Blog Archives

A creative call to action

Stand up, fight back

This is a call for all of us creative types to use our talents for social good.

We now more than ever need to use our art and talents to highlight the real New Zealand, so that people will see it is not the 100% pure image seen in the glossy marketing.

We need people to see the eroded sovereign rights, the increasing poverty, the widening inequality, the unemployed, the polluted waterways and growing environmental issues. the downtrodden, sick and forgotten and the many, many other issues being experienced in our country today.

It is now time…

A bed for the night

“A bed for the night” Homeless in Dunedin

      • For photographers to use images to unsettle and enlighten.
      • For singer-songwriters to sing the songs that challenge the status quo.
      • For thinkers and poets to question authority.
      • For the media to be independent and investigative not swayed by biased political or commercial agenda.
      • For people to stand up for all those who need a voice to be heard.
      • For all of us to tell the world that everything is NOT ok in this country.

We can, we should and we will do something about it.

Paul S Allen

PS: if you know of an event that highlights the need for social change or for justice or other protest in Dunedin NZ please contact me. As a photographer I am happy to use my skills for a good cause.

Paul

Change is Inevitable

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Let there be peace.

Barbed Wire

All people have the right to live in peace and safety without persecution, oppression, victimisation or death.

It does not matter about differences as long as we can mutually respect each other.

We need to embrace diversity not fear it.

Let us look beyond nationality, race, religion, gender or orientation, and respect the person. Listen to each others stories without judgement or condemnation.

We, the free, need to stand up for the oppressed and the persecuted and let their voices be heard.

Let us free the oppressed.

Let us see the humanity.

Let us love the person.

Let there be peace.

 

Paul S Allen

Nothing Perfect

 

 

 

Graphics created by Paul S Allen
©Paul S Allen 2014

When a competition becomes too much.

PaulusthebritI love social media especially Twitter. It is a great way to meet many good and interesting people, collaborate with projects, share experience, or just to chat. Over the last few months however my experience with social media has become somewhat frustrating to the point that I have felt bullied and have been insulted by other users because I have not supported a particular social media competition. This has reached a stage where I have resorted to restricting access to my twitter account and have started to block and report offending accounts.

Currently in New Zealand a competition is running that would give the winning town access to ultra fast internet access. Chorus New Zealand, the company that is running and promoting the Gigatown competition plays an important part in the infrastructure of telecommunication in NZ and the prize would be positive for the winning town. I have no issue with the company itself but the competition is highly worrying.

The competition works on twitter (should work like )by using a particular hashtag to raise the importance of high-speed internet and its benefits to the entire community.

Initially I looked at supporting the competition, however, some others who support the competition consistently request/reminded me to add the hashtag to all of my tweets. Most of the followers I have on twitter are not in New Zealand and the competition is irrelevant for them so I chose not to use the hashtag.

There are multiple twitter accounts being setup by individuals solely for the purpose of the competition, with tweet numbers that can only be described as spam. New  accounts with 48 followers, following 67 and have 3500+ tweets, most of which are retweets of other people’s hashtags.  Another account is worse.

Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 8.47.14 pm

Many of the tweets being sent by the supporters of the competition read like this…

“@[________] : Anyone tried the Sundaes from ____________ in #Gigatown_______? Delicious!”

“@[_________]: At the ice hockey in #gigatown_______! What a game!”

“@[_________]: Great day to try out the new shoes! Feel pretty good and look awesome! #gigatown________ “

(tweets modified to protect the account owners)

Very few tweets actually discuss the benefits of fast broadband internet.

Some supporters are promoting that for every original tweet or reply they should be retweeting four other gigatown hashtag tweets. It might just fit with Twitter rules but in regards to good social media practice this can only be seen as spam. Some accounts are sending up to 1000 tweets a day.

The pressure put on myself (and others) by the supporters of the competition to use the hashtags and the sheer number of hashtags being used has caused much dissatisfaction and annoyance amongst seasoned and long-standing Twitter users like myself.

At no other time in the five plus years of using twitter have I encountered so much pressure that can only be described as stand over tactics against people who are not participants in the competition.

 

Intellectual Property – What’s yours isn’t.

The competition itself has terms and conditions that I strongly object to around the topic of Intellectual Property and submission of material.

the clause reads…

“You grant Chorus a non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable (without consent or notification), irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to use anything you post on any platform for the purpose of this Competition, in part or in its entirety, for any purpose. For purposes of this clause, “use” includes (without limitation) promote, replicate, copy, modify, enhance, sublicense, distribute, transmit, exploit, sell, rebrand and market, whether as part of Chorus’s products and/or services or otherwise, without reference or attribution to you.” http://gigatown.co.nz/terms-and-conditions

One major concern as a person in the creative arts is about ownership, copyright and attribution of created works. I have some work which is creative commons (Attribution, No Derivative, Non-Commercial) licence and others that I have chosen to have full copyright by myself.

A concern is that if a third-party submits content of mine to the competition (with or without consent), the conveyor of the competition would then have the rights to it. I reject this entirely. I reserve all rights to my own created works and I will decide who, how and where they are used and what attribution is required.

The sooner this competition is finished the better.

Paul S Allen

I am still on twitter if you are not following you are most welcome to join me, just ask

 Brilliant satire  about gigatown from John McGlashan High School in Dunedin

Summer Sunset Dunedin

To love the unlovely

How the unlovely, the broken and the disadvantaged are treated is the measure of society.

If you go behind all our masks, behind the tattoos, the makeup, the hair, the gender, the orientation, the religion or non-religion, you will meet a human. Someone who breathes the air, has blood in their veins, eats, rests, and generally lives from one routine to another.

We are all human.

My eyes were opened one day when a feared gang member stopped outside a food shop to buy his lunch. What I saw that day was a person, who probably ordered and paid for his favourite sandwich, and looked forward to eating it.

A man with a hunger, a need, a desire for something, normal, satisfying.

I got to know this man in a small way over a few years, I knew him as a person who looked out for his friends, he was a caring man, he tried to protect youth when needed. He shared with me his concerns about children playing in a derelict building site. He had a desire to improve his circumstances and of those around him.

He was also a gang member, he wore a patch, I am sure he had earned it in a way I did not want to know about. He was an outcast from “normal” society.

What I mainly saw was the man, a human.

A desire to change from someone with a less than “normal” past, whether that be criminal or other anti-social background  (mental health especially has a stigma that people need to overcome) requires us to change our attitude, it requires us to get out of our comfort zone to reach out to the one wanting to change.

It means taking a risk.

Unless we are prepared to take a risk to reach out to others who are different from us how can we ever expect to improve our community.

To ostracize the unlovely, the broken and the disadvantaged is an indictment on the society we live in.

We need to be a community where forgiveness is a norm, where there is acceptance of the different, and where those wishing to and needing to change can find a place to do so and people who can help.

To love the unlovely is to love your fellow human. Something we are all called to do.

Paul S Allen

(aka paulusthebrit – twitter)
Caution

Nothing like good customer service.

There’s nothing like good customer service and this is nothing like good customer service.Paulusthebrit

You the customer are under suspicion. Your actions require utmost control and under no circumstances can you enter our business with that item. We consider all people who enter our business as criminals intent on stealing our stuff. We do not care about you or your own care or safety.

This is the message I was given by the owner of a business today after I raised a concern about a policy the store has and the manner in which it was enforced.

What was the offense? My wife had a small hand bag with her.

The policy of the store was that no-one was able to enter the store with a bag (of any sort). We had the option of leaving the bag with a complete stranger at the counter in an insecure area or not go into the store.

Our greeting was not a friendly smile or even a simple “Hello” it was just “Bag please!” no option, no explanation.

We left.

After calling the store to question the policy and manner which we were treated, the owner phoned me back to explain that under no circumstances was anyone allowed in the store with a bag of any kind and that Prime Minister John Key and even the Queen would be asked to leave their bags at the counter.

When explaining that my wife has a health condition and the bag contains important contents, it was explained that we could take contents out of the bag and carry them with us. I suggested that it would be difficult to shop or browse while carrying things in our hands he said that was our problem.

I can accept the importance of store security and issues around shop theft, but the tone and treatment of the staff member and the arrogant attitude of the owner has left us never wanting to visit that shop again. We had the intention of making purchases on todays visit but we will not be going back to that establishment.

I will not name the store as I do not wish to advertise or promote its existence in any way. If anyone ever asks me for a recommendation about these types of shops I will not mention them at all and if questioned directly will explain our dissatisfaction.

One question I have about this “leave bag at counter” policy. If something goes missing or is damaged in the bag whose liability is it? For example if I leave my camera bag at the counter and someone drops a heavy item on it will the store pay the cost to repair or replace damaged items? What say someone gets given the wrong bag and it goes missing, who is liable?

The experience today has left us feeling angry and disappointed especially after the owner said it was our loss for not doing business with him. Actually it is his loss, we were going to spend money today at his shop and didn’t.

We will not be going back to that store again.

Paul S Allen

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