Tag Archives: The Guardian

Scotland’s first Festival of Erotic Arts smothers the smut

With Edinburgh International Festival’s much-anticipated summer programme being launched on Wednesday and the first Fringe tickets already on sale, March is the time when the buzz of Edinburgh’s summer festivals really kicks off.

But there’s a new festival in town which is getting the tongues of arts enthusiasts wagging: the Festival of Erotic Arts (FEA).

Running for three days in June, FEA is the first of its kind in Scotland and follows a growing number of cities who have begun hosting such festivals in recent years; Seattle’s Festival of Erotic Art is now in its tenth year, and attracts over 10,000 visitors, while similar events take place annually in Paris, Berlin and New York among others.

As with any new and controversial event, FEA’s programme announcement sparked furore over the weekend, with both the city council and the Church of Scotland voicing concerns over the potential risks posed to vulnerable women and the impact advertising could have on children.

But rather than reinforcing and perpetuating clichés, the festival’s organisers, Itsy Live Events, promise to give a platform to erotic art in all its forms, as well as creating a place for art and performances not otherwise seen in mainstream venues.

Events are typical of any other arts festival; exhibitions and talks include Erotic: Surreal and Abstract and A Spoken History of the Erotic Arts. The innocently named Arts & Crafts Fair is being plugged as “a one-of-a-kind sexy fair” with everything from books to accessories to clothes being sold by craftmakers and artists alike.

For those keen to dip their toe into the erotic water, there’s a beginner’s workshop in Japanese style bondage, which involves decorative ties with ropes. Run by a bondage professional, the ticket price includes a goody bag with lesson sheets, 15 metres of rope, and an all-important pair of safety scissors.

Despite being a short, weekend festival, many of the names involved in the FEA are the crème de la crème of the UK’s fetish scene. London-based Torture Garden’s fetish, burlesque and body art club nights for “alternative arty weirdos” are the biggest in the world, with previous visitors including Marilyn Manson, Dita Von Teese and Jean Paul Gaultier. A debate on the nature of human sexuality will be hosted by award nominated cabaret act, ArtWank, while internationally bestselling author and blogger extraordinaire, Zoe Margolis, will be giving a Q&A on the art of sex blogging.

With Margolis a regular contributor to The Guardian and The Observer, the FEA is going out of its way to make sure this festival is taken seriously. Describing it as “a sleaze-free celebration of a thriving art form”, there’s an undeniable absence of smut in the way it’s being marketed – and if nothing else, it’s good advertising for Itsy Live Events’ other specialist service, “reputation management”.

Sport media pulling off the saves

Sports journalism - the saviour (Photo courtesy of http://www.getreligion.org)

By Myles Edwards and Suhayl Afzal

 

Newspapers are relying heavily on sports journalism to survive, according to leading journalists and academics.

The latest circulation figures from ABC (an independent auditor on media performance) show that sales of each quality daily and Sunday newspaper have fallen again in the year leading up to October. 

Newspapers such as the The Guardian and The Observer have already ceased distribution of bulks (copies that readers can pick up free of charge from hotels and airlines), with the Times and the Sunday Times set to follow suit in January 2010.

The Sunday Times recorded a relatively low fall in circulation compared to that of other national newspapers, with a 3.37 percent drop in the past 12 months.  This is partly down to the popularity of its comprehensive sports section.

Jonathan Northcroft, Football Correspondent with the Sunday Times, believes that sport is integral to the future of newspapers.

He said: “There has never been a greater interest in top end sport than there is right now.  The Premier League is the most popular in the world, Test Cricket grosses more money than ever before and it’s the same for all the blue riband events such as the Olympics and Wimbledon.”

English Premier League - Global Audience

Mr Northcroft emphasised the importance of newspapers maintaining their high quality so that readership does not drop any further.

He added: “Sports journalism is delivering in a sector where people really want to consume content and will pay for exclusive news or to read a brilliantly written opinion piece.”

It could be argued that newspapers should not be overly dependant on sport in this difficult time for the media due to advertising downturns.  The high profile demise of Setanta in the UK is evidence of this view.

However, Mark Ogden, Northern Football Correspondent with the Telegraph said: “Newspapers still have the greatest impact and set the agenda. 

“If you watch Sky Sports News or listen to Five Live in the morning, their sports bulletins are often led by the big stories in that day’s newspapers.”

Academics also recognise the importance of the sport to the success of print media.

Michael Oriard, Professor of Literature and Culture at Oregon State University said sport both benefits from and contributes to success of newspapers.

He added: “Sport coverage attracts the reader, who in turn looks to daily newspapers to satisfy their growing desire for more and more sport.”

The Citizen Blogger-Coming To A City Near You

by Kira Weir

The Guardian have announced that they will hire bloggers to provide local news in three major cities

The Guardian newspaper plans to implement the use of  locals in Leeds, Cardiff and Edinburgh by the start of next year. The service, entitled Guardian Local will use the writings of inhabitants of each respective city to source local news.

The job is advertised on the Guardian’s recruitment website encourages those without any Journalistic qualifications to apply for the job stating that such is “desirable” but not a requirement.

The advertisement states

” This is a completely new role for the Guardian, which we believe reflects the shifting nature of journalism.” and asks for those to apply who possess a “willingness to embrace new working methods.”  The role will require applicants to be familiar with the ever growing “bloggersphere” and sites such as Twitter.

BLOG

Some fear that this will result in widespread cases of news being reported as fact that is based in fiction. One much publicised example of this shows that blogs can spread rumour like wildfire. In the case of a fake CNN website that was producing bogus stories that were then taken up by other online news publications and published as fact on 2003.

The newspaper however claims that Guardian Local will combat the possibility of “corruption” in local new reporting in the press release from   Emily Bell.

photograph courtesy of She Writes

The service is set to be available in January 2010 and the deadline for applications is the 8th of November.