I’ve recently been lucky enough to have had the privilege of maintaining and developing broadcasting legend (and newly resident in Todmorden) Andy Kershaw’s website. Andy is someone whom I admire and respect a great deal, and he is also a bizarre one-degree of separation from so many of my musical heroes such as Bob Dylan, Joe Strummer, and Neil Young to name only a few.
The website http://www.andykershaw.co.uk has been evolving from the previous incarnation built by publishing giants Random House to promote No Off Switch, Andy’s incredible autobiography, and I’m extremely pleased with the way it’s heading. It is most definitely a massive improvement on that first website built by Random House, in terms of both presentation and ease of managing content.
Recently, I’ve added the ability for users to buy and download Audio Book and E-book versions of the No Off Switch book, using a plugin which handles both the payment transaction and the fulfillment of downloads extremely well. Not that other content delivery channels are any less well suited, such as iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon, but the simplicity with which the book can be sold directly in either format, is definitely empowering for any artist or author.
If you’ve not read Andy’s autobiography yet, I’d highly recommend it. As would the hundreds of 5 star reviewers on Amazon. Andy’s experiences as a broadcaster and journalist make compelling reading/listening, and his journey is both fascinating and inspiring.
It is indeed true that hindsight is always 20-20. And it was amongst the various posts and articles concerning the recent controversy about the world’s news media, phone-hacking, and also the activities of Anonymous and LulzSec etc, that I discovered this Youtube video of President John F. Kennedy. A montage of images, soundtracked by a speech he made in 1961 before the American Newspaper Publishers Association at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.
The points he raises and boldly addresses would appear alien to current political leaders at all levels, yet these are probably even more important now in this internet era, than they were when this courageous statement of intent was made back in the early 60’s.
…For we are opposed around the world, by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy, that relies primarily on covert means, for expanding its sphere of influence. On infiltration, instead of invasion. On subversion, instead of elections. On intimidation, instead of free choice…
…This administration intends to be candid about its errors, for as a wise man once said “An error doesn’t become a mistake, until you refuse to correct it”. We intend to accept full responsibility for our errors. And we expect you to point them out when we miss them…
Yesterday, I stumbled across a fascinating website which got me thinking about how amazing it really is. Jon Rafman’s 9 Eyes website shows a deeply fascinating selection of images from around the world taken by Google’s fleet of Street View camera vehicles.
In their endless quest to photograph every highway and byway in the free world, the nine Street View cameras on each of Google’s cars automatically capture whatever moves through their frame every ten to twenty meters. The resulting photographs are then stitched together to create a detailed panoramic window on the world in which we live.
Back in 2008, Canadian artist Jon Rafman began collecting some of the more interesting and unusual of these views, forming a collection which at times both embraces and defies the detached, automated process of their creation.
Hilarious, poignant, surreal and often quite beautiful, many of the images perfectly capture what Cartier-Bresson described as the “decisive moment”. And occasionally, some of these gritty urban snapshots appear reminiscent of the work of realist painters such as Hopper or Manet .
Here’s a few of my favourites from the collection…