Damazer and blast it.

It’s official. I’m an old git.

Mark Damazer wants to get rid of BBC Radio 4’s “UK Theme”. I am enraged, in the manner of a retired colonel or blue-rinsed WI matron.

I first heard the theme when I had about a month of getting up every morning at 5.30am to go to Norwich for an IA gig. It’s whimsy is just what you want while trying to pry your eyes open and rouse yourself to the service of late-capitalism.

More evidence I am an old git – the best explanation of why so many people are upset by the decision is in the Torygraph:

“What shall we do with the drunken sailor, early in the morning? This question has been put to listeners of Radio 4 at 5.30am daily for 33 years. Or rather, it is not put in words, but in music, as part of the late Fritz Spiegl’s brilliant UK Theme, incorporating traditional airs from the British Isles.

If this country has a folk memory, these songs without words tap into it. Whatever the day ahead brings, we shall meet it with our co-heirs to the complicated heritage of our still united kingdom.

Wordlessness is the point. Music speaks more directly than words. Who has not had the experience of listening to the full weather forecast and yet missing the section devoted to our own area? And yet the Controller of Radio 4 wishes to extirpate the UK Theme in favour of “a look ahead to stories likely to develop in the day”. Not even news, then, good or bad, but inchoate babble. So leave us music, for a few minutes, just till we get started, early in the morning.”


p.s. I really like the name Damazer. It reminds me of Mazinger.

Yubnub, Skype and Vodafone web access

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Foe wrote a simple yubnub command on the weekend, and suggested it might be quite neat when accessed from a mobile, in order to see whether the other person was available to call (over cellular, not Skype…)

Tried it this evening, to find that mystatus.skype.com was treated as a ‘restricted access’ site by Vodafone’s web gateway.

This is the bar put in place by default by Vodafone in order to stop kiddywinks downloading ‘premium adult content’ (surely they’re all busily making their own with camphones and uploading it to youtube?) – which after ages of wandering around Voda’s Heathrow-Airport of a website and two registrations (one of which involved entering a creditcard number to which I got charged £1 to prove my age, and reimbursed £2.50!?!?!!!) I finally managed to get removed.

I switched the phone on and off (!) and then tried the yubnub.org ‘Skype’ command again. It worked fine.

Finally - it works.

I tried it again with a different friend’s Skype handle, and I got bounced back to the “Restricted Access” page!!!

One can’t help but wonder what Vodafone is doing classing Skype in with porn, and making it as difficult as possible to get to their site online on your phone, it’s not as if Skype have even got a cellular product live yet.

Cockup… or conspiracy?

Don, Interrupted

From Issue 2 of Ambidextrous magazine, Don Norman on constant partial attention and interruption:

“My take is that we have evolved to become interruptible and distractible. I think of it not as distraction but attention to change. The problem isn’t that we are continually interrupted, but rather that the technology of interruptions has far too much overhead. the overhead is often far more onerous that the content. So let’s make the interruptions have more content – [and] make it easier to resume afterwards.”

The full interview will apparently be on the Ambidextrous site in the near future.

To Do List

Reposted from Bruce Sterling’s Viridian List, BP’s Lord Browne in Fortune magazine on why humanity better start with it’s GTD:

“Build 700 nuclear stations to replace fossil-fuel-
burning power plants, or increasing the use of solar
power by a factor of 700, or stopping all deforestation
and doubling present efforts at reforestation. Achieve
all three of these, and pull off four more equally
large-scale reallocations of capital and
infrastructure, and the world would probably stabilize
its carbon emissions.”

Ay yi yi.

Let us begin.

Brain switched on fully this morning.

Woken by, like a bell ringing backward from tomorrow, this headline – heralding the terrible, wonderful material future:

Fullerene Super-Armour

Let’s have that again.

Fullerene Super-Armour

Along with the rollicking arphid-blistered-rollercoaster of a ride that’s been “Shaping Things”, I’m getting just-enough medicinal futureshock to crank the year into the gear.

More Rolf

The more I read, the more I think he is the Magister Ludens.

From a profile in sunday’s Observer:

Now 75, he is able to say: ‘I know who I am and what I like to do, and all I ever wanted was to splosh around with my brushes and palette and show people that painting can be fun. My advice is to just do something you love to do.

‘You need to do something that means you wake up with a smile on your face, and look in the mirror and say, “I really love you, son. Good on ya. Get on with it!” I just feel about 20, still.’

Oh, and George – he’s Welsh-born.

Flickr impacts consumer-culture: “It’s Playtime”

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Above is a still from Canon EOS350D advert: “It’s Playtime”

I’ll wager it is both directly inspired by, and deliberately targetted at ludic Flickr users and the visual culture they have built.

Here’s the quicktime of the ad on Canon’s site.

Can you see what it is yet?

I was very fond of Rolf’s Cartoon Club when I was younger.

For those not familiar with it – national treasure Rolf Harris hosted a show of cartoon clips, tied together with his instruction on how to draw you favourite cartoon characters and tricks of the cartoonist and animator’s trade.

Through encouraging the young to copy, trace and build upon the works of others, he encouraged a generation to draw and illustrate their own characters and stories.

Latterly, Rolf presented the much-pilloried “Rolf on Art” where he painted pictures in the styles of the great masters to explain painting to the masses. Again, building on works of others, from the past – to explain and excite.

So, can you see what this is yet?

Yes – it’s a thought I had a while back (I think I might have mentioned it to some over pints): Rolf should become figure-head/president/ambassador for the Creative Archive / Creative Commons UK.

He could extend the reach of the concept of the commons to the mainstream, and continue what he started with our generation back at the Cartoon Club in the 80’s.

Perhaps the Beeb could even turn it into a show.

“Rolf on Remixing” anyone?

Happy new year.

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