Friday, 11 February 2011

A bit of progress in Leeds!

Firstly, I'd like to point out that the above picture has no relevance to anything whatsoever, it is merely my first attempt at messing around with Photoshop, I took neither picture, the shark is a Lemon Shark and the background is Manchester and I am trying to get better on Photoshop so as to be able to start crafting some promo material for "From the Office to the Ocean."

OK so now that's cleared up, I wanted to bring this to your attention. I have been on Red Chilli's case about their inclusion of shark fin soup for a couple of years now and it's good to see the local newspaper finally covering the story. Leeds as a city has a large Chinese community and a high number of Chinese restaurants and supermarkets and although there has been success in regards to Maxi's removing it from their menu, thanks to the efforts of Hamish's fiancee, Dani and the group of kids she taught at school, the other restaurants have somewhat dug their heels in and refused to discuss the matter in any detail.

Throughout the last two years I have tried to get the local press to pay attention, even building it into my website but unfortunately, this side of things has been neglected since focusing all my efforts on the first film, so it is with great admiration that I say a richly deserved "well done" to Duncan Carson and Stop Shark Finning for focusing a great deal of time and effort building a list of offending outlets in towns up and down Great Britain and making as much noise about it as possible. I have spoken with Duncan numerous times in the past about the best course of action for encouraging restaurants to remove shark fin from the menu and it is nice to see a bit of progress.

I am a firm believer that the best approach is to educate and inspire, let people know the facts, show some passion and allow them to decide for themselves that they want to care. A quick note to those who use various social media tools to make demands of people to get them to become involved in conservation, telling people not to do something doesn't work, patronising people doesn't work, distorting the facts doesn't work, constant nagging doesn't work and accusatory condescending to people certainly doesn't work. 

A good example, my best mate Andy took his lovely girlfriend Elena out on Sunday to celebrate her birthday (happy birthday Elena) and had planned to eat at the Red Chilli restaurant in Leeds. They ordered drinks and whilst waiting to be seated, noticed shark fin on the menu. Through their own choice they informed the manager they wouldn't be eating there because of it, finished their drinks and left to get an Italian instead. I was waiting at his house when they returned and they told me what they'd done and the important thing is that they felt good about it, that's the important thing, they hadn't changed the world over night but they made their own stand and knew it was the right thing to do. I never nag my friends and acquaintances about it but they know how I feel, I allow them to make up their own minds and invariably, this means they too make the same stand made by Andy and Elena. From small acorns, great oak trees grow...

Wow! Check this out, as posted by Mike and taken by a photographer called Vitaly Sokol, what an amazing photo! The composition is amazing and I love how the sea bird is incorporated, I'm hoping it's not too long when I'm out there myself trying my absolute best to try and get photos half as good as this!

As for the film, I'm still waiting on some progress reports, sleep is at a premium due to my brain constantly firing off new ideas and various ifs and buts but hopefully I'll have more info for you soon, everyday is a day closer to going into production and last week I had a brilliant meeting with Liam at Banter Media in regards to various post production things and music. Keep watching this space!


Anonymous said...

As you say...from small acorns. Fab little story!

A bit of a turnaround for Tesco these last two weeks too selling pole and line caught tuna after the exposure from Channel 4's fish fight.

I actually wrote to the BBC Olive magazine as in their December (I think) issue they did a feature on good places to eat for £25 and featured Red Chilli in Manchester. I was pretty disgusted to say the least.
I was surprised to get a reply back within 3 days apologising about their research and they usually only feature food and restaurants from ethical sources etc etc.
As I is little acorns but let's continue on!!!

OfficetoOcean said...

Tesco really are the devil at the moment, gobbling up every independent family owned store they can then building another giant monstrosity in the heart of communities and pillaging what they can :(

Great comment by the way and I'm glad you share my views, every journey starts with one small step and letting these organisations know we, the consumer, don't agree with their practices is as good a start as any.

Thanks again!