Monday, 12 December 2011

You have 1 new voice mail. But Murdoch's already read it.

I think it's absolutely horrendous. It's going to take a very long time before journalism every receives that same standard of respect and that trust factor between the readers and writers is going to take a lot of effort to rebuild. I mean, my Dad read my texts once and I saw red well and truly, but if it was the News of the World I think it would be a whole different level. It really makes you wonder where it all went wrong; this has clearly been going on for years, I mean, it managed to turn into something which was standard, I mean it's not like Sarah Payne didn't cooperate with The News of the World...

It's been suggested many times now that I say something (or more accurately people have been demanding I do) about the phone hacking scandals. Don't worry guys, I know I'm not big-time (yet...!) but to be perfectly honest I really couldn't think of anything to say about it that hadn't already been said. Then repeated about three times! Seriously, it's morphing into the expenses scandal now, as in it's everywhere. All the time. I mean, I was interested and outraged and downright disgusted for the first week, the first month too I was bit like 'ugh' then as the trial's gone on every now and again I here something which'll make me feel annoyed but it's starting to feel like nothing is ever going to happen apart from hacked voice mails and maybe the odd economy may collapse...

I mean, I never read The News Of The World, I don't think I've ever read a tabloid paper for that matter... Call me a snob, but I'm more of a fan of real news, and that means something with a higher reading age than 10 and no naked women. Maybe that's where it all went wrong? We stopped asking for real news. We got preoccupied with Z-list celebrities, 'ladies' without bras and the only foreign affairs we cared about involved Big Brother Contestants. But think about it this way: if we stopped asking then they wouldn't worry about major snooping, if we told them we didn't really care about every single personal detail and all we really cared about was news then there would be less demand for Charlotte Church's Dad having an affair being sprawled all over the front pages.

Broadsheet's are bigger than tabloids; in every sense of the word.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Because we love God we're going to buy lots of shiny things. Obviously.

In my(very humble, I'm no critic) opinion, the roof of the Cistene Chapel is one of the most beautiful pieces of art ever created. It's attention to detail and just general beauty, not to mention (although I clearly am about to) Michelangelo's incredible eye for detail on such a large scale make it simply breathtaking. Seriously, I think it's absolutely gorgeous, and I'm not just saying that out of sympathy for its creator's permanently crooked neck as a result of his efforts! Then we have the works of Da Vinci; his phenomenal statues and depictions of important Christian events which million from around the world have flocked to see.

What's brought on this random outburst of artistic appreciation I hear you cry. Well, I know next to nothing about the technical side of art and when it comes to attacking the paper myself, I think 'attack' is really the only word for it-so many ruined paintbrushes! Despite this, I do like a good art gallery and don't mind a gander at the odd statue. When it comes to art of the religious nature, most people know that a good Catholic church is usually guaranteed to be practically over-flowing with it and, I grew up with strolling around these being the main event of family holidays...

I've already shown I'm a Renaissance fan, but, they often the same awkward problem as the gawdy, completely over the top churches. Not familiar with such visual horror? Just think of a statue of Jesus. Then make it gold. Then add some silver. Then put him on an alter piled high with gold and silver, maybe a few, slightly smaller depiction of a pierced heart and shove in a couple of Mary's and a few baskets of obscenely bright flowers. Voila, you have the small alter, or maybe just a side display. If you're lucky you might have a relic too, also shrouded in gold and normally a bit of ear, or toe or something. Now, this isn't applicable for all Catholic cathedrals and churches by any means, you'll get a couple maximum in most notable European cities, well, the Catholic ones anyway. But there's still a lot of them, with a lot of gold (and silver, and jewels and craftsmanship).  

I can see why you'd do that. It's no year nine art project for sure, a heck of a lot of effort has gone into that. So that's a lot of thinking about God whilst you're drawing about how fantastic He is, you're dedicating your wealth and time to honoring him. But I could pretty confidently bet that outside such an impressive Cathedral you will usually find at least three homeless people begging, and if you can't, they've usually been shooed away and will be sleeping on those steps later on. Uhm, guys, what about love your neighbour?

So maybe, let's go easy on the silver and the gold and the general shininess (not just for the sake of my eyes) and maybe, turn it into actual money and actually help people?

Monday, 5 December 2011

Are we forgetting something?

During my time as a Girl Guide, I have discovered that an almost foolproof way of raising money involves standing at the end of a local supermarket checkout on a busy Saturday morning and pouncing on unsuspecting customers. This is done whilst brandishing a bucket and informing them that not only can I pack their bags, but they can give me some money from the privilege. Normally, this works an absolute trip and the lovely people who trusted me with their boxes of eggs have not just helped me go to Germany but have also pretty much funded my trip to India next year. My local Tesco Metro has been particularly keen in letting us hijack their customer's packing (for this I am eternally grateful) with one perfectly reasonable condition: that we give half of the money we raise to their charity of the year. As it happens, their charity of the year is the 'Alzheimer's Society' which provides support for the 100,000 new victims of this horrible disease every year. It provides information, support and care for those suffering and their families, as well as being closely involved with leading scientists trying to develop cures, prevent the disease and care better for those who have it and Tesco aim to raise 5 million for this excellent cause by the end of this year.

Now, incredible as my bag packing skills are (I knew all that Tetris would be useful one day...) tragically my 'real' Saturday job takes priority, so the Tesco customers of Chippenham lost out to my talents. But my Mother was there, now she really is a dab hand at packing, and when I get home she told me about something that happened on Saturday: she was offered to pack an elderly gentleman's bags for him, and explained that whilst half of the money would be going towards a Girl Guiding trip to India, half would be going to the 'Alzheimer's Society'. Straightaway the man had his wallet open, and not only did he put his change in, but the notes were going in too, he was trying to put all of his money in the bucket, to the point that he was going to have absolutely nothing left. Straightaway Mum snapped into what can only be described as 'Mother mode' and tactfully began putting his notes all back in, whilst expressing her gratitude for the change and insisted the man kept his money.

Now, he could just be THE most generous, kind-hearted man in the world ever. But personally I think there were two, much bigger possibilities, I suspect that either he had just lost/was losing someone close to him with the disease or that he had Alzheimer's himself and recognized the word. Whatever the reason was, it broke my heart a bit to hear that story. 

Alzheimer's is a cruel, debilitating disease, it takes away memories, personality and character; in short, it takes away the person. It's horrible and terrifying to watch and is of course, incurable. Alzheimer's doesn't just make you a bit forgetful, it takes away literally everything, until they become a confused shell of the person they once where, no matter how incredible they once were. Unfortunately, I have seen the devastating effects of Alzheimer's, because my Grandad had the disease (he passed away in August), not only did it take away my Grandad (the cleverest man ever!) but it made my family really - for want of a better word - sad. The idea of maybe there being a cure, whilst it's too late for my family, could stop another family having it's heart broken, and that idea is enough to put a smile on my face.

So, if Tesco's where you do your local shop, I would definitely recommend you drop your coppers in the pot for this year's charity, you could be helping a family far more than you ever know, don't let those who can't remember be forgotten this Christmas. Oh, and if you see me with a bucket, Guide shirt and all, feel free to drop some money in there too!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

At the moment it all seems to be a bit depressing!

Lately, it seems to me that loads of bad things are happening all at once. I'm sure nothing worse than usual is really happening, in fact, in the greater scheme of things I'm sure this is probably pretty OK globally. But lately my days have gone a bit like this: I read depressing things in the paper, then I have another stressful day at sixth form, followed by coming home and being swamped by homework, in my breaks I watch the news which is more often than not depressing and when I go on social network sites I get BBC news tweets where often rubbish things have happened and I get countless e-mails from charities telling me about horrible things happening in the world.

Now, I know that this is in part my own fault; I am a self-confessed news junkie. I am also aware that really I'm just complaining about knowing bad things are happening, I mean, it could be so much worse, I could be actually experiencing all of those bad things! I am very lucky, but it's so easy to become over-whelmed by all the horrible things and think that the world is a horrible, depressing mess.

Good news! It's not all bad, I mean, let's not overlook the stuff we don't like, and I'll never stop writing letters because it's easier not to think about things. BUT if you sift through everything, you'll always find something worth smiling about, and I'm not referring to those gimmicky baby born at two months kind of stories (heart-warming as they are). For example: I'm on the mailing list for the Channel 4 news (it's called 'Snowmail' and it's absolutely brilliant! - they get it to your inbox before 6 p.m. everyday and you can sign up for it here) and this evening, I was reading it as part of my pre-Simpsons ritual. Admittedly I had to sift through some pretty grim news, 9 nine days to save the Euro? Scary stuff. Anyway, back to the point! As I scrolled a bit further down I read about the lifting of the ban on surgeons with HIV.

Personally I think this is absolutely brilliant! It's such a breakthrough, it's been thirty years now since the virus itself emerged and what better way of showing the breakthrough we've made in treating what can be such a debilitating illness. I mean, surely there can be nothing more that can shake your world than finding out you're HIV +, but then finding out that your medical career is over too? It must be absolutely soul destroying, so now, at least that worry won't be there for them anymore, something which must be a massive relief.

So, whilst today isn't all good news, I've found something to make me smile and now I think I'm going to try and do that every day!