March 23, 2004

Philadelphia just got "real". 

Update on the last posting, it would seem that an agreement has been reached and that MTV Real World is to be filmed in Philadelphia starting some three-weeks away.

A further report on this, and other Philadelphian stories to follow shortly.
Feedback always invited, please email me.

March 21, 2004

MTV's The Real Word: The Philadelphia Story. 

One of the flag-ship programs for many years on MTV and transmitted internationally including Channel 4 in the UK, is one of the very first "reality" shows, "The Real World".

They take a handful of guys and girls from around the US, put them together in a unique living space and record their lives, their real lives for many weeks thereafter.
For the cities that host a real-world series this is a great public relations piece in promoting the city not simply nationally but internationally.

This week the build of the Real World apartment, some 70% compete was halted due to union problems in Philadelphia. It is reported today that the producers have walked away from Philly, and are scouting Austin Texas and one other west-coast location for this years series due to start filming in a matter of weeks.

If this whole situation that has unfolded in Philadelphia in the last week was explained as a boxing match, there would be two bodies on the canvas. The first, Philadelphia, bruised, battered and with far more than a black eye. ONce again Philadelphia has been shown up to be a second-rate city, not even that, who will loose millions of dollars that could have been generated by visitors watching the program and wanting to visit the City, that is the birthplace of indepdendence. Philadelphia is a cool city and the location of the house in old city could not have been better selected. Yet from the short-sightedness of the unions who seem to have a stranglehold in this city, once again Philadelphia loose out big time.

Even the mayor John Street shrugged his shoulders this week saying that MTV were playing a negotiating trick, read the situation so wrong that MTV had left the city as fast as you could say knife. This would have been one of the biggest PR opportunities for the city in several years, and it has been blown to the four winds.

The other body lying on the canvas in this metophorical boxing ring is the unions in Philadelphia. One noted local television critic has labelled them "goons" in his editorial this weekend, and that is being polite. The weight of public opinion on the matter is as heavy as the libery bell. The people of Philadelphia WANT MTV to stay in Philly and are furious at the Unions who again failed to see the big picture but focused on the one fact than MTV had hired non-labour workers to construct the house. It is reported that they had been involved, as had city officials right from the start, and yet for a job that in actually very small they picked this battle to picket and make a huge bother over. The power of the unions in Philadelphia has no place in 2004. MTV have successfully worked the same way in New York and Chicago, in th past, both also big union cities, both had great Real World seasons filmed and benefited from the spoils of additional work coming to those cities.

Sadly, this whole situation will only put off anyone wanting to film in Philadelphia and not have the option to use non-labor workers. Good grief it sounds all so historic.

The solution is simple, laws should be written to ensure that employers treat their employees fairly, negating the need for unions in Philadelphia. Then perhaps the like of MTV and others will return to the city in time. Meanwhile, Philadelphia remains a very beat up city with some doing what it can to restore the city reputation, while others namely the unions, continue to bite their nose off to spite their face and that of everyone else.

In conclusion, I continue to say that Philadelphia IS a great city. It sits between New York and Washington DC, but has a unique flavor or art, culture and history that the others simply do not have. Philadelphia is home to thousands of wonderful people who provide the vibrancy to the city.

Personally I am sick and tired of others labelling Philadelphia as a second-rate city, but I am angry at those few who want the label to stick.

Feedback always invited, please email me.

March 18, 2004

The Day London and Philadelphia "Rocked the World" 

Do you remember Live Aid, the concert hosted at Wembley Stadium in London and the then named JFK Stadium in Philadelphia?

This event was the pinnicle of public awareness of the hunger and blight of thousands in Africa and for a moment in history a world that could help, stopped and gave in their millions.

The Live Aid concert performed in two countries with the top talent from both the UK and the USA was an event that since has never been matched. Until now the concert has never been released on Video or DVD officially.

Sir Bob Geldof, the original orgainzer and lead vocalist for the Boomtown Rats, has most recently been incensed by the copies of the concert being bootlegged and has personally been involved in the arrest and prosecution of such individuals.

Sir Bob is recently quoted as saying that the Live Aid concerts and the "Do they know its Christmas" record are the only assets that belong to those who this event and song helped. As such there are plans for the sale of the rights to release the concert on Video and DVD around the holiday season of 2004.

I do not profess to being a music fan in my youth, but I do remember sitting in my parents lounge and watching for hours the specatacle from Wembley Stadium in London and JFK in Philadelphia in some sence of awe that this was history of sorts in the making.

The artists that appeared have like as all, grown a little older, a little balder (in the case of Phil Collins who performed in both venues thanks to Concorde), a little stranger (in the case of Boy George) and some have slipped from mortality into immortality thanks to the recordings they leave as their legacy (in the case of Freddie Mercury of Queen).

Feedback always invited, please email me.

March 15, 2004

Back in the saddle again... 

With spring around the corner (hopfully) I am back in the saddle again this year and in 2004 on a mission!

My biking brother-in-law has decided to enter two triathlons this year, and I have offered to help with the training on the bikes, - and when its swimming or running, I have offered to hold the stopwatch.

In seriousness, I do have a mission to complete the Long Beach Island bike ride in September, a twenty mile ride all told.

In fairness, 20 miles down by the beach sounds like a breeze, but the older I get, the slower I have become and since moving to the US swapped by UK 12 speed racer for a more gentel mountain bike hybrid that really enjoyed the ride up the Delaware canal yesterday. Of course the company has a great deal to do with this as my brother-in-law Chris is a decent chap you know.

Yesterday was sunny with a few clouds and cold but not too cold around 42F to warm us up for the seasons ahead.

Feedback always invited, please email me.

March 13, 2004

An A list news week. - Weekend Posting 

This week has seen two firsts in the history of mankind and perhaps has slipped below most news radars despite the phenominal importance of both stories.

The first is a picture of earth taken from another world, in this case Mars. We are familiar with the earthrise pictures taken on the moon, but this week for the first time one of the Mars Rovers took a picture of Earth from Mars.

It is but a white dot in the sky, much the same that Mars is a reddish dot in ours, but the significance that this took place and that their are two rovers on Mars gathering signficant information is unparalled. The next logical step would be for a man on mars taking the photo, perhaps in another 25 years.

The second story also relates to Mars, again one of the Rovers has caught on camera lunar eclipses of the martian moons. The martian moons are smaller and travel faster across the sun, and the lunar eclipse is not as it is seen on Earth, nevertheless, the mere fact that it can and has been recorded should make us all pause in awe and wonder.

Links to full stories and photos:
Earth photograph
Martian lunar eclipses - BOTH of them!

Feedback always invited, please email me.

March 05, 2004

Presidents and Princesses. - Weekend Posting. 

The BBC (Web Pages) are at it again. One would have thought that post Hutton Report and with the dismissal of the Chairman and the Director-General (despite how they left I am certain there was an element of pushing and shoving). Today I was disgusted to read that they have referred to presidental candidate for the democratic party as "President Kerry". Have I slipped and fallen into a long dreamless sleep?, have the elections been and gone? Evidently not, the BBC write an interesting essay that relates to the lack of any relationship or acknowledgement of John Kerry's campaign.

The essay concludes, in one instant, quite rightly that whoever wins in November the Prime Minster will have to work the President of the largest super-power in the world. To that end No. 10 I understand has distanced itself from the whole Presidential Election build-up, to the point that not event an acknowledgement to the Kerry campagin has been received wishing him well.

This is probably a very good position to take at this time, Britain and America are closer now in their "special relationship" than anytime in tens of years, one should comment in spite of the fact that both current leaders have oppersite political opinions, one to the left of center and one to the right of center.

If President Bush looses in November, and again I must echo my comments of a couple of weeks ago that the election will be close (even if the Deomcratic hopeful was Miss Piggy, millions would vote latex than Bush). A comparative small number of voters compared with the millions that are entitled to vote, (not including me - legal residents and a Brit to boot still does not qualify me to vote this time around... roll on 2008).

NBC last night as part of a ratings week in the US transmitted the first of two special programs that focus on the personal recording of Princess Diana. I watch for one reason, to see how it was to be spun to an American audience. The tapes were all old news, so old, that I cannot remember when Andrew Morton published "Diana in her own words" some years ago. The difference is that this program actually played the tapes, so we heard her words directly. It was much more same-old, same-old and portrayed Prince Charles as deeply uncaring and carrying on with Camilla. While Diana was portrayed as a victim.

I am more concerned with the second program yet to be aired in the US next Thursday, this has been discussed in the House and has been asked not to be transmitted in the UK for the next 100 years.

Move on eight days.

Thursday night was the airing of part 2, the video selection, by chance although it was on the television in the room slept most of the way through and did not see the allegedly damaging video. Perhaps afterall this Brit, even in America is not destined to see the video along with millions in the UK.

Feedback always invited, please email me.

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