Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Activists takeover field for Climate Action Camp

30 July 2008

Activists take site for the Camp for Climate Action and reveal location

100 people entered and secured an uncultivated field at Deansgate Ridge at 3.00pm today, only 1 km from Kingsnorth Power Station. They erected and climbed tripods to prevent police from moving them and have erected a marquee alongside a banner which reads ‘No New Coal’.

Although the climate camp activists have been upfront and open about most aspects of their plans, the location of the camp had not been revealed until today in order to prevent E.ON and the police from attempting to stop it from happening. The uncultivated field is on a road that runs between Hoo St Werburgh and High Halstow. The Camp for Climate Action intends to return the field in two weeks in as good, if not better, condition than it was found.

Around 20 sheep were in the field when it was occupied. They have been rounded up and are being taken care of with food and water.

The camp, which is due to officially start on Sunday, 3 August, is expected to attract thousands of people coming from all over the UK. The week long camp hosts hundreds of workshops on sustainable living and the politics of climate change. The camp will culminate on Saturday 9 August in a mass direct action to shut down Kingsnorth power station on protest over E.ON’s plans to build the first new coal-fired power station in the UK for 33 years.

“We want to warmly invite people from the local community to come down and see for themselves what the camp is all about,” said Terry Graves, who has already pitched his tent up in the field.

“E.ON and the government believe that you can have endless fossil-fuelled economic growth in a world of finite resources,” said Christina Greensford, who helped to secure the camp. “People from all over the UK are here to create a democratic, low-carbon society in which our long term future on this planet is prioritised over the short term profit margins of the fossil fuel industry.”

“We have a future to protect, and today, in setting up the climate camp, we’ve drawn a line in the sand at Kingsnorth.” said Hannah Abbots. “We will not allow companies like E.ON drag us over the edge of climate catastrophe.”

Press can contact Conor O’Brian at 07530 306267 who is on site and arrange interviews, either over the phone or on the perimeter of the site.

Press can also contact the media team, who are not currently on site, at 07772 861 099

We will be producing daily shows from the camp at

Arms dealer win the day

As you may have heard in the news today, the Government has won its
appeal against the High Court ruling that it acted unlawfully by
halting the Serious Fraud Office investigation into BAE's Saudi arms

CAAT believes that the ruling highlights a gap in the law which
enables arms dealers with friends in high places to avoid being
investigated for bribery and corruption. Bowing to pressure from BAE
and its friends, the Government has used the national security
argument to protect the profits of a company that continues to sell
arms to oppressive regimes.

The public response to the case, as well as considerable coverage in
the media, has shown that public opinion is not on the Government's
side. 125 MPs from all the main parties, along with over 130 NGOs
from around the world, opposed the Government's decision. No longer
as susceptible to exaggerated claims about the number of jobs
dependent on Saudi arms deals, the public has become aware of the
Government's continued subservience to BAE. This has placed CAAT and
our allies in a considerably stronger position as we continue to
tackle the negative effects of arms companies on democracy, justice
and human rights.

Following the initial ruling by the High Court in April, the
Government introduced the Constitutional Renewal Bill, provisions of
which would prevent parliament or the courts questioning decisions
based on 'national security'. CAAT and The Corner House have been
monitoring progress of the Bill, which is clearly a response to our
judicial review against the Government. The Committee report on the
first draft of this Bill is due to be announced tomorrow . You can
keep up with the latest campaign actions against this Bill by
visiting our website .

We have been overwhelmed by the many messages of support we have
received throughout this case and would not have been able to mount
this legal challenge without our supporters. Our victory in the High
Court earlier this year was testament to the effectiveness of a
strong campaign and CAAT wouldn't be what it is without you!

This case has enabled us to create a wider awareness of arms trade
issues and we need your continued support to enable us to continue
our campaign, so please do what you can to help by making a donation,
signing our petitions and postcards or becoming involved in our local
campaigns. Your contribution gives us the voice we need to achieve
our goal of ending the international arms trade.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

ITV news to be cut

By James Welsh, International Editor
Ofcom 'to allow' ITV regional news cuts

Ofcom will allow ITV to reduce its regional news commitments as part
of a package of reforms to the UK's public service broadcasting
regulatory framework, according to a document leaked to The Guardian

The regulator, which prepared the document for the second phase of its
public service broadcasting review, will allow ITV to proceed with
plans to cut regional news in "sub-regions", and also reduce its
current affairs and out-of-London production quotas. It will not,
however, be allowed to merge Border and Westcountry with neighbouring
Channel 3 franchises.

Other plans outlined in the document include breaking the direct link
between the television licence fee and the BBC, by sharing "excess"
fee monies after digital switchover to other broadcasters such as
Channel 4 starting in 2012.

An Ofcom spokesperson denied that any decision "has been made yet with
regards to ITV's request to reduce its regional news production".

Video skills help justice against Fascist Police

Without Covell's intensive work assembling video records of the Diaz raid, the police might well have evaded responsibility and secured false charges and prison sentences against scores of their victims. Apart from the Bolzaneto trial which finished on Monday, 28 other officers, some very senior, are on trial for their part in the Diaz raid. And yet, justice has been more

You can watch a TV report here from More4 which used Undercurrents images of the police raidinthe building.

Film comp


Filmaka are looking for visually striking, two to three minute films to play in their next installment of x13 - a series of cutting-edge work from around the world, including the UK.

Your film can be live-action, animated, tell a story, showcase an event,
or any and all of the above. 13 winners get usd3000 and 5 runners-up get
usd1000. Winning films may be broadcast on Red Bull TV. It's free to
submit and entries are due Aug 17 - go to for more

Red Bull is starting another round in its x13 series of provocative
shorts. This round's theme is VIBRATIONS. Make a film that's narrative,
documentary, non-linear, experimental, or any combination of the above.
Use any visual style - animated, grainy film, crisp video, drawn,
photographed, painted-onto-the-celluloid - anything goes. Just remember
three important things - it must be two to three minutes long, in 16:9
aspect ratio (wide screen) and submitted in High Definition Video. This is
because your film may be played on Red Bull TV or distributed in other
ways. 5 finalists win usd1000 each. 13 finalists win usd3000.

Submissions are due by August 17.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Publish and be damned

Vargas Organisation, London will be represented at this year's Publish
and Be Damned independent publishers' fair thanks to Marina Vischmidt
who will be in London and therefore able lay the table. This year's
offer features proudly spineless booklets and pamphlets, nicely bound
volumes, loose leaves, ambient sounds and flyers including: polemics by
Stewart Home, reports by Tom McCarthy, warnings by Marlene Haring,
demolition by Alexander Brener and Barbara Schurz, and aerials by
Anthony Auerbach. Free stuff for visitors to the fair.

The fifth Publish and Be Damned fair features over 80 individual and
experimental approaches to publishing and takes place on

Sunday 3 August 2008, 12 noon until 6 pm at
Rochelle School, Arnold Circus, London E2 7ES

Admission is free. If you can't make it to the fair you can browse and
buy online at

Sunday, July 27, 2008

You've got to be choking!

To download the full version visit

First film i ever worked on back in 1993

Banksy big art!

In March ‘08 Banksy pulled off an audacious stunt to produce what is believed to be his biggest work yet in central London. The work, above a Post Office yard in Newman Street near Oxford Circus, shows a small boy, watched by a security guard, painting the words: ‘One nation under CCTV.’

Andrew Newman, 35, a businessman from Dulwich, who works locally, said: ‘It was only on Sunday morning that the Post Offices guys realised what had happened.’

Under British Law this is considered to be vandalism. However isn’t that the whole point of his art? Blurring the edges of what society thinks of art /vandalism, right / wrong, acceptable / unacceptable? Would we think about those issues if it was just a piece of Art on a wall in a gallery somewhere?

Cooking with recycled materials

In the compost made from my waste food,plant clippings and general garden debris I grew these gorgeous red spotted 'Ambo'spuds. The potatoes were cross bred in 1993 in Ireland to create a very very creamy texture.

Last night Ami and I cooked them wrapped in foil and in a fire contained within an old washing machine tumble bin with a fridge shelve as a platform. With chicken and broadbeans it may for a tasty meal.In the background you can see the Sloe Gin we made earlier in the year. Gets better and smoother with age.We had marsh mallows over the fire to finish it all off.

Friday, July 25, 2008

J for Japanese Water Stone (

How to make your Knife as sharp as possible by using the Japanese Water Stone. Full instruction on how to use the stone plus introduction to a lighter method.

A-Z Bushcraft & Survival skills- letters needed

Nearing the end of our A-Z of Bushcraft and survival skills video series..Stuck on the last letters now so any suggestions?
A Axe
B Bowdrill
C Cordgage
D Drinking
E Edibles
F Flint
G Gathering
H Help
I Identify
J Japanese Water stone
K Knife
M Merchandise
O Oil
P Plants
Q Quintessential
R Rope work
S Shelter
T Trapping
U Utensils
W Whistle
Y Youth
Z Sleeping (ZZZZZZ)


This story appeared in the Evening Post this week about me and typical hacks, they managed to get most of the info wrong

09:00 - 17 July 2008

A Documentary maker has criticised police for treating environmental protestors like terrorists.Paul O'Connor the founder of Swansea film-makers Undercurrents, says his new film Melting Point [I APPEARED IN THE FILM, NOT MAKE IT] exposes heavy-handed tactics used against people protesting against a new opencast mine, near Merthyr Tydfil.[WRONG AGAIN-THE FILM IS ABOUT POLICE IN LONDON]

The film shows environmental protesters being arrested, as well as campaigners receiving threats of legal action.

Mr O'Connor said: "All top scientists tell us climate change is more dangerous than terrorism.

"Yet, the people who take action to stop more CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere are branded as militants.

"This film is a shocking insight into the steps big business and police are taking to stop people protecting our environment."

The film, produced by The Ecologist magazine, is part of a series of investigative films about the environment, and is about campaigners' fight against the Ffos-y-Fran opencast mine.[ONLY PARTLY ABOUT FFOS Y FRAN]

Mr O'Connor added: "It exposes the extraordinary tactics being used to re-frame concerned citizens, engaging in their right to protest, as dangerous terrorists."

Watch the film here

Read the story here

Don’t Drink from the Mainstream.- an article

This is an article i wrote about Undercurrents for a magazine last month.

Alternative news organisation, Undercurrents does like a challenge. Born out of frustration in 1993 at the mainstream media’s lack of drive in reporting environmental issues, my colleagues and I searched for other outlets. After three years trying to convince BBC2 and Channel 4 to commission our documentaries, we decided to establish our own distribution. Rather than hanging around Westminster, our reporters immersed themselves in the vibrant counter-culture politics of the UK, giving us real insights into just how people were feeling about the future. While the mass media concentrated on apathetic youth, our cameras focused on motivated people intent on stopping a motorway destroying the medieval forests of Newbury or carving up the majestic Twyford Down. Many other reporters were too busy discussing the hairstyles of ‘eco-warriors’ to bother investigating the actual issues behind the tunnels and the tree houses.

Fast-forward to this century, to the floods, storms and record-breaking temperatures. Our climate is changing for the worse yet broadcasters are still very slow in appointing dedicated environmental journalists to provide consistent knowledge about the looming chaos. It is clearly up to the people themselves to get informed.

Years before the term ‘citizen journalism’ became fashionable, Undercurrents was training campaigners to make micro-documentaries using Sony Hi8 camcorders and twin JVC SVHS decks. Distribution relied upon the humble VHS cassette and a subscription model similar to magazines. Within 5 years we had sent out more than 30,000 videotapes, prompting Time Out to dub us "the news you don’t see on the news". By the end of the 20th century, we had succeeded in putting video cameras in the hands of people who actually had something useful to say, and giving them a platform to be heard from.

For the first five years of the 21st century we relied upon DVD and CD-ROM for distribution, even encouraging our subscribers to copy and distribute our discs under ‘copy-left’ licences to their friends worldwide with the understanding there would be no profiteering.

It was a great success, very little loss in quality leading to a few self-motivated people translating our films and widening the circulation further than we could ever have afforded. Today of course our DIY distribution is based around the Internet. Rather than paying for expensive streaming servers, we have decided to base it around the much more inclusive peer-to-peer technology of BitTorrent. Designed in 2001, BitTorrent is a method of distributing large amounts of data widely without the original distributor incurring the entire costs of hardware, hosting and bandwidth resources. Instead, when data is distributed using the BitTorrent protocol, each recipient supplies pieces of the data to newer recipients, reducing the cost and burden on any given individual source, providing redundancy against system problems, and reducing dependence on the original distributor. We are attracting subscribers daily by using Really Simple Syndication (RSS) video feeds. This is an invaluable system making it easy to subscribe and receive our latest content automatically.

While most corporations struggle to control the illegal distribution of their content with Digital Rights Management, we have decided to licence our work under Creative Commons licence allowing viewers to take our videos and change, screen or copy them figuring that a far and wide distribution is a huge bonus for our advertisers.

Our VisionOnTV video player application, (based upon the existing Miro) will be released properly in Summer 2008 with two ways of experiencing it in mind. First being a ‘lean back’ experience- i.e.: viewers can just sit back and enjoy the full screen high quality content. Once comfortable with the experience of viewing online Television, viewers will be encouraged to ‘lean in’- for the view-on-demand and begin to rate, tag, share, bookmark videos or just chat online about the issues being raised.

Developed under an GPL open source licence we will make the source code of VisionOnTV available granting anyone the right to use and develop it. This is what we view as progress when building the open mass medium of online television. We have a window of opportunity to keep IPTV open but there's a constant risk that large corporations will continue to build proprietary systems, which lock users into closed systems. By championing video RSS we hope we can help make a more level playing field. So our goal in some ways is to nudge the video industry in the direction of using open standards.

However creating an open TV network is only one of our goals. Climate change is real and people will never spontaneously take action themselves unless they receive social support and the validation of others. Governments in turn will continue to procrastinate until sufficient numbers of people demand a response. To avert further climate change will require a degree of social consensus and collective determination normally only seen in war time, and that will require mobilisation across all classes and sectors of society. The media has a huge role within that mobilisation and hopefully with the open solutions we are building, Undercurrents and VisionOnTv will play a vital role over the next decade. Undercurrents does like a challenge.

To download the Beta of our VisionOnTV player go to

For more information about Undercurrents go to

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cops found guilty!

This week an Italian court has found 15 officials and cops guilty of brutality on protesters during the protests that surrounded the G8 summit in Genoa, 2001.

Undercurrents reporter Hamish Campbell captured key evidence on his camera of Police raiding the building. His footage can be seen in this BBC report

Guerilla Gardening -my next project

I am bored with looking at wasteland so plans are being hatched for this bit of ground. Watch this space.

Showing films at Buddhafield

Here we are showing films at a great festival

Bike2Oz gets funding

I just heard that i have been awarded funding from APE for my Bike2Oz film about cycling across the world...horray!

Also the film has been chosen for this years Portobello Film Festival which starts on the 28 August and ends on the 14 September. More details in early August.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Climate activist glued to Prime Minister

A campaigner from the climate action group, Plane Stupid, is currently super-glued to Prime Minister Gordon Brown in the State Dining Room of 10 Downing Street.

Dan Glass, a 24 year old MSc student based in Scotland, gained access to the PM’s official residence at 5pm this evening. He greeted Mr Brown and asked the Prime Minister why he and his ministers have refused to meet West London residents opposed to the construction of a third runway at Heathrow. He simultaneously put his super-glue covered hand onto Brown’s polyester suit. When Brown went to turn away he found he had been super-glued by his clothing to Plane Stupid, and had no option but to listen to Dan.

Dan read messages to the PM from people whose villages will be bulldozed if Brown agrees to BAA’s expansion plans. He also read out testimony from communities across the world threatened by climate change while Downing Street aides attempt to extract the Labour leader from the green campaigner. Dan hoped to stay glued to the PM long enough to begin quoting from confidential documents secured through the Freedom of Information Act, which reveal the government’s public consultation on Heathrow expansion was fixed. The papers reveal Ministers have engaged in an extraordinary level of collusion with airport operator, BAA, fiddling pollution figures and developing a joint strategy to beat opposition groups.

The government consultation received 80,000 responses from the public, almost all of which opposed the government’s plans, despite the fact that people were not even asked whether they wanted a third runway and no consideration of the climate impacts appeared in the consultation documents.

Dan took today’s extraordinary step because Brown and his Transport Secretary, Ruth Kelly, have refused to meet residents from Sipson – the west London village, which would be wiped off the map if new Labour gives into BAA’s demands for a third runway. Some of the messages Dan is reading out to the Prime Minister are quotes from newspaper interviews with Sipson residents.

Plane Stupid activist, Graham Thompson who is currently facing prosecution for scaling Parliament in February and branding the Palace of Westminster “BAA HQ,” today said:

“Gordon Brown’s only got two possible legacies, the first Prime Minister to really get climate change or the last one not to. Brown needs to realise we can beat climate change, but not by doubling the size of the world’s biggest international airport. That’s why we took our peaceful campaign from the roof of Parliament to 10 Downing Street.”

When BAA first sought permission to build Terminal 5, the company wrote to nearby residents promising never to seek further Heathrow expansion. Now they have colluded with the government to get a third runway and a sixth terminal by manipulating the consultation process which has been widely condemned as unfair, undemocratic and fundamentally dishonest.

Graham Thompson continued:

“Brown’s consultation was a fix, pure and simple. It was the single most anti-democratic thing this wretched government has done since the Iraq war, and that’s saying something. Dan thought that if super-gluing himself to the Prime Minister was the only way to cut through the power of giant corporations like BAA and ensure he hears what people from West London really think, then so be it.”

- ENDS -



Dan Glass biog:

Dan Glass is a 24 year old student from Barnet, north London. He is currently studying an MSc in human ecology and climate change at Strathclyde University in Scotland where he is researching the impacts of airport expansion on community cohesion. Dan joined Plane Stupid about 18 months ago after he was inspired by reading George Monbiot’s books. Dan is a graduate of Sussex University where he studied Geography and Development Studies and where he was elected to be president of the university student union. His father is a lawyer and his mother works for a Jewish Music Institute. Dan says he draws his motivation to stand up for what he believes in from his grandparents who are holocaust survivors.

Details of the FoI documents detailing the fixed consultation:

Sunday Times revelations:

FoI documents:

Plane Stupid
- e-mail:
- Homepage:

WORLDbytes.- crap name for new TV channel

WORLDwrite - the filmmaking charity with an uncompromising commitment to
global equality are launching their very own news channel; WORLDbytes.
Programmes will include humorous sketches, serious features, interviews
and short docs. WORLDbytes has won grant support from the City Parochial
Foundation enabling new volunteers to access a four day intensive on the
job film training course while shooting for news programmes. With
professional tutors the course will take place in WORLDwrite's newly
refurbished news studio in London E5.

Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th August: 11:00am to 9pm

If you wish to take up a training place you need to be aged between 16 to
25 years and attend a volunteer open evening at WORLDwrite and WORLDbytes
News Channel crew meetings.

Places are limited and going fast so book now to avoid disappointment.

Email to find out more.

“REVOLTING” A two day intensive workshop

“REVOLTING” A two day intensive workshop: Kara Seaman and Rose Davies

Saturday and Sunday 26th and 27th July 10.30 am to 5.00 pm

Printmaking has a long and noble tradition of political agitation and
scathing social comment. From Hogarth’s satires on social conditions in
the 18th century to the political artist collectives in the French riots
of 1968 to contemporary Urban artists like Banksy and Miss Tic,
printmaking has communicated radical ideas to the masses. Rose and Kara
will give you a grounding in the historical context of Printmaking as
agit prop along with practice in the techniques you need to produce
prints without studio facilities or expensive specialised equipment. As
far as possible, the workshop will use recycled or re-usable materials
and water-based inks. This workshop will include teaching fees,
materials and access to equipment, professional and studio practice,
full-colour course notepack and an illustrated talk. No previous
printmaking experience necessary.

Tom Ungerer 1967 (USA) Thieu 1972

Miss Tic (French contemporary)
Paris Rebellion 1968

£100 for full members; £110 for ordinary members; £120 for non-members

6 Spaces available

To book your place contact:

Swansea Print Workshop
19a Clarence Street
Tel/Fax: 01792 464418

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Funding for movies

The next era of FourDocs has arrived! The new blog went live
yesterday, and with it comes a whole host of exciting opportunities for
filmmakers. We've got 12 000 in bursaries we need to give away this
year, we're looking for experimental docs on the theme of My Home Town for
our FOURTH 3MW strand this year, and of course we'll continue with the same
harsh but fair feedback, now from a range of exciting guest editors. We're
still at the same place - - so drop us a comment
there to let us know what you think and what you want to watch/read/learn
about on the site.

The future of TV

Michael Rosenblum is entertaining in this speech about how camcorders will take over TV

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Melting Point- spies, lies and arrests

Excellent video investigation

Natural Heroes wanted

"Natural Heroes" is the Emmy award-winning U.S. Public Television series
featuring independently produced films and videos with a common theme:
real people making a difference for our environment and enhancing the
world around us.

We're seeking compelling stories that feature people challenging current
environmental standards and conditions. Programs that encourage thoughtful
questions and realistic answers, that broaden our understanding of our
place in the world.

"Natural Heroes" is now in its fourth season, and is currently being seen
by PBS viewers across the United States.

Accepted works will be packaged for broadcast and distributed to Public
Television stations. If you feel your film is a good fit, download the
submission form, read the call for entries, and send us your film! NO
entry fees. Both can be downloaded from
Questions? Email naturalheroes{at}

~Valerie Landes
Series Producer
"Natural Heroes"
5850 Labath Ave.
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
1-800-287-2722 x2024

Investigation into state control of Eco- activism.

Undercurrents contact 07973 298359 or 01792 455900

Press Release
Undercurrents co-founder appears in Ecologist Film
July 15 2008

A co-founder of a Swansea based charity appears in a new film released today exposing government tactics in reaction to environmental protests. Tactics shown in the film include arresting journalists and environmental protesters, Espionage, news manipulation and legal threats.

Film-maker Paul O’Connor and co-founder of Undercurrents, granted the filmed interview and supplied video images of protesters stopping diggers at Ffos-y-fran open cast mine, on the outskirts of Merthyr Tydfil. The film produced by The Ecologist magazine, is one in an entire series of investigative films across a range of environmental issues.

The film, titled Melting Point has been released ahead of next month's Climate protest Camp at Kingsnorth coal power station in Kent. This exclusive and powerful film exposes the extraordinary tactics being used to reframe concerned citizens engaging in their right to protest, as dangerous terrorists.

Melting Point looks at the escalating battle between direct action protest groups and those they accuse of failing to act on climate change.

Paul O'Connor of Undercurrents said today,
‘This is a shocking film considering that all the top Scientists tell us that climate change is more dangerous than Terrorism. Yet the people who take action to stop more C02 being pumped into the atmosphere are being branded as Militants. This film is a shocking insight into the steps big business and police are taking to stop people protecting our environment. The film should be watched by anyone with an interest in our future.’

Melting Point can be viewed online for free on

Notes to Editors
Watch Film on

Contact producers of the Film
Louise Peim Eco-Storm
01273 648944

Contact Paul O’Connor
Undercurrents productions
+44 (0)1792 455900 or 07973 298359

Watch the film here

or here

Monday, July 14, 2008

Power and Participation in using Technology


6th PRaDSA workshop: "Power and Participation in using Technology for
Social Action", on Sept 4th and 5th at Leeds Metropolitan University,

PRaDSA (Practical Design for Social Action) has been running a series
of workshops around the UK to share experience among people with
technology and social action interests and skills and provide a forum
for discussion and reflection on issues chosen by participants. This
last workshop focuses on the central issues of power and participation
in working with technology to make social action happen.

It is suitable for anyone using innovation and ICT to help others work
on social and political issues. It will be relevant if you are
concerned with who gets involved in decisions about technology and how
they are engaged. In particular, we will be examining factors that
contribute to a feeling of empowerment and how to generate it in the
contexts you can influence.
Come along to recharge your batteries, consider your practice and look
at what more we can do if we work together.

* Day one will start sharply at 1pm, though a bite of lunch will be
available from noon.
* Day two ends at 4pm to allow for travelling.
* We have some money to pay expenses, including your stay overnight in
Leeds (and a limited budget to cover your absence from work - be that
to your organisation or to you as a freelance operator), if you wish
to attend this workshop and contribute. Please let us know if you
would like to be considered for this bursary.

To register for a place, send a short description of (one of the)
context(s) in which you work, to Kutoma Wakunuma at
as soon as possible and before 25th August.
She will also be the first port of call for any questions you have.

PRADSA stands for "Practical Design for Social Action". The PRADSA
project's goal is to develop and extend the capability of social
action organisations to creatively design new practices by
appropriating and adapting ICTs. There are three strands to the
project, of which the workshop series is one. The other two are:

. To develop a new understanding of designing in social action
settings, grounded in detailed contextual studies of design in
. To create a collection of practical resources to support the
work of practitioners (and others) including workshop materials and
easy-to-use (open-source) on-line community communications systems.

PRADSA is a project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council

(AHRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
(EPSRC) as part of its Designing for the 21st Century programme. If
you would like to know more about the PRADSA project, please see:

Making Compost by F.C King

I bought this book recently published in the 1940's which made me giggle.


Chicago, Illinois - USA
August 29 to 31, 2008

PEACE ON EARTH FILM FESTIVAL (POEFF) takes place in Chicago, Illinois, and has
been established to celebrate and encourage the work of independent filmmakers from
around the world, whose films explore themes of peace and non-violence.

POEFF invites filmmakers of all backgrounds and experience levels to voice their
challenging perspectives on issues such as war, domestic and community conflict,
politics, environment, economics, and more. Together, these films present the
peaceful, global alternative from all cultural perspectives.

All accepted POEFF filmmakers are honored at the Special Awards Gala, where winners
of the Festival's "Best of" will be granted monetary awards and accept their

Add to Watch List:
View Listing:

Looking for Vegan film Producer (London)

Found this today-
I am currently working on my graduation film with the London Film School.
The film will be 15 minutes in duration, shot in late August in London. It
will be shot in the Red camera and the budget for the film will be
approximately ukp3700.

The subject matter of the film does have a vegan sub-text but the overall
narrative is also appealing for non-vegans alike. Don't worry, the message
of veganism isn't preachy or didactic.

I am looking for a producer who is comfortable working within the
budgetary confines of a student film. Please email with a CV and/or
details of previous work experience. As it is an unpaid collaboration
student film on a very tight budget, only expenses and food will be
provided on the shooting dates.

Please email with any questions. Ryan

18-25 year olds wanted in London to make films

Creative Minds Pictures with help from 'V, the youth volunteering charity'
is offering 18-25 year olds in London the chance to gain that experience
and to learn in the process, and for one lucky person, their story made
with the help of a professional Screenwriter and Director.

If you're aged between 16-25 years old and have the passion to be a
director, screenwriter, cinematographer, producer, camera operator, e-mail
OutsideMe2*at* for an application form.

Deadline is 29th August for all applications.

Please note, scripts have to be 10-15 minutes long and do not have to be
the final draft, but it must have a story.

For more information email


Cocaine in the movies

How to snort cocaine for a movie!

I have been watching a discussion about the best way to give the illusion of 'snorting' anything without actually doing for a movie.

Roll up the banknote around a cigarrette filter-tip (for roll-ups) placed at the end that goes into the nose. The actor can then be seen to roll up the note in view (concealing the filter tip) and then snort the 'coke'. The powder goes up the note and is stopped by the filter, and doesn't fall back out again until the actor stops snorting.

> I'm probably just old fashioned - but I don't think anyone
> should be suggesting actors "snorting" anything for a movie
> including Vitamin C powder!
> Movies are meant to be an illusion!
> > Hi, > > For fake cocaine just nip into your chemist and buy
> some of > those vitamin C tubes that you break the end off of
> and pour > down your throat. Works a treat. Looks like coke.

Happy herbs

Depression is such a huge thing we feel all have to put up with now and then. So i looked at a herb in my little garden -St. John’s wort- Pictured above, the bright yellow flowers of the St. John’s wort plant are full of an oily red substance called hypericin. If you have St. John’s Wort growing nearby you can see the little red spots in the plant (hence the perforations in the name Hypericum perfoliatum), now roll the flowers between your fingers to release the red oils and see the medicine first hand! The red oily hypericin is the active constituent of Hypericum perfoliatum. This herb has been highly studied in many double blind research trials and shown to have significant effects similar to prescription anti-depressants. St. John’s Wort has also been shown to have a lower risk of side effects than conventional anti-depressants.St. John’s Wort works so well for depression and is also such a great detoxifying agent. According to Chinese Medicine most depressed people have “sluggish livers” and thus the liver/bowel meridians are typically treated.

Quote Unquote

If you’re getting kicked in the arse, at least it means you’re in the front.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Can you photograph a bouncer who is being aggressive?

A storm at East Oxford Community Center, Green Party Councilor Mary-Jane Sareva responsible for police arresting two people on false charges.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sheffield Doc/Fest¹s MeetMarket is now open for Project Submissions!

Doc /Fest presents the UK's biggest international documentary marketplace
and its unique pitching initiative: MeetMarket where, in pre-scheduled
match-made one-on-one meetings, documentary makers pitch their newest and
most unique projects to dozens of UK and international buyers, Executive
Producers, commissioning editors and distributors. MeetMarket provides high
quality, original ideas with the possibility to be fast-tracked from
development to production, in a supportive and dynamic setting. The
projected worth of sales in negotiation sparked at MeetMarket 2007 adds up
to £4,321,980, and rising. MeetMarket is a unique and exciting way to pitch
and discuss the projects you¹re most passionate about with the documentary
decision-makers who matter

Online project submissions are now open. Projects can be any stage of
development and applicants can be from any geographic location and
background. Interactive and cross-platform projects are also very welcome.
To see the full list of confirmed buyers, see . For more information on
applying, email or visit

"MeetMarket surprised me: I had an extraordinarily creative response to my
film from 23 intelligent men and women who care passionately about
documentaries. They reflected my story back to me and I came out richer ­
not just financially, although I have already been offered money to complete
my film, but in terms of valuing my project." - MeetMarket participant 2007

Charlie Phillips
Marketplace Producer
Sheffield Doc/Fest
The Workstation
15 Paternoster Row
Sheffield, S1 2BX, England
Tel +44-(0)7960-954307
+44-(0)114-276 5141
Fax +44-(0)114-272 1849

5-9 November 2008
Doc/Fest Sheffield is where the international documentary family gets
together under one roof for a week of intense deal-making, docwatching and
debate. It is the UK's premier documentary festival/conference and a
must-attend event on the industry calendar

MeetMarket applications now open until September 12

Read the Doc/Fest blog at

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Charities should consider setting up social enterprise trading arms

By Cat Dean, Third Sector, 9 July 2008 (

Charities should consider setting up social enterprise trading arms to
improve their chances of securing funding from foundations, according
to Uday Thakkar, director of social enterprise consultancy Red Ochre.

Thakkar told delegates yesterday that funders looked increasingly
favourably on charities that earned income through a trading arm
because they were seen as being more sustainable.

Some charities that had been turned down for funding were awarded a
larger grant when they reapplied after launching a trading arm, he

Setting up a social enterprise could also help establish a strong
market position in the face of increased competition for contracts.

"Charities could end up in a vulnerable position because many services
that they formerly provided for free are now being paid for," said
Thakkar. He warned that potential funders might be unwilling to give a
grant or donation if other organisations were getting contracts from
local authorities, primary care trusts or the Government to provide
similar services.

Thakkar also said now was a good time to take advantage of
unprecedented government support for social enterprises. However, he
said charities should act quickly because funding is unlikely to last
for longer than the next two years.

"There are millions of pounds sloshing around government departments
right now, but the chances are that will come to an end soon," he
said. "If you're thinking of setting up a social enterprise, now is
the time."

Thakkar added that setting up enterprises was best suited to charities
that wanted to have a social impact that was difficult to achieve as a

4Talent Awards

4Talent Awards

Channel 4 is scouring the country for the UK’s most exciting young creative talent for the 4Talent Awards 2008. Categories include:

- Short Documentary (screen);
- Dramatic Writing (stage and screen);
- Dramatic Performance (stage, film and TV);
- Directing (film and TV);
- Comedy Writing (stage, film and TV);
- Comedy Performance (stage, film and TV);
- Music;
- Animation;
- Photography;
- and several more.

All entrants must be under 30 on 31 December 2008 and both the completed online form and any posted supporting materials must be received by 5pm on Friday 29 August 2008.

To find out more go to

Deadline Date - 29th August 2008

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

France tries to make 'net users into criminals!

Last November saw the French government, lead by right wing President Nicolas Sarkozy, impose a law which meant that anyone suspected of using P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing software to spread copyrighted videos and music illegally over the Internet could have their connection severed.

The legislation is even having trouble getting passed in France, with fierce critics both within the country and outside. So the chances of this getting ratified by all the member states of Europe is unlikely.

However, the fact that France is even promoting this change to the law for a whole continent is a worrying development. Illegal file-sharing is wrong, but how you deal with it isn’t to ban everyone you suspect of wrongdoing.

Monday, July 07, 2008


One Day Summer Workshops

At Michele Fitzsimmons Edible Landscaping Garden in the Vale of Glamorgan,
south Wales(only a 15 minute train journey from Cardiff Central, 60 minutes from
Bristol & a little over 2 hours from London)
Pick & Cook (6 hours)

Harvest what's in season from Edible Landscaping's wonderful garden and
create some great dishes. Finish off with dining on your magnificent results
with a glass of organic wine or cider. A relaxed fun day of glorying in
nature's bounty. Courses are run at regular intervals throughout the year
using seasonal produce.

The next course is scheduled for Saturday July 12th.
Workshops cost £30 per person and run with a minimum of 6 and a maximum of
10. Special courses can be arranged if you have a group who would like to
attend. Just let me know if you would like to take part and I will get back
to you with all the details.

Solar Powered cinemas

Undercurrents are building our own solar cinema but these also exist.

Scotlands solar cinema

An ethical licensed cafe, stage and cinema, powered by the wind and sun. Available for festivals, weddings, community and social events.

DIY Solar Electric worksops and mobile solar generator service available for community groups and festivals.Workshops tailored for beginners and under-confident techno-phobes!


The World's First Mobile Solar Powered Cinema

This is the cinema we show our films in at festivals!

Funds for social change

May be useful to fund social change projects

The Co-operative Action scheme, offers grants of between £5,000 and £50,000. Email; or visit

The Co-op's Community Dividend is a small grants scheme offering from £100 to £5,000 to community groups see


You can be a green filmmaker but you gotta pay for it!

Insane entry fee of £190 + VAT (£223.25) except for the Bloomberg Newcomer category which is £45 + VAT (£52.87).

Entries are invited for the Grierson:Sheffield British Documentary Award
Green and Innovation categories. To be eligible your film must have had
a first UK screening during the qualifying period, 1 May 2007 - 30 April
2008 or will have a first screening at the 2008 Sheffield Doc/Fest.

Nominations will be announced on Monday, 6 October and the winners will be
announced at the awards ceremony in Sheffield on Friday, 7 November.

The deadline for entries is Tuesday, 15 July. You can enter online or
download an entry form by going to or contact the Grierson Trust
+44(0)20 7580 7526,

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Potato crop

If, like me, you have managed to break the top of your kitchen swing bin and thought that the bottom bit would be of no use for anything, think again!

It is ideal for growing potatoes, either outside your home, on your patio or, if you live in a flat, on your balcony.

First, you need to make some drainage holes in the bottom of the bin. You also need a piece of plastic pipe about 1 to 2 inches in diameter, cut so that the top of the pipe will just protrude above the rim of the bin. You will need to make holes in the pipe, which will ensure that water reaches all parts of the interior of the bin. Potatoes like plenty of water when they are growing.

Put the pipe in the swing bin, as near the middle as possible, and add a good quality all purpose compost to a depth of four to six inches. Then add three or four chitted (sprouting) potatoes and cover with a further two to three inches of compost.

When the leaves start appearing above the compost, just add enough compost to cover the leaves up again. Repeat this each time the leaves appear until the compost is up to the top of the bin. This is the equivalent of earthing up, which you would do if growing them in open ground.

Keep the plants well watered, the end of a hose or watering can will conveniently fit into the top of the plastic pipe and will ensure that all the compost in the swing bin gets a good soaking. This is very important as the compost must not be allowed to dry out. You may have to water twice a day in the height of summer.

Eventually, the potato plants will flower and the green leaves will start to die off. Your potatoes are ready for harvesting and eating.

This vegetable is now so common-place, with many more varieties being added over the years, it is difficult to believe it has been with us for only a few hundred years.

The potato has been grown in South America for 7000 years and was brought over to Europe in the 16th century by Spanish explorers. It was not until the 18th century that it began to be accepted as a nutritious staple food item and people began to learn how to grow potatoes.

The humble potato has had to battle against many prejudices over the years - it was not eaten by some because it wasn't mentioned in the Bible , others blamed potatoes for causing leprosy and tuberculosis. The English even thought it led to lust, currently many blame this vegetable for causing obesity (chips).

This photo is my crop of organic potatoes in July which i got from growing 4 spuds in a single small bin...yum

Friday, July 04, 2008

Centre for Investigative Journalism

Centre for Investigative Journalism

Summer School 2008 18 - 20 July

This year's CIJ summer school highlights the environment:

Speakers include Vandana Shiva, Indian environmental campaigner, on the Hijacking of the Global Food Supply and Mark Schapiro, on Global Environmental Power in the 21st Century.Plus Andy Rowell, Irene Gerlach, Greg Muttitt (Platform), James Sanders and
Michael Warhurst (Friends of the Earth).

Other speakers are John Pilger, documentary film maker, Robert Wardle, recently
retired head of the Serious Fraud Office, and Nick Davies, author of Flat Earth
News, Professr Sheila Bird, of the Royal Statistical Society, Heather Brooke and David
Gordon on MPs' expenses, ministerial scalps and the Freedom of Information Act;

Solomon Hughes on the War on Terror Inc; plus Jim Nichol and Raphael Rowe on miscarriages of justice.

Courses include David Donald and Tommy Kaas leading an expert team of trainers in
computer-assisted reporting, internet research, internet security and new developments in computer techniques and skills. Forensic accounting specialist Raj Bairoliya on understanding company accounts. Updates on libel and privacy law with Philip Conway, and how terrorism legislation affects journalists with Heather Rogers QC and Gavin Millar QC.

The school is open to anyone and is an ideal skills training opportunity for anyone
who carries out research, handles FOIA requests, analyses data, and works in the
media, for a trade unions or NGO, or runs a campaign.

The school lasts three full days. Costs for the event are £300 for members of the
NUJ, BECTU or similar; £200 for students or £450 full price.

The school is held at City University, Northampton Square, London EC1V 0HB.
For more details, an up-to-date timetable and to book online go to,

or email, or call 020 7040 8220

Filming latest show for VisionOnTv

Vision OnTv is back filming again. Here is a photo of filming a show in Oxford this week

Animator chat show

Recorded by last years BeyondTV festival

Filming in London

Having just researched this, here's some tips. Filming in London as a professional
isn't quite as easy as it seems. London is covered by a patchwork of authorities. It's all explained here:

There are three main authorities:

Westminster City Council
Royal Parks

Shooting Buckingham Palace from the Mall side is covered by Royal parks.
Parliament Square is GLA, however there are some areas of pavement in the
Square that come under WCC authority. For Trafalgar square Prince Charles'
traffic Island (the one in Charing X direction) and the North Terrace (pavement in front of National Gallery) are WCC, the square itself is GLA. Piccadilly Circus is WCC.
Whew. Complicated. Well, not that complicated if you plan where you want to
shoot and then check the locations at the filmlondon website.

Getting permission takes 3-5 days depending on the authority, and
generally requires a fee being paid. Royal Parks do a yearly news permit for news
crews which is cheaper, WCC can be free depending on the production. You may be
required to clear it with the Police afterwards.

All the phone numbers are on the filmlondon website. Good luck!

The first paragraph of which seems to clarify everything and
cover any of us just doing filming that doesn't involve laying down
non-portable equipment. I'd suggest printing it off and keeping it at
hand. The site also has a map of the area City of London covers. So worth
taking a look at that also.

Job in the Age of Stupid

We've just finished our 4-year epic climate change documentary, The Age of
Stupid, and we're now looking for someone to join us as Head of Admin at
Spanner Films,

The Age Of Stupid is the new cinema documentary from the Director of
"McLibel" and the Producer of the Oscar-winning "One Day In September".
This enormously ambitious drama-documentary-animation hybrid stars
Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite as an old man living in the devastated
world of 2055, watching "archive" footage from 2007 and asking: why didn't
we stop climate change while we had the chance?

We're aiming for worldwide theatrical release followed by TV & DVD around
the world while also holding screenings in countries around the world to
promote Green causes. More info at:

The job will mainly be admin & accounts but will also involve
co-ordinating the promotional campaign to get the film seen by millions of
people around the world along with organising screenings and events. The
successful applicant will be involved in the production of the DVD,
including producing the DVDs extras and will help produce the 'Making Of'

We make our films completely independently, so can't offer lots of money,
but can offer the chance to work on meaningful projects and to learn
tonnes of stuff about every stage of independent documentary filmmaking.
Also the Head of Admin will share in the profits from The Age of Stupid.
Unlike most films that operate a profit share system with Stupid there are
no debts to pay so any profits get shared out amongst the crew & investors,
once a year for 10 years. Profit share scheme explained at:

> Channel 4 news piece about our film & Al Gore's:
-> Funny film of the recent crew screening, which is basically a load of
people crying:

Lizzie Gillett
The Age of Stupid

_____The person we're looking for is/has:

- excellent computer skills
- stamina
- hard working
- multi-tasker
- experience with accounts a big plus
- webskills a plus
- promotional / PR experience would be useful
- excellent organiser
- preferably plays defence (missing position in our football team)
- responsible
- political
- a cyclist

_____ The job includes
- Accounting & bookkeeping, including VAT reports, TAX and PAYE (not as
hard as it sounds)
- General office admin, including co-ordinating projects, maintenance/
purchasing of equipment, website updates, booking travel, organising
screenings, banking, co-ordinating press, marketing & global campaign,

_____ Details
- Self-employed / freelance
- Fulltime
- 4 months confirmed with possibility of extending
- 1 month trial on both sides
- 17,500 per annum plus a percentage of the profits
- Based in central London
- Starting August 24

_____ Applying
- Pls email CV and covering letter to
- Pls don't call
- Deadline: 9am, Monday July 14th

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Man on Wire documentary

The man who performed a tightrope walk between New York's Twin Towers has been immortalised in a documentary.

Philippe Petit spoke to BBC Breakfast about 1974's illegal stunt that is the subject of "Man on Wire".

August 1 2008 release date

Wales government proves it is crap

This shows the crap people who manage Wales.
They can't even get the right winner in a writing contest.

The agency which oversees the Wales Book of the Year has defended itself after the wrong winner was announced during an award ceremony.

Author Tom Bullough said the event was "amateur" after Culture Minister Rhodri Glyn Thomas mistakenly named him as the recipient of the £10,000 prize.

How it all ends!

Great video by a science teacher

Film your own town

Soda Pictures in conjunction with Four Docs, have launched the filmmaking competition 'Your Winnipeg'. You are invited to submit a 3-minute documentary about your hometown being as experimental and creatively adventurous as you dare!

Guy Maddin will join a jury of industry professionals to select the
winning entry, which will be screened on Channel 4 and included on the DVD
release of MY WINNIPEG. The winner will also be rewarded with 1500 and a
holiday to Winnipeg, Canada. 3 runner up films will also be screened on
Channel 4 and the winners will each receive UKP1500. A selection of
further films will also join the prize-winning entries and be shown at
Branchage: Jersey Film Festival late September.
Full details are available at

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Cooking when society collapses

There are a few basic concepts involved in cooking, and in designing cookers that will cook as rapidly, efficiently and conveniently as possible. These include heat gain, heat loss, and heat more

Undercurrents Archive online- coming soon!

Our undercurrents archive will be hosted online soon with this company

The Archers' brings the idea of a self-sufficient community to the fore

World shortages of petroleum and the belief that supplies will become too scarce are driving some to seek an oil-free lifestyle. As 'The Archers' brings to the fore the idea of a self-sufficient community, Rowena Mason asks whether this new movement is the product of panic or a common-sense solution.

The petrol pumps are dry, the supermarket shelves are bare and family cars sit uselessly in driveways. Faced with a national shortage of oil, the comfortable lifestyles of middle-class people are threatened by an austerity not seen since the post-war rationing of the early 1950s.

Who owns my body?

A few ideas about making a film...

Style- this will be a visual essay making extensive use of old black and white cinema B-movies, camcorder images, and home cine movies. The tone will be humour.

The danger of the past was that men became slaves. The danger of the future is that men will become robots.
Erich Fromm The Sane Society 1955

THE BODYSNATCHERS- who owns your body.
Welsh athelete- runner breathing- close ups- it’s a multi million pound industry.
Close up of muscles- Every year we spend our hard-earned cash pampering it, oiling it, scenting it, decorating and altering it.
If it belongs to others, we love to look at it. If it’s our own, we love to hate it.
The Human body.

But who actually owns your body?
Bang the gun goes off and the runner takes off

Opening Titles

Dave Bowie- ashes to ashes

Until recently, the concept prevailed that the only lawful possessor of the body when it finally dies is the earth. With its echoes of Christian doctrine and the words of the burial service, "earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust", this principle was brought into legal argument in 1998. Tried for theft of a human torso, severed heads and limbs from the Royal College of Surgeons, Anthony-Noel Kelly argued that since no person actually owned our dead bodies, he couldn’t be found guilty.

A few years later, Dick van Velzen, a pathologist who secretly stockpiled hundreds of dead children's organs at Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool, escaped prosecution prompting the government's Chief Medial Officer, Professor Liam Donaldson to state that the current law on the ownership and thus removal of organs is "unclear, ambiguous and ageing".

While Buddhists believe that our living body belongs to our parents, Christians reading their Bible will discover that “You do not belong to yourselves but to God; he bought you for a price. So use your bodies for God’s glory”(1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The Women following the Muslim faith are expected to hide their bodies, while a German Heidelberg professor of anatomy, puts the dead body in all its glory on public display.

Gunther von Hagen has outraged many while touring his örperwelten (Body Worlds) exhibition containing 175 body parts and 25 corpses around the world. Dissected and preserved using a process called plastination, his graphic work put the debate about body ownership into the public spotlight. At least 56 of the bodies are Siberian peasants and mental patients supplied by the University of Novosibirsk, which is licensed to collect and trade unclaimed bodies.

(2007 is the anniversary of the abolition of Slavery)But only two hundred years ago living bodies could be legally owned and sold by others. Pigmentation could decide which bodies could lawfully be traded. Between the 15th to 19th century, over 10million African men and women were loaded onto British ships to be re-sold to plantation owners in the West Indies and the southern colonies of America. While the slave trade ensured the wealth of Britain, the wealthy ensured that few people were actually aware of the harsh realities involved in the slave trade.

Slavery may have ended officially but the ownership of living bodies is still a highly contested battle. Today many corporations still seek to privatise the body starting at the atomic and molecule level. In December 2004 dozens of activists protested during a medical engineer conference in Buckinghamshire. Displaying a banner that read “Nanotechnology – it’s not big and its not clever”, educated people now fear that companies are once again attempting to gain ownership of the human body (albeit on a molecular level).

Following the protest, Ottilia Saxl, CEO of the Institute of Nanotechnology is quoted as saying-"Nanotechnology is about the design of many new products using our understanding of about how things work at the very small scale. We all benefit already from it as it has led to the invention of DVD players, life-saving air bags in our cars and is now leading to successful treatments for hitherto fatal brain tumours. Those of us involved in Nanotechnology are keen to explore any public concerns”

Our genes are stretches of DNA that we got from our mother and father. They have been with us since our beginning. Genes built our bodies. They exist in each and every one of our cells. It seems reasonable that our genes shouldn't be anybody else's property. Yet, many researchers, companies and institutions, now own patent rights for them. Leading biotech companies own between them patents for over six hundred genes, and have filed applications for another twelve thousand. Universities, hospitals and other drug companies are also filing patents for genes as fast as they can. The race is on, and at the present pace, within the next few years all human genes will be identified and patented. It has been argued that if all the human genes were patented we may need a Corporations permission to reproduce, for we would be using patented genes in the process.

Making new bodies
Despite debates about the morality of human cloning, scientists are enthusiastic about the possibilities of creating new bodies which are identical twins except delayed one or more generations. Twins of the same age do not frighten us, so why should a twin with a generation gap?

Leon Kass, head of the President's Council on Bioethics believes
“Cloning is anti-life, and it entails "playing God" i.e., remaking nature to serve human purposes. Human cloning would be taking a major step into making man himself simply another one of the man-made things."

Perhaps just as the ownership of bodies during the slave trade brought great benefits to a minority, there is a concern that the benefits of owning patents on body cells by the few may be outweighed by the impact on the many.

Dr Ruth Richardson, medical historian and author of Death, Dissection and the Destitute notes a “fearful symmetry of the commercial and social conditions prevailing in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and the medical research industry today”. Watchtowers were built within cemeteries so that people could keep an eye out for bodysnatchers during the last centuries. The wealthy were buried within mort-safes, fortress graves complete with walls and gates to deter grave robbers. The new profession of ‘Resurrection Men’ competed for business as anatomists demanded fresh corpses in Edinburgh, then the epicentre of surgical training. The extents to which people will go for money was displayed by William Burke and William Hare who ran a guest house to lure living bodies in only to sell them as corpses in the morning.

The alienation of body parts and their transformation into commodities raises questions about ownership, property rights, and about possible violation of the moral order. As Dr Richardson points out, the human corpse now has a commercial value unprecedented since the 18th century. She advises that we learn the lessons of medical history, and ensure that the human body is never bought or sold, but rather used in fully understood, consenting donation.

Body Tracking
Tagged the moment it arrives in this world and tracked by over a million CCTV cameras until it leaves. The technological advances in the security industries has inspired Governments to aim for a complete record of all body movements within UK shores.
Stephen Graham, a lecturer in urban planning at Newcastle University argues that visual surveillance of bodies has now become such an integral part of society that architects routinely incorporate cameras into the core design of new towns and buildings. Many modern city centres now have the clean, straight lines accommodating the line of vision of closed circuit cameras.

In the modern UK, our body is tracked and monitored more than ever before. Since the September 11 attacks, the British Government has lobbied hard for the introduction of biometric Identity cards for every UK body which many believe is more about state control than about actually stopping terrorism.

However under the Data Protection Act (DPA) all digital images of a body have to be handed over once requested by the rightful owner of that body. To illustrate how widespread the current surveillance is, we will document how an artist has spent 2 years collecting CCTV images of her self around London using the DPA.

Of course while your body can be put under constant surveillance, your mind can’t. Others can watch what you are doing but not what you are actually thinking. If the body does become enslaved, many have shown that the mind can still remain free. Separate from our body, our mind is blown around swiftly by the winds of change. Unfettered by the chains of physicality, it can move through walls and across continents faster then radio waves. From the Jews in Austwitz to Steven Hawkings, the mind can escape the confines of the body to soar.

But in our modern capitalist world, there is also much competition for control over our minds. Sophisticated mass advertising applies pressure to conform. Free thinking is actively discouraged. From Stalin’s Russia to G.W Bush’s America, intellectuals, dissidents and radicals have been routinely imprisoned, ridiculed, or dismissed when individual or corporate interests take the reigns of power.

There are so many ways in which our minds are subtly and not so subtly encouraged, cajoled, and forced into conformity. If we are not threatened with the social stigma of failure, we are threatened with punishment or death. According to Amnesty International over 1000 people were executed by Governments during 2003, the majority being carried out in China, Iran, Vietnam, or the United States. Even in peaceful times, attempts at controlling deviants is done by ostracising from social constructs such as the family, the Church, the company or the State.

Despite all efforts at outside influences, people still break away from those influences to think differently- to resist, protest ,and create new worlds. Everywhere, people are seeking out alternative ways of living. Communities are emerging with shared ideologies differing greatly from the mainstream values. In a remote part of West Wales, a group of ecologists ditched most of modern technology to create a new way of living at Brithdir Mawr. Based upon environmental principals, the residents dropped out of mainstream society for ten years until ‘rediscovered’ and dubbed ‘The Lost Tribe’ by The Times. They claim that their self-imposed exile gave them the space needed to design and build a radical new form of inexpensive housing. However following the rediscovery of the community, rigid planning laws have been imposed demanding the radical design to be demolished.

Society breakdown is occurring all around us- depression is increasing and the Capitalist model is leading us away from the communal to the individual. The neo-conservative pundits claim that there is no society anymore. But while the politics of the individual has been normalised, Martin Luther King believed that when we eat our breakfast each morning, we are relying on half the world.

Taking back control
Possibly the most recognised form of control is the boss/worker role model. But in Argentina when the economy collapsed and bosses abandoned their factories, it was the workers who re-took control and worked for the collective rather than the individual. Quotes saying their lives are better as activism

The millions of aid given by the public to the Tsunami sufferers or the growing cancel world debt movement are examples that we still feel linked to the rest of the world.

While who owns our body probably doesn’t really matter anymore, perhaps its what we do with our bodies and minds and the short time we spend alive to create the sort of world we want to leave for our children…yoga breath, wise people words, breath, tree, wisdom, breath death.
Athletes running out of breath.

So why shouldn’t parents should have the right t o "play God" and make Frankensteins or alter with the genetic makeup of their own children? whether to prevent them from getting genetic diseases or to improve their physical appearance, just as they have the right to vaccinate their children or to fit them with braces. Some raise the specter of the mass cloning of one individual, especially cloning of sadists, as in ‘The Boys from Brazil’ Ira Levin's nightmarish projection of young Hitlers spawned from the dictator's genes. The error here is philosophical: equating a person with their body. A person's essential self is his/her mind- the inner you involved in thinking, valuing, and choosing. It is one's mind, not one's genes, that governs who one is.

From Ear to Eye

A proposal i am trying to get funded

An introduction to the movers behind UK’s counterculture media. Since the media technology boom of the 1980’s, the number of people producing and distributing their own news shows has exploded. But why are so many people feeling the need to bypass the mainstream broadcasters to produce their own news?

Ronan O'Rahilly will reveal how British people wanting to hear the music of the counter-culture in 1967, tuned into his own Radio Caroline. To circumnavigate the tightly controlled British air waves, he began broadcasting on a ship three and a half miles off the coast of Essex. Without Government speeches, lectures, gardening tips or cookery suggestions, Woman's Hour, or Listen With Mother, Caroline soon had more listeners than all three BBC networks combined. If Radio Caroline was providing in 1967 (as it’s jingle stated) ‘the Sound of the Nation', what has been achieved 40 years on? Where can the sound of the nation be heard today?

Home produced music may be still as popular as ever but today people are using new technology to produce and distribute their own news programs and documentaries. The campaign video has finally left the underground and burst onto the high street cinema screens. Super Size Me, Farenheit 911 and The Corporation are recent box office hits due to their anti-corporate messages. Produced on consumer technology these movies are just the tip of a burgeoning network of media activists.

We will take an audience on a journey into the heart of the active and vibrant media activist scene. We will show how in 2001 the Italian state tried to stop people telling their own stories of globalisation by hospitalising alternative news gatherers, smashing their equipment and fabricating evidence against them.

Today the videomakers are using the 'net, solar powered cinemas and underground video festivals to bypass the mainstream news agenda.

What does the future hold for the new breed of news gatherer?

Police invite press on intrusive 'drugs' raid

Roy Greenslade makes a great point this week-

I can't quite grasp the defence advanced by the Scarborough Evening News after a woman complained about intrusion into her privacy. The paper told the Press Complaints Commission that it had a right to screen footage of police raiding her home because the force had invited reporters along.

I have to say that's the thinnest public interest justification I have heard in a long time. Does that not suggest that one function of the press is to act as PRs for the police? And where does that place us in relation to our supposed neutrality?

Yes, the police did find a quantity of cannabis in the house, but it did not lead to anyone being charged. As the PCC said in its measured adjudication, which upheld the woman's complaint, putting up the video footage on the paper's website "involved a degree of intrusion that was out of proportion to any such public interest."

But we haven't quite finished yet. There was more disingenuous nonsense from the Evening News's editor: "The complainant's address was identified so that there would be no confusion with other houses on the street." Excuse me. If no footage had been screened at all then there would not have been any possible confusion.

It's clear what happened here. The paper accompanied the police on one raid. It didn't turn out to be a major drugs bust, but it made for exciting footage. There was no genuine public interest in identifying the woman's home and showing a picture of her son's bedroom. It was intrusion without the least journalistic merit.

Travels in India

Found a story we wrote when in India in 2001

Down town Delhi is today vibrating to the sound of tanks, missiles and the gloriously costumed camel corps as India marks the 53rd anniversary of the adoption of her constitution.

Security is suffocating following a suicide attack on the parliament six weeks ago and a machine gun attack on an American trade centre a week ago that killed four policemen. None of this has dampened the exuberance of India’s teeming multitudes. With only a fraction of her one billion population on the streets the capital is grid locked. A national holiday here is embraced with every shop, office and factory closed without exception.

The government has taken decisive action and eased the restrictions surrounding use of the national flag. The front page of the Times of India announced the decision to allow ordinary Indian’s to fly the green, white and orange tricolour but not at night, upside down or too close to the ground.

Flying in with us on Virgin Atlantic, the radical protest band ‘Seize the Day’. On route to Uter Pradesh (spelling?) they will support the growing resistance to the governments unqualified embracing of the biotechnology (GM) industry.

A positive move has been the governments attempt to tackle the smog & pollution of its capital city. New regulations have seen the introduction of auto rickshaws running on clean gas fuel. These green and yellow, three wheel carts now heavily out number the old polluting two-stroke petrol driven models. Drivers of the old yellow and black models have a very harassed look in their eyes. Standing out like a sore thumb they know that round each corner could be a squad of Delhi police (motto: ‘With you, for you, always’) waiting to pull them over and extort Rs50 baksheesh before allowing them to proceed.

India though has not lost none of it’s capacity for wonderment, an elephant swaying down the road with half a rain forest on it’s back, a fruit and veg market that would put Sainsbury’s to shame, a traffic code that would leave even an Italian transfixed and helpless.

Despite the light rain of this morning, room service informed us that Republic Day is a ‘dry day’ and so they were unable to restock our minibar.

Taking this news in our stride we took a walk down to the River Yamuna, a black slow moving treacle that oozes through Delhi in no particular hurry. There we found a shantytown dweller trampling wild growing marijuana as he hand sprinkled pesticide granules on a crop of pumpkins, struggling in the dry sandy soil of the riverbank. Dressed in rags they looked at us with open eyes and hearts, “welcome” they said.

Tomorrow we leave for Nepal in search of clean air, Yetis and temple balls - we’ll keep you posted.

Martin & Paulo

£2000 funds for net

TalkTalk Innovation in the Community Awards enables charity and community groups throughout the UK to harness the power of the Internet. 30 winners will receive cash grants of £2,000 each to fund technology related projects, as well as technology equipment to help them make the most of the Internet. Applications are invited from 1 July to 30 September 2008. Winners will be notified by 25 October 2008. The awards ceremony at the House of Lords and one-to-one workshops with Martha Lane Fox, will take place in November 2008. If you are a UK based not-for-profit organisation or community group looking to extend your work through the use of the Internet you could be eligible for one of 30 cash grants available. Five overall winners will also win technology equipment of their choice and a one-to-one workshop with celebrity Dotcom entrepreneur and co-founder of Martha Lane Fox.

Victory for protest (perhaps)

Comedian Mark Thomas led an inspired campaign against the UK government’s restrictions on the right to protest. He says good riddance

Free to protest
…And so farewell then to the anti-protest laws, repealed with a musty splutter from Jack Straw in Parliament last week. These laws were hastily brought in an attempt to evict Brian Haw, the peace protestor in Parliament Square, from his vigil. At the time, David Blunkett (then Home Secretary) admitted: “It might be a sledgehammer to crack a nut but he is a nut.” Perhaps inevitably, a law introduced to clear one man from Parliament Square proved to be narrow-minded, ill conceived and in the end more

However the law hasn't been repealed yet as the Hansard shows-
Sir George Young (Con): On part 1 of the Bill, although no one would object to orderly and peaceful demonstrations in Parliament square, many people object to permanent, unsightly encampments in the middle of a great, historic city. Will the Bill put that right?

Mr. Straw: I understand that there are strong feelings about that. Those encampments are unsightly, but they also represent people exercising a right to demonstrate. The changes in the law have not
been conspicuously successful— It is no good pointing at me; I am not the police. The changes in the law have not been conspicuously successful in dealing with the problem, and they have appeared to be pretty heavy handed as well, so better arrangements are needed. Let us see what the House has to say about it.


Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, on the substantive question that the noble Baroness raises on sessional orders, there has clearly been a lot of concern about whether some provisions of the SOCPA are necessary and whether they are an inhibitor to legitimate protests and demonstrations outside Parliament. However, there is also concern that if those provisions are simply repealed and problems arise in the future with regard to open and free access to Parliament and issues around noise there will not be sufficient powers to deal with those problems sensibly and effectively.