jump to navigation

“The Computer Pub” – ‘Tomorrow’s World’ 1965 January 13, 2012

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Technology, Television Shows.
1 comment so far

Found this recently …. From “Tomorrow’s World” , The Computer Pub.

Moon: It’s scary out there July 19, 2009

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Moon, Science Fiction, Television Shows, Uncategorized.
12 comments

Well, as noted by Craig, this looks at least a little bit impressive.

I’ve got to admit I’m a sucker for anything with model work instead of CGI. I’ll watch old episodes of Space:1999 or UFO to see the vehicles the future was meant to bring us. That it didn’t remains something of a disappointment. So the sight of those faux-2001 styled moon rovers, all chunky angles, strong sans serif typefaces on interiors and exteriors is a joy. This is the future as conceived in 1970 or so and carried through to films like Silent Running.

Or indeed Space:1999.

I’ve already mentioned how, as a kid, I was fascinated by this book. which also had something of that. And the model work was a large part of it. Anderson, Derek Meddings and others through their creations seemed to open a door to the future. This was what it would be like. The very weight of those models seemed to give them a three dimensional aspect, a reality as it were, that computer generated imagery couldn’t. The sheen of CGI, while often in its own terms fascinating, just isn’t quite there. Even now.

Now granted, some of this presented a very pristine vision of the future. But that of Anderson wasn’t, or at least wasn’t entirely. The vehicles in UFO could be grubby, their sides scored by rocket exhausts and such like.

That thought in mind I was looking up some of that on YouTube recently and came across both the UFO opening credits and the end titles.

Here’s the opening credits, all 1970s poppy excess as if it were the Avengers.

And here, by way of contrast, are the end titles.

There’s something undeniably eerie about the way the camera pulls back from the Earth with that score, by Barry Gray, in the background. It’s sort of the flip side of 2001. Whatever is out there may not be pleasant at all.

As a commenter said on YouTube:

What a contrast with the jolly and forthright “Lets go get ’em!” opening theme. When I was a kid watching this show the end theme seemed to say “we don’t stand a chance gainst the aliens”.

We don’t stand a chance. Yep.

An oddity though. Is that the Moon behind the Earth, and if so then what precisely is that planet or moon that the camera finally reveals?

Reality TV casts of the World Unite! June 4, 2009

Posted by Garibaldy in Labour relations, Television Shows.
4 comments

French workers are famous throughout the world for their determined assertion and defence of their rights. A large part of the Francopohbia seen in the British press at regular intervals is due to hostility to this very fact. So it is with particular glee that I read today (in one of Murdoch’s papers) that people who appear on French reality TV have won employment rights.

Maître Damien Celice, a lawyer for TF1, had warned the supreme court during the hearing that “there would be no more reality TV in France” if the contestants were given work contracts.

With Big Brother about to kick off on Channel 4 for its tenth season, I think I might move to France.

Torture and Television February 2, 2009

Posted by Garibaldy in Television Shows, Terrorism, United States.
14 comments

Among the first things done by President Obama last month were to sign an order for the closure of Guantanamo Bay, and to put an end to certain extreme interrogation techniques; or, as they used to be called, forms of torture, used by various branches of the US government. Also last month, 24 returned to our screens on Sky One. The two issues are more linked than they may at first appear. Most readers will probably have heard that the US military asked the producers of the show to cut down on the torture that regularly appears as Jack Bauer, played by Kiefer Sutherland, seeks to extract information to prevent a nuclear bomb going off, or such like. The reason being that its soldiers were watching it, and coming to the conclusion that there was no reason not to do the same when question prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. In other words, the morals of the US military were being perverted by the fantasy world of television.

Today’s Guardian has an interview with Kiefer Sutherland about these issues. Sutherland puts up a persuasive case that this is the US military trying to shift the blame for its own failings to train its troops properly, or control them once they got their hands on prisoners. While the pictures coming from Abu Ghrahib were not that big a surprise to anyone with any awareness of the attitudes of ordinary US soldiers to the population of foreign countries (a point made clear not only in the TV show Generation Kill currently on FX, but also in the interviews with the “elite” US Rangers involved in the battle of Moghadishu in the book Black Hawk Down), the interview with Sutherland reminds us that the officer corps is also rife with a belief in torture. For that reason, as well as the fact that 24 is a great show, the interview is worth reading.

South Park does the Election November 12, 2008

Posted by Garibaldy in Television Shows, US Politics.
6 comments

I watched South Park’s election special on Paramount Comedy Central last night, which was quite fun. I had intended to write about it, but it is being repeated on Friday night, and The Guardian beat me to it anyway. So just thought I’d mention it in case people are interested. The short version is that it exposes the vacuous nature of much of the support for Obama, but I didn’t find it as funny as the one about the last election that had a giant douchebag versus a turd sandwich, and rappers like Puff Daddy killing people for not voting.

More TV History November 12, 2008

Posted by Garibaldy in History, Northern Ireland, Television Shows.
6 comments

I’ve finished watching the first part of another six-part TV history show that I think will be of interest to Cedar Lounge Revolution readers. This time it was about Irish history, specifically the use of Informers during the Troubles. Brathadóirí is a TG4 production, with subtitles in English for the narration and the when the interviews are not in English (I never knew Eamon O’Malley had Irish). In order to watch it, go to

http://www.tg4.tv/
Click on the menu on the left where it says Faisnéis-Cartlann, and select the programme.

If you scroll down, you will also find a programme called Soviet na hÉireann, a rather tendentious show arguing Ireland could have had a socialist revolution in the period 1916-23 in case anyone missed it.

The show basically tells the story of Pat Daly, who emigrated with his family from Tuam to England, and who ended up in the Official IRA in Britain. Having gone with the INLA in the 1974 split, he remained active with them, before ultimately being exposed as an informer in a court case in 1992, after an operation to steal explosives which he had been responsible for organising in southern England, under the control of his handlers. The show was a fairly straightforward factual account (though some of the commentary revealed what its opinion of informers was), but it was marked out, as it looks like the whole series will be, by including interviews with handlers from the RUC Special Branch, military intelligence and the Guards. There were also interviews with two people who ended up in gaol after Daly passed on information about them. The series aims to address the moral issues surrounding the state’s use of informers (and included former RUC Sergeant Jonty Brown, who has clashed openly with Special Branch over Mark Haddock, a loyalist multiple murderer and informant), although I found the comparison with Abu Gharib by a Galway Law Professor a little forced. It looks like it will be an interesting series.

Bite My Shiny Metal… October 27, 2008

Posted by Garibaldy in Science Fiction, Television Shows.
15 comments

Insults to the Fox network executives who cancelled it. Lethal limboing. Bender downloading an obedience virus. Romance. Heads in jars. Nudity. Email scamming aliens taking over the company, and finding the key to time travel on Fry’s ass. Futurama was great. But alas no exhortations to bite Bender’s shiny metal ass.

Over-Excited and Undersophisticated Post October 21, 2008

Posted by Garibaldy in Science Fiction, Television Shows.
23 comments

I’ve just seen on Sky One that all new Futurama is starting on Sky on Sunday at 6. A very welcome return for something which is much better than that Simpsons nonsense, not least due to the more frequent appearance of Lucy Liu (or her head in a jar anyway). Alas this bears no relevance to progressive politics, or the state of chassis we are in, but deserves to be shouted from the rooftops.

Because they’re worth it… RTÉ ‘stars’ earnings… our beloved leader and other such stuff… February 29, 2008

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Fianna Fáil, media, Television Shows.
8 comments

149567_f_1.jpg

You know, it’s hardly a surprise to say that in the past I had quite a bit of sympathy for our beloved leader. There he was, put upon by Tribunal, probes into his financial affairs and his private life. Clearly, upset by all three. But, as time passed and as the drip drip drip of information from that same Tribunal has worked its peculiar magic that sympathy has become – how shall I put it – strained. Yes. Strained is a good word.

It’s fascinating, because I’m fairly certain that when the histories come to be written the matters of the past eighteen or so months will be but footnotes while other achievements will loom large. But them’s the breaks. The general public doesn’t write the history books and the general public is the arbiter of the present. There our beloved leader may well fare rather worse. I’ve noticed that in the past three or four weeks there has been a shift against Ahern in public sentiment. It remains to be seen whether that is significant or merely another will o the wisp.

Either way, reading the pseudonymous Sean Sexton in the latest issue of Magill, while I agree with him in theory that only two dates actually count as regards the future of Ahern, those being the Referendum and the Local Government Elections, the stray thought struck me that other events may well overtake him in the meantime leading to an unhappy conclusion (incidentally, what to make of Derek Fannings curiously edited article in the same issue about “An ashram for Ahern” which charts his off again on again respect for the leader?).

And, remarkably, I felt a faint echo of that sympathy when I read the news yesterday in the Irish Times about how Pat “Kenny keeps top spot in RTÉ earnings list”. Because here is another cause for a bit of upset:

Pat Kenny remains the top earner among RTÉ presenters, earning nearly €850,000 in 2006, according to figures released by the broadcaster today.
….
Topping the list with earnings of €849,139 was Pat Kenny Media Services. Kenny presents the Late Late Show on Friday nights and a daily morning radio programme on RTÉ Radio 1. He was the station’s top earner for the seventh straight year.

I like that Pat Kenny Media Services. Don’t buy the man, buy the product. But hold on… consider that before Christmas Ahern was attempting to implement wage increases that would see his wage move to about €310,000. Unconscionable? Indeed. Wrong? I said so at the time. Acquisitive? Without doubt.

And while Ahern and the government have snatched the fig leaf of not implementing it this year… well, yes, that will no doubt make a big dent in their expenditure plans… I’d like to see some sustained public pressure to ensure that they don’t pay themselves the increase next year either. Or ever as it happens.

But our ‘leading’ public broadcaster makes almost three times that sum. And he too is paid out of the public purse. But wait… not just him.

Seven of RTÉ’s top ten earners in 2006 were contractors…

Gerry Ryan and Marian Finucane remain in second and third place, unchanged since 2002.

Ryan, presenter of the Gerry Ryan Show on RTÉ 2FM, was paid €558,990 through his company Balcom Management. His salary was €520,685 in 2005.

Finucane’s company, Montrose Services, was paid €455,190 in 2005. Finucane, who switched from a daytime to a weekend show in May 2005, earned €436,413 the previous year.

Is it me, or do these seem stunning salaries for people to be on? I’m curious as to the rationale for them. I mean, I’m as open to the next guy to the argument that struggling actors or suchlike should be paid a bit over the odds because work is hard to find and often sporadic. But Pat Kenny is unlikely to go hungry in the near future. Marian Finucane is hardly going to find mikes being switched off every time she passes by. And there must be a legion of the discontented who would rise up in self-righteous anger should Joe Duffy vanish from our radios at an hour just about perfect to ensure a bit of dyspeptic bile can be brought up for a grateful nations consideration.

Indeed our Joe is no slouch in these matters, and I have to admit that the distance he’s gone from the back of a USI truck parked on O’Connell Street at some protest in the early 1980s (oh, yes, I still remember that) is something to be at least slightly in awe of. Probably for the wrong reason.

Joe Duffy overtook Ryan Tubridy to become RTÉ’s fourth-highest paid presenter. The Liveline star’s Claddaghgreen was paid €367,804 for his services in 2006; Tubridy’s Trocity Productions earned €346,667.

Derek Mooney, who earned €242,408 in 2006, is the highest-paid RTÉ employee on the list.

Trocity Productions you say… and a sum worthy of a lottery ticket. But this one keeps winning, year after year.

Then we descend to the lower reaches of ‘stardom’ to discover: Prime Time presenter Miriam O’Callaghan’s Baby Blue Productions [natch!] (€221,383); John Kelly (€204,675) and Six One News anchor Bryan Dobson (€193,610).

And for those who might, just, barely be argued to be engaging with life at the hard end? Well their raw wattage is obviously diminishing…

[Marty] Whelan and Dobson nudged journalists Tommie Gorman and Charlie Bird out of the top ten in 2006.

Still, not to worry. Whatever about inclement economic weather ahead none of these ‘stars’ need worry (and nor, I’ll bet is Ahern either about next years late implementation of the wage rise – unless he gets the chop). Because as the Irish Times notes:

Tánaiste and Minister for Finance Brian Cowen announced in Budget 2008 that RTÉ will get a 7 per cent increase in its funding this year, from €195 million to €208 million.

Last November, the Government approved a €2 increase in the annual television licence fee, bringing the annual cost to €160.

Jon Stewart, the Daily Show, the Writers Strike and while we’re at it… some interesting Election graphics… January 19, 2008

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Media and Journalism, Television Shows, US Politics.
11 comments

dailyshow-1.jpg

It’s sort of fascinating what is happening in Comedy Central. Some of you will have noticed that A Daily Show has returned with Jon Stewart. And the Colbert Report has returned with Steven Colbert. Now, strictly speaking they’re not breaking the Writers Guild of America strike… and it is telling that the WGA has not taken them to task over it.
In part that may be an historical issue. As wiki notes:

Stewart was an important factor in the unionization of the writers for Comedy Central. The Daily Show writers were the first of the Comedy Central’s writers to be able to join the guild, after which other shows followed.[39][40]

Moreover, he has:

…supported the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike, commenting on The Daily Show episode just before the strike in a sarcastic manner about how Comedy Central had made available all of the episodes for free on their website, but with advertising, and said ‘go support our advertisers’. The writers are currently striking over receiving additional money for DVD and iTunes sales as well as future revenue made by streaming shows and movies over the Internet. Upon Stewart’s return to the show on January 7, 2008, he refused to use the title The Daily Show, stating that “The Daily Show” was the show made with all of the people responsible for the broadcast, including his writers. He currently refers to his show as A Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

And anyone who has watched A Daily Show will note the continual jibes he makes about being ‘alone’. It’s certainly a very different programme from The Daily Show with pared back production values, fewer contributions from other comedians and seemingly longer interviews.

It’s a complex issue, just who is and who isn’t strike breaking. Again from wiki on the WGA strike we learn that…

The guild stated it had no plans to target Leno and O’Brien with protests[88] such as were aimed at non-WGA member Carson Daly, who was accused of setting up a joke hotline as a strike-breaking effort[89] when he returned to air.[90] After being back on air, however, Leno was charged by WGA of strike violation after he penned and delivered monologues, but it is unclear as to what action the guild will take.[91][92][93] Later, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert announced that their shows, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, would also return without writers on January 7, 2008.[94] The WGA accused Comedy Central and NBC of forcing hosts back on air by threatening the jobs of the staff and crew of their shows, and said it would picket them.[86][90][95][96] To show respect to the writers, The Daily Show has been renamed, for the duration of the strike, A Daily Show with Jon Stewart. In support of the strike, Screen Actors Guild urged its members to appear on programs that have independent agreements with the WGA, such as The Late Show with David Letterman and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.[97]

Which reiterates some of the information from the first excerpt. Certainly there was a strong sense of duress when Colbert and Stewart noted in a joint statement that:

“We would like to return to work with our writers. If we cannot, we would like to express our ambivalence, but without our writers we are unable to express something as nuanced as ambivalence.”

The cover is provided by other talk show hosts who have said:

…they respect the striking Writers Guild of America members, but want to return to work so their non-writing staffs will not be laid off.

The WGA supports this when it says (as reported by CBS):

“Comedy Central forcing Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert back on the air will not give the viewers the quality shows they’ve come to expect,” the WGA said in a statement. “The only way to get the writing staffs back on the job is for the AMPTP to come back to the table prepared to negotiate a fair deal with the Writers Guild.”

In truth this is a very real problem that those who support the strike and do not wish to undermine it face. The workers beyond the WGA are particularly exposed. And yet, it’s hardly contentious to suggest the idea that if programmes return to air that that will have its own dynamic by isolating the writers. This may very well be a square that cannot be circled.

And yet, I also can’t help feeling that having shows broadcasting that actually support the strike is no bad thing. They serve to undercut at least some of the messages that the media companies are attempting to establish about the recalcitrance and obstructiveness of the WGA.

The essential role of the writers is proven by the paucity of A Daily Show. It is, to paraphrase Obama, likable enough. But it’s not that likable. And while the WGA is supportive of its presence I’ll continue to watch it particularly for the skew-ways take it has on US political life. But it does set off a degree of cognitive dissonance for me. It’s not quite like passing a picket line (something I’ve never done)… but… it’s close enough.

Meanwhile… seeing as I’m still watching it can I direct your attention to here. Two examples, were examples needed, of the triumph of form over function. Do US voters really need the first board where ‘voters’ are pulled upwards along a screen to different candidates to indicate that they’re ‘voting’. And as for the three dimensional pie chart… It may be me, but doesn’t this represent to some degree something close to contempt for the basic intelligence of the voting public?

%d bloggers like this: