Thursday, August 10, 2006

Still working on the Sidmouth article for OhmyNews. Talking to Jo Gedrych of exeter Television has resulted in the load of a a video camera. So this is engaged journalism. The video won't be much of a feature of the story as it will take a while to edit. For one thing it has to be reporting, not a series of performances.

Citizen photographer Gary Trembling has now returned to London. There will be links later to some photos. I don't have time to load them up at the moment. Just one above, see Melonious Funk below. Maybe more at the weekend. There is something compelling about Sidmouth Folk Week as a concentration of time and space. It will come to an end gradually but the wind today had a hint of autumn. I think maybe why we write about the uses of IT in support of the event is that we just wqant to be associated with something that works anyway. There is definitely a sense this year that the new model is established. Still, looking at ways to extend it in a parallel digitised world could contribute something.

Meanwhile, Paul Gillard has loaded some short clips from a Country event held for the Devon Air Ambulance Trust back in July. Holsworthy is way north of Sidmouth so there is a gap in space and time. Also Country seems not to be included much in the Folk scope. The Fallen Apples did a couple of Johnny Cash numbers at the Volunteer but mostly stuck to blues. Anyway you can see from the clips that the people near Holsworthy seemed to enjoy it.

The Guardian is still looking at ways to expand online. The Web Editor's Week before last mentions attempts to grab the attention of the festival audience in Edinburgh.

"More people than ever will use the site from Edinburgh itself, not least because the Fringe box office's e-ticket terminals on top of Waverley station will be connected to Guardian Unlimited. Some will follow events avidly from afar. Others - especially our increasing number of overseas users - will have only the faintest of notions what we're all getting so worked up about. Still others are allergic to Edinburgh and won't want to read a word.

This year, we're launching a dedicated version of our Culture Vulture weblog (the imaginatively christened Festival Vulture). It'll host a stream of eyewitness journalism - pictures and sound, as well as text. We're hoping the blog will be a bit like Edinburgh itself, a place where performers, critics and audiences can rub shoulders.

That's not as straightforward as it sounds. Normally, when editing the blog, our main priority is community - the sense that we're connecting with an engaged, vocal audience. If we do well as editors, we draw out from our communities as much as we put in. But when those same communities are dispersed, or fighting their way up the Royal Mile, rather than sitting at a computer, it becomes much harder to pull them in and make them talk."

Now actually, this may not be a sensible idea. Maybe if they are "fighting their way up the Royal Mile" they should be left alone. Program information before the event might have saved them a trip if they are going in the wrong direction. Photos later may be interesting if they don't have enough of their own.

I realise I am criticising a point of view I have tried to promote previously. Why has the Anchor not got a few screens of what is going on at Dukes or on the Esplanade so you can decide whether to move on? Well, obviously there are limits to co-operation and anyway would people reaaly welcome the confusion? My current theory is that online is out of time and space so real life may not be connected in all circumstances.

Melonious Funk are playing at the Dukes tomorrow, Friday. Seems to be a variation on Chameleon who played last year. After a week of folk, a blast of funk and jazz will suit a lot of people, my guess. If only Exeter had some of the Sidmouth atmosphere during Vibraphonic.

Melonious Funk at Myspace, four tracks

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