Venue #773 issue took a swipe at those of us who had been criticizing Ashton Court in the 'Severn Bore' column;
"In recent weeks local newsgroups, blogs and other online soapboxes speak of nowt else but how terrible it's all become. Some of the comment is informed and sympathetic to an event struggling to survive in the face of a chickenshit avalanche of red tape. Much of it is breathtakingly ignorant and chippy. A minority of fools posting on Bristol Indymedia (bristol.indymedia.org) are the worst. Here wigged-out trustafarians wrapping their clueless irresponsibility in the cloak of 'anarchy' and complaining of corporate sell-out, profiteering, conspiracy and worse."
I find it interesting that they create two streams of comment – either you are pro-Ashton Court and sympathetic, or anti-Ashton court and clueless etc. (Either with us ro with the terrorists and so on.) Well, sorry to keep banging on about it all, but there was a huge overspend last year and while some of the money has been accounted for, not all of it has. If you want people to donate, I think you owe them a couple of things in return – first full transparency about why you need the money, which IMHO has not been forthcoming. (I had blogged about this before and some more information has been released online, so to-date we have a $100K overspend consisting of £15K in extra licensing costs, £45K in increased security costs and £11K in damage to the site – so still £19K unaccounted for – unless I am reading the figures wrong and am happy to be put right if needed.) Second, you need to tell people what has been put in place to prevent the same thing happening again. Again, I have not seen any contingency plan on their site about this. Provide both these in full, and I am happy to donate to see the event keep going.
Still, some credit to Venue to at least naming Bristol Indymedia as a source, their sister publication, the Evening Pest, will mention content on the site without naming it, almost as if they can't bring themselves to mention a competitor for Bristolians eyeballs to their own online news-portal thisisbristol.com.
In other medja news, for former Telewest, now Virgin Media and supplier to a healthy chuck of the homes in Bristol for cable, phones and TV has been looking for a buyer – and is being courted by the Carlyle Group. The Carlyle group are the private equity firm who got criticized for making a mint out of the sale of the public defense research labs into the private QinetiQ. They are also the subject of interest due to its impressive stable of current/former investors/employees including the Bin Laden family, former prime-minister John Major and both former and current president Bush. A nice little earner if you can get in with it. Watch this space for a new Bliar opportunity?