June 2004 Archives
June 30, 2004
...rainbow! Not an everyday sight on Lee High Road, that's for sure.
June 29, 2004
June 28, 2004
The second of this week's group of Soho photos looks at the Chinatown area, just north of Leicester Square.
This week I'm going to be trying to run two themed sets of Soho photos. This is the first in Sexy/Sleazy, a look at the area's lingering heritage as the centre of London sex industry.
The Guardian's recruitment site has 666 jobs available in the media today...
June 27, 2004
The more I learn about this man, the less I like him:
A few notable developments on the journalism front in the week just gone:
The BBC announced its new policy, post-Hutton, for news journalists. At the heart of it is a new journalism academy for all its 7,000 journalists. This should please me, but somehow I still feel uncomfortable about the whole affair. Sure, the standards of reporting at the Beeb, like everywhere, are a little shabby at times, but is self-flagellation to this degree necessary?
June 26, 2004
June 25, 2004
June 24, 2004
Very quiet out tonight. Is there some association football match in progress?
Two in one day? I owe you one from Monday - and I owe you four days' worth from last week, too. I hope to rectify that next week.
Interesting article on the BBC. I think it undermines itself a little by not really acknowledging the occasionally blatant bias Auntie Beeb's reporting has showing in recent years. Still, though-provoking stuff.
A pity that the author has passed on.
June 23, 2004
London needs rain. London exists on the presumption that rain will come. Today, the streets were bathed in water for the first time in weeks, and I exulted. My walk to work was no longer an all-out assault on my olfactory senses. Oh, sure, there were the normal refuse smells of last night's human indulgence all through Soho, bust somehow they were less pungent, less aggressive in finding a way up your nose into your brain.
London needs rain, just as we all need a good wash once a day. Rain is London's shower, nature's own hygiene routine to make up for the inadequacies of London's street cleaners.
Just over a year ago, One Woman and I were in Barcelona, and the one thing that impressed us was the dedication and speed with which the street cleaning teams worked. Barcelona is hot and dry. It doesn't have the rain to wash away the detritus of humanity's urban existence. The good people of that city have no choice.
London needs its rain.
June 22, 2004
June 21, 2004
Cory Doctorow outlines the most persuasive argument against Digital Rights Management I've yet seen. Well worth a read.
June 20, 2004
Inspector Sands has done some good work, tracking more local politicos who have blogs.
More politicians for me to stalk....
June 19, 2004
June 18, 2004
A few days back I posted a picture and asked people to guess where I was. Well, I was up at the very top floor of 30 St Mary Axe, better known to the good people of London as the gherkin.
I can't blog about what I was doing there, but I did take the opportunity to grab some photos. Odd internal reflections and some haze mean they didn't come out as well as I would have liked, but they're still quite fun. Enjoy!
Apple's new iTunes Music Store in the UK is rocking my world. "I've been waiting for something like iTunes and iPod all my life," said One Woman. "I just didn't know what it looked like until now."
One Woman is something of a minimalist, you see. She finds the conflict between her love of music and her desire not to own a metric tonne of plastic discs containing said music to be troublesome. However, now she can have all the music she wants on her slick, minimalist white iMac and her sleek, minimalist white iPod, without the horrible clutters of CDs. Oh, and the music's a lot cheaper, too (£7.99 an album, 79p for a track).
So, just before we headed out last night, she found and downloaded The Cure's singles collection Staring at the Sea, and we had a great journey to the dulcet tones of Mr Rob Smith.
The future is here, at 79p a pop.
June 17, 2004
Looks like my confidence in Six Apart's ability to listen to their customers was well-placed. I'll be purchasing the licenses I need and migrating the blogs I run over to MT3 in the coming weeks. Hurrah!
Yes, I'm still here. I'm still busy. Content later (or tomorrow).
June 14, 2004
Sorry for the lack of posting. Illness got me. I've been to see the doctor, though, and am generally feeling better about things. Will post more tomorrow.
June 12, 2004
Mr Betteridge opines that publishers should stop putting their content into walled gardens, and make them easily accessible.
The magazine I work for has an extensive website, all behind a pay barrier. It's doing pretty well for itself and has landed a couple of awards. I don't think a specialist buisiness publishing site is looking for random Google visits, though.
Horses for courses.
June 11, 2004
What a strange start to the morning. Half of Lewisham was closed off because of what appeared to be a major accident right outside the new Police station. Inevitably, most of teh early morning shoppers clustered around the road, trying to get a look at what was going on, only to be foiled by the protective sheeting the Police had put round the accident site. Good for them. "Oooh, it's always been a dangerous spot," whispered one older lady to another, a certain relish in her voice.
I was just impressed by how easily the Police were diverting traffic away from the scene. As you can see from the picture, they'd stationed vans at either end, and had police just directing people either side of the shopping centre. Still, if they can't be efficient on their own doorstep… Actually, given how long they took to get to the major fight on Lee High Road earlier in the week, perhaps they're not that efficient.
Anyway. I hope everybody involved was OK, or that it was just, as One Woman suggested, just a test.
June 10, 2004
Compare and contrast:
£600,000 loss in public land sell-off (South London Press)
Home proposals to go ahead (News Shopper)
The two headlines are from articles about the same story in our local papers. You wouldn't know it, would you? The News Shopper piece is essentially factual reporting garnished with a picture of Lewisham Mayor and politician most in need of a TV make-over, Steve Bullock.
The South London Press piece is one of the most startling pieces of economic illiteracy I've seen in a while. Let me explain. The gist of the story in both reports, is that Lewisham council has selected AMEC to develop the Lewisham Gateway site, with the hope of turning a traffic-and-roundabout dominated entrance to Lewisham into something considerably more attractive and useful. However, one fact about this has got SLP journalist Peter Harrison's back up:
The land, which includes Rennel Street car park and Quaggy Gardens, has been independently valued at £4,268,900 but AMEC is offering ?3.6m - that's a loss of more than £600,000.
I would suggest that Lewisham Council isn't selling it at a loss at all. In fact, I would suggest that "loss" is entirely the wrong word. The one the writer should be using is "discount". For example, if Boots sells me some deodorant (so important in hot weather) for £2.10 instead of the normal £2.50, it's not selling the product to me at a loss, merely at a 50p discount. Now, if I sold the same deodorant to a chum with a malodorous crisis on his hands for £1.60, then I'd have made a loss of 50p. Clear?
Now, Lewisham Council hasn't spent £4.3m acquiring the land. It's owned most of it for decade, if not longer. It's merely selling it at a discount to help achieve the regeneration it wants - pretty standard practice in regeneration circles. The paper then gets all het up about the requirement that
"seeks approval for the disposal of council assets at less than best value in order to secure the regeneration of the Lewisham Gateway"
Of course, it says "best value" not "best price", a distinction that seems to have eluded our fevered little hack.
Never mind. I'm sure the council will fail to have a crisis of confidence brought on by one journalist's incompetent economics and get something done with that horrible area of Lewisham. It's a pity we won't see the results until 2011.
Andrew Brown does a little political campaigning on his blog, addressing the issue of Lee Green's environment.
To be fair to the council, there has been an improvement in the street clearning services in recent months. However, "improvement" does not mean "job done". Parts of Lewisham are still horrible. The area around our church in Deptford is usually fithly and covered in discarded white goods, despite our best efforts, and the area around Deptford Broadway isn't much better.
Closer to home, Lee High Road looks and feels tatty, and more often that not has a particualrly unpleasant and pungent odour about it that puts me off the thought of dinner for a good half-hour after I get home. Residents and shop-keepers dump rubbish on the streets which sometimes sits there for days or weeks.
The council is trying, but hasn't got there yet. Worse, though, is the lack of interest in their environment from the locals. The question now is: how do they get local residents and shopkeepers to care about their environments?
Via Andrew Milton's journal, I found this website for the redevelopment of Lewisham Town Centre:
It was launched three months ago and has barely been touched since. Not the most auspicious beginning to a communication exercise ever.
As part of the OM+HB election day festivities, I've restored our local blogging politicians to the blogroll on the right.
The lovely One Woman (Without Blog) and I got up early(ish) this morning and trooped down the road to cast our votes. It was not great hassle. The Lewisham polling centre is just off our normal route to the station, just around the corner from our newly-opened branch of mass chicken-slaughterers Nando's. Curiously, the polling station was a Baptist Chapel, which might have been a problem for those of other faiths and thus possibly an insensitive choice, but that's local democracy for you. Still, we'd done our bit to keep this democracy running smoothly and exercised the rights our ancestors fought for.
I just wish there had been more people in the polling station. The media coverage of the elections has been shamefully thin, often assuming a low turn-out rather than encouraging a high one. Hopefully, the people of Britain will prove me wrong today, but let's wait and see.
I'm a great believer in the local aspect of democracy, and voting for people because you think they'll represent you well, rather than as part of some great popularity contest for political organisations with no real link to your local area. If you haven't voted yet, when you look at your ballot paper, look at the candidates' addresses. You'll find some interesting "local" addresses, I'm sure.
David Carr gives a really good assessment of why Brits should be getting their lazy behinds down to the polling stations to cast their votes today. While I don't completely agree with his assessment of the European Union, he does make the point that this is one of the few times we can give those complacent power-seekers who claim to represent us something resembling a scare.
That has to be a good thing.
June 9, 2004
The observant might note that yesterday's Soho entry actually went up today. That's pretty damn late, and I do apologise. In my defence, I was up late.
The picture to the right (click it for a larger version) is a clue as to where I was. I'll be posting more pics later, but anyone care to guess where the pic was taken?
June 8, 2004
June 7, 2004
Summer's here, and the lads are letching...
I've finally got around to adding some of the old links back to the new template. The South London blogs I read regularly should be on the right now. More groups of links to follow shortly.
June 5, 2004
So, I finally got around to designing a pretty logo for this blog. Let me know what you think.
Darn it, if I didn't have deadlines to hit, I'd be out in my garden right now. Here's a picture from our visit to the Eden Project a couple of months ago to placate me for a little while.
[The blog was found indirectly via City Comforts]
I really must get around to putting my blogroll back into my template. Oh, and doing something about the dull header. Ah, well, after this weekend, I'll have much more time on my hands.
On the property and architecture front:
The site was linked from Pancromatica, the blog of a reformed planner. I've had a chance to interview many planners for Estates Gazette down the years. His blog carries the experiences from that part of his life clearly...
June 4, 2004
Oh no, not another one. This makes it the fourth One Man And His Blog on the net.
One Man + His Blog - this site (started March 2003)
One Man And His Blog - Bulent Yusuf (started September 2003)
One Man And His Blog - (started Feb 13th 2004)
one man and his blog - the newest (started Feb 16th 2004)
Y'know it would be really nice if people checked names before using 'em. I know I did...
June 3, 2004
Yes, this week's theme in the Soho project is Leicester Square. This is my favourite for the week. The lone figure amongst the bustle of the square, the card, the message… It's one of those images that begs to have a story written about it.
June 2, 2004
Frightening work from the now Morgan-free Daily Mirror on young people's knowledge of D-Day.
6. Who the leader of Germany at the time?Of the 1,000 under-24s they questioned 73% did not know what it was, when it happened or who was involved.
ANSWER: Adolf Hitler.
DUNCE: Hannah Gray, a 24-year-old advertising executive, said: "Was it a king? I don't know. Can I phone a friend?"