Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Illuminated- animation

Set in the not-too-distant future, planet Earth is being ravaged by rampant environmental change and collapsing economies, as widespread social movements triggered by online interaction are reshaping the face of world politics. Saturated by media, people have lost their ability to dream and plug into a sophisticated communication system each night called the DreamField, which gives them access to a virtual dream-state, networked with the rest of the world. Online, dreams have become just another kind of media, and a group of dreamstars have emerged as the culture's new celebrities. Coming from an established political family, Aya is one of the most popular dreamstars, and millions plug into her dreams every night to experience her adventures through a hyper-dimensional vide-game reality, live as they sleep.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What Would Jesus Buy? New Spurlock movie out

What Would Jesus Buy? follows Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir as they go on a cross-country mission to save Christmas from the Shopocalypse: the end of mankind from consumerism, over-consumption and the fires of eternal debt!

From producer Morgan Spurlock (SUPER SIZE ME) and director Rob VanAlkemade comes a serious docu-comedy about the commercialization of Christmas. Bill Talen (aka Reverend Billy) was a lost idealist who hitchhiked to New York City only to find that Times Square was becoming a mall. Spurred on by the loss of his neighborhood and inspired by the sidewalk preachers around him, Bill bought a collar to match his white caterer's jacket, bleached his hair and became the Reverend Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping. Since 1999, Reverend Billy has gone from being a lone preacher with a portable pulpit preaching on subways, to the leader of a congregation and a movement whose numbers are well into the thousands.
click here

Helen from undercurrents in Spain

Helen is filming a series about Surfing and climate change and is currently in Spain.

Environmental and Media Activist Helen la mano de la gente de artículo 20 fuimos afoRtunados de poder contar unas horas en asturias con Helen Iles y Anne Gallagher, que están haciendo un trabajo sobre surf y medio ambiente, en concreto sobre el cambio climático que se llama On the Push y que se emite a traves de pequeños podcasts a traves de la pagina pagina que de todas formas os recomiendo. Otro día os contaré más de lo que hacen, y de cosas que me conto Tony Butt que podemos hacer tu y yo simples sufers de a pie para poner nuestro granito de arena medioambiental.

Internet Telly

IPTV: The Facts

The following brief article answers some of the key questions readers may have about the IPTV market and technologies.

What is IPTV?

IPTV is about providing high-quality multi-channel television and streamed/downloadable video, all delivered via the web's IP protocols and displayed on the TV set in your living room.

IPTV is currently provided by telcos around the world. Homechoice provide limited services currently in the London area, and BT and Sky are rolling out services in ‘06 The experience is delivered via broadband to your TV (not your PC) via a set-top box in the home. Crucially it’s "lean back" not "lean forward " technology.

Research suggests that although there are barely 2.5 million IPTV subscribers globally today, there will be around 25 million by 2010. China is the leading candidate for IPTV growth (4.9 million subscribers), followed by the US (3.4 million), France (2.5 million), Germany (2 million), Italy (1.6 million), the UK (1.5 million) and Spain (777,000).

The ability to pipe TV content over broadband has the potential to turn the broadcasting, film, advertising, telecoms and cable industries upside down. It’s extremely disruptive technology.

What's the technology involved?

MPEG-2 is the most widely supported video codec in the TV industry, but it isn't the most efficient for IPTV.
The services running today have proved that MPEG-2 can be delivered over broadband. Some future providers will deliver the service over MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) or Microsoft's Windows Media Video 9 codec.

These dramatically reduce the bandwidth requirements, enabling IPTV systems to carry more standard definition channels or potentially HDTV programming in the future.

This service is delivered to the home across broadband to a set top box and the TV services are accessed via the TV itself, not a PC Your TV screen acts as a web browser and programmes are searched by customised guides containing video search abilities.

Why is IPTV happening now?

Technology changes: There's nothing new about the concept of Internet Protocol Television but early examples have been a poor experience, and downloading content has just taken too long. Bandwidth and the cost of servers conspired to limit the growth of IPTV.

That's now no longer the case, thanks to rising broadband speeds and more efficient compression. Faster broadband is key.

Business imperatives: The other key element is that the telcos are rapidly losing voice revenues to their cable competitors. As this revenue goes into sharp decline, the telcos must do something new to improve their offering and drive more revenues.

Getting into video delivery for them is not a choice; it’s an economic necessity. Some predict that it’s too much of a gamble for a telco to become a broadcaster, deliver consistent high premium content to TV’s and oust the likes of providers Sky from the home. Why would you switch your TV service if you were already happy with what you had?

How can IPTV compete with existing TV services?

Telcos will compete on:

Price: Get your telephone, data and video (called a "Triple Play") for a monthly cost via your telco that undercuts your combined costs of getting those services delivered in other ways.

Exclusivity of content: expect BT to become a bidder for premium content viewers will pay for, like football and films.

The return path: watching TV on an IP connected service allows for the delivery of a wide range of extra services from targeted ads to interactive options.

Niche content: An IPTV supplier can push out multiple new channels across their existing bandwidth relatively easily. It’s very possible that niche viewers drawn in to watch sand boarding or basket weaving will stay for other services, and consumers are all increasingly becoming niche viewers.

Where is IPTV being deployed?

IPTV is happening now. There are multiple deployments across the world, but all are currently operating with relatively low numbers of subscribers. Those already up and running with first-generation IPTV services include

Fastweb in Italy

HomeChoice in the U.K.

MaLigne and Free in France

Telefonica in Spain

Chunghwa Telecom in Taiwan

PCCW Ltd. in Hong Kong

Softbank/Yahoo BB in Japan

There are numerous smaller roll-outs across the US.

Huge US telco incumbents AT&T and Verizon are making vast investments into IPTV services. AT&T hopes to have 18 million homes hooked up to its service (project 'Lightspeed') by 2007. They are investing $4 billion into the project.

BT and Sky in the UK will launch IPTV services in 2006.

Homechoice already operate in the London area.

What’s going on in the market right now?

Microsoft sits squarely in the midst of the IPTV market. They are now positioned to serve theoretically 26 percent of the world's fixed-access phone subscribers with their own IPTV platform. Eleven operators around the world have signed up for Microsoft's early adopter program.

They include British Telecom, Swisscom, SBC, Verizon, T-Online in France, Telecom Italia, Bell Canada, Bell South and India's Reliance Infocomm. But some projects are already reporting slips in timescales.

A key alignment in the UK recently has been Sky’s purchase of Easynet, heralding Sky’s entry into IP delivered video services. Meanwhile, BT Entertainment is planning to roll-out IPTV services next year, and is already under intense media scrutiny.

Conventional UK broadcasters have been quick to spot the new opportunities that broadband TV can deliver. The BBC has been running the second of its Interactive Media Player trials (iMP), enabling users to download TV and radio shows after broadcast; ITV too has taken the broadband TV plunge - its pilot service includes local news and weather, an entertainment guide and community video.

What are the problems with IPTV?

Technology suppliers are still struggling to find sizeable commercial deployments to which they can sell their products in volume.

The IPTV market is geographically fragmented by deployment type (cable, satellite or terrestrial) and by regional differences in digital-TV requirements.

Standard-definition TV may be good enough for an IPTV rollout in some regions, for example, others call for high-definition TV. Available bandwidth and data rates also vary among DSL infrastructures.

There's no standardisation among requirements for conditional access and digital-rights management. Government regulatory issues will figure highly in the success or failure of IPTV in key regions such as China and the US.

The scalability and management of content, billing and customer systems are also of concern. High support costs will immediately kill off revenues and customer interest . IPTV design requirements are fragmented

How will IPTV shape the future?

IPTV services are likely to complement rather than replace today's TV delivery. What it will do is cause TV viewing to fragment even further. It will also start to effect release windows for feature films; when does the Internet release start to become more profitable than the DVD, and how does that model start to stack up?

An interesting conundrum is also advertising space. IPTV will start to break down the traditional 30 second TV spot, and fragmented viewing where consumers do not have to choose to watch advertising will create challenges for brands and agencies alike.

The only general consensus seems to be that this is disruptive technology, and that interesting times lie ahead, as a wide range of industries are changed and evolved further by the capabilities of the Internet.

by Gael McLaughlin, Editor, ipTV News

Monday, December 10, 2007

Fashion politics show

07: CALL FOR FILM SUBMISSIONS - Political Fashion Film

From: SHOW studio

Member Name:



Photographer Nick Knight has conceived of a multi-level project that
encourages creatives to use the medium of fashion to convey their
political beliefs, agendas and thoughts. Already Launched, the first stage
of 'Political Fashion Films' invites you to submit a film of between 30
seconds and 3 minutes that articulates some kind of political point -be it
an ideological platitude or a petty grudge- using fashion.
Your films will also be broadcast on the SHOWstudio website, with the
project concluding with an exclusive screening event to be held in London
during Spring 2008

The films will be screened on the widely viewed and
contributors also gain the chance to have their films screened at an
exclusive screening in London along side our guest contributors like Mike
Figgis, Nick Knight and Viktor & Rolf to name a few.

Please see for
submission guide lines and a detailed project brief and deadline.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

ITV wales news report- Undercurrents images used

Undercurrents reported from a protest against the planned second largest open cast mine in Europe.Our images were used in BBC and ITV reports.
Watch the report here

I filmed on my new JVC HD100 camera and Hamish with the smaller Sony HC7.
Climate campaigners from all over Wales (2) joined with local people from Merthyr Tydfil to evade police and security before taking over the 1,000 acre site on a hilltop near Cardiff. They have chained themselves to bulldozers and other heavy machinery to prevent work on the mine and have unfurled large banners. They’ve pledged to prevent work on the site for as long as they can by climbing onto, and chaining themselves to the 1,300 horsepower yellow diggers. The leading environmentalist and author, George Monbiot, is amongst their ranks.

Climate Protestor, Tim Helweg-Larsen, from Machnynlleth, said:

“Gordon Brown’s officials this week jet off to Bali for UN talks on cutting carbon emissions but at home they’re trying to drag us into a new coal age.”

He added:

“Coal is the filthiest fuel known to man and projects like this mine could destroy all our chances of tackling global warming. The battle over this hilltop in Wales is a fight for the stability of the global climate and it epitomises this government’s hypocrisy on climate change.” (3)

Merthyr resident, Leon Stanfield, explained:

“We’ve protested this mine in all the conventional ways. Now we’re turning to direct action as a last resort. This project is wrecking both the local and the global environment and is putting the health of our community and its children at risk.”

Over 10,000 local people petitioned against the pit.


(1) Background about the mine is here:
Miller Argent is the consortium digging this pit. They are mining for 11 million tonnes of coal from the site. When this is burned, it will emit more than 30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. The edge of the mine pit will be just 36 metres from people’s homes.

(2) Activists are from the group who organised the Camp for Climate Action outside Heathrow during the summer.

(3) The government has convened a UK coal forum to “bring forward ways of strengthening the industry, and working to ensure the UK has the right framework to secure the long term future of coal fired generation.” (page8)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Spy in the peace movement

Undercurrents revealed about Paul Mercer being a spy in the peace activists movement. Now Mark Thomas (comedian)reveals that his close friend is also a spy. Sad but true.

Martin and me
In 2003, BAE Systems - Europe's largest arms company - was accused of spying on a small group of peace campaigners. Mark Thomas refused to believe that his trusted friend and fellow activist Martin Hogbin could possibly have any involvement in the story. But then the doubts began to set in ...

Tuesday December 4, 2007
The Guardian

If I were to count the cuts that killed my friendship with a man called Martin Hogbin then the thousandth came within a solitary line of a legal document. This document, dated October 2007, had a dull, dry title: "A Consent Order". And when I read it, years of trust and love slipped away.

But first I had better go back to the beginning.

A sizeable chunk of my work, be it writing, performing or making TV shows, has been about the arms trade, and I met Martin shortly after he joined the peace group I was involved with, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT). Martin was 45 when he joined CAAT as a volunteer in 1997; in 2000, he became a member of staff as the group's national campaign and events coordinator.

Article continues
We hit it off: Martin was a breath of fresh air in a world that can sometimes become a tad pious and self-congratulatory. Unlike the mass of anti-arms-trade activists, he played golf and wore Pringle sweaters - you don't tend to see many Pringle sweaters on protests against international merchants of death.

I wasn't the only one to like and trust him, and to be impressed by his work. One of those close to Martin was Steve, who says now that, "for the younger activists, Martin was like a father figure". Martin always seemed to be the last one to leave the police station if a protester was arrested. He always made sure they got home safely - and normally with a drink inside them. He was rude, warm and had a wonderful sense of mischief. He would often come along to my live stand-up shows to help run the stalls, handing out leaflets and flogging books. I would sometimes even refer to him in the shows.

This is one of the stories I told about him. I phoned him one morning to hear his Kent twang bark: "Can't talk, I'm chained to a petrol pump!"


"Protest to shut down Esso stations!" he replied.

Whether the cause was climate change or Iraq mattered less than the vision of his ruddy frame strapped to a pump.

"What have the cops done?" I giggled.

"Two of them came over and asked us how long we would be here. I said probably all day. They said, 'All right then, as long as you don't do anything illegal, we'll leave you to it,' and then fucked off!"

"Bloody hell, mate! They could have had you on aggravated trespass."

"I know, I know, but I thought if they weren't going to say anything, neither was I!"

There was a pause before he continued in a matter-of-fact tone: "They did get a bit narky when I tried to light a fag."

Above all else, Martin would always turn up and lend a hand. He seemed to be everywhere: getting kicked out of a company annual general meeting, helping to run a mock fire sale of the Iraqi national bank in the City, dressed as a devil on May Day or organising press conferences at the start of the London Arms Fair. We were friends; I knew his family. He became an integral part of my life.

Then, in September 2003, the Sunday Times exposed a "spy network" run by a woman called Evelyn Le Chêne on behalf of BAE Systems, the giant, multinational arms manufacturer. The story claimed that Le Chêne had a database of more than 148,000 names and addresses of activists, peace campaigners, environmentalists and union members, and that she was running spies who posed as activists to obtain confidential information from pressure groups. According to the story, reports on CAAT were at one point being sent daily to BAE's security group from within the organisation.

Martin phoned that morning: "Fucking hell! Have you seen the papers? There's a spy! Who do you reckon it is?"

"I've got no idea, mate, no idea," I replied.

A week later, however, Martin was suspended from CAAT. An inspection of his computer by staff at the CAAT office had shown he had forwarded emails to a strange email address that no one recognised, with no surname or company name, and he had fallen under suspicion.

His closest friends were furious: not at Martin, but at CAAT. "How could they get it so wrong?" we thought. "How could they think Martin was a spy? Martin is our mate and a great campaigner."

But amid the bar-room bluster lurked a few tiny doubts. I phoned Martin during the first days of the furore.

"You have got to take legal action," I said. "You have been slandered. Take them on."

"Nah, fuck 'em," he rasped back.

"You have to, Martin. Is it the money? We can do benefits - we can raise the money." I wanted him to fight, to prove them wrong.

"Nah, it ain't worth it, if that's what they want to believe, there's nothing I can do about it. Fuck 'em."

I couldn't understand why he didn't want to fight the allegations. Later, in the same phone call, I asked him directly.

"Martin, did you do it?"

"Fuck off! Course I didn't."

"I have to ask, you understand."

"Yeah, yeah, I know."

I took his word for it. Martin had said the accusations were bollocks, so even to look at the file of evidence people said they had on him would be to suspect a friend and that would be an act of treachery on my part. For more than a year, in fact, I defended him and once again, when it was time to tour with my stand-up show, Martin came along. Touring the country, sharing hotel rooms and kipping on the floor in a sleeping bag, Martin helped raise thousands of pounds that funded anti-arms-trade groups and trade unionists visits to Colombia.

But still I had doubts. There were the logical worries, such as: why had he not gone to the CAAT inquiry to clear his name? And there were the instinctive: had his voice sounded weird when he asked: "Who do you reckon it is then?"

The questions never left me. So in 2005 I climbed the narrow stairs to an empty room at the top of CAAT offices in London and sat alone at a wooden table reading the confidential and internal emails Martin had forwarded to a mystery address while working at CAAT. He had always admitted forwarding them, insisting they were to go to an ex-CAAT volunteer. How had they been sent to this mystery address, then - an address unrelated to the ex-volunteer?

Martin has said it was by mistake. But when I looked at the file, I wondered how anyone could make this many "mistakes". I was shaking my head - I don't know if it was an attempt to clear it or a register of disbelief. There were hundreds of emails sent "by mistake". And slowly I became aware that I actually wanted to vomit with the fear that my friend might be a spy.

Shortly afterwards, CAAT revealed that the government's independent information commissioner, Richard Thomas, had investigated the case and found that "a former member" had been forwarding information to an email at a company with links to Le Chêne. He refused to name Martin, stating there was insufficient evidence to do so.

Then last year, CAAT - alongside the environmental and human rights NGO, the Corner House - opted to bring a judicial review of the Serious Fraud Office's decision to drop the investigation into the allegations of bribery between BAE Systems and Saudi Arabia. A month later, in January this year and out of the blue, BAE Systems lawyers contacted CAAT's lawyers and said words to the effect of: "Terribly sorry, old bean, but we appear to have your confidential legal strategy for the judicial review." For non-legal laymen, having possession of the other side's legal work is considered exceptionally bad form, akin to a doctor groping a patient. It's the kind of thing that can get lawyers kicked out of their profession.

The peaceniks at CAAT, not unreasonably, wanted to know how a multinational arms dealer had come by their confidential documents. The company refused to tell them. So CAAT took BAE Systems to court, and there the company was forced to admit that the document had been sent to them, unsolicited, by Paul Mercer, whose company, LigneDeux Associates, was paid by BAE Systems to provide "media and internet monitoring" on CAAT. In essence, they admitted that they had been paying for CAAT to be spied on - an extraordinary admission. Normally, campaigners' tales of being infiltrated by corporations are seen as the imaginings of paranoid conspiracy theorists. The company's admission has changed that. (Mercer claims CAAT's confidential documents were sent to him anonymously in a brown paper envelope. CAAT are continuing legal proceedings against him.)

What makes this even more unprecedented, though, is the company's legal promise not to spy on CAAT in the future. BAE Systems has undertaken "not to intercept by any unlawful means ... [and] not to solicit, voluntarily receive or procure any confidential communication or document" belonging to CAAT. The big picture is that a multimillion-pound arms firm has been humiliated, it has been caught and forced to admit to paying for spying on a peace group comprised primarily of students and Quakers, and has promised not to do it again.

And in the corner of the big picture is my friendship with Martin. Amid all the legalese, in that document marked "A Consent Order", BAE Systems admitted to hiring two people in particular, Paul Mercer and Evelyn Le Chêne. Those were the three words, the name "Evelyn Le Chêne" - they were the 1,000th cut. Le Chêne was a spy organiser living in Kent. Martin Hogbin, my trusted friend, was passing information "by mistake" to a company linked to her. Those were the facts.

Now, four years after the allegations against Martin emerged, I stand on the platform at Paddock Wood waiting for the Maidstone connection. I am heading to Martin's home. I want him to tell me the truth.

Some CAAT supporters believe Martin joined the group with the aim, right from the start, of passing on information - a view I find strangely comforting. This interpretation of events means he befriended us to do his job, and get information, ergo there was no betrayal, as there was no real friendship. But life is messier than that. "It's not black and white, Mark," says Em. She has been one of the key organisers for the protests and direct action against the arms fair in London; Martin Hogbin is the godfather of her son. "I have not spoken to him in nearly two years," she says. "But whatever happened, there were moments in our friendship that are genuine."

Another activist, Gideon, was particularly good friends with Hogbin. In 1999, they spent an afternoon in the Houses of Parliament "dungeon" after they hurled photocopied money covered in fake blood at MPs from the public gallery. "To this day I would still call him a mate," says Gideon, even though he too suspects Martin. "I don't think he did it out of sympathy to the arms dealers," he says. "Maybe it was power."

As I stand in front of Martin's front door, I realise I am scared. Not of the truth, but scared he will open the door and I'll see him as a friend again. I'm scared I'll let him off the hook. I want to ask, if he was a spy, how much we were worth? How much did he get paid for us? I want to know if it was ideological or if it was about the money, or just the thrill of betrayal? Waiting on the concrete patch by his front door, I run through the questions one more time, determined rational fact should triumph over latent affection.

Martin's wife opens the door. "Mark!" she blurts out. "Come in, come in."

"Is Martin in?" I struggle to keep it business-like.

"No, he is at work. Come on in."

There is barely room for us to keep a proper distance as we stand facing each other.

"I'm writing about Martin," I say. "He needs to read this letter." I hand her my letter, in which I outline what I'm going to say about him in this article and ask him to respond. She looks pained, as if expecting the worst.

"I wish this was under different circumstances. I really don't want to drag you into this," I say.

Her hands are held up to her neck, and in a torn voice she exclaims, "I can't say anything, Mark, I daren't say anything."

Awkward and incapable of offering comfort, I say: "How is he?"

"Not good," she says. "He lost all his friends, you, everyone ... We have to make ends meet. You can see ..." She gestures around the tiny house.

If Martin was a spy, his circumstances suggest he got considerably less than 30 pieces of silver. Maybe he is just another victim of the arms trade.

Six days later I get a text from Martin. He accuses me of threatening his wife and then says: "I hope and wish all my old friends health, success and happiness. I miss you all and cherish our achievements and time together. Please do not try to continue to contact me."

And with that text the tale comes to an abrupt end. Martin is the only person who can tell me what he did, if anything, and why, but he doesn't want to talk. I suspect he was a spy and until he decides to speak I can never know the truth about that, or about our relationship. But sometimes when a memory of him emerges unheeded or I catch a glimpse of him in an old photo, I remember that once upon a time a man called Martin Hogbin was my friend ... then I shake my head and get back to work.

The gnat and the elephant
How a tiny peace group irritated Europe's biggest arms company

It seems curious that BAE Systems, Europe's biggest arms company with sales of £13bn a year, should have felt the need to spy on the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), a small peace group with a budget of less of £250,000 a year. BAE Systems (formerly British Aerospace) is enormously influential within the highest reaches of government; so much so that Robin Cook, the former foreign secretary, once said he never knew Downing Street make any decision that displeased BAE.

CAAT, meanwhile - with its seven paid staff and a limited number of activists - does its best to influence those in power by organising demonstrations and vigils outside the offices of government departments and arms companies. If one is an elephant, the other is a gnat.

But it would appear that gnats can irritate elephants, because in 2003 it was alleged that BAE Systems was paying out £120,000 a year to spy on the peace group. The alleged spy organiser, a woman in her 60s called Evelyn Le Chêne, was understood to have been hired in the mid-1990s, when CAAT was intensifying its campaign against BAE's plans to sell Hawk fighter jets to the repressive regime in Indonesia.

As well as demonstrations, CAAT was writing letters to ministers and MPs, and it was alleged that Le Chêne obtained copies of some of these letters from inside CAAT and passed them to BAE Systems. Her reports were also alleged to contain details of how the activists were seeking to recruit celebrities such as Helen Mirren to their cause.

BAE Systems has in the past refused to comment on the allegations, but it has made clear that it considers anti-arms trade groups such as CAAT a "threat to the company's security". In a recent court document, Mike McGinty, BAE's security director, said: "Some of these groups have, as a result of direct action, caused significant damage to the company's property, put the employees of the company in fear and at risk and disrupted the company's business."

He cited, as examples, activists who caused £1.5m of damage to a warplane and the occupation of an airfield by 60 protestors, which forced it to be closed for a day.
Rob Evans

· Mark Thomas performs More Adventures in Serious Organised Crime at The Venue, Leicester Square, London WC2 until December 15 (except December 9). Go to or call 0870 264 3333. For more information on Thomas's work, go to

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

VisionOn TV- Trailer

See the future of real news ,inspiring podcasts, and informative stories. VisionOn Tv is your way into the counter culture. Download our VisionOn Tv video player and access thousands of great films and podcasts.  

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Century of the self

How Sig Freud created the mindset of todays society. Stunning series about this legacy.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Daft laws of Uk

Recently the UK's top 10 most ridiculous British laws were listed as:

# 1. It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament (27%)

# 2. It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British king or queen's image upside-down (7%)

# 3. It is illegal for a woman to be topless in Liverpool except as a clerk in a tropical fish store (6%)

# 4. Eating mince pies on Christmas Day is banned (5%)

# 5. If someone knocks on your door in Scotland and requires the use of your toilet, you are required to let them enter (4%)

# 6. In the UK a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants, including in a policeman's helmet (4%)

# 7. The head of any dead whale found on the British coast automatically becomes the property of the King, and the tail of the Queen (3.5%)

# 8. It is illegal not to tell the tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to tell him information you do not mind him knowing (3%)

# 9. It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armour (3%)

# 10. It is legal to murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls of York, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow (2%)

False teeth

Other bizarre foreign laws voted by those polled included:

# In Ohio, it is illegal to get a fish drunk (9%)

# In Indonesia, the penalty for masturbation is decapitation (8%)

# A male doctor in Bahrain can only examine the genitals of a woman in the reflection of a mirror (7%)

# In Switzerland, a man may not relieve himself standing up after 10pm (6%)

# It is illegal to be blindfolded while driving a vehicle in Alabama (6%)

# In Florida, unmarried women who parachute on a Sunday could be jailed (6%)

# Women in Vermont must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth (6%)

# In Milan, it is a legal requirement to smile at all times, except during funerals or hospital visits (5%)

# In France, it is illegal to name a pig Napoleon (4%)

Monday, November 05, 2007

8th annual BEYONDTV International Video Festival 2007

Come to our Film Festival - December 1 and 2nd

What is BeyondTV?
Undercurrents present a full programme of short movies, documentaries, music videos & animation from inspiring media producers.
All films will have a theme of social or environmental activism. Hosted in the very heart of Swansea, BeyondTV promises to be an entertaining week with all proceeds going to to support the charity work of undercurrents.

Where is BeyondTv being held?
Taliesen Cinema, Swansea, Wales, SA2 8PZ.
Monkey Cafe , SA1 1JF. opposite Swansea castle for the BeyondTv party.
Dylan Thomas Centre SA1 1RR. Swansea Marina

What's can I expect to see & hear ?
Inspiring media workshops, superb home grown & global films, great music, comedians, food & drink a plenty.

What are the themes for submissions?
The theme of your subvert, animation or documentary should be social or environmental action. No dramas using actors will be chosen.

When can I go Beyond TV?
We begin Wednesday November 28th and the main festival day is Saturday December 1 with final screening on Sunday December 2nd

Where do I get a ticket?
Details to come

Staying in Swansea
Swansea has a large number of B+B's and Hotels in the town centre and along the seafront.

BeyondTv is supported by Arts Council of Wales

BeyondTV 2007 will take place at theTalisen Cinema, Swansea, Wales. Safe bicycle & car parking available. Disabled friendly. Hot food will be available.

Transport to venue
*Trains run to Swansea train station Train timetable 08457 484950
*Motoring From the M4, follow signs into Swansea city centre until you see a glass Pyarmid in front of you, cross the bridge bear left, past Sainsbury's & follow sealine to Swanse University.Easy.
*Bicycle - lots of safe cycle lock up space
*Megabus- Very cheap tickets to Cardiff from around UK & then a local bus to Swansea

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lights out all over UK

31st October 2007
4pm to 5pm


On the evening of Wednesday 31st October 2007, all over Britain,
offices, shops, public buildings and homes are being asked to turn off
the lights for one precious hour of Climate Calm between 4pm and 5pm.

We hope that people will be playful, but stay safe, during BLACKOUT

Turn off the burn : switch off and unplug things you don't need for an

A Big Switch Off is a beacon of hope.

It's going to be a great collective moment of action on energy, and we
hope everyone can make a contribution. We are all connected together by
the electricity supply, the National Grid, and so its highly symbolic to
turn out the lights. Let's work together on energy waste !

We're not going to get dogmatic or nag, but to those Energy Wasters who
won't join in we say : 'What a waste of energy !'

Responding to Climate Change starts with thinking about the way we use
energy, and we hope that this Lights Out moment will help people to
think about the ways in which they can save energy.

Saving energy is so much cheaper than providing more energy as demand
goes up. We are constructing more clean energy systems, but it is taking
time and money to get this done. Energy conservation is still a very
good idea, that we need to put into practice.

BLACKOUT BRITAIN is not only about individual actions. We also want to
encourage people to think about ways in which their employers and Local
Authorities can save energy.

We also want people to show their support for sensible, practical
policies on the use of Carbon Energy in Britain, by getting involved in
the democratic processes of change.

Climate Change is a serious issue, and some people find it frightening
and depressing. This 31st October, we hope to dispel the inner gloom and
doom, whilst cutting our dependency on Carbon Energy.

For those people who feel unsafe to turn the lights out and unplug
equipment, you can do other things that are equally important.

For the average person, transport energy makes up a third of their use,
and heating energy makes up another third. So travelling less on 31st
October and using less heating and hot water is just as good as turning
the lights out.

And while you're not burning fuel, you don't need to sit alone in the
dark and do nothing. You can be doing other enjoyable things instead.

There are many fun and Carbon-free ways to enjoy the Feast of Playful
Darkness. Here are some of the things that our supporters are planning.
Feel free to join in or do your own thing. And do let us know what
you're up to :-

3 Minute Wonders Adventures in Recycling!

Watch the winning Three Minute Wonders Adventures in Recycling!

Back in March 2007 BRITDOC ran a competition for aspiring filmmakers to direct a "Three Minute Wonder" for Channel 4 on the subject of recycling.

Out of over 300 entries, 4 filmmakers were chosen, who used a range of
storytelling skills, from animation to archive to observational
documentary, to tell 4 very different recycling stories. Three of the
winning films were made by Shooters.

You can now watch the winning films on YouTube, visit'

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism"

Talk by Naomi Klein author of "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" given September 27, 2007 at Town Hall Seattle.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Viro Pop- excellent eco news Podcast

New Film from Big Noise Films

Big Noise will present previously unreleased video about military resistance to the Iraq war followed by a moderated teleconference in which students have the rare opportunity to speak directly with Ryan Johnson and Chris Teske - two former US soldiers who fled to Canada with their families. Ryan and Chris face long prison sentences if they return to the United States. DESERTER brings them home virtually to explain to the country they left behind their reasons for leaving.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pirate bay seeks island

The Pirate Bay is a website which gives access to copyrighted works such as hollywood movies. They have challenged the world ad won in many they search for their own island!

by Paul Glazowski on October 12, 2007
The Pirate Bay is continuing its search for an island to call its own. You have to hand it to brokep and the rest of the guys.

This is the team behind the most brazen (and arguably most chivalrous) anti-Big-Media effort known and celebrated by millions upon millions across the seven seas.

Not content with juggling raids, location shifts, development plans, and lots else, it is using what little free time it has to converse about such delicious things as its plans to continue searching for a solitary spot that it can call its own. With the help of a good sum of donations, of course.

Sealand Was A No Go

The Pirate Bay’s island shopping adventure seemed to come to a halt earlier this year when, upon inquiring about the possibility of the purchase of a purportedly sovereign piece of faux earth (if you can even call two pylons and a platform “earthly”), called Sealand, was met with staunch opposition by its proprietor(s).

And too bad, because those who had given funds to help pay for the “micro-nation” were promised automatic citizenship and the designation of “nobleman” or “noblewoman”.

Fortunately, however, those invested in the halted sale aren’t going to be seeing their green go to waste, promises brokep. TorrentFreak reports the man as saying: “The money will be spent on an island, but first…we need to focus on the upcoming court cases we have.”

Legal Cases To Win First

The Pirate Bay is currently pitted against the Swedish police, who, despite investigating the website for more than a year’s time, have only managed to keep hold of servers confiscated in a past raid; and they’ve also taken it upon themselves to pin just shy of a dozen media companies with the “attempted sabotage” of its trackers.

Clearly, brokep and clan have quite a bit on their plate right now, and it’s certainly worth getting to the conclusion of its bouts with Swedish authorities and Big Media before they resume their search for solitary bliss.

If all goes as is (supposedly) planned, the hunt for an isle of its own will be launched once again - in the foreseeable future. Apparently TPB is “on top of things, time-wise.”

I suppose it’s worth taking them at their word, too. After all, they are quite transparent for a rebel group, yes? That’s more than can be said of the forces they currently contest.

Paul Glazowski is a contributing author discussing the social networking world, his work can be found on

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Surveillance system tracks faces on CCTV

Substitute the word Terrorist for protester and we can imagine what the state wants to monitor demonstrations.

British researchers say they have developed a new technology that will allow police to track suspicious individuals over CCTV more efficiently.

The system, which uses computer software to monitor and break down live television images, is able to track a moving face through a crowd.

Engineers at British defence company BAE Systems, which is working on the technology, claim it is even able to automatically follow a target even if they change their appearance by changing their clothes or hiding beneath a hat.

"Today the effectiveness of CCTV surveillance relies on a small, highly-trained team to identify and track suspicious individuals," said Andrew Cooke, project manager at BAE Systems.

"Automating elements of the system - and employing techniques to prevent suspects from throwing a team off their scent – enables a single operative to track multiple targets with as much, or even greater, precision than before."

The Integrated Surveillance of Crowded Areas for Public Security (Iscaps) project is part of a joint initiative with around Europe to develop security systems for potential deployment around the continent.

The scheme, which is partially funded by the European Commission, started just months before the London bombings in July 2005, which claimed 56 lives. CCTV pictures were crucial in identifying the bombers after the attack had taken place, but proved little help in preventing the actions of the bombers.

A Home Office study in 2005 found that CCTV was largely ineffective at preventing crime, but claimed much of the problems were due to lack of proper monitoring. Only half of surveillance control rooms were staffed for 24 hours a day.

The development comes as law enforcement officials step up their attempts to keep tabs on those suspected of terrorist offences.

The Guardian recently reported that intelligence agencies were using military aircraft to monitor targets and eavesdrop on their conversations. The Britten-Norman Islander aircraft, used by police to trace criminals targets from altitude, are now understood to being deployed in counter-terrorist operations under the command of RAF pilots.

Crystal singing bowl

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Adverts in online videos

We at undercurrents have been trying to work out a way of funding activists to produce videos and ethical adverts is one possibility. Google announced the inevitable recently- the addition of embedded video advertisements to YouTube.

Appropriately called InVideo ads, these will start to appear more and more in any videos you watch from now on.

The blogosphere has mixed results about the new feature; publishers are eager to make money off of their video offerings and users want a clean, uninterrupted experience.

Fortunately YouTube has decided against pre or post-roll ads citing evidence that viewers just don’t respond. Instead, as the name implies, the ads pop up in-video and only take up the bottom 20% of the player screen.

Clicking on the ad will pause the video and open another mini video player inside the one you are watching. Ad metrics are based on the percentage of the ad you get through and if you should leave within the first 15 seconds that doesn’t count as an impression.

There is already a Firefox extension called TubeStop to stop YouTube ads from even showing up, protecting the users patience as they take in all that YouTube has to offer.

There is only a certain amount of aggravation one can take in regards to advertising and InVideo ads certainly cross that threshold. This is why the YouTube ad experiment will ultimately be a failure

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Manufacturing Dissent

Star rating - (2)
Two Canadian documentarians chose the director of 'Farenheit 911' and 'Sicko' as their latest subject. ‘Manufacturing Dissent’ sets out to uncover the real Michael Moore by interviewing his critics, friends and former work colleagues. They find the obese political movie maker to be "a bit megalomaniacal at times, with a paranoid tinge." Rick Caine & Debbie Melnyk, both progressive liberals, have spent the summer promoting 'Manufacturing Dissent’ on Fox Tv and other right wing media across the USA. Their documentary is basically a Michael Moore style film about Michael Moore himself, as the obese movie maker spent months dodging requests to do a formal interview.

Intertwined amongst Caine & Melnyk being turfed out of Moores workshops or being stonewalled by his minders, the film makers highlight how Moore manipulated some scenes in his movies to create a more dramatic impact. In his defence however, by slightly altering reality, Moore has been highly successful in widening the appeal of documentaries to the wider public. Do the ends justify the means is the question the film makers failed to even contemplate let alone explore during their mission to '"separate fact, fiction and legend". The irony seems to be lost on them that by producing the largest grossing documentaries of all time, Moore has paved the way for 'Manufacturinthg Dissent' to be even considered by a distributor.

Manufacturing Dissent’ comes across as downright petty at times - Moore didn't pay his bills. He couldn't be trusted. He was mean to old men, He got rich. He got famous and so on. The movie digs up the (now very dated news) about Moore changing the chronology of some events portrayed in his movies. Now we learn that he has slightly embellished his personal history and are supposed to be shocked to learn that he actually enjoys his new celebratory lifestyle. But every cloud and all that. The success of Moores films has kick-started the Republicans documentary making business, even if mostly to rant against Moores view of the Iraq invasion and the Bush presidency. By the second half of the film the endless nit picking from some of the interviewees becomes sheer nonsense. We are expected to agree that Moore was mentally unhinged because he didn't agree with a chat show host comments that his first dramatic film, 'Canadian Bacon 'wasn't very good'.

The filmmakers go on to score an own goal by using the exact same techniques they criticise Moore for. Changing chronological details, faking events, and putting themselves in front of the camera to gatecrash events. The difference being of course- a fat campaigner in a baseball cap trying to bring down a President is much more entertaining than two middle class progressive liberals seeking 'truth'.

"Manufacturing Dissent" does provoke questions about why political documentaries are produced? Are they to entertain cola swiling audiences? To bolster the morale of campaigners? Produce a particular social change? or to enhance the film makers ego? These are the questions well worth exploring but sadly not none are answered in this movie.

Manufacturing Dissent is released on DVD on October 22nd

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Only Clown in the Village

Britains only Asian clown goes to Sri Lanka aiming to help children recover from the boxing day Tsunami and decades of civil war. Kingsley Perera, whose clown name is Theeeko, goes on a physical, emotional and spiritual journey across the tropical island. But can a Welsh clown with a conscience really make a difference?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Broad Horizons (Show 2)

A show about inspiring women. This second show meets Melissa Gunasena, director of Evolving Minds. The film offers a fresh and radical perspective on alternatives to the mental health system. Presenting clear information in a humorous style Evolving Minds covers diverse topics such as shamanism, nutrition, psychotherapy, meditation and protest against draconian mental health legislation.

Broah Horizons (Show 01)

Women discuss female animators, video activism and the making of an advert fro menstrual blood.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


hamish from undercurrents discusses mainstream media reporting at the climate camp Heathrow.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Wood rhyme

properties of firewood


When fully seasoned, it may burn quickly, but gives off relatively little heat. It is a firewod with a sluggish feel to it. Nevertheless it makes an excellent, steady burning charcoal.

Apple wood is really too good to burn, as it is not so commonly available and can be made into many beautiful objects. If you have lots of it, as I did one winter, when a friend brought me a couple of old trees, it is a treasure. Save some for a special occasion because of its heavenly smell. It's a good wood for cooking fires, because it tends to glow without giving off too much flame. The smoke from an apple wood fire gives a most excellent flavour to smoked foods.
Chop the logs whilst still green, as they become incredibly hard and tough on seasoning..

Ash is my favourite firewood and we are blessed to have a Ash coppice. An old rhyme says: "Ash, mature or green, makes a fire for a Queen."
And yes, it is true: even unseasoned Ash will give a good fire. Ash wood produces excellent heat, a nice flame and it lasts reasonably well. I also like using the branches for kindling.
We have always sawn most of our logs with a hand bow saw and Ash has the additional benefit that it is a relatively pleasure to saw and chop it.

A very good firewood which produces both heat and flame. Beech can sometimes give off a few sparks. It is easy to chop.

Produces a lovely fire with good heat, but it burns up quickly, so it may be a good idea to mix it with longer lasting firewoods. The bark of Birch was traditionally known as "the campers friend". Patches of the thin skin can often be peeled from the tree without damaging it. They contain an oil, which makes it a wonderful aid in kindling a fire, especially when all other wood is damp. Can be burned unseasoned if nothing else is available.

Like the wood of its sisters in the Rose family, Blackthorn wood burns steady and slow with an excellent heat and little smoke. Of course the logs tend to be small, but it is worth even using the smallest branches.

Has a lovely smell. A good Cedar fire will glow with a steady heat without too much flame, so it is a fine source of wood for a cooking fire. Thinner logs and branches may be burned without to much seasoning if nothing else is available. Occasional spit, but not too bad.

Burns like Apple, Blackthorn and Hawthorn slowly and with lots of heat. This is an other firewood to treasure.

Douglas Fir
Burns reasonably slowly and with lots of heat.

Traditionally Elder wood is not used for firewood, as people had too much respect for the ancient Hag Goddess living in this tree. Burning the wood is said to invite death. Gypsies were known for their habit of looking carefully through a bundle of firewood to make sure there were no Elder sticks amongst it. Like all woods, it will no doubt burn when well seasoned but I have been reluctant to try it. I'm happy to be alive just yet!`

The famous firewood rhyme says that Elm burns like smouldering flax. The other rhyme says that it burns like 'churchyard mould'. This is probably because it is one of the woods with the highest water contents. It has more water (140%)than wood when it is green, as opposed to Ash wood, for example, which has only 50%. Sadly many people had the opportunity to use Elm as a firewood due to the thousands of these beautiful trees dying of Dutch Elm disease. We had a great pile of logs in the 80's from such a tree and found that it made a very decent fuel. It certainly kept us warm for the winter and did not seem to burn up too fast. On open fires, it may smoke a little. If you have any Elm, season it extremely well. Large logs of Elm are notoriously difficult to split, so this is best done as early as possible.

Not very common as a firewood in this country, but there are occasionally trees available that have blown over in a garden or die in a frosty winter. It need proper seasoning due to high water content and may be difficult to split due to its stringy fibers. I have heard that some people with access to a chainsaw, slice it for this reason if the log is large enough to make chopping it a necessity. It gives a fresh medicinal smell on burning, due to its gums. A quality which has not made it a popular tree for cooking fires. Burns quite fast, but does not spit.

One of the very best and hottest firewoods. A bunch of hawthorn branches from trimming the many hawthorn hedges we are lucky to have in the UK, makes a classical faggot bundle good enough to heat old-fashioned bread ovens. Like the other woods in the Rose family, Hawthorn burns hot and slow. The smaller twigs are also well worth using. A firewood of choice for a frosty day.

Hazel is a good all-round fire wood for different purposes, but burns up a bit faster than most other hard woods.

Holly logs make a lovely warm fire. The famous firewood rhyme says they burn like wax when green. I haven't tried that, but will report back later on this winter. There are some hollies growing on our woodland path, which need pruning and will give the opportunity to experiment.

This is a very hard wood and so it may be sensible to prepare it before seasoning. Makes a hot slow burning fire.

Horse Chestnut
Produces both heat and flame, but tends to spit a lot.

Makes a good fuel when well seasoned. Best to use in a woodstove, as it is liable to spit. Can leave an oily soot in the chimney.

Laurel wood is said to give a lovely flame.

A poor fuel, which is just as well, because it is one of the finest woods for carving. Its fine structure allows great detail.

A good fuel.

A great firewood, but one that needs serious seasoning, ideally for 2 years. It then becomes a good slow burning fuel, which gives of lots of heat, but produces little flame. Oak, which has not been fully seasoned may give off an acrid smoke. The fire may also need the addition of a few faster burning logs to liven it up.

Like Apple, Pear wood produces a most excellent heat and is a firewood to treasure.

Burns well when seasoned, but tends to spit, so it's best in a stove. All resinous woods makes good kindling. They also tend to leave an oily soot in the chimney. The smell of a pine fire can be a feast for the olfactory senses.

I have not used this myself, but have heard that it makes a reasonable firewood. It does not seem to be rated quite as highly as some of the other hardwoods and I wonder if this could be due either to its lacy structure or because it may be used more often by urban people, who do not always have the storage facilities for proper seasoning. Is there anyone out there with any experience in using this?

Like Willow, Poplar needs patient seasoning to become a good firewood.

Like all its sister and cousins in the Rose tree family, Rowan makes a good hot fire, which burns slowly.

Burns very quickly and sparks badly, so again: for indoor use it is best in a stove.

Sycamore tends to grow prolifically and is therefore often abundant. Many people do not like this beautiful tree, because it is seen as a weed tree. In hedges it will certainly need frequent pruning. The thinner branches make great kindling wood, which are easy to break by hand once they've dried for a few months. The logs burn well, but do not give quite as much heat as some other woods like Ash. All in all this still makes a very good firewood.

Sweet Chestnut
Not the best of firewoods. Will need careful seasoning and spits a lot.
(We received this very useful email:
"Hi, As someone who spends many a happy winter's evening in front of a glowing stove full of chestnut I was surprised to read your comments about this useful European tree. Here in France we know to leave it at least two years in the stack, after splitting, just as you suggest for oak. Chestnut is grown very widely in continental Europe, it seems to like granite and other acid soils and doesn't object to slopes or altitude. Most people coppice if they're after timber (it's great for roof planking, flooring and fencing as it resists rot and insects) but if you don't, and give selected trees a bit of space you get tons of nuts. Firewood is certainly not its top use, it can't compare to oak, fruitwood or thorn for density or heat, but there's so much of it I use it all the time." Pat Heslip)

Said to be a mediocre firewood. If anyone has used it, please share your experiences.

Trying to burn willow when still green is a waste of time, because of its high water content. After sufficient seasoning it is quite good. I have only used Goat willow myself, but assume that all other willows will eventually make a decent fire too, because they are used commercially as a biomass fuel.

Yew wood burns slowly with a fierce heat, but it would be a crime to use it in a fire. This beautiful wood may be better used for carving and turning into the most attractive objects and artifacts.

Wood rhyme

Beechwood fires are bright and clear
If the logs are kept a year
Chestnut only good they say
If for long it's laid away
Make a fire of elder tree
Death within your house will be
But ash new or ash old
Is fit for a Queen with a crown of gold

Birch and Fir logs burn too fast
Blaze up bright and do not last
It is by the Irish said
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread
Elmwood burns like churchyard mould
Even the very flames are cold
But ash green or ash brown
Is fit for a Queen with a golden crown

Poplar gives a bitter smoke
Fills your eyes and makes you choke
Apple wood will scent your room
With an incense-like perfume
Oaken logs, if dry and old
Keep away the winters cold
But ash wet or ash dry
A king shall warm his slippers by.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Undercurrents footage used in Genoa court case

Undercurrents images have been used in a startling report fro MORE4 about the G8 protests in Genoa.It's been a month of high drama. The latest development: the sacking by the prime minister of Italy's senior police officer.

29 police officers go on trial in Italy for alleged brutality during the G8 demonstrations in Genoa in 2001.

Like a butcher's shop - that was the description by a police officer of the way Italian police beat innocent protesters at the G8 summit in Genoa 2001.A British man has been leading the fight for justice, and today 29 police officers are on trial for the alleged brutality.

Click on link above to watch report

Sunday, July 22, 2007


It would only cost $10bn (£5bn) a year to provide 1.1 billion people with clean drinking water, yet we currently spend $38bn (£19bn) on pet food and $1,200bn (£600bn) on the world's military.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Buddhafiled festival

The sixth incarnation of Buddhafield Festival was alive and well in Somerset last weekend, five days of music and dance, yoga and meditation, drama and debate, held over a few fields in rolling rural England. There were workshops on everything from circular breathing to founding an eco-village, a Crazy Kids area, and rituals galore.

Set up by members of the Western Buddhist Order, Buddhafield festival is a meeting of the environmental, the loosely spiritual and the specifically Buddhist. It's a meeting of like minds and open hearts; an exploration and an invitation to experiment. This year bigger than ever, the mood was mellow and radical, with inhibitions cast off at the gate. Generosity was in the air and campers responded warmly to neighbours - sharing insights, muesli and essential oils and loads of mud.

By contrast with other festivals Buddhafield has a clean, positive flavour - partly due to its 'No Drink and Drugs' policy It is billed
A heady mix of aromas filled the air: woodsmoke mingled with incense while the sweet scents of lavender and cardamom chai compensated for the odd waft of composting toilets. There were abundant taste sensations with cafés and snack stalls plying wholemeal or wicked fare. It was also a bonanza of touch: hands-on healers plied their trades in shiatsu, Indian head massage, reflexology - not to mention the sensory delights of saunas.

Our cinema was excellent and the audience was engaged as we showed How Cuba survived peak oil, ecovillage pioneers and animations, comedy and undercurrents news videos. But i am getting bored with all the mud, nearly every festival now has been washed out which is becoming tiring.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Our new surfing movie is in the papers today

Our latest film is in the news on link above to read it.

Local movie-makers are monitoring Gower's shifting sands to gauge the effects of climate change on the region
We've all seen the pictures on the TV news - hurricanes, flooding, superstorms and typhoons.
Most of this wild weather seems to happen thousands of miles away from Swansea, in the Caribbean or in the middle of the Atlantic.
So, we may ask, what has it got to do with us? What can we do about hurricanes in Florida or melting ice caps?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Let battle commence!

I'm off to see the monarchy die...and film it, been asked to make a film on the site of the original battle of Tewkesbury. May 4th 1471, the Houses of York and Lancaster met in a bloody battle which left thousands of men – including Edward Prince Wales, dead and put Edward IV firmly on the throne of England.
The medeval fayre is free for all so come along.

StoneHenge was a building?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Glastonbury Festival

Just got back from the mud bath which is Glastonbury. But i had a marvellous time despite not getting my camera out (BBC wouldnt allow anyone else to broadcast without their permission). I had applied for undercurrents to make an A-Z of Green Glastonbury but the press office told me No..perhaps it should have been A-Z of Brown Glastonbury??

My tent and sleeping bag had to be abandoned coz they didnt handle the torrential downpour. They joined the other 10,000 tents abandoned which i saw. But the festie vibe was great and i had a wicked time. Great music, cabaret and Iggy Pop inciting a stage invasion was great..'take control, take over baby come on' it!
Watch the video we made at 2005 festival.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Video of police beating up Greek immigrants

Policemen torture immigrants inside police station. They force them to beat each other and during this, one of the policemen is instructing them to "go on, harder" and expresses his concerns that this video should remain private

The torturing methods against civilians inside police stations and at Central Police Department of Athens(ΓΑΔΑ), the accidental shootings, beatings , kidnappings and humiliations of immigrants, the plots against anyone who resists the brutality of greek state, is a solid fact nowadays for the greek police (ΕΛ.ΑΣ), with the factual support of the right-wing government and its minister of "justice" V.Polydora.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bear Grylis on Oprah

Bear is an amazing person to have around if you need to survive in any situation. Click on title to watch interview with him or watch this...

Naked News

When the news gets sooooo boring..take off your clothes!
thats the reasoning behind Naked News. and this is a video about how they picks their Anchorwoman
Three contestants made it to the final audition to become an anchorwoman on "Naked News

Friday, May 25, 2007

Blair Movie

New movie coming out soon about Tony Blair and how he has stolen our rights as people...i have seen trailers and meet researchers...could be interesting even if the editing in the trailer is a bit clunky.

TAKING LIBERTIES is a shocking but hilarious polemic documentary that charts the destruction of all your Basic Liberties under 10 Years of New Labour. Released to coincide with Tony Blair's departure, the film and the book follow the stories of normal people who's lives have been turned upside down by injustice - from being arrested for holding a placard outside parliament to being tortured in Guantanamo Bay.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Starbucks answers activists via YouTube

Starbucks answers activists on YouTube
VIDEO sharing sites like YouTube look set to become a new front in the battles between big corporations and social activists.
As a medium, video can be highly convincing and effective, but high costs have historically limited its use by activists and companies. However, new online video editing and posting services have dramatically altered the economics, putting online video in reach of anyone with a video camera.At the same time, video sharing and social media networks are providing activists with access to a potentially vast audience that they previously could only have reached through mainstream television coverage.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

An A-Z of Bushcraft

Women in the 18 - 34 age group account for 18% of all online Britons.

Young women dominate UK net scene
Young women are now the most dominant group online in the UK, according to new research from net measurement firm Nielsen/NetRatings.

They also spend the most time online - accounting for 27% more of the total UK computer time than their male counterparts.
Of UK males active online, the 50+ age group is the most prevalent.

The breakthrough of these groups will come as a surprise to many who regard the internet as being largely dominated by young men.The fact that new groups are emerging is the best illustration of how mainstream the net has now become, he said.
Women in the 18- 34 category are visiting a variety of sites including those dedicated to fashion, family and lifestyle issues.

Help..we need a miracle

This gives an idea of the situation we are in while trying to set up our online TV channel. We need a programmer who understands python to help us simplify the video player...anyone out there?

Very funny joke photos

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Watch our new films!

Police Farce

Just to prove how crap our police service is...this from BBC
'The federation, which represents 130,000 rank-and-file officers, has published a dossier of "ludicrous" cases it claims are the result of Home Office targets.

The cases include:
A man from Cheshire who was cautioned for being "found in possession of an egg with intent to throw"

A child in Kent who was arrested after removing a slice of cucumber from a sandwich and throwing it at another youngster

A West Midlands woman arrested on her wedding day for criminal damage after her foot slipped on her accelerator pedal and her vehicle damaged a car park barrier

A child from Kent who was arrested for throwing cream buns at a bus

A 70-year-old Cheshire pensioner who was arrested for criminal damage after cutting back a neighbour's conifer trees

An officer in the West Midlands who was told to caution a man for throwing a glass of water over his girlfriend

Two children from Manchester who were arrested for being in possession of a plastic toy pistol

Thursday, May 10, 2007

EcoVillage Pioneers (Movie Trailer)

For a decade Helen and her young son went in search of a sustainable way of life. Along the way she recorded the UK's most high profile campaigners on low impact living. She charted how Tony Wrench and his partner challenged and radically changed a council's policy on rural housing. Her journey took her to Crystal Waters Permaculture village in Australia, Sunseed Desert Technology centre in Spain, Findhorn spiritual community in Scotland, and the low impact settlement, Tinkers Bubble in Somerset England. Her trip also includes the world renowned Centre of Alternative Technology in mid Wales. The main strand of the film follows the story of Britains first Ecovillage to be developed in England and Wales. Eco Village Pioneers will be available in July 2007 but screenings wil be held around the UK. Contact if you can put on a showing.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Media Evolution

We have an info page now about our new video channel Vision On TV so if you want to get involved in a media evolution then check out the video here

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Offline TV show- behind the scenes at Vision On TV

Vision On TV- a new British video channel using creative commons for all its material, publishing the news you don't see on the news. Meet the people behind it all and hear a call out for programmers.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Thoughtcrime cabaret show.

Filmed a new cabaret show this week..and you can watch the stand up here if you can't make it on the last Thursday od every month in London.

London stand up comedian Whatsername reveals all about sex, marriage, feminism and being punched in the face by the army!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Photograph of Paul Mercer, Spy.

We went through our archive and found a video image of Paul Mercer circa 1995. Paul Mercer has a long history of 'infiltrating' groups and selling the info. He published Directory of British Political Organisations by Paul Mercer (1994), which had personal info/contact details on people and groups involved in Earth First! and other related eco-direct action stuff of the early 90s. He's done the same with the Close Campsfield campaign.

Spy within Peace movement exposed

It is scary when the forces of darkness descend. A film undercurrents made a few years ago exposed how spies within the peace and environmental movement were operating.A spy has finally just been exposed in the courts. Paul Mercer posed as a a freelance photographer for years but he had a past of selling information about activists to corporations and arms dealers.

In court it has been revealed how closely linked to the Conservative party Paul Mercer is. He is a friend of shadow defence minister Julian Lewis. He was revealed to have been paid £2,500 a month by the giant arms company's security department for his work against CAAT. He claims he was being paid to simply monitor the group and its activities. BAE is facing a wide range of bribery allegations.

Full story here.,,2060544,00.html

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

An interesting life

New Undercurrents Bushcraft show
Wondered how to survive when the oil runs out..try Bushcraft

Anti Corp festival
The 2007 CounterCorp Anti-Corporate Film Festival is seeking submissions for this year's festival in San Francisco.

Enter_ Unknown Territories is an exciting festival of interactive and
playful public art events, live performances, a conference, workshop and
club nights taking place throughout Cambridge.Take part in a LED workhop, get lost in an intelligent maze, fly kites equipped with cameras, star in a CCTV feature film, grow a virtual narrative forest, ride bikes that boil kettles, adventure into an interactive landscape with only your heart to guide you. Hang out at an experimental club night; learn more about open source software, license-free music downloads and circuit bending.

Link into alternative London
The Synergy Centre is located at 220 Farmers Road, London SE5

New video training course begins
Undercurrents latest 10 week course. A taster day on April 19. Details here

Reply with your postal address for a free undercurrents catalogue of our videos, DVD and Books etc.

Dryad Bushcraft- Wild Food

Spent the weekend filming our new series about Bushcraft, learning where to find wild food...great fun. You can watch it here or wait until July when we launch our new Tv channel, Vision On TV

A new series from the UK on survival skills and enjoying nature to the full.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Advertising Manager wanted for New Tv Channel!

Can you sell?
We are seeking a person who can find sponsers for a new exciting TV Channel.
Like all business, there is a good chance of making good money but ground work needs to be laid. So we are looking for someone with the vision to see the potential in creating another but better YouTube.

We are seeking someone who probaly has a job already but still has time to work
on a start up for 1 or 2 days a week (at least until we find an investor).
Rocketboom in the USA who are very similar to us made $250,000 last year for
producing a daily 3min news/review show. The potential is there and we are a
year ahead of anyone else in the UK.
If you want to hear more drop me a line

We are also seeking a Python programmer.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Off to Ireland with new film.

Our latest movie is finished..EcoVillage Pioneers is all about the rise of environmentally friendly communities. Many use materials gathered from the land they live on..mud for wall, wool for insulation, wood for structure. Very inspiring as we explore ecovillages in Oz, Wales, Scotland, England, Spain and Ireland.

So the world premiere is on next week on International Earth Day * 22nd of April
in Ireland. Anyone in Tipperary, pop along to Main Street Cloughjordan (site of Ireland first Ecovillage) 7pm to see the 50min film.

EcoVillage Pioneers (50mins)
A woman and her young son go on a journey to find a sustainable community to
live in. They explore Crystal Waters permaculture village in Australia, Sunseed
Technology centre in Spain, Findhorn spiritual community in Scotland, and the
low impact settlement, Tinkers Bubble in England. The film also follows The
establishment of Lammas EcoVillage in Wales and The Village in Ireland. the
film includes co-founder of the world renowned Centre of Alternative
Technology. EcoVillage Pioneers is a personal and beautiful insight into how a
sustainable world is being created from the grassroots.

Produced by the award winning Undercurrents.
Released July 2007

However....getting there..
I checked the ferries and found that the Swansea-Cork ferry has been suspended coz they haven't got a boat. The company sold its old ferry last October and bid over £22m for a replacement but the deal had collapsed.

Stunning..with climate change, flying is very bad for the old planet so ferry was a great option. It is ironic that the service has had to be suspended at a time when the market indicators suggest an upturn in ferry travel.

So looking at next options now.