Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Spanish cannabis

Cannabis clubs plug a gap in Spanish drugs laws

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

The Economics of Happiness

Zac and Ben Goldsmith are hosting the UK launch of a new documentary at
The Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London
Tuesday, February 8, 2011, 7pm
£15 at the door

The Economics of Happiness_ is a vitally important film that offers concrete
and compelling solutions to some of our most intractable problems. It is
guaranteed to be a thought-provoking evening.

RSVP to [1]rgs@theeconomicsofhappiness.

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

History of Welsh Cinema- documentary

Undercurrents own Solar powered cinema appeared on ITV last night. You can now watch it online.

Trevor Fishlock looks at the history of cinema in Wales. Trevor and his crew spent a day filming The Sol Cinema. Broadcast on December 28th 7.30pm, you can watch it online on ITV Wales

Trevor Fishlock uncovers intriguing stories about life in Wales. 100 years ago a pioneering film maker took to the roads in Wales with a traveling cinema. Trevor meets a company reviving the roving film showing tradition, but with a modern twist - using solar power.

Watch the full programme online here

. Sol Cinema is in the 2nd part of the 22minute programme

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The People’s Postcode Lottery Dream Fund

The People’s Postcode Lottery Dream Fund is a new initiative developed
by the People’s Postcode Trust team to give organisations the chance
to deliver the project they have always dreamed of, but never had the
opportunity to bring to life.

In order to meet the challenges facing the charity and voluntary
sector, the fund encourages applications that will address the key
strategic concepts of collaboration of organisations to provide more
efficient services, and the promotion of volunteers.

The Dream Fund will offer £600,000 over two years, with £300,000
available for 2011, and £300,000 for 2012. Registered charities and
community organisations in Scotland can apply for up to £100,000 to
deliver a new and innovative 12-month project. Read the Dream Fund
page to get all of the details.

Small Grants Programme – Applications:

Applications are now open for £2,000 or under. Please download the
appropriate application form in order to apply. Please ensure you have
submitted your form and supporting documents by Wednesday 12th January
2011 in order to be considered in the January decision meeting.
Applications in this rolling monthly programme will not close, but if
you submit your form after the above date, it will not be considered
until the following month’s meeting.

Applications over £2,000 will not be accepted until the next quarterly
funding round, which will open on 10th January 2011. Any applications
for projects over £2,000 received before this date will be returned to

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Friday, December 24, 2010

15th Annual Newbury Bypass Walk Jan 9 2011

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Banksy says...

The art I make is similar to film - my paintings are essentially freeze frames from movies that are playing in my head. I think its pretty clear that film is the pre-eminent art form of our age. If Michaelangelo or Leonardo Da Vinci were alive today they’d be making Avatar, not painting a chapel. Film is incredibly democratic and accessible, it’s probably the best option if you actually want to change the world, not just re-decorate it.
Read the full interview with Banksy

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

W for Winkles

Andrew explores Winkles as edible coastal food. They appear in prehistoric shellfish middens throughout Europe, and is therefore known to have been an important source of food since at least 7500 BC in Scotland.
They are usually picked off the rocks by hand or caught in a drag from a boat. They are eaten in Great Britain and Ireland where they are commonly referred to as winkles or in some areas willicks or wilks, and in Belgium where they are called crickles.Periwinkles are considered a delicacy in African and Asian cuisine. The meat is high in protein and low in fat.Andrew also shows how to cook limpets.
Watch the full series on

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Christmas Tree has a criminal record!

Walking through the snow past Swansea Police station yesterday, I spied a bag stuffed into a bin. Being the curious type, i pulled it out to find it was a Police evidence bag, cable tied and tagged

containing a Christmas tree, complete with tinsel and baubels and other decorations.

I decided to take it home and use it to add some cheer to my view of the City. A Christmas tree with a criminal record- now that is a first!

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Whirlygig Cinema want your music videos

Whirlygig Cinema is an initiative dedicated to the exposure of
up-and-coming filmmakers through short film programmes. We are currently
looking for films to show at our next event in January at Rich Mix in
London, which will form part of the London Short Film Festival. This will
be our second collaboration with film score artists The Cabinet of Living
Cinema, who wrote and performed live scores for a selection of short films
earlier this month. We can't wait to provide them with a new batch of films
to work their magic on and play previously unheard soundtracks to an
unsuspecting audience.

We are looking for visually exciting films that work well with music, and
contain little or no audio dialogue. They should be less than 10 minutes in
duration and have a decent picture resolution. We are particularly keen on
showing films that have never been screened in public before due to
previous complications with music copyright.

To be part of this unique and exciting project, please email before the New Year.

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Monday, December 20, 2010

“News is what someone, somewhere wants to suppress, everything else is just advertising.”

This is an article i wrote years ago so thought I would publish it to my blog...

“News is what someone, somewhere wants to suppress, everything else is just advertising.”
Lord Northcliff, Press Baron 1914

Weapons of Mass Distraction
By Paul O’Connor
The United States government unleashed ‘Operation Desert Fox’ against Saddam Hussein in December 1998. But the military action perhaps had a more truthful tag in the Iraqi media- ‘Operation Monica!’ As President Clinton faced impeachment over his affair with Ms. Lewinsky, his Pentagon media team ensured that the news networks were being supplied with plenty of dramatic images to sell their war. But were the grainy black and white cockpit video images of ‘precision’ missiles hitting their targets or battle zone satellite photos, the ultimate weapon of mass distraction?

Skip forward five years and digital images would once again grab the Worlds attention but have a very different effect. Taken on two different cameras in December 2003, the images of sadistic torture and rape by President Bush’s troops in the Abu Ghraib prison perhaps finally forced the ‘reality’ of the Iraq war into our comfortable living rooms. Initially distributed across the ‘net, the grainy stills have managed to slice through the tightly managed facade constructed by the Pentagon and Whitehall.

Controlling whose perspective of events we see has been an ongoing battle between Governments, Corporations and the public since the tools of mass media were invented. Recently the World Wide Web has placed inexpensive distribution into the hands of the people, but its power hasn’t gone unnoticed by the authorities. During the mass demonstrations against the policies of the world’s G8 leaders in Genoa, sympathetic reporters established an alternative media center to allow the public to publish online their own video, photographic and text reports, without the need for an editor’s approval. Following the live reports from various viewpoints of how police shot dead a demonstrator, the Italian police raided the media center smashing cameras and computers as well as teeth and bones. By planting ‘bomb making material’ the chief of police hoped to justify the brutal raid. Instead 74 officers were eventually charged with assault thanks partly to the eyewitness video images from grassroots news organisations such as Undercurrents.

In a world of tightly controlled media images, it is the photographic and video images which slip through the net that have the most immediate impact. How could a young cargo worker have known that since 1991 the Pentagon has banned the media from taking pictures of army coffins in case it affects public support for their wars? In her innocence, Tami Silicio supplied photographs in April 2004 depicting the flag-draped caskets of fallen U.S. soldiers to The Seattle Times. The Pentagon forced the amateur photographers employer to have both her and her husband fired from their jobs. News editors in more than 30 periodicals reacted by publishing her photos on their front pages to promote debate about Government censorship.

The protester dressed as Batman and scaled the walls of Buckingham palace displayed that dramatic images will always grab the medias attention. But ensuring those images actually make it to the newsrooms is sometimes more difficult than it appears. While reporting direct action protests with video cameras over the last ten years, most of my colleagues and I have been arrested, assaulted, or had tapes seized at some stage. Yet never have we been convicted of any offence. The obvious goal has been to stop certain images being made public.

Freelance photographer, Nick Cobbing is one of the very few journalists actually convicted and fined despite the courts recognising him as a working reporter. Arrested while photographing the evictions of environmental activists from a forest, police seized his films and cameras. The only other reporter to get close to the evictions was a HTV reporter, only to receive a truncheon across the head. Cobbings exclusive images were effectively censored reinforcing his belief that Police have a covert plan. “As the Police come under a lot of criticism for the policing methods, they want to put journalists off going to these events and the easiest journalists to put off are the freelances because they do not have the backing of the large news organisation” he said.

Why the Police should be taking an active role in controlling which images the public should see is still largely open for debate and it has prompted me to produce a Channel 4 news feature about the issue. Highlighting the story of video journalist, Roddy Mansfield, I discovered that he has been arrested and released without charge only when his news deadlines had passed on twelve separate occasions. The Metropolitan police have even gone as far to erase his video footage in the custody suite, unwittingly recording their own feet and voices in the process.

Every picture may tell a thousand words but what story is being told depends largely upon the teller. In 2002, I traveled to the Middle East at the height of the Israeli invasion into Palestine. My mission was to retrieve camcorder tapes hidden inside the infamous Church of the Nativity by Jacquie Soohen, the only video journalist recording at the time. The Israeli government, keen to portray people under siege in the Church as a nest of Palestinian militants and terrorists had to distract the media away from the fact there were a large number of civilians and secondly, the armed men were mostly composed of the Palestinian Authority police. The stand off lasted for over a month with people finally coming out in coffins, stretchers or only after being captured. Unfortunately the Israeli troops got to the hidden tapes before I did, ensuring that the world only saw their own highly sanitised version of events. By accepting the very carefully selected portions from the tapes, the BBC and others, allowed the Israelis to propagate the myth that the Church was full of militants. They have refused to return or allow anyone to see the tapes in their entirety.

It is for these reasons that I co-founded Undercurrents as an alternative news agency. World events are much too important to be told only by the vested interests of multinational Corporations or Governments. The people who have the most to lose should be the voices we hear, so supporting independent outlets is vital lest we want to wait until it’s too late before we can begin to understand the peoples version of events.

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Video Job in Oxford

Director of Operations for InsightShare
Starting salary around £25 - £30K p.a.
Based in Oxford, UK

InsightShare are leaders in the use of participatory video as a tool for
individuals and groups to grow in self-confidence and trust, and to build
skills to act for change. Our methods value local knowledge, build bridges
between communities and decision-makers, and enable people to develop
greater control over the decisions affecting their lives. For more
information see

InsightShare is a small, but fast-growing organisation that is looking for
someone who wants to contribute to the maturing of the organisation. We
are looking for someone who can manage the logistics of video projects,
making sure that the people, resources and equipment are in the right
place at the right time – effectively a film production role. You will
also help us to implement new systems, challenge the way we do things and
bring new perspectives to our operations.

You will need to communicate clearly and bring everyone on board when
initiating ideas. You should be flexible and able to adapt to a fast
changing work environment, working with new clients, new countries and new
projects on a regular basis.

InsightShare is an exciting, growing and ambitious organisation. Your role
is pivotal to that growth. Your salary will therefore grow with the
organisation and be reviewed after 12 months. Current levels permit the
starting salary of £25,000- £30,000.

Prepared to live in or near Oxford, to be based at Oxford office, although
some home-working may be possible.

For a detailed job description and instructions on how to apply visit the
website of Oxford HR:

The closing date for receipt of applications is 5.00 pm on Monday 10th

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Police attack wheelchair user

When police are dragging people out of wheelchairs to stop them protesting you know something is wrong with the states response to dissent.Jody McIntyre says he was the victim of unprovoked action by the police who pulled him from his wheelchair.
Watch the video here

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Jingle Mail

Met a Irishman today who told me about what the bank workers call jingle Mail- the days when when people send their house keys back to the banks- it is cheaper to give them to the bank than keep paying the interest on mortgage..Ireland is in for some crazy times

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Street Report of Student fees protests

SchNews gives the news....

The wave of student protests that sprang forth so vehemently on
11/11/10 faced its day of reckoning this Thursday (9th) as MPs huddled
in Parliament to decide on the future of education. Chaos was on the
menu as the tuition fees bill passed with a majority of 21 votes.

The crowds started congregating at 12 noon by the University of
London Union in Malet Street. The march stalled to hear speeches and
bold declarations such as 'We will not be detained, constrained
and kettled again!' just before heading towards Parliament

At 12.45 the march crossed the starting line, and police tried to nip
in early by containing the protesters at the first turn, helped by
stewards linking arms to control the crowd - but alas the kids gave
them the two finger salute and ran through the whole lot. 'Today
we won't be kettled because today we are prepared,' as one
protester put it.

There were scores of police lining each street and batches of riot
police waiting round each corner. Cops tried to run in front and form
a line but the youth ran faster and by 1.15 they had descended on
Trafalgar square in numbers, accompanied by the sounds of a salsa

Protesters were stopped there but soon managed to break through. The
FIT team was shoved out the way by a rebellious posse. At this point
billows of coloured smoke surged through the air as the demonstrators
released flares and bangers. The feisty atmosphere became charged as
people reached the corner by Westminster Abbey. The harris fencing
surrounding the green got ripped apart and waves of the disgruntled
started cascading onto the legion of riot police protecting the
finishing line, batons at the ready.

Hundreds more police started approaching the square and each road
leading off from it was filled with a dozen riot vans. Flares, sticks,
snooker balls and paint balls flew across the square, placards were
set on fire as students hollored 'Fuck the cuts!' The
protesters started using barriers to break through police lines.
Scuffles erupted, leaving one officer with a bloody nosy while another
got sent to hospital with a broken leg. By 3.45pm a containment was in
place with peaceful demonstrators allowed to leave the space, but for
many that was easier said than done.

As the afternoon wore on a large sound system was in place and the
party started really bouncing - to a backdrop of hardcore,
protesters and riot police having it out on the street. The focus then
turned towards the Commons as voting time approached. In the distance
an outline of police horses could be seen standing ominously in wait
as dusk set in. The police line flowed back and forth as people kept
trying to break through their lines.

After the vote, angry protesters rampaged through the government
quarter, smashing telephone booths, vandalizing statues and breaking
government building windows.

By 6pm reports were coming through of many people getting injured as
police tactics took a turn towards the oppressive. Police marched
through docile crowds and shoved them violently backwards. The horses
were released towards the crowd. Two demonstrators were knocked
unconscious, another demonstrator on a wheelchair was dragged away by
police; minutes later the wheelchair was seen lying empty. A medical
steward passed on he treated at least 10 serious head injuries from
marchers being hit with police batons.

The next generation of possible voters then turned their attention to
the Treasury building, home to the Chancellor George Osborne, and let
loose. While contained inside the square, students started using
concrete blocks and metal poles to smash windows of the building on
Great George Street before the riot crew got in and reclaimed the
property. Windows of the supreme court were also put in.

Protests spread to the West End with demonstrators breaking shop
windows in Oxford Street. Police eventually surrounded a group of
around 150-200 people in Trafalgar Square, where fires were lit,
graffiti daubed on statues and missiles thrown at riot police. They
then moved on towards Marble Arch, attacking two Vodafone stores along
the way.

Elsewhere, at around 7.30pm, an angry mob attacked a vehicle they
thought contained a mediocre Tory candidate; instead they managed to
hit the negative media coverage jackpot by coming face to face with
Prince Charles and his bit on the side.

The stately window was cracked and the royal buggy was splashed with
paint. Cue the media's defining image.

By 9pm the protest seemed to be dwindling. Police attempted to clear
Parliament square by reopening Westminster Bridge to the South Bank.
They had apparently been letting protesters out one by one but felt
the area (perhaps unsurprisingly) was not clearing quickly enough. The
police made 22 arrests in total with scores injured. There were also
protests in Leeds, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Belfast, Brighton,
Manchester and Bristol, with school pupils joining students.

* See

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Politics and young people

Politicians are always moaning about young people having no interest in politics- the Tories have succeeded to politicize thousands over the student fees!

The monarchy and the government are trembling

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Watch seminar about digital inclusion

Watch the Digital Inclusion Wales Conference
Live online on Wednesday 8th & Thursday 9th December

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Films wanted

Underground Films are looking for short films and documentaries to include
on future dvd compilations. We offer a non-exclusive contract to filmmakers
as well as a small royalty on all dvd sales. Please visit our website to
find out about the kind of films we distribute. On the dvds page you'll can
view trailers for all our dvd compilations.

For more info about distribution please email James.

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Funding to get online

The Antigone Foundation was founded by Martha Lane Fox in 2007. Its
area of focus is to help charities consider their use of internet and
mobile technology. The kind of projects they are looking for should:

● Show that they are improving people’s lives
● Be managed by inspired and dedicated people
● Have ambitions for developing their work on a bigger scale.

The Foundation gave approximately £44,000 in grants in 2009 and around
£63,000 in 2008.

The next deadline for applications is 31 January 2011.

For more information, including information on the charities currently
being helped by the Foundation, see here:

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Dancing With Hands - We No Speak Americano

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.


The well known and highly respected National Union of Journalist member David
Hoffman, who is represented by Chez Cotton head of the Police Misconduct Department
at leading civil rights law firm Bindmans LLP has received £30,000 damages today from the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis.

Mr Hoffman was working in a professional capacity covering the G20 protests. Despite
being out of the way and not interfering with any police operation, an inspector in
full riot gear ran towards Mr Hoffman and hit him in the face with a shield,
fracturing Mr Hoffman's teeth. As well as paying compensation and the cost of the
extensive dental work that has been required, the Commissioner of Police of the
Metropolis has also apologised to Mr Hoffman for the treatment he received and has
confirmed the force's recognition that journalists have a right to report freely.

Mr Hoffman's solicitor Chez Cotton says:
"Journalists such as my client are critical in disseminating information into the
wider public domain. Reporters and photojournalists play a significant role
recording political unrest, political events, which includes recording protest and,
if it arises, police wrong doing. That my client was assaulted by a police officer
when carrying out this essential function, and brutally so, is shocking. Fortunately
with photographic and film evidence of the incident and detailed testimony, Mr
Hoffman has succeeded in holding the police to account. It is absolutely right that
the Metropolitan Police Force has paid significant damages, given an apology and
confirmed recognition and respect for a free press."

The apology from the Metropolitan Police states:
"On 1 April 2009 well-respected social issues photographer David Hoffman was
recording the G20 protests in the City of London. The Metropolitan Police Service
(MPS) recognise that Mr Hoffman was entitled to report on that day but was caused
injury by an MPS officer during the event, preventing him from doing so. The MPS
confirms its recognition that freedom of the press is a cornerstone of democracy and
that journalists have a right to report freely. The MPS apologise to Mr Hoffman for
the treatment he received and have paid compensation."

Jeremy Dear, NUJ General Secretary says:
"No journalist should be singled out by the police and the police service has no
legal powers or moral responsibility to prevent or restrict photographer's work.
Journalists have a duty to record and report on public protests as well as the
behaviour of the police. David's case is a shocking example of police brutality and
totally unacceptable. We believe that attacks on working journalists are attacks on
democracy and on society's ability to make informed decisions. The NUJ will continue
to take action in support of our members when they are targeted by police."

NUJ Legal Officer Roy Mincoff says:
"David Hoffman suffered very painful injuries as a result of this entirely
unnecessary gratuitous and violent assault on him while properly and professionally
going about his work. The role of journalists, including photographers, as the
public watchdog, must be respected. It is one of the essential elements of a
democratic society that journalists are entitled to inform the public, which itself
is entitled to be informed. The NUJ has fought for this to be recognised, and is
pleased that the Police has now accepted responsibility and properly compensated Mr

Background to the case
Mr Hoffman, a well respected social issues journalist and member of the National
Union of Journalists, attended in a professional capacity to report on the G20
protests on 1 April 2009 in the City of London. Throughout the event Mr Hoffman was
carrying professional equipment and had his Press Card clearly visible around his
neck and was obviously a journalist.
Mr Hoffman took photographs at various sites throughout the day. At around 4 p.m.
police in the Bank area stopped Mr Hoffman and others from moving forward and tried
to push everyone back. However, due to the size of the crowd behind Mr Hoffman there
was nowhere to move back to.

After about ten minutes the police intensified their action and started to push Mr
Hoffman and the others in the crowd using their shields and batons aggressively,
even though there was still nowhere to move back to. Mr Hoffman was standing beside
a line of police officers and was for no reason pushed hard by an officer, to one

Mr Hoffman saw a space and was anxious to avoid any further trouble. He moved to one
side so that he was further away from the police. Whilst doing this, Mr Hoffman was
suddenly hit for no reason with considerable weight in the back by a policeman using
his shield. This threw him violently into the back of a man in front of him.
Mr Hoffman moved even further away form the police and was partly shielded by some
builders' boards. He remained in this position, out of the way, and watched the
events around him with his camera raised, ready to report. He was doing absolutely
nothing wrong and was photographing without interfering in any police operation.
A few seconds later a heavily built inspector in full riot gear suddenly left the
group of police officers he was with, ran directly towards Mr Hoffman, and
deliberately hit him hard in the face with a shield. The shield made contact with
great force, causing Mr Hoffman considerable pain and causing one of his cameras to
fly round where it was knocked, causing damage to the equipment. Mr Hoffman was
shocked and in pain from the shield hitting him and was thrown backwards.
It was subsequently confirmed that Mr Hoffman's teeth had been fractured. Mr Hoffman
instructed Chez Cotton of Bindmans LLP to act on his behalf and the Commissioner of
Police of the Metropolis. Proceedings were issued and the claim was settled shortly
after the Particulars of Claim were served. The terms of settlement were agreed by
Consent between the parties. The Central London County Court sealed the agreement at
the beginning of December and the Commissioner of Police has today paid the damages
in full.

Please click on the links below to view photograph of the incident:
Notes for editors
Please put a link back to our website in your story when it goes online:

Counsel: Alison MacDonald of Matrix Chambers
Bindmans LLP:
Bindmans LLP is a highly successful law firm offering a wide range of expert legal
services. We have a reputation for excellence and for being at the cutting edge of
legal developments - particularly in relation to issues around human rights,
discrimination and public authorities' powers. Many of our lawyers are nationally
recognised as leading experts in their fields. Bindmans LLP continues to be ranked
by the key legal directories as one of the top firms in London and the UK for its
specialist areas. We are known for achieving excellent results for clients, often in
groundbreaking areas of law.
Bindmans LLP
275 Gray's Inn Road
London WC1X 8QB
Tel: 020 7833 4433

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Monday, December 06, 2010

New Danny Boyle movie

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Solar Cinema wins Welsh award

Media and arts charity Undercurrents have won the Network Wales Awards 2010 for their unique Solar Powered Cinema. The awards were held last night at a prestigious dinner in Cardiff.Undercurrents won the Class Award for Best Communications
More here

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.