[Age-of-Stupid] Waving goodbye to The Age of Stupid + Piers needs you

Franny Armstrong franny at spannerfilms.net
Wed Jan 13 09:08:51 GMT 2010

<< STOP PRESS -  Piers the Stupid windfarm man is back in Bedford Town  
Hall all this week, making one last attempt to get some wind turbines  
stuck up at Airfield Farm. ie in the very same spot he was fighting to  
get them up in the film, back in 2005. He'd greatly appreciate any  
support from anyone who can turn up at the hearings dressed in blue.  
See his letter at the bottom of this message. >>

Hello and Happy New Decade,

So I thought this was rather symbolic: my friend bet a thousand quid  
that I couldn't go one year without uttering the words "climate  
change". Now I was feeling pretty confident, come Dec 31st, what with  
having any number of alternatives up my sleeve: you know, "global  
warming", "greenhouse effect", "anthropogenic warming". So, anyway,  
there we were at my granny's house in Dorset, watching Jools Holland  
count down to the new decade, and, on the stroke of midnight, in come  
12 pipers piping, followed by a man dressed in a polar bear suit.  
"What do you think that's all about then?" says friend, at precisely 7  
seconds into the new year. To which I reply "Surely it's got to be  
climate change".

And therein lies the problem.

When we finished making The Age of Stupid eighteen months ago  
(eighteen months ago!), you see, Lizzie and I agreed we would promote  
it all the way to Copenhagen in December 2009 and then go our separate  
ways, patting ourselves on the back at a job well done and at a small  
contribution to keeping the atmosphere habitable to human life. With  
18 months being 17 months more active promotion than yer average  
documentary gets to shake its bootie at. So off we went to Copenhagen  
- sponsored by many of you fine people, thanks again - and threw  
ourselves into The Stupid Show, which I will be going on about at  
great length in the next message, just as soon as we've sorted all the  
videos into some comprehensible order, but which was kind-of brilliant  
in a madcapedly underresourced way.

What the hell happened at Copenhagen?
I can't explain better than:
- The final message that Lizzie and I filmed at 7pm on the last  
Sunday, after two long weeks inside the Bella Centre
- The final Stupid Show featuring Tony Juniper, Mark Lynas, Ed  
Miliband, Kumi Naidoo and President Nasheed from The Maldives in  
various states of exhaustion after we'd all been awake since Friday  
and everyone else had gone home.
- The Climate Scoreboard, which calculates that the Copenhagen accord  
(a weaker thing than a deal or an agreement, specially cos we don't  
yet know whether anyone is going to sign up) would commit us to a 3.9  
degree global temperature rise, which would mean something like: all  
coral dead, most forests dead, Southern Europe a desert, Australia  
with no agriculture and Africa uninhabitable. So not great then.

Radiohead's Thom Yorke with The Stupid Show team shortly after he'd  
signed up to 10:10

The Age of Stupid, the film, is all over, therefore we can retire?

-> Team Stupid has done a fantastic job over the last few months  
putting everything in place so that the film will continue to be  
watched all around the world for years to come. Distribution deals are  
signed & sealed from Australia to Armenia. The DVDs are flying off the  
shelves. The Stupid shop has moved to its new home in a big  
warehouse.  Indie Screenings is being handed over to our UK  
distributors Dogwoof. The downloads are winging their way through  
cyberspace and the pirates are swopping bittorrents for free on the  
internet, feeling smug whilst they do it (how come they get the best  
of all worlds? Couldn't they at least feel bad as they nick our hard  
work?).  There's plenty more TV screenings coming up, including  
Discovery in America in March or April. We're thinking that the prize  
for keenest country goes to the Netherlands, where 200,000 viewers  
watched it on mainstream TV the other week, 120,000 DVDs have been  
printed (70,000 given away in Belgium and the rest ordered by shops in  
Holland) and, according to several Dutch friends telling me  
independently, "Age of Stupid" has become a must-say phrase in the  
mainstream media, even when not talking about the film.

-> Cash-wise, the first of ten annual payments to our crowd-funders &  
crew went out last week. Sorry that we just missed Christmas: the  
problem was that 100+ of the 400 people wrote in to change their  
details, so that slowed things down considerably. But you should have  
got your cash now and if you haven't please contact our accountant  
Kevin Lyons on theageofstupid at mklp.co.uk. About 40 people said they  
were delighted and/or surprised with their payment and one said he was  
totally regretting ever getting involved with the film, so that's not  
such a bad ratio. Sorry we haven't quite yet made you all millionaires.

-> Team Stupid has now disbanded. Many have packed their laptops and  
headed upstairs to 10:10 (Dan, Leo, Mal), one has gone to film school  
(Ben), two back to their old dayjobs (Sylvia, Sara),  two unaccounted  
for somewhere in Copenhagen (Tom, Luke), one last seen heading off in  
a campervan surrounded by Danish police (Rop), one to a great job at  
the Carbon Trust (Andrew), one to musical adventures (Nick) and one to  
continue internationally coordinating NGOs (Jahlia).

-> Which therefore means that the winner of the lucky draw to captain  
the good ship Spanner Films solo from now till eternity is....  
Rhiannon Roberts. Round of applause please. Yes, the poor gal will be  
all alone in Stupid Towers from now on - except we're getting kicked  
out of Stupid Towers so will have to find a desk for her to squat  
somewhere else. So all Stupid or Spanner Films-related enquiries  
should now go to the hardy lass on rhiannon at ageofstupid.net. She's  
only got 400 emails in her inbox at the moment, so sure she'll get  
back to you real soon.

-> Having said all that, Andy Moore is also popping in from time to  
time, finishing up the American DVD, sorting out the Stupid Show,  
archiving all the used teabags and whathaveyou. He's on andy at ageofstupid.net

-> Miss Lizzie doesn't yet know whether she'll do more filmmaking,  
more campaigning or more politicking but you can rest assured you  
haven't heard the last from her... As for myself, I guess I fall into  
the next paragraph...

Rhiannon Roberts realises that where once there were nine she now  
stands alone

The Age of Stupid, the era, is not all over, therefore we cannot retire?

The deal they were supposed to agree in Copenhagen is meant to replace  
the Kyoto Treaty, which ends at the end of 2012. They didn't manage in  
Copenhagen (the UN meeting called COP15), but all is not lost, as  
there is another shinding happening in Mexico next December, called,  
you guessed it, COP16. So if the deal can be done then, it can still  
come in in 2013, as Kyoto finishes, and that would be pretty much the  
same difference. We just lost a year of preparation time, which isn't  
the end of the world.

So what can we, the humble citizens, do to help ensure that the deal  
gets done in Mexico?

Stupid is dead! Long live 10:10!

As The Guardian's New Year's Day 10:10 special edition headlined, "The  
politicians failed at Copenhagen. Now it's over to you."

When the politicians meet again next in Mexico in December, they need  
to be confronted by the news that the people - and businesses and  
schools and churches and table tennis clubs - have gone ahead on their  
own and started cutting emissions. Not in a changing-a-few-lightbulbs  
way, or in setting more long-distance targets, but in terms of  
actually knocking a few percent off the total emissions of   whole  
countries in less than a year. Quite a task. To quote myself quoted in  
the Guardian (much easier than re-writing): "I think Copenhagen marks  
the end of traditional campaigning on climate change. Enough banners,  
enough websites, enough shouting in the streets. Now we need to roll  
up our sleeves and start solving the problem, all together. If we wait  
until the politicians get their act together, it will be too late."

There is no way that the politicians would be able to ignore the  
people plonking, say, 2% cuts from, say, UK, Australia, Germany,  
Iceland, Norway and the Maldives down on the Mexico table, just as  
they're having their first coffee. Or, to put it more positively, the  
politicians would realise that the citizens are ready to build the low- 
carbon future and this will give them the political space they need to  
make the deal as strong as the science demands.

10:10 is absolutely storming ahead in the UK, so the major mission now  
is to get at least 7 or 8 other countries up to speed, out of the 33  
which have contacted us wanting to set up their own version of 10:10  
(rather hilariously, the main national broadcaster in the Netherlands  
launched their very own 10:10  last week. Not sure how we feel about  
this, but we have anyway now bought in super-star coordinator Susan  
Alzner  - she of the UN climate week triumph (and Stupid Show laugh-o- 
meter, fact fans) - who will be presenting her world domination plans  
at the first 10:10 Board Meeting, er, tomorrow and then starting to  
implement the plan on Friday).

Here's how you can get involved:

-> If you haven't yet committed to cut your 10% this year, sign up now  
at http://www.1010uk.org. If you're not in the UK, sign up at http://www.1010global.org 
. You've already missed the first 13 days of 2010, so have a little  
bit of catching up to do. Then persuade your kids' school, your  
workplace, your girlfriend's college and your grandfather's knitting  
circle to sign up too. You'll be joining: 53,874 people, 2,041  
businesses, 1,051 Schools, Unis and Colleges and 1,424 other  
organisations. Big name sign-up of last week: Sony. Plus 116 local  
councils who between them cover a third of the UK population, which  
means that 20.45 million people will be getting their services  
(housing, waste, street lighting etc etc) with 10% less emissions than  
they did this year. Bloody amazing.

-> If you're not on the 10:10 mailing list (regardless of whether  
you've signed up to cut your emissions), join by sending an email to addtolist at 1010uk.org 
. All the 10:10 news goes out on there, I just send a few titbits  

-> Join 10:10's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter (#1010)

-> Give 10:10 some of your cash by donating here or by entering the  
competition to win a genuine Picasso artwork, as the main thing  
slowing the campaign down is having to waste loads of effort on  
fundraising. And how much would you impress your new girl/boyfriend by  
casually giving them a Picasso for their next birthday?

-> Any questions or thoughts about 10:10, please write to hello at 1010uk.org

So that's where we're at

I wanted to end this message with the rather delightful news that  
Channel 4 picked McLibel as the 14th best film of the last decade. But  
their website seems to have deleted all mention of it... there was  
honestly a big feature all about the best films and we even made it  
into the opening paragraph, which has somehow survived the cull:  "As  
this most clunkily-named decade, the Noughties, goes gently into that  
good night, we've seen fit to round-up our pick of the best films from  
the cinematic era that gave us Steve Coogan Hollywood movie star, saw  
a postman taking on McDonald's and winning in McLibel, while a  
splatstick horror director from New Zealand by the name of Peter  
Jackson changed the face of cinema with a story about some plucky  

So that's it then: we made a film, which was called The Age of Stupid,  
and then we distributed it as best we could and then we turned our  
attentions to 10:10 in a bid to help usher in, er, The Age of Sense?  
The Age of Reason? The Age of Clever?

Hope all's well with you,

Last two coats in the COP15 cloakroom at 8pm on the final Sunday...  
Nobody can say we didn't try...

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  
- - - - -

Public Inquiry for Airfield Wind Farm, as featured in 'The Age of  
Stupid', 12-> 15th January 2010
-> Please come to Bedford to show your support

Hello Age of Stupid fans,

Piers Guy from the film here.

If consented, Airfield Wind Farm will consist of 3 x 2MW wind  
turbines, located in Bedfordshire. These three turbines, proposed next  
to the Santa Pod drag racing strip, will produce around 14,000GWh of  
clean electricity per year, which is the equivalent to the usage of  
around 3,000 homes, savings thousands of tonnes of CO2 per year.

In the summer of 2009, Nuon Renewables appealed the planning  
application on the grounds of non determination. The Public Inquiry  
has been set for 10am on Tuesday the 12th of January at Bedford Town  
Hall, St. Paul's Square, Bedford, MK40 1SJ. The inquiry will last  
until the 15th of January.

We really want the Planning Inspector to see the strength of support  
for the wind farm. We know CLOWD, the anti group featured in The Age  
of Stupid, will be there in large numbers trying to monopolise the  
proceedings, so it is vital that the we have as many supporters  
present as possible.

A strong turnout would send a very positive message to the Planning  
Inspector, we also would like as many people as possible to drop in  
throughout the week so that the inspector is continuously reminded of  
the support that exists for this project and also to boost the morale  
of the wind farm team at the enquiry.

At all times please wear bright blue (hats, scarves, t-shirts, jumpers  
etc.) if possible to show your support for the wind farm  We will also  
have blue rosettes for people to wear.

Feel free to make banners, and make yourselves heard.

Hope to see you in Bedford!

Piers Guy

Any queries please contact:
Will Watson, Project Manager
Email: will.watson at nuonrenewables.com
Tel: +44 (0)1736 330171
Web: www.nuonrenewables.com

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