Monthly Archives: August 2008

start of Olympic Games

Usually I don’t bother about the Olympic Games, as they seem to have become just too commercial, but I am getting quite excited about the Olympic Games in China, mainly because they have already been so newsworthy, partly controversial and very unusual.

I am just watching the opening ceremony whilst doing other stuff and am impressed with the mass spectacle and with what creativity it has been organised. It is a very beautiful, exotic and enlightening performance to watch.

I haven’t watched any opening of an Olympic ceremony for the last 20 years or so, because they seemed so absolutely predictable, or in the case of Atlanta very commercial and focused on a few individuals’  performances and celebrity appearances such like Muhammed Ali’s or Cathy Freeman.

The commentators are a bit unnerving, but it was said that the performers trained for three years for event, which has in total been planned for seven years. I don’ t think any other country could have managed (or afforded) to train masses of performers for  three years for such a spectacular event.

Best I liked the drummers, it seemed as if they were hitting madly a hord of photocopiers. The use of glowsticks as drumsticks was also a brilliant idea.  Best I liked it when the camera was zooming into the masses of performers and you could see the different facial expressions of the performers; some were happily smiling, others very focused. 

The printing machine performance was also great. I particularily liked it when one guy made a little mistake and stood up at the wrong time, symbolising that mass performances really only work if they all the performers work in perfect harmony. One person could really spoil the whole picture. I also liked them all madly waving and smiling at the end.

The paddle performers were also great. I quite like the intelligent cultural references made throughout the introduction. The firework footsteps have also been an incredibly poetic and powerful idea.

I must say though that I was a little bit annoyed by the commentator, especially the female commentator, who later was revealed to be a well-known and usually highly reputable broadcast journalist.
Well, it probably is a tricky task to come up with some intelligent ad-lib stuff if there are so many nations entering the stadium for hours and not much otherwise happening.
So maybe its then exusable if the only thing said  about Bangladesh is that it has a water problem because of its high flooding risk and that Uzbekistan’s president has been reelected with 94% of the votes. …
I was watching the German public television channel not the BBC, I would like to stress at that moment though.

What I found really shocking (amongst other things) is that the Chinese were said to have been shooting clouds with silver iodide to prevent it from raining during the opening ceremony.  That sounds like a very toxic method compared with the alternative of the performers getting wet!

Putzfimmel, Kundendienst und ähnliches

Habe heute den totalen Putzfimmel. Den krieg ich normalerweise nur einmal im Jahr, und ungünstigerweise passiert mir das gerade heute. Wahrscheinlich aus zwei Gründen: a) ich sollte meine Abschlussarbeit schreiben und b) meine Schwester hat vor ihrem Abschied in den Wanderurlaub gesagt, dass ich wirklich NICHT putzen brauche. 
Und das löst natürlich immer die gegenteilige Reaktion aus bei mir.  Ausserdem fangen gerade jetzt an alle möglichen Geräte hier verrückt zu spielen – angefangen von der Kaffeemaschine bis zur Spülmaschine, auf einmal machen die alle Faxen. Die Kaffeemaschine will nur noch manuell bedient werden und die Spülmaschine springt gleich immer zum Ende ohne vorher zu reinigen.

Warum gehen die Dinge immer kaputt sobald die Hausherrin die Tür zumacht und in den Urlaub verschwindet? Jetzt wollte ich den Kundendienst rufen, bin aber von den schlechten Erfahrungsberichten  unzufriedener Kunden etwas abgeschreckt [ Profectis | Quelle | Blog ]. Außerdem ist der Kundendienst ziemlich teuer – kostet anscheined fast soviel wie eine neue Spülmaschine eines unbekannter Hersteller.

Edinburgh Festival highlights

This weekend the Book festival starts off in Charlotte Square, with a lot of celebrities and international journalists presenting their new publications.

Also, on Friday, the World Press Photography Exhibition starts off in the Scottish Parliament, with the Festival of Politics starting on the 20th of August.  I was also looking forward to the Festival of Peace and Spirituality, till I realised that most of the interesting events are no longer free as they were the years before.

Maybe I’ll manage this year to go to the non-commercial events of the Edinburgh’s People Festival and the alternative Free Festival. To go to the International Festival or most Fringe events will just be too expensive and unaffordable if I would have to pay.

Last year was brilliant when I was able to review events such like Whisky tasting sessions for Three Weeks.

Leaked: police’s guidelines to suppress protest

A policeman has lost one of his pocket rulebook to policing protest at the climate camp. It has been written by a department called NECTU: National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit, but nowadays apparantly also covering environmentalists.

Not since Wikileaks published secret documents about operating procedures in Camp Delta in Guantanamo was it that much *fun* (you know what I mean) to read something the public isn’t supposed to know. [ past report ]

The policing at the Climate Camp seems to be rather aggressive – watch BBC video. Unusually the mainstream media seems to be very engagingly reporting from the camp, like The Guardian and also Channel4 News – but for the Press Association, which is demonstrating once again why the journalist profession is one of the least trusted in Britain.

Attempts to silence Uzbekistan solidarity

I was just wondering where the little thumbnail to the past libel threat vs. Craig Murray, Ex-ambassador of Britain to Uzbekistan was disappearing to, when I followed up the past reporting and found out that there is another and new libel threat by Shillings lawyers towards Craig Murray to prevent the publication of a new book. This time the debate is about the methods of Tim Spicer, who is running one of the private, publically unaccountable mercenary armies in Iraq.

How lucky that I’ll be back in Edinburgh to follow the next episode of the Shillings libel drama live:

“We note from your website that Mr Murray is due to speak about the Book at a ‘Mainstream author event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival’ entitled ‘Lived Lives’ on 12th August 2008 at 4.30pm in the RBS Main Theatre, Edinburgh. “