Sodcasters... But they look so lovely. They're probably listening to Price Tag by Jessie J or Ave Maria.
Are you a sodcaster? Or have you been the victim of sodcasting? (Or even the beneficiary?)
Whaddaya mean – What is sodcasting? You’ll almost certainly have experienced it. Unless perhaps you’re American. Because it’s a public transport phenomenon. (So this post particularly goes out to the newly resurrected Exile Imaging, who works in city transit for Austin, Texas.)
So what is it? Sodcasting is the playing of tinny tuneless repetitive beats on your phone loud speaker, or more likely that the sound leaks from your earbuds – thus giving other passengers on the bus or train the joy of sharing your musical tastes.
The music will be bad. Because it has to compete with the rumble of the vehicle. It’ll be distorted because it’s turned up so loud. And it’ll probably be rubbish, because it has been specially made to suit the medium – lots of treble, little or no bass.
I have to admit, though I’m familiar with the phenomenon, I hadn’t heard the term until this week. It is derived from podcasting – combined with a “Sod You” attitude.
And this is the important thing. I heard it on a wonderful radio programme on BBC Radio 4 which Continue reading
Bus protest (from the Bucks Free Press)
Blimey! That was quick. A couple of days ago we brandished our placards – see previous post: Save Our Bus! We Want The Bus!
Then this happened. The Office of Fair Trading announced it was referring local bus services to the Competition Commission. (Not including London or Northern Ireland.) Because apparently fares are 9% higher where one big bus company has a monopoly.
Instant results from one small protest.
Or coincidence? Let’s just skip on ahead to the more important question.
Will more competition help?
The OFT suspects large operators of taking a hands-off (non-competitive) approach to each others’ territories, thereby keeping fare prices high.
But more competition could lead merely to short term fare reductions, the crushing of smaller operators and the long term establishment of fewer even more widespread monopolies than before. And that’s not to mention the dislocation and confusion we’re still suffering thanks to the privatisation and splitting up of the rail network.
For their part, the big companies say they are already in fierce competition… With the car. And that what’s needed is more public subsidy for unprofitable routes. Subsidy paid for by local councils, i.e. me. And you.
Worthwhile? For the sake of preserving vital social glue? Or cutting emissions?
But back to our local bus service. Discussions on altering another existing route to fill the gap left by the axing of the old service have been postponed. Pesky snow.
Save Our Bus! We Want The Bus!
We’ve been out protesting. No, not Iraq, Afghanistan or Palestine. Not climate change nor nuclear power. Once upon a time it was “Maggie Maggie Maggie! Out! Out! Out!” Now it’s “The wheels on the bus go round and round.”
Sure there’s nothing better than children with homemade placards.
But will it save the bus? The old service was already too expensive, unreliable and irregular. A deterrent to using it. The replacement service looks to be worse. Most of the passengers travel for free – on pensioner bus passes. The county council has cut the subsidy.
So it’s almost certainly uneconomic. But it’s also part of the social glue that holds disparate communities together. Just like the local post office.
So altogether now: “Save Our Bus! We Want The Bus!”