Monday, May 23, 2005

More on Underpants

The Future this week

Barely a week after Richard Neville delighted us with Condi Rice in his blog (see below somewhere) today brings an update his main site with an equally enthralling pot pourri of images featuring Australian premier John Howard. Satire is Richard's forte, but his writings are crucially serious.

On the offchance that anybody does check this column more frequently than every 24 hours, this one is late. Notwithstanding yesterday, there was another crash this morning. Probably my fault for trying to write it whilst simultaneously viewing some heavy news downstreams.

Talking of news, the big news here in London is the absence of it. Or rather the absence of the broadcast BBC versions. Yep - we're back on the old treadmill of unions protesting job cuts and even Jeremy Paxman is apparantly out on the picket line. Last time the beeb laid off people, they ended up outsourcing half their programmes and effectively employing more people through the production companies set up to cope. This dispute doesn't sound so easy to fix as new technology streamlines the system. Tonight we'll have to make do with Channel 4 News ...


Hi, Jon Snow here with what's cooking in the newsroom.

How to cope on a day without Paxman or Humphrys...


Very disorienting business having the Beeb on strike. It has an
enormous effect on news in the ether, particularly on radio. The commercial
alternatives, I heard this morning, didn't make much of an attempt to
fill the gap . The BBC strike itself is interesting. All of us who work
in the industry knows th at in many regards the BBC is, er, how does
one put it, 'over-set', but how do you sort it without killing off the
golden goose? As for the solidarity of the day, there's a bit of
strike-breaking here and there but a good old-fashioned strike it is, none
the less. A strange thing to behold in the 21st century. We'll have the
latest at seven.

An unorthodox way to get on the property ladder

A rum religious business: the Greek Orthodox patriarch in Jeruslaem is
at the centre of a scandal, accused of selling centuries-old religious
property in the most sensitive quarter of Jerusalem to an unnamed group
of Jewish businessmen?

His church has sacked him, and he denies any wrongdoing. Is it a case
of dirty business, monkey business, or just ecclesiastical business?
All the answers at seven.

Now they want their money back


Britain is belly-aching about its EU budget rebate - in reply to the
belly-aching from just about everyone else in Europe who want to see it
ended. Is the key the impossible dream? That of reforming the
outrageous unfairness of the Common Agricultural Policy. Then there is the
ticking time bomb that is the French vote on the EU Constitution this
weekend. Should anyone worry?

The hero in a heroin battle
Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai is in Washington. He looks like a super-hero
in his fetching green robes but is trying to put a small sense of
distance between his and America's interests. Poppy production is back at
its peak so not all in the garden is rosy.


Now that's naughty, but it made a timely arrival right this second. Talk about co-incidence! If you're dying for moving pictures tune in at 7pm (UK).

If I had to recommend another source, CBS News in the states always seem to have a healthy mainstream balance and their news clips are not only free, but can be loaded individually making the process of watching very quick. They'll make a good alternative to the lack of late-night beeb.

With this kind of chaos, it's no real revelation that Blair's government are unwilling to tackle the absurd layers of beaurocracy that hinder its function and cost a fortune to run. Imagine laying-off reduntant civil servants - 2 in every 3 of them I imagine. The issue of cutting waste and maintaining employment is one that needs to be addressed in the digital age. More people working less hours would be the ideal, but somehow enabling people to keep their living standards (money money money) at the same time. Britain did once initiate a "Three Day Week" back in the 1970s - it didn't go down at all well.

Sunday's missing column was mainly full of art links.

Duggie Fields
One of the principal "post-pop" artists, this is an absorbing site. The sound is done with flash and works particularly well, but his art is presented with good old-fashioned GIFs and some extraordinary simple optical tricks. Well worth checking out.

Most of the others are in my link monitor - HERE if that's not where you are already.


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