Tuesday

Standard

1. Bat in a bra.

2. SAT scandal in the offing? There’ll be more of this kind of story in the future, as exam boards increasingly use online marking systems – with 24/24 marking, your ‘A’ level script could be marked anywhere. Not by me though, because the system doesn’t support Macs or indeed any browser other than the latest IE.

3. Former head of MI5 calls government’s 42-day detention plans unworkable. The Telegraph reader responses to this story are interesting.

4. While teachers and other public sector workers get a pay rise of less than 3%, BBC executives get 17%. So that’s all riggghhert then. Are these people really worth this much? I’d do the job for hundred grand, and I’d be good at it, too.

5. Interesting piece in the Times about the views of England offered by BBC and ITV. It’s a bit like the old Magpie vs. Blue Peter debate. The thing is, you have to take everything you read about the BBC in a News Group newspaper with a pinch of salt. The sneering attitude to the BBC is clearly mindful that the BBC is a (very well funded) rival to Sky. In reality, I suspect that the readership of The Times prefers BBC England to ITV England. What do you think?

6. Now he’s about to leave office, Bush will sign anything to do with climate change, apparently. Mind you, it’s a pretty anodyne document, stuffed with weasel expressions like “consider and adopt”. Either you’re going to adopt or you’re not.

7. Finally, the best news of the week so far is that Channel 4 are going to be showing Tony Palmer’s classic 1977 documentary series All You Need is Love. Consider this: not only was The Rutles (“All You Need is Cash”) a spoof of one episode in this series, but it takes a further 16 episodes to survey the history of popular music in the 20th century. I haven’t seen it since it was originally shown, but this was a landmark documentary series in the same vein as The World at War, The Ascent of Man, James Burke’s Connections and Alastair Cooke’s America. These days, they’ll show you four 1-hour documentaries and purport to be offering a history of pop music. Palmer’s 17-episode series only gets up to the mid-1970s – and you’d need a further 6/7 episodes to cover the years since in the same depth. This is a documentary about which you’d say, they don’t make ’em like that any more.

Part of the reason for that is the media companies got much more savvy about ownership of rights to back catalogue. Until the advent of the CD, the music industry tended to neglect the old in favour of the new. When I was buying my Beatles’ LPs in the late 1970s, I had to buy cheap Greek imports because record shops didn’t stock the whole back catalogue — less than 10 years after the band split, and while Lennon was still alive. I had to special-order such items as The Who Live at Leeds and The Doors’ first album.

Tony Palmer’s documentary looked back at recent history (he goes back to field songs and spirituals) at a time when bands like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and The Eagles were deeply unfashionable. I don’t think Punk gets much of a look in, and even Mr Springsteen may be conspicuously passed over, so the programme will look dated in many ways. However, the first 13/14 episodes are golden. People often wonder how I know so much about popular music – this programme is the reason.

You’ll have to set the PVR though, because they’re sticking it on at 12.55 in the morning.

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