Saturday, March 22, 2014

Stoned wanderings with a Rhino in Nepal

I have just re-found an article a friend and I wrote for Red Eye Magazine so thought I would share it with you. It was Gonzo journalism.

Nepal- It was hot and we were facing down a two tonne living and breathing prehistoric throwback with a bad attitude. At 6.30am the previous morning it had seemed reasonable to head into the Chitwan jungle with a block of the finest hashish, a half gram of cocaine, a bag of mountain weed, and a quart bottle of Gin. Armed with the latest Sony’s, we were 21st century digital hunters tracking the pixel image of our prey.

However, foot slogging it through the dry heat, in search of Nepal’s most dangerous wildlife had made us both complacent and weary. Lighting up a succession of well packed pipes made it all too easy to forget that wild beasts surrounded us. Just about managing to avoid stepping on the many dozing crocodiles, we recorded the fresh paw prints and droppings from a number of formidable feline predators. The scattered peacocks and monkeys may have added a dash of colour to our wanderings but never even came close to breaking into our reservoirs of adrenaline.

Coming face to face with a full-grown and wild Rhinoceros, (and Chitwan boasts more than 500), guarantees to burst the dam creating a monsoon of anticipation. Eyeballing the beast, one of our tracking guides anxiously whispered that the armour plated beast would charge at 45kmh if disturbed. Meanwhile, tracker number two was busy banging the ground with his bamboo stick while grunting out mating calls. All this within spitting distance of a shortsighted animal that charges first and doesn’t bother about questions afterwards. The good Doctor Doolittle would have been dismayed when the same guide then began chucking rocks in its direction.

Current stoned thoughts, apart from who could outrun whom, included ‘why had we dragged a stack of library books this deep into the jungle?’

How could a paperback edition of Hunter S. Thompson’s ‘Songs of the doomed’ help us outrun a horned beast? At least page 303 of ‘The Rough Guide to Nepal’ offers advice on ‘How to stay alive in Chitwan’. Apparently we should prepare to sprint in a zig zag pattern while shedding articles of clothing should the beast puts its head down to charge.

When our guide finally riled the animal enough to react, we lost sight of it in the high grass. Recall that scene from ‘Jaws’ when you know there is a Great White homing in but you have no idea which direction it is coming from? Half expecting to hear those eerie bass chords plucked out of the hot air, we followed the example of our experienced trackers. We ran.

If we had remembered, perhaps we could have called upon the Diety of the Jungle to intervene. That very morning we had stumbled across a shrine to Bakrim, Hindus supreme being of the greenery. Broken remnants of clay chillum pipes still lay scattered from the annual three day worship. Smoking copious amounts of Marijuana while ringing bells displays the locals’ faith in Bakrim’s divine protection. They certainly need all the help they can get during February, when the villagers risk their very lives each year crossing the river to enter the jungle. Dozens have been killed or maimed while cutting and gathering the elephant grass for thatching their roofs. Only this morning, locals preparing to drag huge bundles of grass across the river on their heads had disturbed a sleeping rhino. The shouts of panic could be heard all over as villagers ended up hanging from trees.

Mind you, the animals have every right to be pissed off at humans judging on past atrocities. The highest slaughter record was 145 tigers and 58 rhino’s in one hunt led by the British viceroy of India. King George V himself slaughtered another 39 tigers and 18 rhinos during a hunt in 1911 and their skins are probably lining the floors of stately homes across England to this day. 

Luckily our rhino figured that we meant it no harm or perhaps Bakrim had noted our own Marijuana offerings. Whatever it was, the rhino decided to turn and make its way further back into the jungle leaving a dark tunnel in its wake through the long grass.

Long live the Wilderness!

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions. http://www.undercurrents.org

Friday, March 21, 2014

Inside a Cannabis Club

A friend from Freedom Seeds has just got back from Spain where he blagged entry into one of the latest Cannabis clubs to sprout up.


He wrote..
Located at the end of an unassuming side street off La Rambla, there’s little hint from the outside of the hubbub going on within Barcelona’s latest smoke-filled cannabis club: Strain Hunters.

Since first officially appearing in Spain some years ago, cannabis social clubs have taken advantage of the country’s more relaxed attitude toward personal cannabis cultivation to create an environment where members and guests can relax and enjoy the fruits of their collective labours in an area of hazy legality.
Read more and see photos..

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions. http://www.undercurrents.org

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Movie- Using minatures to rebuild his imagination

This looks a fascinating film- how a man used action figures to rebuild his imagination after a vicious attack left him damaged.



Filmsite: http://www.marwencol.com/

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions. http://www.undercurrents.org

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

First Marijuana advert is broadcast on TV in the USA

The new video advert from MarijuanaDoctors.com is currently airing on FOX, CNN, and ESPN in New Jersey.

Watch the video advert here


Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions. http://www.undercurrents.org

Monday, March 17, 2014

Leprachauns found all over Ireland on St Patricks day

As the Irish celebrate their St Patrick's day, people are spotting more run down Leprechauns. Are they a comment upon the financial crisis? Is it an Irish Banksy at work?

Port Laois


Trinity College Dublin
Moneygall
Temple Bar, Dublin



Obama Cafe, Moneygall
 

If you are aware of the meaning behind these Leprechauns, please get in touch on paulo@undercurrents.org

 
Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions. http://www.undercurrents.org

Friday, March 14, 2014

Dead leprechauns being discovered across Ireland

I have been getting reports from Ireland about dead leprechauns being discovered this week. Photos are appearing on social media sites in Ireland.
This Dead Leprechaun was seen outside Blarney castle in Cork today
Just days before Ireland celebrates St Patrick's day, I am getting reports of small dead leprechauns being found with gold coins scattered around them. Does it have a political message? Is it a protest? 
Have you heard or seen any other dead Leprechaun?
  Dead leprechaun at our Lady of Wayside

 
For those who don't know -a Leprechaun is a type of evil fairy in Irish folklore, usually taking the form of an old man, who is a trickster and likes to hoard his gold.






  Dead leprechaun was seen on St Patricia Street Cork city




Ireland definitely squandered it's own gold over these past 15 years. They had a chance to borrow Euros at a cheap rate and invest it building Ireland into a strong independent country. Instead the fools at the top destroyed the econony with corruption and went on a disastrous property boom. Maybe they were really Leprechauns?



A dead Leprechaun in Dublin
cliffs of moher
lough derg













If you hear of any more reports of dead Leprechauns please let me know on paulo@undercurrents.org









Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions. http://www.undercurrents.org

Monday, March 10, 2014

How World War 1 can be explained as a bar fight



Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions. http://www.undercurrents.org

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Centre for Constructive Journalism to launch this year


The first facility of its kind for constructive journalism is to launch in Denmark this year.

The centre, which could open as early as the summer, is the product of a collaboration between two of Denmark’s three journalism schools, following the success of The Constructive News course, which launched last year.
Cathrine Gyldensted, an investigative reporter and Positive News columnist, who ran the course and is part of the working group pioneering the new centre, said the facility will play a major role in driving the constructive news agenda.
“There will be a curriculum for new students and a department for continuous education for more experienced journalists, but research will play an integral role.
“We want to home in on psychology, especially positive psychology, and we’re looking at ways developments in neuroscience can help us. There’s a great deal of interesting research coming from the University of Pennsylvania right now, involving studies using MRIs on consumers of news, to assess the feelings and reactions people have towards news in papers. Such research will give us very important insight on how to create engaging, constructive journalism.”

 Read more here


Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions. http://www.undercurrents.org

Friday, March 07, 2014

Undercover Cops TV drama to be produced by Age of Stupid team


The Age of Stupid team joins forces with Simon Beaufoy and Tony Garnett for true-life undercover cops TV drama
Spanner Films announces UNDERCOVERS, a four-part television drama series based on the incredible true story of the police spies who infiltrated British activist groups over the last 50 years and the women who had long-term relationships and even children with the spies.

The Home Secretary Theresa May yesterday announced that there will be a full Judge-led Public Inquiry into these undercover police, who also spied on Stephen Lawrence’s family.

The UNDERCOVERS writing team is Slumdog Millionaire and Full Monty’s Simon Beaufoy, who recently scored another smash hit with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, together with Age of Stupid and McLibel writer/director Franny Armstrong, and former Chumbawamba singer/lyricist Alice Nutter, screenwriter of My Generation and The Accused, who was herself an activist for two decades and knew some of the police spies as friends. Director & cast TBC.

Beaufoy says “This true story of love, politics and betrayal has more drama, suspense and moral complexity than anything we writers can ever dream up. I think it has the potential to be a smash hit in the UK and abroad”.One of the true-life stories is that of activist Helen Steel who was planning a future with her partner of two years, “John Barker”, convinced he was the love of her life. After he disappeared suddenly, not knowing whether he was alive or dead, she spent 18 years searching as far afield as South Africa and New Zealand. Eventually she discovered he was in fact married police officer John Dines, who had taken the name John Barker from a child who had died of leukaemia aged eight, without the parents knowing anything about their dead child’s identity being used by the police.

Helen went on to become one of the two defendants in the infamous McDonald’s libel trial in the ‘90s – the longest-running court case in English history. UNDERCOVERS creator Franny Armstrong followed Helen’s story for almost 10 years in her multi-award-winning documentary “McLibel”, seen by 26 million viewers. Helen is part of the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance, ”COPS” (campaignopposingpolicesurveillance.wordpress.com) as well as one of eight women taking legal action against the police (policespiesoutoflives.org.uk).

Franny Armstrong and producer Lizzie Gillett pioneered the now-ubiquitous crowd-funding finance model back in 2004, raising £900,000 for their climate change film The Age of Stupid, which reached No 1 at the UK box office, won a Guinness World Record for the biggest-ever premiere, caused the UK government to change its policy on coal power stations and led to the formation of the 10:10 campaign (1010uk.org) in 42 countries. Franny was named one of the World’s Top 100 women by the Guardian and one of London’s 1000 most influential people by The Evening Standard.

Franny and Lizzie have developed a new crowdfunding model for UNDERCOVERS. The first financing round (£150K) is fully subscribed and the next (£3 million) launches in April 2014.

Franny says “There are very few stories compelling enough to dedicate five years of my life to, but the deeper I get into the world of Undercovers, the more committed I become to making a heart-stopping drama which touches and angers millions of people all round the world.”Legendary producer Tony Garnett (Cathy Come Home, Kes), has come out of retirement to act as Executive Producer: "The arbitrary power of the police seems free of all constraint. They casually ruin the lives of idealistic protesters - mere collateral damage; they routinely lie under oath in court; they trample on ancient, hard won liberties. Maybe when we see their actions brought to life on screen we will collectively be galvanised to assert our rights over them." John Battsek from Passion Pictures, who has produced two Oscar-winning films (Searching for Sugarman, One Day in September) joins the team as Executive Producer: “TV shows like Breaking Bad, Borgen and House of Cards are combining impeccable writing, fabulous casting and innovative finance and distribution models to herald a new golden age of TV drama. Undercovers dreams of joining this list and has an ace up its sleeve – our story is true. ”Four further seasons – each focussing on a spy-activist couple from a different activist group in a different decade - are planned if season one is a success.

Contact:
Lizzie Gillett, Producerlizzie@undercovers.tv
@lizziegillett
@frannyarmstrong


Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions. http://www.undercurrents.org

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

International Women's Day - video evening in Oxford March 6th


This month's Film Night is going to be films made by women to celebrate International Women's Day - please bring your films along. Thursday 6th March. All welcome and it's free. 7:30pm-10:30pm. (Bring snacks and drinks to share)
 http://www.filmoxford.org/1010-filmmakers-night/

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions. http://www.undercurrents.org

Monday, March 03, 2014

Bristol Radical Film Festival March 3-9th 2014

From the 3rd to the 9th of March 2014 Bristol Radical Film Festival returns with another packed programme of overtly political documentary and fiction film from around the world.

The Bristol Radical Film Festival was founded in 2011 to showcase contemporary and historical works of overtly political documentary and fiction filmmaking. Organised by staff, students and alumni from the Centre for Moving Image Research and the Film team at the University of the West of England (UWE), the festival also aims to draw attention to a range of other progressive, community-based initiatives in the city. Venues include digital outreach projects, anarchist social centres, drop-in centres for sex workers, political squats, radical bookshops, community bicycle hubs, trade union halls etc.

Get involved

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions. http://www.undercurrents.org

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Video cameras drastically cut Police crime


 
In the US Rialto police force made their cops wear video cameras. A randomised controlled study has seized attention because it offers scientific – and encouraging – findings: after cameras were introduced in February 2012, public complaints against officers plunged 88% compared with the previous 12 months. Officers' use of force fell by 60%.
Read more

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions. http://www.undercurrents.org