Thursday, May 29, 2008

I'm still here - just a bit busy. But I received an email which I decided to check out and was glad I did. Emmanuel Jal played Greenbelt in 2005. I'm not a fan of rap but his new album Warchild is powerful stuff, looking back at his own life as a warchild. You can here bits of the album here or at his myspace site.

This is the title video of the album

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A further snippet from the Everest diary - this one was 3 days ago. I gather they finally made the summit today so I expect the BBC's hardy staff will be making swift arrangements to go somewhere a bit warmer.

Everest Olympic torch diary
After the Olympic torch's tour around the world, and ahead of its arrival in Beijing for the Games in August, the BBC's Jonah Fisher joins it for the high point of its trip - up Mount Everest.

In the seventh of his diary instalments, he hears news via a roundabout route, on the final ascent.

We're just a short distance from Mount Everest but the latest news on the ascent came from 5,000km (3,000 miles) away in Beijing.
China's state broadcaster CCTV sent an email to the BBC bureau informing them that from 0600 local time on Thursday (2200 GMT Wednesday) it would be broadcasting a six-hour special called Sacred Flame to Scale Mt Qomolangma (Everest).

Wednesday's briefing at Everest media centre had, of course, not thought to touch on such a trivial matter.

We were instead forced to listen to a man from an electricity company tell us how the media centre gets its power (solar and generators), followed by a telecoms man tell us about the internet service we use (too expensive, a local journalist complained).

There was then some information about the climbers' route, but nothing about when the climb would take place.

It was about 10 hours after the email first arrived at the BBC that a late-night press conference was called at the media centre. By that time the yak manure stoves had been burning for a while and we were addressed through a powerful-smelling haze.

Mr Shao Shiwei, the spokesman from the Beijing Organising Committee, announced with great gusto that the attempt on the summit would start early the next day. There were no gasps of surprise.

The families of most of the journalists had already seen adverts for the special programme on CCTV and had called to let them know.

Twelve climbers will make up the final group. If all goes according to plan, they will carry the specially designed lanterns to the summit before lighting a torch.

It is that image of the Olympic torch on top of the world which the Chinese are hoping people will remember.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/05/07 17:44:53 GMT


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Blimey 3 blogs in a day. I couldn't resist posting this link though. We go back quite a long way and I like to think I've played a part in helping Justine get to where she is now. These songs are frankly awesome! I wonder if the manager job offer still stands!

If you ever follow the news you may know that the Chinese have been attempting to take the Olympic torch to the top of Mount Everest. There's been a series of diary blogs on the BBC site covering this. My brother is one of the two BBC people out there trying in vain to capture something news worthy but the Chinese seem more interested in showing of their fire hoses - which of course are very essential in a place like Everest! Here's a snippet from the the Beeb.

Everest Olympic torch diary
As the Olympic torch makes its way around the world before arriving in Beijing for the Games in August, the BBC's Jonah Fisher joins it for the high point of its trip - on Mount Everest.

In the fifth of his diary instalments, he takes a tour of Everest base camp.

On Wednesday we had a treat.
After lengthy negotiations with the border police our minders secured us permission to visit Everest base camp 5km from our media village.

With strict instructions not to film the numerous military trucks on the way, we were driven to the tented camp that forms the command centre for both the climbing team as well as the official Chinese media.

Stop filming

My colleague Peter Emmerson and I climbed a small ridge with a great view of both the tents of base camp and Mount Everest. We attempted to do a piece to camera.

Unfortunately it seems the military are everywhere in base camp. We were soon accused of filming military areas and forced to stop filming.

Clambering breathlessly down from the ridge we were herded towards our next briefing. In a week that has seen a lot of pointless briefings, this one broke new ground.

A crew of firemen explained how in this rocky, barren and almost entirely plantless landscape there was a severe risk of fire. There followed a demonstration of their surprisingly powerful hose.

Feeling more mutinous than ever we were hauled off to meet the head weatherman of the torch team, Yang Xing Guo.

It was clear that something had happened before his words were even translated. The gasps from the Chinese journalists said it all. After days of a news blackout we were about to receive a new piece of information.

"It would be hard to climb the summit today," he said. "It's certainly not possible in the next three days because there is wind above 100km/h."

Could it be that Mr Yang had not been told in advance? Didn't he know that we were supposed to be told nothing about the climbers' plans?

World of answered questions

Gleefully we walked off to the next event clutching our fact for the day. The smiles lasted only a few minutes though until the flipside began to sink in. We could be here in the bitter cold and high altitude for quite a while.

Next on the base camp tour was a briefing on the specially-designed lantern and torch that will be used to ascend the mountain.


While looking very similar to the globetrotting torch, these flame-carriers will burn a solid state fuel which I'm told stays alight better at low oxygen levels.

The lanterns will be used to take the flame to the top of Everest where a special lighter will be used to ignite an Olympic torch. If all goes according to China's plan it will be that image of the torch on Everest that will be on front pages around the world.

Having had two consecutively interesting briefings, we staggered in shock to the hospitality tent where we were plied with coffee and biscuits. Our three-hour stay in base camp at an end, we got back on our bus to be driven through the checkpoints back to the media centre.

We'd had a tantalising taste of a world where people actually answer our questions.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/05/01 10:16:31 GMT


It occurs to me that I have forgotten to mention something in recent blogs - I've known it a while but for some reason it wasn't formally announced so I had to keep quiet. So here it is:

Panama Kings - JD Set Unsigned Masterclass Winners 2008

Part of the prize is going onto the books of X-Ray Touring who handle some of the biggest names around such as Coldplay. Not sure how much they will need this support as the band keeps getting invited to play with some really good names over in Belfast. I'm now starting a campaign to have them as the main support band to Michael Franti on the Firday night at Greenbelt. Are you listening Rachael???

Friday, May 02, 2008

Michael McDermott - The River

This was recorded during Italian leg of recent tour over here - nice cover of Springsteen's The River. You have to whack up the volume at the end as he went unplugged and let the audience take over.

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