Thursday, September 04, 2014

My Solar powered Cinema is featured in the South Wales Evening Post

The South Wales evening Post did a great write up about me this week.

You can help me win an award by voting for me to be a digital hero.
All I need from you is one click. The award will keep our solar powered cinema on the road next year. Please vote for Paul O'Connor on this page

Monday, August 25, 2014

Talk Talk screw up their Digital Hero Awards 2014.

What voters now see when they try to vote in Digital Hero awards

Last week I was short listed as one of three nominees in the Talk Talk Digital Hero awards for my work in Sol Cinema. The prize is £5000. Since then the awards appear to have collapsed in disaster.

On August 22nd 2014,Talk Talk announced all the shortlisted nominees and opened the voting. So I and all the other nominee began publicizing the awards across social media to gather public votes. Here are Tweets from some of the nominees below-

Just days later Leanne Barnes, a communication Executive at Talk Talk sends all the nominees a bizzare email out stating;

'The announcement of the shortlisted nominees and the start of the Voting Phase has been postponed until the 1st September.'

On August 25th all the information about the nominees and the awards and the public voting is deleted. No mention of what is going on, so now all the people we are driving towards that URL get a blank page instead with the statement;

'This is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it?'

The simple answer to that is Yes- it is very embarrassing.

The South Wales Evening Post is running a feature on me being nominated in tomorrows newspaper. How embarrassing will it be when their readers try to Vote for me?

How did Talk Talk manage to create such a mess.
Was it a technical fault?
Was it someone jumping the gun and opening the voting too early?

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

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Click to vote for me to win a technology sustainability award

Help Sol Cinema win a sustainability award. 

The Sol Cinema is our unique mobile Cinema powered entirely by the Sun.

Vote for Paul O'Connor to win - just one click is all it takes.

Paul and usherettes in Sol Cinema

Press Release

A unique cinema seeks public votes to help win £10,000 next month.

The Sol Cinema is amongst just 3 UK finalists who have been shortlisted in the TalkTalk Digital Heroes Awards for the sustainability category.This award is for people using technology to make their environment a greener, more pleasant place to live or work.

Based in Swansea the Sol Cinema accommodates just 8 adults for a unique cinematic experience. Complete with smartly dressed usherettes, popcorn and red carpet, the Sol Cinema is powered entirely by the Sun.

Paul O’Connor, the projectionist of the Sol Cinema has been short listed for the Digital Hero awards. He said today

‘I am delighted that Sol Cinema has been recognised for all the hard work and dedication we have put into creating an entertaining mobile show. We have toured all over the UK and performed for thousands of people. Winning the Digital Hero awards will allow us to update our solar power equipment and prepare the cinema for the next few years on the road. I urge the Swansea public to vote for me in these awards.’

The TalkTalk Digital Heroes Awards, in association with Citizens Online was the UK’s first scheme recognising people who harness digital technology to bring about positive social change.

Each Digital Hero in each of the nine categories will be awarded £5,000 and the overall Digital Hero, as selected by a panel of judges, will receive £10,000. The Digital Heroes will be recognised at a ceremony at the House of Commons in London where their great work will be showcased to politicians and other key influencers in the world of technology.

To Vote for Paul O'Connor of Sol Cinema, please visit this page

Notes to editors

Photographs of Sol Cinema can be downloaded from this page

Sol Cinema- World's Smallest Solar Powered Cinema
Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Protest outside CNN against unfair reporting

Protesters gathered outside the CNN center in Atlanta on Monday to march in memory of unarmed Missouri teenager Michael Brown who was gunned down by a police officer, many in protest of CNN’s controversial coverage of the incident.

Demonstrators who had been urged to attend dressed in their “Sunday’s best” marched under the slogan: “How good must we look to be considered innocent?” and used the #ItsBiggerThanYou hashtag.

The protest was staged in response to CNN’s Ferguson protests coverage, which had a strong emphasis on past actions by Brown which may have incriminated him. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, as many as 1,000 protesters marched.

The killing of the likely unarmed Ferguson teenager, who was shot by white police officer Darren Wilson, has attracted thousands of protesters to the streets of Ferguson for days, despite an initial curfew and heavy tactical police and National Guard presence.

On Sunday evening, a confrontation between a police officer and a member of the media was caught on tape where the officer allegedly pointed a gun at the reporter, telling him to Get the f**k out of here.”

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

Monday, August 18, 2014

Swansea Campus construction shut down by anti Fracking activists

Earlier this morning, I filmed campaigners from Reclaim the Power shut down the Swansea Bay campus of Swansea University. The research at Swansea’s Energy Safety Research Institute will be focused on long-term ‘strengths’ in petroleum and chemical processing – particularly fracking. The primary collaborator will be BP. ITV Wales used mine and Zoe Broughtons footage of the action for the news.
The video I edited (below) is running on the Evening Post website alongside their article about the protest.

There are two protestors locked on, one up a tripod and a number of the group are inside the site and have dropped a banner which says ‘No Fracking’. Outside the site the banner reads ‘Dim Ffracio’. The protesters were angered by tens of millions of public money being funnelled into research on fracking via Swansea University’s new Energy Safety Research Institute.

Swansea University is currently building a second campus and innovation park on land previously used by BP, who gifted it to the university. Funding for the project was made available by the Welsh Government.

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

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Local TV is collapsing before it has even began

In 2011 I wrote about the future of local TV. I stated that it is the internet that will drive it, not having a license to broadcast to regular TVs via Freeview. My prediction is proving correct.

I watched local Oxford Channel collapse within 2 years and watched in amusement at various companies creating half cocked plans of setting up local TV. Today it was announced that Birmingham’s City TV has become the first of Jeremy Hunt’s ambitious network of local TV stations to go bust.

Birmingham’s City TV  issued a “Business Lite Memo” which states that the business has “no studio premises or broadcast equipment”, despite having had almost two years to get the operation up and running. Yet another debacle. I believe that a local TV channel won't work due to being too broad a spectrum.
I think to gain traction, any broadcaster has to serve a particular community who are not being served already.

In London, the local TV channel has averaged only 2,400 viewers, out of the 9 million people to which it broadcasts.

The main mistake is that companies are trying to mimic the main broadcast channels but with their tiny budgets. They should be concentrating on creating something more roots based. Instead they hire people on £120k salaries who think mainstream and thus can only hope to replicate the mainstream.

There are many grassroots media groups working for real social change in their own areas. Bring these all together and we have a possibility of success.

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

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I was interviewed by an American blogger

I was interviewed by an American blogger who provides music to film makers. His interview was about our mobile solar powered cinema. It is published today and you can  Read the interview here

Check out Sol Cinema here

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

Friday, July 25, 2014

Israel is a terrorist state.

Israel is a terrorist state.
Protest at BBC Bristol

There is no other way to describe a government who bombs children. Anyone who is hooked up on social media is seeing the real story of Israel's brutal attacks on Gaza. Children maimed or killed, schools blown apart, and unarmed civilians shot dead by snipers

The BBC is rarely showing the horror that is going on in Gaza, reporting as if this was 2 equal sides doing battle. The reality is that Palestine has no army, navy or airforce. While Israel in just one day this week used their warplanes and fired 182 missiles into Gaza, Israeli ships launched 146 shells into the territory, and Israeli tanks shot 721 shells, with all these attacks striking 66 structures and killing 107 Palestinians (including 35 children),

Each year, the United States gives Israel about $3.1 billion in military assistance.
To ensure BBC report the reality, activists are occupying BBC grounds outside the BBC in Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2LR

What can you do to help Gaza?
Saturday 26th July – SECOND National Demonstration in London.
Coaches leave 8.30am from Shah Jahal Mosque, Stapleton Road, Bristol BS5 6PE. Tickets £12 (but no-one turned away for lack of funds). 
Please book early – phone 07720021978 now.

and Boycott all Israeli goods- see the list here

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

Thursday, July 17, 2014

World Chamption boxer uploads my video

2 times World champion boxer Amir Khan has uploaded my video of Swansea campaigners to his Facebook page. The video shows activists taking direct action in Tesco's for selling Israeli goods. 

Within 2 days it already has 7500 likes and hundreds of comments and has been shared more than 5000 times.

Power of celebrity endorsement!

a screen grab from Amir Khans facebook
Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

BBC radio- about solar powered cinema in a caravan

I was on BBC radio this evening talking about our Solar Powered Cinema
You can listen to the chat here

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

Friday, July 04, 2014

Our tiny movie house- Sol Cinema

Last weekend we took our unique cinema to Glastonbury festival and showed dozens of short films to 1000 people over the event. We can fit 8 people in at a time so it was a lot of showings, with red carpet treatment, popcorn, usherettes and surround sound and projections.

We call it is the Sol Cinema and it is also 100% solar powered. We are a mini-plex as we give audiences 3 screens to choose from. We are next in Lewisham in London on July 12th. Details on Sol Cinema website

The Sol Cinema crew for Glastonbury

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

The Munduruku Indians: Weaving Resistance- being shown on July 11th in London

Film maker Nia Pora invites you to the preview of the documentary project I have been working for the last months: The Munduruku Indians: Weaving Resistance.
It's going to be screened next Friday, July 11, 8.30pm, at the Rich Mix, and I also highly recommend the other two films being shown that night: Corumbiara by the great educator and filmmaker Vincent Carelli and Toxic by the journalist Felipe Milanez.

These films will give you a very deep understanding of some key issues the Amazon rainforest, and it's people, have been currently facing.

The short documentary The Mundurukus Indians - Weaving Resistance, directed by Nayana Fernandez, will be featured at the Amazon Film Fest on Friday 11th July, 8.30pm.

The film documents the resistance of the Mundukurus community to protect their living environment against the construction of a series of dams on the Tapajos River, a project that will cause the destruction of local biodiversity and disruption of the way of life of thousands of Amerindians.

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

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Our ISP is suing the Government internet spies

Sue the Internet Spies


The ISP I have used to host undercurrents for nearly 20 years is going to sue the Spies.

GreenNet with 6 other ISPs from around the world are calling for an end to GCHQ’s attacking and exploitation of network infrastructure in order to unlawfully gain mass access to private communications. The complaint, filed by Riseup (US), GreenNet (UK), Greenhost (Netherlands), Mango (Zimbabwe), Jinbonet (Korea), May First/People Link (US), and the Chaos Computer Club (Germany), along with Privacy International, is the first time that ISPs have taken collective action against GCHQ.
Seven internet service and communications providers from around the world filed a legal complaint today, calling for an end to GCHQ’s attacking and exploitation of network infrastructure in order to unlawfully gain access to potentially millions of people’s private communications.
The complaint, filed by Riseup (US), GreenNet (UK), Greenhost (Netherlands), Mango (Zimbabwe), Jinbonet (Korea), May First/People Link (US), and the Chaos Computer Club (Germany), along with Privacy International, is the first time that internet and communication providers have taken collective action against GCHQ’s targeting, attacking and exploitation of networks maintaining communications infrastructure.

Cedric Knight, of GreenNet, said “Snowden's revelations have exposed GCHQ's view that independent operators like GreenNet are legitimate targets for internet surveillance, so we could be unknowingly used to collect data on our users. We say this is unlawful and utterly unacceptable in a democracy. Our long established network of NGOs and charities, or simply individuals who value our independent and ethical standpoint, rely on us for a level of integrity they can't get from mainstream ISPs. Our entire modus operandi is threatened by this illegal and intrusive mass surveillance.”
Read details here

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

Funding for your film

The call for the BERTHA BRITDOC CONNECT FUND is now open, taking applications until September 1st. The fund is looking to support smart, strategic outreach campaigns for ambitious independent documentary films with a social issue at their core; films which have the ability to achieve real change on a local, regional or global level.

THE FLEDGLING FUND deadline for letters of interest is coming up: July 16th. Their grants support outreach and audience engagement for social issue documentaries and range from smaller planning grants to implementation grants for projects that have a clear plan ready to launch.

SUNDANCE DOCUMENTARY FUND for grants across all stages of development, production, post-production, and strategic audience engagement. Deadline: July 8th, 2014

HARTLEY FILM FOUNDATION provides support through seed grants for documentaries that the Foundation fiscally sponsors. Hartley awards grants for documentaries in the areas of world religions and spirituality, on a rolling basis.

Submit your project to CPH:FORUM, CPH:DOX's international financing and co-production event by August 1st and get the chance to win a 15000 Euros cash prize, meet international key players & much more.

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

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Alternative to the World Cup- Sol Cinema

Sol Cinema- the smallest movie theatre in the World
Rather than watching the World Cup, Sol Cinema are off showing inspiring short videos in our little cinema. We accommodate 8 people

Sol Cinema- the smallest movie theatre in the World

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

Monday, June 16, 2014

How to open an ethical bank account

Triodos Bank has been funding community-owned renewable energy projects in the UK since 1996. The projects provide clean energy for communities and the income from generating electricity has also funded local improvements. These have included renovating village halls, purchasing ground for sports fields, supporting clubs for local children, and creating safe public footpaths along busy roads.

Triodos Bank’s lending is only possible through its savers. The funds placed into Triodos savings accounts by Friends of the Earth supporters have been lent to environmentally sound, socially conscious enterprises including community-owned renewable energy projects - providing jobs and income for people, while striving to free the UK from dependence on dirty energy.

Friends of the Earth said
Thanks to everyone who has already opened an account with Triodos. The bank has made a donation to Friends of the Earth for every account opened at the link below. Doing this has already triggered donations of over £4,100 for Friends of the Earth since March (the donations received last year totalled more than £10,000).

Open an account with Triodos, deposit £100 or more and they'll donate £40* to help with our work. The donations we receive from Triodos will help us to continue our campaigning work, including our efforts to save Britain’s bees and prevent fracking.
Apply now for an ethical savings account.

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

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Is Google on the wrong side of history?

My article about how Google is wiping Marijuana off their platforms has been published in Weed World this month. But my readers can read it here.

Is Google on the wrong side of history?
Thirty five years before eBay or amazon the world’s first online transaction was a bag of marijuana. In 1971 students at Stanford University's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory chose weed for this seminal act of

Four decades later, ‘ganjapreneurs’ are being pushed offline by the corporations. While the sale of cannabis seeds, or the weed itself, can be entirely legal within a sellers borders, go online and it all changes. Google, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have all banned the promotion of anything related to marijuana.

Google hasn’t just limited the ban to their online searches either. The corporate giant also owns YouTube, controls 66% of the smart phone market and created Google+, which is now the 2nd largest social network in the world.

Google's official Adwords policy doesn't allow the ‘promotion of illegal drugs, legal or synthetic highs, herbal drugs, chemicals and compounds with psychoactive effects, drug paraphernalia, or aids to pass drug tests.’
Google specifically cites marijuana as one of the several drugs for which it does not allow adverts. But what Google says and how they act appears to reflect the current laws surrounding the herb: plenty of contradictions.

According to financial reporters Bloomberg, cannabis use is high amongst the tech geeks in California’s Silicon Valley (where Google is based). This may explain why the charitable unit of Google gifted a Michigan medical marijuana advocacy group $120,000 worth of its services. Michigan Compassion is now able to promote medical marijuana use through the AdWords platform (the plain-text advertisements that pop up to the right side of any given search result). Yes, the same Adwords which explicitly bans adverts for anything related to marijuana.

Seed companies, meanwhile, are waking up to find that they have suddenly been pushed offline. The Google owned YouTube is deleting thousands of videos connected to marijuana. A growing number of seed companies have complained that their entire collection of videos have been deleted and their YouTube accounts closed. A spokesperson for Netherlands based company Spliff Seeds said, “I tried to contact YouTube but didn’t get any reply. I also tried to contact several community managers in Google and YouTube groups but without any success. I still don't know why our channel is blocked. We didn't start over because we don't want to get more penalties.”

In March 2014, the UK based Freedom Seeds had their entire catalogue of videos deleted. Their news reports consisted of exclusive interviews with Europe's top cannabis breeders and insider reports from Cannafest in Prague and Spannabis in Barcelona. Both their YouTube and Google+ business accounts have since been terminated.

Following days of frantic correspondence, a spokesperson for Google informed Freedom Seeds, “Due to your page advertising cannabis seeds it has been locked out for promoting a regulated good, thus it won't be unsuspended.”

A spokesperson for Freedom Seeds said, “Google and YouTube need to have clear guidelines and apply it to everyone. Randomly terminating the account of our seed company, which is entirely legitimate in the UK, is unfair and unjustified. There are many cannabis related channels on YouTube so why single us out and shut us down? Everything we do is 100% legal in the UK and we trade quite openly.”

With more than 1 billion unique users visiting the video platform each month, YouTube is an integral part of any company’s marketing strategy. When POT-TV had their YouTube account terminated it hit them hard as they lost their entire list of 10,200 subscribers and their 300 videos. The Canadian online channel was funded with revenues from Marc Emery's cannabis seed selling business.

POT-TV Editor Jodie Emery wrote at the time, ‘We're very upset about this, as our presence on YouTube was very strong and we had hundreds of thousands of views.’

Dutch headshop and cannabis seeds seller AzariusTV also had their YouTube account terminated. A spokesperson for AzariusTV explained, “Rather than being angry, we’re just quite sad. Sad that in the year 2014, people are still so very scared of smartshop and headshop items and feel the need to censor us.”

Despite being presented with many terminated YouTube channels, Google refuse to admit that they are forcing marijuana off their platforms.

A spokesperson for Google said, “It's not accurate to say that Google has an active policy of deleting marijuana / cannabis related videos from our platform.”

The common problem behind most of the terminations appears to be Google’s own social network platform. Many of these issues having occurred after YouTube users were forced to join Google+ if they wanted to make comments on any video.

Despite the number of examples of weed related YouTube channels being deleted shortly after joining Google+, the corporation denies any link. Google insist that their policies are consistent across both YouTube and Google+.

Google stated, ‘Once something is flagged, the team review whether the content breaches the community guidelines. Irrespective of the platform, the analysis should be the same.’

Cannabis Country is a website for news, information, and reviews on everything related to cannabis. Based in the USA, they used Google+ to promote their views. However within weeks of creating their YouTube channel in February 2014, their accounts were suspended. A spokesperson for Cannabis Country explained that their channel didn't even have any video content when it was deleted, “I had no videos at all so I don't see how I could have broken any rules regarding copyright or inappropriate content.”

One UK based seed company did succeed in having their account reinstated after being terminated. They offered advice to other companies but didn’t want to be named, in fear of Google retaliation. A spokesperson said, “This is all to do with Google+, not Youtube. I would recommend not posting on Google+. Problem is you can't get YouTube unless you have a Google+ account. If anyone gets a notification that the Google+ profile is suspended they must reply and fight their case.”

A quick search on YouTube revealed dozens of videos showing how to disconnect Google+ from your YouTube channel. This indicates just how unpopular the social network is amongst video uploaders. With marijuana being legalised in many countries across the world, Google is very clearly standing on the wrong side of history.

A spokesperson for Freedom Seeds in the UK summed up his frustration, “Most of these anti-cannabis decisions are being made by reactionary, narrow minded, right wing American businessmen who are forcing their opinions on the rest of the world. Visa, MasterCard and most of the banks are also following the same agenda. These are the last people who should be making moral judgments on my business.”

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

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Don't join Withoutabox

Any festival organiser or film maker will come up against Withoutabox.
Now owned by Amazon, they are causing real harm.

Withoutabox is a monopoly that is causing serious harm to independent film using unfair and anti-competitive business practices to drive up entry fees making it harder than ever for film festivals to survive.

Here is the ugly truth you may not know about Withoutbox. This information is taken directly from their website or information they email to festivals.
They demand nearly 20% of the entry fees that they get from the festivals! This causes festivals to dramatically raise their prices to make up for this incredibly greedy commission. Even if your festival attracts people, you may not have all your operations costs covered, and many festivals have gone bankrupt after using Withoutabox.
They charge a mandatory set-up fee just for a festival to be listed on the site, ranging anywhere from $500 to $2000. Again, this causes festivals to jack up their entry fees to compensate for these costs.
They force festivals to buy a “Marketing Package”, the cheapest of which starts at $750 and goes all the way up to $3,500 per month. Most festivals can barely survive as it is without having to be forced to buy so called “marketing packages.” The majority of these “marketing packages” are basically are just a very spammy email that they send out to an aging database of filmmakers.
For non-profit festivals that do not have entry fees, Withoutabox charges $2000 to be listed on their site. From non-profits!
They force festivals to place a link on the festivals’ website as prominently as the festivals’ own Call For Entries link so that they can poach submissions from organic traffic that originates outside of Withoutabox. Why should festivals be forced to redirect organic traffic to Withoutabox and then pay 20% of those entry fees to them?
From their rules: “A link to the Withoutabox submission form must be placed prominently on partner websites, call for entries materials, and any related email announcements. Placement of wabLINKs on partner websites must be as prominent or more prominent than any in-house submission method options
Withoutabox stifles competition and severely limits the options of filmmakers by requiring complete exclusivity and monopolistic control. If you dare use another third party submission processor other than Withoutabox, they will send you a letter demanding that you immediately cease using any competitor or you will be kicked off their site.
Withoutabox partnerships are exclusive so no other third-party submission sites may be utilized concurrently.
This drastically restricts competition and perpetuates a monopoly where festivals are forced to charge higher and higher entry fees to make up for these severely encumbering rules.
By the time festivals pay all the mandatory fees and the nearly 20% commission, it is very possible that Withoutabox will have made more money than the festivals who work tirelessly to promote and foster independent film.
Withoutabox forces festivals to give mandatory “discounts” to filmmakers that pay Withoutabox membership fees. This causes festivals to raise their entry fees to compensate, which is passed on directly to the filmmakers. They then require filmmakers to pay costly membership fees directly to them in order to have access to these so called “discounts.” The worse part is that if the filmmaker does not pay for the discount then Withoutabox just keeps the so called discount anyway. Some say this is tantamount to fraud.
Withoutabox holds the festivals entry fees they receive for up to 45 days so they can earn interest on the fees before paying festivals their share.
Withoutabox does not allow festivals to offer entry fee coupons or discounts to filmmakers that might undercut the prices offered on Withoutabox.
Buried in their terms of Service, Withoutabox makes outrageous claims on the intellectual property rights of entrants. This forces festival organizers have to deal with the fallout of such hidden consequences of using Withoutabox.
From their Terms of Service: “You grant us a nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, and fully sublicensable license right to use, copy, reproduce, transmit, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, and display any information, data, Work, or any other information associated with your Work (collectively the “Submitted Materials”) you submit to us via the Services in any media or format.
They have a hostile and unresponsive customer service model. In fact, Withoutabox has one of the worst reputations of bad customer service you are ever likely to find. Try calling them. Oh, that’s right. They don’t list a customer service phone number publicly and they can take over a week to reply to a single email. Basically, their approach toward customer service reflects the contempt with which they treat their festivals and filmmakers.

And much more...find out more here

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

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sheffield Live! TV Recruiting now...

Sheffield Live! TV
Recruiting now...

Want to work in Sheffield's new cross-platform media operation? We're recruiting Enterprise Advisors, a Technical Manager, and a Head of News.

For details and how to apply see:

Our goal is to establish an inclusive and sustainable local media service which will inform, educate and entertain - encompassing television, radio, and our website, that shows what is vibrant and distinctive about Sheffield, that meets the public interest in local news and information, and that offers a platform for local opinion and creative expression.

With a planned launch date for Sheffield Live! TV of autumn 2014 on Freeview, and a news operation starting from July via our new website and through Sheffield Live 93.2FM, we are seeking to recruit talented, passionate staff committed to help make our vision become reality.

Full job descriptions for the above roles as well as details of how to apply at

Closing date: 19 May 2014

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

Thursday, May 08, 2014

From online popularity to mainstream TV

One of the popular online series I produce is A-Z of Bushcraft which showed how to enjoy the woods in style.
Filming for ITV
Our presenter Andrew Price had many offers from mainstream TV to take part in their shows. He has now landed the main presenter in ITV's Coast & Country.
Andrew Price on left on ITV
In the most recent series, Andrew Price travels to North Wales and discovers all about the brewing process at the Purple Moose Brewery. Watch here

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

How the mainstream media lies..

Repeat a lie enough times and it becomes fact..this is the line that so many of the main newspapers take. Here are just 2 high profile examples in which the newspapers print lies but luckily the subjects had the money to fight their corner (and win)

Russell Brand has accepted "substantial" libel damages from the Sun on Sunday's over the false claim that he cheated on his girlfriend Jemima Khan.

The paper's publisher has apologised and agreed to pay Brand his legal costs and damages, believed to have been at least five figures. Brand has said he would put these towards "what he considers to be diverse, just and decent causes".

The Daily Mail has printed an apology to the author JK Rowling in which it states that it has paid her substantial damages over an article that claimed she had told a misleading "sob story."
The article, published on 27 September 2013, suggested she had falsely accused churchgoers of stigmatising her because she was a single mother. It was headlined "How JK's sob story about her single mother past surprised and confused the church members who cared for her.
Brand and Rowling have the cash to fight but what about all the campaign groups who don't and are labelled anarchists, terrorists etc by papers?
Don't believe all what you read is the mantra.

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

A very clever advert

Some of the most interesting videos/music/cultures emerge when 2 styles blend.So this advert makes a clever use of that..

New York City fashion models came prepared to shoot a sexy commercial. Then the director asked them to do the impossible...

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

Friday, May 02, 2014

My first film- in 1994

The first film I worked on was You've Got to be choking in 1994. The photo above showed me (in the red wearing a green and white hat which I lost in the Police scuffles) and 300 people occupying the houses to stop the demotion to create a new road.

Our film won the Okomedia award in Germany and was about the M11 link road protest. This was a major anti-road protest in Leytonstone, London in the early to mid-1990s opposing the construction of the "A12 Hackney to M11 link road", also known as the M11 Link Road.
Me in 1994 filming on a very cold roof in January
In 2007, the BBC reported that the cost of the M11 link road doubled due to the intervention of protesters. The road is now one of the most congested in the UK.

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

Heavy duty Cherry topped Desk for sale

This desk has served Undercurrents for 10 years and now sadly has to go. It has a cherry wood top and is sturdy, unique and hand made.

It was made 10 years ago and apart from a sanding and re-oiling it is good to go.
Size is 6feet (183cm)lo g x 49inch (125cm) x32 inch (82cm) high

Would suit a work bench as heavy duty legs
It is bolted with steel bolts so comes apart easily. £350 Ono
More details on Gumtree here

Collect Swansea centre. Contact me on 07973 298359 or to view

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

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Pitch your film in 10minutes Submit by: 28th May

10x10, the doc-in progress workshop for indie filmmakers, is back for 2014.

Screen up to 10 minutes of your non-fiction work-in-progress and receive 10 minutes of directed feedback from the discerning Doc/Fest audience. It might be a fundraising trailer, a key scene or excerpts from a rough cut; you might want feedback on character, story or approach.

Crucially, 10x10 is:
 - not a pitching forum, or a financing workshop 
- ALL about the filmmaking

Submit by: Wednesday 28th May 5pm
For full details on how to enter, please see here

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

Russell Brand aims to bring down Government on June 21st

Comedian and activist Russell Brand has announced he will speak out against spending cuts and austerity at a huge march being planned against the Coalition Government on 21 June.

Brand, famous for his “don’t vote” spat with Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman, has now thrown his weight behind the People’s Assembly Against Austerity – Britain’s fastest growing movement against cuts - saying he will speak at its first national demonstration in London.
And he has laid down a marker to Ministers and MPs, warning:
“The People's Assembly will bring down any government that doesn't end austerity.”
He will join tens of thousands of demonstrators who plan to start their march from outside the BBC headquarters in London in protest at the broadcaster’s lack of coverage of anti-austerity actions, nationally and regionally.

The protest then heads for Parliament Square, where Brand will join other speakers calling for millions to join people’s assemblies across Britain, and attacking what he condemns as the “toxic swindle” of austerity.

He will demand an alternative to the Coalition Government saying the people “can organise a fairer more just society than they can”. 

In a hard hitting statement announcing his plans to speak at the demonstration, he told his seven million Twitter followers, and Assembly activists:
“The People's Assembly will bring down any government that doesn't end austerity. Austerity means keeping all the money among people who have loads of it. This is the biggest problem we face today, all other problems radiate from this toxic swindle.
“We can organise a fairer, more just society than they can, these demonstrations are the start, it will be a right laugh.”

In a new move to keep the no cuts movement high on the agenda, the People’s Assembly is also holding a “Stand Up Against Austerity” comedy benefit night at the Hammersmith Apollo on July 7.
Tickets are already on sale for the gig featuring the country’s best and most influential comics including Jo Brand, Shappi Khorsandi, Francesca Martinez, Stewart Lee, Mark Steel, Jeremy Hardy, Jen Brister, Jason Manford, Marcus Brigstocke and Robin Ince.  
Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Arts sponsorship by OIl Corporatons?

This week, theatrical protest group the Reclaim Shakespeare Company invaded the British Museum and held a surprise performance challenging BP's sponsorship of the popular Vikings exhibition.

The performance aimed to point out the irony in the fact that an oil company accused of recklessly plundering natural resources is sponsoring an exhibition about some of history's most famous looters and pillagers. BP provides less than 1% of the museum's annual income but gets huge amounts of positive publicity in return, helping to hide its destructive extraction activities and its government lobbying against clean energy. The full story can be seen here:

Channel 4 News coverage of the action can be seen here:

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

I won another battle with YouTube

I won another battle with Youtube when they claimed one of our films was using a Hindi tune called Khalse Di Fateh (Vol.6) .

It was nothing like the tune (a Latin American Rap) used in our film 2012 The Mayan Word so after a few emails to and fro with Youtube, they quietly dropped their claims and re instated our film.

So it seems like Indian music companies trying a scam to get advert revenue. One to look out for. Watch the movie here

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

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Nigel Farrage was not a Punk

A photo bouncing around the social media shows UKIP fuckwit Nigel Farrage as a Punk in the 1980's. Unsurprisingly it is a fake but it has probably boosted his credibility amongst some of the simple minded folk we live amongst.

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

Saturday, April 19, 2014

J18- the work of an undercover cop

June 18 1999 and the Carnival Against Global Capitalism was a day which shut down the City of London by activists which later led to massive rioting. What is being exposed now is that at least one undercover police man organised it.

JSB5 is the code name for Police Officer Jim Boyling who spied on Reclaim The Streets.

Boyling's abandoned Car
Boyling (on left) organising the carnival with RTS- maps and J18 mask to the right can be seen

PC Jim Boyling
In interviews by academic Dr Missumi (not her real name), whilst researching the new forms of social movement tactics employed during J18, police and city authorities at times seem to contradict themselves about the intelligence received leading up to J18.

“We didn’t know where the demonstrators were going,” said Chief Superintendent Kevin Sapsford of the City of London Police1,” we knew the meeting place was going to be in Liverpool Street Station but from there we didn’t know what was going to happen with the crowds and therefore it was very difficult….They were a very well planned group and as part of that planning we subsequently found out that they were using masks on the day which had information printed on the back about who they should follow... We had an idea, well not an idea that’s the wrong term; it sounds very washy. We had information from the MET and from their websites and from sources of information that initially we thought they were going to try and go to one area and hold that area up. However we didn’t have the information because they kept it so close to them.”

Also interviewed for the PHD was Eddi Botham2 a City of London Police officer on the day he is now the security advisor for the corporation of London. During the interview he shows Dr Missumi a 2 hour long police training video made up of footage from various sources during J18, including Special Branch, Forward Intelligence Team, Police Helicopter and main stream media3. “There was lots and lots of conflicting intelligence reports coming in as to what would be targets, what wouldn’t be targets, “ he tells Missumi, “The police knew there would be vast numbers, far bigger than anything we’d had before”. Yet when images appear of the crowd invading the LIFFE he comments: “We knew they were going to attack the LIFFE building but we didn’t know it was going to be this violent, in all fairness.

The day’s timeline (as documented in the Carnival Against Global Capitalism: Internal examination of police operation, published on the 28rd July 1999) exposes the extremely slow reactions of the police on the day. At 1.40pm the first set of demonstrators arrives at the LIFFE and simultaneously two cars (one of them driven by JSB5) block the road outside the LIFFE (upper Thames Street). Whilst one of the entrances is walled up, at 3.30pm the other is breached by protesters who flood inside and try to get onto the trading floor. The police do not arrive on the scene until 4.15pm.

It seems extraordinary that the LIFFE had no police protection. The chief executive and chairman of the LIFFE made complaints following the day, about the failure to protect the building, and the police report acknowledges this: “The external picture is complex and includes high levels of recrimination and concern about perceived and real failures in police action…A great deal of the external recrimination is predicated on the belief that the police knew about the nature and scale of the violence and its predictable locations before the event. On that basis, there is dismay and anger about what the police did and did not do.”6

Leading up to J18, a booklet and web site explaining the working of the city complete with Map was produced by Reclaim the Streets7. The map listed numerous targets on it, including LIFFE. The police report mentions this map saying: “The existence of the list was carefully considered during the pre-event planning and a number of premises were identified as potentially being more attractive to demonstrators than others. It should be emphasised that the refined list of premises was arrived at by an intellectual exercise and that no information existed which might confirm or deny this thinking. “8

The police report continues: “At the time of reporting it is not known definitively who all the different organisers of the demonstration are…. Importantly no information existed to identify a) the ultimate focus of the demonstration b) the tactical plan(s) of the organisers c) that a violent criminal assault on premises (of the nature and scale of the assault on the LIFFE building) was planned or likely.”9

Two years earlier JSB was in the “logistics” group organising the break away Reclaim the Streets action during the March of Social Justice, co organised with the striking Liverpool Dockers. The plan was to leave the route of the march and squat the old empty department of Environment (Marsham Street) turning it into the “real department of environment”, a space for workshops, discussions, parties etc. On the day itself the building was surrounded by lines of riot police and the “logistics” group had to turn to plan b which of course we had not worked on! In the end an improvised street party took place in Trafalgar square, which ended in scuffles with riot police and evening headlines (provided by police press release) of rioters charged with “attempted murder” when a sound system tried to drive to the party through police lines (the charges were of course dropped) 10 It is now pretty clear where the leak came from. There seems to be no reason that JSB did not pass on information leading up to J18.

The concluding remark of the report is that the police must take “Action to regain the confidence of the business City.”11 One cannot help wonder how the City community would respond 13 years on from J18 knowing that a police officer was at the heart of planning of the action.

This leaves one to speculate as to why, given the intelligence, the police acted as they did. Was it because they needed to criminalise the growing movement with ‘violent’ images of property damage. To ban the demonstration or repress it might have backfired on them and strengthened the movement ? (following J18 the plan for “attrition of groups involved” included several fictional leaks to the press such as the City anarchists stockpile arms story in the Sunday times four months later.)

Was it because this was a new type of action and protest tactics they needed to observe rather than repress, to learn for public ordern policing in the future ? (one of the comments on the Police helicopter soundtrack suggests this 12)

Did the age old turf war and the relationship between the City of London police and the Met have anything to do with it? Roger Gomm (head of Public Order) says that during the day the relationship “was difficult and there were some issues.”13 The City of London Police and the Met have often been in competition, on J18 there were two command structures (City and Met) which was identified by Anthony Speed in his report as “unduly complicated.”14 One of the changes to public order policing implemented by the post J18 review was a single command structure known as BEMBO. “Where-as before you’d have this element of us and them,” Chief superintendent Kevin Sapford of the City of London police told Dr Missumi. “now it’s all controlled from one control room, everybody is on the same channel.”15 Did the Met somehow keep the intelligence about LIFFE to themselves so as to create a crisis which they knew might negatively affect the public image of the City Police and ultimately end their relative autonomy giving the Met more control ?

Whatever the reason JSB’s role in all this is definitely something that the Met want to distance themselves from and it feels crucial that this information is in the public domain before the CPS has time to set a case against him.

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