Famine & Byrne

Famine & Byrne, and Bertie Bills

Famine & Byrne

The blog of the guy who did that Famine & Byrne / Hardtimes stuff, ‘Will Saint Leger’, is here. The design of his “Bertie Bills” is great, on that he says:

The day before Bertie Ahern resigned from office, I loaded Molly Malone’s statue with £50,000 worth of ‘Bertie Bills’ for anyone to take away. People seemed reluctant to take dodgy money from a complete stranger, of course that wouldn’t be a problem for Bertie.

And he makes Victora look far more attractive than in real life. More on his site/blog and his flickr page.

(via @pkellypr)

“Ladies and gentleman of the press” leave now of face arrest

Just looking at the G20 coverage on Guardian.co.uk: Maybe more sinister than police attacking peaceful protesters — because it may show intent — is a video where an office addresses the “ladies and gentleman of the press” and asks them to leave the area or they will be arrested.

The officer from the City of London police, who was only following orders in fairness, said the senior officer is using the UK Public Order Act to move them. The Public Order Act, along with the Irish act of the same name, is often claimed to be often misused. As the Guardian says, the law was “intended primarily to disperse potentially disruptive or violent gatherings.”

The newspaper also reports the “Metropolitan police, which led the G20 operations, later apologised for using the measure on members of the press.” But is that good enough of a response to blocking the media from watching how the police were to “resolve the situation”, when the “situation” is a peaceful protest?

There is also another video clearly showing the police charging a group of photographers and camera operators.

In general, the Guardian, and members of the public who help them, have to be commended for some great coverage of London police attacking peaceful G2o protesters, people trying to get home, and the media.

It’s coverage of the death of Ian Tomlinson — who was just trying get home after work — in print and online has been excellent. The newspaper’s pages of photographs and text put the spotlight on the police’s attack on Tomlinson just moments before his death. And it put the Independent Police Complaints Commission to shame for not launching a full investigation from the start.

Tomlinson died of internal bleeding and not of a hart attack as first reported. He was an Evening Standard newspaper seller who was apparently finding it hard to get home because of blocked streets. A police officer attacked Tomlinson from behind and struck him to the ground while he had his hand in his pockets and was walking away from a group of officers.

An editorial today in the Guardian’s Sunday paper, the Observer, “The public are fast losing patience with thuggish policing” talks of the police in the UK over stepping the mark in more than just the G20 policing. I only found it while writing the above, but it sums up what I want to say far better than I could have:

This aggression is no doubt linked to the government’s nasty habit of writing laws that prefer the convenience of security forces to the rights of free citizens. But the police are public servants, not government enforcers. Their job is to keep the peace, not clear the streets of dissent.

Mid-life crisis at 25, so, does that mean I’m only going to live until 50? Or 102 reasons why I’m a cynic but still love the world…

In other news…

Tried to set up a second regular publication along with a journalism society in DCU, and failed. The committee in charge said they don’t think the uni can support another publication.

For the record, DCU has one newspaper that comes out once a month. Compare that to UCD where there are two papers which print on a fortnightly bases. Even taking into account of the larger size of the latter, one publication at DCU for every four at UCD is a joke since DCU is packed with journalism and other media students.

Also tried my hand at changing things from within the College View. Went for joint editor, failed.

So, you’re getting a better picture of the mid-life nonsense in the post title then?

It gets better.

I’m also getting heavily disillusioned, or cynical towards, Irish journalism. Blurred Keys and a general unhealthy interest in media news has made me hyper aware of the shit that goes on.

Same goes for the kind of people who recycle and think they are brilliant for it but still drive everywhere. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was set up when I was five years old. So, give me a fucking break.

And on the subject of denial and delusions, exercise is making me acutely aware that I’m still overweight.

Another reason I’m so bloody cynical is I think about this kind of stuff too much. Like people talk about wars starting and ending, I think: “Yeah, but there’s been conflict non-stop on one level or another for the whole of my life.” One of my most prominent early memories is, depressingly, hearing about war a radio news bulletin.

No, I’m not talking world peace, I’m – apparently – too cynical for such thoughts. Things should and could be much better, but, for example, the Blue Berets are still operating in places with both hands behind their back. No reform even after the troops have in a number of cases let genocide happen because of strict rules they operate under.

And I still haven’t mentioned the recession or homelessness, but I think I may just be able to sleep now that I got all of that out.

That other crazy U2 comment

From the U2 interview published in the Irish Times yesterday, besides Bono’s defence of tax avoidance, here’s the other crazy comment:

“The CD is dying and what’s replaced it is the pure download and that’s not good enough for me. We’re hoping to change that.

“When people get hooked up digitally, we want to have a whole new bunch of material that you can play on your TV as the album plays. We have it a bit on this album with an Anton Corbjin film that plays on your screen as a visual accompaniment to the music. I got that idea when I was playing my iPod through my TV one day. The screen was blank and I thought there must be a way of filling it with content that relates to the music.”

I’m one of those crazies who agree “The experience of buying an album used to be part of the pleasure of the listening experience,” one of those crazies who still buys CDs.

But they are “hoping to change” the trend towards downloads?

Err… what now?

unlimited cinema!

Unlimited cinema!

unlimited cinema!

Signed up for a cineworld unlimited card recently. Unlimited films for €20 a month. Going to see three films a month covers the cost. Should have signed up a long time ago.

You have to subscribe for the year, and I was told you can only buy one ticket at a time (I’m guessing to stop you from sneeking a second person past the first ticket check). The only real downfall is you have to queue on the day of the screening and can’t use the online or phone advance booking systems. But you can arrive earlier in the day and book a ticket for a later showing.

You’ll end up paying extra for, say, getting to see Batman on the opening night. As long as you go to four films or more a month it’s still well worth it. Their bet is most people who sign up don’t go to more than four, as I will.

You can sign up in your local cineworld (ie the only on Parnell Street in Dublin if you live in Ireland) or at unlimitedcineworld.com.

Other downfalls I would add is likely less use of my IFI membership (but then again the free ticket which comes with that nearly pays for the cost).

It’s strange lining up and not paying, just handing the card in and knowing it not a credit card. If it was music and not film, you’d expect somebody to jump at you and shout “Stop! Think about the children! You’re stealing! It is a crime! You’re a criminal!”  Oh, wait. The film industry are the ones with silly notices on films you pay for, the silly warning you can’t skip on legit copies.

Now, has anybody else noticed a large increase in the numbers of people at the cinema lately or are my unhealthy amount of visits messing with my perception?

Glass journalism

UPDATE: A quick note on this just to be clear: When writing the below, I was thinking about two events I’ve had to deal when others did wrong,  and, I suppose, I was also thinking about events I’ve written about, here. In some of the cases, I’m still unsure if there was wrong doing or not. With both, I’m not recapping here.

Glass journalism. In other words fiction writing posing as journalism. Or, just as bad, adding fiction to otherwise sound journalism.

As I was watching the film on Stephen Glass, Shattered Glass (2003), I think my blood was boiling. Good film. But it brings memories to mind of events I wish I never had to deal with, and can only hope I never have to again.

Outside of serious crime, if there’s one thing I can’t stand is hacks who can’t tell the truth. Or, generally, people who can’t put up their hand and admit guilt, admit they were wrong, or admit they did wrong. Those who dig deeper.


Six-step guide to ‘justifying atrocities’, no hypocrites please

Fintan O’Toole gave a “Six-step guide to ‘justifying atrocities‘” in the Irish Times yesterday, the question is who is he talking about at the end of the article, here:

The only restriction on the use of this six-step programme is that it is best not used by those who have criticised such devices in the past. If, for example, you spent many years exposing the sickening hypocrisy and evasion of the IRA in relation to its atrocities against civilians during the Troubles, it is probably best not to deploy the same linguistic manoeuvres in defence of Israel’s attacks on Gaza. In such circumstances, if you can’t be consistent, it is probably best to be silent.

Or more so, what he is saying sounds ok up until you remember most people who fit the above description have always seen state murder as nothing to write home about. With these people there was always a ” sickening hypocrisy.” Some were just blind to it.

Could celebrities kill the media obsessed with them?

John Cleese, on Twitter (it is apparently the John Cleese), has two comments on a Daily Mail article about celebrities using Twiter, he says:

Daily Mail Cottons onto Twitter Shock! http://tinyurl.com/77ganh they of course hate the fact we chat and interact without them, don’t they?

And, adds:

The thing is that the press and trad media have had a virtual monopoly for a long time.. it must hurt them to see it vanishing pfffffffft!!

Blogging (Cleese also has a blog) and having your own domain name has been already been mentioned for years as a way of any famous person or business person, or businesses,  to have a direct public reach. But is it wishful thinking that celebrities them selves could seriously harm the red tops, magazines and blogs which are obsessed with celebrities? Or could it make them even more aggressive and (subjectively) distasteful?