Monthly Archives: July 2011

BBC science coverage “dumbing down”

This probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise to those of us who are interested in science and/or who know the BBC – but it’s interesting to see it in black and white nonetheless.  The BBC’s Trust published the findings of its review into science coverage on Wednesday.  It was carried out by the UCL academic, Emeritus professor of genetics, Steve Jones so it has pretty good credentials.  The Guardian’s report highlights the depressing picture it paints of different parts of the BBC not only failing to collaborate and share precious resources but of being actively hostile to each other.

This is a problem the BBC never seems willing to address for all its talk of multi-platform, integration, One BBC etc.  Radio doesn’t talk in a sensible, productive way with TV.  Different networks act as if they belong to different organisations rather than seeing themselves as part of a multi-textured whole.  Steve Jones’ report sets out in stark terms what an informed outsider thinks of the way just one part of the BBC behaves.  It doesn’t paint a particularly positive picture of the way the BBC serves its license fee payers.

And another thing… science isn’t just another branch of entertainment.  It’s kinda important.

Museum of Liverpool opens its doors

Liverpool was showing off its cultural side on Tuesday. The Museum of Liverpool opened its doors to the public for the first time and it caused an outbreak of civic pride on the Mersey shore. Lots of us are moaning about not being able to be there in person but the tweeps of Liverpool brought it all to life for us.

PHOTO: Contextual view of the new #museumofliverpool which opened it's doors to the public for the first time toda
Photo by PhilHandforth on twitter

Just in case you hadn’t heard, I open in exactly an hour! Hope you can visit soon #museumofliverpool
July 19, 2011

It’s the chattiest museum in the country!  The Museum of Liverpool loves to tweet and kept a running commentary on its opening day. 

They’re getting into position outside my front doors – let’s make history! #museumofliverpool
July 19, 2011
It is the largest newly-built national museum in more than a century and documents the city”s history from the glorious Empire days to the Fab Four. And the honour of opening the attraction was handed to an unknown six-year-old boy.Travel | Mail Online
Mersey LiverpoolNews
July 19, 2011

And they were queuing to get in.  It was like Saturday morning (used to be) outside TJ Hughes…

Big crowds at #museumofliverpool !
Photo by dickiefelton on twitter

The crowds outside for the opening of #museumofliverpool
Photo by AndyBonnerITV on twitter

And here's the big moment when he declares #museumofliverpool open! That's one big pair of scissors.
Photo by LivMuseums on twitter

Great moment as little Finn O’Hare opened the new #museumofliverpool, everyone now pouring inside to explore the treasures within
July 19, 2011

Finn had written to the Museum’s bosses last year….

“Dear Mr and Mrs in charge of the museum. My name is Finn O”Hare and I am nearly six. I am very excited about when the new museum will open. Please can I come to the opening ceremony? It will be great. I am good at opening things — Please can I open the museum?”

Nice that Bbc's Tom Sandars dressed like Finn!! #museumofliverpool
Photo by dickiefelton on twitter

Been waiting you to open for a while just so i can see the spiral stair case in the atrium !! #museumofliverpool
July 19, 2011

#museumofliverpool I LOVE
Photo by Claire_Gillgogs on twitter

Museum of Liverpool
Photo by gdunbavand on flickr

Photo by tweeclare on twitter

Lots going on in Liverpool today – #museumofliverpool opening & #Liverbirds100thanniversary
July 19, 2011
Would ideally be spending today wandering around #museumofliverpool instead a day of admin… at least I have @pye05 with me later…
July 19, 2011
Can’t wait to go see the brand new #museumofliverpool opened today. Boyfriend has gone without me while I’m stuck at work. Jealous AS.
July 19, 2011
Visited me today? Tell me your favourite thing at #museumofliverpool Personally, I like the stunning views I’ve got.. (tries not to be smug)
July 19, 2011
@MuseumLiverpool It’s got to be the video as you walk in the upstairs gallery. Best descriptions of Scouse style ever. #museumofliverpool
July 19, 2011
Amazing Lutyens model of the Cathedral that never was #museumofliverpool
July 19, 2011

mike mcCartney pics
Photo by Bluray1878 on flickr

It’s not all footy in Liverpool, you know.  We’ve got a pretty decent cyclist too.

Chris Boardman's hour record bike
Photo by Racklever on flickr

My doll in the 'Made Up-Liverpool Look' exhibition in the new #MuseumOfLiverpool @designorthsouth
Photo by KelseyIreland on twitter

A Probe bag in #museumofliverpool. I had hundreds of them.
Photo by LpoolChamber on twitter

Don’t forget to use the #museumofliverpool hashtag to send a message to the tweetwall inside the Museum of Liverpool!
July 19, 2011
loving the #museumofliverpool it’s fab & massive! Have been here since 8:30am and I’ve not even seen anything on the ground floor!
July 19, 2011
The new #museumofliverpool is fantastic & defo worth a visit. Glad there isn’t the over-reliance on Football & Beatles I dreaded!
July 19, 2011
Interesting quote from architect #museumofliverpool "It is a World Heritage Site, actually a site where you should not have built maybe”
July 19, 2011
The Museum connects the city together on many levels – physically, socially and architecturally. The idea of creating a Museum as a nexus in both physical and symbolic expression has been central from the start. I am very satisfied to see that this ideal is carried out to the full in the completed s
Kirsten Kiser
July 17, 2011
The Outside of the #museumofliverpool links up the Albert dock and Pier head and you can see the Dry Docks again.
July 19, 2011

Museum of Liverpool Life - Opening Day, 19 July, 2011 (1)
Photo by ronramstew on flickr

Then came the news we’d all been waiting to hear.

Decent cafe here too! #museumofliverpool
Photo by dickiefelton on twitter

Phew!  Inevitably, not everyone liked the Museum.
£72million for museum to highlight how great liverpool used to be, I already have a football team for that #museumofliverpool
July 19, 2011
Is it just me who thinks the Museum of Liverpool looks like a white version of @LancsCCC ‘s The Point?
July 19, 2011
@GranadaReports That new Liverpool Museum looks out of place, it looks too modern for the buildings by it. Jess Middlehurst
July 19, 2011

Meanwhile, the Public and Commercial Services Union used the opening day to publicise its concerns about pay conditions for the Museum’s staff.  The Union says Museum workers are facing a 4 year pay freeze which in real terms could mean a 20% pay cut.

6pm tonight protest at #museumofliverpool to highlight low pay and pay freeze while the top exec is enjoying 6 figures pay packages
July 19, 2011

#museumofliverpool protest #lowpayculture
Photo by boctokI on twitter

Wow! According to my calculations, 10,000 of you have come to visit me today already! #museumofliverpool
July 19, 2011

Just setup at Museum of Liverpool, Pink streamers. Pink carpet too!
Photo by Philait on twitter

Pink carpet – check, crazy Liver Building on wheels – check, DJ Norman – check #museumofliverpool is almost ready for some VIP guests
July 19, 2011
Once the hoi polloi had been kicked out, the evening got sophisticated as Liverpool’s celebrities walked the pink carpet.

@Yokoono at #museumofliverpool tonight!
Photo by dickiefelton on twitter

Hello yoko! Lovely hat. #museumofliverpool
July 19, 2011

Karen Elizabeth Gill, granddaughter of the great Bill Shankly, found it moving.

Wish my granddad could have seen the museum.He’d be so proud to see that his influence is still appreciated and respected #museumofliverpool
July 19, 2011
#museumofliverpool David Yip (Chinese Detective) chatting to Alexi Sayle…
July 19, 2011
#museumofliverpool And there goes the wonderful children’s author Frank Cottrell Boyce…
July 19, 2011
#museumofliverpool and there’s Louise Ellman chatting to Ed Vaizey…
July 19, 2011
Thanks for coming to see me ken. Yes! Ken Dodd! THE Ken Dodd. #museumofliverpool
July 19, 2011

So, for those of us yet to visit, how would the Museum’s director sum it up? 

David Fleming: Museum of Liverpool is a democratic museum of the people by the people for the people
July 19, 2011

Or, to put it more succinctly….

Its packed and dead good here. #museumofliverpool
July 19, 2011

On the subject of the News of the World….

As News International licks its wounds and withdraws its hugely popular News of the World from the history of British journalism, a quick anecdote involving its sister paper, The Sun, and its reputation in my home town, Liverpool.

Back in 1996, I was waiting in the departure lounge of Tashkent International airport (yes, gentle reader, the glamour of global journalism).  I had been living there for 12 months heading up a media project for the EU.  In front of me in the queue was a group of Scousers.  They weren’t the usual Western visitors to Tashkent – businessmen, diplomats, charity workers, academics – but ordinary blokes in their thirties.  I was “made up” to find some fellow Scousers so far from home so got chatting with them.  What were they doing in Central Asia?  “We’ve been working in the gold mines,” they replied. (There must have been some pretty eccentric careers advisers knocking around Liverpool schools back in the eighties.)  “What’s it like working in a gold mine the middle of the Uzbek desert, miles from anywhere?”  “Yeah, it’s OK.  We live in trailers and of an evening there’s beer and some nice ladies.”

They asked me what I was doing in Tashkent.  “I’m a journalist, ” I said.  Their friendly smiles suddenly froze and there was silence.  “You don’t work for the Sun, do you?” one of them eventually asked.  “No, BBC World Service.” Palpable relief all round.

(Actually, I don’t think the Sun ever carries many Central Asian stories)