The Price of Change

Simon Barnes agrees that there is something rather deterministic about multiculturalism:

Multifaith, multicultural, multicoloured, multilingual England: the times they are a-changing, because that’s what times do. The failure of the England team is part of a larger pattern, one in which the whole business of nationality gets more fuzzy every year and England no longer means the things that it once did. All change comes at a cost, and perhaps one of those costs is the effectiveness of the England football team – and with it, the sad loss of those biennial, heady, foolish, glorious weeks of unity.

Multiculturalism is the recognition that change happens. It is the necessary process by which we turn that change into something positive. It is the enemy of conservatism, that misguided notion that we should be satisfied with the way things are. But this also means that multiculturalism is the antagonist of tradition, the foil of nostalgia, and thus an easy target for those who want to declaim any change.

As Barnes points out, change is sometimes negative, but we would do well to remember that we cannot stop it happening. The question is no longer “should we let it happen?” but “how do we manage it in a way which is beneficial to all?” Multiculturalism is the dialogue by which we try to answer this question.

Unleash the Analogies


As well as enjoying the result of last weekend’s rugby match, I have to say I found the news coverage very amusing. A clash with France? On French soil!? The press could not contain their delight. With the unwavering purpose of an English longbowman at Agincourt, the journos unleashed volley after volley of ‘100 Years War’ references upon the unsuspecting British public.

And on Sunday, it transpired that we will be playing South Africa in the final.

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

(Hold your line, there, soldier, we don’t want anyone going off half-cocked…)

After Agincourt, prepare for Bore War

Hooray! Martin Johnson wins his spurs.

‘Sport and War’ is the subject of one of my favourite of my own blog posts: July 1st, Our Fateful Day.

Jagged Little Pill

2012olympics_logoSo, a new logo has been launched for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Lord Coe says it was designed to appeal to young people. I can only assume he means the knife-weilding, feral youths we hear so much about, for the logo resembles nothing so much as a pile of broken glass.

I do applaud the London Games’ committment to inclusivity and the inspiration of youth… but it is cringe-incuding to read the attempts by Tessa Jowell, Ken Livingstone, Lord Coe, Colin Moynihan (the Chairman of the British Olympic Association) and the IOC President Jacque Rogge to claim that the Olympic values are somehow embodied in the graphic design. A new logo can never do that – especially one as simple as that unveiled today. In fact, logos and brands only accquire their wider meaning, only become symbolic, after the organisation proves to the public what its values are, through its deeds. The colourful rings already have those positive associations, so it is odd that they are sidelined in the London 2012 logo, and that the bold colours are abandoned in favour of a tasteless blue.

The logo also comes in ugly pink, violent orange, and bogey green, but all versions carry a clashing yellow border. Lord Coe says that the logo will ‘evolve’ between now and 2012, and I predict that the demise of this outline will be the first ‘evolution’. This would leave a monochrome logo, which will become instantly more versatile.

And I don’t like the font either.

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New writing styles

A few months ago, I mentioned that new digital mediums might affect editorial requirements for the written word. This will have an impact on journalists, whether they like it or not, and all should seek to understand the implications of 21st century technology even if they have no intention of writing anything online themselves.

A good and entertaining example of how reporting is being changed by ‘instant’ media can be found in the sphere of sports journalism. Both the BBC, and some mobile phone networks provide live text updates on matches. These are a great way to keep up with the score if, for some reason, you cannot listen to the live commentary. Each significant event is described in just one paragraph, or (in the case of Orange mobile phone service) one sentence. The tone is chatty, opinionated and partisan… as if it is your best mate keeping you updated. The more prosaic sports journalism we read in newspapers would be impractical and inappropriate for this particular purpose, and has no place here.

This is, of course, a type of live-blogging – nothing new for those already online. The point is simply that this is a style of paid journalism that has evolved with the new technology… technology that could yet leave other writers stranded.

another wicket falls

Ritual egg-laying: Scotland 15 – 44 Australia


Scotland win this particular line-out, but were outclassed overall by the Aussies.

I don’t know what other residents of Edinburgh think of rugby weekends, but I’ve always enjoyed the flash floods of kilts and colour down Corstophine Road and Dalry Road. I the atmosphere which surrounds rugby matches is of course more festive and friendlier than football. This is probably because the football matches in Edinburgh are usually at club level, where the rivalries art local and more acute. Rugby matches, on the other hand, are internationals, meaning the visiting fans treat the match as an excuse for a holiday. Inside the ground, home and away supporters are not segregated, and we saw Australian flags waving alongside the Saltire.
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