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I'm a journalist, ex-national papers, now working in what we call "new" media.

A friend drew to my attention a truly nasty Facebook group called "Sweet Memories of The Holocaust" which,  while claiming "we dont have brplem with jews our problem is with izrael and zionz" (their spelling), is predictably full of anti-semitic filth. It seems to have been set up by some death-metal mentalist but is attracting a depressing number of members. 

I shan't link to it but I will point in the direction of a group calling, quite rightly, for it to be taken down. 
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....this is probably why.....

And if that is down too, then in brief, Harry's Place posted an interesting piece about neo-Nazi websites. An academic mentioned in the piece, Jenna Delich, took exception to a sentence in it that linked her with the website of David Duke, the neo-nazi ad former Ku Klux Klan leader. Harry's Place retorts that evidence for their claim is in the public domain. 

I trust Harry's Place's testimony, rather than that of Ms Delich, but in any case there is a point of principle. She is, or so it is alleged, trying to suppress the claim by pressuring the ISP that hosts Harry's Place to take the site down. This sort of thing happens a lot and is quite illegitimate. Aggrieved individuals should take up their complaint with site itself, rather than trying to close it down by a backdoor route.  It is reminiscent of the way some individuals used to go after Private Eye, by threatening to sue its distributors, such as WH Smith. It is usually an easy win, as the distributor or ISP has little incentive to fight the case.

Harry's Place was down earlier today, though it is currently available. 

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What an interesting figure Dylan Jones is. In the mid-eighties I used to see him at warehouse parties in places like Battlebridge Road, King's Cross. If memory serves, he may even have organised some of them. It always struck me as a very lucrative enterprise: find a warehouse, get a sound system, buy hundreds of cans of Red Stripe from a cash and carry, charge a fiver at the door, confiscate any drink that people tried to bring in, sell Red Stripe at £1.20 a go (a lot of money for a can of beer in those days), carry the money home in a big bag. Anyway, Dylan may or may not have been involved in that side of things but he always struck me as a man with an eye for the main chance.

In those days he was involved with i-D magazine and has since then woven a path trough the world of style magazines that has taken him to the editorship of GQ, which is a perfectly OK publication in its way. Somehow, however, Dylan has used this modest position to carve himself a significant role in London society. He's always cropping up at this or that event, organising or attending a private dinner for this or that famous person and so on. How has he achieved this feat of social alchemy? Nobody knows, except Dylan. I guess he must be very good with people.

He was, for a while, very pally with Peter Mandelson, which brings me to my point. This week Dylan published a book of interviews with David Cameron, which he has been working on for at least a year. So, not only has Dylan deftly ditched his friendship with the sinking New Labour nomenklatura; he is busily feathering his nest with the New Tories (do the Joneses and the Camerons share tapas in Galicia in Portobello Road? Have they holidayed together? If not, it can only be a matter of time).

But not only all that: he also read the politico-social weather more than a year ago so that, at the very moment Labour sinks below the waves of bien-pensant opinion, Dylan is reinvented as a Cameroonie. Even his Wikipedia entry (and I wonder who wrote that) makes no mention of the Mandelson friendship: it's all about making GQ 'more political (oh, come on) and taking it rightwards. And, of course, despite a year of research his book on Cameron omitted to ask the one question we'd all like to hear the answer to: "Have you ever taken coke". Clever boy.
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Really good use of Google Maps by the London Metropolitan police to provide local crime information by postcode. You can drill down to ward and sub-ward, which is as micro-local as one can reasonably expect to get, see the number of incidents for an area and track trends. It would be nice to know more about the kind of offences - were the five in my area last month burlaries, muggings, murders, thefts from cars or what. Maybe that will come. But in the meantime, well done the Met. As Sir Robert Mark might have said, I believe it's a major contribution to freedom of information.
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When I worked for Yahoo!, I occasionally had to do radio interviews and very often a press officer would accompany m e. She was very nice and efficient and made sure I got where I needed to be in time and knew what I would be asked about. However, she insisted on scribbling notes on a large piece of card and waving them at me during the interview to remind me to say, or not say, one thing or another. It was extremely distracting, to say the least.

But she didn't go as far as the government press officer for James Plaskitt, the work and pensions minister, who intervened in a live interview on BBC World at One today to warn the presenter off his line of questioning, as Iain Dale reports, via PA.

This seems to me to be exceeding the press officer's brief, to say the least, and I can only assume that she thought the interview was being pre-recorded. As did John Prescott, some years ago, when being interviewed by Nick Robinson, who recounted the story on the Have I Got News For You website.

"When I was a reporter on what used to be called BBC News 24 I did a live interview with John Prescott in which he (uncharacteristically of course) got into a tangle about what he was trying to say and then said, ‘Oh no, I made that crap can we do that again?’ and I was forced to say, ‘Well, we are in fact live’."
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Some journalists I know refuse to write about their families. Others have made a career of it: one thinks of the noxious and self-obsessed Liz Jones and Nirpal Dhalirwal

At least those two had a right of reply to the other's whingeing; the relatives of most confesional writers don't have this opportunity. I enjoy Tim Dowling's column in the Guardian Weekend magazine but he paints a pretty uncompromising picture of his wife. I wonder how this works for them at home. Is their relationship as grim as he portrays it or is it a comic fiction? And what does Mrs Dowling make of it?

She is, however, an adult, whereas Amy Hanson's sister  Celeste is just 15 yet is subjected to a fearsome character assassination in today's Guardian Family section. Amy, 29, recounts a disastrous-sounding trip to a music festival that culminates in Celeste  "sobbing and screaming and swearing about what a bitch I am and how I've ruined her life". 

Maybe it's all fine - the two of them were photographed together for the piece, which suggests some sort of agreement between the two. But I can't help wondering what it's like for a 15-year-old girl to read an article like that about herself, which says pretty unequivocally that her grown-up sister really doesn't like her that much. I wonder too about Amy's motivations in writing it.

UPDATE It's worse than I thought. Amy Hanson is Michele Hanson's daughter. Michele Hanson writes, inter alia, about her elderly mother and the indignities of ageing. And so does Amy, but with less apparent empathy ("Crapping herself must have been the most exciting part of her day"). Poor Mrs Hanson senior, her every bedridden arthritic and incontinent moment turned into copy by her daughter and granddaughter. Won't someone give her a column, too?
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The clever Agarwal brothers have come up with a replacement for Scrabulous. Wordscraper is now available on Facebook and it looks, at first sight, not unlike Scrabble/Scrabulous: a similar sort of board, albeit with circles instead of squares, letter tiles that you use to make words, albeit the letters don't have numbered scores attached to them. The circles on the board are labelled 2/3/4L or 2/3/4/W which evidently denotes the letter or word score. Apparently, you can configure these as you want at the start of the game. If you don't, I'm assuming the board generates a random pattern. This must explain why in one game I'm playing I'm on 14,000 points after two turns and in the other 500 after six.

Bloggers are saying that the game merely makes a few changes to the Scrabble template (to avoid legal action) but it seems like a much more radical reinvention than that. So far, I don't really get it. And I agree, the board hurts my eyes.
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