Tag Archives: Anna Politkovskaya

The joy of re-reading…with Charlie Brooker

The joy of re-reading – now I really hate re-living moments, whether it be books or films (except for music, I can play a song for hours on end til I break the record).

I had to re-think my stance though, after reading Charlie Brooker’s insightful piece

Apparently 65% of us have lied about reading the great works of literature. We needn’t have bothered

Haha, I love Charlie Brooker.

Well, I’ve got to say – no I haven’t read 1984, I’m trying to gather the courage to pick up Ulysses, i read the entire Bible when I was 12 and I feel embarrassed admitting Tolstoy’s War and Peace is my favourite book of all time.

The first three don’t bother me so much but War and Peace, well there is a conundrum, I think of it fondly and I might cite is my favourite 1000 pages but I can barely remember a word. So,

why is it my favourite? Maybe because I read it in Italy while I was backpacking and it reminds me of the carefree, orange-blossom smell in the air. But it’s more than that, as a book the language is beautiful and precise, and helped me evolve as a fictional writer – I just wish I could remember.

I have read nearly all the greats, or what I consider the worthy (minus the post-1940s disappointments) – but can’t remember.

Nevertheless, I should re-read all these novels that gave me so much joy, taught me about love (every single Victorian novel, my favourite of course being, the oh so unsatisfying, Jane Eyre), it taught me about life and every other thing that anyone needs to know under the sun. (Oh except for animals, don’t understand them, don’t read about them, so can barely tell them apart – never ask me about badgers/porcupines/beavers/otters/moles…)

Because although the fictional world had a heavy hand in moulding me into who I am today, I still bloody well don’t remember.

Soooo, next I want to read The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid.

And I want to read the last Anna Politkovskaya book sitting on my buckling shelf, and the end of the Amber Spyglass so I can return it to my friend, and finish Zadie Smith’s On Beauty, and read whoever won the Man Booker this year, and last year and maybe 2007.

And I want to read what I have already read: my falling to pieces War and Peace, my annoying Anna Karenina (so when I say she annoys me I can back up the why), and finish Dante, and re-read (in English) Madam Bovary, and Tess of d’urbervillles, and The Master and Margarita, and The Satanic Verses, and Crime and Punishment and Villette (consequently the only I really remember vividly).

But I can’t, or won’t, because I still sit at home…watching TV.

But, I most definitely do not say I have read a book just so that I can seem more attractive, a) because it’s pointless; knowing me, my date would quiz me, and b) I’ve usually read anything they have anyway. Plus like Charlie says, who really thinks “man, s/he is totally hot, now that I know s/he’s read Lord of the Rings”.

So here’s what I should do: make a list of everything I want to read, ask everyone else what they think I should read, include Richard and Judy ‘s book recommendations, and ….

… only read War and Peace and Agatha Christie for the rest of my life.

P.S. There’s a grossly blatant repetition here, can anyone spot it?

P.P.S. I miss Jon Ronson and his crazy ways.


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Dippy about Dipity

Well, well, well, I have been thinking about social networking integration more and more lately, especially because I keep forgetting my password and forgetting which new cool online social networking website I am a member of.

I am pretty sure there are a few integrating sites already but I have just come across my new acquisition in my quest to know it all, not quite the holy grail but dipity is an interesting venture.

Specifically, what is dipity? Well, it looks like the next generation of RSS feeds. I would say RSS 2.0 but it doesn’t strike me as sophisticated enough to replace the original item. Still though it is an interesting site and If i could embed it on my wordpress blog I would be perfectly happy, shame on you wordpress for not allowing <iframe> tags in your blog posts.

Well, dipity is a “timeline based lifestreaming aggregator”, what a mouthful! It is basically an evolution of the update websites like Friendfeed.

So why use dipity? Is it just another fad?

For a journalist or PR person this could become a very, very important tool. This site is a constantly updated chronological map on whatever topic may interest you – for fun, keep up to date with friends, twitter, flickr etc.

However more importantly this is a tool to track industry changes and to get instant updates on whatever topics you may want. So, right now I am very interested as to the depressing changes (and I mean cutbacks) in the newspaper industry.

Journalism.co.uk have created their own timeline, tracking industry cutbacks, acquisitions and mergers, a fantastic way to keep updated on how this will definitely affect your own job and a good tool for speculation as to the future of the newspaper industry.

However, if you want to track changes or keep updated on a topic that hasn’t built its own timeline, it is quite easy to set up your own topic, which will only take a couple of minutes and updates itself daily. Let’s say you want to follow the expected general election next year, then this would definitely be a good tool to use, and it will keep you updated on everything from yougov polls to the latest press releases and e-news commentaries. Simply, insert your tag word and the updates should flow in, (or that’s the idea anyway). I did this with the topic Anna Politkovskaya and her trial which I can now get updated without having to scour the net for news.

Can you imagine how big this could be? Consultants are paid a lot of money by companies to track changes to the market, tastes and fads. This site looks like it could do it all for you. For smaller companies or individuals it is a very interesting venture.

Still though, I started this post as soon as I found out about dipity and got to know the tool as I was writing the blog and the more and more I get to know it the more disappointed I am. Not because it is not a fantastic new site that can track topics, news and other stuff I can’t be bothered or don’t have the time to search for sometimes. It is simply because I initially thought this was going to be the social integration site I was looking for, one site that can keep all my RSS feeds, updates, different websites I belong to, news etc all in one URL address, like a collage.

You know that bit in Minority Report when Tom Cruise has that glass screen moving from one piece of information to the other with his fingers, the world at your fingertips, well that’s the holy grail.

Jeff Jarvis said in an article many months ago that we all see the internet incorrectly. We view it as a site by site, page by page world, and don’t realise that we should be viewing it as one entity. What I mean is that we still view different websites as individual from each other and although this has slowly started to change as we  trackback and link up more between sites, for the social networking side of the internet I haven’t really seen this happen fast enough.

There is facebook, flickr, digg, stumbleupon and all these different sites but if you have friends on say facebook and you want to show them your new photos on flickr you have to go through some very complicated procedure to let them know where it is, they don’t just instantly know. Considering how fast the internet is meant to be developing it seems that social network integration is not happening fast enough.

Still, use dipity. Just don’t forget you have it after you set your account up leaving your account wallowing in the internet netherworld.


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Moscow fails Anna Politkovskaya

If you were want to blame someone for unleashing me onto the world of journalism, you can blame Anna Politkovskaya. This was a woman of fierce courage in the face of the oppressing political machine that is Russia, a true hero to the voiceless many of Chechnya who could not tell the world of the horrors of the wars under President Vladimir Putin. A noble mentor who showed what real journalism was about.

And then she was shot. Two years ago this brave anti-Kremlin woman was shot outside her Moscow flat. It is undeniable that this was a hired killing, come on, all the evidence points the way to Putin’s front door. The men that stand in the dock today are there to silent the people, escape goats, who for all her vocal condemnations was loved.

And yet even as the chechnyen brothers Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makmudov and the former police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov stand trial we know this is a farce. A closed court? Who are they trying to kid? These men will get off. They won’t hoodwink the justice system, because the justice system is in the Kremlin’s pockets.

Even at the start of the trial things were a bit off – the family lawyer Karinna Moskalenko had a narrow escape after being poisoned (does anyone hear Alexander Litvinenko stirring in his grave?) and could not be present at the start of the trial. Then to have the trial moved to a military court, where the family will have even less of a chance to be vindicated.

And now to adjourn the trial early because the jurors might feel unsettled about having journalists in the court room, not according to one juror who gave an interview afterwards, shame on you Judge Yevgeny Zubov.

Here lies a trial born out of farce and spitting on the ashes of what was once one of the truly honourable journalists left int he world.

Please read her books, Putin’s Russia will explain how much of a charade this trial will be, and A Dirty War: A Russian Reporter in Chechnya will really show you her journalistic prowess.

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