Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Week three

Still battling on at First magazine. After an extremely busy and exciting week at the Surrey Mirror, it has been a bit of shock. So far my tasks have been a little on the dull side. I was really looking forward to a week's experience at a celebrity magazine, but I have come to realise that while it's fun to read them from time to time (ok, a lot of the time), living, working and breathing gossip can take its toll. I have generally been doing admin work, press releases and research. I am grateful to have the experience and I understand that everyone has to start at the bottom, but I honestly don't see a lot of what happens here as journalism. Everything revolves around PR. Sadly, I still enjoy reading these kind of magazines, but something tells me I'm not cut out for a career on one of them.
Still, I have managed to use my frustration to do some excellent filing. So it's not all bad.
On a happier note, one of my articles for the Surrey Mirror, made the front page, with my first byline!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Just to say that I'll be there from around 6 tomorrow night. There's a "beat the clock menu" till 6 30 so we have to order by 6.15. If money's no problem then it doesn't matter what time. Looking forward to seeing you all x

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Work experience

So, just finished a week's experience at the Surrey Mirror. To be honest, I really wanted to get this one out of the way to get on to "more exciting" placements at consumer magazines. I was pleasantly surprised.
The first day started off pretty slowly, just flicking through the nationals looking for relevant stories, but by the afternoon, I was out doing the dreaded voxpop. This was really the first time I had done this, so I was pretty nervous. I was assigned to go to the local park with a photographer to speak to people about a proposed exclusion zone. It turned out that as soon as you say you are from the paper, people are more than happy to chat, and I ended up getting some really good stuff and actually enjoying it. Back in the office, I sent them off to the editor and they were published.
I found that the more enthusiasm you have, the more willing people are to take notice and give you other things. Press releases and phone interviews followed and I was finally able to put all that theory into practice.
I really enjoyed my week at the Surrey Mirror and even ended up with a front page splash "local yobs terrorise pensioners in bongo fiasco"! The placement turned out to be a lot of fun and has really made me think that I could happily work for a local paper.
This week I'm at First magazine. So far, it's been pretty slow. The office is pretty big, but because there are two of us on work experience, there's not really enough work to go round. So far, the work has mainly be admin and writing a few problem page entries (oh my god - they make them up?!), but hopefully my constant badgering should pay off soon.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Hello everyone. Hope your work experience is going to plan. I'm going to organise a night out for us all on Friday 25 at Belgos in Covent Garden. It's good food, flavoured beers and its cheaper the earlier you go. How does everyone feel about 6.30. It's just by Neal Street. Can you post me a comment to let me know? Thanks xxx

Office hours

The harsh blocks of buzzing light illuminate the ceiling like a Michael Jackson video. The silence sits on top of a bed of the sound of air conditioning smugly humming. Water bubbles in school canteen jugs with blue lids which laugh at the scratched brown tables. The window frames slit the walls, their hinges jut out like dinosaur heads looking on and cackling at the theatre.
Everyone is suffocated by the low synthetic ceiling and magnolia walls and eagerly watch the red second hand tick by.
Click, click, click, click, click....Rustle, rustle, rustle, rustle.....
Too shy to talk and too scared to whisper, everyone laughs nervously at in-jokes and smirks at one another.
Sniff, sniff.....
The grey machine looks on and winks its green eye at me.
ssssss, sh, sh, sh , sssss...
Black suits and grey, sullen faces. Just children playing grown up.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What's next?

Taking a welcome break from law revision today, I came across this article in the Guardian.
In fact, it's not too far removed from what I'm studying.

BBC2 have decided to commission a program where twelve celebrities sit on a jury to decide the outcome of a "fake" trial involving two footballers who are accused of rape by a girl and her friend. Sound familiar?

I admit that my knowledge of the law is limited, but if there is one thing which sticks in my mind, it is DO NOT INFLUENCE THE JURY. It is contempt of court. What is said between members of the jury must stay confidential. I know that this is "only" entertainment, but I think that it's cutting a bit close to the bone. Add to this some interesting choices for members of the jury, including one of the most famous perjurers in history, Jeffrey Archer, Stan Collymore, best known recently for punching his girlfriend in public and hanging around public toilets. And most alarmingly , Sarah Payne's mother.

Having never sat on a jury myself, I suppose I am not in a position to comment on what goes on, but what I am sure of is that there is a great number of people who watch a lot of TV and are greatly influenced by what they watch there. Will they be negatively (or positively) influenced? Reality TV is entertainment. But at what cost?

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Modest Proposal

Ian McEwan has been accused of plagiarism over his Booker Prize nominated book, Atonement. Perhaps McEwan is aware of two important points. One. Nothing can ever be original. Two. Whatever you write, someone else has probably already done it better.

Plagiarism is not stealing. It would be impossible to think of something completely original. People speak too much. It is far better to be economical with language. There are too many useless words just floating about pointlessly. If we attempt to reuse them more effectively, we can all live in a cleaner, happier, quieter place.

Too much time has been wasted on philosophy and literature. There are much more important things to worry about. Plagirism helps us to use our time more effectively. If, for example, we spent less time thinking about poverty and more time actually doing something about it, perhaps there would be no more poverty.

If everyone just copied what someone else had already said, time could be spent much more wisely. Instead of making students think for exams, universities should permit plagiarism so that everyone gets good marks. Universities would go up in the league tables and students could actually get jobs and earn some money doing something useful.

There are too many ignorant people in the world already. If everyone just copied what more intelligent people had already spent years thinking about, the world would be a much better place.

McEwan is obviously not intelligent enough to write something original and so has wisely stuck to plagiarism.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Train journey

Condensation drips down the scratched windows of the warm train as passengers struggle to keep their eyes open. An old man, dressed in beige pulls his bright red anorak tightly as the train doors whoosh open and the draft is sucked in. He is holding a woman’s hand tightly. She wears a smart, straight chocolate coat and sits up tidily. They sit in comfortable silence. As she draws her hand away, his stays locked, claw-like in the same position.

“’Ave we got all the Christmas presents nahw?” she asks, half looking out the window at the graffitied factories and rows of identical houses. Then they go back to silence.


The passengers are made to dance as the train plays the tracks like a thudding xylophone. As it comes into the station, the man looks up sharply, coughs and wipes his nose.

“Wos that…”

A passenger’s ipod blares out a high-pitched racket. They both look round.

"Just gimme the light"

“ ‘is ipod. Bop, bop, bop in ‘is ear”

Turning round again, they talk in hushed tones.


The train drowns them out as it powers on to its destination past barbed wire and dreary factories.

The woman begins to look tired and grey except for the shiny buckles on her shoes and the gold clip in her hair. She blinks heavily, succumbing to the cozy warmth and steady rocking of the train. The man’s hand rests in place, waiting for hers to return as his eyes glaze over. His lips are pursed in a half-smile+ All that can be heard now is the munch, munch of someone eating a sandwich and the whizzing as a train passes swiftly by.