The guardian g2 tuesday 2 october 2012


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The guardian g2 tuesday 2 october 2012

  1. 1. Tuesday 02.10.12 ‘It is the business of historians to remember what others forget’ Eric Hobsbawm on communism, war and jazz Aditya Chakrabortty Hotel GB Hadley Freeman Howard Barker How we made ... 12A Who needs an 84in TV? Check it out but don’t check in Are red trousers OK? ‘I write from ignorance’ Ben 10
  2. 2. Shortcuts Media Jimmy Savile – is this now the moment of truth? H e was, plainly, eccentric. The yodel, the catch- phrases, the tracksuits, gold jewellery and big cigar. The lifelong bachelor who, even as one of the nation’s most successful radio and TV present- ers, lived with his mother (he called her “the Duchess” and, after her death, left her bedroom untouched. Every year, he took her clothes to be dry-cleaned.) This being another era, Jimmy Savile’s personal life never made headlines. In his autobiography, he sketched a prolific sex life, claiming to have had encounters in “trains ... boats and planes and bushes and fields, corridors, doorways, floors, chairs, slag heaps, desks and probably everything except the celebrated chandelier and ironing board”. Savile … accused in a TV documentary of sexually assaulting young girls in the 1970s But in an interview with Lynn Barber in 1990, he said he had and a former BBC radio producer, broadcast because it “could not for this to come out for 30 years never been in love, had never had Wilfred De’Ath, recalling that be substantiated”. The corpora- ... You just didn’t mess with Jim”. a live-in girlfriend, and had never Savile – who had “a shocking tion has also said a search of its Back in 1990, Savile told Bar- even come close to marrying (too reputation ... for being into young files has revealed “no evidence ber that the rumours stemmed busy “living the business”). He girls” – had told him that Top of ... of misconduct or allegations of purely from the fact that young described sex as “like going to the the Pops was his “happy hunting misconduct by Sir Jimmy Savile girls flocked to him because of his bathroom” and “like what they ground”. during his time at the BBC”. association with the stars who say about policemen – never there It also includes footage of a But the allegations have were their idols. She concluded when you want one.” 2009 interview in which Savile view opened the floodgates: broad- oodgat that since “the tabloids have Were some of those many defended Gary Glitter (he “did caster Esther Rantze now says Rantzen never come up with a scintilla of sexual encounters with underage nothing wrong ... it was rong she fears the industr “blocked industry evidence”, he was maybe right. girls? Half a dozen women will for his own personal n its ears” to the rumo rumours about That now seems unlikely. claim in an ITV1 documentary air- gratification”) in on”) Savile’s behaviour. S Singer Coleen In the music business in the ing tomorrow that the entertainer possessing child g Nolan has revisited her re 1970s, certainly, such behaviour sexually assaulted them, some- pornography. hy. horror at being “inti- – and attitudes – were rife. In times repeatedly, in the 1970s The BBC has C mately cuddled” ma later years, even Savile himself when they were young girls. The defended its by Savile on b seemed to hint at it: “I once said assaults allegedly took place in decision last ast Top Of The to a girl: ‘I’m older than your his Rolls-Royce, at a hospital, year to axe a e Pops in 1979, grandfather,’” he told Simon an approved school and at BBC Newsnight t when she was w Hattenstone in this paper in 2000. Television Centre. investiga- 14: “He was all “ “And she says, ‘Well, I love him as The programme shows a BBC tion into over me,” she ove well.’ I say, ‘Good-oh, but I’m still Leeds newsroom assistant say- Savile’s recalls. And Paul rec too old for you.’ And she says, ing she saw Savile in 1978 with behaviour, , Gambaccini has Gam ‘No, you’re not, because you’re “his left arm up the skirt” of a saying the told breakfast TV ageless, you’re you.’” 14-year-old girl sat on his lap, item was not he has been “waiting bee Jon Henley Ê Keep on running Now you see her … Forget the golf. There Ikea has apologised Shorter was more British sporting success at the weekend after it was revealed that women had been cuts when ultramarathon runner Lizzy Hawker came third in airbrushed out of the Saudi Arabian version the Spartathlon, covering of its catalogues, not 153 miles in 27 hours. helping gender equality.2 The Guardian 02.10.12
  3. 3. Diplomacy That was thanks, in part, to a blue floor-light that makes the ceiling Pass notes Why Assange is look like the sky, along with a UVB No 3,257 light. on the run in his Ken Loach has donated a run- The Ryder embassy room ning machine, on which Assange runs three to five miles each day. Cup There’s a Spanish dictionary, for conversing with embassy staff, J ulian Assange’s bedroom and a book about Guantánamo. Age: 85. behaviour is the subject of Assange claims he works 17-hours Appearance: Once every two years. much debate, but now we daily – at one end of the room is What is it? A nail-biting international golf tourna- know what his bedroom looks a conference table for meeting IN NUMBERS ment, held this year in Medinah, Illinois. like. Assange has given the Mail journalists and colleagues – but A golf tournament? Nail-biting? I’d rather watch on Sunday a tour of his garret he still finds a suspicious amount my nails grow. I know where you’re coming from, inside the Ecuadorean embassy, of time for watching films. The tracks the casual but the Ryder Cup is different. where he fled in June to escape West Wing and The Twilight Zone use of homophobic How? Well there are two teams, America and allegations of rape. are favourites. language on Twitter. Europe, with 12 golfers each competing over three So what have we learned? The But it’s not all fun and games. From 24-30 days. They start with foursomes matches, where September the secrets of his tan, for one. When Outside, he moans, “there is an team pairs take alternate shots using the same following words were he emerged blinking into the light absurdly oppressive police pres- counted: ball. Then they move to fourball, where each for a speech in August, he looked ence”. And we thought Bradley player has his own ball ... surprisingly ruddy for a man who Manning had it tough. I’m going to stop you there. That sounds had spent two months indoors. Patrick Kingsley boring and stupid. This year America moved 215,174 into the final day – the singles matches – Faggot comfortably ahead, 10 points to six, their Fashion victory all but assured. On Sunday at Paris fashion week, Céline unveiled the strangest shoes of Boring, stupid and typical. And then, in an the season – furry heels. One pair was described by the New York Times unprecedented turnaround, Europe won. as looking like blue, hairy sandals; a fur-lined court shoe was compared 99,153 Really? Yup – after a day of changing fortunes, they to the surrealist Meret Oppenheim’s fur teacup sculpture. Yet are they No homo squeaked ahead to win 14½ points to 13½, after a the most impractical shoes fashion designers have dreamed up? There spectacular 6ft putt from German Martin Kaymer. are a few other contenders for that title, says Rosie Swash And that’s never happened before? Actually, it has, but the other way round – the US came back 74,795 from the same deficit, to win by the same score, So gay in 1999. It all sounds about as exciting as lawn-mowing time trials. Not for the newcomers who happened to tune in yesterday: with 12 pairs on the course at 28,018 once, the final day moves at a hectic pace. Sedate Dyke knots of spectators are replaced by large, boister- ous, deeply partisan crowds. The atmosphere is distinctly gladiatorial. Céline’s furry heels (2012) Antonio Berardi’s heel-less Alexander McQueen’s This is still the game with the little ball and the High heels that look like boots (2008) Cost £3,000, Armadillo shoes (2010) flags sticking out of holes, right? Yes, and soPHOTOGRAPHS GARY CALTON COVER JANE BOWN slippers – Hlippers? worn by Victoria Beckham Controversial hoof shape much more. I’ll take your word for it. How did it all start? The cup began in 1927 when Samuel Ryder, a Brit- ish seed-packet magnate and golf enthusiast, donated the 100 guinea gold trophy. Originally designed as a tournament between the US and Britain and Ireland, it was extended to include European golfers in 1979. Before that, the US almost always won. Since then, Europe has main- tained a narrow overall lead. Do say: “If it features Europeans beating Vivienne Westwood stack Giuseppe Zanotti stilettos Christian Louboutin glass in Americans, I’m sure I can enjoy this healthy heels (1993) Famously (2008) Gwyneth Paltrow lass, slipper (2012) A glass, glitter competition as some sort of proxy war.” toppled Naomi Campbell braved them at premieres ty and lace monstrosity Don’t say: “Hey Tiger! Miss it! MISS! LOSER!” School ties Pounds to the people le Get on your bike Etonian Justin Welby The UK’s highest earners Ed Balls and Andy Burnham kicked is a frontrunner for live in: Tooting, formerly off Labour conference with a game Archbishop of Canterbury. the lefty enclave of Citizen of footie. David Cameron and Boris Do we want another of the Smith. The average income Johnson played it at their pub peace school’s old boys in the is now £66,100, beating summit. Don’t they know it’s no upper echelons of power? Knightsbridge and Chelsea. longer our national sport? Let them know: @c_of_e 02.10.12 The Guardian 3
  4. 4. Aditya Chakrabortty Growth-hungry Britain prizes innovation. But how do colossal TVs or self-sorting smart socks boost our standard of living?O nly 83 days left till Christmas so offer None of IT’s growth? Not so. In August, the US economist a vote of thanks to the folk at Sony, Robert Gordon published what has already turned for they have seen off your gift-shop- benefits out to be one of this year’s most talked-about bits ping migraines. I speak, of course, of have of academic research. He totted up the boosts the XBR-84X900: the 84in television. to growth from three industrial revolutions: theThe “largest, highest resolution picture” Sony rivalled, first ran from 1750 to 1830 and delivered steamhas ever produced for a TV, it displays images in and railways; the second, from 1870 to 1900,4K quality – which is, the press release assures say, the provided flushing toilets and electric lights, andme, a gazillion times better than HD, yet so bleed- introduction the third, from the 1960s on, might be termed theing edge that hardly a programme in the world is IT revolution.made in it. And, you lucky people, it goes on sale of running The Northwestern University professor doesn’tnext month at £20,000. Unsporting types will water at the deny that computers have enabled us to workdoubtless sigh that this is over a tenth of the price more efficiently. But in terms of a boost to ourof a house in Wales. The rest of us will recognise turn of standard of living, none of IT’s benefits haveit as an absolute snip for what CEO Kaz Hirai the 20th rivalled, say, the introduction of running water atpromises is “an unprecedented and revolutionary the turn of the 20th century. Before that, everyviewing experience”. century drop of water for drinking and bathing had to Ah, innovation. Who would dare oppose it? be drawn by hand, so that a housewife in NorthOne of the universal values of post-industrial Carolina in 1885 would have to walk 148 miles persocieties, it stands in incontestable supremacy year to carry 35 tonnes of water.alongside “creative”, “entrepreneurial” and Gordon’s paper seeks to make a bigger, if“iPhone”. To be an innovator in growth- sketchier, argument, as hinted at in its title, “Is UShungry Britain is to have a government minis- economic growth over?” That interests me lesstry dedicated to advancing your cause (Vince than what he has say to about innovation. “Inven-Cable’s Department of Business, Innovation tion since 2000 has centred on entertainment andand Skills). It is to invite the interest of David communication devices that are smaller, smarter,Cameron’s fixers, for the prime minister never and more capable,” he argues, “but do not funda-looks happier than when wandering around mentally change labour productivity or the stand-some skinny-jeaned social-media startup in the ard of living in the way that electric light, motorEast End of London. Politicians want to be pho- cars, or indoor plumbing changed it.” You mighttographed with you; civil servants sweat over love your iPhone, and I might spend too muchpolicies on how to clone your success. In 2008, time on Twitter, but we’d both be fine if they’dGordon Brown laid out plans to turn Britain into never been “innovation nation”, which even at the time In a market economy, innovations shouldsounded less like a white paper and more like a benefit both the seller and the buyer if they are to MicrochippTV pilot featuring Anneka Rice. ed that sort th socks take off. It is easier to see how much the customer Innovation is the badge that must be worn emselves gains from Gordon’s earlier innovations than a – yours forby seekers after arts funding. Public servants £117 Wii Fit, let alone Angry Birds.can no longer simply lay on schools and hospitals And it is true of a lot else besides consumerand social services; they must do so with private- electronics. Finance has produced plenty of in-sector sass and novelty. A word meant to novation over the past three decades, and yetsum up the commercial application of as the former US central banker Paul Volcker fortechnological progress has seeped into all points ou none have been as useful as the out,parts of our culture. machine and some have been downright cash mac Yet look around at the fruits of disastrous. disastrouinnovation. A television too big for The drugs industry pumps millions into dyour house and too advanced for the developing drugs for luxury ailments, yet puts developbroadcasters. A six-blade battery- next to n nothing into treating hookworm orpowered razor (thank you, Gillette). developing-world diseases. The Sabin other de“Smart socks” with microchips that Vaccine Institute calculates that 1,393 medi-will sort themselves (yours at £117 cines were developed between 1975 and 2000, wefor 10 pairs). but only 16 were for diseases that predomi- I could go on into the realms of techno- no- nantly blight developing countries.lunacy, but you’ve seen enough glossy As James Wilsdon, formerly of the Royalsupplements. Each of these could be described escribed Society and now at Sussex University puts Soas innovative, but really they are just unneces- nneces- i “Politicians welcome as innovative it:sary reiterations of basics (or not-so-basics) that sics) anything that’s new and of supposedalready serve us fine. Their ultimate end is as d economic value.” It’s time we got aexpensive landfill. lot more discriminating and demand- But aren’t such baubles essential for economic in about what passes for innovation. ing 02.10.12 The Guardian 5
  5. 5. On history On 28 June 1992 President Mitterrand Historic of France made a sudden, unannounced catastrophe … and unexpected appearance in British soldiers Sarajevo, already the centre of a Balkan on the Somme war that was to cost many thousands in 1916 of lives during the remainder of the year. His object was to remind world opinion of the seriousness of the Bosnian crisis. Indeed, the presence of a distinguished, elderly and visibly frail statesman under small-arms and artillery fire was much remarked on and admired. However, one aspect of M Mitterrand’s visit passed virtually without comment, even though it was plainly central to it: the date. Why has the president of France chosen to go to Sarajevo on that particular day? Because 28 June was the anniversary of the assassination, in Sarajevo, in 1914, of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary, which led, within a matter of weeks, to the outbreak of the first world war. For any educated European of Mitterrand’s age, the connection between date, place and the reminder of a historic catastrophe precipitated by political error and miscalculation leaped to the eye. How better to dramatise the potential implications of the Bosnian crisis than by choosing so symbolic a date? But hardly anyone caught the allusion, except a few professional historians and very senior citizens. The historical memory was no longer alive. The destruction of the past, or rather of the social mechanisms that link one’s comtemporary experience to that of earlier generations, is one of the most characteristic and eerie phenomena of the late 20th century. Most young men and women at the century’s end grow up in a sort of permanent present lacking any organic relation to the public past of the times they live in. This makes historians, whose business it is to remember what others forget, more essential at the end of the second millennium than The work of the renowned Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm ranged across Hobsbawm6 The Guardian 02.10.12
  6. 6. s revolutions and the centuries. Here we print extracts from his major worksm’s history 02.10.12 The Guardian 7
  7. 7. ← ever before. But for that very reason they must be more than simply chroniclers, remembrancers belong to the generation for whom the October Revolution represented the hope of the world, as China never did. lation in our century. Most of them occurred in areas which were not growing all that fast. and compilers, though this is also the The Soviet Union’s hammer and sickle Hecatombs on this scale were historians’ necessary function. In 1989 symbolised it. beyond the range of imagination in the all governments and especially all Interesting Times, Little Brown, 2002 19th century, and those which actually foreign ministers in the world would occurred took place in the world of have benefited from a seminar on On barbarism and progress backwardness or barbarism outside the peace settlements after the two Before 1914, virtually the only the range of progress and “modern world wars, which most of them had quantities measured in millions, civilisation”, and were surely destined apparently forgotten. outside astronomy, were populations to retreat in the face of universal, if The Age of Extremes, Little Brown, 1994 of countries and the data of pro- uneven, advance. The atrocities of duction, commerce and finance. Congo and Amazon, modest in scale On communism Since 1914 we have become used to by modern standards, so shocked The months in Berlin made me a life- measuring the numbers of victims the Age of Empire – witness Joseph long communist, or at least a man in such magnitudes: the casualties Conrad’s Heart of Darkness – just whose life would lose its nature and of even localised wars (Spain, Korea, because they appeared as regressions its significance without the political Vietnam) – larger ones are measured of civilised men into savagery. The project to which he committed himself in tens of millions – the numbers of state of affairs to which we have as a schoolboy, even though that those driven into forced migration or become accustomed, in which torture project has demonstrably failed, and, exile (Greeks, Germans, refugees in has once again become part of police as I now know, was bound to fail. The the Indian subcontinent, kulaks), even methods in countries priding them- dream of the October Revolution is the number massacred in genocide selves on their record of civility, would still there somewhere inside me, as (Armenians, Jews), not to mention not merely have profoundly repelled deleted texts are still waiting to be re- those killed by famine or epidemics. political opinion, but would have been, covered by experts, somewhere on the Since such human magnitudes escape justifiably, regarded as a relapse into hard disks of computers. I have aban- precise recording or elude the grasp barbarism, which went against every doned, nay, rejected it, but it has not of the human mind, they are hotly observable historical trend of develop- been obliterated. To this day I notice debated. But the debates are about ment since the mid-18th century. myself treating the memory and tradi- millions more or less. Nor are these After 1914 mass catastrophe, and tion of the USSR with an indulgence astronomic figures to be entirely increasingly the methods of barba- and a tenderness which I do not feel explained, and still less justified, by rism, became an integral and expected towards communist China, because I the rapid growth of the world popu- part of the civilised world, so much Bolshevik Red Guards at the start of the October Revolution in Petrograd (St Petersburg). Above right: Duke Ellington8 The Guardian 02.10.12
  8. 8. so that it masked the continued and world is what happened and not what striking advances of technology and might have happened if things had the human capacity to produce, and been different, we need not consider even the undeniable improvements the possiblity of other scenarios. The in human social organisation in many end of the cold war proved to be not parts of the world, until these became the end of an international conflict, quite impossible to overlook during but the end of an era: not only for the the huge forward leap of the world east, but for the entire world. There economy in the third quarter of the are historic moments which may be 20th century. In terms of the material recognised, even by contemporaries, improvement of the lot of humanity, as marking the end of an age. The years not to mention of the human under- around 1990 clearly were such a secu- standing and control over nature, the lar turning point. But, while everyone case for seeing the history of the 20th could see that the old had ended, there century as progress is actually more was utter uncertainty about the nature compelling than it was in the 19th. and prospects of the new. For even as Europeans died and fled Interesting Times, Little Brown, 2002 in their millions, the survivors were becoming more numerous, taller, On jazz healthier, longer-lived. And most of The sort of teenagers who were most them lived better. But the reasons likely to to be captured by jazz in 1933 why we have got out of the habit of I experienced were rarely in a position to buy more thinking of our history as progress are than a few records, let alone build a obvious. For even when 20th-century this musical collection. Still, enough was already progress is most undeniable, predic- being issued in Britain for the local tion suggests not a continued ascent, revelation at market: Armstrong, Ellington, Fletcher but the possibility, perhaps even the Henderson and John Hammond’s last imminence, of some catastrophe: the age of first recording of Bessie Smith. What is another and more lethal world war, more, shortly before the trade dispute an ecological disaster, a technology whose triumphs may make the world love, 16 or 17 stopped American jazz-players from coming to Britain for some 20 years, uninhabitable by the human species, the greatest of all the bands – I can still or whatever current shape the night- ate and gigantic project to restore the recite its then line-up from memoryPHOTOGRAPHS HULTON GETTY, CORBIS; EXTRACTS REPRINTED BY PERMISSION OF DAVID HIGHAM ASSOCIATES mare may take. We have been taught west European economies, because – came to London: Duke Ellington’s. by the experience of our century to the supposed danger to these econo- It was the season when Ivy Anderson live in the expectation of apocalypse. mies – communism and the USSR sang Stormy Weather. Denis [Preston, The Age of Empire, Little Brown, 1987 – was easily defined. The economic a cousin] and I, presumably financed and political consequences of the col- by the family, went to the all-night On the cold war lapse of the Soviet Union and eastern session (“breakfast dance”) they The end of the cold war suddenly re- Europe were even more dramatic than played at a Palais de Danse in the wilds moved the props which had held up the troubles of western Europe, and of Streatham, nursing single beers in the international structure and, to an would prove even more far-reaching. the gallery as we despised the slowly extent not yet appreciated, the struc- They were predictable enough in the heaving mass of south London dancers tures of the world’s domestic politi- late 1980s and even visible - but none below, who were concentrating on cal systems. And what was left was a of the wealthy economies of capital- their partners and not on the wonderful world in disarray and partial collapse, ism treated this impending crisis as a noises. Our last coins spent, we walked because there was nothing to replace global emergency requiring urgent and home in dark and daybreak, mentally them. The idea, briefly entertained massive action because its political floating above the hard pavement, by American spokesmen, that the consequences were not so easily captured for ever. old bipolar order could be replaced specified. With the possible exception Like the Czech writer Josef by a “new world order” based on the of West Germany, they reacted Skvorecky, who has written better single superpower which remained in sluggishly – and even the Germans about it than most, I experienced this being, and therefore looked stronger totally misunderstood and under- musical revelation at the age of first than ever, rapidly proved unrealistic. estimated the nature of the problem, love, 16 or 17. But in my case it virtually There could be no return to the world as their troubles wih the annexation replaced first love, for, ashamed of my before the cold war, because too much of the former Geman Democratic looks and therefore convinced of being had changed, too much had disap- Republic were to demonstrate. physically unattractive, I deliberately peared. All landmarks were fallen, all The consequences of the end of the repressed my physical sensuality and maps had to be altered. Politicians and cold war would probably have been sexual impulses. Jazz brought the economists used to one kind of world enormous in any case, even had it not dimension of wordless, unquestioning even found it difficult or impossible to coincided with a major crisis in the physical emotion into a life otherwise appreciate the nature of the problems world economy of capitalism and with almost monopolised by words and the of another kind. In 1947 the USA had the financial crisis of the Soviet Union exercises of the intellect. recognised the need for an immedi- and its system. Since the historian’s Interesting Times, Little Brown, 2002 02.10.12 The Guardian 9
  9. 9. Katie Pip er: ‘I do somet t’s nice for me to hing (right) Go lighthearted’; r Gok Wan, don Ramsay, Mary Por Phil Spen tas and cer T Check it out here is a hair in my fish is on the other side of the restaurant pie. “Are you sure it’s not taking someone’s pudding order. I yours?” says Rachael, my call him over. “I don’t want Gordon dining companion. But to be angry,” I tell Spencer, who is al- but don’t it’s not, and it’s not one ready looking pink and flustered, “but of the cat’s either (I’m used to eating there’s a hair in my pie.” food with cat hair in it; it falls off my Later, when Ramsay comes over to jumpers). It’s baked into the mashed apologise I tell him I hope nobody gets check in potato, sticking out like a neat little sacked for it. “I’m not going to sack garnish. Ordinarily I wouldn’t bother to anyone because of a pube,” he says. complain, the idea of making a scene in Actually, I don’t think it was a pube. a restaurant far more offputting to me “Was it curly?” he demands, like an than a mere stray hair, but the feeling aggressive detective. Not really – it that we’re being watched – the restau- wasn’t thick either. (How does pubic rant is rigged with microphones and hair end up in food anyway? Are chefs cameras that swivel towards us – forces trouserless behind the pass?) Ramsay, me to confront it. They want me to, Welcome to Hotel GB, run by who is wearing trousers, looks a bit don’t they? Channel 4 celebs along with some happier. Until the hair incident, we had been I have spent the morning at Hotel enjoying our lunch at Hotel GB in young, unemployed trainees. But if GB – most of it, admittedly, in a bed- south London, staffed by celebrities Emine Saner’s experience in the room waiting for the production team for a new Channel 4 show that began to finish filming before I’m allowed last night. I can see Gordon Ramsay restaurant is any guide, the stars into parts of the hotel. Ramsay and in the kitchen at the back. The maître d, Phil Spencer from the property still have a bit to learn themselves the retail consultant Mary Portas are its co-general managers, with other show Location, Location, Location, famous Channel 4 people taking on10 The Guardian 02.10.12
  10. 10. tasks: Kim Woodburn is in charge of then you can build up your own busi-housekeeping, Gok Wan is working ness and soon it will take off. Shethe bar, Katie Piper is the spa man- will be at her happiest when she’s herager. They are in charge of 14 trainees own boss.” By Patrick Kin– young unemployed people who have I don’t know what to ask Dr Chris- gsleybeen given this chance to learn how tian, he of Embarrassing Bodies fame,to run a hotel, though quite what they being in possession of neither a thirdare going to learn from celebrities who nipple nor a mouldy penis, and he onlyalso don’t know how to run a hotel arrived 10 minutes ago and doesn’t The paper owned by its readersI’m not sure. One of the trainees has seem to really know what he’s sup- To paywall or not to paywall: it’s aalready walked out. posed to be doing here either. He says question that plagues the media. At its At 18, Manisha Sengupta is the he will do things like measure guests’ heart is a debate about whether youryoungest trainee and is working in the waists and warn them about choles- readers are your customers – or yourspa. We chat as she gives my nails a terol, and encourage them to do more product, to be sold to advertisers.quick file. After finishing a hair-and- exercise. He makes me try a hand-held At Die Tageszeitung, a newspaperbeauty course, she had been unem- weight, supposedly to firm up triceps, based in Berlin, they look at it differ-ployed for two months when she was and shows how to move it up and ently. Its readers are its owners. Quitespotted by a Channel 4 researcher down in a pumping action. I feel myself literally, in fact. Taz – as the paper isoutside a job centre. “It’s so depressing blushing. “I call it a wank stick,” says nicknamed – is owned by a co-opera-being out of work. I was looking, look- Dr Christian. tive of 12,000, looking. I was so happy I got this I’m still not entirely sure what Taz was founded in 1979 by westopportunity. This shows opportunities the point of the show is, beyond the Germans disenfranchised by the con-can come up when you least expect it,” chance to see – hopefully – Woodburn servative mainstream media and it is ashe says. Is she nervous about or Portas spar with Ramsay or see leftwing paper. Half of its readers votebeing on TV? “I keep forgetting about someone from Towie have a back, sack Green. In 2009, on the outside of itsthe cameras.” and crack wax in the salon. It is office, its journalists unveiled a hugeM raising money for youth unemploy- mural of a naked Kai Diekmann – editor anisha’s manager is ment charities (the guests who have of Bild, a rightwing daily. Diekmann’s Katie Piper, the former started checking in around the time erect penis stretches across all five model and TV presenter I leave are all paying to stay, eat and TV SOUP storeys. The subtext is clear. whose efforts to over- drink here) and two of the trainees For years, Taz – circulation 60,000 come a horrific will get paid jobs with Ramsay and – was funded by state handouts. But What’s Hotel GBattack in 2008, in which acid was Portas at the end of the week, but it’s made of? with the fall of the Wall in 1989 came athrown in her face, has been followed in mainly about instilling confidence, drop in subsidy – and by 1992, the pa-documentaries. “It’s nice for me to do says Ramsay, who has three trainees Hell’s Kitchen per faced bankruptcy. Enter the Genos-something more lighthearted, so in the kitchen. “I’m amazed at how (celebs serve the senschaft, or co-operative: a grouppeople can see me in a different way,” many young people are out of work,” public) of concerned readers who valued thesays Piper. “I like the competitiveside as well [divided into men’s and says Ramsay. “This will give these people whatever it is they need to set + paper’s independence, or its ability, as one has it, “to put its finger into the The Hotel Inspectorwomen’s teams, the celebrities are them apart.” If there is a serious point (difficult customers) wounds of our economic system”. Thecompeting to raise the most money this show has unintentionally high- group invested its savings in the paper,for charity].” As a teenager, Piper did a lighted it’s the idea that the reason + and the paper was itself course at college and a million 18- to 24-year-olds are un- The Apprentice Two decades on, the co-operative’sworked as an apprentice in a hotel spa, employed is because of some sort of (who can make coffers contain €11m (£8.7m). Murdoch,“so I was in Manisha’s position once, and attitude problem, rather than a com- the most?) this isn’t: anyone can invest as little asit’s lovely to come back and do it again”.She says all this while she washes and plicated mess of global economics and policy failures beyond their control. + €500, and everyone gets an equal say, re- gardless of their stake. They can’t influ- Jamie’s Kitchenmassages my feet. It’s a faintly uncom- “It’s easy to be cynical,” says Por- (training unemployed ence the paper’s day-to-day operations,fortable experience having someone tas, who is watching as two of her people) but they can propose policy at the admire and respect do this for you (I trainees on reception are checking in Recent meetings discussed whether toresolve to leave a large tip). an excited family. “Oh, here we go, + raise freelance fees (yes) and to ban ad- On the way to meet Dr Christian another reality show performing as if The Hotel vertising for nuclear energy (no).Jessen in the gym, where he will be it’s doing something for society. But (staff and guests The egalitarian approach extends caught on camera)offering guests “health MOTs”, I peer I do think there is a role for people to the 140-strong newsroom. “You’re athrough the door of the bar and see in the public eye to do more to help very free journalist here,” says deputyWoodburn, hair like an elaborate empower people and make a change.” editor Reiner Metzger. Reporters areChristmas cake, cleaning tables. There I’ve been impressed with all the train- free to follow their own hobbyhorses,is no sign of Gok Wan, the barman, ees I’ve met so far and if it helps any of which he says makes life tough as anor indeed anyone else. Is she being them get a job, then good for them. editor. “People argue very hard. Wefilmed, or does she just do this all “Look at her, isn’t she great?” says don’t have a hierarchical structurethe time wherever she goes? Nobody Portas, looking at Rory, a 22-year-old where someone can say: shut up now.”seems to know. with tattoos and piercings who I had Salaries are pretty flat, too. Metzger Dr Christian is in the gym but not decided earlier was the friendliest and is paid only €500 more than the mosthis trainee, Jess, a 20-year-old from most welcoming person I have met junior reporter – though he gets addi-Dagenham. “She hasn’t been able to in any hotel. Rory visibly swells with tional support for his children.hold down a job – she has got strong pride. And what about paywalls? Unlikely,opinions of her own,” he says. “I said he laughs: “We were founded on theyou’ve just got to hold down a job for Hotel GB is on Channel 4 every night at 9pm idea of distributing information as farlong enough to get some funds in and until Friday as possible.” 02.10.12 The Guardian 11
  11. 11. Women W hy is it that, while dominated.” In the end, Mulqueeny women make up 49% recruited model Lily Cole to the judging of the UK labour force, panel – and female signups rose to 23%. they account for just Is it too simplistic to try and motivate 17% of IT and telecom women based on them being women? professionals? What’s more, the pro- Kim Plowright has spent 12 years in motion and visibility of Marissa Mayer, tech as a producer and project manager, the recently promoted Yahoo chief including work for the BBC and UK executive, and Sheryl Sandberg, the startups including Moo, Somethin’ Else number two at Facebook, comes as the and Storything. She describes herself number of women in the industry in as “the world’s worst feminist” for just the UK at least has been falling over the wanting to get on with work, rather than past 10 years. Why? compartmentalising “female and male There are dozens of groups professions”. “I do feel quite conflicted promoting women in tech, from pub about it. My parents made no distinc- meetups to formal networking and tions, so I just got on with what felt corporate efforts, yet few seem to be normal to me. Perhaps it’s more about taking Karren Brady’s advice in her addressing parents and their attitudes.” autobiography that pioneers in any field Little Miss Geek suggests that the need to hold the door open “as wide as “ultimate goal is to make tech more possible, for as long as possible, to allow glamorous and desirable to women”. other women to march through it”. But the act of programming itself is not One woman who believes the glamorous, and the low-key nature of problems start much earlier is Belinda Parmar, who founded the Lady Geek marketing agency in 2010, advising corporate clients, including Sony, This is what developing, perhaps even the male en- vironment, is cited as a selling point for many women, including Plowright. “It’s a great field to work in, because Ubisoft and Vodafone, how to recruit and sell to women. She’s often shocked, she says, by the “shrink it and pink it mentality” of tech marketers, but that’s a geek looks of the people,” she says. “Developers tend to be good, straightforward sorts with a refreshing lack of ego, who genu- inely enjoy collaborating. The industry hardly surprising when there are so few women employed in the industry. “I have a four-year-old daughter and I want her to think that anything like to a girl wants to change – it knows the gender balance is off, and will probably do things to address that.” For example cult craft site Etsy has announced is possible, that no career in out of Is it any wonder that so few grants to support female hackers this bounds,” she says. “If any other compa- women are working in technology? year while Google developed an algo- rable industry had a female workforce rithm in August to help identify when of only 17% there would be an outcry.” At the start of a new campaign, and why women dropped out of its Today, Parmar launches Little Miss Jemima Kiss asks what can be done recruitment process. Geek, a book which aims to trace the Leila Johnston, writer and technolo- obstacles women face starting out gist-in-residence for the Happenstance in the tech industry. It is aimed at project at Sheffield’s Site Gallery, says: industry leaders, government and “Women in tech are perhaps getting parents, and is at its most persua- a little bored of talking about their sive when it states the financial case women-ness now. Which is a shame, as for inclusion: tech companies with who else will stand up and say it’s OK women on management teams have for girls to hang out in the computer a 34% higher return on investment, Whitman and Joanna Shields as well A drawing by a room every lunchtime, like we used to?” according to a Catalyst report, while a as others – it’s those quietly successful 10-year-old - Johnston was recently asked how much 2009 report for the Harvard Business women actually building great stuff taken from Little she really knows about technology. “I’ll Review claims that the female demo- that we need to hear from. The most Miss Geek always wonder if these attitudes are graphic is worth around $20tn in con- inspiring role models, as Little Miss about me personally, or about the fact sumer spending every year. Geek’s manifesto concludes, are those that I’m female,” she says. But there is something alarmist working on projects that young creative Is it time to forget the tired stere- in the tone of Parmar’s statistics and technologists can relate to. otypes of engineers and technologists capitalised infographics: “GIRLS SEE Rewired State founder Emma as nerds and geeks and boffins? “My COMPUTING AS UNFEMININE… Mulqueeny has been organising hack role models were people who seemed ‘I’D RATHER BE A DUSTMAN THAN events since 2009, bringing talented to do whatever they wanted, without WORK IN I.T.” and it’s hard not to feel developers together with mentors. ‘Who else caring what anyone thought of them,” a little downbeat at the use of “little She says she has given up “single sex” will say it’s says Johnston. “It might just be this misses” for women. Are the messages campaigns. “I spent two months doing attitude that gives girls the push to not and pretty illustrations in danger of everything I could to promote the OK for girls care about going against the grain.” reinforcing the stereotypes, rather than Young Rewired State hack to girls – and to hang dispelling them? the sign-up rate dropped from 5% to What seems missing from the cam- 3%,” she said. “It was because I shed out in the How do we inspire more women to learn about and join the technology industry? paign is the celebration of women’s light on it being a more male thing, and achievements in technology. And while that’s like social suicide. They think computer Have your say at and join a twitter debate tomorrow at 1pm. we can all think of the executives – Meg you’ll only get nerdy girls if it’s boy room’ #womenintech12 The Guardian 02.10.12
  12. 12. New Scotland yarnHow African refugees have foundsupport in tartan and each other A certain age Michele HansonOxfam customers in Glasgow may As well as support and campaigning, I’m not quite sure why Fortnum andsoon be able to buy a new kind of for Koubakouenda, it was also about IN NUMBERS Mason are bothering to “investigate”tartan, woven from red, green and keeping isolation at bay. “When you the farms that supply their foie gras, togold thread. The cloth, registered come to a new country, you don’t know make sure no cruelty is going on. Anyearlier this summer, is the most the people and you don’t speak the 31% fule can see that it is.vivid expression of a support and language. Can you imagine how hard The rise in Even if the geese can stagger aroundadvocacy group set up by a group of that is? Getting together is also a way unemployment without their legs collapsing underfemale refugees from Africa with the of breaking the isolation. Karibu helps among women the weight of their giant livers, theyevocative name of Karibu Scotland. these women to have a new bond of aged 50-64 since still can’t have been having much of a Founder Henriette Koubakouenda family.” May 2010 fun time. How do you ram tubes downwas 50 years old when she arrived in the The women who use Karibu also something’s throat and force-feed it,UK from her native Democratic Republic come for services such as ESOL pleasantly?of the Congo in the summer of 2001, to English classes and IT lessons. The What a waste of effort and torture.join an existing community of African organisation also has a social enterprise 4.2% I know because I’ve eaten foie gras. The overall increasewomen in Scotland. Using her know- arm: hence the sewing group that in unemployment By accident. Years ago I went out toledge of English and her experience of registered the tartan in the Karibu since May 2010 a swanky birthday dinner, with setworking with women in community colours and the catering enterprise menu, which included some flat bitsdevelopment (she had worked with Taste of Africa (they cater events of pinky slime. I ate some, it wasn’tthe United Nations Development around Glasgow). anything to write home about, I assureProgramme back in Kinshasa), They are planning a Karibu Scotland Source: Office for you, then I asked what it was. Too late. National StatisticsKoubakouenda would help her fellow cafe. “We are hoping to have the cafe Is there nothing we will not eat,asylum-seekers with their phone calls before the Commonwealth Games. never mind how we get hold ofand letter-writing. “Many of the women Many people will be coming from it? Shark’s fin, tiny skewered songdidn’t speak English and it was really Africa, and if they can find a place birds, bull’s dick, monkey’s brain,difficult for them to access mainstream where they can eat African food, it pig-snout, warthog’s anus? All rightservices,” she tells me from her flat in would be great,” says Koubakouenda. if you’re hungry and there’s nothingGlasgow. “And I thought maybe if we “We just need to secure the funding.” else available, but not just becausecan organise ourselves, this could be Laurentine Zibi, chair and former you’re a poncy-dick gourmet/foodie,more formal and people will see us. volunteer, says: “All the feedback toss-potting about with your dinner,The mainstream services will know we’ve had on our services and events drizzling, injecting, wilting, sweating,our need and respond to it. has always been so positive.” She adds: couli-ing, pulsing and diddling with “I called that first meeting on the “We did not choose to be here but now some strange bit of possibly tormented31 August 2003, and around 15 to that we are – this is our home, this is animal on the way to extinction.20 women came into my flat,” says our country and our voice should be What is wrong with a lovely, fluffy,Koubakouenda. Karibu Scotland was heard through our projects, events buttery, crispy baked potato? Last yearborn – as a group for refugees and and skills.” Rosemary and I got into a Saturday-asylum seekers arriving in Glasgow. Bim Adewunmi night habit of watching Spiral/Borgen/ anything with Lundt in it, while having baked potatoes and cabbage for our dinner. Sometimes we went wild and added salad or baked beans. It was paradise. Fielding ate nothing else in his youth. Not that he had any principles. He just couldn’t cook anything else, except a few steamed vegetables. People sneered, but it was pretty avant-garde really – a sort of austerity, save-the-planet-type cooking. A bit extreme perhaps, but on the right track. Not that I’d dare tell everyone to be vegetarian, but I can warn those silly gourmets defending F&M’s right to sell this “delicacy”, that come the revolution, it won’t be the guillotine for them, just tubes of grain and fat pumped endlessly down their throats. By plebs. Delicately andWe are family … members of Karibu Scotland show off their tartan humanely, of course. 02.10.12 The Guardian 13