Saturday 3 November 2012

Beer Escalator, BBC iplayer and a conundrum

My CAMRA member friends will be aware that on Thursday the Commons debated a review on the Beer Escalator - an incremental increase on beer duty that has been in place for some years and has some years yet to run.  I was able to watch the debate on BBC Parliament - being a home person with nothing better to do for a couple of hours.  However my OH, who is a much more active CAMRA member than me was at work so was relying on BBC iplayer to watch the debate later.

We know the result of the debate - the Treasury spokesperson present said that the government could not afford to scrap the tax - despite figures from the MPs noting that as time progresses the escalator produces less and less money because pubs are closing at a rate of 12 a week.  I found the debate interesting as it showed that MPs on both sides of the Commons supported the motion to review the escalator and most of them came up with statistics and reasons for supporting the pub that sounded like they came straight out of CAMRA's publications.  The pub as the hub of the community, providing jobs for young people, breweries as part of the British manufacturing industry, drinking in a controlled environment rather than pre-loading, against supermarkets using beer as a loss leader, etc, etc.  Many of the MPs mentioned that they were CAMRA members too.

When we turned the tv on last night to watch the debate on iplayer we found that the segment on BBC Parliament should have been 360+ minutes long but actually only ran for 1 hour.  This cut the debate off in mid-flow.  I have posted the link on Facebook and asked my fb friends to join me in complaining about this. Cross fingers that the BBC find the other two hours of the coverage so that my OH and other interested parties can watch the rest of the debate ...

I have been posting family history stories on this blog that I have written in the past, earlier this week I wrote a new piece, "The Sad Story of Amelia Mordey".  I had hopes that I could submit it to a relevant Family History Society journal as this often gets interest from local people and sometimes even descendants and relatives.  Amelia lived in Sunderland so the local society is the Northumberland and Durham FHS - however it costs £15 a year to join.  Two years ago I submitted an article to Liverpool FHS for publication, their subs were £10 a year, not so bad you might think, however I was stung as it took nearly two years for them to publish my article.  And I have had no responses despite them printing my contact details.  Ah well, you win some, you lose some.  At this present time though, with cash short, I can't afford to join societies just for a bit of vanity publishing ...  Instead I have sent the article to the "Who Do You Think You Are?" magazine who did a nice piece on South Yorkshire a year or so ago with input from myself so they might remember my name.  More crossed fingers.

I read "Amelia" out aloud to the OH last night after the BBC let us down on the beer escalator debate - he commented that it seemed too full of dates and names for him, but it sounded as if there was enough content to make a good story if I just wrote it differently.  So my conundrum today is, "Should I write two (or more) versions of these stories?"

  1. One for fellow genealogists with dates, names, sources listed, methodology described and so on,
  2. one for non-family history readers - a version that reads like a novel or popular magazine piece,
  3. another version with each fact properly referenced, weighed up and analysed, investigating some overarching research question, more academic in tone.
Sounds like three times the work, but it would appeal to a wider audience ... I wonder if I can do it?


Robyn said...

I'm sure you could do it! It would be an interesting project, and would open it up to potentially being published for a wide range of markets, too.

BarnsleyHistorian said...

Thank you for being my very first comment!