Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Work in Hackney

Hello there,

Here's my most recent work for Ventnor Blog:
Bluebyrds & Sundown City to play IW Fest
Veterans in Prison

Subsequently, I did a week's placement at the Hackney Gazette and kept myself busy. Ents coverage was fun. I had a good dance to Dreadzone and slightly fell in love with Dalston at the Land of Kings Festival, during which I interviewed indie popsters Yuck, who made me giggle. They can be found wandering Stoke Newington's streets, hugging one another, possibly to the croon of harmonica…

Georgia from Yuck on Vimeo.

I also interviewed Hackney-based director David Bond about the release of his new film Erasing David, in which he tries to hide from a team of private investigators hired by his producer to track him down. The idea is that this game of cat and mouse reveals just how much information about you is available in the public domain.

Personally, though, my most important work came on a rainy Sunday, marching with mourners to Stamford Hill, where Godwin Lawson was killed.

Making a stand against knife crime, members of the Ghanaian High Commission, local politicians, freelance photographers and youth activists attended. I was the only reporter present and his family kindly thanked me for coming.

Being professional is not the same as being detached and this event climbed onto my back quite hauntingly. I'll definitely be following what happens.

The most eloquent speech came not from local MPs or ambassadors, but from 21-year-old Symeon Brown, chairman of a group called Haringey Young People's Empowerment.

I did my best to use as few words as possible, but there was no space for Symeon's speech in the printed version of the report, which hasn't been published online.

Here is my copy:

Marchers mourn Godwin

Hundreds marched in the rain on Sunday to the place where 17-year-old Godwin Lawson was fatally stabbed on Stamford Hill. Ambassadors, politicians, schools and youth activists joined with his friends and family to protest against knife crime.

Godwin’s aunt, Romana Lawson-Wobyl organised the protest in his memory. ‘If we can save even one child’s life, it will all be worthwhile,’ she said.

Leading members of the Ghana High Commission and the Ghana Union also attended: ‘We have to send a message to young people that knife and gun crime is alien to our culture,’ said Edward Cofie, Counsellor of Consular Affairs.

The marchers sang, prayed and chanted anti-violent slogans, but drew quiet as they reached Stamford Hill. Mourners wept. A one-minute silence was followed by speeches, a release of red balloons and the lighting of candles.

Diane Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney and Stoke Newington said: ‘Speaking as a mother, I have tried to support too many who have said goodbye to their sons. We cannot afford to lose more men like Godwin in this cruel way.’

Symeon Brown, 21-year-old chairman of Haringey Young People’s Empowerment (HYPE), remembered playing football with Godwin:

‘There was so much to admire in him. He was a young leader of London, and still is. We need to be led by his legacy. I don’t want to hear anybody crying, I don’t want to hear anything being said unless we are going to work. We are marching to build a safer London and a safer community. If we are not here to do this, then what are we here for?’

The crowd made a vow to work against knife crime and Godwin's parents embraced those that stood with them at the place where he died.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Meanwhile, on a less industrious note

I've seen Kick Ass and I don't know why it's viewed as controversial…

Well, wait… I do know. It's the pre-pubescent girl wearing leather and the cartoon violence. But you'll only find that titillating if there's something irrevocably wrong with you already! This film will corrupt nobody. It made me laugh so much I cried.

Also… Fionn Regan should be old news by now but I've only just got the memo. I find his self-conscious emulation of Bob Dylan here quite charming! Especially the hat and sunglasses which, combined with the pratfall, make him look about TWELVE.

And this Villagers song appeals to the frustrated artist in me. :) Hooray for creepy pigs and lyrical poetry.


Hello, realised I haven't written in a while. This is partly because I'm juggling… I currently have one foot on the Isle of Wight, one foot in London. I'm trying to dedicate myself to 2 lots of work experience simultaneously, while applying for journalistic jobs and preparing for interviews.

I thought, optimistically, that being unemployed might be a *restful* state to be in, but that's not really the case and I'm trying to keep all my plates spinning at once!

Here are some articles I dashed off…

I am enjoying the local music scene and discovered a band called The Bluebyrds. Their performance was so astonishing - so true to the spirit of Hendrix - that I ran up to the lead singer afterwards and told him so - which made him blush like crazy. He's only sixteen.

It seemed they need to write more of their own material (most of their repertoire consists of sixties covers) but they are only in high school after all. Here's my review of the evening:

Battle of the Bands

On a more unsettling note, I interviewed a man about Mephedrone use on the Island. The 'legal high' has hit headlines everywhere.

Incidentally, I was irritated by 'plant food' use at a house party recently… the users were extremely hyperactive, suddenly developed terrible taste in music (played at full volume) and talked ALL NIGHT, only about themselves. When it got to 5am, I just wanted to sleep. Substance-induced narcissism is such a yawn.

Researching this particular substance proved interesting. Meph is compared, variously, to heroine, coke and ecstasy… none of which are innocuous. It also turns your knees blue after a while because it damages your circulation. What larks.

And fulfilling my mundane news quotient I have once again been writing about roads. It seems all Islanders live for is getting from A to B on wobbly scenic trajectories!

This particular road threat (one of the most scenic drives on the Isle and a particular favorite of mine, actually) led to my contacting pearl jewelers who have based themselves helpfully in the middle of nowhere.

I produced a podcast interview with prospective Lib Dem MP Jill Wareham on this hot election issue, if anybody feels like listening to my voice. :) Thrilling stuff.

I've got plenty of other plates spinning, none of which are getting me any money just yet but hopefully I will develop real prospects, rather than continuing with this strange circus act.