Articles

Writing Letters to the Editor in the age of the tabloid paper

In Uncategorized on January 16, 2018 by kmflett

Writing Letters to the Editor in the age of the tabloid

I started reading what was still known as the Manchester Guardian (copies were not easily available in North London, unlike now) at the behest of my late father in the mid-1960s. He had become fed up after his daily paper, the Daily Herald, had become the Sun (even pre-Murdoch).

I’ve been writing letters to the Editor for over 30 years, 20 years or so after I first started reading it (some apprenticeship). I still write letters most days but fewer than in previous decades.

There are of course reasons. There are fewer outlets to write now. The Independent for example no longer exists in any serious sense as a newspaper (as opposed to a clickbait website). I don’t write to the Murdoch owned press

A second reason, amplified perhaps by the move of The Guardian to a tabloid format from a modified (Berliner) broadsheet format on 15th January, is that I don’t think letters in tabloids, which invariably have greater pagination than old style broadsheets have the same prominence or impact.

I note that the Guardian has plans to address that by having a ‘journal’ pull out section containing features and comment. It will be interesting to see how that works.

The third and main reason is of course the rise of the interwebs and social media. In some cases (beer and brewing for example) discussion has moved very largely on-line from print 20 years ago.

I joined Twitter in 2009 and Facebook 6 months later. Before the rise of social media the only ways of getting your views in print was to write a ‘letter to the Editor’ or persuade an Editor that you should write an opinion piece (which I certainly did from time to time)

I write regularly on the broad area of socialist history in the Morning Star but much of my commentary on life the universe and everything now appears on social media and on my blog. Here of course there is generally no editor (although my partner Megan sometimes helpfully points out some of my more obvious errors) except for myself the author. Fortunately my actual occupation as a union officer provides an excellent grounding in the art of self-editing. Resisting the temptation to comment is a hard earnt but important skill.

I will of course continue writing Fletters to the tabloid Guardian, but I increasingly note that commentary (aside from the usual ‘groan, Old Fletty is in the paper again) on them more often appears in social media.

Changing times certainly but interesting ones

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Articles

Hackney shaves opposition in Beard Friendly Pub & Bottle Shop of the Year Vote

In Uncategorized on January 15, 2018 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

January 15th

Contact Keith flett                                           07803 167266

HACKNEY SHAVES OPPOSITION IN BEARD FRIENDLY PUB & BOTTLE SHOP OF THE YEAR VOTE

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that the annual votes for the Beard Friendly Pub and Bottle Shop of the Year has concluded with the Cock Tavern in Hackney, and Clapton Craft bottle shop, also based in the Borough shaving the opposition.

Beard Friendly Pub
1 The Cock Tavern E8

2 Bag of Nails, Bristol

3 Stoneworks Peterborough

4 Mother Kelly’s Bethnal Green/Vauxhall

Beard Friendly Bottle Shop

1 Clapton Craft

2 Mother Kelly’s Shops

3 Roath/Penarth Bottle Shops

The campaigners say that while the annual polls are a bit of new year fun but are also designed to highlight the diversity and inclusivity of the modern British pub and bottle shop at a time when they are traditionally quiet after the festive season

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, clearly beards and beer are still big in Hackney but the poll suggests that other areas of the country are getting the diversity message too.

The criteria for the Award include:

Beard Friendly Pub: a pub that welcomes the hirsute and often has a significant number of hirsute customers, including but certainly not confined to those with modern styles of beards .

Beard Friendly Ambience: a pub that may have fewer hirsute customers but is welcoming to the hirsute through some bearded bar staff and beard friendly beers, and has a generally relaxed atmosphere for all.

Beard Friendly Bottle Shop: Both a beard friendly ambience and a range of beard friendly beers

The campaign group says it welcomes diversity in both appearance and drinking. The truly beard friendly pub will have a genuine mix of customers not just a load of old blokes grumbling about

The Beard Friendly Pub, Bar, Tap of the Year Short List 2018

The Axe, Hackney

Bag of Nails, Bristol

Bundobust, Manchester

The Chesham Arms, Hackney

Cock Tavern, Hackney

Dukes Head, Highgate

Hanging Bat, Edinburgh

Hop Locker, Waterloo

Jolly Butchers, Hackney

Mother Kelly’s (Bethnal Green/Vauxhall)

Small Bar, Bristol/Cardiff

Stoneworks, Peterborough

Whitelocks/Turks Head, Leeds

Beavertown/Pressure Drop Brewery Taps, Tottenham

Crafty Devil Cellar, Cardiff

Magic Rock Brewery Tap, Huddersfield

 

Articles

Blue Monday & fake news

In Uncategorized on January 15, 2018 by kmflett

Blue Monday and fake news

According to at least one ‘expert’ 15th January is Blue Monday the most depressing day of the year. You can read how the concept has developed here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Monday_(date)

It is not exactly fake news but if you take it too seriously you may wish to think again.

Blue Monday was started by an academic who now markets himself as a happiness consultant or similar. Certainly, checking my case load as a trade union officer, I note that January can be depressing (& it’s not part of my JD to make people happy anyway), but then, depending on context, so can lots of other times of the year.

There is a link to beard stories here. You may recall that a couple of years back a ‘scientific’ study (by Australian researchers) concluded we had reached peak beard. Did you believe that? Take a trip to Hackney. Another (US based) suggested that beards harboured as many germs as a toilet bowl. Was this in fact factually verifiable? Of course it was not.

This stuff is not exactly made up but neither is it actually true either. Between reality and fake is a vast grey area.

Take care out there.

Articles

Did The Observer support Chartism?

In Uncategorized on January 14, 2018 by kmflett

Kennington Common 10th April 1848

The Observer will appear as a tabloid on 21st January following the reformat of the Guardian.

As part of the change the Observer’s Editor John Mulholland has reviewed the history of the paper (14th January) and made the point that the paper supported Chartism:

And what a history. The Observer supported the Chartist movements for political and social reform in the 19th century. It backed the rise of early trade unionism. It sided with the North against the Confederate slave states in the American civil war. It played a vital role in helping to establish Amnesty International and Index on Censorship and became the principal supporter in the British press of Nelson Mandela.

A similar point was made in 2010 in a previous redesign. However is it true?

This is how The Observer reported the Chartist demonstration on 10th April 1848 at Kennington Common:

The metropolis presented on Monday a scene of unusual excitement and alarm. The determination announced by the members of the Chartist National Convention to hold their meeting and procession in defiance of the law and the constituted authorities – the military preparations, almost unparalleled for extent and completeness to put down any insurrectionary attempts.

The weather was exceedingly favourable for the demonstration; no obstruction was offered by the police to the processions which left the Middlesex side of London for Kennington Common; a free thoroughfare was permitted to all who wished to take part in the public meeting; and yet, instead of the 300,000 persons who, we were told would assemble on Kennington Common does not reach 50,000

Observer 16th April 1848.

The report does not read as particularly supportive. However Ive no doubt the Editor wrote in good faith. The Observer certainly did support the extension of the suffrage (vote) and that was the key Chartist demand. Support for the Chartist movement was another matter.

Articles

Prince Harry faces ‘Captain Birds Eye’ in Beard of Winter poll

In Uncategorized on January 14, 2018 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

PRESS RELEASE 15th January

Contact Keith Flett      07803 167266

Prince Harry faces ‘Captain Birds Eye’ in Beard of Winter poll

‘Captain Birds Eye’

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has announced the shortlist for the Beard of Winter 2018 poll.

The list contains a diverse list of contenders for the annual accolade but the BLF has confirmed that Toby Young is not eligible for ‘bringing the hirsute into disrepute’

It is the first of four seasonal awards that lead to the Beard of the Year Award in December 2018.

The Beard of Winter focuses both on fuller organic beards, suitable for winter weather but also on beards that have made an early New Year impact in the public eye.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, as ever it is a wide ranging, eclectic, list but one very much focused on the winter season.

The poll closes on Monday January 29th

Beard of Winter shortlist

Prince Harry, Royal personage

Charles Dagnall, sports commentator

Daniel Vane, brewer

Mark Gatiss, actor & writer

Joe Thornton, ice-hockey player

Andy McDonald, politician

Theo Walcott, footballer

Ed Sheeran, musician

Riccardo Acerbi, actor & new Captain Birds Eye

Sean Dyce, football manager

 

 

 

Articles

Clapton Craft shaves Mother Kelly’s to win Beard Friendly Bottle Shop of Year vote

In Uncategorized on January 14, 2018 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

14th January

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Clapton Craft shaves Mother Kelly’s to win Beard Friendly Bottle Shop of Year vote

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that the first ever vote for the Beard Friendly Bottle Shop of the Year has seen Clapton Craft bottle shops shave Mother Kelly’s bottle shops, both in London, for the accolade. The separate Bottle Shop in Roath Cardiff and Penarth was third.

The criteria for the trial poll were:

1] The shop must sell beard friendly beers and primarily beer, rather than being a general off licence that includes beer

2] The shop must be welcoming to the hirsute

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, there was huge interest in the poll underlining that the market for craft beer has now created a new range of beard friendly shops. The vote will run again in January 2019 but in the meantime congratulations to the winners.

Beard Friendly Bottle Shop of the Year

Clapton Craft (London)

Mother Kellys (London)

Hop,Burns & Black (London)

Beermoth (Manchester)

Cotteridge Wines (Birmingham)

Little Leeds Beerhouse

Bottle Shop (Roath/Penarth)

Bottle Shop SE1

Hops’n’Pops (Cardiff)

 

 

Articles

Hackney Boozer wins ‘Beard Friendly Pub of the Year’ poll for second year

In Uncategorized on January 14, 2018 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

January 14th

Contact Keith flett                                           07803 167266

HACKNEY BOOZER WINS ‘BEARD FRIENDLY PUB OF THE YEAR’ POLL FOR SECOND YEAR

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that the annual vote for the Beard Friendly Pub of the Year has seen the Cock Tavern in central Hackney win the Beard Friendly Pub of the Year poll for the second year running

The Cock Tavern shaved the opposition, with the Bag of Nails in Bristol second and newcomer the Stoneworks in Peterborough third. Mother Kellys which has bars in Bethnal Green and Vauxhall was fourth.

The campaigners say that while the annual poll is a bit of new year fun it is also designed to highlight the diversity and inclusivity of the modern British pub at a time when they are traditionally quiet after the festive season

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, well done to the Cock Tavern. It is a pub notable for the number of hirsute customers it attracts, but also a range of beard friendly beers and ciders. The Cock bristles with beard friendliness.

The criteria for the Award include:

Beard Friendly Pub: a pub that welcomes the hirsute and often has a significant number of hirsute customers, including but certainly not confined to those with modern styles of beards .

Beard Friendly Ambience: a pub that may have fewer hirsute customers but is welcoming to the hirsute through some bearded bar staff and beard friendly beers, and has a generally relaxed atmosphere for all.

The campaign group says it welcomes diversity in both appearance and drinking. The truly beard friendly pub will have a genuine mix of customers not just a load of old blokes grumbling about life.

In a separate poll Clapton Craft beat Mother Kellys for Beard Friendly Bottle Shop of the Year with the Bottle Shop CF24 in Cardiff third

Notes

Some hostelries on the list style themselves as bars not pubs. This distinction is for others. The BLF is about beards.

Nothing here is meant to suggest that pubs not on the list are unfriendly to beards. This is about pubs that are particularly and emphatically beard friendly

The Beard Friendly Pub, Bar, Tap of the Year Short List 2018

The Axe, Hackney

Bag of Nails, Bristol

Bundobust, Manchester

The Chesham Arms, Hackney

Cock Tavern, Hackney

Dukes Head, Highgate

Hanging Bat, Edinburgh

Hop Locker, Waterloo

Jolly Butchers, Hackney

Mother Kelly’s (Bethnal Green/Vauxhall)

Small Bar, Bristol/Cardiff

Stoneworks, Peterborough

Whitelocks/Turks Head, Leeds

Beavertown/Pressure Drop Brewery Taps, Tottenham

Crafty Devil Cellar, Cardiff

Magic Rock Brewery Tap, Huddersfield