Sunday 13 July 2008

Me In The Observer Newspaper!!!

The Critics and the Bloggers battle it out. Photograph: Andy Hall

The bloggers

Sunday July 13, 2008

The Observer

Krista Nannery Set up food blog in 2004.
When I first moved here from the States I had a lot of time on my hands and I didn't know anyone. I was aware of the mainstream food media. I had a Time Out subscription, but I remember trying to find information about new openings and it was tough. I was reading the national critics but I'm more of a food-for-the-people type.The challenge we bloggers pose to the national press is that we have more freedom. I can take my own pictures. I can write what I like, I have no deadlines. But I aspire to be one of the national critics so they clearly still have power. Critics get paid to do what they love. My blog, called Londonelicious, is a labour of love, and Google ads pay crap unless you have a kajillion hits a day.

In action: on the Duke of Wellington, London, June 2008
'A number of us order the lasagna, about which we're told, "It's made with a different pasta. Is that okay?" We all ask if it's still lasagna, and our server keeps explaining yes, but with a different pasta. I don't think our server has ever had lasagna before.'

Joseph Patterson Set up grime blog in 2007.
I started my blog because I was going to raves and no one seemed to be documenting these artists. Some newspapers and magazines cover urban music, but it's usually just a little section in the corner and there are grime bloggers, but I cover all sorts of bass-oriented underground music. I write about what I like. If it's by someone I don't know and I don't think it's good I just won't write about it. Most bands I cover are unsigned, but PRs send me the more mainstream music if I ask for it. I get into raves free and get other freebies too. I'd love to write more for newspapers. Newspaper journalists may say that music blogs are badly written or factually inaccurate, but it works both ways. I read a newspaper piece about Dizzee Rascal recently and the titles of the tracks were wrong. Bloggers can research too.

On Coldplay, featuring Skepta, June 2008
'Everyones been bussin the mad dance moves, first Busta Rhymes then Timmy Mallett, Paul O' Grady and now this. What next, Barack Obama winning the presidential election then doing a celebration Rolex skank?'

Laura Allsop Reviewer for online arts newsletter since 2007
Kultureflash is a weekly online newsletter that reviews events in every cultural field. Our readers are people who have a slightly leftfield cultural tastes. We don't tend to cover mainstream releases. I work for the art magazine Art Review too, but people often pitch to me for both the magazine and Kultureflash. The website is becoming as important as the printed press because it gets a quicker, more immediate response and is a lot more open to younger writers. It's always useful to have an older critic who knows the precedents to a particular movement, but that can turn into a suspicion of what's new. I don't think critics are under threat, but things change and people get a bit out of touch. Look at Brian Sewell.

On Disco-nexion by Andrew Bartenev, February 2008 'His bright and beautiful installations, collages and set designs strike you as a natural counter to the desolate landscape he must have grown up in. Best viewed in the evening for maximum hallucinogenic effect ... a haunting visual metaphor for estrangement in the digital landscape.'

Andrew and Phil Their theatre blog began in 2006.
We were fed up of each other's whingeing and decided to whinge at the world instead. We doubt anyone cares two hoots for our opinion. The mainstream critics still have a role - someone has to stay till the end. Also they 'locate the production within the wider discourse' which sounds a bit boring. We see a wide range of stuff but frankly every outing is a triumph of optimism over experience. We don't really feel a responsibility to anyone. We're just doing it to amuse ourselves and it always comes as a bit of a shock to find that anyone has bothered reading it. Would we like to be professional theatre critics? Good gracious! No! Be forced to sit through to the end? Endure the theatre without alcohol? Locate things in the wider discourse? No.

On Afterlife, National Theatre, June 2008
'To stage one verse play may be regarded as a misfortune; to stage two looks like carelessness. Or malice. Yes, after the unpleasantness of Fram, the National has contrived to prescribe for the general public's indigestion yet another unpalatable dose of doggerel in the form of Michael Frayn's Afterlife.'

Steve Bennett Set up comedy website in 2000.
We set up Chortle to be to comedy what the NME is to music. It could only ever exist on the web because of the size of the fan base. The costs are high to set up a magazine whereas internet start-ups are cheap. The mainstream media weren't providing a service - everyone will do Ricky Gervais but no one covers the grassroots stuff. About two years ago the site became big enough so we can pay people. I'm out reviewing three times a week, though during the Edinburgh Fringe I'll see four shows a day. Plus we have the readers posting comments. The opinions of comedy-goers help build an affinity to the site. A lot of newspaper critics have got the job because they both know what they're talking about and can write; a lot of bloggers only fill one side of the equation.

On Pablo Francisco at Shepherd's Bush, July 2008
'He's a one-man sound effects department, and his high-octane set opens with a stunningly impressive firestorm of daft noises and exaggerated voices. The effect is explosive, and he unleashes an energy that tingles round the room.'

Lynne Hatwell Since 2006 has reviewed books on her blog
I sit down here in the Tamar valley on the border of Devon and Cornwall, with this feeling that there's this literary feast going on in London to which I am not invited. I wanted to write about what books meant to me. There's nothing objective about what I'm doing. It's about my emotional responses. I wrote to all the publishers early on but they wouldn't send me review copies. I didn't blame them. Then I started posting reviews. I didn't realise that publishers and authors have Google alerts on themselves. And so bit by bit they would get in touch. These days I never read a newspaper review before I read a book. I used to worry about whether what I felt about a book was the same as anybody else. I don't worry about that any more.

On The Three of Us by Julia Blackburn, July 2008
'The power of the book rests in its degree of understatement, what lies beneath doesn't need to be said and when symptoms do surface, as when Julia takes to prolonged episodes of screaming, it's quite matter-of-fact, almost normalised.'

Rich Cline Established film blog in 1995.
At university in Los Angeles I started writing film reviews for a weekly newspaper. When I left LA, my friends all wanted to keep reading my reviews so I started a newsletter in the early Eighties, photocopying it and mailing it to them. In the early Nineties it turned into email, and then added a website. I've been reviewing on BBC Five Live for 12 years.
Most film companies go after online reviews aggressively. They won't let me review films until the day of UK release, but there will be hundreds of US reviews before this. I don't understand it, as two-thirds of my readers are American. I approach reviewing as someone who has a real love of cinema. I don't ever go into a movie willing it to be bad so that I can gleefully rip it to shreds.

On Mamma Mia, July 2008
'The divine Streep throws herself into the raucous physicality, including impressive dance choreography, jaw-dropping trampoline moves and a perfect cannonball. She also uses her impeccable comic timing, expressive singing voice and skill at creating powerful drama ('The Winner Takes It All' is Oscar-worthy).'