All entries for January 2008
January 31, 2008
Nanni Moretti (1953-)
(All bar Il caimano taken from Mazierska & Rascaroli. 2004. The Cinema of Nanni Moretti)
- Il caimano (2006)
- La stanza del figlio (The Son's Room, 2001)
- Aprile (1998)
- Il Giorno della prima di Close Up (1996 short)
- L'unico paese al mondo (1994)
- Caro diario (Dear Diary 1994)
- La cosa (1990)
- Palombella rossa (1989)
- La messa è finita (1985)
- Bianca (1983)
- Ecce bombo (1978)
- Io sono un autarchico ("I Am Self Sufficient", 1976)
- Come parli, frate? (1994)
- Pate de bourgeois (1973)
- La sconfitta (1973)
Videos on Web
Extract from Caro Diario (Dear Diary) about visit to site of Pasolini's discovered body.
Extract from Palombella rossa (1989) [In Italian no subtitles]
Film Comment : Deborah Young on Moretti
Films currently available on DVD in UK (Very Few of course!)
Psychoanalytic Analysis of The Son's Room in Psychomedia
Marcus, Millicent: Caro Diario and the Cinematic Body of Nanni Moretti
Italica, Vol. 73, No. 2, Film (Summer, 1996), pp. 233-247 doi:10.2307/479365. You will need institutional access to this JSTOR article. (It is also available in Marcus 2002 see bibliography below)
Article in The Roman Forum on Nuovo Sacher independent cinema owned by Nanni Moretti
Google Book Extract on Masculinity an Fatherhood in Aprile (Book can be purchased from Wallflower Press
European Film Promotion: Jasmine Trinka Nanni Moretti chose her to play one of the leading roles in IL CAIMANO, which was in competition at the Cannes Film Festival 2006. On this occasion, she received the Chopard Trophy-Female Revelation.
Bondanella, Peter. 3rd edition. 2002. Italian Cinema: From Neorealism to the Present.
January 30, 2008
Italian Directors Hub Page
I have decided to open this page however currently most of the entries below will not be available for visitors. As part of the development plan director pages will be made available as soon as a Google search down to page 20 has been conducted and sites deemed useful entered. Filmographies will also need to be put in place. It has been decided to proceed like this as links embedded in the chronology of European Films page are being redirected to National director pages as they are developed. Apologies for any disappointments and inconveniences in the meantime. Provided it manages to service some needs then it seems to be worth keeping it 'as a work in progress'
Antonioni, Michelangelo (Now Open)
De Santis, Guiseppe (This page is open for a filmography / webliography / bibliography with film links to kinoeye reviews when possible)
Moretti Nanni (Currently weblinks available)
Risi, Dino (Now open)
Rossellini, Roberto (Now open for bibliography and weblinks. Main overview still under construction)
Taviani, Paolo & Vittorio
Visconti, Luchino (Currently available)
iPhone Bows to Winds of Recession
Who is going to be tempted by this little offer ?
Better deals for UK users of Apple's iPhone are being launched as operator O2 overhauls tariffs less than three months after the mobile hit the stores.
The lowest £35 monthly tariff is to offer about three times as many texts and minutes, while the current £55 deal will be cut to £45 from Friday.
In the US only two months after the iPhone's launch in July Apple slashed the price. Obviously you don't this when sales are steaming ahead! Nevertheless Apple tried to put a good face on the situation by announcing that it had sold one million iPhones keeping ahead of its target date of the end of September.
The same thing is happening in Britain. Sales are obviously slowing fast after the busy Xmas period as the credit card bills come in and houses continue to decrease in value. O2 tried to put a good face on the situation according to the BBC:
Sally Cowdry, O2 UK marketing director, said: "The iPhone is already our fastest ever selling device and this added value will allow us to appeal to an even greater segment of the market - it is an unbeatable proposition."
Just hang on what is this "added value"? Loads more texting? The people good at texting are my students: behind their backs, blindfolded, under the tables naturally they will all be rushing out to spend £280 to get more texts.....
Looks like iPhone is the top texting mobile !
January 29, 2008
Music Industry Protectionism Stopped in its Tracks
Excellent news for those concerned with the protection of privacy in a contemporary information society which everyday is developing into "surveillance society". The BBC reports that the EU's Court of Human Justice have ruled against a case brought by the Spanish music compan.
Internet service providers do not have to divulge the names of users suspected of illegally sharing music files, Europe's top court has ruled....
In rejecting the complaint of Spanish trade body Promusicae, the court sided with Spain's largest telecoms group, Telefonica.
Quite right too! The incursions of rabid commercialism have already gone far too far. The music industry has brought this crisis upon itself being the only media industry that has been prepared to condemn almost everybody who listens to music as a "pirate" quite frankly nobody beyond the music industry has ever taken its ludicrous cliams seriously. The reality is large international drugs companies who are usually accused of charging ludicrous prices for new drugs hqave a better case. They cannot protect their patents for very long before the generic drug companies are allowed to produce their own versions. By comparison purveyors of feuilltons are able to copyright these artefacts for decades. No wonder nobody takes this copyright stuff very seriously. Maybe architects and bricklayers should get paid for intellectual labour everytime someone opens the front door! The essence of popular musci which is what we are largely talking about is its immediacy, its sense of Zeitgeist. Try and control it too long and the underlying spectre of the real zeitgeist - commercialism- comes to the fore.
It's a commercial Zeitgeist which is underpinned by the whingeing of the U2 manager Paul McGuiness:
The manager of rock band U2 has urged internet service providers (ISPs) to help end illegal music downloads, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Manager of rock dinosaurs U2 emulates Dinosaurus Metallicus
Just as Metallica were the music industry stooges in the battle against Napster so Paul McGuiness has decided to emulate this exersise in defacating upon naive fans. As the Financial Times reports McGuiness launched a tirade against ISPs and companies like Microsoft at the Midem rock music get togther in France. Naturally it was timed to conincide with the European Court of Justice ruling in a shameful attempt to try and influence natural justice commenting:
that they (the industry) had concerned themselves for too long with the small fries who organised illegal peer-to-peer file-sharing on the internet.
Desparately Seeking a Revenue Model (For the Champagne Lifestyle)
McGuigan suggested that there could be a productive partnership with ISPs in the future.
“For me the business model of the future is one where music is bundled into an ISP or other subscription service and the revenues are shared between the distributor and the content owners,” he said.
Of course you would have to buy into his ridiculous analogy of internet service providers being in some way responsible for spawning nations of thieves. Telecommunications lines, shipping lanes, roads and motorways are all arteries and those who build and maintain them aren't responsible for the myriad of different agendas of the people who use them. I strongly suspect that many of the people in that conference have partaken in serious amounts of drugs around thier arterial highways. Drugs which are probably illegal in most countries and they would be the first to complain about having their pockets and luggage turned out or being under continuous surveillance yet they want this to be done to millions of ordinary people out of pure greed.
The reality is most people think that musicians should be paid a reasonable amount of money but baulk at being ripped off by the industry which is more interested in profits than diversity. Why should they pay for this:
Normally, business at Midem is conducted from yacht to yacht, but seasoned veterans of the industry’s most prolonged schmooze have already detected a certain restraint in spending this year. Maybe it can be laid at the door of EMI. When Guy Hands of Terra Firma first gained entrance to the venerable institution, he declared it a mountain of waste. (Ben Fenton)
U2 manager urges ISPs to help fight web piracy.By Ben Fenton in Cannes. Published: January 28 2008 22:45 | Last updated: January 28 2008 22:45
January 28, 2008
The Model of the Music Industry Continues to Crumble
There is no doubt that online piracy and file-sharing has decimated the recorded music industry, which has been struggling to find an alternative business model in order to meaningfully survive. Interstingly the Jazz and Classical markets appear to be less affected when it comes to downloading. Usually the audiences are olde, better off and fussier about the music quality. Currently there are few sites that allow customers to download music files which provide even the equivalent quality to CDs. Linn the hi-fi company is one of the few. It can even offer studio quality masters at a price.
Global Music sales in 2007 fall by 10%
Leona Lewis helped boost online music downloads
The organisation blames music piracy for the shortfall. It is calling on internet providers to disconnect people who repeatedly download illegally.
The (Music) Empire Fights Back
Today was meant to see the launch of Qtrax which is an online only site which is going to allow visitors to listen to any of up to 30 million trqacks perfectly legally. This content would be paid for by advertising. Before every track ordered can be listened to the listener must undergo a barrage of advertising. Qtrax claim to have got the support of all the big four record companies:
But Warner, EMI and Universal all say they have not licensed their music. (BBC article)
Despite the hype Qtrax failed to meet its great opening on the announced day. checking it site today only got a beta version as announced in its logo. There is a lot of opposition out there not least from Apple who do not wish Qtrax to become compatible with its iPods.
More online shopping for music: not all deals are "good deals"!
Amazon has announced the international rollout of its digital music store. Already operating in the US customers can download music without any digital copying protection. Soon millions of songs will be sold without Digital Rights Management (DRM) software, allowing - for example - customers to burn their own CDs freely. Amazon says it is the only retailer to offer DRM-free MP3s for the four major record labels as well as thousands of independent record labels. However this offers no real advantage over buying a CD and has the disadvantage of being recorded at a lower level of quality than a CD.
How far are the Music Industry's "Problems" of its own making?
Perhaps the music industry needs an even more radical overhaul than just finding alternative models of making as much profit out of music as before. We have now entered the era of user generated content. Very high quality recodings of music can be made relatively cheaply as the price of sophisticated recording technology continues to drop. But with most music downloads being listened to on inferior sound systems there seems to be little point in making huge efforts to provide such high quality original sound and "adding value" i.e. trying to put up the profit margin. People quite literally aren't buying into it. Sell a lot more music a lot more cheaply and have more bands working and cut out the super star celebrity bit. Instead lets just get back to the music and the culture that surrounds that music.
The music industry has for decades being accusing the very people it relies upon for its existence as being 'pirates' or thieves. If people weren't feeling so ripped off and if music was sold at a fair price then it wouldn't be a problem. Popular music by its very nature is ephemeral it belongs to the moment it is part of the Zeitgeist. Making more of it more available as the Zeitgeist moves would help profit, help the industry and provide audiences with what they want. The Music industry has failed the great test of all media enterprises: keep your audiences happy. what the media consumers are regualrly being accussed of thievery?
The shake up at EMI promises to cut a lot of the fat out of the music industry, it will be leaner, fitter and all the better for it, but it is still at its heart a celebrity / star model of music selling.
15 Jan 2008 - Could EMI's latest idea to get specific sponsorship for bands change the face of music in the future?The new boss of EMI, Guy Hands, has announced job losses of up to two thousand which is about aiming to save the label £200m a year. EMI was taken over by the private equity firm, Terra Firma, last summer but this new development about sponsorship suggests brands could become more involved with music. (My emphasis BBC)
(Sorry this is work in progress at present)
January 27, 2008
BBC: Moving to a Multicasting Environment and Creating a Vibrant Digital Public Sphere for the 21st Century
Sir Michael Lyons: Chair of the BBC Trust
The best and bravest brains in media policy need to think outside of the top-slicing box. Britain once again needs to lead the civilised world into a new media era, to protect the creation of valuable but vulnerable programming and creative artists.(Maggie Brown Media Guardian)
The development of the content of the BBC Online which I generally consider to be an excellent public resource has not been without its controversial side. This has particularly come from firstly: those who had no concept of how the web could be developed and how that development could be influenced by strong Broadcasting institutions with their roots in 'old media'; secondly those who have a strong vested interest in the BBC failing such as News Corporation.
There is no doubt whatsoever that the future of what was once called broad-casting (the production of a limited amount of content targeted at large to very large audiences has largely been a thing of the past for several years. There will of course always be occasional events which comfortably generate local audiences of more than 10 million at the time but these will become increasingly rare. Massive stories about Royalty, England in a World Cup Final (if it ever happens again), probably the upcoming Olympics in certain finals if there is a national interest (oh and Dr. Who! ):
The Doctor Who Special on Christmas Day won a 50% share of the total television audience, averaging over 12 million viewers and peaking at 13.8 million. These are the Doctor's best viewing figures since the Tom Baker days of 1979. (Caroline Thompson operating officer for the BBC Jan 2008)
It is many years since the BBC was promoting a heavyhanded patrician Broadcasting policy largely dominated by a Reithian discourse that was often accused of being elitist. This posting starts to explore the history of BBC online and the policies that have underpinned it. It also looks briefly at the enemies of the BBC in the populist broadcasting / multicasting domain as well examining the pusilanimous attitude of New Labour in the face of the populist freemarketeers such as Sky and its ilk circling around an increasingly embattled BBC which is doing an excellent job. This blog takes the position that many people don't know what they've got 'til its gone'! As far as I'm concerned everybody who is taking out a subscription to Sky is banging a nail into the future of high quality British multicasting.
The Development of BBC Online
25 April 2006:
Ashley Highfield, the BBC director of new media and technology, also announced proposals to put the corporation's entire programme catalogue online for the first time from tomorrow in written archive form, as an "experimental prototype", and rebrand MyBBCPlayer as BBC iPlayer. (ibid)
It was announced that all future BBC digital output and services around three concepts -
Mr Highfield said the share concept would allow users to "create your own space and to build bbc.co.uk around you", encouraging them to launch ther own blogs and post home videos on the site. (My emphasis)
At the heart of the play concept is MyBBCPlayer, which will allow the public to download and view BBC programming online and was today rebranded as BBC iPlayer. (My emphasis)
The find concept relates to next-generation search and unlocking the BBC archive. From tomorrow internet users will for the first time be able to search for details of the corporation's entire programme catalogue as far back as 1937. (My emphasis)
Is it "All About Audiences"?
So, as far the Trust is concerned this is not a debate about the interests of broadcasters. In our view it's not even about the interests of the BBC, narrowly defined. It is – or it ought to be – a debate about the interests of audiences.(My emphasis: Sir Michael Lyons, Chairman of the BBC Trust, to the IPPR Oxford Media Convention 17 January 2008)
I would go further and in doing so seek to expand the remit of the debate into broadcasting into that of cultural policy in general. As with other policy environments and discources this raises the issue of citizenship. Just as there is a concept of social citizenship so there is a concept of cultural citizenship.
It seems the 'New' Labour government can't keep its hands off the BBC for a moment and there is already another round of examining the public servivce broadcasting (multicasting) systems in this country. At the heart of this is the continuing attempt to remove some of the BBC's rights to the whole of the licence fee which is often simply described as "another tax" by the more simple minded. Rather than being this it is a licence fee which runs a core element of what can be described as cultural citizenship which ensures that there is a good system of representation at the heart of the British nation, a system which isn't controlled by government but which has accountability.
This blog argues that it isn't "all about audiences" rather it is all about the creation and maintenance of a system of citizenship which has public service broadcasting / multicasting at its very heart. Those citizens are also the audiences. My concern is the construction and discourse which turns a citizen into an 'audience' and is something which will be discussed in greater depth on this blog. Here I wish to underscore the point that as the World moves towards an increasingly digitised and fragmented mediascape a core concept about media which needs to be maintained is that of citizenship.
The Changing Media Environment
Many people have a stronger sense of themselves as individuals rather than as parts of communities. Minorities are becoming more confident about asserting their needs. Britain is becoming much more culturally diverse. We see increasing numbers of people who identify with multiple communities – social, cultural or geographical. There's a rising demand for personalisation and customisation – for services crafted just for you. (Sir Michael Lyons ibid)
Lyons then proceeds to make the following key points:
- The BBC cannot cherry pick its audiences as commercial broadcasters can. Because of the way it is funded, and because its Public Purposes mean that it has to engage with everyone in the UK, the BBC has to find ways to reach all its audiences in all their complexity. (My emphasis)
- This doesn't mean that every programme or piece of online content has to satisfy every individual licence fee payer – although some kinds of BBC output should appeal to very large sections of the audience. (My emphasis)
- But it does mean that every audience member must find enough they value from the BBC to justify the licence fee and to provide the means by which the BBC can engage with them in order to deliver its Public Purposes. (My emphasis)
I think it will be useful to start to unpack these ideas bearing in mind that I prefer the concept of the cultural citizen to that of "the audience".
...every audience member must find enough they value from the BBC
Firstly let us substitute the concept of cultural citizen from the nebulous one of "audience". I have no doubt in my mind that every single citizen in this country - and also many global citizens have gained enormous value from the BBC, even if after the time they have left school they never watch listen to or access BBC content again.
The embedded values and the links with education alone and the educational broadcasting alone have provided enormous added value to the country as a whole. Those who are mentally tied to quantitative research methods or "metrics", as the trendy term seems to be, will conveniently ignore all this embedded value which has significantly contributed to the general Social / Political / Economic / Cultural (SPEC) environment that is Britain today.
Secondly let us look at the notion of "every audience member...". Well I think this is certainly an arguable point. There is a national grid for electricity, there is a legal obligation for all houses to attached to the telephone system should the citizen require it, there is a nationally levied road tax which all vehicle owners MUST pay however little they use their vehicle. There is an NHS system which is always available to all even if some people never get have accidents and die peacefully in their sleep without a day's illness or if they decide to continually go private. All of these things are aspects of contemporary citizenship and all of them rightly allow for individual agency.
Given the importance of creating and maintaining a multicasting system which provides information etc in as unbiased a fashion as possible which can act as a core part of every single citizens training as a citizen the notion of Public Service Broadcasting / Multicasting is fundamental to our way of life and everybody who is working should be contributing towards this. In return for this we should be expecting high quality rather than the dumbing down which has been a feature of populist media otherwise known as 'lowest common denominator'.
The Dangers of "Topslicing" the BBC Licence Fee
Sarkozy with a 'supermodel'. Oddly just as New Labour wants to dumb down the BBC as much as possible man of the Right in France Sarkozy wants a "French BBC"
One of the biggest dangers to the future of Public Service Multicasting and the future of the BBC as a powerful global player able to stand up the bullying of the 'Media Moguls' such as Rupert Murdoch and News International is the concept of 'topslicing' the BBC. This was something when the pusillanimous Tessa Jowell was the Culture Minister and is currently still being threatened. Given that this week we have already lost the culture minister with the resignation of Peter Hain citizens should be extremly dubious about the abilities of government ministers to be able to control this area.
Given that New Labour caved into Murdoch in their bid for power in 1997 everything that this governement do in relation to media and the BBC must be treated with an enormous amount of scepticism. Already the BBC has become the third most used site in the UK which is an extraordinary success story yet there is still whingeing in the wings about the license fee. The fact of the matter is that in terms of content and quality the BBC is topping the world league because to compare the use of Google or Yahoo is to compare using a TV company with a phone directory not an entirely adeqaute comparison:
The BBC website is number three in the UK. The two companies above us - Google and MSN - and the two companies below us, Yahoo! and eBay, are all the American giants. How we can adapt to that and operate on a global scale while still being predominantly funded through the UK licence, that's an issue for us.(Ashley Highfield)
From the perspective of public service multicasting Highfield's comments would be well served by some decent quality qualitative research into the length of use as well as frequency of access to the BBC website citizens make. It is something which can also be partially achieved through the BBCs own Analytics figures which I'm sure it has.
What is topslicing?
It is as Lyons elaborates below:
...the suggestion that a part of each licence fee should go to a body that would use the money to subsidise public service content from broadcasters other than the BBC.
Firstly let us as with the term "audience" analyse the underlying discourse that the BBC is dragged into here and seek to change it. Subsidise means to assist or to keep down the price of a commodity (Chambers dictionary defintion).
Well the notion of 'topslicing' uncoincidently emerged from the Jowell era after the BBC got into trouble with the government over Iraq. Please note that all the bad things that were expected to happen after the invasion happened have happened and there were no "weapons of mass destruction". However in the wider political context topslicing must be seen as a method of disciplining the BBC by government. For this reason alone it is right to oppose it.
"Topslicing" is more than this though. Throughout the period of 'New' Labour there has been a continual undermining of the BBC and the Public Service Broadcasting ethos. This has been very much because of the pressure applied on the BBC since the 1990 Broadcasting Act under the Conservatives and which New Labour have followed in their love affair with Rupert Murdoch. There will be more on the relationships with Murdoch and Greg Dyke's revelations after his resignation elsewhere in the blog.
Thankfully the Guardian's media correspondent Maggie Brown has made the point loud and clear when it comes to topslicing:
What no one raised at the Oxford media summit is that the top-slicing idea, which may see the cutting down and undermining of the BBC, is quite at odds with international developments.
Just across the channel, French president Nicolas Sarkozy is not only besotted with Carla Bruni. He is also a huge fan of the BBC. So much so that he plans to end the French public service channels' partial dependence on advertising and turn them purely non-commercial
Why Give Licence Fee Subsidies to Commercial Enterprises?
The reality is that as the new mediascape continues to develop there is less and less need for ITV and Channel 4. This is proven by the decline in audiences, advertising increasingly moving online a corresponding crash in revenue for old media and in the case of ITV the crashing of the share price. A recent survey suggested that actually ITV had been doing alright on advertising revenue expressing surprise at the slump in the stock market value In this latter case the market is 'pricing in' the future estimates of ITV advertising earnings. In an era which in media terms is driven by the equation:
What you want, where you want it , when you want it
Do we need these traditional old media companies?
There is no need for all these traditional broadcasters. Personally I never use either ITV and very rarely Channel 4 (this was my favourite channel until the early 1990s when it became increasingly dumbed down). In the latter case this is to access the excellent John Snow and his team. I occasionally use Film 4. Increasingly audiences are migrating online. There are plenty of opportunities for commercial broadcasters to thrive there if they are any good. As it is they will have to compete with the BBC and increasingly the best quality Newspapers which themselves are increasing moving towards a multimedia environment. Indeed it is worth reminding readers that in a BBC made game on the rise of video-gaming made around 3 years ago David Puttnam commented that perhaps between 2015-2020 TV as we know it will have largely disappeared.
When I research articles for this blog I never seem to get good links coming up from the search engines from ITV or Channel 4. Most of the articles are researched down to the current Google listing of page twenty and occasionally even beyond this. The BBC frequently comes up. Whilst this finding can only be taken at more of an anecdotal level it points to the fact that when it comes to doing serious work on the web the BBC along with the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Economist, The Daily Telegraph score far more hits and I link into them far more frequently. As this is now a large film and media studies blog this might be taken as indicative that worthwhile content is not being provided by the commercial broadcasters and that their web presence is weak. If they can't find commercially viable audiences at a global level to pay their overpriced salaries then I certainly don't expect to subsidise them. It is a competitive commercial market and that is that!
My own suspicion is that the era for these companies is largely over and that they will probably disappear perhaps to be replaced by a plethora of more adaptive multimedia companies online. The ITV is a dinosaur best forgotten unless Michael Grade can use its past content creatively while turning it around to face the multicasting age. It should be able to contend with players such as Murdoch but it will have to do so without government support, however it should also have its remit to provide public service broadcasting / multicasting removed. Let it be an honest provider of pap within the regulatory regime of the moment. Its shareholders and those working for it in the past had an easy time of it as the other half of a duopoly. Let them work for their money and convince shareholders that they are a better bet than Google or Myspace. Personally I wouldn't want my pension invested with them at the moment.
Why is the BBC Different? Cultural Citizenship & The Public Sphere
The BBC is different because it sets a benchmark by which all other multimedia multicasting companies MUST meet or beat. The BBC isn't perfect and never will be, but by setting the benchmark for standards which effectively have become those of cultural citizenship in the contemporary era it gives us all a foundation upon which to demand improvements in content and comment upon issues such as over or under representation of specific groups or issues. This in short should be the central axis around which any public sphere (Habermas) should revolve and evolve. These are the standards by which we as citizens and therefore license fee payers should be judging the BBC and the content of its developing multicasting environment.
The notion of a genuinely interactive public sphere linked to access to knowledge and information and tied to a concept of citizenship is entirely antipathetic to commercial broadcasting models. Left liberalism has been so anti the patrician notion of the BBC that it has left the door wide open to rampant commercialism and as a result anybody foolish enough to try and change channels from BBC News 24 has to undergo a barrage of repeats of Big Brother or some other rubbishy "reality TV" show: thank you left liberal populists and your neo-con allies in News Corporation!
The notion of having a vital and influential public sphere means that a public service broadcasting institution should have far more independence than it does at present from the government of the day. There is no doubt that the BBC has to go cap in hand to the government of the day when a spending review and an updating of the licensing fee is sought. This is not to say that Parliament should not have some say in how this sort of instituion is run. A standing select committee for this and other cultural policy matters should be an important role, however this should be entirely divorced from matters of funding.
Funding through an automatically inflation-linked licence fee year on year should be the basic funding formula for the BBC however it should be able to access more funding when there is a specific case such as upgrading technologies on a national basis, such as instituting Freeview or BBC On-line for example.
This doesn't mean that every programme or piece of online content has to satisfy every individual licence fee payer
The second point that Lyons made in relation to the role of the BBC overlaps with my comments above. With the notion of fragmenting audiences and overlapping identities being very much the order of the day, let alone issues of personal preference and taste this is clearly a pertinent comment. We live in a media rich world which is getting richer by the day and offers extraordinary diversity. Pleasing all of the people all of the time is neither possible nor desirable providing most of the people most of the time with diversity combined with good quality is achievable.
Providing a plethora of content and also an environment in which content can be at least partially created by users is fundamental to the future of media and in this sense the programme suggested by the BBC has been very perceptive in its notions of how to interact with new media trends. The problem is that the very cultural heritage which we as citizens have already paid for as citizens is so rich and of such good quality and continues to be that the commercial operators cry foul! They persuaded the government to reduce the power and effectiveness of online opportunities such as the BBC iPlayer. It is this that is anti-democratic and is a clear case of government acting in the interests of a minority but powerful commercial group against the interests of those people who voted it in in the first place.
Of course this links into the first point made by Lyons:
the BBC has to find ways to reach all its audiences in all their complexity
Strange then isn't it that the government acts to curtail the BBC in an area of its key strength and advantage over crass commercialism. It is a case of citizens and audiences not getting the quality they deserve and have paid for already rather it is a case of commerce restricting access to increase its own bottom lines.
What is the BBC hoping to develop?
The Proposed Media City Salford
The advent of the networking model of society which is symbolised by the development of the internet is increasingly effecting how we envisage new ways of working and communicating in the contemporary world. Here an extract from a recent speech by Caroline Thompson shows just how far the notion of a networking society is reaching into core institutions:
Instead of the old hub and spoke arrangement, where London is the hub and the regions are the spokes, the BBC of the 21st Century will be based on a fully networked model. A model that will harness the power of human networks, tapping into a pool of creative energy across the country.(My Empahsisis: Caroline Thompson Chief Operating Officer the BBC Friday 11 January 2008
The move of the BBC headquarters to Salford is an important move and underpins in a physical and rooted way the virtual possibilities of media which is imnportant. Nevertheless it is recognised that new media is fundamental to the future of the BBC:
This will include the central Future Media team that leads the development of the BBC's offering across the internet, digital TV and mobiles, and also the Media Research & Innovation team. These are two of our most important businesses and, together with Future Media colleagues supporting programme-making areas based in Salford...The Director of FM&T, Ashley Highfield, believes this is a chance to reinvent Future Media and how the BBC goes about creating it. (My Emphasis, Caroline Thompson)
Rolling Out Web 3.0?
Currently Ashley Highfield is currently thinking beyond the Web 2.0 model already being developed and already more based upon audience interactivity to a Web 3.0 model:
The web 3.0 world puts a layer on top of that you could call editorial. It says this is probably what you were actually looking at. It says we the BBC know who you are. We've built up a good relationship with you through CRM. We know you were looking for a cop show from the '60s well here's a really good one that we know you - because we know something about you - will enjoy. (Ashley Highfield)
Thus far I have examined the notion of topslicing as yet another attack on the BBC from a government which isn't worthy of including the name 'Labour' in its title as it kowtows to the media moguls. I have also placed the debates about where the BBC should be going in the context of cultural citizenship. It is a concept that must be made central to the agenda of any serious media policy debate for it is this that will help to make Britain both competitive and a beacon of civilisation in less than ideal world. I have also examined somke of the thinking currently within the BBC and suggested that cultural citizenship is a term which should replace audiences. Issues of representation should always be at the heart of media debates and the BBC should seek to represent those aspects of life which more commercial media organisations are not prepared to risk. More funding of challenging films and programmes and increasing levels of access to older materials on the BBC are important aspects of developing a media manifesto for Britian's future.
From Ken Loach's ironically titled It's a Free World 2007. We can do without this 'free for all' in media. Citizenship comes first!
The Trouble With Trust: Building Confidence In Institutions:Mark Thompson Tuesday 15 January 2008
January 23, 2008
Blast from the Last.fm
Could this be "the one" which finally cracks pirate downloading, gives audiences what they want, makes money for the provider and manages to pay the musicians as well?
Sound too good to be true well it might be but the news released by Last.fm today promises to be the first of several large companies coming to market with similar promises. what is the secret formula, there isn't one I'm afraid it is merely yet more advertising being driven onto the web. In this sense much of the web is going to driven by the advertising monster. The underlying question is rapidly becoming what is the future of Public Service Broadcasting / multicasting in this dawning age of user generated content and 'free' lots of media goodies primarily driven by advertising.
Richard Jones, one of Last fm's three founders, told the BBC:
The way people consume music is changing - sometimes you just want to listen to it there and then.
Jones made this comment after it was revealed that rather than being able to download the music onto their computers consumers would be able to listen to the same track up to threee times thereafter they would be encouraged to pay for ti via iTunes or a similar servicve. Of course whether this change in useage away from an ownership model albeit usually 'illegal' will happen is yet to be proved. However as well as avoiding the risk of being busted consumers face get all sorts of junk onto their computers through file sharing and viruses can abound on sites like Limewire. Free music paid for with banner adverts on the Las.fm site seems like a small price to pay instead of having your computer messed up and your data hacked.
Now I'm no expert on Limewire I'm just going on what my highly experienced students say however a quick Google turned up this scary video on YouTube. Limewire seems to be a sort of 'Hacking Into People's Private Data for Dummies'. In other words you are advised not to bother with it. (It could of course be a conspiracy by the record companies - well you pays yer money [or not] and yer makes yer choice!!). Anyway take a look:
Who are Last.fm?
Last.fm, founded in London in 2002, was bought by the American media giant CBS last year for $280m (£143m).
Social music site Last.fm has been bought by US media giant CBS Corporation for $280m (£140m), the largest-ever UK Web 2.0 acquisition. (Original BBC Story from 2007.There is a video available on this link as well.)
Mr Stiksel one of the foundusic downloading on phones ing members of Last FM and part of the management team which is being left largely untouched by CBS announced an extraordinarily ambitious plan unprecedented in its aims:
This move will really support us to get every track ever recorded and every music video ever made onto Last.fm.
As an institution CBS radio is the largest radio group in the United States, with 179 stations in the top 50 markets covering news, rock, country and urban music.
Who are the Competition?
Mobile Music Downloads in the phone subscription the way forward?
Well seemingly the lions are coming out of their dens and the big players are entering into the market. Music downloading on phones is becoming increasing increasingly popular. whilst CD sales losses are increasing and not being replaced by legal downloading Japan is proving the exception which change the ruiles. Digital music sales in Japan are sufficient to offset the loss made by CDs. In fact, Japan saw a 1% rise in music sales last year. Industry observers attribute this rise to mobile music downloads:
"When you look at advanced markets like Japan, most digital music is already being consumed via mobile phones," said Rob Wells, senior vice president of digital music at Universal.
According to the BBC Nokia is currently planning a subscription service which allows users to keep the music they have purchased after the subscription has expired. So far they only have a confirmed content deal with Universal Music but say they are in discussions with the other major record labels.
Where Is it All Going
Certainly at the moment it isn't clear what the dominant model of music will be but from the perspective of the audience we are moving ever closer to a massive amount of legal or very cheap music for nothing.
January 21, 2008
Michelangelo Antonioni (1912-2007)
Michelangelo Antonioni Behind the Camera
Michelangelo Antonioni is probably best known for his films made in the 1960s which explored themes of isolation, alienation and the seeming lack of genuine interpersonal communications between people in the backdrop of the contemporary world. L'Avventura, The Red Desert, Blow Up and Zabriskie Point made in Italy, the UK and The USA respectively all contained these underlying features. With 16 feature films to his credit Antonioni made a respectable number of films over his career although he wasn't by any means the most prolific of the Italian directors.
Michelangelo Antonioni was born into a bourgeois family in Ferrara in 1912. At Bologna University he took a degree in economics. After leaving university he became a film critic fo the Corriere Padano based in Ferrara. He then moved to Rome to become a film critic with the journal Cinema in 1939 . He published an article in 1939 Concerning a film on the River Po. The outcome of this article was the making of his first film a documentary Gente de Po, (People of the Po) (1943). He reviewed the Venice film festival in 1940 revealing a strong degree of scepticism about the rampant commercialism and general superficiality of the mainstream cinema. Antonioni also studied at the Centro Sperimentale. He wrote the script for Rosselini's Un pilota ritorna in 1941. He went to Paris to assist with Marcel Carne's Les visiteurs du soir during 1942. Returning to Italy he reviewed Visconti's Ossessione (1943) in which he praised the portrayal of both the landscape and everyday life.
It was in 1943 that he begun to make his own films. His first film was a documentary which was supported by the Instituto Luce about the people living on the delta of the Po river, Gente del Po (1943). The film focused upon the everyday life of the people making a living there. With the film confiscated by the Fascists Antonioni has been overlooked as a part of the original neorealist film making tendency.
Extract from Gente de Po 1943: Dir. Michelangelo Antonioni
Later he worked with de Santis on the film Tragic Pursuit (1947) as a co-scriptwriter. Antonioni's next film was another short documentary style film Netteza Urbana (1948). This was about the activities of the sanitation workers in Rome making visible what is largely unseen as the work is done before most people are going to work. It was a neorealist perspective on the contemporary city and its unseen mechanisms.
Both films demonstrated a sensitivity to the hardships faced in daily life by ordinary Italians which would remain central throughout Antonioni's career. (Shiel 2006, p 97)
Shiel (2006) suggests that Antonioni wasn't one to wear his heart on his sleeve when it came to politics and that on the whole he preferred a more subtle approach than the more committed idealogues. Although not didactic Shiel points out that Antonioni's sensitivity to the plight of the poor got him into trouble with the censors in I vinti (1953). By representing the problems of the modern family especially the issue of juvenile deliquency Antonioni fell foul of the dictat which tried to ensure that only a positive view of Italy was represented. On the whole by then Antonioni had started a more abstract approach to his film making.
Extending the Concept of Neorealism
Millicent Marcus (1986) argues that the 1950s represented a crisis for neorealism and was also a time when there was a "proliferation of neorealisms' (Marcus p186). There was discussion of 'Romantic neorealism' from Visconti, 'Phenomenological neorealism' from Fellini and 'interior neorealism' from Antonioni. Marcus comments:
Neorealism is somehow reinvented in retrospect each time it is called upon to justify a new stylistic departure...The return to various aspects of neorealismto legitimize all important subsequent cinematic developments in Italy, even when those developments seem to contradict each other or to negate the neorealist example, is a testimony to the power of this precent and its elasticity. (Marcus 1986 pp 188-187)
Marcus continues by citing Antionioni's own stated perceptions of what he was trying to achieve:
I began as one of the first exponents of neorealism and now by cocnetrating on the internals of character and psychology I do not think I have deserted the movement, but rather have pointed a path towards extending its boundaries. Unlike earlier neorealist filmmakers, I'm not trying to show reality, I am attempting to recreate realism. (Antonioni cited Marcus 1986 p 189)
This appears to fly in the face of the original neorealist concept of representing the external world as it 'really' in terms of being a natural or social entity. Marcus suggests that what Antonioni is trying to achieve is a 'transvaluation' of realist concepts of truth by changing from representation of the external world by:
coming to mean fidelity to the nature of the medium or to the artist's subjectivity itself... (Marcus 1986 p190)
By the time of Red Desert Antonioni seems to have moved a considerable distance from the early notions based on ducumentarism in the cinema of Rossellini and de Sica in particular, nevertheless, argues Marcus he still maintains that strong ethical commitment which was a fundamental feature of 'classic' neorealism:
...yet the ethical commitment is still very much alive in him. Zavattini's notion of a "cinema of inquiry" in search of the truth about contemporary Italy has simply beeen transferred from the level of theme to that of visual style, but the impulse to to reexamine and revise the relationship between the observer and the phenomenal world is still as much a concern for Antonioni as for his neorealist predecessors. (Marcus 1986 p 206)
Cronaca di un amore
Cronaca di Amore
Cronaca di amore was Antonioni's first full feature film made in 1950. At this time the worst of the post-war austerity was behind. As the contextual circumstances changed so there was a need to represent other aspects of Italian society which included the rise of the new middle classes who were people benefiiting from the Marshall plan in Europe. Antonioni decided to focus on the emptyness of life for a bored middle-class wife (Paola) of a successful industrialist. Reviving an old romantic liaison with someone who had a drifting lifestyle with no regular income provided excitement and a focus of attention in her life. In many ways the plot was similar to 'A Postman Rings Twice' and Ossessione, itself derivative of A Postman Rings Twice. Other factors in Paola's previous life are gradually unfolded. Eventually they decide the Guido would murder Poala's husband Enrico. But when Guido is waiting to ambush the husband we hear a crash. Enrico has coincidently died in this crash, but in a twist to the tale the murder which might have consummated the relationship. This recognition of failure comes firstly from Guido who comments first "we can't go on", Paola responds "Why not" and Guido enigmatic questioning response "Don't you feel it". It is the enigmatic approach, the seeming inability to communicate in a direct manner which is at the root of Antonioni's vision.
Shiel (2006, p 101) usefully notes the compositional dominance in Antonioni's camerawork of the primacy of long and medium shots. These are shots which combined with a moving camera which "emphasise the alienation of the human subject by his or her physical environment." This 'detached mode' of using the camera also works very effectively in interior shots in which the use of long takes emphasise:
...the forms, surfaces and texturesof the physical habitatand its effects upon his characters'. internal psychology.
These are formalist devices which many people, more familiar with Antonioni's 1960s films such as L'avventura and Red Desert and even Blow Up, will recognise. It is interesting to note that Robbe-Grillet was very interested in the work of Antonioni and has been interviewed about his work which features in an old BBC documentary on Antonioni which hopefully will be made available again somewhere.
Monica Vitti in L'avventura
This provides some links between the French avante-garde of the Nouveau Roman (New writing)of those later to be known as of the Left-Bank such Marguerite Duras. Arguably Antonioni is perhaps the earliest exponent of cinematic ecriture or writing, a term used by Astruc who argued for the camera-stylo. Antonioni's use of things and his contruction of cinematic space isolate the bouregois subjects who inhabit his films in the 1950s and 1960s. His use of colour later in the Red Desert (1964) emphasises this tendency even more. In a recently published book Reading the French New Wave by Dorota Ostrowska she argues that it was the French writers and then directors of the Left Bank who reinvented the aims of 1920's modernism. Ostrowka examines the arguments of Andre Gide and also Jean Epstein. She points out that Gide:
...wanted to replace the artifice of plot with an arrangement of the events issuing from themselves and the reality of which they are a part and not from the order imposed by the narrator. (Ostrowka 2008 p 26)
Epstein she notes had similar intentions which seem to have much in common with Antonioni's approach to both his developments in form as well as in terms of the lack of strongly coherent narrative:
There are no stories. There never have been any stories. There are only situations, without the head or the tail, without the beginning, middle and end... with no limits imposed by the past or the future. These stories are present. (Epstein cited Ostrowka 2008 p 26)
Shiel notes Antonioni's filming of the city of Milan which is not only wet and industrial but is:
...predominantly characterised by an unnerving emptiness and anonymity and a lackof social energy and human warmth especially in the depopulated marginal spaces where Guido and Paola
secretly meet. (Shiel 2006 p 100)
It is an aesthetic of the city which is bleak and represents the growth of individualism accompanied by individualism and a move away from the scenes of social solidarity expressed in the classics of neorealism. It is a society in which spiritual poverty is replacing the material poverty represented by neorealism. In the clip below it is certainly bleak and wet and watch for the framing of Paola and Guido at the park gates where the bars come between them an echo of the mise en scene of classic film noirs:
Shiel points out that Antonioni saw neorealism as evolving and that the representation by cinematic means of interiority wasn't a rejection of external reality. In the extract above the obvious wealth of Paola who appears in a luxurious fur coat and with expensive diamonds serves to heighten the contradiction between crass materialism and its concommittant lack of human spirit. A left wing reading could have seen these symbols of wealth and status as a direct loss of rather than goals to be aimed for. The coldness of the relationship becomes a facet of the diamonds themselves signifying cold hard interiority.
Rossellini's Voyage to Italy (1953) follows Antonioni's lead as Shiel points out, however, the reconciliation through the warmth of the Neopolitan religious festival at the end reasserts a warmth of spiritual solidarity with people. In the film wealth doesn't make the characters happy and even a trip to Capri (repeated by Godard in Le Mepris 10 years later) fails to provide any spiritual relief. Rossellini's film does allow for hope, whilst Cronaca di un amore is more modernist in the ways outlined above and with its bleak ending signifies increasing alienation under capitalism. The fact that fate through a car crash removes the sense agency which had driven the film seems to signify that 'fate' here symbolic of a wider social structure. Again this is a theme returned to by Godard in Le Mepris. Indeed cars seem to signify a materialism that leads nowhere but crashes.
Antonioni's Films of the 1960s
Restivo suggests that Antonioni's films of the 1960s: (L'Avventura, 1960;La Notte, 1961; L'Eclisse, (The Eclipse), 1962; Il Deserto Rosso, (Red Desert), 1964; Blow Up, 1966; Zabriskie Point, 1968); can be seen in the context of two large intellectual currents:
...one, an interrogation of the phenomenological model of perception (within both psychoanalysis and philosophy generally; but also in relation to an invention -the cinema- that itself affected the dimension of this question in this century); and two, the rethinking of a specifically national cinematic tradition in light of pressing historical circumstances. (Restivo 2002, p107/08)
Zabriskie Point at the end where the arch-capitalist's house in the desert is blown up to the sounds of Pink Floyd
Antonioni Post the 1960s
After this period Antonioni went to China having been invited to make a documentary and filmed China Kuo Cina (1972) which was aired on TV. However the Chinese denounced it strongly arguing it grossly distorted what was happening in China. This was followed by The Passenger (1975) which was in the vein of Blow Up. Here antonioni follows the work of a TV journalist and manages to create a hybrid combining aspects of documentarism with a suspense-thriller.
In 1982 Antonioni returned to work in Italy after many years of working abroad making Identification of a Woman (1982). Although the style was the same as those of the early sixties Bondanella notes a shift in perspective where the woman is being observed rather than the man, as in L'avventura.
Antonioni's last film was made in collaboration with Wim Wenders who greatly admired Antonioni's work. antonioni had suffered a serious stroke during the early 1980s and wasn't expecting or expected to work again. This was Beyond the Clouds a portmanteau adapted from his short fiction. Wenders 'agreed to back-stop the production, to direct some linking sequences and to assist Antonioni on the shoot'.
I vinti (The Vanquished), 1952
Cronaca di un amore, (Chronicle of a Love Affair), 1950: (Colour , 100 minutes)
La Signora Senza Camelie (The Lady without Camellias), 1953: (B & W 100 minutes)
Le amiche (The Girl Friends), 1955
Il grido (The Outcry), 1957
L'Avventura, 1960 : (B & W 145 minutes)
La Notte, 1961: (B & W , 121 mins)
L'Eclisse, (The Eclipse) , 1962: (B & W 125 minutes) [Sorry not yet open for viewing]
Il Deserto Rosso, (Red Desert), 1964: ( Colour 116 minutes)
Blow Up, 1966: (Colour
Zabriskie Point, 1968: (Colour, 110 minutes)
Professione: reporter (The Passenger), 1975)
Il mistero di Oberwald (The Mystery of Oberwald, 1981)
Identification of a Woman, 1982: (Colour 131)
Beyond the Clouds, 1995: (Colour, 109 minutes)
People of the Po, 1943
Sanitation Department, 1948
Senses of Cinema on L'Avventura
Senses of Cinema on Zabriskie Point
This is a useful discussion about sound and the construction of film based on an analysis of Il Grido from Yale
David Thompson on Antonioni a short reflection: The Desparate and the Beautiful
Poem for Antonioni by Wim Wenders: friend collaborator and director
Interview with Antonioni July 1969 from Euroscreenwriters
Interview between Antonioni and Cahiers du Cinema 1960 from Euroscreenwriter
Bondanella, Peter. 2002 3rd Ed. Italian Cinema: From Neorealism to the Present. New York / London: Continuum.
Marcus, Millicent. 1986. Italian Film in the Light of Neorealism. Princeton: Princeton University Press. There is a complete chapter on Antonioni's Red Desert here dicussing the links to and shifts away from neorealism.
Ostrowska, Dorota. 2008. Reading the French New Wave. London Wallflower Press
Restivo, A. 2002. The Cinema of Economic Miracles: Visuality and Modernisation in the Italian Art Film. Durham and London: Duke University Press
Shiel, Mark. 2006. Italian Neo Realism: Rebuilding the Cinematic City. London: Wallflower Press
Wenders, Wim. 2000. My Time With Antonioni. London: Faber & Faber
Availability of Films
Despite the outpouring of obituaries for Antonioni in 2007 very few of his films were available on DVD, certainly in the UK, despite many of them being considered as canonical not only in terms of Italian national cinema but as markers of modernist / art cinema in general. One must repeatedly make the point that this would be like having works of Shakespeare or Goethe out of print - quite unthinkable!!! This points again to the need for a European independent institution which has far more control rather than leaving things to the vagaries of the market-place. as soon as Antonioni died it was predictable that some films would start to become available again. The key point here is that crucial aspects of Eurpean cultural heritage that are cinematically based do not carry the same cultural weight as books and fine art.
Below are his available films which are strictly Italian ones.
La Notte was released by Eureka in March 2008
Control, 2007: Anton Corbijn. (116 Mins, B&W)
This posting is currently acting as a hub site for the film Control which is being released on DVD on the 11th of Feb 2008 in the UK. As can be seen the film has won a range of crtiical accolages and as such is an interesting one to consider in relation to contemporary British Cinema. It belongs to a long line of Rock Biopics. It is the second film about Factory Records and the Mancunian music scene with Michael Winterbottom's 24 Hour Party People released in 2001.
Trailer from YouTube
Audience / Critical Reception
2007's best films
As voted by the Guardian's film writers
Friday December 7, 2007
dir Anton Corbijn
What we said: "Control is a film about England, about music, about loneliness and love. There is melancholy in it, but also a roar of energy. I thought it might depress me. Instead, I left the cinema walking on air."
Joy Division biopic scoops five prizes: Bleak tale of life and death of Ian Curtis wins best film and best director categories
January 19, 2008
iPhone Sales: Time for Schadenfreude?
It is difficult to avoid a feeling of Schadenfreude as one looks at the sales figures of the Apple iPhone since its UK release and faiure to reach the projected sales forecasts of 200,000. One might think that selling 190,000 was pretty good going as they cost about £280 quids and you have to take out not a 12 month but an 18 month contract at £35 per month. Well the latter fee used to be not so bad but now prices have dropped considerably. The fact of the matter is that Jobs launched the iPhone into the gathering storm of an economic recession and the reality is that the aspirants buying into designer this that and the other are going to suddenly think twice about these expenses as other things suddenly become a priority.
Jobs has already had to drop the price of the iPhone in the USA quite soon after its launch and today's FT reports that some analysts are expecting the same to happen in the UK:
Some analysts, who had regarded the original 200,000 prediction as a conservative estimate, said Apple might have to cut the price in the UK if it wanted to maintain sales momentum. The iPhone’s headline price is £269, but customers must also take out an 18-month contract starting at £35 a month, meaning a minimum outlay of £899. (My emphasis)
Look out for some appearing in TK Maxx if the recession really bites!
In the US, 10 weeks after its launch, Apple cut the iPhone’s headline price from $599 to $399, which angered customers who had bought the handset. Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, subsequently apologised. On Tuesday, he said 4m iPhones had been sold worldwide. (ibid)
As the FT points out Apple is facing the fact that mobile operators in both the UK and the US subsidies the handsets and claw back the costs through the subscriptions or relatively highly priced pay as you go calls.
If you thought touchscreen is where it is at then check this out coming fairly soon near you (maybe):
Nokia has also developed an interface method that doesn’t even require you to touch the screen where the phone reacts to hand gestures made in three dimensional space and can even track the movement of your hand. (From Pocket Picks)
In the meantime you will just have to suffer with these Nokias the excitingly named N81 and N82:
The box says they do this lot which is a pretty good scorer on the convergence front:
The 140g N81 is an 8GB music phone with wi-fi, HDSPA, quad-band, 2MP camera, Bluetooth stereo, 3.5mm headphone jack, 16 million colour 240 x 320 pixel screen and dedicated music and gaming keys. Word from the Guru is that this will be one of the N-Gage Gaming Platform launch handsets. The 120g N82 takes all that and adds TV-out, GPS functionality, FM radio, a microSD slot, and raises the game with an N95-matching five-megapixel camera then bungs a xenon flash on top of all that. (ibid)
Customer Choice: The Nokia Nobrainer or the iPod Nano?
Well 8 gb is as much as an iPod Nano with a few other gizmos thrown in - like making a phone call. Unlike the state of the market when Apple stormed the MP3 downloading market with the iPod the mobile phones is a sophisticated and hig hly competitive market with a lot of very experienced operators. It appears that Nokia's fight back for the premium phone market is going to be based around a very new model of consumption which involves free music downloading from a choice of around 2 million 'tunes'. You will be able to keep the music even if you drop the contract. This might not only hit iPhone below the waterline it could significantly effect iTunes itself. A quick trip to the Nokia site I couldn't find any Nokia phones which supported iTunes.
Phone for Internet Junkies from 2007
Now with upgrade
Phone for the YouTubers
Sounds like this Motorola has plenty of appeal for the budding film director promising instant uploading to YouTube:
...the ‘mobile film studio’ aspect comes from the phone having the ability to let you instantly upload photos and videos to YouTube, Google, Yahoo and Shozu. So it’s not quite a proper ‘film studio’ but its still an appealing new handset.
That might mean Apple have to go back to their origins and try and flog computers, the trouble is Microsoft seem to have pretty much caught up.... (aside: well got to say something controversial it is a blog after all).