Hacking Holiday

I’m beginning to crave going back to work. Early mornings aside, I think working suits me. Term ended only a few days ago, but I already miss the structure and the lack of interruptions of the working day. At home, I’ve quickly come to realise just how disruptive the doorbell, telephone, computer, radio and housework are. I can’t get anything done – that is to say – I never manage to finish anything I’ve started. I’d preempted a slackening of pace by writing-off doing anything creative this week. The most I’ve managed is to create a Tumblr account and join Freecycle; the former has been fascinating, but the latter has been extremely time consuming and must be placed in the category of necessary evil. My rejoining Freecycle has occurred as I slowly clear out the house, again. This time I’m focussed on the children: their bits and pieces are everywhere. They have chosen to donate their baby books, all 600-ish, to other children. We have a number of people coming with fork-lift trucks in the morning.

All the same I shouldn’t grumble, this has been the most extraordinary of media weeks: will I ever see the like again? I’ve been glued to Twitter and all the news channels I can devour as Murdoch, Murdoch & Brookes have been scrutinised, castigated and scorned. Milliband leading the stand-off against News International, and Cameron and Clegg agreeing? What the hell is going on? In the USA questions are already being asked about phone conversations by relatives of the 911 attacks being hacked/listened to/recorded. In the UK I and many others failed to see how the health details of Gordon and Sarah Brown’s son, regarless of who his parents are, qualify as newsworthy or being in the public interest, and thus warrant a place on the front page of The Sun. Nor did we see what could be gained by hacking into Milly Dowler’s phone messages – and deleting them.

News Corporation (USA) and News Limited (Australia) are being tarnished with the brush of UK-based underhand practices – both are fighting back. Murdoch has backed down on the BSkyB deal, saving the face of the government he’d backed and supported. What it would be to turn the clocks back a year or so and to know what had passed between Cameron and Murdoch in 10 Downing Street on the night the former took office, and then compare that now to the hushed conversations and latter promises which must have been made to bring the UK government, Andy Coulson it’s former media advisor, and the UK’s biggest news provider to this? News International and Murdoch the king-maker will rally in due course; this is not defeat, merely a tactical stand-down whilst regrouping ensues. Blood-letting and recrimination will follow, then things will move forward and much will be forgotten. Perhaps there may be some forgiveness too; I detect a hint of humble-pie from the Murdoch camp. Public opinion cannot always be swayed by the screams of a front page, but change is a constant and Print media is at a pivotal moment in its evolution. Ditto, the Cameron-Clegg alliance. These events have also propelled Milliband into the ascendence and have arrived fortuitously at his doorstep, completely altering his hitherto withering fortunes.

Meanwhile, I can see the BBC4 drama-documentary already. I even know who will produce, direct, write and star in it. As unpredictable the news of the News of the World has been (excuse me, I just had to write that), the response in dramatic/creative terms by the BBC’s executives currently rubbing their hands together with glee will be fairly predictable. It’s a great story, but there will be no visual flair in the telling of this sordid tale. I’d give it to Film Four instead – they’ll make a great Move-Over-Murdoch movie! Broadcast media and E-media will be the great winners from this tumult.

In the meantime, the telephone(s) keeps ringing. I never answer, out of habit, rather than for fear that someone might consider my conversations worth listening in on; the biggest problem with the telephone is that you have to talk to the person at the other end. Why do that when there is email, Twitter or text messages. Write it down, don’t say it out loud unless you know exactly what you want to utter and to whom. There’s clarity with the written word, economy of effort and a definite end. Plus, we have strangers who ring the doorbell. When is someone going to invent a doorbell that doesn’t ring, but sends you a nice little message instead detailing exactly what it is the person wants? Then you can choose to answer or ignore, as you please.

It’s almost as if the world has been turned on its head, just in time for our summer break. And all I wanted to do was potter around and read some books… Quiet life, eh? Not a chance. I’ve promised myself a clear out and de-clutter ready for for clarity of thought and a lot of writing, all of which is harder than I imagined and this has only just started. Oh, hang-on, there goes the telephone again…

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