November 15, 2007

the BBC bias

The BBC loves being called impartial. It may choose its words carefully, research the stories meticulously, it probably even tries hard as hell to get all accounts of a news piece. But lately its choice of pictures has not been so neutral and have been more than informative.

BBC picture choice

November 14, 2007

Goodbye Waterloo

Goodbye Waterloo

A small, almost family event took place yesterday to see off the last Eurostar train from Waterloo. The service will now run to and from St. Pancras station, which has undergone an £800m upgrade to welcome Europe and ‘186mph’ speedrail into central London.

Waterloo station is among the busiest in the capital, catering mostly for long and short-distance passengers to the South and South-West of London, covering destinations such as Alton, Guilford, Woking and Porthmouth. Talks of incorporating the Eurostar tracks to help relieve congestion on stations such as Charing Cross and Waterloo itself have produced no results so far.

Amidst celebrations here in London, first passengers to France are likely to face a less warm welcome due to transport strikes in France as the union confronts Sarkozy.


Christmas ambush

Xmas temptation

To avoid the “Oh my god it’s already Christmas season and I haven’t got any presents for anyone yet! Oh, they are gonna be ma-a-a-a-d…” effect, Christmas now begins in October. Restaurants, bars, clubs and even pubs have started advertising their ‘exclusive’ and ‘ultimate’ Christmas plans even before I started shopping for a Halloween pumpkin. So really, there is no excuse for not having a good Christmas present now. Except… if you get philosophical.

If you start by pondering aloud, in an as-a-matter-of-fact manner, “why, oh, why do I have to buy?”, any reasonable person would just give up trying and make a mental note not to get you anything worth more than 2 quid for next Christmas.

If, however, they manage to miss the sarcasm in a haze of holiday hype and courteously listen in on your deep and meaningful monologue, then you can bring in the religion card. Caught in the spirit of ho-ho-ho, even Muslims and Sikhs go on spending sprees and set up emergency Christmas funds. But if you take a step back from that ever-so-charming spirit and go back to the roots of the holiday… most of us aren’t even Christian! We just like the sales, and the ribbons, and tearing up layers of wrapping only to discover your boyfriend doesn’t know you all that well after all.

Another philosophical thought worth a PhD thesis is whether all the consumerism is in accord with the Green idea that is so en vogue these days. Perhaps as a gesture of desperation to save the planet and to make poverty history you could buy each one of your friends a copy of the Big Issue: a quality read for them, a big sincere ‘thank you’ for you and a hot meal for the homeless.

And if all that fails, then perhaps you should consider getting some new friends. After all, it’s all about the new beginnings.


November 13, 2007

Worldwide campaign calling for action: Burmese demonstration in London

Demonstrations were held outside Chinese embassies in 12 cities around the world to mark the 12th year of detention of Burma’s pro-democracy leader and Nobel peace laureate – Aung San Suu Kyi.

Students, immigrants and refugees from Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) joined the demonstration backed by scores of campaigners representing a range of NGOs, including Amnesty International, as well as students and other members of the society sympathetic to the cause.

The demonstration in London was held on Great Portland Street. The Chinese diplomatic mission in London did not issue an official comment in relation to the protest.


My second first video project: NUJ rally

Following budget squeezes, job slashes and letters inviting world class journalists to ‘voluntary resign’, the National Union for Journalists has finally decided to act and react. A series of demonstrations were held nation-wide and in several locations around Mainland Europe to raise awareness of the crisis in the media industry. Serious speeches were delivered and friendly jokes were exchanged at the final rally, where the NUJ’s current president Michele Stanistreet, along with a number of colleagues cut a square cake in celebration of NUJ’s 100th birthday.


November 10, 2007

Brown and Cameron

The relationship between Brown and Cameron seems awfully hostile, even for a couple with diagonally opposite views. Or perhaps that is the problem: they are not that much different at core? Surely, Brown being a Scot with a common man’s upbringing and Cameron with his privileged background and private education are very different? Yes, but if the opposites attract, then the only reason these two are in such a deadlock of hatred and disdain is because they are in fact very much alike.

They share similar ideas ; ideas that they like and in fact agree on; nevermind whether the ideas are actually good or employable, but the two of them both like them. So they hate each other because the idea that they like rests comfortably on the enemy’s lap.


November 07, 2007

Classified ads, PunterNet and human trafficking

Writing about web page http://www.punternet.com/index1.html

There is an article in the current issue of the Economist titled Indecent proposals that looks at the relationship between classified ads that sell sexual services and human trafficking.

Just last month Harriet Harman, the Cabinet Minister for women has made a link between human trafficking and the “ugly” adverts circulating local newspapers. According to Frances Broderick of the Poppy Project, it is sending out the message of safety of selling sex, which is “very dangerous” itself.

The English legal system is still awkward around the issue of selling sex, struggling to balance between keeping it safe and public and not encouraging illegal activities that provide new sex workers. So far, the collaborative efforts to curb illegal immigration, sex trafficking and sexual abuse of children have resulted in a quasi-cooperation between the newspapers and the Met, whereby the newspapers now keep a record of transactions and, if required, will provide relevant information to the authorities.

The PunterNet

For a website that covers a supposedly glamorous industry (according to the ITV drama a Secret diary of a call girl made public that essentially interprets prostitution as paid one-night-stands), the PunterNet looks harshly primitive. However, many may argue that glamorising the website would indirectly glamorise the industry as well.

The webmaster is extremely cautious about the content and access to the material on the site. Perhaps disappointingly, there are no pictures of foxy prostitutes, but the site is valuable for the ‘user-generated content’ – the reviews and reports, available to registered users, on various escorts and agencies. It also features an integrated catalogue on sex services available throughout London and the UK, searchable by location, type of business (individuals, massage parlours or agencies) and range of sexual activities on sale.

The Charities

While the sex industry prospers, there has been an increasing amount of charities aimed at tackling various negative side-effects of free sex. These have different purposes and goals, ranging from freeing victims of sex-trafficking (the Poppy Project) to improving conditions of employment for foreign prostitutes in England (x:Talk).

Although the English law does not prohibit selling or buying sex, it should seek to establish a legal framework for the publishers to take part in preventing the abuse and illegal activities related to the sex industry while safeguarding access to sexual services.


November 05, 2007

Learning to live again

A routine balance check revealed that I’ve only got £3.74 left on my account. Normal people would get a job. Yours truly decided to spare herself the embarrassment of whoring herself to potential employers, explaining why I think GAP is so great and why I’d make a great team player as a waitress at Wagamama’s. I just would, and if they don’t know it – it’s their loss. Instead, I decided to starve myself and ‘learn’ from this experience. Not so long ago I had my first Amish experience (which I’m still to review) and got by just fine, albeit not without challenges. Nearly a month ago I fasted in solidarity with my Muslim boyfriend, and lost 3kgs. This time I shall endeavour to survive on £3.74 (a.k.a. nothing) for at least a week. Of course, I’ve already stuffed my fridge with food-alike substances, topped up my mobile and my Oyster card for the month, the rest should be considered ‘extras’. That means no teas to go from Starbucks (resist the charm of the red Christmas promotion cups!!!), no buying the Guardian every day (nothing wrong with reading it online), no art exhibitions (the The art of seduction: sex through the ages, from every possible angle exhibition will stay there until January), and most of all: no Christmas-induced shopping. That’ll teach me a lesson.


November 03, 2007

Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)

Sadly, a rather pointless film that conveys more a message of indecisiveness between the film-makers rather than anything meaningful at all. The film is missing organisation and focus and looks more like a splash of interpretations (arguable facts) rather than a lined-up narrative. The random inserts of “artistic symbolisms” made absolutely no sense. The tired use of candles and lighting bolts was truly revolting. The film had also managed to make the defeat of the Spanish Armada look like it was a one man’s show by Sir Walter, who, in his own turn was portrayed as what can only be described as a Jack Sparrow wannabe, swinging on ropes and diving into the sea. It doesn’t come close to the British production of Elizabeth, although rather spectacular and with a few impressive costumes.

General reaction: What????
General feeling: Disappointment


October 30, 2007

One of the best adverts this year: Smirnoff Triple Distilled

Writing about web page http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JCbeP5Fjyw

Great soundtrack, amazing images, witty plot – an advert one could watch over and over again. It should definitely be nominated for the Cannes Lions Awards.


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