This section of the website covers writers and works with a strong connection to the south-central region.
Latest feature page as of 15-9-15, On The Trail Of The Bloomsbury Group In Wessex.)
South Central MediaScene serves to promote the south-central region's media profile. It's an independent site [no funding etc], and not a business.
For earlier blog entries, see links opposite.
Welcome To 'Silicon Beach Bomo'
We have a new section of the website up, aimed at providing some practical substance to the recent hype about Bournemouth (or 'Bomo') as Britain's up-and-coming 'Silicon Beach' digital hub. (See earlier blog items below on this.)
For the benefit of anyone considering relocating down here, presumably from places like London's 'Silicon Roundabout' (which has experienced its own backlash after all the official hype), we're putting up a set of orientation-guide pages to the various prospective neighbourhoods across the conurbation which could be, in the new phrase, digital hubs. The guides also offer anyone local more ammo why the area is credible in this respect. The focus on the guides is on 'co-working spaces'. These do not have to be temporary furnished office spaces (of which there are few). For the "Lean Startup" model appropriate to our new age of govt-induced austerity, these could be just quiet (but wifi-enabled) public spaces like cafes and libraries where you can get some basic work done until you get your own premises.
Unlike London, the town has plenty of reasonably-priced b&b or student-flatlet accommodation, but such places may not be adequate for an ongoing work-at-home setup. The idea is that you can come down from London or wherever and set up here cheaply, with the neighbourhood hubs we're covering as places where you can not just check your email on your laptop etc over a latte or panini but meet and talk with like-minded others. (Despite its being dominated in past decades by icecream and fish'n chip outlets, the town now has a strong "cafe culture".)
There are 6 individual pages up so far: a table of contents page, a general introduction to the conurbation, a guide to The Square and surrounding area, one to The Triangle and surrounding area, one to Westbourne Urban Village, and one to Christchurch downtown area. 'Silicon Beach Bomo' starts here.
Squares, Triangles & Circles
Silicon Dream Town
Bloomsbury By The Sea
BBC2’s recent 3-part drama Life In Squares has prompted ‘a tourist rush on the trail of the Bloomsbury Group’. Though this pursuit seems limited to the Sussex farm where some of the group were based, the Bloomsbury set also frequented our area. Read our feature On The Trail Of The Bloomsbury Group In Wessex.
The 2015 Bournemouth Air Festival
Poet Rupert Brooke's local associations with Bournemouth and area are unknown to most people, but the centenary of his death this year is a fitting opportunity to commemorate these, especially as many aspects of his life remained hidden by protective or censorious friends and relatives, until all parties concerned were safely dead. In fact, despite a dozen previous biographies, two new centenary books just out have been able to fill in more details of his bohemian lifestyle, which involved various male intimates, and then a series of sexual misadventures with female partners.
Remembered for such verses as "Stands the Church clock at ten to three? / And is there honey still for tea?" and "If I should die, think only this of me:/ That there's some corner of a foreign field / That is for ever England," he was a far more complex figure than his boyish image would suggest. His presence in the area, off and on, for most years of his life, makes him a suitable candidate for our 'Cultural Capital Gallery' series. Go to our 'Cultural Capital Gallery' Rupert Brooke Page .
region's most popular screen drama in years (set and part-shot in W. Dorset), ITV's Broadchurch,
is back on Jan 5th. Series 1 (see our blog item here)
has been getting rerun on ITV's Encore channel, and Broadchurch 2, as it simply seems to be
called, begins another ten-part (?) series then. There was some speculation it might be called
Broadchurch 2: The End Is Where It Begins, in the manner of sequel titles (as in the recently
announced Star Wars: The Force Awakens), since this was the Twitter hashtag shown on the teaser
trailers. But this would imply closure of major storylines, and it seems that a "Broadchurch
3" may be in the works before Series 2 has even begun to air. (How the two washed-up cops pictured
above are going to carry on has been kept a secret.) ITV is now denying Series 3 has actually
been commissioned, but considering Series 1 was not set up as a pilot to be sequelled (with
both main characters still alive but emotionally and professionally maimed), this would not
The On-Air Airshow
Building Our Cultural Capital
South Central MediaScene 2013
@Connecting Up The DotComs
With the growth of electronics-company start-ups, ‘new media’ activity in the area is beginning to develop beyond ‘old’ media structures. Could the Bournemouth conurbation become Britain’s own ‘Silicon Beach’? [read on].
ITV Makes A Killing In Dorset
The big local-interest media event of the year so far has been ITV’s Broadchurch, filmed partly in Dorset, around West Bay and Bridport. ITV's answer to the hit Danish series The Killing, the just finished 8-week drama serial was meant as a one-off, the lead characters ending up dealt a cruel fate of the sort often found in a Thomas Hardy novel. (There are literary-reference clues in the drama to suggest this was no coincidence.) Nevertheless, a 2nd series has already been announced [read on].
Bournemouth AirShow 2013
The area's biggest media event, the 4-day airshow [29/8/13-1/9/13], still has no proper timetable freely available online (see our commentary on this from previous years), but Wave-FM is at least offering a live-feed online video channel, here. (Flying events are usually noon to 430 and evening displays 7.15pm.) The Echo also has a daily as-it-happens 'blog' page with Twitter updates, here and a 'schedule' with no specific timings (just the running order), here.
Update: The above links are of course now dead or out of date, but media coverage can be found on YouTube, here.
Jane Austen Bicentenary
The press is currently running many items on Jane Austen due to its being the 200th anniversary of her Pride And Prejudice, ranked in polls as 'the nation's favourite novel,' which was published this day [28th January] in 1813. We have more info on our Local-Literature homepage, plus a linked dedicated page on local-interest sites (literary locales and filming locations), just updated. [read more].
Setting The Scene In Wessex: The Crime Novel & Drama
Part Two of our 2-part guide to local-interest crime novels and film/tv dramas is now online. This had to be divided into two pages because in terms of sheer output, it is the biggest literary genre of all, with work ranging from novels about old-time smugglers through the Golden Age of the Detective Story, to the latest 'forensic' thrillers. Part One, covering up to 1945, is here, and Part Two, covering up to the present day, is here.
Ken Russell, 1927-2011: British Film's Wild Man In The Woods
The region’s most long-established filmmaker was Ken Russell, “the wild man of British cinema,” who lived in the New Forest and died shortly before Xmas. Ken often shot scenes for his films locally, regardless of where they were set, and as promised earlier in our obit-notice item, we’ve put together a feature web-page on his local links, some of which may surprise you.
[view feature page]
Bournemouth, Arts Town By The Sea?
Locally, the main media event this past month has been Bournemouth's Arts By The Sea Festival, which culminated this week with a focus on the Gothic side, which may have more topical relevance than just a Hallowe'en tie-in. [read more].
Big Sky Bournemouth 2012
This year, the town (and region)'s biggest annual media event, the Bournemouth Air Festival, looks to be more media-friendly [read more].
Last month, the popular press were running stories that crime has replaced romance as the nation's top literary genre. (Previously, to tie in with Valentine's Day, we covered the romance genre with a short-list piece as our last item, here. This press coverage was in the wake of Valentine's Day and National Storytelling Week, an annual national programme to get more people reading. The crime-v-romance genre-trends analysis was based on the royalties authors get from the library system (called Public Lending Right), thus indicating the most-borrowed books. This trend has been remarked upon before, said to be a sign of the times - the result of living in an anxious "post- 9/11" world beset by terrorist threat and economic uncertainty.
At present, we are approaching another official event to promote reading, World Book Night on Monday 23 April, a spinoff from UNESCO’s World Book Day. (While WBD is held elsewhere 23 April, the UK confusingly holds its WBD the first Thursday in March, to deliberately avoid the April date, which is Shakespeare’s birth and death date, and often coincides with Eastertime school hols; thus the UK’s WBD-spinoff event WBN is held on UNESCO’s original WBD date, 23 April.) In terms of local-interest events, there is a tie-in WBN event during the Bournemouth Festival of Words (21-27 April), and libraries around the region may be offering as their giveaway book a local-interest title (from the official WBN list of 25 titles, Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains Of The Day would seem to offer the most local-interest content).
Of course, one way to get people reading is to focus on local-interest examples, where readers (including future writers) can relate more easily to the setting, i.e. see better, through their own familiarity with the setting, how that particular type of novel or story works artistically. Though some works or writers are not well-known, locally we have plenty of examples from the most popular literary genre of all, in fact more than enough for a web-page in our ‘Setting The Scene In Wessex’ series. Thus we are putting up our guide to locally-set crime fiction and drama in several stages, with part one covering the early days of smuggling, Gothic and sensation novels, through the ‘Golden Age’ of detective fiction, up to WWII, here: Setting The Scene In Wessex: The Crime Novel & Drama, Part I
Romantic Fiction & Drama For Valentine's
Since the press as usual at this time of year have been running travel features etc to tie in with the Valentine’s Day weekend (and half-term week), it’s worth considering our own area as a romantic setting for fiction and drama. [read more].
Ken Russell 1927-2011
New Forest resident Ken Russell, the region’s most long-established filmmaker, who began his career with arts documentaries in the 1960s, died at Lymington shortly before the Xmas holidays. BBC2 has done a memorial documentary, A Bit Of A Devil, and BBC4 broadcast his films Women In Love and its sequel The Rainbow, while BBC3 aired his rarely-seen The Boy Friend. BBC4 also showed his (also rarely-seen) 1962 docu-drama Elgar, which changed how arts documentaries were made. The Rex Cinema in Wareham showed his 1977 Valentino, which was part-filmed in Bournemouth (Russell-Cotes Museum as the star's 1920s Hollywood home etc). Ken in fact often shot scenes for his films locally, regardless of where they were set, and rather than attempt another blog item here (we’ve done several previous items on him) as an obit, we’re currently putting together a dedicated web-page on the various local links in his life and work.
Local TV: LGTV or PSTV?:
Last week's 'LGTV' scandal suggests it is time to start our own coverage of the issue of our upcoming local tv/video channel. If you missed it, this is where Poole-based RNLI lifeguards at Sandbanks beach made a 9-minute video, uploaded it to YouTube, which promptly [Oct 28-30] got international media coverage of the sort the RNLI definitely did not want. Typical headlines were "RNLI Issues Apology For Lifeguard Video Featuring Homophobic Slurs, Hitler Impersonation" [Huffington Post], "Lifeguards simulate sex, impersonate Hitler on YouTube" [Telegraph], "Lifeguards in Hitler YouTube clip" [BBC News], "Fury over lifesavers' 'sex' and Hitler vid" [The Sun]. The stories noted the video also included jokey skits about people with ginger hair and practicing violence against women (punching them in the stomach and throwing them down the stairs). Our local Echo has "Poole lifeguards in hot water over video", with Commenting disabled in its online version of the story for reasons we can guess at. Our own interest here is how the video reflects a trend which is bound to impact on an upcoming local tv/video channel. [read more]
Back To The Local Front:
With the spreading phone hacking scandal leading to calls for more media ownership plurarity (i.e less of a monopoly), it may be worthwhile to take stock of our local media situation. [read more]
We seem to be living in what a rather sinister old political catchphrase refers to euphemistically as "interesting times," with political and economic crises looming, fighting in the streets against a growing police state, clamors for reform etc. The phrase could also be applied to the 17th century, an era historians sometimes refer to as the moment the modern British state was born. It was a time of shifting political alliances, popular leaders who rose to fame only to fall from grace, repressive laws, civic upheavals, the breakdown of law and order, the creation of a police state, clamors for reform etc. - only settled in the end through constitutional reform. It was certainly a time of lengthy debates about the nature of society and power, of conflicts which split apart family and friends. These debates and conflicts are naturally reflected in novels and dramas about the era, with key events as usual often playing out in Wessex, and this is the subject of our latest "setting the scene in Wessex" series.
Read Setting The Scene In Wessex: The 17th Century In Literature And Drama
Would You Believe Creative South-Central England?
The south-central region will again have no official recognition in the recent "Creative England" government consultation, but a new Writers Guild Of Great Britain initiative might be the start of something [read more]. [Updated 14-4-11]
World Book Day, Local Style
March 3rd/5th is World Book Day and Night, and the event with the most related press coverage concerns one of our many local-interest authors [read more].
That Was Never Ten Years, Was It?
- Dreamtown Days & Nights, Revisited:
Ten years ago, I wrote a blog-style series of online monthly columns headed 'Bournemouth In The Media' to help a local arts organisation establish more of an artistic 'scene'. With the original organisation website itself now history, I thought it might be of interest to re-post the collected columns to see what, if anything, has changed. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose? [read more]
2010 In Review:
A look back at some of the year's local-interest media developments.
For earlier blog entries, see:
South Central MediaScene 2011
South Central MediaScene 2010
South Central MediaScene 2009
South Central MediaScene 2008
South Central MediaScene 2007
South Central MediaScene 2006
South Central MediaScene 2005
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