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Service has been resumed…

September 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Sorry for the prolonged break. This has been caused by an unprecedented – and to me, unaccustomed – lengthy stint of  freelance work, complicated by a paroxysmal fit of laughter brought on by reading a Polly Toynbee article in the Guardian, which caused me to suffer complications to an old war wound and led to me being laid up for about a month or so.

I’ve recently noticed a lot of pingbacks to my blog from over a year ago about the Christchurch earthquake and the Guardian’s reporting on it (https://louseandflea.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/the-guardian-newsblog-and-the-death-of-journalism). Has this become some part of a journalism course or something? I’m nearly famous…

Coming up: my thoughts on 24-hour TV news. Give me a day or so to think out my thinks on this.

Of Breivik, Norwegian Christmas trees and Special Brew

July 25, 2011 1 comment
Norwegian Christmas Tree Trafalgar Square

How Norway says thank you for our help....

One of my favourite bloggers is Norman Tebbit, not because I necessarily agree with what he says, but because he has a refreshingly old-fashioned take on blogging. Unlike most bloggers, he’s no drive-by merchant; it’s obvious he thinks seriously about what he writes before pressing the Publish button but, more rarely, he reads the commenters to his previous blogs and then comments on them: fans, pans, droles, trolls and all. Unlike some bloggers, he doesn’t respond to commenters in the comments themselves: he summarises  and answers them in his next blog. I think he’s got a better handle on this blogging lark than the cutting-throat, bleeding-edge show-off freaks at Comment is Free.

In his blog tonight, apropos the Breivik massacre, he says this:

 I thought that just as the Norwegian people send us a Christmas tree every year in thanks for our support during the War, the suggestion that we might send them a tree to symbolise our feelings for them at this time made sense.

Well, I thought: thank goodness this tragedy occurred in Norway and not in Denmark. Because the Danish thank-you present for our help in World War II was Carlsberg Special Brew.

Special Brew fiend at Glastonbury

...and how Denmark said thanks (pic: http://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk)

Winston Churchill, who had strong and well-informed feelings about these matters, apparently expressed the opinion that no lager was strong enough for him. Come the fall of Hitler and the liberation of Europe, the Carlsberg brewery came up with a lager which met the old war-horse’s high standard of alcoholic toxicity.

Thus was the free world bequeathed the joys of Carlsberg Special Brew, which probably also helped boost post-war production of brown paper bags.

If Breivik had gone berserk in Denmark, what drink would have appropriately marked our feelings towards them in their hour of national grief? Buckfast (15% ABV)? Bruichladdich X4 (94%)? That scrumpy I bought from a farm gate down in Cornwall (don’t know what its ABV was but after a couple of pints it was so psychedelic I didn’t care)?

I think I shall post a comment on Lord Tebbit’s blog and see what he thinks. If he’s sober.

PJ O’Rourke on blogging, the internet and journalism

July 3, 2011 3 comments

I came across this fascinating interview with the always excellent P J O’Rourke, recently broadcast on Radio Free Europe – something I don’t listen to much. In fact, it’s something I don’t listen to at all, since I’m not an oppressed coolie of Kyrgyzstan or wherever, and besides my useless DAB radio doesn’t pick up shortwave (or much else for that matter).

In it, PJ saunters across a whole range of topics including journalism, mobile phones, Murdoch’s paywalls

“I do think it’s the way forward. Something that you get for free is usually worth exactly that”

Twitter

“There’s small talk, and then there’s very very small talk, and then there’s Twitter”

blogging

“[It’s] very self-indulgent. It’s all about “me”. It isn’t about the person who is reading the blog…There’s a great deal of people sitting around in pyjamas giving each other their opinions”

and, a subject close to my heart, news-blogging 

“It is our job to filter, organise, make sense of, edit all this information and now there is more information coming in. I think that the general fact of more information coming in is not a bad thing by any means. It’s a positive good. But does it guarantee that the information coming in will necessarily be more accurate? Not perfectly sure on that”

Definitely worth taking a minute or two to read and/or a listen (there are some video excerpts of the interview, as below).


Vodpod videos no longer available.