Saturday, 7 February 2009

Crime & Corporate Punishment

Behold - my first Poet Laura-eate podcast (with a bit of movie-software cheating thrown in!) Every embeddable MP3 player seemed to come with its own multi-media content pre-installed. By someone else. Or didn't allow an image, or turned its nose up at Blogger. Amazing how much of your life you can waste trying to get to grips with these things and finding yourself up one dead-end alley after another. To think I had delusional visions of setting up my own blog radio station with broadcasts each week to try out short stories, interviews and comedy etc. However that might have to wait for reincarnation...well certainly until I find a new job anyway (the other saga that is taking up most of my headspace).

When not trying to learn podcasting/applying for jobs, I've been indulging in a documentary-watching phase, notably 'Enron - The Smartest Guys in The Room', 'Wal-Mart' The High Cost of Low Price and my favourite 'The Corporation' - the extraordinary story of the birth and rise of the Corporation, an entity which shares the same rights in law as a human being, but apparently the same psychological profile as a psychopath! Here is a promo clip. The film itself is nearly 3 hours long but is one of those films you come away evangelising that everyone and their dog should watch.

In the Wal-Mart DVD there is a chilling scene where a former regional manager in charge of expansion relates how he used to drive through small towns betting to himself 'six months', 'four months', 'a year at the outside' as he drove past the often family-run for decades high street retailers, psyching out the town in readiness for the next grand Wal-Mart opening. So obvious really, yet it seems to me we Brits have been remarkably slow to catch on to the fact that the more we shop at the large out-of-town hypermarkets the more our towns and cities will implode, and even that there might be a deliberate corporate plan to destroy our towns and cities, eventually making us wholly reliant on the likes of Wal-Mart and internet shopping (something I personally only resort to if I cannot buy what I seek locally). In Oxford this week I treated myself to a discounted bracelet at one of our few remaining independent boutiques, only to have him confide in me that he might be closing down after 25 years. How did we let things come to this? At the end of the Enron film, a scandal I never quite understood at the time; but can scarcely believe the scale of after watching the film; this Tom Waits track played out to the closing credits. Ten years old now, yet a song not only for our times but strangely apt for the crash of 1929 too.


Steve said...

I'm an internet shopper guilty as charged. I now find that when I do venture into a shop it has suddenly become an alien experience to me. I have lost the ability to physically browse. My fingers twitch as if pressing mouse buttons. Where's the double confirmation when I check out! I can't cope! I start to hyperventilate! Internet shopping is turning me into an agrophobic.

Steve said...

P.S. Love your voice! ;-)

KAZ said...

Good old Tom Waits - must dig out my collection.
I'd love to see that film, but 3 hours with my concentration span might be asking too much.

Nota Bene said...

Excellent...a job at the BBC beckons...

Dan said...

I was gonna say that RP is no longer the ticket for the Beeb, given the domination of regional accents - but Radio 4 still has its good and fair share of articulate voices... although some of them, like Dee Sebastian, Charlotte Green etc seem just a bit too breathy and sexy for the content they are supposed to be reporting...!

Great work on getting a picture-linked mp3 stream!

Brother Tobias said...

You have done well (I had enough trouble just trying to embed a sound link). And it was good. Also loved the Tom Waits are using your time well.

teeni said...

I've seen the Wal-mart one and that is one of the reasons I now refer to them as Hell-mart. I will need to see the others you mentioned too though.

teeni said...

I loved hearing your voice - awesome reading! Maybe you should be a newscaster!

Rol said...

Wow - it's a young Joanna Lumley!

Liked the poem. It reminded me of Sweet & Tender Hooligan by the Smiths...

"Poor old man
He had an "accident" with a three-bar fire
But that's OK
Because he wasn't very happy anyway..."

moi said...

Waaaaah! I couldn't get your podcast to play. Either I'm just being a technotard again or something's wrong.

Enron bilked my husband's business out of a tidy six figure sum right before it went bloated belly up. I curse Lay, his associates, their relatives, their relatives' relatives, etc. etc. from now until the end of eternity. May they all rot in hell.

moi said...

Whoopsie, there it goes. ROTFL, dahlink. You are a scream.

Wisewebwoman said...

Laura my dear:
Superb podcast, you have an incredible voice!
As to the docs, like you, I've been extolling their virtues for quite a while. The Corporation was chilling.
There's an award for you over at my place.
PS word verification was "versea", luvs it.

The Sagittarian said...

I really loved hearing you read your own stuff! Fabulistic it was!

I'm into documentaries, I like Pilger best.

garfer said...

Corporate psychopathy seems to be all the rage. I'd give it a go but I can't afford the suits.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, that was wonderful. I was so excited to be able to hear you. Voices tell you so much more about a person than a photo. I'd recognise you in a crowd now - I am good at picking out voices, less good with faces.

Oooh that was such fun. You must do some more.

I'd love to hear how others sound too. Perhaps you will start a trend. Steve could read his novel and Saggy could read a wine list and I could holler at my children.

Lucy Fishwife said...

Once again I curse the canny forethought that made my boss NOT put speakers on any of our work computers (I think to be fair her rationale was "Let's not pay vast yearly sums to the Performing Arts Society" rather than "Let's create an atmosphere of monastic silence")
... Our shop (small, independent) is lucky enough to be in an area of London where people really DO vote with their w3allets - Barnes residents are very, very determined to support local businesses and only ever shop at them. There's a recently arrived (and bitterly contested) Sainsburys but people mostly ignore it and still shop at the local butcher, the greengrocer, etc etc... Obviously this is because they're rich enough to be able to afford to, and it'll be interesting to see how the recession affects ethics...

Steerforth said...

I managed to hear three seconds before my computer played up. It was a very good three seconds.

I shall have to keep trying.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Thanks Steve! You and me both. Ironically it is small shops I feel most self-conscious in and I fear a whole generation have got this syndrome a great deal worse than me now. However I do overcome this fear of lack of anonymity-when-shopping in a good cause, as our High Streets are going to be desolate without independent retailers anymore.

Kaz, there is literally never a dull moment in 'Corporation' - one of the few documentaries that has you on the edge of your seat for the duration!

Nota Bene - Well I need some more practice first, but yes, I'm hoping!

Dan - but Ed Stourton is leaving Radio 4's Today programme so perhaps there's an opening there! ;-)

Thanks BT - you too with your excellent work on your daughter's blossoming singing career! I am sure she appreciates it.

Thanks Teeni - you say the loveliest things. I don't think you'll be disappointed with Corporation, though you might be 'mad as hell' by the time you've finished watching it!

Rol, what can I say? I love you forever! I think actually I was suffering from over-egging the enunciation on accout of being overly scared of fluffing my words, but I shall work on my inner'Joanna Lumley' for next time!

Moi - what a terrible situation - your poor husband! You are the first I know of to be personally affected by the Enron scandal. I guess you applaud the book and documentary lifting the lid for the rest of us, eh? Thanks for the compliment - love your current profile pic by the way!

WWW - thank you so much for your gorgeous words (and the award!) When I am using a decent computer again I will try and import it and pass the baton on, but this one seems to be crashing at the slightest excuse!

Cheers Sagittarian - yes John Pilger has done some goodies on the documentary front.

Garfer - yes, nice work to get bonuses for incompetance and even fraud. They've got to advertise these jobs somewhere! Not that I could live with myself afterwards personally, but I might give it a go if pushed!

RB - what a lovely comment - and all the way from Down Under. I'm impressed how you're managing to keep up while you're away. Yes, there'll be more podcasts in the pipeline, but think I need to get some more practice in first. And I hope I do indeed start a trend. Yes, I believe I may have the perfect face for radio indeed! ;-)

LucyFishWife, I am so delighted by what you say about the good denizens of Barnes supporting their local shops(I believe you have a lot of actors in the region too including Peter Gilmore and Anne Stallybrass of Onedin Line fame). Comic writer David Nobbs of Reginald Perrin fame used to live there too! A salubrious district indeed - must pay a visit sometime. Then again, it looks likely to become a living theme museum to the independent retailer the way things are going!

Steerforth, thank you.

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