Monday, 03 January 2011

Juxtaprose 5 'They shout conversations through rooms rather than talking face-to-face, they argue constantly at very anti-social hours (e.g. 3am), they stamp about and slam doors, cupboards etc. Last night my sister came to mine in tears at 12:30am because the chavs had arrived home drunk and proceeded to sing at the top of their voices then have a huge argument. 'Whilst there is clearly a problem with the lifestyles of these people, there seems to be an acoustics problem too. When sitting in my sister's bedroom, you can every single word, perfectly clearly, that the upstair's people are saying, even if they are talking at normal levels. If they have friends round, the noise from their conversation is so high it's unbearable. I have witnessed this myself, it's no exaggeration.' (1). 'It was determined that the noise was coming from a broken fan blade in a basement air conditioning unit that cooled computers that controlled cell phone antennae on the roof of a nearby building. The super of the building said to call the landlord. The landlord said call AT&T. AT&T said lady, we don't have a location within three miles of your address, so it must be Verizon. Verizon said they're our towers but AT&T rents them. AT&T said call AT&T Wireless, separate company. AT&T Wireless said press 1 for a new cell phone press 2 for a new rate plan press 3 to learn more press 4 to repeat the menu and offered no menu options regarding the slow march toward the brink of insanity. My landlord said why don't we just gain access to the basement and turn it off? Their landlord said only the super had the key to the basement. The super's grandson said the super wasn't home.' (2).
Public libraries in crisis: it could be worse than you thought My take on the shameless withdrawal of government from supporting public libraries is to keep in mind that our libraries are one of the few things left that consolidate the public realm. Once they're gone, it's not just hard to get the library service back: it will be that much harder to reinstate the notion of publicness. There's a wee map of threatened closures here. The Public library news blog posted this note the other day: There is a devil of a dilemma for those who wish to save libraries after withdrawal has been cut - whether to "help out" or not. Many authorities (such as Gloucestershire) are saying that the local library will only survive if a community group takes it over, with minimal council support. Those who love libraries may quite rightly be tempted to do so. However, if they do before all other options are taken, then it will only encourage yet more branches to be effectively privatised in this ways. Libraries will become just another charity shop. However, the council may well close the library anyway if groups don't step up to the mark. The unwillingness of charities to take over wildlife preserves without full remuneration may be an argument in favour of not helping. Call their bluff and, perhaps, the council will back down. Or perhaps they won't. I recall from attending the Conservative party launch of the Big Society that the abandonment of public libraries was mentioned often but local government not at all.

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