Sep 11, 2016 - Communication    No Comments

Not waving but drowning

Not Waving but Drowning by Stevie Smith is a poem that reveals a deep undiscovered sadness that has been trapped within the narrator. The poem articulates the story of a drowning man perceived to be waving instead of struggling. This metaphor shows how the narrator has been struggling internally but an outward facing facade has stopped anyone from being able to see that and from being able to help. “Nobody heard him” shows how the narrator’s issues were not being seen while “he always loved larking” depicts the cheerful facade that they have maintained over time.

The poem is divided into three stanzas of four lines; this structure supports the meaning of the poem as the first and last stanzas provide the stark reality contrasting to the falseness of the facade which is portrayed in the middle stanza. The majority of the poem is written in the third person but the third and fourth lines of the first and last stanzas are in the first person. This helps further develop the contrast between the outward happiness and the internal sadness. These lines are also repetitive, reinforcing the mantra like phrase “Not waving but drowning” which in itself is a beautiful depiction of how the narrators panic and struggle can and has been completely misread and how help was seemingly inaccessible to them.

Stevie Smith’s language also supports the message the poem is conveying; describing the narrator as “Poor chap” shows the lightness with which these difficult emotions or issues may have been received by others. “But still he lay moaning” also presents an interesting idea of how the “dead man” is still experiencing that same pain in the extreme despite feeling totally lifeless.

This poem is particularly pertinent at this current time because of the fact that suicide is the leading killer of young men in the UK. Men can often live with struggles but due to encouraged gender stereotypes reinforced in all areas of our society, they are effectively taught to hide negative and difficult emotions because showing them is not considered ‘manly’. These issues of course also affect women dramatically as displays of so called ‘negative’ emotions are considered to be so weak that people train themselves to not cry for example. Stevie Smith’s poem shows just how destructive these attitudes can be and how someone can hold all of these things and not express them and then not know how to access help in times of need leading to many people in our society not waving but drowning.

Jun 11, 2016 - Communication    No Comments

More Statistical Analysis

I’m uploading this on here to prove that this is my work.

 

Shots to Con rate - Prem strikers

It’s probably more easy to see if you click this link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzUg8HZ047GiN3V2ZkpkV194UjQ/view?usp=sharing

Jack Elderton

Apr 25, 2016 - Communication    No Comments

When I go too far with stats…

I’ve been using an algorithm (that I worked out myself) to give each player a points total after every premier league match that then adds to their total for the season. After releasing that I forgot to add the date to my last update to the player league table I have realised I’m going to have to start from scratch… If at all… Would have made for a really good article too!! Hey ho, here’s Leicester’s that I re-did today if it’s even a tiny bit interesting.

After 35 games:

Mahrez – 187.5

Schmeichel – 142

Vardy – 128

Kante – 127

Fuchs – 119

Huth – 118

Morgan – 114

Drinkwater – 112

Simpson – 87

Albrighton – 85

Okazaki – 60.5

Ulloa – 48

Schlupp – 39

King – 36.5

De Laet – 25.5 (out on loan at Middlesbrough)

Dyer – 18.5

Gray – 16

Amartey – 12

Inler – 8

Benalouane – 1 (out on loan at Fiorentina)

Kramaric – 1 (out on loan at Hoffenheim)

Dodoo – 0.5

Wasilewski – 0.5

Apr 11, 2016 - Communication    4 Comments

The complexities of gender

Since the turn of the century gay rights have made significant advances and with gay marriage now legal in the UK and Ireland LGBT activists can be happy with the progress made over the last 16 years. However, LGBT is much more complex than it’s four letters suggest. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender as an acronym has been expanding and more tags are being added with some people preferring to use the acronym LGBTQIA which adds the terms queer, intersex and asexual. As the size of the LGBT or LGBTQIA movement expands surely more and more people are going to look at the acronym and be dissatisfied that the letter they identify with is not there. We have to take a step back from this and realise that sexuality is a spectrum and therefore we’re all on the LGBT spectrum somewhere, as humans we are sexually attracted and romantically attracted to all sorts of different people; you might approach someone and get the response ‘You’re simply not my type’. Well, surely we’re not going to add everyone’s type onto the acronym to denote everyone’s sexuality as just as important as the next person.

Sexuality is a spectrum that encompasses everyone and as time passes people seem to becoming more conscious of this and specifically within the urban youth of Britain, the perception of sexuality is beginning to change. It is not simply heterosexuals and the gay community. I think it’s time that we applied the same ideas to gender. In the same way that sexuality is a spectrum with different recognised points all along, I believe that gender is the same and I think it’s incredibly important that we begin to realise and accept this.

In the world today, it is widely recognised that a person could be male, female or transgender/transsexual. Transgender is understood to be a person who has transitioned or is transitioning in some way from male to female or the inverse. This understanding of gender is far too polarised and there are huge amounts of stereotypes that are associated with being male or female. This leaves someone who is transgender as generally not being understood or connected with unless they live up to the stereotypes of the gender that they are transitioning to. This is simply taking someone out of one box of stereotypical expectations in which they don’t feel comfortable and placing them into another that might be more comfortable but likely still isn’t quite right for everyone.

The only thing showing any recognition of a gender spectrum is gender fluidity or neutrality but at this particular moment in time it is still largely an unknown and seems to be mainly unheard of unless you are familiar with ‘Orange Is The New Black’ star Ruby Rose who is confident enough to stand in the public eye identifying as gender fluid and therefore not defining herself as male or female.

Gender is impossibly riddled with male or female stereotypes and if you cross those stereotypes that instantly arouses suspicions that you may be LGBT. A boy who likes to dance; need more be said? It cannot continue to be as polarised as this and we have to start teaching people that as they grow up they do not have to fulfil the stereotypes of their assigned gender and that they can be themselves and that doesn’t make them any less of a man or any less of a woman.

 

Mar 30, 2016 - Communication    1 Comment

Obnoxious unconsciousness

I close the door behind me and instantly turn the music up on my phone by at least three clicks. I can’t hear anything else other than the warm embrace of Ellie Rowsell’s voice and the corridor spins around me as I pirouette my way to the lifts. A quick check to see if anyone else is coming and then the air drumming or air guitarring begins accompanied with whispered lyrics. I hop out of the building and make my way quickly down the South Bank towards Waterloo Bridge. It’s getting late so the people aren’t so clearly defined and they seem to just merge into groups of movement in my eyes. The wind is frustratingly cold and my hair whips around my face; I keep pushing it out of my eyes until I eventually realise it’s pointlessness.

Drums echo through my head as the water laps against the walls and I break out into a sprint as the chorus arrives. Two steps at a time I climb onto the bridge but no bus awaits me. The boredom etched upon the faces of those others waiting to travel into South London inspires me only to enjoy myself more. And I dance in what would be considered understated for a party but what is considered to be obnoxiously loud for the bus stop at 8pm. My foot taps along to the speed of the music and as each bus passes I avoid frustration simply enjoying the fact that I’ll be able to get through more of this album on the way. Eventually a 59 glides across the bridge and stops. I get on and look down the lower deck of the bus; if one of the seats nearest to the middle doors was vacated I would sit down but they rarely are. Instead I stand in the multipurpose wheelchair, old person or small person space and continue to sway with each passing bar of music. Though each of my movements are more muted now due to the confined space and the fact that I am forcibly subjecting others to my apparently obnoxious detachment to happiness.

As we pass through Camberwell the greyness blurs passed the windows and I relax into the music. Barely conscious of who and what is around me, I only just notice the woman with the buggy getting on but I do sidle over in time. The sigh of “Poor woman, having a teenager in her way” is almost audible throughout the bus but I’m used to feeling like an unhappy inconvenience wherever I go.

Anyway, it’s my stop now so I get off and run down Brixton Road trying to beat the bus to my turning but never daring to run out of time with the music – each step is mirrored by Joel’s snare or bass drum. The bus beat me this time; I had got to the mellower part of the album anyway. Turning onto Mostyn Road in the dark the unknown seems to surround me and cloak me as I wander into an area I am far less familiar with. Feeling like there is some sort of oozing black fear washing up the street behind me at quite a rate, I walk faster, daring to step out of time with Joel’s drums and rushing to the end of the road. Although once I turn off, that fear seems to fade away and I encounter this sense of the sun on my back in spring even though it’s a cold night in February. I’m almost there. My pirouettes return as I countdown the streets till I arrive and suddenly I can’t hear anything anymore; it’s just me and Ellie. One more street.

I pull my earphones out and plunge myself back into the real world, the wind is actually quite biting tonight but her yellow door appears and I tell myself not to smile.

Jan 19, 2016 - Creative Writing    No Comments

Drift

Sat at a grey desk in a grey room with the mundane world of secondary school spinning around me, someone else raises their hand to ask a snarky question. It’s funny really, the contrast. Pens scribbling, people talking, pages turning, a dull explanation from an unconscious teacher. I finally raise my hand.

The room begins to spin faster than usual as attention falls on me. My heart sinks and my stomach lurches but it’s okay because they can’t see me.

I have to go.

A patronisingly sympathetic look and a muted nod later and I’m on my feet. I reach down and hoist my bag onto my shoulder feeling only the weight of it as my arm hangs by my side, devoid of energy.

As I move towards the door, I can feel the unspoken confusion wash over the room. Sensing that, I move faster and my vision blurs around the edges, turning a murky purple in colour. The fascinatingly blissful solitude that follows pulling the door shut behind me is initially relieving, even comforting. Well, until I have to think again…

Footsteps always have to be loud when you least want them to be and as I tread on the bumpy blue floor the noise seems to reverberate through the entire building. One day I’ll find a way to just silently drift through these corridors.

Dec 21, 2015 - Communication    No Comments

Toothless and negative but a draw isn’t all that bad.

*Here’s another of my WHTID articles*

 

In the last three games against Manchester United, Stoke and Swansea we haven’t conceded a single goal yet we haven’t scored one either and our style of play has been considerably more negative, this was especially notable in the Swansea game just played. However, this is not a time to be panicking about squad depth and our ability to function without our best players; we aren’t losing.

Let me take you back to this month two seasons ago; in December 2013, we managed no wins, 2 draws and  4 losses in our Premier League fixtures. Granted, we had tough opposition, losing to Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool but we were losing games and our defence was far from solid. There’s only one clean sheet in there, against Sunderland. And then, this time last year, where we had a similar start to the season, come December, we picked up 2 wins, 1 draw and 3 losses, again with one clean sheet. This season, we have 3 draws from 3 games and perhaps most importantly 3 clean sheets.

As far as I can recall, in neither of the two previous years were we dealing with an injury crisis, yet we didn’t manage to perform to a high level around Christmas time. This season however, we are dealing with injuries to our key playmakers and goal-scorers, Payet, Lanzini, Moses and Sakho. We’re also missing our best performing defender this season so far, Winston Reid. We lost Carroll for the yesterday’s trip to Swansea and we’re only just seeing the return of Enner Valencia and Alex Song from injury. I think it’s safe to say that this has definitely been an injury crisis.

I actually believe that these last three uninteresting draws speak volumes of our squad depth this year. Despite missing six or seven key players all at once, we’re grinding out points against tough opposition. Manchester United, although struggling somewhat for form at the moment, are an incredibly strong side with a number of world class players in their squad. I was there at Old Trafford and can honestly say that we were unfortunate not to return to London with all three points; that is an achievement in itself. We then faced a Stoke side on the up after a very impressive attacking victory against Manchester City and stopped them from scoring. Jack Butland was man of the match, that seems to suggest we played pretty well. Then Swansea, a side looking to bounce back after a poor run of games and the sacking of Garry Monk. It’s never easy to play a club just after the sacking of a manager with players playing for their place yet we managed to defend resolutely and come away with a very valuable point.

So, I am in fact very positive about the last three goalless draws. I think we can take many positives from each of them such as the strength of our defence, the fact that Song is beginning to look steady in that deep lying midfield role and the excitement of Michail Antonio rising to the challenge of Premier League football and showing not only that he is a hard-worker and someone who plays for the team, not just for himself, but also that he can show flashes of the quality necessary to tear Premier League full-backs apart.

What we are lacking at the moment is end product, and this is of course due to the injuries to our players that provide this for us, but I would say that the performance of Jelavic today seems to show that we may be a little light up top and could do with someone who can replicate the job of Diafra Sakho; a hard-worker with good interplay who can be hit as a target man but also has the pace to get in behind and at the end of it all has a good finish. That’s admittedly not easy to find, not for a small amount of cash anyway.

I know that the board aren’t intent on doing much business in January but it would be nice to see them look hard at a few centre forward options and perhaps begin the hunt for a top right-back if it hasn’t already begun. Jenkinson can offer us attacking quality and Tomkins can offer us defensive quality but neither can offer us both, we need someone that can provide this for us. On the evidence of yesterday’s performance, Collins has certainly still got it so it would be nice to see him retained through the window and it might be clever just to make sure of that Lanzini deal while we can, he’s someone we definitely want to keep.

Don’t begin to grumble too much just yet, we might not be playing the most scintillating football but we’re getting points on the board and the return dates of our key players just keep getting closer.

Nov 2, 2015 - Communication    3 Comments

A first draft which is admittedly completely disorganised.

So far this season West Ham have taken the big sides by storm with four wins from four against Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea but they’ve also had some confusing losses to the likes of newly promoted sides Bournemouth and Watford. Not to belittle the performances of either side on the day but in the 4-3 loss to Bournemouth and the 2-0 loss to Watford, West Ham didn’t perform to half that of the standard that they have performed in some of their astounding victories this season. A lot of the goals conceded in these games were down to individual errors in key areas from an assortment of players; Cresswell, Jenkinson, Tomkins and Carroll are all culpable. However, against Watford, despite both goals coming as a direct result of a mistake, the team just wasn’t quite at the races. This is because Diafra Sakho wasn’t leading the line and £12.25m 2013 signing Andy Carroll was.

Andy Carroll is a very capable player and with the ball in the air, there are fewer better players in the Premier League and maybe even in the world but this is simultaneously his downfall in the case of West Ham United under Slaven Bilic. The team that has been performing so well in big matches has seen a vast majority of the goals scored come from midfield and this does not mean that Sakho, who has lead the line for most of the season so far, has not been performing quite as well, in fact, it means the opposite. Sakho’s pace and constant high work-rate means defenders always have to be on the half-turn and dropping in behind to keep Sakho under wraps; this then creates the space for West Ham’s creative and skillful players such as Payet, Lanzini and Moses to maneuver in front of the defense and create goal-scoring opportunities. On the other hand, Andy Carroll simply does not offer the same thing to the game. Carroll’s style is more to have his back to the defenders and be a target man for long balls up from defense for him to knock back or flick on. This means that defenders always know where he is and the space that Sakho would usually be creating between the oppositions’ defense and midfield is not being created and therefore, there is no room for West Ham’s midfield maestros to work their magic.

In order for West Ham to successfully utilise Carroll’s abilities at no.9, they must completely reform their system to work for Carroll. They must play to his strengths and play a 4-2-2 formation with a wide diamond so that he can flick it on to a supporting striker like Valencia or so that the ball can be pumped down the wings and crossed in for him. The other option is to  play a 4-5-1/4-3-3 where the entire aim is to get as many crosses in as possible. Using him in the 4-2-3-1 high-tempo, counter-attacking system that has worked so well this season will not work.

In my opinion, Andy Carroll should be used as an impact substitute, an option to bring on when we cannot break through using our primary system. The other side of the coin is of course that he is a big money player on big wages, somewhere in the region of £100,000 a week, and that’s no money to pay someone to sit on the bench. However, the simple facts that Diafra Sakho has been part of a side that had only lost 2 games from 10 and that he was integral to the system that brought impressive wins against many of the Premier League’s big hitters solely outweigh anything that Andy Carroll can bring to the side.

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