Sunday, May 31, 2009

Draft fiction - Talabont on Usk In Your Time

Title needs changing but starts with the words that fit at the moment. So far the Hay Festival take on the sony Reader has been a big disappointment. No reporting at all of what happened. As in what was said and if anyone changed their view. All I can find online is bookish views about the dangers.

So maybe fiction is a way to think about this. Imagine two visiting citizens of the USA, loosely based on David Weinberger and Jeff Jarvis. They are staying at Talabont on Usk because Hay is full and because all my fiction has to be near a canal to fit in with another project. Jarvis is worried that his change agent role at the Guardian may damage his reputation as the print culture is fighting back and the brand is damaged. He thinks the Hay Festival could help him to understand. Weinberger is in the UK on a secret BBC project of which more later.

They spend some time near the Sony Screen, try to promote their own digital work, and most days escape to Talabont On Usk to compare notes in amazement.

Later back in London Melvyn Bragg has been asked to host a new BBC radio show called "In Your Time", extending studio discussion through audience feedback during the day. Also the topics are more recent, starting with the ClueTrain Manifesto from late in the previous century. Bragg is rather unhappy with this. The starting design is that what took three quarters of an hour as daytime radio will be edited down to half an hour in the evening but include text and voice contributions from the listeners. "I have to get up at three in the morning to appear to have read the books. Now they want me to answer the phone."

The studio guests are UK academics and the format seems to be as usual. The morning gets more difficult when it turns out that the BBC have arranged for Weinberger and Jarvis to be among the first callers. Several other people text in who claim to know something about the Cluetrain Manifesto. Bragg decides it is time to slip away to the House of Lords for some tea and a cake. Explaining his problems to some friends they come up with a solution. Why not use the red button? Editing down to half an hour was never going to work so later that day it was arranged that around 9.55 the discussion continued on Freeview. Bragg joined in for a while but later realised that the show was called "In Your Time" because the audience was doing the work.

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