Weekends are a time to leave work alone if at all possible. When you spend all day in court listening to the gruesome details of murder after murder switching off is even more important. If you dwelt on everything you hear on a daily basis you simply wouldn’t sleep at night. And by “you” in this context I do, of course, mean “I”. So while today might be off the point tomorrow it will be back to normal service and further coverage of the Ronald McManus trial for the murder of Melissa Mahon.
In the quest of a break myself and the husband headed to the cinema this morning. I love early showings – a throwback to the days I used to get into press screenings while working for a local radio station in college. This week we went to see State of Play with Russel Crowe and Helen Mirren. I’m a big fan of the original BBC series written by Paul Abbot and was initially highly dubious of a Holywood remake. If you haven’t seen the series I’d still highly recommend it but I’m pleased to say that the movie actually does live up to the hyoe it’s receiving and is a damn fine thriller.
I’ve always been a sucker for films that centre around aheroic hack. I’ve a reasonably comprehensive collection of these journalism movies from 1961’s The Day the Earth Caught Fire to Good Night and Good Luck via Mel Gibson in Peter Weir’s The Year of Living Dangerously and of course All the Presidents Men. State of Player is a worthy addition to the genre.
The original was one of the best drama series the BBC have produced in the past twenty years with a fantastic cast including John Simm, David Morrisey, Bill Nighy, James McAvoy and Kelly McDonald. The movie also has a pretty impressive cast with Russell Crowe as journalist Cal McAffrey, Helen Mirren as his editor, Ben Affleck (well cast for once) as the beleagured congressman Stephen Colllins and Robin Wright Penn as Collin’s wife. But the best thing about the movie is it’s not just a cracking thriller, it’s also the kind of film that makes you proud to be a journalist (and god knows, those films are few and far between!)
The film version of State of Play sticks pretty close to the plot of the original but the context is now totally up to date, dealing with media ownership, the threats to traditional media and the rise of the blog. More than any of this though is the championing of good old fashioned journalism. I remember watching the original series when and cheering at the television when Bill Nighy as the editor stood up for the story and rallied his troops. Helen Mirren is equally inspiring at the relevent bit but it was Rachel McAdams as blogger Della Frye who was the best line “With a story as big as this, people should have newsprint on their fingers while they’re reading it.” (or words to that effect)
It’s nice to see journalists portrayed as something other than scurrilous muckrakers and unprincipled hacks. That attitude is prevalent enough as it is. It’s nice to feel proud of the job I do.
The second thing I wanted to write about today is a little bit of a rant. Dublin Bus today introduced changes to their timetables in the first stage of their fleet reduction as a cost cutting measure. Looking at the list of routes that have been affected one thing stands out. The changes are extensive and affect a wide range of buses. Some routes have been done away with entirely. This would be fine if the cuts were made across the board but that’s not what’s happened here. Looking at the list of bus routes it’s noticeable that the majority go to the north and the west of the city, areas where a large percentage of the population live in local authority housing and who do not have access to DART urban rail services of the LUAS trams.
One of the most frequent services that frequently trundles into town with empty buses at off peak times of day has not been touched. The 46A goes through the more affluent parts of town, Donnybrook and Dundrum. During the afternoon buses frequently go past empty, at a frequency of every five or ten minutes. It’s one of the most over supplied bus routes in the city but because of it’s route I’d be surprised if Dublin Bus reduce the service. It’s nothing new of course. Here in Dublin the poor always pay when the powers that be decide to save a few bucks – the recent decision to cut the Christmas bonus for those on the dole is a case in point. But I’m not here to bang any particular political drum. There are others who do that far better than me. Dublin Bus may yet produce sweeping cuts through the posher bits of town in their second volley in May but I’m just saying what I noticed this morning and throwing it out there.
Hmm, reading back over this post it occurs to me that anyone who has issues with the liberal meeja is probably going to have their worst fears confirmed. Well you can’t please all of the people all of the time. As I said before, tomorrow I’m back in court and this blog will return to it’s normal subject matter. Happy Sunday!