journalism for beginners

Yesterday I mentioned the 1939 Spectator diarist’s fear of what might happen when the newly invented cheap ball point pen got into the hands of the “inexpert and frankly incompetent”. Of course we’ve gone way beyond that now.

Now, anyone who owns a digital camera thinks he is a photographer; anyone with a computer is a journalist and anyone with a mobile phone is an on-the-spot reporter. And very few of us have any professional training in journalism.
Continue reading “journalism for beginners”

kilometers of ink?

Although the ballpoint mechanism was first patented in 1888, it was another 40 years before Biro invented and commercialised the first popular ballpoint pen, the Bic, in 1938.

Since then, the technology has come a long way and different “biros” offer very different value for money. At least, so it would seem from this Spanish consumer report.

How many miles does a pen write?
How many miles does a pen write?

Continue reading “kilometers of ink?”

a critic barks

It’s always nice when the walk to the village has some kind of productive outcome, other than the purchase of a not-quite-a-baguette Spanish loaf and the inevitable associated longing for proper English wholemeal.

Today there was the pleasure of finding two ‘letters’ in the PO Box. Well, “letters” es un decir: one was a glossy flyer from the bank assuring me that if I use my credit card over Christmas and get further into debt, Continue reading “a critic barks”

rights and royalties

When I wrote the previous post and thought about ‘tags’ for it, I included the Spanish expression derechos de autor. For non-Spanish speakers, it’s possibly worth pointing out the ambiguity of that phrase.

Literally, it looks like “author’s rights”, but in fact it can translate as both “copyright” and “royalties”. This can be confusing, but probably makes some kind of sense. Continue reading “rights and royalties”

copyrights and wrongs

Some years ago in Spain there was a clamp down on illegal photocopying.

At the copy shop at the end of our road, they had always been amenable to making multiple copies of whole books – very useful for penniless English teachers who had managed to filch a single text book from their last employer and were now using this to go it alone with private classes. But suddenly the shop changed hands and it was rumoured Continue reading “copyrights and wrongs”

en Guadalajara

Vale. No puedo decir que yo estoy en Guadalajara.

Ni siquiera puedo decir que mi editora está en Guadalajara.

Sin embargo, mi editora -¡qué bien suena la frase!- me ha dicho que una compañera de una librería de Madrid ha llevado unos libros de Topka a la Feria del Libro, o, como lo llaman en El País, “el mayor acontecimiento de su clase en lengua española”.

Así que, Bubbles (Pompas) está en Guadalajara. Menos da una piedra.

in Guadalajara

Well, OK, I’m not saying I’m in Guadalajara.

I’m not even saying My editor is in Guadalajara at what was described in El País as “the biggest event of its kind in the Spanish language.”

But my editor – don’t you love that phrase! – tells me that a colleague from a Madrid bookshop has taken Topka book samples with her to the Book Fair. So Bubbles is in Guadalajara.

Which has to be a step in the right direction.