On Ruining Web 2.0
There goes the neighbourhood. They'll let anybody on the internet these days.
My local rag, the Dorset Echo, now lets readers comment on stories on their website. This is, of course, a well-intentioned idea which sits well with the current "Web 2.0" trend of User Generated Content, and allows the reader direct access to the publication, irrespective of level of education or a certificate of sanity from a reputable medical professional.
But as my poor dead Mum used to say, 'It's all very well until somebody loses an eye'. And people are already beginning to kick the shit out of it. It wasn't even me that started it, for I respect my local journalists, who work for a pittance having to put up with stories of local authors plugging their books, and local wee-tinged grannies pointing at dead seagulls in the gutter.
It sorted of started with the local red-hot issue - the redevelopment of the local theatre and ferry terminal, a nuclear wasteland which some locals, unaccountably hold dear because it has a ballroom. The whole thing needs replacing and one reader going under the name Leslie Crowther - not me, I hasten to add - suggested absolutely anything to fill the space, "even a sixty-storey replica of Ann Widdecombe". Red rag to a bull:
I, for one, would welcome the late Leslie Crowther's suggestion of a five hundred foot Widdy behemoth towering over the town. Just as long as they use one of her feet for the Ocean Room*.
I, alas, chickened out of mentioning the horror that may come from seeing up her skirt.
I can't leave it alone now.
When protestors daubed walls with anti-development griffiti - an act defended by another poster who saw it as the only means of expression young people have these days:
So, so true. Whenever my kids want to tell me something, they write it in foot high letters on the side of my shed, along the back wall and up the side of the house. I do wish they'd stop, but it's the only means of communication they have.
On a charitable scheme to help newly-released criminals by giving them second-hand household goods, which seemed to go down rather badly with the readership:
Is there a going rate or anything? You know:
Burglary = toaster
GBH = Plasma TV
Selling seats in the House of Lords = Mini Metro
We should be told.
I have also suggested that instead of spending a fortune on building the town a new relief road (a plan that has been on the books since before D-Day), the County Council might wish to issue us all with jet packs, powered on the hot air that all the arguing over the route has produced.
And finally, on the hare-brained scheme of running a monorail along Chesil Beach for the Olympics (the South of England's premier kite-surfing venue, the next tallest thing to the West of Chesil being New York):
I look forward to riding a monorail across the causeway when a Force Nine gale's blowing over Chesil Beach. That'll sort the men from the boys.
And: Nothing to do with me, at all.
If I wasn't already leaving, I fear I may be run out of town.
The Ohec has a long way to go before it reaches the heights of lunacy attained by the Surrey Comet, where a story on a local pigeon cull attracted clearly barking comments from all over the globe. Plagued by nutters, the Comet switched their comments off.
Your mission, if you choose to accept it: find your own local paper, speak your brains and report back. Synchronize watches, and we're away!
If you feel a tad reticent about spoiling the work of your hardworking local journalists, why not try the Loony Bin or the Nut House. Sure, you'll feel dirty doing it, but the end result is something beautiful.
Well? I want to see you lot running amok through the internet like drunken swan through Sainsburys. NOW!
* The higly contentious municipal ballroom, twinned with Fallujah