Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Film maker commits suicide

I heard today that Pip Starr who came to show his film at Beyond TV, has died.He took his own life last week, just a few weeks after coming to our BeyondTv festival. A sad loss to the world and the loss of a motivated video activist. This may have been his last public interview.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

News from the sidelines


Undercurrents News Network Alternative NewsLetter 170

Hello all
Happy New Year to you all. Undercurrents has been building up for 2008 when we will launch our own application to allow you to view all our latest videos and download any format of video onto your PC.Watch this space. Meanwhile..

BeyondTv video makers chat show
Watch interviews with video activists from Afghanistan, USA,Ireland and UK.Undercurrents recorded the chat show during the 8th annual BeyondTv film festival in December.
http://www.beyondtvfestival.info

Plymouth Showing of Undercurrents films
Ecovillage pioneers 15th Feb
Reach for the sky 14th March
Speakers wanted to host discussions after these films.
Contact info@plymouthenvironmentcentre.org.uk>
Plymouth Environment Centre http://www.plymouthenvironmentcentre.org.uk

Mark Thomas Comedy Show on DVD
Last chance to have this funny comedian/investigator on DVD. We only have 50 DVDs left and we are not getting anymore duplicated so get the last of them.
http://www.undercurrents.org/markthomas

Ireland calling
Interesting insight into the Tara protests in Ireland.Imagine a road through the Pyramids
http://www.itison.tv

Surfing & climate change
http://www.onthepush.org

Stuff it!
Film about stuff and how it impacts on the Earth and us!
http://www.storyofstuff.com

Great banner protest
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/01/389870.html

Protest Archive images wanted
Undercurrents has been busy supplying archive images for documentaries worldwide.This month examples include police batons -'The history of weapons' for National Geographic,Protests against open cast mining for ITV and the Israeli invasion of Bethlehem for a USA channel. If you have great archive images which you would like undercurrents to sell on your behalf please get in touch
archive@undercurrents.org

Click Click
Environmental Photographer
http://www.nickcobbing.co.uk

Sea Shepherd
Drama on the high sea as two activist crew members of the Sea Shepherd vessel, were taken hostage by the Japanese harpoon vessel.
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/01/389842.html

Friday, January 18, 2008

Going to Tesco


Don't boycott Tescos just because of this...

Proof of what can happen if a wife or girlfriend drags her husband or
boyfriend along shopping. This letter was recently sent by Tesco’s Head
Office to a customer in Oxford:

Dear Mrs Murray,

While we thank you for your valued custom and use of the Tesco Loyalty
Card, the Manager of our store in Banbury is considering banning you and
your family from shopping with us, unless your husband stops his antics.

Below is a list of offences over the past few months all verified by our
surveillance cameras:

15 June : Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in people’s
trolleys when they weren’t looking;

02 July : Set all the alarm clocks in Homeware department to go off at 5
minute intervals;

07 July : Made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to feminine
products aisle;

19 July : Walked up to an employee and told her in an official tone: “Code
3 in Aisle 14”….and watched what happened;

14 August : Moved a “Caution – Wet Floor” sign to a carpeted area;

15 September : Set up a tent in the Outdoor department and told shoppers
he’d invite them in if they brought sausages and a Calor Gas stove;

23 September : When the Deputy Manager asked if she could help him, he
began to cry and asked: “Why can’t people just leave me alone!?!?”

04 October : Looked right into the security camera, used it as a mirror,
picked his nose and ate it;

10 November : While appearing to be choosing kitchen knives in the
Homewares aisle, he asked an assistant where the antidepressants were kept;

03 December : Darted around the store suspiciously, loudly humming the
“Mission Impossible” theme tune;

06 December : In the kitchenware aisle, he practised the Madonna look with
several different sized funnels;

18 December : Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed, he yelled:
“Pick me! Pick me!”

21 December : When an announcement came over the loudspeaker in store, he
assumed the foetal position and screamed: “ No! No! It’s the voices, again!”

And last, but not least:

23 December : Went into a fitting room, shut the door and waited a while
before yelling very loudly: “There is no toilet paper in here!”


As you will appreciate this is not the kind of behaviour which we welcome
in our stores and other customers have lodged several complaints to this
effect. I would appreciate if you ask your husband to refrain from his
antics on future visits to the premises, other we may have to take further
action in this matter. Many thanks for your co-operation in this matter.

Yours sincerely,


Charles Brown
Store Manager

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Bushcraft on TV

Bushcraft on Television.
By Paul O’Connor

While Bear Grylls eats a spider, maggot or snake on Channel 4, eight obese Brits are shown on BBC trying to lose weight by adopting a hunter-gatherer lifestyle in the Kalahari Desert.
Bushcraft and survival skills are fast entering the mainstream consciousness through the airwaves.

Bushcraft pops up everywhere now and in many guises. The Discovery Channel has Les Stroud (Survivor Man) trying to survive for seven days in various remote locations with little or no food, water, or equipment. Similar to Survivor Man, the explorer Benedict Allen uses the same technique of a video diary to chronicle his solo journeys into the Brazilian Amazon or East Africa for his BBC documentaries.

Over the last few months we have grabbed the remote control as TV ‘stars’ struggle to digest a kangaroos penis during ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’(ITV). We have tutted as Channel 4 rode out the storm of faked situations in Bear Grylls ‘Born Survivor’ and we have cringed at overweight people throwing tantrums ‘Fat Men Can't Hunt’ (BBC).

There is no sign yet of TV editors tiring of the natural landscape either with ‘The Wild Gourmets’ (C4) following the sucess of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s ‘River Cottage’(C4)-roving for Britain's best wild food, and producing culinary delights from nature's larder.

The popular appeal of Ray Mears may be partly responsible for this explosion of Bushcraft ‘reality’ programmes on Television today. However it took a decade before even Ray’s skills were granted the media spotlight. While he founded Woodlore-School of Wilderness Bushcraft way back in 1983, it took Ten years before his teachings were taken seriously enough to put them on the small screen.

Today however, the people who practise Bushcraft tend to be of the DIY persuasion, so it should come as no surprise that many are now producing their own videos. While once a handful of DVDs were passed amongst friends, a much wider distribution is now possible. Broadband has finally matured to allow videos to be watched online.
However having a distribution is one thing, producing viewable content is another. For three months I watched videos covering Bushcraft and survival skills online. While a few were excellent, many others were either badly filmed or edited. Suffering from strained hearing due to the poor audio quality, I decided I would be better off making my own.

Judging from the YouTube ratings of videos relating to Bushcraft, I surmised that people enjoyed seeing skills explained clearly and in short episodes. At 5600 viewings, Jack Mountains Bushcraft Journal about ice fishing in Canada is one of the more popular. Nearly 10,000 people have watched an instructor from Bushcraft Northwest (USA) put up his tarp. Back in the UK, Nomad Bushcrafts videos share some useful insights during their trip to Finland.

I have only discovered Bushcraft quiet recently but since 1993 I have produced hundreds of environmental documentaries for Undercurrents, an award winning media charity. Now I just had to find someone who knew what they were doing in front of the camera.

Six months later and we have produced 16 video episodes for an ‘A-Z of Bushcraft’. Our presenter is the charismatic Andrew Price, founder of Dryad Bushcraft (and a writer for this magazine). Andrew has travelled extensively studying the traditional skills of indigenous peoples of Malaysia, Australia and Canada. Add his love for kayaking, cycling, rock climbing, and mountaineering and we couldn’t have found a better host.

Since we haven’t yet secured funding for the series we rely upon snatched hours here and there when both Andrew and myself were available to film an episode. Having the Gower peninsular in Wales on our doorstep means we do not have to travel far for ideal locations. Its complex geological formation has created a diverse range of terrain, condensed into a relatively small area.

Skills we have covered include filtering water, handling an axe, finding coastal food, tying knots and starting fire. We have put some of the episodes online at YouTube.com (and on this magazines own website) and have already received more than 120,000 viewings, which is very inspiring. To promote what we believe as invaluable skills, we have decided to release the series under a ‘creative commons’ licence which allows anyone to use the videos for non-commercial purposes. To highlight the possibilities of this, Andrew recently received an email from a backpacker who watched them during a long bus trip in Kuala Lumpur!

Meanwhile we are still busy filming and editing (still without funding) and aim to release the entire A-Z of Bushcraft series when we launch our own internet TV channel, VisionONTV. Learning from the experience of producing this series, we have developed a video player for your computer which will allow you to search for and view high quality videos covering just about every topic. Bushcraft is too important to leave to the whim of TV editors so help create an alternative. Download our new VisionONTV video player for free and please give us some honest feedback.

We aim to launch in Spring 2008 but you can beat the rush at www.visionontv.net
Watch an A-Z of Bushcraft at www.azbushcraft.com

Friday, January 04, 2008

Subvert weather news with nuclear mushroom!

How about subverting the weather report? Radical artists panicked Czech TV viewers by sneaking a nuclear mushroom cloud into a weather report. Watch it by clicking on link above

In order to hack into the broadcast, the group is said to have climbed up a television tower near the Krkonose ("Giant Mountains") in the northern Czech Republic and connected a computer to the camera and broadcast cable.

Ztohoven are no strangers to publicity stunts.

When President Vaclav Havel stepped down in January 2003, they covered up part of a neon heart sculpture in his honour at Prague Castle and turned it into a giant question mark.

A state prosecutor in the northern town of Trutnov said that a trial could start Jan 2008

If found guilty, the six could face a heavy fine or a maximum sentence of three years in jail.