Tag Archives: comedy



Terry Jones introduces another tasty Renaissance tale, starring John Finnemore as a lovelorn knight.

The one hundred stories which make up Giovanni Boccaccio’s humane and comic masterpiece, come from all over the world. This Renaissance work is considered a landmark in world literature.

The stories are vividly reset by Boccaccio among the flourishing merchant classes in the cities of fourteenth-century Italy. But their witty, satirical, bawdy voice sounds utterly modern, and their subjects – love, fate, sex, religion, morality – are universal.

Today’s theme is “Lovers who, after many disasters, finally find happiness.”

Courtly Federigo spends every last groat trying to win the affections of the beautiful Monna. But there is only one thing of his that she wants. And it has feathers.

Don’t forget to listen to this, tonight at 10.45 on Radio 3. Starring John Finnemore & Carrie Quinlan!

It’s on in 2 minutes! Listen here!

Federigo and His Falcon, Decameron Nights: Ten Italian Indelicacies Remixed from Boccaccio, The Essay – BBC Radio 3

Thackray sang in a lugubrious baritone voice,[5] accompanying himself on a nylon-strung guitar in a style that was part classical, part jazz.[6] His witty lyrics and clipped delivery, combined with his strong Yorkshire accent and the northern setting of many of his songs, led to him being described as the “North Country Noël Coward”, a comparison Thackray resisted, although he acknowledged his lyrics were in the English tradition of Coward and Flanders and Swann, “who are wordy, funny writers”. However, his tunes derived from the French chansonnier tradition: he claimed Georges Brassens as his greatest inspiration,[7] and he was also influenced by Jacques Brel and Charles Trenet.[8] He also admired Randy Newman.[7] He was admired by, and influenced, many performers including Jarvis Cocker,[9] Mike Harding,[10] Momus,[11] Ralph McTell,[12] Morrissey,[13] Alex Turner,[14] and Jasper Carrott.[15]

I’ve been re-listening to Nat Segnit’s BBC radio series of superb spoof documentaries, Beautiful Dreamers. Apart from being tightly scripted, packed with allusion and barbs, and richly imagined, it’s also technically excellent radio and audio. It is, for me, on a par with some of Chris Morris’ work. Heartily recommended, if you can access it.

The episode that’s currently on iPlayer, for example, The Whalemen of Musungenyi, keeps unfolding, layer upon ever richer layer, from an uncanny premise, even managing to weave in, for example, an extended joke on children conceived from donor eggs.

I enjoyed, but didn’t love, Segnit’s comic novel, Pub Walks In Underhill Country (and I am yet to read his ippr report on media coverage of climate change, part of his work with Linguistic Landscapes). This looks fun, though.

Segnit’s wife Niki (mentioned in this interview) is a celebrated author in her own right – of a widely acclaimed (and ingenious) culinary book: The Flavour Thesaurus (which I did unconditionally love, and gift). More on that another time…

This year’s Newsfoo felt to me rather different from the 2010 edition. There seemed to be less discussion of how to sustain or resource news, or about the contexts of news consumption, and more about how to deal with some of the cognitive, knowledge-management and even ethical issues of news journalism. This post is on initiatives/tools for fact-checking and knowledge management in the news [Update: a more current list is here.]

Knowledge management, fact-checking in news organisations

After last year’s Newsfoo, I pondered whether “a key emerging role for news media and journalists might lie in more systematically tracking and unpacking the nature and web of connections, instances and influences that flow to and through and from events” – Bruno Latour’s Macospol is one example of how this might be done. Some human rights organisations are using new tools to collect and mine data, build and visualise patterns, and draw conclusions and present evidence (e.g. B’Tselem’s pretty jaw-dropping forensic collaboration with Situ Studio and Goldsmiths). What kinds of tools and methods are news organisations using to conduct this kind of work – establishing facts, establishing connections, and building a web of evidence that helps people decide what is happening around them?

Three Newsfoo discussions in particular prompted this post (alongside Baratunde‘s reminder to us all that The Onion has fact-checkers):
– Jonathan Stray asked first how news organisations could implement better knowledge management as they gather and process information – in a sense, a “context layer” for the web. As one person put it in another discussion, “the process of journalism is very lossy”, in that a lot of labour-intensive, useful information gathered in the process of doing journalism never gets used, or stored and made available to others to search or build on.
– Dan Schultz and Sasha Costanza-Chock talked about how to provide a “truth and credibility layer” for news consumers when they interact with journalism: how do you know if a statement reported online is true or not?
– a range of participants came together for a session specifically on fact-checking, looking in part of how Politifact works, and other initiatives (like this) enabling quite granular analysis of political and business discourse and reporting.

Also, a week before Newsfoo, Craig Newmark had posted on how he’s extremely dissatisfied with the state of fact-checking [UPDATE: and a new post from Craig Newmark at Nieman Lab continues to argue that fact-checking and -challenging is a critical part of how news organisations earn, retain and grow trust]. And a week ago, Ethan Zuckerman wrote helpfully about Morningside Analytics’ work on the US online fact-checking ecosystem, and Lucas Graves’ work on the landscape of fact-checking in the US. There’s a lot of discussion about the state of fact-checking generally at the moment, so I won’t retread the discussions had in these sessions at Newsfoo (not least since there was a fair amount of FrieNDA.)

So read on for a list of resources mentioned in these Newsfoo sessions, along with some others I’ve added to round things out a bit – I hope it’s of use. Most of these are US/UK only – who’s doing this in other parts of the world, in other languages? Thoughts? Additions? Let me know through the comments box!

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The show went on sale at noon on Saturday, December 10th. 12 hours later, we had over 50,000 purchases and had earned $250,000, breaking even on the cost of production and website. As of Today, we’ve sold over 110,000 copies for a total of over $500,000. Minus some money for PayPal charges etc, I have a profit around $200,000 (after taxes $75.58). This is less than I would have been paid by a large company to simply perform the show and let them sell it to you, but they would have charged you about $20 for the video. They would have given you an encrypted and regionally restricted video of limited value, and they would have owned your private information for their own use. They would have withheld international availability indefinitely. This way, you only paid $5, you can use the video any way you want, and you can watch it in Dublin, whatever the city is in Belgium, or Dubai. I got paid nice, and I still own the video (as do you). You never have to join anything, and you never have to hear from us again.

I really hope people keep buying it a lot, so I can have shitloads of money, but at this point I think we can safely say that the experiment really worked. If anybody stole it, it wasn’t many of you. Pretty much everybody bought it. And so now we all get to know that about people and stuff.

Louis CK shares the results of his direct download experiment in a crushingly funny letter to fans.