media and technology
Games . Web Sites . CD-ROMs
John Henderson adjusts his swivel chair and dives into this fortnight’s pile of digital fun.
Wahay, Club 18—30 hits the Web. If you still reminisce about the 18—30 summer of 95, or just can’t wait for this year’s outing, this is the site for you. On the other hand, if you’ve never been on an 18-30 escapade the second question on the online registration form —- ‘Did you get any nookie on your last trip abroad?’ — should give some idea of what it’s all about. The site is well designed. and offers plenty of information about future trips, reunions and past experiences, but it’s hard to square the nerdy image of the Net with the lads and lasses havin' it on the beach. http://www. subner. co. uk/subinfo/I 8—30/
Elevator claims to be Scotland's ﬁrst specially created online interactive art exhibition - and it probably is. Over the next six months, anyone visiting the site will be able to access the work of twenty artists from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee. The co-ordinators claim Elevator’s strength lies in the fact that its artists have created full-on digital art rather than an that just happens to be displayed on a digital medium. It’s about time somebody put this much thought into the content of the Net. Watch this cyberspace. http://wnwelecrricfmg.co.uk/elevator/
Panzer Dragoon ll (Sega Saturn £44.99) If you need proof that the Saturn is graphically up there with the best of them. this game is it. The follow-up to the successful Panzer Dragoon once again sees you 5w00ping around medieval skies on your trusty old dragon, shooting at anything that moves. This time around, there's more depth in the gameplay, and a lot more density to the slick 3D visuals. It's not that tough, but has enough variety to keep you going back for more. Good to see Sega refusing to rest on its laurels.
To some she’ll always be the toothy. loudmouth media type who branded ‘yoof’ television, but as Eddie Gibb discovered. there’s more to Janet Street- Porter than meets the eye. opless darts — yes. that's women playing darts with their tops off - is transmitted in a late-night slot on a cable channel virtually no one watches. yet it‘s a programming idea laden with signiﬁcance about
television‘s tacky future. In a former
life, while working with Clive James. that satirist of other nations‘ television. Janet Street-Porter would no doubt have been delighted to discover a Scandinavian channel transmitting such a dubious sporting event.
More recently. however. she found herself at the helm of cable station Live TV which was doing it for real. It came as no surprise to discover topless
darts was the ratings~boosting idea of
Kelvin MacKenzie. ex-Sun editor and Street-Porter‘s former boss at the Mirror Group which owns Live TV. And it's no revelation to discover this pair of formidable egos clashed. though Street-Porter now professes no
bitterness at being manoeuvred out of
the job after less than a year.
‘The great thing about Live TV.‘ she says. ‘was to be given the money to build a television station. and I really am grateful for that. i got to create a corporate image for the station and use the very newest digital technology and that was terrific experience —- I'm not going to moan about that. The fact they want to use the technology to have women with their tits wobbling about is tragic, but that's not my problem.‘
Since September. in the euphemistic language of PR handouts. she has been free to ‘pursue other projects‘. including a television drama by a ‘well-known author" with London independent Chrysalis and presenting this year‘s BBC Design Awards. whose final is being held in (ilasgow in July. After almost fifteen
continuous years as a senior television executive. Street-Porter is now free to be even less diplomatic than usual. The first sign of this was her keynote McTaggart Lecture at last year's Edinburgh Television Festival when she ribbed the ‘middle-aged. middle- suits who run British TV channels.
"There are things about being on the inside I don't miss at all.‘ she says. ‘A
The fact they [Live TV] want to use the technology to have women with their tits wobbling about is tragic, but that’s not my problem.
lot of the people who work in television are sad. sad. sad; they've never even worked for other organisations. 1 have had an incredibly lucky life and done loads of different things sortie of which are good and some are bad. When people say that was a flop do I give a fuck? I've done tliousands of things which weren‘t.‘ This year Street—Porter turns 50. and despite a killer contacts book and invites to all the right meeja parties she
A Janet Street-Porter: lite after ‘yoot’ TV
proclaims herself 'too old to network'. But she‘s still dogged by the ‘yoof‘ television tag: probably as much due to unkind jokes about her Estuary accent as acknowledgement of her ground- breaking work on Channel 4‘s much- copied Network 7. and later on the BBC‘s update of its Ii/ue Prior image. Def/l.
But she can justifiably take the credit (and does) for initiating the whole fast- cut. graphic-led style of youth programmes, and it is hardly her fault that this style is now assumed to equal lack of content. ‘l'm still labouring under the legacy of Janet‘s speech impediment.‘ joked one youth TV producer recently.
‘lt‘s really annoying,‘ responds Street-Porter. ‘because after youth TV I went and produced an opera and when l was in charge of independent commissioning at the BBC [her last job before Live TV] I looked after everything from .l/vn lie/raving Bud/y to 'l'liurfv UN. 1 did change the way graphics were used on television forever but I have moved on so far that it seems kind of quaint now.‘
The BBC Design Awards begin on H’vr/nt'sr/(rv 5/11/16 (NI BIN?
Scanner covers the latest developments in media and technology. Address comments and queries to mediaList@aol.com
The List 31 May-l3 Jun I996 97