Humour Television

How to attract Jeff Bezos' attention…

So Jeff Bezos has invested in 37signals, which follows on nicely from his previous investment in Biddulph and I have been thinking about this, and following the pattern we have determined that the next three companies that Bezos is likely to invest in will start with 31, 25 and 19. According to Google Sets they are also likely to end, respectively with ‘functions’, ‘description’ and ‘options’. Since there doesn’t appear to be anything at the end of, or I can only recommend that aspiring entrepreneurs should consider buying them immediately. I’m going to cut for the chase and go for as having the lowest possible number and longest string of letters that I can find. How can I fail!

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Who's afraid of Ashley Highfield?

Today it was announced that the BBC’s New Media operations are going to be restructured radically. At the moment most of the content creation parts of the organisation are kind of co-owned – for example, Simon Nelson who was the ‘controller’ of the part of the BBC that I used to work for (BBC Radio and Music) reported equally to Jenny Abramsky (in charge of the BBC’s radio and music operations) and to Ashley Highfield (in charge of the BBC’s New Media Operations). Ashley himself had pretty much direct control over a centralised part of the organisation known internally as New Media Central.

After working at the BBC for a few years, it seems to me that this structure was a sort of clumsy compromise that had a lot of problems but a lot of benefits. I wasn’t in the right positions to see the whole picture but there seemed to be organisational and communication problems with such a layout, and a certain splitting of resources. But on the other hand – and this is a big other hand – increasingly the divisions between ‘new media’ stuff and content creation were able to blur, creating new opportunities for each to support the other which couldn’t help but be a good thing.

The other thing which almost seemed to me to be a good thing – sort of by accident – was that it created an environment where parallel parts of the BBC could operate independently and in a rather more agile fashion. More specifically still, it meant that certain parts of the organisation with a kind of critical mass of smart and clued-up people could really thrive and generate their own culture and goals and get things done, even as others weren’t doing so well. It may be just because I worked there or Stockholm syndrome but I rather think that BBC Radio and Music was one of those places, and despite the fact that a bunch of my favourite people have since moved on, I think it probably still is.

Having said that not all parts of the organisation were similarly dynamic, despite the often amazing number of talented people working within them – specifically, in my opinion, Central New Media under the direct management of Ashley Highfield.

You’ll have heard a lot of announcements coming out from his part of the organisation over the last few years, but surprisingly few of them have amounted to much. They all made headlines at the time, but they’ve all rather disappeared. Do you know what happened to the grand plans of the Creative Archive or the iMP? They were both being talked about in press releases in 2003, but the status of the iMP now appears to be a closed content trial and the Creative Archive has amounted to nothing more than a truncated Creative Commons license used by several orders of magnitude less people and a few hunded short clips of BBC programmes. Highfield’s most recent speeches from May this year are still talking about these projects, with him showing mock-ups of potential prototypes for the iMP replacement the ‘iPlayer’ that could be the result of a collaboration with Microsoft. Are you impressed by this progress? I’m not.

And then there’s BBC Backstage – a noble attempt to get BBC APIs and feeds out in public. What state is that in a couple of years down the line? Look at it pretty closely – despite all the talk at conferences around the world – and it still amounts to little more than a clumsy mailing list and a few RSS feeds – themselves mainly coming from BBC News and BBC Sport. There’s nothing here that’s even vaguely persuasive compared to Yahoo!, Amazon or Google. Flickr – a company that I don’t think got into double figures of staff before acquisition – has more public APIs than the BBC, who have roughly five thousand times as many staff! This is what – two years after its inception? Even the BBC Programme Catalogue that came out of this part of the organisation a while back has gone into a review phase (do a search to see the message) without any committment or indication when it’s going to be fully opened up.

I’m sure – in fact I know – that there are regulatory frameworks that get in the way of the BBC getting this stuff out in public, but these long lacunae go apparently unnoticed and unremarked – there’s an initial announcement that makes the press and then no follow-up. If Ashley Highfield really is leading one of the most powerful and forward-thinking organisations in new media in the UK, then where are all these infrastructural products and strategy initiatives today? And if these products are caught up in process, then where are the products and platfoms from the years previous that should be finally maturing? It’s difficult to see anything of significance emerging from the part of the organisation directly under Highfield’s control. It’s all words!

And that’s just the past. This is a man who decides to embrace social software and the wisdom of crowds in 2006 – clearly waiting for Rupert Murdoch to buy MySpace and show the self-appointed R&D lab of the UK new media industry the way. His joy for this space is expressed in lines like, “The ‘Share’ philosophy is at the heart of 2.0 … your own thoughts, your own blogs and your own home videos. It allows you to create your own space and to build around you”, which is ironic given that earlier last year he stated in Ariel that he didn’t read any weblogs because he wasn’t interested in the opinions of self-opinionated blowhards. This is a man who apparently coined the term, Martini Media and thinks that expressing your future strategy through smug references to 1970s Leonard Rossiter-based adverts is a surefire way to move the ecology forward. This is a man described by the Guardian in its Media 100 for 2006 as follows:

Exactly how much the impetus for such initiatives stem from Highfield, and how much from the director general, was the source of some debate among the panel.

“Ashley Highfield is among the most important technology executives working in the UK today,” said one panellist. “Yes, but talk about being in the right place at the right time,” said another. “Mark Thompson should be credited with the vision, not him.”

This is a man – bluntly – whose only contact with Web 2.0 that I can find is a pretty humiliating set of pictures on Flickr of him on a private jet and ogling at half-naked dancing girls. (Note: This set of pictures has now been taken down).

So it is, I’m afraid, with a bit of a heavy heart that I can report that the restructuring of the BBC is going to result in a much larger role for Ashley Highfield within the organisation – managing (according to the Guardian, and I’d take this with a pinch of salt) up to 4,000 people throughout the organisation. All the new media functions that have currently been distributed will now it seems be directly under his auspices, and presumably more under his influence than those of the programme makers and pockets of brilliant people around the organisation. I don’t know enough about the nature of the restructuring to know whether it’s a good or a bad thing at a more general level, but it’s pretty bloody clear to me that it’s an ominous move.

Which is what makes me so surprised when people outside the organisation talk about how scared they are of the huge moves that the BBC can make on the internet, because the truth is that for the most part – with a bunch of limited exceptions – these changes just don’t seem to be really happening. The industry should be more furious about the lack of progress at the organisation than the speed of it, because in the meantime their actual competitors – the people that the BBC seems to think it’s a peer with but which it couldn’t catch-up with without moving all of its budget into New Media stuff and going properly international – get larger and faster and more vigorous and more exciting. I want the BBC to succeed. I want it to get stronger – I think it’s a valuable organisation to have in the world and I think it sits perfectly well alongside the mix of start-ups and corporates that’s emerging on the internet. And it’s for precisely this reason that I’m concerned about these moves.

Who’s afraid of Ashley Highfield? I am, and you should be too.

Humour Net Culture Television

Cybermen are Human 2.0?

According to Doctor Who, the Cybermen are Humans 2.0 (or more specifically, Human Point Two, which… means… very little). But I protest! I’m not sure Human 2.0 means anything at all! It’s just a stupid buzzword.

Of course it all started with that famous talk from ETech 2004, Is there a robot overlord in your future?. Then there were all those rumours about Dean Kaman showing a new invention to Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos, and them riding around on it for hours. And then the subsequent stories about Steve Jobs’ skin slipping off at Apple Keynotes and his new mission to “Crush humanity beneath the heal of the Cyber Leader forever“…

And then – of course – Tim O’Reilly had to create a bloody conference. I mean, seriously! Can’t people see this whole thing is just a buzzword!? It’s just a craze! There’s no substance to it at all. All fluff.

My personal opinion is that it’s just some way of getting some more money invested in the eradication of the human race after the whole World Conquest crash of the late nineties. I mean, sure – we’ve had some hard times recently. Daleks defeated in the far future. The whole Time War and everything. But this kind of shallow attempt to market a slow evolution in science as an end to all human freedoms is just wishful thinking and it has got to stop! I mean, can you believe it?! O’Reilly have even produced a bloody book!

Face it guys, there’s nothing new here that the Slitheen, Autons, Sea Devils or Microsoft haven’t tried a million times before. There’s no substance to it! No great evolution in zombification, no super-guns on the moon eradicating parallel universes. I’m not even sure I’ve seen a stomping moonboot! Hype. Hype. Hype. Hype. Hypey-Hypey Hype-Hype.

It’s for these reasons that I’ve decided to ignore this whole cycle, bury my head in the sand and not pay any attention to all my friends disappearing until such a time that I actually see a Cyber Leader erasing the leaders of this world with some kind of sonic blaster. And then, shortly after I’ve finished celebrating, I will finally be convinced. But not before! This I swear on the databanks of my enslaved robot family until the final years of this tiny crushable human civilisation. So there!


It's all about K9 on Doctor Who…

It’s really difficult to pretend that today is really about anything else than K9‘s reappearance on Doctor Who this evening. I’m a bit nervous about leaving the house at all, just in case the tube goes down or something and I don’t get back in time. I’m particularly worried that the kids won’t understand how cool and important the little box is, and that they’ll laugh at him. Something inside me would find that incredibly upsetting, I think.

Family Net Culture Technology Television

Is the pace of change really such a shock?

I’ve got Matt Biddulph staying with me and been hanging out with Paul Hammond a lot recently again and since they’re both ex-BBC colleagues, we’ve inevitably found ourselves talking a bit about what’s going on at the organisation at the moment. And it’s a busy time for them – Ashley Highfield and Mark Thompson have made a couple of interesting announcements that contain a fair amount of value nicely leavened with some typical organisational lunacy and clumsiness. But that’s not what I want to talk about.

What I want to talk about is this, which is a link that I’ve already posted to my feed earlier in the day and will turn up later on this site as part of my daily link dump. For those who don’t want to click on the link, here’s the picture:

Now this is a photo taken in the public reception area of BBC Television Centre, but I want to make it really clear from the outset that you shouldn’t be taking it literally or seriously – it’s a prop, a think piece, to help people in the organisation start think about the issues that are confronting them and start to come to terms with it. It has, however, stuck in my head all day. And here’s why…

The apparent shock revelation of the statement – the reason it’s supposed to get people nervous – is because it intimates that one day a new distribution mechanism might replace broadcast media. And while you’re reeling because of that insane revelation and the incredible insight that it contains, let me supplement it with a nice dose of truism from Mark Thompson:

“There are two reasons why we need a new creative strategy. Audiences are changing. And technology is changing. In a way, everyone knows this of course. What’s surprising – shocking even – is the sheer pace of that change. In both cases it’s faster and more radical than anything we’ve seen before.”

So here’s the argument – that perhaps broadcast won’t last forever and that technology is changing faster than ever before. So fast, apparently, that it’s almost dazzlingly confusing for people.

I’m afraid I think this is certifiable bullshit. There’s nothing rapid about this transition at all. It’s been happening in the background for fifteen years. So let me rephrase it in ways that I understand. Shock revelation! A new set of technologies has started to displace older technologies and will continue to do so at a fairly slow rate over the next ten to thirty years!

I’m completely bored of this rhetoric of endless insane change at a ludicrous rate, and cannot actually believe that people are taking it seriously. We’ve had iPods and digital media players for what – five years now? We’ve had Tivo for a similar amount of time, computers that can play DVDs for longer, music and video held in digital form since the eighties, an internet that members of the public have been building and creating upon for almost fifteen years. TV only got colour forty odd years ago, but somehow we’re expected to think that it’s built up a tradition and way of operating that’s unable to deal with technological shifts that happen over decades!? This is too fast for TV!? That’s ridiculous! This isn’t traditional media versus a rebellious newcomer, this is a fairly reasonable and incremental technology change that anyone involved in it could have seen coming from miles away. And it’s not even like anyone expects television or radio to change enormously radically over the next couple of decades! I mean, we’re swtiching to digital broadcasting in the UK in a few years, which gives people a few more channels. Radio’s not going to be fully digital for decades. Broadcast is still going to be a dominant form of content distribution in ten and maybe twenty years time, it just won’t be the only one. And five years from now there will clearly be more bottom-up media, just as there are more weblogs now than five years ago, but I’d be surprised if it had really eradicated any major media outlets. These changes are happening, they’re definitely happening, but they’re happening at a reasonable, comprehendible pace. There are opportunities, of course, and you have to be fast to be the first mover, but you don’t die if you’re not the first mover – you only die if you don’t adapt.

My sense of these media organisations that use this argument of incredibly rapid technology change is that they’re screaming that they’re being pursued by a snail and yet they cannot get away! ‘The snail! The snail!’, they cry. ‘How can we possibly escape!?. The problem being that the snail’s been moving closer for the last twenty years one way or another and they just weren’t paying attention. Because if we’re honest, if you don’t want or need to be first and you don’t need to own the platform, it can’t be hard to see roughly where this environment is going. Media will be, must be, transportable in bits and delivered to TV screens and various other players. And there will be enormous archives available that need to be explorable and searchable. And people will create content online and distribute it between themselves and find new ways to express themselves. Changes in the mechanics of those distributions and explorations will happen all the time, but really the major shift is not such a surprise, surely? I mean, how can it be!? Most of it has been happening in an unevenly distributed way for years anyway. And it’s not like it’s enormously hard to see what you’ve got to do to prepare for this – find a way to digitise the content, get as much information as possible about the content, work out how to throw it around the world, look for business models and watch the bubble-up communities for ideas. That’s it. Come on, guys! There’s hard work to be done, but it’s not in observing the trends or trying to work out what to do, it’s in just getting on with the work of sorting out rights and data and digitisation and keeping in touch with ideas from the ground. This should be the minimum a media organisation should do, not some terrifying new world of fear!

I think this is the most important thing that these organisations need to recognise now – not that change is dramatic and scary and that they have to suddenly pull themselves together to confront a new threat, but that they’ve been simply ignoring the world around them for decades. We don’t need people standing up and panicking and shouting the bloody obvious. We need people to watch the industries that could have an impact upon them, take them seriously, don’t freak out and observe what’s moving in their direction and then just do the basic work to be ready for it. The only way that snails catch you up is if you’re too self-absorbed to see them coming.


The BBC's open programme information project…

Here’s an interesting development from my old employers – the project that Biddulph, Loosemore and Hammersley (and others) have been working on at the BBC is now live and playable with. It’s the full Infax archive of programme information for every programme that the BBC’s librarians have information about (running about six weeks behind live, I believe) made available on the Internet, running on Ruby on Rails and featuring all the staples of good data online (plus some other fun stuff) like very nice URLs, lots of data interconnections, date archives (impressive – if not totally complete – archived schedules), lists of contributors, sparklines and tagclouds. It apparently contains 946,614 BBC TV and Radio programmes dating back seventy-five years, which is kind of amazing. It’s currently a prototype so it’s a bit flaky in places, and (I’m sorry) but I can’t say that I’m enormously impressed with the visual design work, but as an open repository of information it’s pretty astonishing, and a great counterpoint to the Programme Information Pages (ETech PDF) project that Mr Biddulph, Gavin Bell, Margaret Hanley and I worked on together (From the archive: The New Radio 3 site launches).

You can read more about the Infax archive over on Mr Biddulph’s site right now. I believe it’s going to have APIs to build off, but I might have got that wrong. In the meantime, looks like he’s keen to get your comments, so send ’em in.

Technology Television

A brief follow-up on TV distribution…

I wrote a post a few days ago called Quick observations on TV distribution in which I made a number of outrageous claims that I pretty much stand by. It was a bit of an off-the-cuff and not entirely digested attempt to throw out the core bits of the stuff that’s been in my head for a while, so I thought I should briefly mention that I’ve posted a couple of comments in the thread responding to some other people’s opinions and expanding briefly on a couple of the points:

(1) My assumption is that you pay these companies for a whole bunch of television you never even watch – that in terms of ‘must-see’ TV, people probably only really care about five – ten shows at any given time – and that most TV series arcs are between twelve and twenty five weeks, so that’s between a quarter and a half of a year. So even at today’s prices, you’d be paying what – $350 every six months – sixty dollars a month equivalent for ten new fresh shows downloaded every week of month. Now that’s clearly too much money, but it’s not too much by an enormous margin. Drop it down by a third and, you know, you’ve got yourself a deal – between eight to ten shows a week distributed down to my equipment for me to own and use immediately and for as long as I like for about $10 a week? That doesn’t seem so unreasonable.

(2) Think about it this way – the motivation for the content producers is not to give all the revenue to the content distributors, and they may not have to – you only have to see the straight-to-DVD market that Disney exploits to see that, and many shows recently (Futurama / Firefly) make more money on DVD than on TV distribution. There’s already a market (albeit relatively small) for people to buy programmes that have never been (or barely been) on TV. And there’s a huge market for buying media outright. So if it’s in their interest to try and get rid of the middle-man (or find a new one that’s more favourable to them), then they’re eventually going to start working in ways that make things difficult for the TV channels who obviously don’t want their audience balkanised. So they’ll either form partnerships with the content distributors for revenue sharing or they’ll gradually look towards different types of content that don’t suit download so well (Big Brother, perpetual rolling news, radio-style programming, live broadcasts).

(3) In terms of how you promote things if you just avoid broadcasting the shows themselves – well the same way you promote everything else that isn’t a TV show. They promote films without showing them on TV first, they promote albums without people hearing them first. You can buy ads on the TV that’s left, you can put things in the papers, etc. etc. My personal favourite – the US pilot season currently produces dozens of throwaway episode that never get shown, where instead every episode produced as a pilot is released to the public for free download (for the first month) and then if they get enough interest in the show in terms of direct subscriptions or individual pay-for downloads then they produce a full series. All TV shows are risks obviously, so this might move the burden of risk more onto the content producers than the networks, which might produce a more risk averse environment and a need for those companies to get in more revenue with which they can support the failures, but this is only a shift in money generation from the networks to the studios, and that often happens with middle-men anyway. And on the other hand, self-financed projects might get more access to the mainstream, fan favourites could be supported literally by the fans rather than by the advertisers. Componentised, smaller, more nible, more responsive media focused on meeting every niche need. It could work enormously well.

And I should also point out to the people whose post I can see on Technorati but not on their own site for some reason, that I’m not so much predicting that, “Internet TV will move from pay-per-episode to a pay-per-season, one-time subscription model” but that pay-per-season, one-time subscription is the best way to get down the programmes that you actually always want to watch, and that implementing the podcast-like functionality alongside individual downloads at a higher price is the best way to meet user needs and to make downloadable programming a real partner to traditional broadcast.


Quick observations on TV distribution…

I observed today that it’s now possible in the US to not only buy individual episodes of Lost via iTunes but that the Season Pass functionality now includes automatic delivery of all future episodes of the show for a massively decreased total price of $35 (about ¬£20) rather than for the nearly $50 that it would cost to buy each individually. I think that price reduction really points to the future of this kind of media distribution. I’ve been talking about this kind of pay-for podcast-like distribution mechanism for TV shows for a while on this site and in various work-related contexts over the last couple of years – and I really think this model is the way forward. It’s almost such an obvious thing to say that I can’t believe I’m writing it down, except that I know for a lot of people working in the media it still appears to be some weird pipe-dream of weirdo techno-futurism that’ll never catch on. But then you should see the faces of many of my media-working friends in the UK when I tell them that Battlestar Galactica in the US is run with a note onscreen reading, “Buy this episode tomorrow on iTunes”. They barely believe that’s true either. The future is here, dudes. The model is working. A change is gonna come.

As I’ve said before, I think we’re approaching a world in which a near-live media distribution environment will be a major partner to broadcast TV within five-ten years. This environment will be focused on show-by-show subscriptions and ultimate personalisation to get stuff down to viewers over normal broadband and mediated by the bog-standard boring old internet – probably even through the web. And it’s my suspicion that there may only be enough room for five or six major (partially democratised) distribution hubs (at a complete guess as mentioned in the above post: Amazon, AOL, Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft and Google). The group that’s going to have the most trouble with this is the public sector broadcasters – they need to be trying to work out how to influence and work with that environment and find a space for free or publically supported content as soon as is bloody possible, rather than trying to develop their own necessarily prescribed and undersupported media distribution platforms. They’re going to be under enough pressure to figure out how they’re helping compensate for market failure (in an environment with a space for every niche and genre interest) without having to deal with all these distribution questions too. Or at least so it seems to me.

Film Television

Watching the Oscars…

Watching the Oscars in the Manchester Grand Hyatt with assorted fun people is a very different experience from trying to stay awake in the UK as it stretches into the wee hours. It’s actually fun for a start. And Jon Stewart is really funny. So far we’ve had a couple of neat skits, a full on Clooney charismathon (plus Supporting Actor win) and Kong‘s got Best Special Effects. Wallace & Gromit have got best Animated Feature, which doesn’t suck too much. I was a bit disappointed about Jake not getting Best Supporting Actor – apparently the rumours are that Crash is building up a head of steam and may depose Brokeback, and this could be the first sign of that collapse. But I’ve watched enough episodes of the West Wing to know a bit about expectations management, and I’m trying to work out if the Crash rumours are part of a campaign to remind the Academy that Brokeback is not a done-deal. Get the vote out, if you know what I mean…

A little bit later and we’ve had a couple of shorts, a few really creepy adverts, a great Scientology line from Stewart that won’t win him any favours in his later career and ooh… ooh… Jennifer Aniston. Wow. She looked really grouchy. Almost as grouchy as she looked in the pre-Oscar show when you could tell that in the back of her mind she was reciting to herself, “never gonna get an Oscar, never gonna get an Oscar”.

Hm. Rachel Weisz won Best Supporting Actress for the Constant Gardener which is a bit of a funny thing to happen. I mean I watched the film and she was okay in it, but there were a great many times when I couldn’t decide whether the character was just really objectionable or whether it was the actress. Seeing her on stage makes me think it’s more likely that I just don’t like her very much. On the basis of the clip alone, I think I’d have gone for Amy Adams. In other news, what the fuck is up with Narnia?! It was a bloody terrible movie and the effects were a complete rip-off of Lord of the Rings – visually there was no creativity there whatsoever. What is wrong with people that it wins anything!? More troubling even than Narnia was Lauren Bacall, who looked far from well when she came on-stage, and then proceeded to stumble over most of her introduction to her section on Film Noir.

First notable comedy moment – the awesome Best Actress campaign skits, as voiced by Rob Cordry from the Daily Show including those that declared Judy Dench to be a bad Dame and Reese Witherspoon to have a good proper American name. Second notable comedy moment – the unintentional WTF interpretive dance thing with the burned out car and the mist and the racial tensions represented by people moving. really. slowly that accompanied the best song nomination from Crash. Jon Stewart on the latter, “My suggestion if you’re trying to escape from a burning car… Don’t move in slow motion…”

Only an hour and a bit to go and… well… wow, this is long. Every year you forget. So some guys have won sound design for King Kong, Jennifer Garner nearly fell over, there was some stuff that happened. The best song went to a song about a pimp which was interesting. Lots of people died. They used that terrible font from Keynote for the ‘In Memoriam’ slide. Jon Stewart is uniformly a good host so far, mainly because he’s been quite understated. Some highlights – Robert Altman’s honorary Oscar and tremendous speech and Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep’s performative introduction. We’re nearly out of snacks but SMS’s are coming in from various other nerds who are gradually arriving at the hotel, so there’s a concern that we might not have enough to eat. Simon’s sitting in the corner of the room by the loo working on his presentation because he thinks that’s the only place he can get a good wifi signal. Even though I’ve got a perfectly good one and I’m sitting on the comfy comfy bed. Silly boy.

Best Actor has gone to Philip Seymour Hoffman, which is not a shock and probably isn’t even a disappointment given how great an actor he is and what an extraordinary performance he gives in Capote, but godammit Heath Ledger did an astonishing job and it was a destroying film and Brokeback has to win something substantial. It’s hard to begrudge Hoffman though, particularly after his wonderful and affecting speech to his mother. And Ledger reacted really well to the whole thing. But I need some Brokeback action. Crash simply doesn’t deserve the recognition it’s got, and Brokeback is … astonishing.

This is a seriously weird ceremony – Reese Witherspoon’s got Best Actress? Wow, that’s a bit random and unexpected. Most embarrassing moment – her speech, “I’m just trying to matter”?! References to every major relative on the matrilineal line since Eve?! I rather think that one’s going to stick in her memory for the wrong reasons. Twenty pence on that being significantly mocked across the media over the next twenty-four hours…

Crap! We’re up to Best Adapted Screenplay and yes! Brokeback Mountain has won something decent at last! Yes! About bloody time and it’s a bloody great one! I’m pretty delighted about that one, although can I just say at this point that Simon and Yoz are being really annoying and talking to each other too loudly about Django and I might have to kill em! Ack! Now Crash has won Best Original Screenplay. It’s all going to come to the wire on this one. Fingers crossed. Crash sucks!

Ang Lee wins Best Director and that bodes really really really well. Apparently Director and Film tend to go together. I’m so happy about this one. Come on you bastards!



Preston to win!

Sometimes it’s difficult when you’re writing a weblog to know how to change tone – you’ve just written something trivial and flighty, and now want to talk about something real and serious that matters to a lot of people. It can be hard to know how to handle that transition. And it’s such a challenge that I find myself confronting today, but I feel it must be done. I must stand up and state that Celebrity Big Brother is an extraordinary bit of television that’s slightly eating my brain, and that only one man is fit to win! So stand up and be counted, webloggers of Britain. It’s time to start our campaigning in earnest! Preston to win!

Apologies to any visiting Americans who haven’t got the wonder of Celebrity Big Brother in their lives. You’re really missing out. Cough. Preston to win!