Go West…

27 09 2009

Instead of this being some homage to the Village People, it is instead a small commentary on the magnificence of the West Wing, a drama I have been late getting into, but am very much firmly addicted to now.

I am halfway through series four and have tonight watched an excellent ‘personal’ episode entitled “The Long Goodbye”. I will not reveal storylines or anything here, but suffice it to say, it was a very well done piece.

There is however, one thing which annoys me as I sit in my room watching the antics of the West Wing staffers. Well, actually there are many things, but there is one over-riding annoyance. The opening titles are not consistant. And I don’t know why. I understand why certain actors were placed in certain positions within the opening credits, but my concern is that for some characters the titles go “black and white photo followed by moving images taken from the show” and for others the two are reversed. I’m really unsure as to why this is, whether it was a simple case of lazy editing when first the titles were made, or whether there is some greater meaning.

I’m sure in cyberspace somewhere there is someone as sad as me who has picked this up and run with it further than I have. I cannot be bothered to look for such a person/webpage, but I’m sure they are there somewhere. Probably next to “lemonlyman.com” on google’s search results page.


Shedding a Light…

14 09 2009

A while ago I wrote about the levels of graffiti in and around Sheffield station produced by one ‘Bloodaxe’. I couldn’t fathom the motives for his apparently methodical covering of every immovable object around the station. It seemed so mindless, so pointless.

On Saturday, whilst waiting for my shift at work to begin I was reading the Indy and its numerous inserts, including the magazine. In the mag there was an article about “covert ‘street bombers'”. Those folk who go out and scrawl graffiti onto buildings, walls, power boxes or trains. It was a hugely interesting read. It began with tranquility, with the ‘bombers’ pausing, stopping to take in their surroundings, plan their actions, and appreciate the quietness of a train track in the depths of night.

Naturally the writer of the piece reflects public opinion when she wrote that the increased governmental offensive against these ‘bombers’ was being successful, however the nagging feeling is that we are meant to sympathise with these people. But there is more to it than that. Not only are we meant to sympathise, we are meant to be aware that these people do not care whether we sympatise with them. “They do not seek or want your approval”. That is what we are told. That is what we should understand.

Philby tries, unsuccessfully, to explain why they do it. She gives us reasons which are not reasons at all, they do not want to be famous, like Banksy (who, it is suggested, is not really part of the same movement at all, and has instead moved away from everything which makes the street artists do what they do), nor do they crave approval. They do it for the rush, the thrill of breaking the law. They try to offer new perspectives of the world, try to give meanings to inanimate objects. They do it to make a point (the main proponent of the piece, Fuel, recalls his feelings when he graffitied a train with a message about the war in Iraq), they do it because they can.

Whilst the piece was a hugely interesting read (it can be found here), I was left with the nagging feeling that this wasn’t the point of Mr Bloodaxe’s trawlings. There was no message, no agenda, no attempt at colour or art. It was just a tag. He isn’t a street bomber in the same way that those described in the article are. He’s a tagger, in essence, very different; yet to the simple, the same as those who draw the images with a passion, an enjoyment, a feeling of euphoria achieved not by taking drugs but by large, yet usually inoffensive, vandalism.


6 09 2009

I was going to write a piece tonight on an interesting question which I heard tonight whilst watching The West Wing (yes, I am playing catch-up a little as I missed the boat when it was on the TV. I am currently making my way through season 4). However, my own general fatigue coupled with my feeling of injustice mean I’m going to write briefly about something else. I will return to my West Wing musings at some other point.

LikeĀ  many people I suppose, I am a creature of habit. When it comes to the interweb I have certain websites I check daily, usually in the same order. I checked these sites tonight, and found this story on the BBC. Yes, it seems that the England Ladies have made it to the final of a major tournament in dramatic fashion (an extra time victory over the Dutch). This should be applauded. They have done well to get this far in a major tournament (whilst they were amongst the favourites, the Germans, Italians and Swedish were more fancied before the tournament commenced).

I then moved onto Skysports.com, the next website stop on my list. As a major sporting site, I was expecting some form of acknowledgment of the achievements of the Ladies on the site’s home page. I was disappointed to see that this wasn’t there. So I dug around for ten minutes, looking for a match report, a post-match interview, just something about this match, and the achievement. I searched the website for both “women’s football” and “england ladies”. Neither produced any relevant hits (although for the former there were a few pieces on the state of the womens game in the UK).

I am shocked that Sky Sports, a reputable, multi-national media outlet has nothing on its website to record the achievement of the England Ladies team. Now I know that womens sport is less well observed in this country than the mens forms, but for there to be nothing on the website is just appalling. I’m disappointed that there is no TV coverage this year of the Women’s Euros, as there was (I think) a few years ago on the Beeb. Women’s sport needs to be encouraged, to be watched, and the only way that this can happen is if it is in the mainstream, there for all to see. If this isn’t going to happen then the next best thing is internet exposure on mainstream websites. The BBC have done this, Sky Sports hasn’t. This is hugely frustrating, and perhaps is indicative of a larger problem within the sporting world relating to gender and various sports (witness the recent, and ongoing, athletics furore; the issues regarding women boxing at the Olympics; even the coverage of England Ladies’ cricketing successes this summer). The media have a huge role to play in the representation of women’s sport. Currently they are failing these sportswomen who strive to succeed, and, it seems, have much more international success than their male counterparts.

Ed: as a subscript, I have left some comments in the Sky Sports feedback form on the site, and await a reply. I will post the response as and when I get one.

Televise That…

5 09 2009

And so, it seems, I was wrong. In part. And it’s not often I say that. I wrote, back in July that Mandleson was considering a TV debate, and how it’s something I would like to see, but not something I thought would happen as I didn’t think Brown or the Labour party would fare well out of it. Nor did I think the Lib Dems would get a look in.

Then I saw an advert today whilst watching Sky Sports, it was on behalf of Sky News, and it encouraged me to sign a petition. Now I sit up a bit when I see such requests on TV in advert form, as it is obvious that some thought has gone into this advert, rather than a chain email being passed around. The petition, available here to sign, is for a live TV debate with the three main political leaders. Apparently, since it was set up at the start of this month, Clegg and Cameron have both agreed, in principle, to the idea. Brown, as I suppose we’ve come to expect, is dragging his heels.

I’ve just put my name to it, and it seems I was the 6861st person to sign the petition, which goes to show just how popular this thing is. Which returns me to my original humble thoughts. I was wrong, I didn’t think this thing would happen. However I’m delighted to say I was wrong as it means that there will be some form of political engagement on a national level where the credentials of the party leaders are examined and scrutinised. From here the nation as a whole can begin to judge who the next PM should be. This is an important step on the road towards public re-engagement, it should be the first step of many made by MP’s over the course of the next few months.


4 09 2009

So I’ve written a far from grand total of six posts in two months, less than I wrote in June alone. I can only really apologise for the considerable lack of blogging on my part, and vow to improve my blogging rates once again when I find some time. This may well occur this weekend as I have the house to myself and very little to do for the first time in a long while.

In my defence, there hasn’t been anything really that has gripped me in the news of late. Yes, there was that Jaycee thing in America, and the ongoing saga relating to Michael Jackson, the Chelsea transfer embargo imposed by FIFA, more soldiers dying in Afghanistan, exam results, Gordon Brown’s continuing bumbling, and the Lockerbie thing, but nothing really stood out. I may venture into the realms of fantasy for my next few posts simply because there is nothing really gripping in the news at the moment.

By the way, does anybody remember swine flu?