Speaker’s Corner

Friction 

My grandpa complains constantly about the size of 5 pence pieces; I have a friend who has particularly strong feelings about animals dressed as humans while my housemate has a total – bordering on psychotic – hatred of British Gas call-centre managers. These are all pieces of information I’ve collected over time, having listened at length to their bile-filled tirades. 

I’m not overly happy about this; it’s time that I don’t get back at the end. I would happily avoid their rants if I could but it’s hard to see one coming and the ranters seem to find it quite therapeutic, chuntering away while I listen – bemused, a little afraid and hoping they’ll stop soon.

Thankfully, Friction.tv has launched giving them (and many others out there) a forum to rant. Unfortunately for me, Grandpa James is utterly flummoxed by computers and resolutely sticks to the telephone as his medium of choice, but I can live with that.

Like YouTube for the grumpy-old-man generation, Friction TV aims to ‘spark the debate’ giving users the opportunity to upload their rants, thoughts, ramblings and opinions. Tagged and categorised, clips are short and easily searchable, with with the functionality to link other users’ videos to your own responses to drive the debate.

Topics range from eating disorders and cyclists on the roads to “the problem with grammar schools”. Any and every opinion is welcome and it aims to be an “alternative to the sanitised views of the conventional mass media, as it delivers true user generated opinions in an unedited, uninhibited and necessarily challenging way.” 

Obviously it does practice a level of self-control, operating within the boundaries of the law, common decency and good taste, removing anything that could appear particularly offensive. But to all intents and purposes, it gives the user a free rein to post what he/she wants.

It’s started out with some significant names posting clips – Tony Benn and US presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich debating the war in Iraq while Boris Johnson makes his feelings known about Tony Blair’s position in office.  

At the more flippant end of the market, you can log on to watch Big Brother rejects attempt to flog the last vestiges of celebrity from their dead-horse careers and Keith from the Office, sounding particularly bitter, complaining about loan adverts on daytime TV (solution for you Kieth, perhaps working might relieve the problem).

Get arguing.

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