Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Ian Curtis, compression and Vanity Fair

The cosmic forces in the world are keeping me away from something I want. Very badly.

Control, the new film depicting the life and times of Ian Curtis, opens on general release in the UK this week. I adore Joy Division and the Manchester scene of the 1970s/80s since catching 24 Hour Party People on television one night. It's now one of my most played DVDs and my 'cheer up' film.

Alas, due to other social events and work, the earliest I can see this film is Monday. Monday?! Monday?! So I am not a happy bunny especially as my social life is going to have to be compressed and packed away for the next 8 months or so. Control marks the countdown to when my life is reduced to university, food, paid work and D.H. Lawrence (for no other reason than he's my author of the moment).

My annoyance was kicked off by reading the following article in ysterday's email edition of the Guardian (more on that later) on disability. The writer's stance in the article is that Control contains many themes but one theme that has been overlooked is one of disability. Ian Curtis is probably one of the most famous epileptics, at least in musical history. I read in a magazine article (possibly NME) that even the drum loop could set Ian off into a fit. You can see how music became both a love and an endurance test for him.

As with such articles, it goes off on a tangent and queries whether it is right for actors to depict disabilities they do not suffer from in reality. The comparison of Laurence Olivier blacking up to play Othello has caused some anger. See what you think - link to the article here. As a side topic, Francesca Martinez, who is mentioned in the article, is not a very funny comedienne. Well, she wasn't when I saw her almost a year ago. Her act was primarily based upon her disability which would have been interesting if it had been actually funny. Perhaps her act is improved - she apparently got excellent reviews at the Fringe.

And to my last point. I recently invested in a copy of Vanity Fair, the magazine. It's listed in the women's lifestyle section of most magazine sections. When you see straplines such as 'Iraq's Millions' and 'Bush's Bunker' (and actually referring to a person rather than anatomy) paraded alongside magazines proclaiming "Britney's Booze Bloat!" and "Chantelle is sick after every meal!" you wonder what the world is coming to.

Anyhoo, I read an interesting article on the media and presentation of information. Many newspapers have embraced the web and many post articles on-line, often free of charge. But this creates a problem for the editors. Individuals may not choose to invest in the money for a physical copy of the newspaper when they can access the articles for free. Indeed, as I discovered on my volunteer work placement, the Guardian on-line database has articles and news stories going as far back as the early 1970s.

For me, the news is part of my day. It doesn't feel right if I haven't glanced at the email edition of the Guardian (I pretend it's environmentally friendly to get the email edition - in reality it's so I don't waste money on a paper I don't have time to read) or catch the BBC institution of the Six O'Clock News. Information retrieval and presentation is something that interests me. Probably explains why I want to be an archivist. When I on holiday, I either invest in a copy of a broadsheet or log onto the BBC website, just to check Britain hasn't sunk into the sea when I've been away.

So, what is the way forward? The article (which doesn't appear on Vanity Fair's website - smart move) claims by 2012, the Internet will take over 'traditional' forms of news reporting. In some ways, I welcome that as it means information will, hopefully, more more accessible to the masses. But it's the choice of what news people choose to take in. Will they frequent downbeat stories about what fucked up things humans are doing to each other (most recent, events in Burma) or will they favour the latest in Britney's fall from grace?

I hope to God it's the former rather than the later.


sheeldz, Marque said...

I remeber reading somewhere that you can get printers that are always connected to a computer (that has an internet connection), so that in the morning it will print the various sections of a newspaper for you. The interesting thing with this is, that whilst be rather technologically exciting, and a real innovation, is it not worse on the environment? Toner from a laser printer, or even Inkjets from a cheap printer, might have a larger carbon foot print than just reading the internet based news. Compare it to the massive printing presses, the transportation, and the waste that is generated by copies the people might not buy, or worse still in the case of some "news" papers, actually buy, the carbon foot print must be massive.

In fact, this post has given me two tangential topics that over the next few days I might rant about.

Womans Lifestyle magazines, and Carbon Footprint. Hmmm. Good post.

CB Buckland said...

The Guardian being available in email form is excellent for the reason that they can perhaps spellcheck that one before they send it out. No more picking up copies of the Goordian for me.

The answer is thaat Vanity Fair is right: the internet will kill many traditional media forms. I suspect it won't be newspapers, people do want a physical paper and printing just won't do that the same way. It will kill TV though. Eventually all TV will be watched on the internet, free to decide what we watch, I reckon most people will just watch Chantelle boaking into a toilet for an hour or whatever.

This is a time where the availability of knowledge and information has never been greater and yet the level of general ignorance has not changed.