Sunday Times

Comments 9 by Rebecca Bollwitt

The big conference is over so will return to its regular format tomorrow and I’ll also be launching a fun new contest that my readers can enter.

It’s my father’s birthday so we’re heading out to Surrey (as we sometimes do on Sundays per my story in the The Province this morning). To say that my dad has influenced my life would be an understatement. In fact I’m pretty sure I love blogging so much because of him — but this isn’t about blogging.

I was always the goalie

My mom is a creative writer (who should really start publishing some of her mystery stories one day) but ever since I was little my dad was the story-teller. Before bedtime we’d ask for a story from when he was a boy, growing up in another province or in Vancouver during the later years. Whenever we’d go on a drive he would have a story about the route, the road, the park, or the city we were in. He is the smartest person that I know and was my own personal Google for many years — my sister and I would usually call him up to fact-check anything, anytime.

I don’t see my dad that often, even though we’re only 40 minutes apart, and I’ll probably be seeing less of him later this year. I think it’s important to acknowledge and appreciate where we’ve come from and the people who not only shaped who we are and what we’ve become, but the people that inspire us, even in small ways, each and every day.

Expo 86 - A... big tree.

My dad took us to play pond hockey at Fry’s Corner when the flooded fields froze and to Expo 86 every weekend. He never missed attending any of my rugby games in high school (a sport I played because he was a rugby champ before I was born). He was the one who woke up at 5:30am to make me a quick breakfast before I left for school to attend one of my many clubs or meetings, and he’s the reason I love camping (even though mom always scolded him for leading us into “bear country”). He’s the reason I’m not afraid to go on a 3 hour hike and get my boot stuck in mud.

He’s the reason I have this photo of my brother and me on Texada Island from July 1982 (even though until I found this I had no I idea I had ever been to Texada Island before). My dad is also the reason why I say the word “trousers”… if even in jest.

Camping in 1982

It’s because of him that I started playing with computers when I was 10 years old (and why I have a 14.4 modem in my closet right now). When I packed up and moved to Boston for my job with only weeks notice, he was supportive. He was also very gracious when I brought home a boy from Iowa that I met through internet and was kind enough to walk me down the aisle and give me away to him.

He’s the reason why I wanted to start my own company, and he’s the reason why I write about local history. He’s the reason why Sundays are for family time. He’s the reason I love the rain.

Northern Voice 2009 Rock and Roll Photography Kris Krug Dave Olson Bev Davies

Comments 8 by Rebecca Bollwitt

I first started delving into the works of the legendary Bev Davies only just over a year ago but after discovering what I have (which is simply scratching the surface) I realized what an important person she is to rock and roll history, along with Vancouver history.

Along with Kris Krug, whose rock photography is recent yet not any less inspiring and captivating, Dave Olson will guide these two through a journey of their craft both on and offline.

Bev Davies' 2008 Calendar

“I wanted to start with something a little bit bigger than that, which is why you are taking these photos,” asks Dave while avoiding conversations about aperture and depth of field etc.

Bev was working at the Georgia Straight during some of these shots, including one of Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden. “I was collecting, I wasn’t sure what I was collecting for but I was.”

Why are you there if everyone else is there? With regards to crammed photo pits that Krug has been a part of (while Bev was often the only camera at a punk show back in the day.

The next slide is Iggy Pop, decades apart – one from Davies, another from Krug. “I have a real crush on men that wear eye makeup,” says Bev.

Krug says Davies is “one of the pillars on which the entire movement is built,” talk ing to how she captured these moments and opened doors for fans and photographers.

Dave asks how perspectives change when you’re a fan versus just showing up at a concert – how does your appreciation and passion for the subject affect your shots?

“There’s also a pressure to get a good photograph, whether you’re doing it for a newspaper, a magazine, or for yourself.”

Bev’s style changed with digital, while Krug carries a big kit almost everywhere (although sometimes it’s left in a corner until he needs to pull it out get snap some unmissable shots).

Dave loves to casual shots, talking about the edginess of the Dead Kennedys (as photographed by Bev) but behind the scenes both Bev and Kris can capture those more casual moments. Pointing to the Dead Kennedys shot Dave notes, “And look like them, they look like the IT department at work!”

He also asks them to talk about those surprising and candid moments and Bev describes the joy of photographing the band interacting with each other – capturing their times with each other, not just the poses for the fans, posters, and calendar covers.

Photo credit: Kris Krug on Flickr

Dave, “once you get to know an artist is it easier to shoot them?” Bev got a heads up from members of DOA whenever something noteworthy was going to take place ie. the burning of the guitar that we see in an image on the screen.

Tips for getting caught without accreditation? Krug swaps out memory cards, while Bev says “in the bra” worked for her. However there is the fear of being blacklisted – you don’t want to totally go nuts.

How do you go in and capture these shots full of movement? Bev says, “stand at the front.” With regards to workflow, you’d get that one shot and what happens to the rest? Bev references her 144 Punk Rock Photos exhibit that Dave actually covered a while back. She says she’s been working on archiving her photos digitally by scanning them over the last two years — Dave does a quick shout out for an intern for Bev.

Dave pulls up two comparison photos of shadowed, backlit rockers and Bev says you’re always aiming for the eyes, face definition etc. but sometimes you just have to “start shooting for the shape, rather than the content and let the shape tell a story.”

More shots without faces appear on screen including one from a backstage perspective of the frontman’s legs, shoes, then the lit up faces of the audience. “I was just standing back in one area and again, I just liked the shape,” noted Bev and she says she started noticing the shoes and footwear of bands — quirky examples of connecting (or not) with a band through all artistic aspects.

“It’s one thing to shoot your buddy’s punk band but it’s another for these bigger shows just to get in and get your camera in there,” Dave asks Bev and Kris about access. Kris says, “it’s always the same dudes at most of the same places, life’s long and you don’t want to burn out right away,” his advice is to take it easy – even show them some shots you’re taking on the fly.

Bev’s shot for The Province and the Georgia Straight before so she knows the difference between having “access” to the photo pit compared to looking out and seeing cameras in the crowd — be one with the audience if you can, whenever you can. The photo that’s up on screen for this part of the discussion is one Bev took of Madonna during her first concert… ever.

“Look we have a young earnest Bono (look his head was only tiny then,” Dave says pointing to a shot Bev took of Bono that’s up on the screen. Bev notes that she’s getting all kinds of feedback from Flickr – people saying she could crop and photoshop these images although I think we all realize the impact of her captures of these moments and these people at this point in their careers far out weighs any ‘photoshopping’ criticism.

Pressed for time, Dave rips through the remaining slides and the final image is of the band “The Spores” at a concert in Surrey that Bev took and a little young DaveO is right there, in black and white, in the audience.

Update: Slides from this presentation are available online.

Northern Voice 2009 Citizen Media and the Olympics Robert Scales and Andy Miah

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

The first Northern Voice 2009 session following lunch in room 1005 here at the UBC Forestry Sciences building is Robert Scales (of Raincity fame) along with Dr Andy Miah, whose various credits include writing for the Huffington Post during the 2008 Beijing Olympics (he also came all the way here from Scotland, just for this!)

Photo from Beijing last summer: Scales on Flickr

Update: With the network issues I will attempt to update real-time but if that doesn’t work I’ll take notes and publish them here as soon as I’m back online.

Update: I have just been informed that there is a full panel for this talk, including DaveO as well who just blew on a big red horn to get our attention. “Michael Phelps has got nothing on these lungs.”

Debbi Lander came here from England as she is on the Cultural Committee for London 2012.

“I’m going to have the chance to see the third Olympics in Canada,” says Scales as he leads off the presentation. He gives us a run through of Canadian Olympic moments and says he’s definitely a fan.


He went to Turin in 2006 as independent media (through the non-accredited media centre) along with Kris Krug and covered it from a local perspective ie. hockey in the streets, and the impact on local culture. In 2008 he went to Beijing, which was a small leap from the Raincity offices in Shanghai. He was able to collaborate and create a document about the spirit of the Olympics with various research. Scales attended various events including achieving one of his goals of seeing Olympic fencing. As a result, the BBC picked up some of his work and asked him to write an Olympic diary. When he returned to Vancouver he opened more dialogue with VANOC and eventually became accredited through the BC International Media Centre. With that, a representative from the BCIMC comes up for a quick talk about how Olympics

“The international media centre for the 2010 Games will be at Robson Square,” and he says he’s been faced with how to accredit bloggers, “let me tell you that we’re not there yet,” but they are working on it. “We do want folks to register.”

January 29th 2010 the media centre will open and will have an auditorium about the size of the one we’re in. The majority of the money for the media centre will be spent on the pipe – so everyone can get information in and out as quickly as possible.

Update: Scales now moves on to the London 2012 Games and introduces Andy who is a professor in ethic and emerging technologies at the University of the West of Scotland. He discusses ambush media and marketing ie. billboards that are not sponsored by Olympic sponsors are left empty. As a side note, I think Seattle’s Best Coffee has the rights for 2010 so Starbucks shops near venues such as Whistler Village will have to cover their signs — don’t quote me on this but I believe this is one of Andy’s points. Sort of like how GM Place will now be Canada Hockey Place for two weeks in 2010.

Ambush media consists of things like “reversing the direction of interrogation towards traditional media and then broadcasting the results often before traditional media.” I just found this presentation on Slideshare, which contains more information:

Andy says that in the short term social media can make a bigger impact than the traditional outlets. He also discusses branding and brand protection ie. the London 2012 logo being used for a Facebook group. “The Games time is remarkably different than the years before it, leading up to it.”

Update: DaveO is up next talking about his experience living in Japan in the pre-Nagano times as well as his time in Utah for the Salt Lake City Winter Games, catching 28 events in 13 days.

Don Cherry in Salt Lake City wearing Dave’s hat: Dave on Flickr

Dave’s coverage was a marathon of photos and video, he was able to catch moments and “microcosms of events” that were taking place and not getting covered ie. the first Olympian from Nepal at the Winter Games. He also describes heading to an Olympic media briefing and being immediately told, “the protesters are over there across the street.” Dave said it sucked because “we’re not journalist-y enough to hang out with the journalists and we’re not protest-y enough to hang out with the protesters.” He says “we’re not here to live stream the women’s figure skating in prime time,” that’s not the idea. “We own as much of the culture about the olympics as the IOC does,” says Dave. “People are coming and i plan to welcome them and make cool stuff.”

world. Update: “Every host nation has the responsibility to push the boundaries of one aspect of the Games,” says Debbi who is up last on the panel. “When the handover happened from Beijing to London they opened a Flickr channel although it wasn’t open to users yet, there was simply a chat.” She says there’s a willingness to bring it into the centre but they’re also discussing if that’s appropriate and “if that can exist in a parallel universe”.

When the handover happened from Beijing to London they opened a Flickr channel although it wasn’t open to users yet, there was simply a chat. “I don’t want to put four years into something that no one wants to ever get to hear about.” She will be working with the ANDFestival, check it out for more details.

Northern Voice 2009 Making the Radio Station of the Future Steve Pratt

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“Traditional corporations have been doing this for a long time – there’s science behind it, they know what they’re doing.” Steve’s opening comment is following by a “ha” from the audience.

“I think before we define the worst, I think we should define what would make it the best.” Steve Pratt starts off showing promo shots for morning shows on radio stations, from Dano and Jono to the nugget. The all request lunch hour, the all request electric lunch. Then there’s “the wacky morning show idea the morning zoo,” followed by other formats and re-hashed formats.

Truths of private radio: Continue reading this post ⟩⟩

Northern Voice 2009 Keynote Rob Cottingham

Comments 4 by Rebecca Bollwitt

“He might look like your average college professor but he’s f’ing insane – he’s the funniest guy I know,” notes Kris Krug as he introduces Rob Cottingham, today’s second keynote. Nancy White will also be doing a freeform graphical interpretation of Rob’s talk as we go along.

Rob Cottingham

He says his daughter told him to “Break a leg” this morning, “and can you tell her that Peter Mansbridge really should make way for some younger blood?”

“I would like to begin with a moment of silence for all the services that have died since the last Northern Voice: Pownce, SocialFM, Rogers Customer Service.”

“We’re going to try and make a little history this morning, I’m going to use a little tool made by our friends here in Vancouver, “HootSuite” — I’m going to strive to become the first stand up comic in history to heckle himself. And frankly I’m exactly the kind of jackass that I was afraid would show up.” He says we’re all welcome to join him on twitter using a special hashtag that is exactly 140 characters long.

Here’s here to talk about what makes social media funny. Starting with podcasting, how funny is podcasting? Rob then impersonates a podcaster’s opening remarks, which I wish I could get the audio for.

Up next, end-user license agreements, funny? “There’s a reason the button says ‘submit’.” Rob says, “The guy selling heroin at an elementary school would say, my that sounds a little one-sided.” “Take my rights, have my kidneys and give me my free Scrabble application!”

Beta testing – funny? The room is slightly indifferent but Rob thinks beta testing is funny. Rob is reading a beta testing agreement while Nancy is writing and drawing feverishly with felt markers on the board behind him.

Memes, funny or not funny? “I’m going to go with not funny.” On the screen Rob has the”Drive a 6″ stake through your hand meme” which ends with “tag six people you really don’t like.” He then calls up the “3 people you’ve cheated on your spouse with” meme” and the instructions are hilarious.

Photo credit: John Biehler on Flickr

Blogging, funny? “Blogging amazes me, how much of blogging is about blogging?” A lot. “Any communications channel opens up conversations about that communication,” ie. the Verizon “can you hear me now?”. The topic more interesting to people about blogging is monetizing blogging.

Business in the social web is funny to Rob. It’s all about “continuous arguable improvement”. It’s not the heart of social media. This “wasn’t dreamed up in anyone’s boardroom,” he adds, “this world of social media was invented and re-invented by us.”

With regards to social media or web 2.0 whatever you want to call it, “at the heart of this thing is creative self expression and the ability to connect.”

Rob mentions Andrew Keen’s book, The Cult of the Amateur, and how he thinks that’s the wrong idea. It’s about a supportive culture of friends both online and in the real world.

“By applause, LOLCats, funny? Or not funny?” Funny wins. Rob never was a big fan, but it’s the lesser of many evils. “Shared laughter is more than just a sound.”

“The social web is hilarious, and thank god.” He says, “if you’re already doing teh funny, keep it up.”