Sunday, June 05, 2011

Glastonbury 2011: Mail declares BBC kicking season open

Only a couple of weeks now until Glastonbury, which means it's time for the Daily Mail to start complaining that it takes people to make television and radio programmes.

The person making themselves sound a tiresome twit this year is Chris Hastings. You might know Hastings from other bits of pointless BBC-kicking such as complaining that the Olympic Stadium is on the map at the start of EastEnders and a mild joke about putting the 'n' in cuts. It's not like Chris hates everything on the BBC, though - he likes it when the rudey ladies take all their clothes off.

Hastings does the usual counting of BBC staff covering the festival and drawing asinine conclusions:

Doubters also question why it has to send more than 400 staff, pointing out it sent about the same number to Beijing in 2008 to provide many more hours of Olympic coverage.
Oddly, Chris fails to mention who these "doubters" are, with their surprisingly specific doubts.

Perhaps if Chris had been able to meet them, he'd have been able to explain to those doubters that the BBC wasn't the sole broadcaster covering the Beijing games and that much of those on-screen hours were provided by the Chinese state broadcaster and so the BBC team were providing wrap-around content and not absolutely everything.

Chris might also have chuckled a bit and said "well, the 2008 Olympics ran between the 8th and 24th of August, a much longer period, and with a much lower concentration of action than is packed into the Glastonbury weekend, so you've got to think in terms of the number of hours BBC staff are working in total for the event rather than just the number of actual people, otherwise you might sound like an arsehole sounding off about matters you've not even given any consideration to."

Then, Hastings might have hugged the doubters and said "you know what else? In Beijing, much of the infrastructure was already in place, again provided by the Chinese. Whereas, of course, in Glastonbury the BBC is working from scratch and so needs people to build the vital systems for broadcasting." Stroking the heads of the doubters, Chris would then go "shh, shh - I know you've made yourself seem like you're some sort of moron, but it's alright; people will understand that you're just so blinded by hatred you don't care about even thinking through what you're talking about. After all, you're just expressing your doubts into some sort of massive circle-jerk of ill-founded hatred of the BBC - it's not like you have to understand anything, is it?"

(By the way, the Mail didn't think the BBC had sent the right number of people to cover the Olympics, either).

Still, Hastings doesn't just rehash last years story; he's found a whole new thing to be angry about:
An investigation by The Mail on Sunday has found that the BBC has secured more than 200 rooms within a 14-mile radius of the Somerset festival for its employees.

The reservations include block-booking more than 14 separate hotels and guest houses.
The headline on the story demands to know "Why no tent city?" Yes, the Mail is fuming that the BBC staff are going to have rooms to sleep in at the end of a hard day's work.

Again, Hastings is probably showing his lack of knowledge here - clearly, he has no idea about the sorts of boxes of equipment most of the team will be moving with and which, quite often, is going to be sharing their bedrooms. Or perhaps he does know, and just wishes he'd had a chance to write stories about the BBC losing stuff from tents and awash with mud.

It's not just there are walls and floors, it's that they're close to the festival site:
As a result, ordinary festival-goers who prefer a warm room to a tent are finding accommodation increasingly hard to come by. Many are now having to stay in rooms as far away as Bath, which is more than 20 miles from the festival site.
First of all, "ordinary festival goers" don't stay at hotels, they tend to camp. Secondly, they might be finding accommodation tricky to come by because there isn't much there in the first place. Which is precisely why the BBC have had to fall back on places that cost a bit more.

And, yes, it might be a bit inconvenient to have to travel 20 miles in to see a band - but the BBC staff are getting there to work, so probably have slightly more pressing deadlines that some people who love the festival so much they don't want to miss out on a warm bed and a nice breakfast before going onto the site.

Hastings could have saved himself from looking foolish if he'd actually read this paragraph in his own report:
Last night one hotelier claimed bookings for BBC staff covering the festival at this month may extend to 400 rooms.
Having established that there's only about 400 BBC staff going to the festival, and that this isn't the only hotel being used as base, a journalist might have realised that the rooms aren't simply being used a lodging.

But then a journalist might also have quietly spiked the story that isn't one before running it again.


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