(These thoughts aren’t revolutionary, and a number of other people have said them better, but here goes anyway.) Listening to a lot of new music over the past couple of days, I’ve been thinking about the sounds and styles that really engage me at the moment. This track by Autre Ne Veut is a good example. It couldn’t really exist at any other time but right now, with its use of slightly fuzzy, dusty technology rather than the gleaming shine we were told to expect in the future, as well as its hints of R’n’B (note: I usually hate R’n’B, sorry) filtered through an almost psychedelic haze. And yet, for me, as someone who grew up in the ’80s and started loving music during that decade, while Autre Ne Veut is unquestionably right here and right now, the debt it takes from the music of twenty-five to thirty years ago is present too. Back in 1981, I probably didn’t think much about what music would be like in 2011 - I was too busy wondering why embarrassingly, cheesy Joe Dolce had kept Ultravox’s sleek, futuristic Vienna from the top of the charts for yet another week - but if I had, I guess it might have been along these lines. Alien, otherworldly noises, yet still approachable.
“Regarding the most shocking revelation of them all, that Milly Dowler’s voicemail was allegedly hacked into on behalf of the News of the World, there is a valid, albeit arguable, journalistic justification for it. If it is true, as alleged, that private detectives deleted some messages in order to allow new ones in, then any new message might have carried a clue as to the child’s whereabouts …”—
I love April Fool’s jokes. In this one, an ex-Sun journalist defends the widespread phone hacking by certain News International newspapers, even in the most horrifying case of murder victim Milly Dowler. Hilarious. No one in their right mind, etc.
Oh. Oh dear. Apparently it’s not a joke. He’s being serious. Christ on a bike. Really.
“If anyone reading this runs a news channel, please, don’t clog the airwaves with fact-free conjecture unless you’re going to replace the word “expert” with “guesser” and the word “speculate” with “guess”, so it’ll be absolutely clear that when the anchor asks the expert to speculate, they’re actually just asking a guesser to guess. Also, choose better guessers. Your guessers were terrible, like toddlers hypothesising how a helicopter works. I don’t know anything about international terrorism, but even I outguessed them.”—The news coverage of the Norway mass-killings was fact-free conjecture | Charlie Brooker | The Guardian
“… once you look behind the headlines, as any good journalist should do, what this story points to is a complete lack of diversity in the media. I do not know who or what is to blame for the News International scandal but a lack of diversity frequently leads to a lack of questioning of the status quo and challenging of accepted practices and thinking. Could a few more disabled, BME and people from diverse backgrounds in positions of power have stopped the NI scandal occurring? We will never know. But I guess the only way to really find out in the future is by breaking the industry glass ceilings and appointing more diversity into positions of authority.”—Six Degrees Of Separation (Unless You Work At News International) By Marcus Ryder | The TV Collective
“It used to be said that the Russian tsarist system was autocracy, tempered by assassination. British public life feels similar: we don’t do thoughtful, deliberate, progressive change. We do long periods of complacency, followed by explosions of outrage. We don’t properly confront the casino-banking system, until – bang! – all bankers are found to be evil and greedy. Fred Goodwin is the Andy Coulson or Rebekah of that one. Hardly anybody discusses MPs’ money until suddenly – crash! – MPs are evil and corrupt. Take a bow, Elliot Morley and David Chaytor, both jailed. Nobody talks much about how stories end up in newspapers, until suddenly – wallop! Journalists and executives, who made such a good living tearing at other institutions, are at last experiencing the same unforgiving mechanism of public opinion in its outraged mode.”—Phone-hacking scandal: The sleepwalk into a state of winks and nods must end | Jackie Ashley | The Guardian
“If social media killed the News of the World, why won’t it simply carry on its rampage and take down the man in charge of the British government? I think we all know the answer to that question. Yes, social media has played a role in some significant world events recently. But the rush to attribute every event to Twitter or Facebook shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the world, and what technology can do. The fact is that social media is simply people having conversations — and that saying Twitter or Facebook or social media brought down the News of the World is like saying the alphabet did it.”—Bobbie Johnson: Did Twitter kill a newspaper? Of course not
“Meanwhile, Britain remains covered in its own sick after nearly 24 hours of violent, projectile vomiting. Volunteer groups are now handing out snow shovels so the vomit can be scooped up and loaded onto massive trucks. The trucks will then converge on News International’s east London HQ where the doors and windows will be sealed before hosepipes attached to heating vents pump all the vomit into the building until it fills up and drowns everyone inside.”—The Daily Mash: Parents ‘have right to know if News of the World pervert lives next door’
I don’t make a habit of linking to the right-wing magazine The Spectator. Nor to the writings of Peter Oborne. Clearly the current phone-hacking scandal engulfing media and politics in the UK is doing something strange to my head, because this article is actually worth reading.
Touched by the public relations disaster of this hideous interview by the Leader of the Opposition, I tried to rescue some of his fast-fading dignity by imagining poor, repetitive, floundering Ed as a malfunctioning piece of robotic hardware, perhaps drifting aimlessly through the solar system after being jettisoned from a passing spacecraft. [With apologies to Blanck Mass for misappropriating a piece of their beautiful music]
Sadly, this is one of the most cringe-inducing political interviews ever. Which is, I suppose, quite an achievement considered the plentiful competition in this field. Ed Miliband no doubt thought that in the manner of many such interviews, this one would be edited down to just the essential soundbite he wanted to get across, so he kept repeating it. And repeating it. And then he repeated it again.
Also worth a read: a piece - well, an extended tweet - by Damon Green, the reporter who conducted the interview.