Archive for August, 2006

Soldiers’ Trophy Pictures on Channel Five

Soldiers’ Pictures goes out on Channel five on Wednesday the 6th September. There’s a write up about the subject in the Guardian. What’s also interesting is that there a small piece of the post production in this week’s Broadcast: “colourist Vince Narduzzo used the DVNR 1000-HD RGB workstation to reduce noise and enhance the quality of the soldiers’ pictures to reveal their graphic nature.” (Italics mine).

“Family photographs, like good wines, often improve remarkably over time,”

Link: Guardian Unlimited | Family | Just one more ….

Week 33, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

The Saga of my Dishwasher. What a palaver this has been. So after two years of saying ‘let’s get a dishwasher’ while stood at the kitchen sink passing plates to the tea towel holding mrs e, we finally decided to do it. Our kitchen’s pretty small, so we needed a slimline one, which oddly are more expensive than full size ones. I tried all the usual places, Curry’s, Comet, but eventually went with Sainsbury’s Kitchen Appliances as they were all the same price give or take a quid and we’d also get some nectar points – woo. We go for the Hotpoint model. So I ring up, order it from ‘Jason’ , haggle on the delivery charge which he takes off, and later they send through a three page letter and T&C telling me it’s going to be delivered on August 2nd.

They day dawns and I’ve arranged to work from home as helpfully the delivery time is something like 12-4. 3:45pm Psssssh, I hear a big van pull up outside. I go downstairs and watch them unload it. It looks a little big.. Me:”that’s a slimline one right?” Guy:”Umm, no”. Hotpoint in their wisdom called there full sized mid range model the FDW-60, probably for Fullsize Dish Washer. Have a guess what their slimline one’s called? That’s right, SDW-60. S sounds a lot like F doesn’t it? Well it sure did to ‘Jason’. Bugger. The guys take it back down the stairs and onto the van, moaning the whole way. I’m on the phone straight away to the company who actually do the job, Me: “you’ve delivered the wrong one, can I get the right one please” Girl:”We need 48 hours to investigate” Me: “you’ve got till teatime, get a jog on”.

I then think, well I’ll just cancel this, get a refund and just go to one of the stores in Croydon and buy one. But no, you cannot walk into a shop and buy a dishwasher anymore. Curry’s had no slimline dishwashers of any brand in any store in the South East!

A bit later ‘Kath’ calls, the one we wanted isn’t in stock and will take four weeks to get. Right, So considering they’ve taken payment on the 27th July and I’ve been messed about, and they’ve made the mistake (which is easy to make) I ask for the SDW-80, the next model up, at no extra charge. And I’m still not paying delivery. “that’s fine” says Kath. Another afternoon off work as this time the slot is 2-6 and I’m the proud owner of a dishwasher. I spend all Saturday plumbing it in. And that night me and mrs e are using plates with gay abandon! Sunday dawns, and the door latch breaks.. bugger x2. I call Hotpoint. Girl: ” I can get a engineer to you tomorrow between 12-5pm or August the 25th?” Me:”can you do weekend?” “no” “Ok, I’ll take tomorrow, here’s my phone number, can the engineer call me when he’s about an hour away and I’ll set off from work then?” Girl:”no sorry, the engineers can’t make calls”. “sigh, ok”. Luckly a friend of mine is between jobs and so can house sit to let the engineer in. (There’s more to this story involving lost keys, being locked out and having to stay in a hotel costing £100, but let’s not go into that now.)

See the thing is, a centralised distribution is great for the companies, but crap for consumers. It involves taking days of work. In fact I wonder if there’s statistics somewhere about ‘lost work days’ waiting in for workmen, along with ‘sickies, and ‘commuting’. What happened to walking into a shop and buying something? Still I got a £260 dishwasher for £220.

The good news. My 360º pan media project is officially in development! Other people are working on it RIGHT NOW. I’ve another meeting with the Commissioner next week. Fingers crossed. If it gets commissioned I’ll tell you all about it.

Exam results day dawns

BBC NEWS | Education | A-level grade As up again to 24%.
Ahhh A-Level results day, like the Grouse season, is upon us… When wire photographers can hang around schools and colleges shooting pictures of joyful young ladies without having their collar felt by the long arm of the law the dirty sods. Only the Independent ran with a front page about A-Levels and used an image of an examination hall. It replaced that with a later ‘Bush is crap says Prescott’ edition. Normally August is a slow news month and this is a popular feature, but not this year.

Still, we went with a rare Boys Celebrating shot form last year as news have gone for the girls image and believe it or not boys sometimes do pass their exams as well! For some 2004 was a high water mark with the story of triplets all getting into Cambridge.

Today’s Newspapers – What to do when there’s no picture…

The Scotsman | The Guardian | The Independent | The Times | The Sun | The Mirror | The Telegraph | The Star | The Daily Mail.

How do you report a massive terror story when most of the images are of people queuing in an airport? The Scotsman was the only paper to used a shot of that. I don’t think it’s particularly effective as an image. It could equally go with ‘Air Traffic controller strike chaos’ as a headline. We British love a good queue. We’ll queue for anything. Also don’t you think all those people congregated together present a much bigger target than when on ten separate planes, I hope those shots were from departure side?

Not a bad front cover from the Guardian, a simple contrast between the armed officer and an young boy waiting to go on his holidays.

Utter crap from the Independent as per usual. I’ve written before about their lacklustre and boring covers but this one’s really bad.

The Times – I’m really not sure about this one. especially as other papers have it as 9 or 10 plans that were targeted. I guess they’re trying to show how many potential victims there would have been but it’s kind of lost in the schematic – no one every really reads the safety card right?

The Sun focuses on the planned technique and gets the alliteration in – clear and simple.

The Mirror also goes for the 10/8 thing, but subhead’s it ‘the liquid bombs plot’. Perhaps the start of moving away from the date naming conventions – perhaps in becoming a series of dates they’re starting to loose their poignancy? Interesting angle from The Mirror, actually getting an image of a suspect.

The Telegraph goes for an investigation shot. But again, could be the crime scene of any domestic murder. I actually quite like the Star’s approach. Finding the little girl with ‘Do you think I’m bothered’ adds a defiant, yet human side to the airport crowds angle.

The Daily Mail’s approach is not only poor, but wrong. This time it seems the plan was to detonate bombs on board a larger number of planes rather than fly a few plans into cities or installations. Why? Well since 911, any body trying to take over a plane would have to deal with either Sky Marshals, or ‘Let’s roll’ hero’s who try to take the plane back. Also you know they’d be shot down before they got anywhere near anything.

So a really odd story to try to illustrate yesterday, and as it broke after most if not all had gone to press they all missed it anyway. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes next.


On a similar theme… I want to tell you a story. About two years after 911 I was flying to Miami, me and my girlfriend looked like we’d got lucky and had three seats between the two of us on a packed plane. Then just moments before the doors close this flustered looking North African guy (He had a Nigerian Passport) in a long rain coat came on, and has the seat next to us. As we taxi, take off and pull up into the air he’s fiddling with something down by his side and muttering. The shoe bombing thing was fresh in my mind so I’m shitting it right now and watching him like a hawk… Then I was reminded of a speech/urban myth I read by the Captain of a plane that flew just after 911 asking passengers to turn and talk to each other. So I asked him if everything was ok? He smiled and said ‘Yes, I’m just scared of flying!” and the things in his hands were prayer beads, (though I was unsure of his religion) Once the flight had levelled off he popped two pills and zonked out. This episode taught me a valuable lesson about fighting ‘the fear’. You see it all the time on public transport when people are crammed in trains and busses and stuff, all trying to ignore each other, no one saying anything about other people’s behaviour or actions. I think this is an issue we need to address – don’t be afraid to ask. Mind you, if the guy had tried to light a match I would have smashed his face in.

Crystal Palace on Fire

News item on the Crystal Palace fire in 1936 – complete with Mr Chumley-Warner commentary.

Great British Beer Festival Bog Queue

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Must have been around 150m long… unbelievable. Cue a coupel of girls shreeking with laughter and shouting at me ‘take a photo, take a photo, this never happens to guys! Now you know how we feel!’

Earls Court being more of a gig venue, has something like 66% female toilets. A beer festival by it’s very nature has something like 80% guys attending…

In the end folks were going in the sinks (when you gotta go, you gotta go) and they had to ‘convert’ some of the ladies into gents. All of the ladies had a steward on the door as apprently the day before there’d been an ‘incident’ as a load of lads gate crashed the ladies loos.

To be honest I much prefer it when it’s at Olympia, the ceiling’s higher and it feels cooler, lighter and most….. well. British.

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These are my personal views and not those of Channel 4 or the BBC
August 2006