LANCE THE BOIL | While the media is piling on disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, disgruntled reader D.B. tells P&J that he sees things quite differently. A Tour de France fan who is no great fan of France, our friend believes Armstrong simply thrashed the Eurotrash at their own game — doping and getting away with it, at least until now. Employing Crocodile Dundee reasoning ("You think that's a knife? This is a knife!"), he says Armstrong should be considered a hero — the embodiment of cheating at its All-American best.


From the January 13 edition of the British magazine Private Eye, comes word of another "Phoenix" rising at the University of Glamorgan in Wales:

"When students at the University of Glamorgan launched an independent newspaper, the Phoenix, the university was happy to champion it on its website, no doubt in the hope of enticing new students to several journalism courses.

"However, the university management (unlike the lecturers) hadn't counted on the students at the Phoenix actually acting like journalists and covering stories. The inaugural edition published a bread and butter piece about the university missing out on millions of pounds of fees after it failed to attract as many new students as it had expected. The young hacks also threw a couple of awkward questions in the direction of the PR department.

"Furious bosses told the students they could face 'disciplinary action' if they printed stories that 'damage (or potentially damage) the university's reputation.'

"Phoenix editor Ellen Coyne said she felt the stories were being regarded as 'some kind of bizarre treason.' So much for the claim in the university prospectus that 'the journalist's job is to act as the eyes and ears of the public.' Evidently they can watch or listen, so long as they don't see or hear anything important."


On Monday, Jorge went to Connecticut to see old friend Bill Flanagan. If you're an old Vo Dilunduh, you'll remember Bill as one of the music writers at the forerunner of the Providence Phoenix, the NewPaper. If you really know your stuff, you know that his father was the founder of CCRI, for whom the Lincoln campus is named.

If you don't have deep Rhody roots, perhaps you know Bill's music essays on CBS' Sunday Morning. Or maybe you know his work as editorial director for MTV Networks, where he has created some of the best programming on those channels (read: not Jersey Shore).

In his "spare time," Bill has worked with his pal Elvis Costello on the musician's Sundance Channel show, Spectacle, produced or co-produced a wide range of music specials (i.e., the Concert for New York City after the 9/11 attacks), and written a bunch of books, including three novels. P&J would recommend all of Bill's books, but we are particularly fond of Written In My Soul (1986), featuring in-depth interviews with some of the world's best songwriters, and his most recent novel, Evening's Empire (2010), which was excerpted here in the Phoenix.

All of this, and much more, explains why last Friday Bill was announced as one of the new inductees into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame at a press conference at Hope Artiste Village. But more on that later.

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