This is another instalment (still not the final one!) of the various people, creatures and organisations that appear on Puffles’ Twitter Feed.
The first person on this list is Sue Llewellyn – who along with David Allen Green (of media law fame (who has Natalie Peck on his side)) gave me the virtual kick up the backside to get these lists going. Apart from being an expert in her field, Sue’s posts have a general loveliness about them. She also has hypnotic eyes too.
I’m inserting Jayne Secker of Sky News and Penny Marshall of ITV News because they tweet to Puffles while they are on the telly! (Or rather during the advert breaks). On the radio, Sian Williams also pleasantly surprised Puffles too with a follow.
Naomi Klein was one of the first authors I came across just over ten years ago when I started university and found out just how screwed up the world economy was – ditto with multinational corporations. This made me something of a pest on my degree because I kept on picking apart dodgy assumptions that formed the basis of my degree course at the time. (I studied economics).
Mark Steele has been on the lefty-media-comedy scene for quite some time – and has a few Youtube video-clips up too. He also has made a number of documentaries and written a handful of books – Reasons to be cheerful (about political activism) I particularly liked. Another Mark I rate is Mark Thomas, in particular for his work against the arms trade. Although both these Marks are not prolific tweeters. However, it’s worth keeping tabs on them if anything to find out when they’ll be appearing on tour. I’m still yet to see another up-and-coming comedian Josie Long, though have seen (twice – and am continually ignored by) Shappi Khorsandi on Twitter! Another comedian coming out of somewherefield is Imran Yusuf – kicking prejudice in the parts where it really hurts.
Red Pepper magazine was one publication I used to read a lot at university, but less so now. Strangely enough, I’ve also struggled to get into reading Private Eye magazine – mainly because the font is horrible, the text too small and the layout displeasing to my eye. If Mr Hislop get this account going, his sales would soar.
Stirring things up along the blurred lines of TV and newspaper politics is Kevin Maguire – Old Skool Daily Mirror type. Often found alongside Andrew Neil – formerly one of Murdoch’s executives but now a BBC stalwart. Patrick Hennessy of The Telegraph provides a nice balance with a bit of football thrown in. Otherwise Puffles’ Twitterfeed becomes a noise of screaming lefties. Talking about football, there only one publication worth reading – When Saturday Comes.
Not everyone who has/does work for Murdoch is an evil henchman/woman. Jo Geary was a delight when I met her and also had a number of people I trust who vouched for her too – her professional record and expertise more than speaking for itself. Neal Mann‘s contributions this year have been little short of outstanding too – especially on the revolutions in North Africa.
When Polly Curtis of The Guardian started following (when I was still in the civil service) I hid underneath my desk. Actually, I didn’t, but had mixed feelings ranging from “Yes! Puffles has made it!” to “Is she going to try and ‘out’ Puffles’ Bestest Buddy and lead to a media firestorm outside my parents’ house? (And “Will I get fired as a result?”) You’ll all be familiar with Mark Upton – aka Naked Civil Servant
One up-and-coming journalist I met ages ago is Emanuelle Esposti who, along with Louisa Loveluck and Ruwayda Mustafa are my three most trusted sources on Middle Eastern reporting. Does it speak volumes that all three are women?
An unlikely personality I keep tabs on is Al Murray – the person rather than The Pub Landlord that is more well known in the public’s psyche. Like me, Alistair is a historian – only better than I am. (He has a degree in the subject from Oxford). He’s also made a number of documentaries too – most recently one examining (and standing up for) the Germans. (I should declare an interest in thinking that Germany is a lovely place too, having been there on a few occasions).
In terms of the Westminster Village, Ben Page is a regular on the departmental and television circuit. I’ve met him on a couple of occasions but as with these things being in a world where he’s meeting more people than is sensible, he probably has no recollection of any of those times. Ben was also the person being interviewed when Kay Burley of Sky got heckled in the run up to the general election. (No, I don’t rate the latter as a news anchor at all). Like Ben, I’ve also bumped into Emma Maier of the Local Government Chronicle on a couple of occasions. I had to get a couple of people to vouch for her first when she started following Puffles on the grounds that I had been stung before by a ‘trade’ magazine that follows the goings on in certain parts of Whitehall and wanted to be sure that Emma wasn’t going to do the same. Talking of the ‘trade press’, Civil Service World exists covering Whitehall which may be of interest to suit-wearers unfamiliar with Whitehall, but it’s a bit too old-style for me.
I keep tabs on Gaby Hinsliff and a number of people in different fields like her because having spent time in the furnaces of – in her case political journalism, insights from current/former professional ‘working mums’ shine a completely different light on a whole host of issues that you just don’t get from the predominantly male full-time commentators. I also include the lovely Liz Fraser in that description too – having made her name in documentaries and also in the ill-fated “Cambridge Red” during the late 1990s. (She’ll hate me for mentioning it but at the time, I did think “Liz! You’re so much better than this!)
In a nutshell, once you get a ‘critical mass’ of female voices on any issue, you notice the subtleties in how women can view things differently to us men.
Local to Liz (when she’s in Cambridge) and I is Eleanor Turney who keeps me up to speed on things happening in the arts world. Keeping tabs on the arts world is Matthew Taylor of the Royal Society for Arts.
Those of you who grew up watching telly in the late 80s and early 90s will remember Chris Packham‘s days on the Really Wild Show. (Only these days he doesn’t have spikey bleached blond hair.
Hiding away in the background is one of the few ITV tweeple I follow – Jess Brammar. In the past I kept away from ITV News because I felt it went downmarket towards sensationalising stuff unnecessarily. I don’t like the way its anchors read news as if the world is going to end on every single broadcast. “News at Ten! You’re gonna die and there’s nothing you can do about it!” But the arrival of Laura Kuenssberg has helped turn that ship around. That along with wider social media interaction is, I think helping drive up standards. Another news type who stays in the background is Isabel Hardman.
At a more specialist level, Alistair McLellan of the HSJ covers the health bases, Lou Woodley for nature, Christian Wolmar (again) for transport and the BBC’s Rory Cellan Jones for technology. The great thing about Twitter is that it allows you to get random nuggets of brainfood that gives you insights into things from specialists in the field that you’d otherwise miss.
I’ll probably need to do another serving of media types, but I’ll finish this one here before you get overwhelmed.