Category Archives: The Site

It’s so quiet.

So here we are, just after Christmas – I hope you had a good one. It’s been a little quiet on this front; a combination of work and moving house… so boxes everywhere, lots in storage, and a date not quite set for moving into the new place at some point in early January. I do however have a few articles that I’ve written while offline which I’ll be uploading this week.

Whoops

Fixed the photos on the site now so the shots on the food pages and within the blog should now be looking – overlooked changing local references that wordpress inserted when I first set the blog up. Schoolboy Error I’m afraid.

Migrating over to WordPress

Finally over to wordpress – so here we are, rough edges a plenty, but the blog itself is up, running and up to date.

Taking Twitter too Seriously.

There are one or two political bloggers in the UK that I find truely objectionable – everything is taken as deadly serious, stories become campaigns, and campaigns become vendettas: and one of those bloggers I recently had the misfortune of having a run in with on Twitter. Now as most of you will know, my twitter isn’t a single stream feed: you’re just as likely to hear what’s going on in the office as my kitchen, and I intersperse that personal niff naff and triv with a little political commentary, some overheard rumours and the occassional scoop from my many spies in PR and Politics.

The one thing that could never be said, is that it’s a serious stream of journalistic integrity – it’s not. What is more, is that it’s not supposed to be: I genuinely don’t take myself quite that seriously…  So it came as a bit of a shock when I tweeted about an overheard conversation on my way back from lunch from a couple of likely looking grungy hippies who were discussing going along to Parliament Square at the 4pm eviction time of the peace camp – ‘tooled up’. Now to me, that means just one thing – and with many friends and associates down that way I thought I’d broadcast it just to flag it up that there might be trouble brewing.

Unfortunately, it was leapt on as a completely serious source of information by one notable blogger with a history of taking things just a little too seriously, and that’s led to a bit of a fight with him accusing me of being a hypocrite after I replied to a post to a regular twitter co-conspirator that they should bring out the water cannons and tasers – Now as anyone that’s bothered to follow me for any particular length of time will know – that couldn’t have been said with my tongue any further in my cheek: my coverage of police action during the G20 or indeed my several run in’s with the police on my own being stopped and searched without reason should be a guide enough that aggresive police action is seriously uncool.

Now I’m not taking this seriously – with a history as colourful as this blogger has, I’m not going to lose sleep about what he might think about me: but I thought I’d blow off a bit of steam by reminding people that not everyone cares what they say on Twitter, I don’t care if my views are taken seriously or not, I don’t care whether rumours are believed or not, and I don’t give a toss if you’re going to leap into my life accusing me of hypocrisy when you’ve never bothered to engage me in any form of personal conversation to gauge where sarcasm and couldn’t give a flying fuck tongue in cheek comment blur into ‘reporting’ the world around me. Twitter really can’t be taken that seriously when you’re dealing with people that don’t have a single deadly serious focus, so don’t even try – because if you do, you’ll end up looking like a tit – and that just spoils the fun.

A sitting MP and Grindr…

Yesterday, Guido published a story and publicised it on twitter about a sitting MP he ‘found’ on grindr (a gay cruising application for iphone and blackberry), the story was up for about 20 minutes, people commented on it – and yet, suddenly it’s existence isn’t being acknowledged: it’s been wiped from various blogs, wiped from archives, totally unacknowledged. I don’t particular care for the story, it was a bit of a non-starter, people after all do have private lives; but the point remains that bloggers who talk about transparency in politics should be prepared to be so themselves, especially the more high-profile commentators who make the leap from blogging to broadcast media. If you’re going to publish a story stick by it, or officially retract it with reasons for doing so – don’t just wipe stuff from the public arena as all that does is damage the trust between your reader and you.

The ‘voice’ of the Tory grassroots

The last few days have seen the rise of something that I find a little distasteful; and that’s grandstanding by a few high profile conservative bloggers who don’t feel the coalition is right – Iain Dale commented only a few days ago that the requests for media appearances rather dried up after he came out in favour of a coalition – for other commentators however there just seem to be a never ending stream of invites, especially from the BBC and the Guardian, neither of which could be considered bastions of conservatism in any form in recent years.

I of course don’t have a problem with people having opinions – I’m full of them, and I’d fight to the death to defend people’s rights to have their own. No, my problem is the way opinions are being construed as fact, and facts that represent us all. Commentators like Tim Montgomerie for instance who keeps being introduced as the ‘voice’ of Tory Grassroots. Now, let me put this in perspective – I like Tim, I respect many of his views, even if some baffle me, but surely he must see that he’s being played? Not once have I heard a rebuttel that he’s not the defacto voice because of his editorship of ConHome, not once… it should be his opening gambit, he provides a platform for debate and has opinions that are his own, period.

It’s almost as if someone needs to explain to him and others – the media don’t like you, they appreciate that you’re eloquent yes, but moreso they appreciate that you’re willing to say what they want to say, when they want to say it. Coming from a background in broadcast journalism, you really don’t ever invite guests simply because they make noise, you want them to make noise that will draw the conclusions for the article you’re working on. And let’s be honest, the Conservatives have got enough problems with swivel-eyed backward looking politician like Tebbit still rattling his sabre as if he’s just stepped out of the cabinet office, without further commentary from you or others on BBC News seemingly supporting his position: believe me, he’s more than capable of making his views heard in a damaging enough way as it is.

If you believe some broadcast news from the past couple of weeks, you’d be led to believe that ConHome is representative – and it’s simply not. Nothing could be further from the truth – ConHome is representative of the people that write on it: it’s not the voice of conservatism I recognise a lot of the time. Many of the article comments regularly descend into personal abuse, games of I’m more conservative than you are, and it’s a home for Little-Englanders, UKIPers in denial and those that simply wish that Thatcher’s reign had never ended: and that’s all fine with me – it’s good that there’s a valve for discussion for those on that side of the Conservative party, but it’s not representative of the party, or many of the people in the party, or many people (like me) who aren’t members of the party but are at heart Liberally Conservative.

It’s certainly not representative of many centre right,  liberal, conservative, pro-european, pro-choice, pro-change people, and again, that’s fine – it doesn’t have to be, but let’s not let the media turn ConHome, and other blogs like it, into defacto ‘wholly-representative voices’… this game has been played before, it brought the Major government to it’s knees with Europe as the killer issue, and then after Blair’s landslide it kept the party and the whole idea of conservatism (of any sort) entirely toxic.

Conservatives strive to be personal, unique and self-determining, so debate is great – we need debate: but please, let these conversations be driven by us: not by the media – and not by a gross misrepresentation of a few online discussion places as the definitive voice that defines what everyone in the centre right must think and feel.

New Start

Well, like all things, the old site was starting to look tired – plus because I’ve always been to lazy to plug it into a CMS, so it was beginning to become a nightmare to update, with dead pages, outdated links and a myriad of other problems. So here we are refreshed, I’m calling this Chapter 3, it’s not in anyway the third revision of the site, more to do with a birthday coming up later this year.

So now we’re all wordpressed up, I present chapter 3.

End of a long week.

Almost the end week three, of what’s turning out to be an increasingly busy month, busy in good areas and busy in bad – work is busy, which is good, home is busy with impending house moves which is not so good, social life is distinctly un-busy, but there’s really no change from the usual there.

And what a week it’s been; I do look at the state of the UK in more and more of a depressed mood recently, Brown the Bottler and his incompetent cabinet of all the talents has-beens lurches from disaster to utter catastrophe as it appears that they’re going to have to force a nationalisation of Northern Rock to even consider recovering the tax-payer’s cash, nothing could be worse, both for the banks investors, the square mile and the wider economic reputation of Britain. What makes me cringe is the steadfast belief they all seem to have that they’re doing the right thing, seemingly not noticing that personal debt is at an all time high and it’s about all that propping up the economy at the moment as the FTSE tumbled 3% in one day and is now thundering toward 5800 at quite a terrifying pace. – The sooner Brown and his team of liars, cheats, fraudsters and baboons leave power the better, although one would hope that between now and then Cameron gets his team totally sleaze free and starts looking seriously at the possibility of coming to power in the middle of a recession…

The strange thing is as a business owner, speaking to other business owners there’s not a great deal of concern about the threat of recession, people do seem to think it’s going to be localised and that the world at large will carry on while housing and banking take the big hits, I’m yet to be convinced, but I’ve always believed in spreading business risk and keeping overheads down, so with some (and I do hate myself for using this word – I promise I won’t pull an odd look between a grimace and a grin half way through it before thumping my fist on the dispatch box) prudence *shudder*, things should be manageable without too many compromises.

Anyway, that’s quite enough of that: in other news, the new design and content is almost ready, so some time in late February I’m going to be relaunching the site, with new areas for the urbex stuff and a bigger, better blog with more space for all of the advertising/brand comment, plus the political and plain strange stuff. I’m quite excited about it, and you’ll be glad to know there’s a series of video podcasts coming very soon!

Test Card

Ok, so I’ve been lax: but work’s been a nightmare, and we’re still living out of boxes, nothing’s in the right place and it’s not conducive for being creative in any capacity… Normal service will be resumed shortly

Macs

Just some of the hardware used to create this site, my gorgeous G5, my much loved 12inch PowerBook and the ever trusty surprisingly capable eMac… pretty aren’t they – why not switch, you’ll never look back: I know I haven’t. With many thanks to Steve, and Steve.