Like many people, I was glued to social media on the night of November 13th as the terrorist attacks on Paris unfolded. When something terrible like that happens, it is easy to become confused and bewildered by the conflicting reports that fly around on TV and online. So I decided to write a guide to understanding and demystifying the kinds of sources (newspaper articles, TV and radio reports, live blogs, social media posts, visual images etc.) that you will encounter in all forms of the media when a major news story is breaking. But what qualifies me to write such a guide?
While studying for a degree in history some years ago, I was taught how to analyse and interrogate sources of all kinds; a skill which has come in handy when attempting to understand how breaking news works. By ‘analyse and interrogate’ I mean placing a source (whether written, illustrated or audio-visual) in its wider context in order to understand and assess it. This involves asking a lot of questions about the source, its origins and its creator – the who, what, where, why, and when that you will see in this brief guide to interpreting and making sense of the media’s reaction to breaking events. The answers to those questions can help you decide whether a source can be trusted or whether it needs to be taken with a pinch of salt…
Who wrote/produced/directed/photographed/filmed this source? Are they a professional journalist/photographer/film-maker? Or are they a member of the public who happened to be there at the time and snapped a photo or filmed events with their phone then posted it on Facebook? If they’re a professional, what do you know about them? What can you find out about them? Are they well-known for personally having a particular political bias? Or do they work for a media outlet known for having a particular political bias? How might this affect their work?
First off, apologies if any of you have been getting weird tweets and emails from Another Kind Of Mind which lead to dead links or blank/unfinished posts – it’s just me being completely technologically inept whilst playing around with WordPress on Android (which seems to have a rather annoying habit of posting stuff without me touching a thing). Hopefully, I’ll have it all figured out soon…
You may have also noticed that the blog now looks very different. After using and liking this new theme on the Top Fifty Nineties Album blog, I decided it was time for a change here as well. Personally, I think the new look is much better, and I hope you do too – plus this particular theme is configured to show properly on both computers and mobile devices, so you can also now read Another Kind Of Mind on your tablet or phone if you so desire!
On the subject of the Top Fifty Nineties Albums blog, my list is now complete. If you missed out on my reviews, you can still find them all there, along with a few geeky stats and links to loads of other great lists sent to me by various Twitter people. I’ll be adding more lists and other bits and pieces as time goes on, so keep an eye out for that if you’re a music fan.
Elsewhere, street art fans will want to check out my Flickr stream, which I’m regularly updating with lots of interesting images from various sites in and around London. You’re also welcome to follow me on Twitter (where I mostly ramble rubbish and/or talk about music), or over on Tumblr (where Another Kind Of Mind’s slightly eccentric and distinctly vintage photography-obsessed little sister blog lives).
And I’ve got some good stuff coming up for you right here (alongside quite a few long-promised and much-delayed posts!), including more sideways glimpses into the history of my favourite city, another musical memorial bench, how to be a telly ‘tec, and a few other bits I probably haven’t thought of yet. Plus, Another Kind Of Mind will be celebrating its fourth birthday at the end of this month, believe it or not – so I’ll also have to think up a way to mark that surprising anniversary!
Finally, I’ve had a few responses to my call-out for mondegreens, but I still want more! We’ve all misheard a lyric or two whilst listening to music and I want to hear your favourites – leave a comment or tweet me your contributions, and the best will be included in an upcoming post.
Ah, go on. You know you want to…
It’s really not uncommon these days to find social media sites up in arms about something or other on a regular basis – and last night’s overexcited Twitter storm was no exception to that. But this time, surprisingly, Twitter wasn’t getting its collective knickers in a twist about the latest political outrage, celebrity foot-in-mouth comment, Daily Mail screed of hate or exploitative reality TV show.
Instead, and to the astonishment of music fans (of a certain age, mostly) everywhere, the mysterious and now almost mythical shoegazer band My Bloody Valentine finally released the very belated follow-up to their classic 1991 album Loveless onto their website in the early hours of this morning, to a response on Twitter that can only be described as mass indie hysteria.
Unsurprisingly, the demand for mbv (as the album is inventively titled) almost instantaneously crashed the band’s website, and it remained down for several hours – leading to frustrated jokes aplenty about MBV frontman Kevin Shields breaking the internet or spending 22 years creating a beautifully crafted error message instead of an album.
In a way, all this was typical of My Bloody Valentine – they’ve never been a band to do anything the conventional (or even easy) way. The recording sessions for Loveless, for example, comprehensively demonstrated Shields’ notorious sonic perfectionism at its peak, plus the completed album ended up almost bankrupting Creation Records in the process.
The Bad News:
Just a quick post to let you know that as of today, I have mothballed the Another Kind Of Mind Facebook page. Sadly, the stats are telling me that it is hardly reaching anyone and that this situation is only going to get worse now that new rules for pages have been introduced by Facebook.
The page will continue to exist but it will no longer be updated. If you were one of the few that the Facebook page was reaching and you wish to continue being updated about new material on Another Kind Of Mind, please subscribe to the blog directly (you can find the details at the very bottom right of this page), or follow me on Twitter.
Incidentally, I have removed as many references to the Facebook page as I can find – but with more than 250 posts on here, trawling through them all will take some time! If you do spot any that I have missed, please leave a link to the relevant post in the comments here or on the Feedback page.
Thank you to all the people who liked, commented on and shared the page – I am sorry to see it go, but it is no longer worth my while to continue updating it, especially as I am using Facebook less and less in a personal capacity.
The Good News:
There are some brand new Christmas blog posts coming soon! I will also be speculating about the end of the world (or not) and – assuming we’re all still here by December 31st, obviously! – exploring New Year’s celebrations through history. Watch out for those in the next few weeks – but if you can’t wait until then, you can find some of my previous seasonal posts here.
Also watch out for some more weird history (even weirder and darker than before), some excellent news from Syon Lane Community Allotment, and whatever else I turn up in the meantime…
Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the July 2012 edition of the Another Kind Of Mind Stupid Awards. All those nominated for a Stupid Award tonight have been chosen for their spectacular demonstrations of pure, unadulterated idiocy and their inability to function with any sense even in the glaring face of reality. July has been a vintage month for such complete and utter fuckwittery, what with all of tonight’s candidates showing off their not inconsiderable skills over the last week – so, without further ado, here are the nominees…
Aidan Burley MP:
Nominated for: Being a racist Tory bigot in charge of a computer.
Oh look. Yet another Tory MP has opened his mouth and stuffed his foot firmly inside it in a very public fashion. There is something to be said for politicians being on Twitter – I follow several who are actually very interesting and very human tweeters. I may not always agree with them but they mostly understand the concept of when to shut up – unlike Mr Burley, who is (for the time being, anyway) still somehow MP for the marginal constituency Cannock Chase after some really nasty comments.
Music geeks the world over will be rubbing their hands together with glee at this news – I certainly am! From now until October, The Space website will be releasing parts of the legendary John Peel‘s equally legendary record collection onto its site, at a rate of 100 records a week. This is, and can only be, just a fraction of the great man’s enormous and eclectic collection, as his wife Sheila told Alexis Petridis in The Guardian yesterday:
Peel’s is probably the most celebrated record collection in Britain: 26,000 albums, 40,000 singles and countless CDs, which spread out of Peel’s office and took over a variety of rooms and outbuildings in the home near Stowmarket he invariably referred to as Peel Acres. The singles and CDs, [Sheila] Ravenscroft says, were filed alphabetically, but the albums were a different matter. “They are all filed numerically and cross-referenced with a very old filing cabinet, full of small filing cards that John hand typed himself on his old Olivetti typewriter. The way you access them is that you look in the filing cabinet, find the file card alphabetically, and on the top corner there’s a number.”
These filing cards have now formed the basis of The John Peel Project on The Space, an Arts Council-funded pop-up website, which launches this month and runs until the end of October. Every week, for the next 26 weeks, users will be able to browse the first 100 cards from each letter of the alphabet, with one album pulled out for special attention. “We will try to get a film of the artist, show old clips of them, look into what they are doing now,” says Ravenscroft.
I love the idea of being able to rummage through Peel’s record collection, and I love the sheer geekiness of his filing system! It is such a treat to get this unprecedented access to the arch-uber-music geek’s very own tunes, and I can’t wait to see more. The ‘A’s’ are already available to browse on The Space (there’s even an ABBA record!), with the ‘B’s’ coming next week…
Here’s a bit of fun.
WordPress have recently introduced country stats, which means I can finally be nosy and find out where all my visitors are from. The stats go back approximately a month, and, in my case, contain some rather interesting information…
Unsurprisingly for a British-based blog, the vast majority of my readers during that period hail from the United Kingdom, with the United States and Canada lagging a long way behind in second and third.
I also seem to get a lot of European visitors – in fact, during the period covered by the stats, readers from twenty one of the twenty seven European Union member states popped by (I’m only missing hits from Cyprus, Estonia, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia, so if you know anyone in any of those countries, send them a link to Another Kind Of Mind NOW!).
But I also get hits from some slightly more exotic, far-flung and, frankly, often unexpected places, including Argentina, Mexico, the Netherland Antilles (where’s that?), Bermuda, Mongolia (wow), Paraguay, Vietnam, Morocco, Japan, Tunisia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Korea, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand.
I’d had no idea that Another Kind Of Mind had such an international reach – thank you to all of you, wherever you are, for your visits!
After many requests from fans of the film and much hard work from the Crisis Team, it’s finally here… Yes, The Crisis of Civilization has, at long last, been unleashed online and on DVD!
You lucky people out there can now WATCH THE FILM FOR FREE ONLINE whenever you want. You can also DOWNLOAD THE FILM FOR FREE, and BUY THE DVD (which comes with lots of lovely extras) – all of which means that now you too can put a screening on in your community at any time and spread the word to your friends and family…
Remember, if you decide to buy the DVD, you can be safe in the knowledge that in doing so you are helping to support the project (which has been created on a shoestring by a small and dedicated group of people volunteering their time, skills and energy) in the important job of getting the film out to as many people as possible.
So tell your friends and share the links. Everyone should see this film!
Watch it. Download it. Buy it. Screen it. Share it.
Really exciting news reaches me from Crisis of Civilization HQ – from March 14th 2012 at 7pm UK time, everyone will be able to watch and download the film online for FREE, as well as being able to buy the DVD from the Crisis website or from Amazon!
The DVD will be available in both PAL and NTSC formats – which means that anyone can put a screening on now, wherever they are in the world – and comes in lovely eco-friendly recycled packaging (of course!) with over an hour’s worth of extra goodies for you to enjoy, including deleted scenes, remix films, and additional interview footage.
You’ll also find a range of subtitles in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Swedish and Chinese, which have been expertly put together by an amazingly dedicated bunch of linguistically talented volunteers.
There’s been lots of interest in the release already, with reviews from the Transition Voice website and the independent film magazine Little White Lies, as well as a great response from the BAFTA-winning film-maker, Nick Broomfield, who described The Crisis of Civilization as “a unique film. Everyone should see it”.
I know my readers love a challenge – and here’s a really exciting one from The Crisis of Civilization team!
If you’re into film-making, you’re invited to take part in their Remix Film Challenge. Using audio, archive film footage and music, you too can make your very own Crisis-style sequence – and be in with a chance of winning an A1 poster and a DVD of The Crisis of Civilization (released in March 2012) in the process.
Detailed instructions on exactly how you can get involved, along with lots of links to download the audio files and to find archive footage – as well as other links to some useful editing software – can be found here.
You can also find out more about the archive film footage used in The Crisis of Civilization and watch some of the team’s favourite moments from the archives here.
Spread the word – tell your friends and start Remixing!