Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Where's Bill?

Even the likes of a retired journalist such as myself gets to treat himself to the odd holiday now and again. When April showers do their best to remind us that summer is still a good few weeks away, it's time to scour the Ryanair flight schedules and see what bargains they can reveal.

Thankfully, they haven't yet instituted their dreaded 'fat tax', or it would be Easyjet for me, every time.

As a seasoned traveller, I've learned to keep my itinerary under wraps, just in case I'm offered favourable travel conditions or upgrades that might seek to influence my later reviews. Not much chance of that with Ryanair, though. Even getting the cabin crew to smile can be an achievement.

Nevertheless, before I vent my customary spleen on the Irish low-cost carrier, I thought I'd invite readers to have a guess where I've been.

Here are some piccies, to help you along:

Saturday, 4 April 2009

The Price Of Progress

Those who know Bill Blunt will tell you he's not a man to shun modernity. I like to think I can move with the times.

That's why I couldn't muster much real sympathy for the residents of Broughton, Buckinghamshire, who hit the news this week by railroading an innocent Google cameraman out of their village. There was too much of anally-retentive Middle England about the whole episode for my liking, and I wondered (idly, of course) whether the same people might also spurn the attentions of a proctologist who wanted to send a camera up their back passage.

Nevertheless, I had to rethink my attitude to Google's plan to digitally photograph the streets and roads of our country when I received a letter from my solicitors yesterday morning. One of the more attentive juniors in the offices of Aperture, Lenz & Shutter had been instructed to tear themselves away from Facebook to spend an hour or two scouring Google Street View. The result was a raft of photographs of their more famous clients in (supposedly) compromising positions, which had led Mr Lenz, at least, to suggest we may have a claim for damages.

While I realise that a stagnant property market has left a lot of solicitors with time on their hands, I can't help thinking this smacks of opportunism on the part of my briefs. It's typical of modern Britain that, the moment a new technology is introduced, someone somewhere is sniffing around for a cut of the dosh.

Speaking entirely personally, I'm not in the least perturbed by the idea that I might have been snapped by Google while straightening my tie in a Waterloo Street doorway sometime last month. I've had a few of my friends look at the image thoughtfully forwarded by Mr Lenz, and none of them recognised me through the gauzy blur Google has added.

So, my advice to the people of Broughton is to relax a little, and let the camera in. You can't stop progress.