Sep 25, 2015 - Communication    No Comments

An interesting short story I was writing.

I’ve never been this late before, the traffic was crawling down the road like an over-sized, smog spluttering caterpillar. The young man next to me was immaculately dressed,  his shirt and trousers carefully ironed. He probably had a job interview or something because he was rubbing his fingers into his hand which was far too sweaty for early May.

We still weren’t getting anywhere, maybe the caterpillar was dying. The young man picked up his satchel and walked to the front of the bus, obviously in an attempt to get the bus driver to let him off. After a short interaction there was a pause for what I suspect was a long sigh before the sound of releasing pressure as the doors opened.

Fascinated with the young man, I watched him hop off the bus and dart through the cars before speed-walking off down the street, the flap on his satchel bobbing behind him like an excitable dog. Luckily, sat next to the door, I pulled out of my trance just in time to get off the bus myself. I jogged between the cars trying to keep the young man in sight but as I passed a silver Mercedes, the man inside stole my attention. He was staring right at me, a threateningly deadpan expression on his face. His head turned and tracked me as I walked and I could feel his stare pass right through me. I – ‘Sorry!’ – my attention snapped back to where it was required, in front of me. The man I had just bumped into already passed me, unphased by our collision. As I looked back ahead for the young man I caught a glimpse of his satchel as it went through a glass door. McKenzie Associates.

Now the man was gone, I could focus on other, more important things. The time is 9.17, I need to get to school. I ran on through the crowds of people and was greeted at the school gates by the encouraging sight of a grumpy admin, she was smoking. I walked up to her and stopped, she didn’t even bother to look at me. She began scribbling something on her sheet of paper, my name no doubt. Shoulders slumped with the weight of the knowledge of my detention after school, I trudged past her. Glancing sideways, Hovis, milk and eggs, maybe I was in the clear.

How did she not see me?

I would tell you about school but it’s Monday, wait Wednesday; does that illustrate my point?

‘Hey Alicia.’ A dry, bored voice called out from behind the bins. It was Joel, I went to primary school with him but he smoked and I didn’t like the smoke, it made me cough. At least someone acknowledged my existence. ‘What’s wrong with you?’ Another voice I didn’t recognise. ‘I promise you, I can tell when she’s here!’ Joel again… wait, what?

Aug 29, 2015 - Communication    No Comments

Liverpool 0-3 West Ham – Unedited

For the first time in 52 years, West Ham travelled to Anfield in Merseyside and took away three points. This came as a surprise to many after years upon years of miserable trudges up north for West Ham’s travelling fans. Also, Liverpool had started the season defensively impenetrably, yet to concede a goal in the first three games whereas, West Ham were coming off the back of two home defeats against Leicester and Bournemouth in which they conceded seven goals. After a hapless defensive display against Bournemouth which saw the Cherries take their first Premier League win in history, most, including the West Ham fans didn’t have much hope in their chances.

However, it surprised everyone when in the second minute, Cresswell pounced on a poor defensive header from Martin Skrtel and crossed from the left side of the box to find Manuel Lanzini who, on his Premier League debut, tapped home to give West Ham a priceless early lead. Even the jubilant away fans would have held doubt going into the next 88 minutes plus added time for their sides chances of holding out for a memorable win but that was exactly what they did with a tenacious, dogged and hard-working performance from the first minute to the last.

It only took till the twenty-ninth minute for West Ham to double their lead when Manuel Lanzini, who stood out for his high-energy display throughout, put pressure on Dejan Lovren causing him to make a mistake as he tried to shepherd the ball out of play and lose the ball. Lanzini carried it into the box and tried to pick Sakho out with a low cross which was cleared but only as far as Hammers captain Mark Noble who calmly slotted the ball home into the right corner with a beautifully calm side-footed finish.

Liverpool’s lifeless display was only further compounded early in the second half when Philippe Coutinho, one of the Red’s standout players last season and in the first few games this year, was sent off for a second bookable offence after a mistimed challenge on West Ham’s Dimitri Payet. He had received his first booking for indiscipline as he refused to walk away from a free kick and got the second for a late challenge on Frenchman, Payet. This all but ended much chance of a Liverpool comeback and they never really looked like they posed much of a danger to the West Ham backline at any point throughout with a largely anonymous display from new signing Roberto Firmino who saw one of his two attempts fly off of the post in he first half.

West Ham of course could not see out the game without making it awkward for themselves when Noble was sent off with just over ten minutes to go for a lunging challenge on Liverpool substitute, Danny Ings. However, on second viewing, the sending off is controversial for two reasons: A) Because the whistle had already blown for a foul so the ball was technically not in play and B) because Noble’s studs are not off the ground and the challenge does not really look worthy of the straight red that it saw courtesy of Kevin Friend.

Despite the levelling of the playing field, Liverpool still failed to really challenge West Ham as youngster Reece Oxford was brought on to shore up the Hammers’ defensive midfield and West Ham capped off a fine counter attacking display with a goal from Diafra Sakho who slotted into the bottom right corner of Mignolet’s goal in the second minute of added time.

West Ham were full value for the three points they take away from Anfield today and it makes you wonder what happened in those two home games against Leicester and Bournemouth between two absolutely perfect away displays against Arsenal and Liverpool. Manuel Lanzini impressed on his debut after transferring from Al Jazira in the UAE, scoring the first and assisting the second, and the Hammers were simply better, stronger and quicker than Liverpool in all areas on the day.

 

Man of the Match: Manuel Lanzini

 

 

 

Jul 17, 2015 - Communication    Enter your password to view comments.

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Jun 14, 2015 - Communication    No Comments

My final draft?

I still have a few questions. I want to explore the best way to express the connection between the two characters as he hugs her. I really can’t place the best way for him to enter her narrative and leave so quickly. Also, I was wondering if there needed to be another line from the suicidal character before the blackout and the ‘suspended in the void’ lines. This may help to indicate what’s happened, something that would imply that he is committing suicide more strongly than the ‘falling’ later. My hope is that the confusion should be lifted by the ‘falling’ lines and that what’s happened should become clear here, not for the confusion to take over and blind the reader from using what is given to piece together what is happening. It’s a fine line and I really want to get it right. I want people to understand it but I don’t want it to be simplistic, I want to there to be some element of a reveal in the ‘falling’.

14 second draft

Jun 11, 2015 - Communication    1 Comment

Nigel Slater – 10/6/15

Talented chef, television personality and journalist Nigel Slater recently wrote about the Mcdonalds Big Mac in his Observer column. His article depicted his love of the fatty burger that Mcdonalds sell across the world to a huge audience. Whilst describing the instant gratification one can gain through cheap and easy fast food, Slater manages to pull off a wonderful impersonation of Nigella Lawson whilst also using a host of unnecessary adjectives.

The sexualization of food has increased in popularity in the media throughout the 21st century. Television personalities like Nigella Lawson emerged who managed to combine food and soft seductive tones impressively on the BBC. Since this and other examples, an inexplicable link between food and sex has risen out of obscurity and into the limelight. With the same happening in fiction writing – 50 Shades of Grey, popular film – Blue is the Warmest Colour and television – Game of Thrones, we are now bombarded with sexualised imagery throughout daily life. Slater follows this trend in his writing, managing to turn describing a Big Mac into softcore porn. ‘The excited dribble of sauce between patty and bun’ and the ‘peeking gherkin’. Please Nigel, you’re putting me off my food.

Specifically in the second paragraph of the article, the lines between novel and newspaper are continually blurred with Slater’s unconventional style of journalistic writing. He repeatedly adds extra descriptive sentences and adjectives like ‘…the windows fugged up and dripping with condensation’. He also manages to overuse one of these motifs in using ‘torrential rain’ twice in one sentence which is sloppy and disrupts the flow of his story. If he was aiming for a more novelistic tone then he must at least use differing descriptions of his surroundings to paint a moving scene in the readers mind.

Also, through his article, Slater seems to be crying out that he is normal like the rest of us – ‘Look, I eat Mcdonalds too!’ – but manages to contradict that entirely with his snobbish tone. Like the rest of us, Nigel attends an outlet of Mcdonalds to pick up his Big Mac for that frisson of illicitness we all love. Apparently, Nigel has also taken up an exciting new hobby working as a pop music lyricist, ‘Lost, away from home’, just the ‘out-of-body feeling’ that we’re all experiencing when Mcdonalds pops into our minds. Whilst doing his best impression of the normal person, he still couldn’t help but separate himself away from a class that he wouldn’t dream of being associated with, ‘We didn’t possess the shiny manmade fibres and luminous trainers to eat in’.

Thing is, when a normal person thinks of a Mcdonalds, it’s not for the frisson of illicitness or for a slightly disturbing sexually infused experience, it’s actually because it’s what they can afford. So Nigel, next time you write an article about food, write it as Nigel Slater not as a poor impression of someone else and please, leave out your sex life.

Apr 12, 2015 - Communication    No Comments

HW

http://www.poetrybyheart.org.uk/poems/meeting-the-british/

http://www.poetrysoup.com/famous/poem/192/the_charge_of_the_light_brigade

Mar 16, 2015 - Communication    2 Comments

1:3/3:3 – 16/3/15

There is a stark contrast in the way that Antonio and Shylock interact with each other in act 1 scene 3 compared to act 3 scene 3. There are many differences in the way that they speak to each other but the main stem of all of these changes is that Antonio and Shylock have switched places in their social hierarchy. Antonio was initially the dominant character and Shylock submissive however, in act 3 scene 3, these positions are flipped and Shylock is now the dominant character in the interaction and Antonio the submissive.

Through Shylock’s soliloquy we can tell that he bears a hatred for Antonio – ‘I hate him for he is a Christian’. The significance of Antonio’s religion being intrinsic to Shylock’s hate for him is that this brings out the persecution that Jews are subjected to in their society. Despite this, on the surface, he in fact says that ‘Antonio is a good man’ and when he is actually in contact with Antonio, he says, ‘I would be friends with you, and have your love’. This shows that Shylock is disguising his hatred of Antonio to give him a false sense of security about the bond only being ‘in a merry sport’. He is also displaying a false kindness towards Antonio which Antonio returns in the same manner and their anger towards each other lies under the surface; we can sense it’s presence but neither character show it forcefully. This also results in Shylock showing that anger in a more discreet, sardonic way. Using this sarcasm, Shylock impersonates Antonio by saying ‘Shylock we would have monies’, this mocks Antonio for needing money from the man he abuses and mistreats. Moreover, Shylock having to disguise his anger reinforces the second class citizenship that Jews have in society at the time as Shylock cannot display his anger towards Antonio bluntly because Antonio is a Christian.

Later, in act 3 scene 3, when Shylock has the law on his side in relation to the bond, he exchanges his sarcasm for directness and a considerably more threatening tone. Instead of more subtly mocking Antonio which gives the audience a sense of the sinister undercurrent in Shylock’s agenda, he is clearly angry and threatening – ‘But since I am a dog beware my fangs’. Here Shylock does still display some sarcasm by accentuating the irony of the role reversal but the threats are now clear.

Furthermore, in act 1 scene 3, Shylock does not place much emphasis on the bond, he doesn’t make it seem as though it’s an incredibly important matter. Of course, we get a sense that it means a fair amount because Shylock is having to loan the money himself from Tubal, another Jew, but we don’t get the sense that this an important event in Shylock’s life or even a substantially important loan for his business. It comes across as though it doesn’t matter that much to Shylock despite us knowing through the soliloquy that he has seen his chance to get revenge on Antonio and is using the bond for this. However, in act 3 scene 3, we see clearly the significance of the bond to Shylock as he repeats the words ‘I will have my bond’ multiple times and will not listen to Antonio’s pleas. We also know that ‘I will have my bond’ is not Shylock saying that he will see his money returned, it is in fact a disguise for him saying that he will enforce the penalty of the bond and kill Antonio; he is essentially saying ‘I’ll kill you’.

Through these huge changes in the interactions between Antonio and Skylock we can draw the conclusion that Shylock has moved from the submissive position to the dominant position between act 1 scene 3 and act 3 scene 3. However, he does drop back to being in the submissive position later in the play. It can also be said that the bond was a ploy to be able to lawfully kill Antonio and that once Shylock has the law on his side he can display his hatred for Antonio whereas before, he couldn’t because of the persecution of Jews in society at the time.

 

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