Links for January 8th through January 10th

Some links for you:

  • Lynsey Hanley: Burnham's minor works | Guardian – Brummie's take on Burnham's idea about UK capitals of culture: "You can see Birmingham now at the front of the queue, hoping to boot Manchester back into the age of Engels. They'd have to employ people to hurl themselves in front of microphones any time they get near a real Brummie about to dismiss it all as a load of rubbish. (I remember the 1986 Olympic bid and the Super Prix as only a native can.)"
  • Fused Magazine – SXSW Music Delegates wanted – Fused are looking to take music types with them to South by South West in Austin Texas in March. There's some funding available. Deadline 20th Jan.
  • Cutting an Effective Indie Trailer | the Workbook Project – Slightly off-topic for me (although am a huge film fan so maybe not) but a useful guide on how to edit a movie trailer. Top tip: trailers that give away lots of plot work best.

Creative Industries – the slowdown begins?

The latest figures on the Creative Industries (CI) are out. For the most part they hint at the beginning of a downturn although overall it’s a sector that still punches above its weight when compared with the rest of the economy. You should make yourself aware of two things: these are 2006/2007 figures (the latest available) and they are, as ever, based on sufficiently flaky sources to be classed as estimates rather than National Statistics.

With that in mind here are the highlights:

  • The overall value of the CI dropped from 6.8% to 6.4% between 2005 and 2006. The 2005 figure was previously given as 7.3% but there seems to have been some revisions since the last estimates were produced in 2007.
  • The rate of growth remained higher than the economy as a whole but slowed from 6% growth (2005 figures) to 4% growth (2006 figures). The change means that rather growing at twice the rate of the economy as a whole they grew at just 1% more.
  • The decline in growth is across many sub-sectors but with a significant (-23%) drop in Advertising. Software declined just 3% but this is after a continual period of growth since the estimates began (in 1998). The Video, Film & Photograpy sub-sector grew by 27%.
  • Exports grew from £14.5billion to £16billion although that’s still a slight drop (from 4.5% to 4.3%) of all the goods exported.
  • Creative employment grew from 1.9 million to 1.97 million between 2006 and 2007. This includes those is creative occupations but in firms outside the creative industries.
  • There is a large rise in the number of CI businesses between 2007 and 2008, an extra 50,000 in fact (up to 157,000). However, this is largely due to a change in methodology: “the figures have been enhanced to include enterprises based on PAYE employers that are not also registered for VAT.” Previously only VAT registered businesses have been included.

Difficult to draw conclusions from all this as the data is poor enough that fluctuations have to be ignored to a certain extent. The rate of growth seems to dropping though and the question is will it drop into negative growth along with the rest of the economy or remain just above and be one of the few industries to weather the recession relatively intact. What may decline significantly is creative employment. There are more creatives outside of the CI than within, so as the rest of the economy shrinks we can expect many creative jobs to go as well, even if those in creative firms remain static.

(pic: chebbs)

Act on CO2 video

I’ve only just noticed that the video (shot by the PR company) of my house being inspected by the climate change minister and an energy boffin as part of the Act on CO2 campaign has made it online. Worth a look if only to see how boffin-like the energy boffin looks or if you’re a bit nosey about the size of my kitchen:

Birmingham in Super 8

I love Super 8 film and have a small collection of reels shot in Ireland in the 1970s (by my late father) and the late 1980s/early 1990s (by me). I’ve now gone and retrieved the whole series of 50ft cans from my mother’s house to start the process of digitising them. I had previously copied them to VHS by filming a projected image but inevitably the colour saturation suffered – the very thing that gives Super 8 its ‘glow’ (see discussion of Super 8 used for a wedding video). I do also have a couple of reels of black and white stock that even at the time (early 1990s) was extremely difficult to get hold off. I now plan to send a miscellaneous reel to these guys to get a HD transfer. I can’t wait to see the results. 

Given my footage is largely non-Birmingham based I thought in the meantime I’d do a quick search to see what Super 8 stuff was online that was filmed in around the city. There’s disappointingly little except for a nice piece shot at the Moseley Folk Festival in 2007 and a piece onThe Optophonic Lunaphone about a new instrument used by the Modified Toy Orchestra. There’s a strange short film called The Bouncy Bride of Frankenstein (b/w horror film shot in someone’s Birmingham back garden) but I did manage to find the nostalgia I was seeking with a film of Kings Heath in 1960 (actually shot on single 8):

And despite rumours of its death Super 8 as a format is very much alive. There’s even proper serious industry events about it and a wonderful, simple, yet incredibly challenging, stripped back movie-making initiative called Straight 8. Best of all, in Birmingham we have the fantastic 7 Inch Cinema who are big fans of the format and often put on dedicated Super 8 events. 

More to follow on this as my own transfer results come through.

Pic: Hollywords

Links for January 1st through January 4th

Some links for you:

Allotment – Year One


We got our allotment patch in Bournville just about a year ago so I thought it worthwhile to list what we grew and how successful we were:

  • Cabbage – I now love cabbage, having hated it from childhood. Problems with white cabbage butterflies but still had about 6 heads.
  • Carrots – total flop, carrot root fly won the day
  • Cauliflower – slugs had a field day but plants recovered to give us about 6 big caulies
  • Corn – stole the seeds from my neighbour and reaped a full guilty harvest.
  • Courgettes – one plant gave about 8 fat courgettes.
  • Garlic – flop, sprouted but then died off.
  • Herbs – got a nice herb patch going with transplants from the garden.
  • Leeks – again from a neighbour, very tasty.
  • Lettuce – a triumph, this is so easy to grow in many varieties
  • Onions – about half came through but small.
  • Parsnips – a surprising success. Enough for about 4 meals only but will do more next year.
  • Peas – a brief but bountiful harvest
  • Potatoes – earlies were wonderful, main crop floury and disappointing.
  • Rhubarb – lots of it, so much we gave it away.
  • Pumpkins – did the lack of bees this summer result in the total flop of the pumkin crop? I had such high hopes.
  • Runner beans – way too many, there are only so many things you can do with them.
  • Swiss Chard – easy to grow but have made little use of it on the dinner table.
Overall a good start and we ate well off it, I can only hope next year proves as good. I’ll bore you with the occasional update as we progress in 2009.

Links for December 29th through January 1st

Some links for you: