Monday, 6 June 2011

Poppy; Perlin; print journalism

Hello there, it's been more than a month hasn't it…

First things first

Did you know the Poppy Project, which gives shelter to trafficked women, is under threat because its funding has been cut? This is almost as worrying to me as Mark Townsend's piece about the lack of protection for trafficked children.

As it happens, I know a woman who was trafficked. I didn't remotely suspect it, but one day she admitted to me that she couldn't read English - she looked upset. I offered her reading lessons and in the course of an evening she told me her history.

She'd been packed around the world from Thailand, confined for nine years with other domestics. It was bad in New Zealand, she said, but it was much worse in Britain.

Because once they were in England, they weren't allowed to do their own shopping - they were hidden in a house, forbidden from going out. Sometimes they were only given floor cleaning products to wash themselves with. The men in charge were cruel. They had her passport and her papers; they used these things to control her.

She escaped, eventually, when a woman befriended her from the outside, but she still feels trapped sometimes and she still knows when snake-head gangs are nearby - she can feel it.

She gave me two huge servings of roast chicken, a hug and showed me how to write words in Thai.

Save Poppy.

And as to me…

I'm up to my elbows in job applications, helping out Eat Me food and culture magazine and blogging for Totally Money dot com, a handy little part-timer. Here's one entry I'm particularly pleased with:

Tips on surviving unpaid internships.

I've picked up a copy of Jilted Generation and am looking forward to reading it… I've also become a fan of Ross Perlin having seen him speak at Hackney Pages on Tuesday.  Intern Nation's the obvious thing to check out by him, but I also rate this piece he did last year for Lapham's quarterly, Riding the Godless Express:
For the atheist pilgrim there are no shrines, no temples, and no holy relics. He might glimpse a godless Genesis in the suburbs of Geneva, where particles race and clash in the tunnels of the Hadron Collider. The Great Rift Valley might feel like coming home, if he knew where to look. Perhaps he could visit the shores of Libya, where Theodorus the Atheist first challenged Zeus—or the German town of Naumburg, where Nietzsche took the pulse of God and found it stopped…
Quite poetic, isn't it.

Time for a random picture:
(Mmm, chocolate)

Besides writing about internships, and how to have cheap fun in London, I've mostly been writing about food. :) See Issue 5 of Eat Me food and culture magazine. It's very good. You should buy it online or in WHSmith for £4:

I particularly enjoyed the cover interview with Ainsley Harriott, a man as warm as he is tall.

I would also like to thank these people for stellar work:

Alexander Missen, Reynaldo Ortiz, Lauren Mclean and Oscar May

Timothy Franklin, Sam Kinchin-Smith, Sam Bompas, Florence Hillier, Dominique Hopgood

Juliana Wang, Lydia Crook

On a final note

It's a strange, unsettling world. China's prisons are being used for MMO gold farming.

Here's something my dad spotted last month when he went out shopping:


  1. I've just asked Eaves how the campaign to save Poppy is going. Thanks to brilliant work by The F Word, they can keep going for a year… I hope support doesn't trail off afterwards. They want to raise more to increase bed spaces.

  2. …should mention that it's still a 'reduced service' :( - this is why they need to raise more.

  3. Excellent writing as always Alex. I must say what a great find by your dad, free sandwich, a free TOY from the Sun. Goodness how did I miss that?!
    On a serious note, it is rather sad about the Poppy Project, I know times are ridiculously hard, but vital organisations such as these should not face the axe!