Archive | November, 2010

Who’s Team Kate?

26 Nov

The Royal Wedding, it’s all everyone seems to be talking about at the moment.

I keep hearing echoes of “it’s such a pick up during such harsh economic times.” This is the part which confuses me.

People feel ‘perked’ by watching an extremely lavish wedding when the country is in economic crisis?

With designers dreaming up the extremely lavish dress, it seems more Marie Antoinette OTT than recession chic, and we all know how that one ended.

And please, step forward if your one of those who have been placing bets at the bookies as to which designer will be making the dress (at the moment it’s 2:1 to Bruce Oldfield designing the dress, according to Vogue London on Twitter, not that I care). What’s wrong with good old horse racing or football?

I also find the whole class thing questionable. Some news outlets seem to make Kate out to be Oliver Twists sister, when the truth is far from.

Although I’m pretty certain it won’t be the Middleton’s organising the decor. Intrigued by their party blog, I (shamefully) had a look. The Middleton’s tell you how you can have your own X Factor party, complete with sandwiches shaped like stars, star-shaped straws, star-shaped… everything. Sounds like one of my parties.

It’s times like these all those Royalists come out the wood works. The ones you never expected. The ones who swoon every time the happy couple appear on the television.

TEAM KATE

And where there’s a story, there’s a team. There was Team Cheryl, Team Danny, Team Jordan… now we have Team Kate, which is made up of her ex-flat mate, make up artist, hairdresser, close friend, even closer friend and Camilla (who I happen to have a soft spot for after reading Sue Townsend’s Queen Camilla. Read it, I’m sure you’ll feel the same).

Ok… so I have my mum, Flossie the cat, my five best friends and the person who does my nails… is that Team Catherine? Enough with the Teams! (on that note she also seems to have changed her name to Catherine… apparently Kate wasn’t quite posh enough. That made me feel rather regal!)

So when the Royal Wedding is on I shall turn off the telly and recite Blake’s London… “runs in blood down palace walls.” Dark and a bit strange, I know. Although, I will probably just get drunk with the rest of them.

Including the 100 who are randomly chosen through a golden ticket prize draw from the Sun who get to go to the Royal Wedding. Hilarious! Ordinary folk allowed at the Palace. Ordinary Sun readers at that! Free bar! Kate really is like Oliver Twist.

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Toast to the Revolutionary

26 Nov

My mother bore me in the southern wild,
And I am black, but oh my soul is white!
White as an angel is the English child,
But I am black, as if bereaved of light.

William Blake Pub, Old Street, London. LLEWELLYN 2010

 

When William Blake wrote the revolutionary poem Little Black Boy in 1789, could he ever have imagined that over 300 years later there would be a pub named after him with a black man on the door as the bouncer.

The poem, described as the “finest of the abolishment movement” spoke out against the condemnation of black people in England during his time.

Blake envisioned a time where black people would be accepted as equals; as the poem depicts a mother’s lesson to her son of looking ahead to ‘a world to come’.

Although some may view this as the heavenly reward, I perceived this as a ‘future age’ where colour differences will be thought irrelevant.

END TO SLAVERY

Until the end of the century, Blake was actively involved with the fight to abolish slavery.

‘In the 1780s and 1790s, he believed that the freedom he longed for was actually at hand, but later he was less optimistic. But he never ceased from mental fight against the prevailing ideas of his time’ (Smith, 2002, p.216). 

I wonder how Blake would comment on the abolishment of slavery in 1833. Furthermore, I wonder if he could have ever imagined that one day there would be a black man as the figure of authority on the door of his very own pub.

I obviously felt compelled to toast a drink to the great revolutionary.

Is the EU the Gateway to Prosperity?

26 Nov

 

 

Jenny Kleeman. LLEWELLYN 2010

Unreported World regular Jenny Kleeman visited Westminster on Tuesday to discuss her moving documentary, The Unwanted.

Although I’ve read stories of the horrors migrants have to go through when trying to get into the EU, I wasn’t prepared for some of the scenes.

The person who stood out for me was a young Afghan woman of the same age. She’s “glamorous, elegant, well-turned out.” She longed for an education, and “spoke English so beautifully.” But the Taliban had banned her from reading anything, including the Kuran.

Jenny spoke how dignified the young woman is, and how she offered to show her the temporary accomodation where she was staying. It was completly overcrowded and infested with cockroaches, but this woman still kept an air of dignity.

EXTREME LENGTHS

Jenny came across 25 Afghan people, including toddlers, on the shores of Turkey waiting be given their golden ticket into the EU, by way of a people smuggler and an inflatable dingy.

No one knows how many people make it across that short strech of water, but many bodies are found.

If the migrants are caught, they are kept in a detention centre where they are held in overcrowded cells. The centre is fit to house 300, but has around 1,000 imprisoned, including women and children. The men are beaten and share two bathrooms amongst 100 people.

When the inmates are released, they have 30 days to leave the country, or else face imprisonment.

WAIT YOUR TURN

In this time, the migrants face the excurtiating waiting list of people desperate for an appointment for asylum.

Many wait in the pouring rain for 24 hours at a time, just to be turned away. Seeing the disapointment on the faces of the people who were turned away made my heart sink, but Jenny remained remarkably profesional, who says she “saves it for the hotel room.

She explained her reasons for remaining calm in such situtations, “when journalists cry on camera it’s as if to say ‘oh, look at how upset I am’, like a platform to expose themselves”, taking the attention away from others.

With the UK putting a cap on imigration, I wonder how many of these people are able to seek asylum. With the unclear system of electing people for asylum appointments, many are left vulnerable and alienated.

REMARKABLE

As a budding journalist, many people don’t have time to speak to me when I approach them for interviews.

When walking through Stockton centre for vox pops, people ignore me because they’re busy shopping.

Jenny and her director were driving past a family, and stopped to speak to them. They had been walking for eight hours with their family, including young children, with their only possesions being the babies nappies and clothes in a carrier bag.

They had walked in the excuriating heat, and had come across on a dingy the night before. Yet, they still stopped to speak in a friendly way, even though it was clear that they were physically drained.

“They were incredibly generous and happy to talk”, says Jenny.

When the cameras were off, the family asked for a lift to the ferry. Jenny explained to us how they had to stay neutral, and were unable to give them a lift.

Jenny stays neutral by setting herself an excersise, by asking “what am I going to achieve from today”, and making sure she doesn’t stray.

It’s so sad to think that so many hopeful people see Europe as the “gateway to prosperity”, when in many situations it’s not the case.

Showbiz Update

24 Nov

Image screen shot of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Film

Maybe you could be in for the chance to attend the wedding of the year.

Prince William and Kate Middleton will reportedly invite 100 members of the public to their wedding next year.

According to The Sun, a ‘Golden Ticket’ draw will decide who gets the opportunity to attend the service at Westminster Abbey on 29th April.

The paper reports the exact format of the draw has yet to be confirmed, but winners will also toast the couple at a special reception at Buckingham Palace.

The source likened the draw to winning a Willy Wonka golden ticket.

It’s not every day you get a royal wedding invite through the post! Let’s just hope they don’t get any Gustav Gloop’s eating all that lovely wedding cake.

With Easter the week before and May Day the next Monday, it means Brits will have EIGHT days off in 11.

How will you prepare for the nationwide knee’s up?

***

JLS have revealed their Outta This World tour will be Twilight inspired.

They’re warned that it might be a bit racy with a lot of ripping off of clothes. Raunchy stuff!

***

Rehab-regular Lindsay Lohan has already been threatened with 30 days in prison for every probation violation by Judge Elden Fox, but it appears that she hasn’t heeded that warning – reportedly failing not one, but two random court-ordered drugs tests.

***

We’ll soon hear the tip tapping of tiny feet in the celeb world, Pink is pregnant! There has been lots of speculation in recent weeks, but today on Ellen Pink said, “I’m eating for two these days,” confirming the rumors.

***

Kim Kardashian has proved the celeb lifestyle isn’t all drinking champers and attending fancy award ceremonies. She’s attended the opening of a toilet, cutting the ribbon of the US themed stalls.

I’m imagining Statue of Liberty themed seats-ouch.

Love V Logic

22 Nov

Sex and the City Love Keyring. Image courtesy of utopiabase.com

After watching the first Sex and the City film for the thousandth time, like many girls I was struck by the ‘love over logic’ message.

We all like a happy ending, and what better way to end the film than seeing Carrie and Big embrace in that beautiful apartment (even though we all agreed that we disliked Big).

The line that strikes me is when Carrie says, “It wasn’t logic, it was love.” I remember my maths tutor saying to me whenever I got a question wrong, “good logic, but it isn’t right”.

Should we consider logic when looking for love? Surely, it would be logical to find someone who is able to support you when you need it the most, someone who your family like, shared values, someone who you’ll be able to introduce your friends to…

You’d think so, right?

LOVE ON THE RUN

I was watching last weeks Unreported World on 4od when I came across “Love on the Run”. So many couples risk death, and for their families to turn their backs on them at the very least, for the sake of love.

I watched in horror as the image of a young couple, beaten and hanging, came on the screen. Their family and local authorities had killed the couple, just for falling in love with someone outside of their caste system.

Many couples run away from everything they know, with only the possessions they can carry just so they can be together.

Brave or crazy? Certainly not logical.

ARRANGED MARRIAGES

Many individuals tied to an arrange marriage also turn their back on their cultures own written logic by running away from an arranged marriage with no means to support them.

Maybe their husband was violent, or maybe they just wanted to make the decision themselves.

Regardless, who’s to say it is not right?

I recall a psychology class on love back at college where a study showed that many couples who have arranged marriages end up having a deeper love for each other.

They start off as strangers but learn to compromise, and marriage is more highly regarded than in Western culture.

Also, from seeing how relationships are between people living with friends at university, there is a rather similar correlation. When living with strangers, the bond is often tighter than with chosen friends.

You aren’t afraid to confront strangers if you’re the only one taking the bins out, for example, but with friends it ends up being an underlying niggle.

THE BIG DEBATE

So, my question is, do these arranged marriages last far longer than in Western culture because divorce is frowned upon, or because they really work?

The likelihood is that an arranged marriage would tick all the boxes of my original list, with logic winning the debate.

If this was true, so many people wouldn’t risk their lives for that four letter word.

Couple set up online poll to decide on abortion

20 Nov

For many women who have to go through the traumatic experience of

Mr and Mrs Arnold. Image courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

 abortion, the decision did not come easily.

Some have many nights of mental angst, whilst others are forced into the decision. Regardless, I believe it is a decision that the woman is entitled to.

I understand there are many reasons as to why people have abortions, and believe that extreme pro-life groups should have more empathy for these women going through such a difficult time.

I was horrified watching the “God delusion” on Channel 4 seeing that a member of a pro-life group was glorified for shooting a doctor working in an abortion clinic.

(If you haven’t seen the programme, watch it on 4od.)

Watching British biologist Richard Dawkin interview one of the murderers friends who condoned the shooting sickened me.

INTERNET ABORTION POLL

However, I’m completely and utterly shocked that an American woman and her husband have conducted an online poll asking readers whether they should have an abortion or not, according to the New York Daily News.

Usually online polls tackle issues such as “do you like Jennifer Lopez’s dress?” or “what is your favourite mid day snack”, but this couple are deciding on the birth of their child over a poll.

Much in the same way Jordan aka Katie Price decided whether to get breast enlargements through a poll in The Sun, (The readers said no, she did it anyway).

At the time of publishing, over 104,000 say the couple should give birth while 25,207 say they should terminate the pregnancy.

LEAVING IT UP TO THE READERS

The father of the unborn child, Mr Arnold, told New York Daily News,

“We are taking this very seriously. It’s definitely not a pro-life campaign, we believe in a woman’s right to choose — if it’s overwhelming one way or the other, that will carry a lot more weight.”

Watching Mrs Arnold speak on ABC News, she says that she wishes other people have a say in the decision. Surely this decision should be made by the couple, who discuss it between themselves?

These people are doing this seriously, although I must question whether they are trying to shock pro-life groups, who have rightly described the website as “spine chilling”.

INTERNET MISUSE

I believe the Internet, when not used incorrectly, can attract all the wrong kinds of people. This abortion poll is a classic example. It’s an outlet for people’s warped thoughts and ideas.

The genius Edgar Allan Poe is widely thought to have been a paedophile. Imagine if he had been let loose on the net… Rather than being remembered for The Raven he would have been remembered for his interaction with paedophile circles and such like.

Rather than making the decision of whether to keep their baby, the Arnold’s are using the Internet as an outlet for their disgusting behaviour.

“Free Rent For Rubbing”

20 Nov

When looking for short-term accommodation, many of us turn to Gumtree which has litrally everything you need from housing to jobs.

Image courtesy of the BBC

 And more.

Imagine a young students excitement at finding accommodation in the heart of London for £10 a month. £10!! Surely it would be a rat infested hole? Yet the images look nice, with plush furniture and an ideal setting.

So, what’s the catch? The flat is yours if your willing to do a couple of ‘favours’ for the wealthy landlord. And when I say ‘favours’ I don’t mean walking his dogs.

You may assume its prostitutes going for this kind of deal, but it happens to be poor students who are desperate to go to university but have no way to pay their fees.

“FREE RENT FOR RUBBING”

A Sidney landlord posted a “serious” advertisement on the website back in 2009 causing controversy as he offered free rent in exchange for “a lot of rubbing”. (cited from MSN News)

Here is how his price list appeared:

  • No rubbing but cleaning, cooking and shopping: $100 per week
  • No rubbing, but either cleaning cooking or shopping: $150 per week
  • No rubbing, cleaning, cooking or shopping: $200 per week

What an amazing deal! What’s more, all bills were included, minus “oils”.

Gumtree only took down the ad when it caused media attention. Would they have left it up there if it hadn’t caused such uproar?

IF IT’S NOT SEX, IT’S A SCAM

Whilst searching for accommodation during the summer, I stumbled across a wonderful deal. £55 a week in a nice part of Leeds, all bills included.

Initially, I assumed someone must have died there. However, the landlord seemed really friendly, and understandably urging in his manner to rent out the property.

He claimed to be living in Ireland, and was therefore unable to come and show us round the house, but said that his “lawyer” would show us around.

His replies were instant, and before long he became more and more urgent, trying to get us to pay through a number over the phone. Other landlords tend to go through an estate agents, and I was used to paying through a course of cheques or direct debit so this seemed very strange.

Out of curiously we rang the number, and eventually realised that the whole thing was a scam. He was basically asking for us to transfer money directly into his account in Ireland.

Fortunately the lady we got through to in the bank said she had recognised the case, however many naive people may fall victim to it.

 Particularly people renting property for the first time or immigrants who may not understand the correct way of renting property.

NOW FOR MY FINAL THOUGHT

Basically, when looking for somewhere to live use your common sence, no matter how much someone asks don’t give in to a cheap deal in exchange for rubbing and go through an estate agents.

The Perils of Journalism: Kidnap, Disease, Dehydration

16 Nov

Eamonn Matthews. LLEWELLYN 2010

BAFTA Award winner and the man behind Dispatches and Unreported World visited Westminster today to discuss his pursuit for truthfulness.

Eamonn Matthews, director of Quiksilver, described some of his most remarkable achievements including reporting on Newsnight on the outbreak of the Gulf War and his involvement in the remarkable ‘Terror in Mumbai’.

THE DOCUMENTARY CAKE

Eamonn told us the four main ingredients for a good documentary: Characters, secret filming, narrative and images.

Above all, a journalist has a “duty to tell the truth” and be “really interesting in humans”.

“Give people who are accused of things the chance to stand up for themselves.”

WHAT GETS COMMISSIONED

In such competitive times, we have to have brilliant ideas to impress. “Good ideas” seem to be the golden ticket, so to speak. ‘Terror In Mumbai’ offered all the four main ingredients.

The Dispatches episode, which won the BAFTA award for Current Affairs had the scoop on interrogation videos, interviews with victims and murderers, and presented a story which was relevant; terrorism.

The episode showed the 10 gunmen who were commissioned to enforce a bloody attack on innocent people in Mumbai for the sake of extremism.

We are able to see the tapes of the gunman speaking to his master, asking what to say to the press.

“Say this is just the trailer, the film is yet to come”, the voice hauntingly replied.

Eamonn revealed how the team were able to get their hands on the tapes, “we got the tapes through straight forward journalism, nothing mysterious about it”.

THE DANGERS

Whilst the job is clearly rewarding, Eamonn matter of factly described the downfalls.

“The thing that kills journalists is car crashes! They could be running for a scoop on a bumpy African road and WHAM!

“Disease… dehydration… Kidnapping’s a big problem. Journalists are a target”.

Eamonn added, “Most reporters are robust but it can get you down. It goes with the job”.

He modestly compared it with a doctor’s job, describing how much strain they go through without complaining.

“An aeroplane set off today and landed safely”, just wouldn’t make the news.

Above all, journalists shouldn’t be propagandists, “we leave that up to the Government PR department”, said Eamonn.

“We are not interested in the pornography of violence. We are here to make the world a better place by delivering the truth.”

THE BEAUTY OF TELEVISION

“Television can take you to a place and make you feel as though your there”, said Eamonn.

Eamonn said, “for television, you need to have the x ingredient. Some people have it, some people don’t'”. He most definitely has it.

As other guest speakers have confirmed, Eamonn repeated those dreaded words, “the industry is in recession. There are very few jobs out there.”

 His final thought for budding journalists: Whatever you do, do it brilliantly!

Modern Day Frank Abagnale

16 Nov

He conned three national newspapers out of hundreds of thousands of

Image sourced from hollywoodjesus.com Leonardo Di Caprio as Frank Abagnale

pounds. He used his mother’s inheritance money to buy state of the art computer equipment and a library of fraud books.

He fantasised about Catch Me If You Can’s Frank Abagnale. He lived an extravagant lifestyle, chauffer driven everywhere. He had a string of offices which he would abandon as soon as the bailifs arrived. All before the age of 15.

Although the bogus newspaper advert came out in 2005, The Telegraph is obviously still very bitter about the fact that a boy tainted their ‘trustworthy’ status.

THE POWER OF ADVERTISING

On a visit to The Telegraph headquaters yesterday, Seamus Mulvihill, compliance officer, gave a talk on the power of advertising in the newspaper.

Asking us to guess how much of the paper is adverts, people shouted out, “30%” and “20%”, the reality being a whopping 68%. The adverts don’t come cheap, with a one page ad amounting to £55, 000.

When the young man placed the advert selling Dyson hovers for £99, hundreds of readers replied sending cheques and bank account details.  

When the goods didn’t arrive, he would string them along, offering a refund in 120 days if the products still failed to show up. “He even answered critics in the chatrooms and posed as satisfied customers”.  (The Independant)

The Independant online, who were also affected, petitioned a ‘Crime Watch’ style call out to all those conned.

“When the boy was sentenced the judge said, ‘Young man, you are going to go far in life but you need a little guidance'”, according to Seamus.

A Nation Of Angry Women

12 Nov

Still aggravated regarding issues stated in my last post, I have a new

Image courtesy of democracyforum.co.uk

issue to debate/rant about.

The number of members in the racial hatred group on Facebook triggered by today’s poppy incident has now risen to 158, 763 and there is one thing which I, perhaps wrongly, find most alarming: The amount of women.

I may be totally contradicting my previous posts. I praise gender equality in all forms, yet feel more disturbed by the extremely aggressive attacks against Muslims from women in the group than the men.

A glamorous picture of a girl appears on the group alongside her brutal attack, “cover yourself in petrol and lie in fire”. She has continued to attack opposers of the group, using the ‘c’ word (sooo unladylike), and targeting people’s looks.

I had the same feeling when I went to an EDL demo in Bolton, obviously on the opposing side. The mass of hooligan men was broken by the odd female, and I strangely felt more loathing for her than the men. They were a sea of skin heads, but her disgusting smirk stood out. The image is of one girl I saw at the demo, to put it politely she literally made me feel sick.

WHY IT’S WORSE FOR A WOMAN

Why? I can’t even answer myself. It’s the same as when we hear about female paedophiles or women who kill children. Women are classically nurturing, comforting, soft… when we are confronted with this band of ‘evil’ women we are disturbed. 

Perhaps, as a very feminine woman I feel that I am able to relate with other women, therefore feel utterly thrown when there is such a ‘flaw’ in the make up, as these women have shown.

ONE RULE FOR HER, ONE FOR HIM

On another note I feel completely different when it comes to female cheaters. The recent uproar over the love rats on the England squad was mainly due to the effect it had on the team’s performance at the World Cup.

Wayne Rooney had an affair numerous times whilst his wife was pregnant. People didn’t really care. When (then) single Sienna Miller dated married Balthazar she got completely and utterly slated, with lunatics going as far as writing “slag” on her wall.

Why didn’t people do this to Wayne? This treatment of gender is utterly unfair, and maybe I have displayed it in my initial discussion. I’m not condoning what Sienna did but the hatred displayed towards her by the press was ludicrous.