Monday, 29 August 2011

How to make a zine

Nice little stop frame on how to make a zine here. Just shows how easy it is, you can make a decent zine in a couple of hours and a great one in just a day.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Sheffield Publicity Department launches

I received an interesting missive from Tom Common, formerly one half of the Toms who ran the excellent Go fanzine and tried valiantly to save Sheffield's greatest landmarks, the Cooling Towers, today about the launch of the Sheffield Publicity Department. An interesting new project I hope you'll agree. 

"Dear ex-Go fans.
Hope you're all well, and enjoying Sheffield's many new piles of rubble. Isn't St Paul's tower looking iconic and well-built? 
Introducing you to a new project that, like Go, aims to celebrate this silly old city of ours. Step forward, the Sheffield Publicity Department
The Publicity Department is a dream tourist agency for the city. It's not your usual tourist agency: we don't know what's on at the Crucible, and we haven't got the phone number for that Travel Lodge near Argos.* Instead, we aim to show residents and visitors alike the things that make this city so special, and where to find them: maps to the best views, tours of the terraces, postcards of the sunsets. We want to help people see the Sheffield we know and love.
With this in mind, we're doing a new project: tree-rubbings posters, celebrating Sheffield's beautiful urban forest. We're putting together special tree-rubbings packs, containing everything you need to get up close and personal with our trees, and create your own unique, DIY publicity poster for the city. 
Plus, we're running a workshop this Thursday, at the Site Gallery, to take you to some trees, and get you started. It's part of Site's DIY Summer, which has got all sorts of other creative things to make and do. Why not come?
There's more info on our blog, and on this facebook thing. And here's our twitter
Here ends the plug. Thanks for reading. 
Yours fondly,
Tom Common
Publicity Officer, SPD.
* We can recommend a restaurant though. Zeugmas. Thanks."

Monday, 1 August 2011

The Accidental Tourist: Inside the EU

As you know, ShadowPlay is a staunch pillar of the fourth estate and believes our journalism can breach any boundary. To prove a point, our intrepid reporter Emily Macintosh donned some sensible shoes and went undercover in the European Union

We all know there is nothing worse than a traveller who insists they are not a tourist – and in the same vein, although I work in Brussels, I assure you I am not a Eurocrat, honestly.

To understand the ‘Brussels bubble’, first you need to learn the lingo. To the uninitiated, turns of phrase like "Oh well it is a Strasbourg week" will seem bizarre. 'Strasbourg week' is when the whole European Parliament moves in vans and on trains once a month from Belgium to France. This writer has never been in a position that merits her a trip to this mysterious junket, but reliable sources relay tales of long-suffering Strasbourg residents boarding up their windows as they hear the MEPs descend.
Back in Brussels, the after-work beers are to be found in Place Luxembourg, or ‘Plux’ as some like to call it. It is a square of bars outside the European Parliament attracting a mixed crowd of tourists, young workers from the EU institutions and NGOs. They are joined by the many Brussels based law and consultancy firms, excited underpaid stagiaires (French for interns), and minor political celebrities like UKIP Nigel Farage MEP who for someone so intent on hating the EU and Belgium as a full time job seems not to mind a few lunchtime pints of Guinness while on the continent.
Those unfamiliar with Farage’s work might remember him from his headline grabbing plane crash, where the light aircraft he was travelling in was brought down after his election banner got caught in the propellers. Before this adventure in the skies he tried to play the naughty schoolboy by calling well-respected Belgian politician and president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy a “damp rag” with “the charisma of a bank clerk” in a blatant attempt to shake up a few news agendas in the run up to the UK general election. He refused to apologise for his childish remarks, conceding only to state that he hadn’t meant to offend any bank clerks. No surprise really that people have a bad opinion of the British.
But aside from the MEPs jostling for headlines, behind the scenes there exists a whole network of European Commission civil servants who are either writing carefully choreographed speeches for commissioners or, in an institution where you need to fill out a request form to move a chair from one room to another, keeping the administrative wheels well oiled.
And if you don’t want people in the rest of Brussels to know you are part of this world, be sure not to head out of the European quarter brandishing the free canvas bag you just picked up at a policy launch or that handy umbrella with the EU flag on it – if not you only have yourself if you are dubbed a Eurocrat.