonym, a synecdoche for corporate life on the move.

Under the RIM

For those of you unconnected with business, the way Blackberryists interface with their phones may be unfamiliar. Typically he or she will have been given the handset by their employer. This is not an act of generosity. The device is a kind of leash, a digital ball and chain not far from the electronic tag that convicts on parole are forced to wear. The email and calendar accounts are controlled by the company, via BlackBerry Enterprise Server connections. Each handset can be zapped, nixed and deactivated by the corporate IT people whose hands are ever hovering over the kill switch, awaiting the command from the Fifth Floor. Or so it must seem to some employees. Like the bonds of marriage, the connection can be seen as a welcome tie that binds you with ribbons of gold to the company you love, or as a set of shackles that confine you for ever in a hateful prison from which there is no escape.

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This blog was posted in Techblog Related topics: , and

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