15 Jul 2010

Serendipity strikes!

OK folks – so there are some teething problems – ‘tis true that when you arrive at Snowblog you find yourself back in January.

An unpleasant enough thought, let alone reality at 6.00 am on a balmy summer’s day. The print is tiny via some browsers, reasonable via others. ‘They’ are working on it.

Actually the site itself will work far better than the old one. I have had to remonstrate with ‘them’ about my photo which has deteriorated from a reasonably twinkly looking soul to a stern old Senator.

Vanity of vanities – cares about his image…dammit…’tis true. I’m trying to hose down the colouring. Don’t panic anyone, it will all come out in the wash.

No sign of my bike, but the police have been excellent. Barry at Holborn is ‘investigating’. I have a crime number.

And I have been contacted by the Mayor’s new Met Police Cycle unit. One of his chaps is coming to see me this afternoon.

The £1000 reward is still unclaimed. No sign of the steed on Gumtree or eBay. This bike’s too hot to handle. I’m going to get it back!

And when I do, I’ll race the flying pigs down the Grays Inn Road. Pigs do fly, and stolen bikes do return. How’s that for optimism?

In between spasms of hunting for my bike, I am preparing for a gig at London’s Frontline Club. The Club is a Mecca for both seasoned, aspiring to be seasoned, and actually aspiring hacks.

I have to do a ‘Reflections’ there on Monday – a sort of Desert Island Clips of stories and people that have influenced by short career thus far.

I was clipping up some Idi Amin, a bit of US hostages in Iran stuff, some death squads in El Salvador, Reagan/Gorby summits, something from our Iran Week, and Africa week, and Haiti.

Mike, the lovely guy who transferred it all onto DVD expressed amazement at it – I felt like something he’d just encountered in a musty old display case in the British Museum.

Hey ho another day is with us, and I haven’t a clue what it heralds, save that I know that it will end in attendance at the Prince of Darkness’s book launch.

The ‘Third Man’ has topped Amazon’s sales list even before it available. You could never have invented him – love or hate him (most who know him have managed both) you could never have invented him!

Tweets by @jonsnowC4

29 reader comments

  1. Patrick says:

    Treat yourself to a traditional Pashley for your commute in the morning? Far too fusty to be desirable – and the upright position so much better for keeping an eye on the traffic.

    The big test of Mandelson’s book is how quickly it turns up in Oxfam. Worth looking out for in the next few weeks.

  2. phil dicks says:

    I take it all back. The earlier picture was great. I don’t think we’re reactionaries, but can we go back to the old ways – they actually worked? Is this new format an example of C4 “letting the work-experience-people have a go while we’re on holiday”?
    Some change really is retrogressive.

  3. Britt_W says:

    I quite like the new website design. It is cleaner and has a fresher, ‘less is more’ look about it. OK, the photo is a bit stern and ‘non-saturated’ (easy to fix!), but then we all know the real version is a lot more colourful. And I don’t mean just tie-wise. Besides, as long as your inner soul remains 23 – who cares?

    Looking forward to the Frontline Club talk.
    I am just trying to place myself in your above description of the audience. I’m not an aspiring hack, but – maybe MY inner soul is just that, I don’t know. Or maybe I’m just a news nerd.

    Anyway, you’d better be good, because I’ll be travelling from Devon and back, just to be there. No pressure!

  4. Meg Howarth says:

    Cycling pigs really can fly, Jon, believe it! Years ago my daughter’s bike was returned, a bit muddy but that’s all, after I posted notices on lamp-posts in and around our street – it was stolen, more worryingly, from inside the common corridor of the house in which there is our flat and one other – asking that it be returned, thus: ‘Would whoever stole my daughter’s bike – frame number xxx – please return it. Thank you’. Two days later, two young polite slightly nervous 11ish year-olds rang the bell, and there was Ellie’s bike. I knew they hadn’t stolen it – there’d been a sighting of a ‘respectable-looking’ thirty-something male the evening of the theft. I’d intended not to ask the boys where they found it, but couldn’t help myself: ‘In the bushes in …’. I gave them £5 each. Turned out there was a stolen-bike ‘fence’ living in an adjacent street. But this was considered a theft too far.

    May I suggest you join Freecycle/Freegle, the socially friendly, ie no money involved, recycling site. That’s where I acquired my replacement bike – almost new – when mine was subsequently stolen.

    Re your pic: yes you do look like a US senator, one of those damned handsome ones with their silver locks that can be seen on senate committees. But I personally preferred your smiling image. This one looks like a better-quality passport photo.

    Re your comments on Boris, from a recent blog: when you’re chasing the bicycling pigs down Grey’s Inn Road or wherever and next encounter Boris, grateful if you’d ask him to get his TfL honchos to address the shockingly inadequate ventilation system on the newly upgraded Overground. The windows are designed NOT to be opened by passengers as this would apparently reduce the efficiency of the ceiling-mounted vents. Fine if the vents produced cool air but at the 6pm rush-hour, when I took the new train for the first time yesterday (from Richmond to Highbury), they produced nothing, and we passengers – the train was full and became fuller – merely became damper as the sweat dripped. (Nicely designed long, through-carriage, though!) Happy to invite Boris for a ride on same to feel the atmosphere for himself. Must dash to write directly to TfL and my local newspaper in an attempt to get the issue resolved. NB seems that if you call for the guard when the train reaches a station, s/he’ll come along with a key and open the windows. Problem is, that it’d be difficult to get through the bodies to the windows.

    My only comment on Mandelson is that someone’s paying emotionally and socially for that apparently un-rufflable (?) self-confidence. A deeply unpleasant lower-case tone of voice adopted on this morning’s Today interview. And he’s keeping the cash! Nothing more to be said.

  5. margarey Brandreth- Jones says:

    I went to Waterstones yeaterday and pondered over several titles and authors. ISBN’s are so expensive these days. They used to be a cheap option to the hardbacks.

    I don’t read a lot of novels,autobiographies etc, but I did read ‘Shooting History’by a chap with the same name as yours ; Jon Snow : he must be the other one:I look at my own appaling English language sometimes on the blogsite and wonder how I manged to get a degree in English .. it is just carelessness; i hope. Jon you have a habit of going back to you Church roots and frequently start your sentences with the conjunction ‘And’ e.g . And Jon spoke to his disciples……..

    I will read Mandys’ book as well. I have always liked him, he is sensible and measured.
    I may also detect the Harry Lime link there, although it could be a unintended facet of Peters’writing but as psychology does .. I will find it.

    How long did you sit for the painting or did he take it from a photograph..Coming down to the Smoke in a couple of weeks with my family to look at the sights , and art gallery’s .. have you got it hanging in a gallery?

  6. akamrburns says:

    Oh thank goodness you’re making a fuss about your pic! Definitely a ‘time I had a holiday’ look…not good. Looks as though you’ve been inhaling too many of Borisville’s noxious fumes on your bike!

  7. akamrburns says:

    I’ve ordered my copy of ‘the Third Man’…God knows when I’ll get it. Got to be a good read. GB must be spitting tacks that the ‘king of cravats’ beat him to the bookshelves. The air must be blue in the manse…keep scribbling Gordon!

  8. Saltaire Sam says:

    I wonder how much your DVD will vary in say ten year’s time.

    I do so hope there is reincanation. I would love to pop up again in 100 years and see what they make of our entry into the 21st century.

    Do you think Mandy will even get a mention or will he be lost on the dust as Cameron and Clegg tip the country into depression – economic and mental – and destroy the health service?

    Will Britain even get a mention, apart from a quizzical ‘how on earth did such a small country think it had the right to tell the world what to do?’

    Will English still be dominant language or will most of the world speak Mandarin?

    The period 1945 – ? is the most important in my life but it’s so hard to get an historic perspective and try to make sense of it.

  9. adz says:

    Well a £1000 is a lot of money to give as a reward but then again one gets used to their posessions so I may well do the same, if I have a grand to spare that is.
    Haiti and the rebuilding of this naturally devastated country must be on everyones front page. At the moment there seems to be no space for it after the sports. How can we just forget? We are not talking about a rich country but of a nation that has been sucked dry of its resources for pennies, is prone to hurricane strikes, killer mud slides and devastating earthquakes.
    Instead, everyone was having to listen about a man who was released from prison threatning to kill anything that moved.
    We must pull up our socks quickly because there will still be the long march that awaits us ALL.
    adzmundo The Venus Project,ZM & CND

  10. adrian clarke says:

    I neither like the new layout nor its operation. Perhaps i do not like change for changes sake .In the past education was changed reducing standards .Much of NHS procedures were changed reducing standards.
    I think these blogs have been changed and probably reducing the standard .The reply button is back but not the thumbs up/down.I have to sign in each time i blog,why???
    I can not readily see previous blogs or Gary,s Faisals and Fact check.All in all it is annoying that some backroom guy , without any discussion with the main users can just change the blog without good reason or explanation.
    Saltaire chooses the political analogy but to me it is like microsoft continuously changing their operating system, normally with no improvement whatsoever.Their’s is a commercial endeavour like football teams changing their football strip for financiak means .God knows what snowblogs reasons were.

    1. Meg Howarth says:

      Maybe you could try ‘bookmarking’ Snowblog, Adrian, for ease of use. Agree that the new format is not at all user-friendly if being picked up on web, as I’m doing now since currently not at home. And having to sign in afresh each time is absurd. Best.

    2. Sadie says:

      Adrian I agree with what you say but I cannot get the ‘thumbs’ to respond on your comment! My first time at the new design I could not get any to respond but now it is 1 or 2 only but to me a vital one is yours cos as you know you and Saltaire often goad me to mark comment.

  11. akamrburns says:

    Ah, that’s better! Much improved image…I think they could remove the ‘Presenter’ label…not required.

  12. Jim Flavin says:

    I quite like the new site – I think the foto has been improved – but needs to be larger ?. Someone mentioned – ” will English still be main laguage ” – of where ??. I t is 3rd as far as I know at momnent after Mandarin and Hindu .BBC radi this morning reported that Govt wanted 2 year degrees – this is sh##. Diplomas normally ntake two years . A degree – must mean something or are all diplomas to be called ”degrees”. I spent five years getting one – 4 at college and a years parctical . Does not matter much now as am retired – but to say one can do a degree course in 2 years is rubbish . Also amazing waht rubbish books people will buy when the English language has such a Rich variety of meaningful books . Hait – well nigh forgotten . The football was more important .

  13. Blog Editor says:

    Thanks for the feedback on the new blogs. We’ve taken your comments on board and are continuing to test and develop the new site to make sure everything works smoothly. Some of you have mentioned the thumbs up/down buttons – we know this is a really popular part of the commenting section and will certainly bring it back as soon as possible (hopefully tomorrow). We hope you will find the new blogs easier to use as they have a clearer design, extra functionality and should make it easier for individual bloggers to link to relevant content. Thanks again for your patience.

    1. Jim Flavin says:

      one thing I forgot to mention – the thumbs up – thumbs down – they used give an idea of how things were going – waht peoples views were – and how ell they were supported etc.

    2. Meg Howarth says:

      More problems noticed:

      – having difficulty collectively ‘bookmarking’ blog site. Used to see number of new postings in parenthesis after my bookmarked ‘Snowblog’, where all the team’s entries appeared. Can’t do that now, and no notification of whether anything new on a particular day;

      – still going back to January 2010;

      – can’t get in to Jonathan’s blog directly.

      Grateful if these points can be addressed during ongoing upgrade. Thanks.

  14. adrian clarke says:

    I just realised what it is .You are trying to shake off your little bit of grit,but you can’t get rid of me that easy .You just want to be able to go hobnobbing with the prince of thieves ,oops sorry darkness and not having my conscience sitting on your shoulder.
    I hope you have a good evening and get your bike back .

    1. Sadie says:

      Agree again Adrian but again there is thumbs non-function!
      To the creators of the new I also add that the Have Your Say is so light coloured that It difficult to distinguish slots. – You must be so young and vision good.

  15. phil dicks says:

    Thanks for saying that. I hope you realise that we’d go through fire for you (well, thick smoke in my case).
    Think of us as a shoal of fish that’s found itself in a big ocean, when all we want to do is get back to our murky, cosy, covert little pond.
    This format’s left us feeling exposed. You can hear the strangeness whistling down the threads.
    Back in the day, we were guppies; we were happy then…

  16. phil dicks says:

    What I said was intended as a Reply to the Blog Editor. Nothing around here seems to work anymore (whinge,gripe, harrumph).
    Adrian – stay calm. Until these “teething troubles” are sorted-out, this place will be a source of Keystonesque Misunderstanding.

  17. margaret Brandreth- Jones says:

    I appreciate the format as I didn’t really take to those fickle fingers ( and I don’t know whether to personify them by saying ‘who’ to the power crazy digits or which.. so) wot voted us down.

    Now relax all, the grim reaper has been axed and we are singularly exposed to each others verbal insults without the weak little unseen voter,hiding behind his comfort blanket, pukishly putting his fellow bloggers down.

    Now what is all this about these bikes and Oxford Dons . We all ride at times and love that Shakesperean rag , but surely this quick passing Condor moment is pure elitism:just Snowish snobbery. Jon is a socialist and liberal as long as he can feel in power , play the game of pasteur and tend his flocks, but don’t get me wrong I will baa baa with the rest.

    Didn’t Peter look a little sheepish on the box and TB all too glad that he hadn’t been culled with the badgers. The successful failures are what life is about.

    I was wondering whether any of you have any influence to give me a high salaried contract for one year , so I can fail. I am not proud:a good amount of money is all the same to me.

  18. phil dicks says:

    Memo to Jon Snow:

    Absolutely adore (zero sarcasm) the new/old/whatever picture.
    We can so easily forget (in this newey/techy age), the Simple Value of Constancy.
    Snowblog may be(it definitely is) going through a Turbulent Phase, but that picture is so-much-more-than-just-a-picture. It represents Faith/The Overcoming of Turmoil/The Daft Hope That…
    Lean on, Jon…you’ll never understand what this picture means to us trads.
    Total Respect
    The Snowbloggerati.

  19. Wilma Miller says:

    I am concerned again about how the ‘student debt’ thing in Scotland is reported. If I were English I would be furious about the no tuition fees paid here stuff. What happens is that it is all left to the parents -ie it’s means tested. The student is not allowed to borrow at student rates so would have to get other rates from banks etc so parents end up paying for them and they end up-if their folks are smack bang in the middle like we were-working for some extra cash.Believe me it’s never as simple as it sounds- like the care for the elderly( we’ve been caught in that one too, but that’s another story.)

  20. margaret Brandreth- Jones says:

    Who took that painting off the wall?

    Wasn’t it a fitting tribute to the work of an artist? Photographs of the callibre of the present overhead portrait are ten a penny. The painting of Mr Snow caught him looking pensive, serious , slightly work- worn and his true age, no younger, no older…It isn’t a portrait of an artist as a young man..

    The portrait reflected the true nature of his work, which although is edged with levity at times, gold leaves the sobre and sombre issues humanity confronts.

    Photographs calculated to represent a skin pulling , make-up smeared , overnight sensation is not-wot C4 is all about . That sort of wot-not is for big brotherites.

    Something good is evolving from this blog site. It is not simply a ***** y** free for all site . Indeed much reference reveals a desire to change for better and the good.

    The motif should similarly be .. less plastic.

  21. Colin Kerr says:

    Dear John,

    Clearly all posted ‘BZ’ ie Before Zac. If your picture had been taken ‘AZ’ (After Zac) you might have had more colour. So there is a lesson there for us all – have a fight before getting the publicity shot.

    Well you are not as pretty as he is but you know looks are not everything.

    Colin Kerr

    PS If Zac has no further need of those free issue nice blue jackets I wonder if I could get one?

  22. James says:

    I’d be careful approaching anyone at the MET about your bike, John; they might batter you with a baton in full view of the nation and get away with it, without a single charge, with the full collusion of the CPS and a friendly judge who will refuse to review the deficient postmortem, even though giving leave to review every single other deficient case handled by the pathologist in question. (Wear a blue uniform and escape justice). As for your bike, well, given the reputation of the MET, I wouldn’t like to guess…..

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