Common User

Me rambling on.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Melvyn Bragg and Radio 4's history of being "interactive"

In this weeks BBC staff newspaper Ariel there is a full page interview with Melvyn Bragg. It opens with Melvyn admitting that he "worries about the BBC in a protective kind of way and I'm not altogether sure why." A neat summary of my feelings to my employer and favourite media owner. It will no doubt be leaked in full elsewhere. Ariel articles usually are. My favourite (non controversial) paragraph concerns Radio 4 and its long history of being "interactive".
"On Radio 4 I'm biased, but I feel its a truly great channel that knows where it's going even though its hard to bring in change. You don't associate middle England with fanaticism but if you wanted to, you could point the listeners to Radio 4. It's their channel, they own it and they let you know. It's a fascinating relationship to be in; the mail, the email, the correspondence, the corrections they send you, the extensions to your argument. It's intense. They were interactive before the word was invented. They're not just the protest vote"
One for Steve Bowbrick who has just launched his lovely new Twitter(and Radio 4 flavoured) service; Listen With Bowbrick which I've blogged about on backstage over there.


Mark E Smith and the Licence Fee

I love interviews with the old bastard. Anyway there's a fantastic Q&A in this months Uncut where is rude about everyone. Peter Hook ? - "A fucking idiot", dismisses the internet; "these techno buffs, they believe everything they read on it". He's also cuts to the chase when it comes to what pays my wages every month.

What makes you laugh ?
I like to make my own jokes up. But I do watch TV, too much - you've got to know your enemy. Its fucking pathetic. I don't know how they get away with it, especially the BBC. Me mam gets £70 a week as a pensioner and she has to pay £120 a year to watch people doing their fucking houses up. You can see that anywhere. If you want to see fucking builders, you can just look out of the window.


Goggy - 1905 -2007

Originally uploaded by jem.
F's grandmother died this morning. She was inspiring, very funny and an outrageous gossip. We'll miss her.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The day I said sorry to Eddie Mair

Today I spent a considerable bit of my time ("working from home) apologising to Eddie Mair, listeners to PM and primarily those users (froggers as they have dubbed themselves) who have struggled with the BBC's blog installation over the last few weeks. Fearing the worst, my rather dull explanation post actually had the inevitable Radio 4 response of grateful, polite thanks and incredibly from one user apologies for bringing up the whole issue.

Eddie (and the PM team) has been one of our blog successes so far but I'm a tiny bit embarrassed that he first comes across me as the dozy BBC exec responsible for making his users oh so v.slightly frustrated and mildly pissed off. Anyway they seem to have quickly forgotten my anal explanations of comment spam and gone back to admiring random photos of the snow. Phew.


Outside my bedroom window

Snowy view from bedroom window
Originally uploaded by jem.

Working from home today.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Life On Mars - Radio Times 1973

Life On Mars - Radio Times 1973
Originally uploaded by jem.
The classic Radio Times cover on the inside of this weeks RT. That clear block of white. Just perfect. The excellent Gill Hudson (brilliant RTimes editor) calls decision to do this "There's fandom for you!". RTimes also has a snoop around the set. Of course Flickr users have already done that.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Marketing Life on Mars

*Photos of the bus shelter posters of Life on Mars "nick of time" campaign uploaded by Flickr users.

I loved Life on Mars season 1, being of a certain age, a fan of the Sweeney and (briefly) the owner of a Ford Cortina about 10 years ago. (It cost me a fortune in spares and I paid some bloke to tow it away when it died on Newington Green.)
And its back for the 2nd series on BBC1/4 next Tuesday night at 9pm. Leading up to Feb 13 has been a slick marketing campaign that, for once, plays to the strengths of the show and has some knowing nods to the fans of what is actually a mainstream cop show. (An avge of 7m viewers last time round). That attention to detail in using the "BBC1 in colour" (from the BBC's trails of 1973) straplines hasn't been lost on the v.hard to please idents crowd , the excellently done Camberwick Green/"kicking in a nonce" retro taster (its recycled from one of those dream sequences) went down so well with one of the BBC points of view mboarders (and they really are a tough crowd) that he was forced to admit
for the first time ever an advert has encouraged me to watch a programme.

There was even this spoof 1973 police training manual penned by DCI Gene Hunt, which I er, saw lurking on the Bizarre pages of the Sun Online next to a story about Ashley and Cheryl (I was looking for more Vickywatch type howlers. honest guv).

The campaign has been put together by Red Bee Media . (all credits are on this Brand Republic post).

But ok its hardly Snakes on a Plane yet complementing the junctions between between EastEnders and Holby we've had a small campaign of users taking photos of posters at bus shelters and sharing them with Flickr, extensive edit wars/updates in anticipation of series 2 at Wikipedia, fans explaining the ads over at the Digital Spy forums and Points of View and naturally much blogging
and embedding . A week away and I'd say its all sorted. Gene Hunt on Twitter might have been nice though.

(Actually the best bit of marketing for the new series is the terrific tribute 1973 Radio Times cover in this weeks edition.. Buggered if I can find a pic of it online though. )