Interview with British Heavyweight Champion Dereck Chisora

Dereck Chisora is the current British and Commonwealth Heavyweight boxing champion. A couple of months ago I went to an open press event as he was preparing for a shot at the world title against Wladimir Klitschko. Unfortunately the fight has been cancelled twice and it now seems unlikely Chisora will get a chance to fight Klitschko after the Ukranian agreed to fight another Briton, WBA World Heavyweight champion David Haye.

Dereck Chisora

In the interview below, Chisora seemed very confident of beating the much more fancied Klitschko but it is fair to say the majority of the press pack didn’t agree with him. I must say after watching Chisora train up close, I didn’t think he had much of a chance either. He looked to have a good punch on him but he seemed rather slow on his feet. Obviously this was only a sparring session and he was probably holding back a bit but I think it may be a blessing in disguise for him not to fight Klitschko yet. Chisora remains unbeaten professionally but he has only fought 14 times compared to Klitschko’s 55. A bad defeat could have ended his career before it even began.

However what was most interesting in this interview was the insight into Chisora’s character. Here is a man that has previous convictions for assault and last November was found guilty of beating up his girlfriend after he found text messages from another man on her phone. He avoided jail but received a 12-week prison sentence suspended for two years and was ordered to pay £1500 in compensation and serve 150 hours of community service.

Now nobody expects boxers to be held up as shining beacons of morality in our society but what Chisora said in regard to his conviction was quite unsettling. When quizzed about how his personal life will affect his boxing he rather proudly admitted, “I’m a rebel. You know what my boy Skepta says, ‘bun dat.’” This is to say, you know what, I don’t care.

His management team became very agitated with this line of questioning and would not allow any further questions on the subject. However the damage was already done. Chisora came across as an arrogant man who believes the rules don’t apply to him.

I for one am glad that this man has been denied the opportunity to represent Britain as Heavyweight Champion of the World.

Yianni Meleagros

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“All we hear is VIDEO GaGa”: The integral role of ONLINE VIDEO in projecting Lady Gaga into SUPERSTARDOM!

Has VIDEO murdered music? Maybe it was just a bad romance…

When Lady Gaga bust onto our radiowaves in 2008 with Just Dance, she had everyone from teenage girls in miniskirts to grandfathers in brogues tip-tapping away on the dance-floor. But when we were blessed with the ability to put that name to a face at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) in 2010, the world paused for a moment in bewildered unison asking, “WHY>?>?!! WHY THE MEAT DRESS, GAGA???”

Courtesy of REX images

Even now, half a year on –we still talk about Gaga’s radical dress sense as if it were some sort of Divinity, in place of what she should actually be celebrated for – her music. But what effect Gaga raises from her image is completely obliterated when compared to the effect caused by her music videos.

Miss Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta’s (GaGa) ‘Bad Romance’ currently stands as the World’s second most watched video EVER (Not even most watched music video, but VIDEO) on youtube.com.

Yup – Her lycra-coated body has paraded across the world’s eyes a staggering 362 MILLION TIMES!  (And counting!) This means that on average, ‘Bad Romance’ has been watched by ONE in TWENTY people on the PLANET! Or in other terms, her video has been watched once over by the total population of South America! If we play the video back to back 360 million times, and my calculations serve me correctly, it would take 30.5m hours, that’s 3500 YEARS to watch!  How scary is that?

It’s ironic to think you’d be hard-pressed to find 1 in 20 people who even like Lady Gaga and that everyone you speak to about ‘Bad Romance’ seems to think Gaga’s music is, well, just plain BAD.

And yet, we just can’t get enough: In February of this year, she won a Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video with her psychedelic video.  Back in 2009 Lady G was nominated for a total of nine awards at the VMAs wherein she won the award for Best New Artist for her single “Paparazzi” (Which has been viewed a mere 55 million times on youtube) and won 2 awards for Best Special Effects and Best Art Direction.

At the 2010 VMAs – “she gone cleared up good”! With ‘Bad Romance’ she won Video of the Year, Best Pop Video, Best Female Video, Best Dance Video, Best Choreography, Best Direction, AND Best Editing! Not to mention Best Collaboration for her video with Beyonce – ‘Telephone’. In response to her success, Gaga is quoted as saying “I’ve always been famous, it’s just no one knew it yet”. Well they sure do now, honey! Thank you youtube! Michael Jackson’s legendary music video, ‘Thriller ’, seems like an amateur 8mm home video in comparison to her worldwide SUPER HD BLOCKBUSTER.

                 – “fashion roadkill, that’s okay” – GaGa.

Type the letter ‘L’ into youtube and Lady gaga will come up as two suggestions in a row. Type in ‘Lady’ in google.com, and she comes up as all suggestions every time. Three years ago, Lady Gaga was still Stefanie, and now thanks to ONE ONLINE VIDEO, she is a household name who has made an unprecedented mark in music history.

All this from a woman who is “just trying to change the world, one sequin at a time”.  Right then.

by NICK KWEK


Are Radiohead changing the face of online music journalism, or will crowdsourced music videos never replace professional filming?

In 2010 Radiohead released a video online of a concert they played in the Czech republic. It was their first concert video since 1995, but this wasn’t what made the video so special.

This concert video was entirely shot by fans equipped with nothing more than camera phones.

After seeing clips of their shows uploaded to video sharing websites like Youtube the band were so impressed that they worked with the fans to edit together a complete concert video and provide a professional quality soundtrack to accompany the footage – all free of charge.

See the finished product below:

But does this kind of crowdsourced music video have the potential to change the way concerts are reported online?

I spoke to James Doherty, a freelance producer who has worked for a number of London-based radio stations and currently works for the BBC’s online wing.

By Alan O’Doherty


“Connection Strength: Excellent”

Forget Nokia, Youtube is Connecting People in a big way that’s here to stay!

Many have purported that as technology advances and online social media becomes an everyday way of life, the world is getting smaller. Who hasn’t heard of facebook, or youtube or twitter by now? As a result, fears of privacy infringement have strengthened. But surely it’s inevitable, right? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling for a 1984 Orwell invasion, but I think we need to step back and look at the amazing advantages of having such social pathways, literally, at our fingertips.

Just the other day, I was able to contact Barack Obama about City University’s Question Time with a few presses of a keypad. How can one think this is a bad thing? Now, let’s talk business…

Meet Keenan Cahill:

HERO

At the age of 14, Keenan started up his Apple Mac and began lipsynching to Katy Perry. The next day Perry re-tweeted his video. Overnight, a star was born.

18 months later, Keenan has had over 200 million youtube video views and has since started a career in music production, acting and modelling –all because of ONE VIDEO.

Last week, Katy Perry made this video for him, along with Nick Cannon and Khloe Kardashian:

Cue FIDDY.

One of Keenan’s dreams was to one day perform with 50 cent. The boy idolised him and made video after video singing along to ‘Candy Shop’, ‘Disco Inferno’, etc. Then one day as Keenan posted yet another video of him singing along to 50 Cent’s ‘Down On Me’, someone made a guest appearance…

The video with Keenan and Fiddy has 28 million hits on youtube and is actually more popular than the official music video that has only 13m!

Then there’s those with the BIEBER-FEVER!…

Say Hello to 3 year old Cody:

     – “I’M CRYING BECASUE I LOVE JUSTIN BIEBER!!!” Fair Does…

Her sister uploaded a video of her crying over Justin Bieber and the video attracted so many views, 20 million in fact, that American TV Host  Jimmy Kimmel arranged to have Bieber surprise little Cody, and in doing so, cleverly attract more viewers to his television show! Cody’s dream came true, because of ONE VIDEO.

And now this video, in itself, has attracted over 27 million views online.

Bieber, obviously indebted to youtube entirely for his success, has made somewhat of a hobby in doing this. For the Ellen show last month, he went to surprise his ‘superfan’, 15-year old Paige Conway. As Paige and Ellen’s production team record a video about how crazily infatuated she is with Bieber, what do you know, BIEBER TURNS UP! OHEMJEE. Like Totally. Shock. Horror.

This video has also been watched a mere 2m times on Ellen’s youtube channel in a month, but Ellen has made a cheeky buck or two from the advertising, say £20,000. As Mike Lok, Head of MSN Entertainment, says, “for each click online, advertisers pay 1p”. Not all bad then. Certainly hasn’t done badly for Bieber either, who has taken over Lady Gaga’s monster ‘Bad Romance’ and is now star of the number 1 most watched video EVER – at a jaw-dropping…wait for it…

HALF A BILLION views!!! Yup, ‘Baby’ has been played over 503 MILLION times!

All in all, online video can make dreams come true overnight, reconnect artists with their audiences, and as a result attract a wider audience, then we should all be grateful for youtube and the connecting power of social media. If you think the internet is a pit of evil and that the box is a waste of time, then bog off and move to the country!

But you won’t be alone for long.

By NICK KWEK


VBS.TV: online video journalism for the younger generation

VBS.TV is an online TV network that streams a variety of news, music, pop culture and current affairs videos. It was launched in 2007 by New York based media conglomerate Vice, in collaboration with MTV. The site is co-managed by creative director Spike Jonze, the Oscar nominated filmmaker whose credits include Being John Malkovich.

This online TV network is unusual. It targets a younger demographic of 18-24 year olds and offers more diverse content in terms of news and current affairs. It attempts to and succeeds in offering an alternative to the ‘dumbed down’ mainstream televisual programming so often focussed on celebrity culture. The site capitalises on far lower set-up costs and the knowledge that online plays such an important role in the lives of those fitting into this demographic. Confident that many of the younger generation are bored with Heat, Nuts and Paris Hilton, the site produces videos that offer a deeper look into important issues, formed as a result of their counter-culture philosophy.

VBS.TV has gained a strong following and industry recognition. VBS.TV online videos are featured on various other sites including YouTube and Vimeo. VBS online video documentaries have also been featured on CNN – the media organisation said they were ‘intrigued’ by the journalism and unique reporting approach of VBS. One video featured by CNN is an online video documentary about a forest at the foot of Mount Fuji in Japan that has attracted hundreds to go there to commit suicide, and explores the pressures on people in modern Japan.

The videos have a transparent approach to them where the viewer is taken on every step of the reporting process. The site is wholly advertiser-funded and content is free to access. Many contributors and freelancers produce videos for the site. Whilst you’ll still find stories about sex, drugs and rock and roll, you’ll also find reports on the war on terror, and North Korean refugees. Below are some of my top pics:

  • A half hour documentary on the student protests over rising tuition fees and the scrapping of EMA entitled Teenage Riot. You can watch the video on VBS.TV by using this link: Teenage Riot.
  • A video which typifies what VBS is about called Heavy Metal in Baghdad, which is a unique documentary about the fortunes of Acrassicauda, Iraq’s only heavy metal band which formed during the final years of Saddam Hussein’s rule. They were only allowed to play if they included a pro-Saddam song in each set. The film provides an insight into the life of young people in modern day Iraq, and gives a fresh angle on a major world news story unexplored by the mainstream press.
  • Swansea Love Story – this is a moving and saddening documentary about heroin addiction filmed in the vein of gritty realism. Reporter involvement (RI) is extremely limited, even at times when the viewer is screaming at the reporter to intervene. The production of the piece achieved interesting and thought provoking shots by filming contrasting sequences of the main subjects with wide shots of the desolate Swansea landscape and also with shots of the local church choir which adds another layer to the film. You can watch part on on YouTube below:

Natasha Malcolm-Brown


Goliath is Back: 4oD versus the BBC for the title of Video On Demand Champion

It’s a classic case of David meets Goliath but in the digital age. This time the big dog bites back, leaving the rest trailing behind.

So without further ado, let the battle commence…

As a devout viewer of Channel 4 for the past 22 years, I quickly caught on to the idea of being able to watch television programmes when they weren’t on television. Thus, when Channel 4 on Demand (4oD) opened its web-based doors in November of 2006, I was already camped outside propped up on a deck chair enjoying a ham sandwich ready for an invite inside. At first, I was asked for ID and subsequently rejected – oh the nostalgia of only being allowed 4oD access if you were a member of Channel 4. I even remember being asked to pay once I had gained entry, you know, to see special material. This option didn’t particularly tickle my fancy however, so I declined. But once I signed-up, I was in, and to my genuine belief, I was there to stay.

At first I tried to keep it quiet, on the down low, hush hush. Because here I was, in what felt like rather a state of privilege – I was getting to see exclusively Channel 4 content as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted. Whilst others still tried to catch the latest Eastenders or Coronation street fidgeting in the cold, I was lounging at home with my feet up watching the latest Peep Show episode, and when I felt like it, the complete series of Nigel Slater broadcast nearly 10 years ago in ‘98. I could even pop to the kitchen for a cuppa, just keeping the programme on pause.

Yup – life as a viewer was pretty sweet until late 2007…when BBC iPlayer was firmly launched…

But who noticed the launch? I mean, really?! People by this stage were revelling in the apparently endless 4oD collection that was growing by the day, both with old and archive material. And by this time, over 100 million visitors had watched 4oD. No no, it wasn’t until iPlayer’s re-vamp in the summer of 2008 that it gained any real attention. And even then, the Beeb could only offer a 7-day catch-up, whereas 4’s programmes were there for always. Faith restored. For the meantime.

Slowly and surely though, things started changing – iPlayer continued to grow, as did 4oD, but in a different way. A better way.

Soon, the Black Books series wasn’t available on 4oD…Well-known films started to disappear…Advertisement breaks started springing up out of nowhere, like toadstools on a perfectly preened lawn.

Simultaneously, the Beeb quickly caught on to the fact they have thousands of hours of archive footage at their disposal, buried away in the depths of television history. They were soon shown the light.

And as all this was happening and both 4oD and iPlayer gained their following, ITV got a little lonely. Soon they became hungry for a piece of the pie. Sadly though, it looks like they’ll remain hungry for a long time yet. The ITV Player is completely littered with advertisement breaks, to the point that viewing a simple half-hour show is a frustratingly laborious task. ‘Celebrity Juice’ for instance, has FOUR ad breaks for its half-hour show – with not just one of a few seconds, but FIVE 30 second-long clips. Not to mention the incredibly exacerbating slow speed of the site; you feel as though you should be awarded a medal for Audience Commitment by the time it loads. The sporadic pop-out window, too, is another spit in the face.

Then there is Demand 5. Yes, that’s right, Channel 5’s Video On Demand service. What is that you ask? Exactly. Let’s not dwell on it, but simply conclude that it has never been viewed by yourself, your family, or any of your immediate associates. BT Vision gave up on it in October of last year, so we can too.

Now, back to the betrayal.

These days, Alfa Romeos are more reliable than 4oD, and iPlayer sort of just makes sense: It’s not just one channel’s programmes up for grabs; You’ve got BBC HD now, as well as BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, BBC News, BBC Parliament, BBC Alba, CBBC BBC and CBEEBIES BBC. In iPlayer, there are no annoying Pop-ups, if there are ads, they’re far and few between and the overall streaming service seems faster. You can also download programmes onto your hard drive and keep them forever and ever, and now almost every programme can be enjoyed in High Definition!

Courtesy of Worldtvpc

As the latest statistics reveal, viewer figures for iPlayer DOUBLED from 60m to 120m a month between 09/10! And that was a year ago.

No more Peep Show for me!

Sorry 4oD, but unless you pull your technical socks up, you’re going to end up like Myspace – full of creepy old men pretending they’re cool.

BY NICK KWEK