Archive for February, 2010

BBC set for major cutbacks

February 26, 2010

According to a report in The Times today, the BBC is set to close down two radio stations, slim down its website offerings and dump its buying of  U.S television shows.

The report, which the BBC has refused to comment on, says that digital stations 6 Music and Asian Network would get the boot. Also rumoured for the axe would be shows such as Mad Men, Damages and Heroes. More worringly, the BBC’s online pages are  to be slashed by half, with a quarter of  its staff set to get the axe.

All of this apparently is in prepartion for a Conservative government who have vowed to freeze the licence fee by 2013. The belief being that the BBC has grown too big and needs to stripped down. It’s no coincidence that the paper reporting this news is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who has been sounding off about the beeb for some time. His son, James Murdoch, also had a pop at auntie during the Edinburgh festival.

It would be a great shame should these cuts come to pass. Many of the BBC’s critics would love nothing more than to see it brought down a peg or two. However, they should bear in mind that for all of its faults, the BBC is still an outstanding contributor to news and entertainment in this country. I was one that previously took it for granted. When I lived in the states, I soon realised how valuable and important the beeb truly is. Most of the world’s media is envious of the BBC.

The comment piece in the Times is practically wetting itself with glee in the hope that these cuts come to pass. For all those planning to vote Tory in the upcoming election, I say this. Be careful what you wish for.

Should Tony Blair be charged with war crimes?

February 24, 2010

Review of Google Reader

February 21, 2010

I’ve been using Google Reader for only a few days, but I must say, I like it….with reservations.

For me, the biggest challenge, has been to remember to use the reader once I’ve finished checking my email. The habit of going to the individual websites via my bookmarks has been hard to break. However, I am slowly, but surely weening myself of the teet as it were.

I do like the convenience of having all my favourite sites centralised in one place. It not only saves time, but also highlights stories that may be of interest to me. The design of the homepage could do with a splash of sexiness as it is rather bland.

The one criticism that comes to mind is the big brother effect. By that I mean I’m not entirely comfortable with the mighty Google overseeing my web habits. Privacy is something to cherish, so I’m not too keen for all of the sites I visit to be added to my subscription. The next thing I know is they’ll be sending me emails telling me they think I might find a particular website of interest. Much like  Amazon.

Anyway, I’ll keep using it for now and see where this all leads.

Sarah Palin Strikes Again

February 17, 2010

Sarah Palin, the darling of right wing Republicans, has forced her way back into the news by complaining about animated show Family Guy. The latest episode features a girl that has downs syndrome. Chris Griffin takes her on a date and asks what her family does. The girl says her mother is the  former governor of Alaska.

Sarah Palin has a son with downs syndrome. She wrote in her blog that she thought the episode “mocked her son”. Sarah Palin is not the sharpest tool in the box. What she is other than being dumb, is an opportunist. She clearly wants to take advantage of her status amongst some who idolise her. I wonder if she had to write down what she wanted to say about Family Guy on her hand in case she forgot.

A Celebration of Mediocrity

February 17, 2010

The Brit Awards. What a load of old shit!

That is all.

The Ausiello Files

February 1, 2010

Entertainment Weekly columnist, Micheal Ausiello, has a great blog that provides readers with up to date information on american tv shows.

His blog is a great place to find out if your favourite show is doing well, has been canceled or renewed for another series. His blog is updated several times a day with information that is important to its readers and also breaks news. Once a week, his blog, has the Ask Ausiello feature, which allows readers to post questions about a particular show or to get scoops on upcoming episodes of the most popular and not so popular shows. Ausiello’s personality shines through on each of his postings. His is a very sardonic, funky and creative sense of humour.

His standing is such that he routinely gets exclusive scoops and interviews with major players such as the creators of ‘Lost‘.  There are some things he could do better. One of which is not to prattle on so much in his postings. He also can be quite dismissive of those who write in with questions. He’s not rough around the edges, just a little over the top with his put downs. Overall though, I keep coming back each day to check him out. It keeps the readers informed and in the loop on what’s occurring in TV land.

Baby you’ve changed

February 1, 2010

I’ve spent the past eight years outside of the UK and have just recently returned for the first time since February 2002.

I cannot believe all of the changes that have taken place in my absence. First off, lets talk about the influx of immigrants which is a hot topic these days. I was absolutely staggered how many people from different parts of the world now call the UK home. I knew about the influx of eastern europeans, especially the poles, as I’d read about that over the last few years. However, the number of Muslims now living here is amazing to me. In the borough of Brent, which is apparently the most diverse borough in the country, there are countless numbers of Somalians, Iranians and those from Afghanistan. I never saw so many women in burkas.

Tesco have used the Wal-Mart blueprint and appear to have taken over the whole city with their metro and extra stores colonizing all corners of London. Fried chicken fast food shops appear to have mushroomed out of nowhere. The greasy birds seem to going down a treat with all the victims of the recession. No wonder obesity is on the rise. I also discovered the Oyster card. It seems to have revolutionized transport in London. Nobody appears to pay with cash….on the buses at least. I quite like the flexibility of the card though, plus it speeds up boarding on the bus.

Continuing with buses, I traveled on one of the infamous bendy buses. I understand it’s also known as the free bus as most people who board it don’t ever pay. Seems a bit strange to have a bus with multiple entrances and exits. I really don’t see the point of them. I’ve been told that the police routinely storm the buses to catch the fare evaders and the UK Border Agency, new to me, also snare any illegal immigrants that they find on the buses too. Wow! That just tells me how much London has changed when that is a regular occurrence.

Finally, I want to talk about contraflows. Bloody everywhere I go! They are a royal pain in the arse too. I’ve never seen anything like it. Literally every street now has one. Things were never this bad in the past. Digging up the streets seems to be the new way authorities have of pissing off commuters.