We don’t just report off-beat news, breaking news and digest the best and worst of the news media analysis and commentary. We give an original take on what happened and why. We add lols, satire, news photos and original content.
WHEN 212 crash landed, Azealia Banks looked for all the world like she was going to be the most famous human on the planet. She had it all – a quick tongue, a great look and a tune so huge that the rest of hip hop was going to have to keep tabs on her. And then we waited. And waited some more.
2011 was the time she set the world alight and since then, she’s done nothing. Sure, there have been releases, but they’ve been stodgy, sub-par affairs, blighted by Banks’ insistence on maintaining eye-contact with everyone through the medium of thoroughly pointless beefs.
FLASHBACK to Weekend February 4th 1964. All the cool cats were chewing Beatmint gum. Groovy…
Spotter: Vintage Scans
GUARDIAN journalists Alok Jha and Laurence Topham were onboard the trapped Akademik Shokalskiy, the ship occupied by University of New South Wales climate scientists looking for signs of global warming but found only ice.
How did the paper report on the laugh-in?
MV Akademik Shokalskiyv Laugh In: Trapped Climate Scientists Discover Helicopters Are Faster Than Global Warming
THE ANTARCTIC is home to the coldest place on Earth. On August 10, 2010, satellites recorded the temperature at minus 93.2C (-135.8F), in East Antarctic Plateau at an altitude of about 3,900m (12,800ft). The coldest temperature on the ground was recorded in July 1983 at minus 89.2 C (-128.6F) by the Vostok Research Station, Antarctica.
So. God speed Russian scientific ship MV Akademik Shokalskiyv (Academik Stuck-a-lotski), which embarked on a mission to record low ice levels and ended up trapped in the ice with 74 people on board. The ship became wedged into the frozen wastes around 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart.
THE NEW YEAR has arrived. Time to once again pledge to stop eating like a starved cow and get going on a weight loss program. Catalogs and magazines in decades past were full of wonderfully terrible options to start you on the Grand New Year’s Tradition of Fitness Plans Doomed to Failure. Let’s have a look at a few.
This experimental silent short is very rare (filmed in 8mm) and only lasts 11 minutes. Nigel Gordon, film student, filmed Syd Barrett while he tripped on mushrooms. This film is made up of two parts. Part 1: Syd tripping at Gog Magog Hills. Part 2: April ’67, Pink Floyd right after they signed their first recording contract, with EMI Records at Abbey Road Studios.
Early signs of the Pink Floyd front-man’s mental disintegration were apparent in 1967. That year he appeared on stage with an entire tube of Brylcreem in his hair into which – according to some accounts – he had crushed a handful of Mandrax tablets. Mandies or not, the lotion melted under the lights, leaving him looking like ‘a guttered candle’. The song Vegetable Man (unreleased) reflected Syd’s self-loathing at the time…
THE ROGARIANS are among us. On January 1 2014, the Romanian and Bulgarians united to invade the British Isles. Armed with a EU Directive, these villains are right now stealing your kids, using your cashcards, moving into your bedroom (quick, go check) and doing nothing – NOTHING – to help the England cricket team.
Liz Gerard investigates the horror:
Scene 1: A group of Romanians runs a car wash franchise in the car park of a DIY store. It’s a cold, drizzly day and there are few customers. A woman drives up and the entire dozen-strong workforce emerge from their warm hut and get to work on her car. No one sits back to watch others work, and with everyone pitching in, the job is done in five minutes.
Scene 2: A gang of Romanians cases a London antiques fair and follows one of the jewellery dealers home. They set up camp in woodland at the bottom of her garden and watch her movements for a few days. They see her coming home with new stock. At 3am they remove the bolts and padlocks on her doors and break in to steal everything. Her life’s work gone in minutes.
Which would is the better news story?
No contest. One is an everyday occurrence, the other a cruel assault on a woman’s home and life. And we know that an essential element of news is that it should be out of the ordinary.
So why does SubScribe suspect that the raid would be reported by many of our newspapers not as something unusual, but as an indication of the sort of behaviour to be expected of eastern European immigrants?
And why, given our endless fascination with the subject and the reams of newsprint devoted to it, is so little written about work ethic and immigrants’ contribution to the economy?
As Big Ben chimed midnight yesterday, thousands – even millions – of Romanians and Bulgarians were supposed to swarm into Britain to steal our jobs, our benefits and our wallets.
The mass migration did not materialise on cue, but that doesn’t mean we’re safe. You never know with sneaky foreigners; they might be biding their time, waiting for us to be preoccupied with the storms, before invading.
And there’s plenty to fear, as the Daily Star warned us yesterday:
“Fears grew of a crimewave last night as hordes of Romanians and Bulgarians bought every seat on planes and buses to the UK…
Police experts predicted a fresh wave of crime as the country already struggles with an influx of foreign crooks.
Shock figures revealed that the eastern Europeans already topped the crime league tables before Britain opened its borders to millions from the two countries today.
Almost 1,000 Romanians were detained by police in just one county alone over the past three years…”
As SubScribe wrote on Tuesday, the new rules on immigration change little. Seasonal workers, those in other specific trades and the self-employed were already able to come to Britain to work. They also had the same right as other EU nationals to enter the country for up to three months as a visitor – and to be deported if they engaged in criminal activity. Romanians and Bulgarians may now come to seek work in any field and stay for any length of time. But they still won’t be allowed to stay if they start begging or stealing.
The newspapers most terrified of this foreign invasion have been reluctant to make this clear. They don’t seem to have grasped the notion that if someone’s intention is to come to Britain to break the law, they didn’t need to wait for the law to change to do so. Wouldn’t it make sense for them to pop over, make hay for as long as they could without getting caught, and then go home with their ill-gotten gains? They could have been doing this for seven years.
Twitter has been a joy the past couple of days, mocking the tabs that predicted floods of evil migrants. Buzzfeed, as ever, put together a good compendium – and just going on to Twitter and searching ‘Romanians and Bulgarians’ brings a rich harvest.
SubScribe would like to make a two-part contribution to the conversation. The first was published on Tuesday. The second, below, are British front page splashes from the past 12 months that have focused on the subject of them darn foreigners. So here goes:
And the winner is…
Well, it was neck-and-neck into the final strait. The Express made the early running and built up a good lead over the Mail. But then it got distracted by the scorching summer and, possibly suffering from a touch of arthritis, started to flag. It rallied in the autumn, but the Mail had kept enough in reserve for one last push to come home the winner by a single edition. The iwas the dark horse and ran in third, but well adrift of the leaders.
The Times and Telegraph did their best, but didn’t really grasp the rules. This wasn’t about referendums on staying within the EU or the ascent of Ukip; it was about nasty foreigners. The Guardian suffered from the same failing and barely left the starting gate.
The Sun and the Star understood the nature of the race, but woke up only at the very last moment, so had no chance. They must have had other things on their minds.
Mail 18; Express 17; i 5; Times 4; Telegraph 3; Guardian 1; Sun 1; Star 1
And the losers are…
Our national reputation and anyone who looks to the popular Press for a fair and balanced view of the value – or cost – of immigrants to society.
FLASHBACK To 4 May 1945. The “Instrument of Surrender of All German Armed Forces In Holland, In Northwest Germany And in Denmark”
FLASHBACK to 04/05/1945. This is the “Instrument of Surrender of all German armed forces in Holland, in north west Germany including all islands, and in Denmark”. The pact was signed by Britain’s Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, and agreed by Germany’s Admiral Hans-Georg von Friedeburg and other members of the German high command, at Luneburg Heath, May 4, 1945. The ceasefire took effect from 8am on May 5.
ONE of the claims that was made over the break was that the NSA, the US crypto spies, could hack into anyone’s iPhone any time. This was all as a result of the Edward Snowden documents of course. The sad thing about this is that it was rather blown up out of proportion by one Jacob Appelbaum, one of the hangers on along with Glen Greenwald and Laura Poitras, around those Snowden documents.
Appelbaum went on to demand that Apple reveal which of the two dastardly things it had been doing: had it been cooperating with the NSA? Or had it just left the most appalling security breach open just for the hell of it?
MY Cloud Pal is Danielle Bruckman’s journey though the selfies of the man who has her iPhone.
On January 1, 2013 my phone escaped me and somehow fell into the hands of a man with a killer mustache. Thanks to Apple and some kinks in the cloud, I receive all of his pictures in my photo stream. Here are his selfies as re-enacted by yours truly.
THIS year would mark the 50th anniversary of Top Of The Pops. The show was, until relatively recently, a cornerstone of British television. A mixture of people’s interest shifting to the internet, and the BBC’s complete failure to stay in touch with youth culture and an over-reliance on the Glastonbury coverage saw TOTP falling by the wayside.
And then there’s the ongoing Jimmy Savile child abuse scandal.
THEY’RE whining about how train fares are going up again: and as usual, they’re managing to get entirely the wrong end of the stick. Here’s their complaint about fares:
Rail fares are rising so quickly that the government will soon be making a profit from the commuting public, campaigners claimed as the new year ushered in higher annual season ticket prices.
According to a report from the consultants Credo, for the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT), by 2018 the fares collected from passengers will cover 103% of railways’ operating costs, compared with 80% in 2009.
There is a very slight problem with this analysis: operating profits are not profits. Operating profits are the costs of goods sold minus the costs of goods purchased. If you thought about Sainsbury’s for example, then it would be the cost of everything they sell minus the costs of buying the things that they sell. And the perceptive will note that those aren’t all the costs of running a supermarket. It’s necessary, for example, to have buildings in which to operate the supermarkets. Vans and trucks to move the stuff around. To pay for advertising to get people to come in and buy the stuff.
DO you shape the news to fit your agenda? Do you see in every news story the chance to bang a drum for what it you believe in or desire? In his “2013 – the year in review. Peter Popham writer in the Independent of Nelson Mandela. He tells us:
It took his death, but the world came together for a moment for Nelson Mandela
The world came together. But what’s this? The lead photo has a caption:
TO MAKE IT in the music biz and get some publicity, it used to be a requirement to take some “professional” photographs for local newspapers, magazines, and venue posters. Trouble is, thirty to forty years later someone like me is going to share them with the world. Chances are, your press photos are a tad on the awkward side, and I’ll have a snarky comment or two. Shake it off. It’s all in good fun. Maybe you can even point and laugh at the other bands.
PORTUGAL’s Bin Men are rebelling against plans to privatise rubbish collections. They’ve gone on strike. So. People have reacted in a way we can only applaud: they’ve taken to delivering their rubbish to the banks.
THE International Order of The Golden Rule is a funeral homes organisation based in Austin, Texas. On their website filed under “history”, they tell us:
To a group of funeral directors in 1928, the “Golden Rule” – a fundamental principle that is universally admired and upheld – became the cornerstone upon which to built a professional association.
The founders embarked on a mission to seek out a dependable, ethical funeral directors in every community by means of a carefully tested screening process. They wanted to establish a quality-minded identity in the minds of families everywhere. The Golden Rule credo – “Service measured not by gold, but by the Golden Rule” – speaks to that identity.
Each Golden Rule® Funeral Home must show a commitment to provide to their client families: “Service measured not by gold but by the Golden Rule.”
So. What is the Golden Rule? We never do get to nail it down. Under “STandards of Ethical Conduct”, we get not one rule but 10 rules. We also see their name printed on this booklet called “How To Tell Good People From Bad People”.
Mic Wright’s Checking The Mail
I’M not saying the Daily Mail is written by liars and hypocrites, I’m just saying that if you had a visual dictionary of the British Media the face staring out from the definition of Arsehole would be Paul Dacre. Dacre who crows on constantly about family values is a sweary bully whose morning meetings have been called The Vagina Monologues thanks to the number of c-words that fly out of his expensively dentured mouth. This column exists to check the lies, half-truths and propaganda balls spouted by The Daily Mail but will happily turn its attention to other repeat offenders too including The Sun, The Mirror, The Daily Express, The Guardian, The Independent and my old home, The Daily Telegraph.
THE Best Readers’ Letters of 2013:
WHEN Muhammad Ali and Michael Jackson in 1977:
EVER vomited, hard, because something was screwing with your mind? Usually, it is an optical illusion that will do it, giving you a nausea unparalleled, to the point where your head spins with glee.
Optical illusions are, of course, rollercoaster rides for people who don’t like getting off the couch.
And so, to a mind melter which features a Tyrannosaurus Rex gawping at you and following you around the room, even though it is perfect motionless.
MANUFACTURING is coming back to the UK. That’s what Vince Cable claims at least, that there’s more manufacturing coming into the UK than there is leaving for places with cheaper labour:
Vince Cable has heralded the prospect of British manufacturing “becoming great again” as he revealed that twice as many small and medium sized manufacturers are bringing production back to the UK as are sending work overseas.
In what will be viewed as a boost for the British economy, Mr Cable, the Business Secretary, disclosed details of a new Manufacturing Advice Service (MAS) survey which shows that 11pc of respondent’s reshored production to the UK in the past 12 months, against 5pc who had sent production overseas.
DO we sympathise with Peter Taylor, styled as “Community-spirited” by the Stoke Sentinel? Or we do we think he made a problem worse?
The local council is very much of the opinion that Mr Taylor is a nuisance. It handed him an £80 fine for picking up a pump of dog poo left on a pathway in Central Forest Park, Hanley, Staffordshire, and relocating it into long grass.
After complaining at the absurdly high charge, Stoke-on-Trent City Council relented. The charge was cancelled. But Mr Peter was told off for not putting the turd in a bin. And that upsets him. As he says: “I clear the paths nearly every day. I go out and see where the mess is then I go out with a shovel and throw it in the long grass, but apparently I’m not supposed to do that. They told me to leave it where it is and they will come out and remove it.”
Carrying out a Clochemerle-type engagement with becoming dignity (he refused to complete the performance) is Digby, a three year old Pyrenean mountain rescue dog owned by Mrs J. Hull of Cheam, Surrey. He is seen officially opening a dog’s toilet at Roper’s Gardens, one of two set up on Chelsea Embankment by Kensington and Chelsea Council. Holding Digby’s lead is broadcaster Robert Robinson, who was described as guest of honour. Uninvited guest at the ceremony were demonstrators demanding free school milk for children instead of loos for dogs. Date: 15/03/1972
Dog poo is disgusting. Along with listening to other people’s loud phone calls on crowed trains, dog poo not cleared by the animal’s owner is something that annoys most of us. Mr Tay;or adds: “They said, ‘once you have touched something it is your responsibility, which sounds ridiculous to me. I couldn’t believe it. They weren’t going to cancel it straight away. I had to argue about it over three or four phone calls. They were trying to penalise someone who picks up litter all the time. The dog mess up that end of the park is terrible. I told them I won’t bother doing it anymore. You can’t blame me for that. I’ve lived here for 25 years but the mess has only started to get bad when they did the paths up about six years ago.”
Did the dogs refuse to go on the old, less well-maintained paths? Are dogs choosy?