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BBC Archive thoughts

...and in other Twitter based news:

An old friend Tony Ageh, who has suddenly become not so much the Head of the Internet as the Head Librarian solicited for thoughts regarding the BBC archive.

I'm not sure if the thoughts I've had are all along archive lines because they often referred directly to TV shows that were on. But, the things that have occurred in the past all seemed to chime and as you can see, the thoughts occupy slightly more than 160 characters (even without my waffle).

To focus my thoughts:

-No one can ever find out what the music was that was used in TV programmes or radio programmes, yet the pieces chosen do so much to create mood, they're obviously meant to resonate with the watcher/listener. (sidebar query: music is always referred to in film credits - why not TV? Why that discrepancy?)
-Many MANY BBC programmes, be it radio or TV are documentary or history based, and yet, when the shows are aired, the background research material, the notes, and so forth are extremely bitty to say the least on the web. Why? Why not just dump it all up there?
I have in mind a particular show which was called "The Space Race". It waas a fantastic show for a "me" sort of person ie: it focused on the human stories behind the race to get the man on the moon. For Mackay, it  was intensely frustrating, because every scene was littered with absolutely brilliant space engineering which he would jump up about and say "Look! Look that's the Sputnik prototype!". It wasn't that sort of show though, and besides which, what do you do - put the show on pause and highlight an area of the screen to say "you see this? Well, it's the prototype of the first satellite that ever went up from the earth. Pretty cool, eh?"

Around that thought, I had a huge splurge of ideas which I loved at the time and no bugger 'as ever matched up to them. Of course a TV show should be able to do *exactly that* in terms of being able to use an iplayer in a SN/Identity enabled way, (iplayer hadn't even come close to being launched when I blurted all this down the phone to TomL in classic "Oh!Oh! Listen! type of way - only to be told they'd already thought of it. Obviously) , to create "notes" on the screen (a la flickr notes, isolating a specific spot and writing about it). In the case of the Space Race, my imagining was a physics or engineering lecturer/teacher creating a group around the programme for their class, and writing up the equivalent of "DVD extras" specific to their interest: "This is the prototype of the original Sputnik, and this link goes straight to the engineering specs" - of course, the engineering specs should have been there on the website as part of a library of accompanying material for the show.

So the point is - for all factual programmes, there should be a live archive - literally bundles, and bundles of information. The scripts for tghe shows, all the reference material, all the background interviews, any emails that people thought advanced the ideas behond the shows... a veritable slew of information. If you think about that in the context of Open University programmes, that's invaluable. There's currently a James May fronted average to the point of rubbish modern eengineering science show on BBC 2 (subject example: robotics). If that were accompanied by a mass of "Further reading"... how much more useful? Astonishingly this is the link the BBC uses itself to the "Big Ideas" website. Surely this is wrong - there must be a slew of stuff online somewhere?! I can't find it easily though.

My reference point at present is the news that the British Library has bought the Ted Hughes archive. Letters, scribbled notebooks, little notes, diaries... *everything* (Yay!). It not being the job of an archivist to 'decide' what is relevant and what is not, it being merely to archive. The other reference point being Presidential libraries. Although those aren't ideal as a reference, the point being: provide EVERYTHING, because what that reference material will actually be used for is unknown at this point. Someone doing a PHD; someone tracing how a TV show was made from start to finish 50 years / 100 years ago; someone wanting to bolster an argument in a Powerpoint presentation... who can tell? What does it matter? By trying to demarcate lines in terms of "Ok, we'll save this, but not that" you may be screwing some future social historian.

I pressed "Send" by accident before rolling this up in to some kind of tight last sentence. Er... yes. Anyway. Archiving. A good idea, generally. Jolly good. Chop chop!

My life is now complete

For Stephen Fry replied to a Tweet what I sent him.

FTR: I suggested that perhaps some culling of the number of "Follows" he's done might make it slightly less overwhelmingly deluging, and that no one had actually expected him to follow them back when they found him.

So I didn't offer him sex or to bear host to his children or anything.

Also FTR I sent it to him privately because there seems to be something slightly perverse about attempting to engage Stephen Bloody Fry in conversation, not simply because he was at that point rattling along on his way to an airport in Kenya, but because... you know... it's just a bit weird, isn't it. Of course he sent it publicly which was at once mortifying but flutteringly, embarrassingly delightful.

Gawd blimey. What a lot of stupid nonsense!

Look inwardly

As the average yet peculiarly memorable northern band "The Chameleons" once said.

Anyway, I have somewhat astonishing news.

My regular crew, gawd bless em, will remember that it was only a short while ago that I confessed that I was having trouble getting in to my SIZE 20 clothes. ie: I was pushing size 22.

This was such an unmitigated horror to me I just couldn't bear it any longer. Well, also, we were skint before it became fashionable to be so.

Hence biking, and the realisation that given that I seem to be totally incapable of cycling at an average pace, the best way to get the most out of it was therefore to actively choose not too. And pelt down the road sucking in oxygen like it was going out of fashion. Or something like that.

Even though this is only for 3 days a week, within those three days I effectively end up doing the equivalent of a tough workout at the gym for 6 hour long sessions. Well, it's actually 50 minutes now given that I'm all fitter n'all that. But anyway:

Last night after getting out of my cycle togs I got straight in to my PJ's just 'because'. Ones that were stuffed in a drawer and hadn't been put in since before Nora was born *5 years ago*.

I noted that they are identified as "Size 14-16".

The word, I think you might agree, is: RESULT!

This is my Jerry Springer sign off. well. Not quite but if this isn't a vindication of my absolute belief that diets are an absolute load of cobblers, and what your body wants is to be fit - eating healthy food for the most part, and most importantly, moving about enough, then I don't know what is. The only animals which have actively chosen to slow down on the planet are Sloths, and they're built somewhat differently to humans, I'm sure you'll agree. If you want to choose to try and accelerate evolution in a single generation such that we can all just sit on our arses from morning till night and get away with it, be my guest, but somehow, I don't think you'll achieve much other than... a fat arse.

Now then. Cait. Please remember this post in future, and NEVER STOP CYCLING TO WORK EVER AGAIN IN YOUR LIFE.

Oh, bugger. other thought

The visible unfairness of those of us that are born with an ability to switch off the ethics algorithms and play monopoly with such huge (apparently non-existent) sums that even the vast sums and bonuses  that they are paid are pitiful in comparison has made everyone suddenly feel uncomfortable.

Well tough shit, guys - this is the system. We all signed up for it, including us poor wage slaves destined to work as hard, in slightly less visible industries, for a tenth or less of the money.

One thought occurred to me which is that within the system we have,  we should be grateful to that tiny few, who willingly suck Satan's cock on a daily basis. They have their fundamental decency almost surgically removed in order that not only we don't, but that we can feel justifiably morally superior to at least one group of people. Whoever we are, no matter what we do (providing it's legal) at least we're not city bankers.

Now this thought would hold water, but only if there were a visible penalty applied to people in City banking. If you are a commodities or simply money /debt trader, you have to either have your life officially forshortened by at least 20 years (but have a bloody good time whilst you're here) or, perhaps there's a Danté angle here we're missing. If the trading floor and associated computer screens were actually genuinely *in hell*, or a suitable facsimile thereof, then I think we could all feel that these hard working warriors who keep Capitalism together are really earning their money, and they deserve their early retirements. One imagines they would retire even earlier and reach the point of "I can't stand this any more" when they had what could be termed a merely "sufficient" amount of money in the bank, as opposed to the slightly bizarre millions that are currently distributed bi-annually (oh ho, maybe not this year).

So I say hold on, let's give the philosophy of greed a chance to prove itself, in a real bear pit.


The western world has been suffering a surfeit of news in the last two or three weeks. Obama vs McCain, the incredible, astonishing roadcrash that is that mechanised viper, Sarah Palin and oh, yes - Capitalism collapsing in on itself.

Was this bank crisis always going to happen? Oh yes. The inevitability of a system careening in to a black hole of its own design is in one way, being a lifelong critic of said system, thoroughly delicious to watch. The problem, naturally, is that it affects everybody, and will continue to do so for a long time to come.

I'll write this, in the hope that I'm not making this up, but in watching the greedy suffer (momentarily) and the rich be made to feel visibly uncomfortable, what's interesting is that the Green Agenda hasn't died down or been completely lost in the mellee.

Is it possible... could it be that human beings are ready now to catch a little shame? To actually change? Is it feasible that the ordinary people might actually start to stand up and not only say, well, you know what? The right wing agenda of deregulating the markets is and always was a crock of shit and has been proved not to work, so just Shut the Fuck Up you greedy, short termist tossers but to actually recognise the short termism is a Total Disaster for us and our long term survival?

Is it fucking possible that we may now actually take stock, and we may now actually change, as a people, and maybe we might just learn some fucking lessons and start to change the way we live, *quickly*?

Is it feasible for the western world to acquire some universal shame and change?

Sorry, I'm continuing this rant... I mean this is the kind of economic disaster from which revolutions come. Recognise our power to change and CHANGE. NOW.

There must now be momentum. There must be. If not now, then... I don't think we actually deserve to make it through the almighty fuck up we have in store for us.