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The life and times of james Hart: his family, his music, life in Luton and his occasional escapes onto the internet.

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Saturday, 23 September 2006


I've been getting quite frustrated just lately with how many examples of utter unempoweredment (is that a word? If not, it should be!) I've ecountered. This is typified in the lily-livered, equivocal tripe uttered by the headteacher at the school where some of the parents were selling junk food to the students through the gates.

OK, I understand that there is training available for public communication (or "PR" as it's excruciatingly known) - you get evidence of this every day during interviews on, say Watchdog or Newsnight, where a question is responded to by skilfully manipulating it so that a prepared, positive point can be made.

But I really feel that's getting in the way of honesty, empathy and - most importantly - action! To equivocate risks a perceived abandonment of principles, and surely that can do more harm to a reputation long-term than the focus of press attention? Or maybe not... which would certainly re-inforce my belief that journalists have a huge power over the populace - and politicians. Maybe even more than business in this capitalist society? Although that would raise the question: "who's paying the journalists?" I'm not really one for reading the paper, to be honest...

Informative dishwasher labelBah. I'll stop ranting now. It's been a busy couple of days at work, with quite a few things still breaking big-style. I'm being run ragged, but it's a good ragged, and I've certainly not been taking a great deal of nonsense. One of my colleagues had some 'effervescent echinacea' and offered me one - wow! That's remarkable stuff. It definitely perked me up (although there have been reports of niggliness from other folks who've tried it) and it'll ward off colds. It's quite expensive at over £3 a tube, though - definitely a 'one a day' job.

(To the right, for what it's worth, is my latest sign in the workshop. Apparently I'm getting something of a reputation for sticking notices up!)

What else? Oh yes.. inspired by today's MSN name (which was "elementary memetics") I thought I'd try a couple of Googlewhacks. On at least two occasions I ended up at a page on www.activeware.com/guestbook... if anyone has any idea what that's all about, please let me know! (blog at mus-ic.co.uk is the address if you didn't already know!) Are they deliberately ruining googlewhacking as a hobby?

Finally - my goodness, this is turning into a depressing blog - I saw this article on Digital Spy. If this is true (there's no mention of it on the rather uninspiring Star 107.9 website), it's a bit of a shame, but I can completely understand their situation. From my understanding, small radio stations are getting a really bad deal, because they're being asked to deliver much richer content - such as local news and features - than the bland megaliths, but can't raise the revenue to do it. The question is, I guess, what do people want from real (by which I mean not the stations who play the same music as their neighbour, just changing the names of the towns and villages in the links) local radio?

There's a tiny Bristol station called Radio Dialect that broadcasts one evening a week, and it's great - local, earthy, a little rough around the edges (appalling in places), but entertaining. I enjoy the podcasts they do, knowing that it's completely run by volunteers for the enjoyment of it, rather than to make as much money as possible. There must be a middle ground... Ofcom - what d'you say?

Mandatory Richard Hammond reference.

I really enjoy watching Top Gear, and it's great to know that The Hamster is making a good recovery. I don't know how much to believe, but there are some entertaining stories about his colleagues' visits:

Hopefully the BBC won't cancel Top Gear as a result, but there's an online petition you can sign (for what it's worth) to request that it isn't. Don't get me started on Health and Safety...

That'll do for now. Hopefully a happy day tomorrow - my nephew Luke is celebrating his second birthday with a party, which will mean another family get-together.

Oh, and Happy Birthday, Pete!

Posted by james at September 23, 2006 10:08 PM

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