Guido posts Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson’s views on the EU

Splendid. I need no excuse to post Iron Maiden’s Run to the Hills. It is, perhaps, my very favourite heavy metal rock anthem.

In Guido Fawkes blog is the BBC Newsnight interview with Bruce Dickinson, the band’s lead singer, and an unusual character to lead a heavy metal rock band. Here’s Run to the Hills, followed by Bruce’s Newsnight interview – click on image to watch.

The UK Film Industry is flourishing

There are many knowledgeable people in the UK film industry pointing out why it is flourishing, and has significant growth potential, especially in the independent film market, so says Paul Duddridge in the Guardian. This supported by award-winning writer Stephen Follows’ January 2017 article on the state of the UK film industry.

And to prove it, here’s the announcement of the release of a UK produced film, [click on image to expand]

missioncontrol_keyartLondon (Thursday 2nd March, 2017) — As the world watched the outcome of the Apollo space missions, crowded around televisions and radios, the heroes of NASA – the controllers and support teams inside Mission Control – clenched their fists and sweated every detail through each liftoff and descent. Now, the compelling untold story behind this extraordinary team comes to life in the new film “Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo,” which will arrive on global Video on Demand and in select US theatres from 14th April, after its world premiere at the South by Southwest [SXSW] film festival in March.

US distributor Gravitas Ventures has secured worldwide rights from Haviland Digital to the compelling untold story behind this extraordinary team, told with unprecedented access to archival footage and stories from the men who lived it, including the creator of Mission Control, Dr. Chris Kraft, retired NASA Flight Directors Gene Kranz (portrayed by Ed Harris in “Apollo 13”), Glynn Lunney and Gerry Griffin. Also appearing are Flight Dynamics Officer Jerry Bostick, Flight Controller John Aaron, iconic astronaut Captain James Lovell (played by Tom Hanks in “Apollo 13”), and moonwalkers Charlie Duke and the late Captain Gene Cernan.

Mission Control was at the very heart of the Apollo programme and its heroes were born against a backdrop of economic turmoil and global conflict. Some came from a rural lifestyle unchanged since the 19th century. Others grew up in a gritty, blue-collar America of mines and smoke stacks. They ranged from students straight out of college, to soldiers toughened by military service. Yet, from such ordinary beginnings, an extraordinary team was born. They set out on what JFK called “the most hazardous, dangerous, and greatest adventure upon which mankind has ever embarked.” Through the team’s testimony and the supporting voices of Apollo astronauts and modern NASA leaders, “Mission Control” explores their journey from the faltering start of the programme to Mercury and Gemini missions, the tragic Apollo 1 fire and the glories of the Moon landings. This was achieved through a team whose average age was around 27 years old.

“Mission Control” was directed by David Fairhead and produced by Keith Haviland and Gareth Dodds. This British team came to the story of “Mission Control” after their work on “The Last Man on the Moon,” which premiered at SXSW in 2015 and told the tale of Astronaut Gene Cernan. Cernan, who flew three times in space and twice to the Moon, passed away in January 2017.

The film is now available to pre-order from iTunes:

Distance from London – where is it measured from?

The answer to this question is one that I got wrong, and publicly too. I was soon contacted by people who said I was in error, and gave me the correct answer. Oh, the shame of it.

Scroll down for the answer.

Here’s where I publicly got it wrong. Last week I was on the BBC Surrey Radio breakfast show to talk about Surrey Heath Museum’s #hugamilestone campaign.

Me, on the show, talked about how milestones measured the distance from London, and that the milestones in Surrey Heath are measured in miles from Hyde Park Corner. See photo.

James Cannon, one of the breakfast show presenters, asked me where’s the modern centre of London, the point used to measure distances from London?

Me again, two places I said, – burst of laughter from James – at Hyde Park Corner and the London Stone used by the Romans to signify the centre of London. I even said that the London Stone was in the wall of a Bank of China building. Wrong again. It was, but no longer.

Tim Dodds giving a milestone a hug 1_London_Stone,_City_of_London,_2012 2_LondonStone behind grill

Anyway. I guess you’ll want to know the answer. That’s if you don’t already know.

It’s HERE, at Charing Cross. See photos of plaque and Charing cross below.

Mileages_from_London_(16049013071) (1)


Tepui – a lovely word I’ll try to weave into my conversation

We watched both episodes on BBC2 of adventurer, Steve Backshall’s Extreme Mountain Challenge, to climb a tepui in Venezula. Steve, and his climbing team, attempted to the unclimbed Amaurai Tepui. Magnificently failing to do so.

A tepui is a sandstone table-top mountain found in the Guiana Highlands, mostly in Venezuela and parts of Guyana. Tepuis are isolated mountains, and not connected in a mountain. range.

Now that I know something of tepuis and their characteristics, I’ll try and use this really lovely word – tepui – in conversation and writing.

Photo by Paolo Costa Baldi. License: GFDL/CC-BY-SA 3.0

Photo by Paolo Costa Baldi. License: GFDL/CC-BY-SA 3.0

The New Day, the first new daily newspaper in 30 years

DSC03142There’s a new newspaper on the newsstands, called The New Day. Must try and not use the word new again in this article – four in previous sentence.

Published by the Trinity Mirror Group, it was provided free on Monday, and available for 25 pence for the next two weeks, and 50 pence after that. There’ll be no associated website. So it’s purely a print publication.

The publishers have promised it support for nine months. Here’s what they say about the paper.

It will be pitched at people aged 35 to 55, people who want a more modern approach to news.

…you’ll find no political bias. In fact, we’ll give you both sides of the argument and we’ll let you make up your own mind.

We’ve no weekly columnists. But loads of opinions. All different.

And we’ll have good new not just bad. Like life.

Our stories will be selected to interest our readers, not to impress other journalists.

…with just 40 pages we’re dedicated to ruthlessly editing the world’s events. We’ll tell you everything you need to know without bombarding you.

Will it succeed? I hae me doubts. For news snippets there’s the Internet, Twitter, and Facebook,from which people under 25 draw their news. I think the I newspaper has their target market covered, and now that’s its found a new home with the Johnston Press, they’ll be keen to promote it.

Even though The New Day costs will be low, I can’t see it making money. Apart from straight news reporting, I want to read strong opinions, be they from Polly Toynbee, Richard Littlejohn, or Quentin Letts, which this paper won’t provide.

A sub-editor is vital to help produce a professional publication

I’ve noticed some real howlers in the daily press that shouldn’t have happened. Mostly I’ve just inwardly groaned. Today I’m giving vent to my disappointment at the seeming lowering of standards. Maybe I’m being harsh. Maybe it’s just that I’ve noticed some obvious howlers. Perhaps so. Luckily, I’ve captured a couple..

When they appear on the front page – even though it’s in online versions – of quality publications I begin to worry about the quality of, or lack of sub-editing. I worked for a Chief Accountant many years ago. He could spot a wrong number in an instant among a veritable pile of numbers. I expect sub-editors to be as good.

Here are a couple of absolute shockers. In the Daily Telegraph online of 24th January 2016 about political insults, and referencing Churchill’s contribution. Secondly on the font page of the March 2016 issue of History Today, in an article about the building of the Forth Bridge. see if you can spot the bloomers – I bet you can in an instant.

Daily Telegraph online 24Jan2016

History Today March 2016 issue

Of course Winston Churchill didn’t die in 1945. He died on 24th January 1965. You can see the simple typographical error – 24th Jan 1965, not 24th Jan 1945.

Similarly, with the History Today article about the reason for the design of the Forth Bridge was the Tay Bridge disaster of 1879, not 1897 which was after the construction of the Forth Bridge. Again a simple number transposition. Both are obvious errors that any sharp-eyed sub editor should have spotted.

Good advice for a successful business career

A fascinating article in last Thursday’s London Evening Standard on Secrets of my success: Lindsay Pattison, the Global chief executive of media agency Maxus Global, a division of WPP.

Career advice from Lindsay PattinsonThe tip below from Lindsay for those starting out in business is a bit late for me now. I agree with Lindsay, this attitude helped me through my career and now in my post career life.

Do you have any tips  for those starting out  in business?

Always try to broaden out from your core role. Keep saying yes until you have to say no. In other words, accept any new opportunities that come your way until you can’t take on any more.

Political editors interview the Prime Minister in quick succession

I’ve been meaning to write about this for days. Just busy with other stuff.

Earlier this week the Prime Minister addressed Parliament about his draft deal with the EU. Following this he was quizzed about it in interviews with senior political editors – Laura Kuenssberg – BBC News, Robert Peston – ITV News, and Faisal Islam – Sky News.

In each of the interviews David Cameron’s demeanour didn’t change – very impressive. The things I noticed about the interviews were not, particularly, the questions or answers, but these,

  • Robert Pestonit was a new interview location in my view, though still somewhere most probably in No.10 Downing Street.
  • the interview location apparently seemed to be a poky corner, although well lit. It positioned the political editors and David Cameron in very close proximity, unusually so in my view again.
  • the location and closeness must surely have been designed by the No 10 communications team. It’d be interesting to know of their thinking and the perceived advantage accruing to the PM of the location and setting.
  • now to the three interviews by the political editors. It was coincidence that meant me seeing the three interviews in quick succession.
  • all the political editors sat back in their chairs, while Cameron leaned forward. Now Cameron’s forward lean indicated a positive interest in the questions. And yet, I think I observed Cameron lean further forward to Laura Kuenssberg, which is a sign of aggression. At one point in Laura’s questioning she pressed Cameron, who leaned even further forward saying, ‘well, that’s the answer you’re going to get’.
  • Laura Kuenssberg was the sharpest questioner,
  • Faisal Islam tried hard, with no more success than Kuenssberg
  • Robert Peston’s interview wasn’t to my liking, his questioning being laborious, verging on the irritating. Cameron impressively showed not the slightest irritation, and I looked hard at his expression.
  • I didn’t see Channel 4 political editor Gary Gibbon’s interview, and it’s not online, although his blog post is HERE.

Result: Cameron and his comms team would be well satisfied with his performance. I wonder if we’ll see the same location used again. Perhaps not, as I think the political editors were under pressure to get an interview with the PM. On other occasions they’ll not be so pliant, methinks.

I wonder if the conversation with Samantha Cameron later that evening wouldn’t be about how the day went but more about Ed Balls’ performance on Celebrity Great British Bake Off.

I leave it to you to judge on the relative performance of the three political editors. I only listened to short parts of each interview. Well done to you if you saw through all three.

The Mogster redeems BBC’s Question Time

In the last programme of 2015, Jacob Rees-Mogg – aka ‘The Mogster’ redeemed BBC TV’s Question Time from its depths of political banality, and panellist incivility.

I’d all but given up on Question Time, due to the preponderance of politically unbalanced audiences, and rubbish panellists. I watched this edition because the Mogster was on the panel, believing there’d be at least one person exhibiting erudition, intellect, honesty, courtesy, and fun. Oh, and I guess Piers Morgan might’ve been a draw with the range of his opinions, along with his insufferable ego.

This is just as it turned out. Jacob Rees-Mogg answered the audience’s questions. No waffling around and having to be reminded by David Dimbleby to answer the question. The Mogster answered each question. Just what a programme called Question Time needs – panellists to answer questions. Just see his wonderful put-down of Dimbleby.

The other panellists, one from the SNP and one from UKIP, answered everything through the prism of either Scottish independence or freedom from the EU.

The other panellist was Labour’s Emily Thornberry, aka Lady Nugee, who persisted in avoiding answering questions.