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ABOUT RIODROME

"The tasks of the revolutionary cultural worker are essentially threefold. First, to participate in the production of works... conducive to the victory of socialism. Second, to espose the rhetorical structures by which non-socialist works produce politically undesirable effects... Third, to interpret such works, where possible, against the grain so as to appropriate from them whatever may be valuable for socialism... Such activity may from time time include such things as encouraging the production of works with no overt political content whatsoever, & arguing for the ‘greatness’, 'truth' & profoundly moving’, ‘joyful’, 'wonderful' qualities of particular works"
(Terry Eagleton: Walter Benjamin, or Towards a Revolutionary Criticism)


Riodrome is a spin-off from Film Studies & Media Studies courses at Bridgwater College in Somerset, but it should probably be emphasised that it has no formal or legal connection with the college. In fact, I retired from full-time teaching at the college in August 2012, but I’m planning to keep Riodrome going anyway. The name comes from the Film Studies classroom, which for a long time was number R10 & popularly known as 'Rio', & 'drome' meaning "big place", as in 'aerodrome'. It has no connection, sadly, with Rio in Brazil & or the Rio suburb of Drome. It also has no connection with the cinema in the photo above which, to be honest, is only here as random wacky decoration. Both “Rio” & “drome” do, though, have a long & interesting association with film -which we’ll come to in a minute.


As must be painfully obvious, I know nothing at all about website design. Riodrome was built using Rapidweaver, a simple, idiot-proof application based on pre-designed templates. I defiantly removed all the template detail, aiming to avoid generic tackiness in favour of an interestingly enigmatic minimalism -unfortunately it’s ended up just looking a bit weird & amateurish. Riodrome is “hosted” by a company inventively named “I Need Web-Hosting”, with all the downloadable files stored on Dropbox.

Apart from this “About” page, Riodrome has two sections. The sporadic “Blog” is for news & information etc with a short life. The “Contents List” leads to separate pages on individual films etc listing a vast amount of fascinating & useful material. On these pages, clicking on the O will take you to the original online source, if there is one, & clicking on the D will allow you to download an edited version with all the website clutter removed -this will be better to save, print or copy quotes from etc. Unlike everything else online, apart from blog posts, Riodrome doesn’t have links in colour or underlined -just these O & Ds, & the little triangle arrows which take you to to a different page.

Most of the material on Riodrome comes from other websites or from books & magazines etc -with their sources fully acknowledged. Given that Riodrome will probably never have more than a few dozen users, I’ve assumed that if the original writers ever find out they won’t mind their work being put to good use in this way. Obviously, if anyone ever does object, I’ll be deeply embarrassed & sincerely apologetic.

Everything here is reasonably substantial &, I think, interesting & helpful in some way. There is some popular journalism etc but most of it is academic writing, mainly at degree level or higher. In most cases, though, I’ve included everything like this that I could find, so it will sometimes be very repetitive to read.

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Riodrome’s predecessor was a series of photocopied booklets on various film & media texts & topics, assembled between 1980 & 2010. The earliest ones contained mainly magazine articles & extracts from books; the later ones, & later versions of the earlier ones, also included material found online. Riodrome was originally intended as a way of archiving these for posterity, but it soon outgrew this & now only contains a few things from the booklets.