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Reasons why you should go to the British Museum

19 Jul

Yesterday, we went to visit the British Museum and saw spectacular pieces of history. In particular we found the Ancient Egypt and Japanese areas to be the most intriguing and exciting (and not just because of the air conditioning!).

Here are a few reasons why you should to the British Museum over the summer:

  • You get to see a real live mummies

Need I say more? It’s crazy to think that the artifacts that you see are thousands of years old and contain a dead body inside.

The mummy of Cleopatra- Cleopatra was only seventeen years old when she died.

The mummy of Cleopatra- Cleopatra was only seventeen years old when she died.

Some of the tombs that the mummies are in have spells inscribed to “activate” the mummies.

Some of the tombs that the mummies are in have spells inscribed to “activate” the mummies.

 

  • You learn things that you wouldn’t normally learn in history at school

In the Japan area there was a reconstructed teahouse that was made to look like one from Japan. It was beautifully designed; it had a great structure and looked really authentic.

Tea ceremonies were conducted in teahouses like this one. There were schools dedicated to learning the art of the ea ceremony.

Tea ceremonies were conducted in teahouses like this one. There were schools dedicated to learning the art of the ea ceremony.

  • You can also find out more about things that are popular today

You don’t just learn about history, but also about current information on the different countries, that you probably wouldn’t know about. There was a section about the origins of manga, which is extremely popular in today’s society. It was fascinating to find out more about a subject that attracts many people.

Here is a volume of manga from 1928

Here is a volume of manga from 1928

Overall, if you are free this summer, have no money to do anything eccentric and want to learn more; the British Museum is the perfect place to visit.

By Louisa, Rubel & Steffi

 

Aside

A few things to know: The Bechdel Test

18 Jul

What is it?

The Bechdel test was first introduced in Allison Bechdel’s comic Dykes to watch out for, in a 1985 strip called “The Rule”. In order for a film to pass the Bechdel test it has to meet the following requirements:

  1. It has to have at least two women in it
  2. Who talk to each other
  3. About something besides a man

There have been variations to the criteria of the test, for example the female characters have to be named.

So …..

pan's labyrinthThink about a movie that you watched recently, or any movie at all. Does it have two female characters, who have a conversation about something besides a man? Can you try and name more than 3 films that pass the Bechdel test?  I actually found it kind of difficult…

And that’s where the problem lies…

The problem isn’t about the lack of female characters in films (the movie Avatar, which features the character of Neytiri, fails the test) but the lack of depth to female characters.

  • If passing the test were mandatory it would have jeopardised half of 2009’s Best Picture Nominees
  • It would also have cut the length of the annual Comic-Con to 45 minutes,

It can also be noted that the only reason a lot of these films do pass the test is because the women only talk about marriage or babies.

Why do so few films pass the Bechdel test?

One reason so few films pass the Bechdel test is that the majority of scriptwriters are male; therefore they are less likely to write about female characters.  As a female writer, I’m more likely to write a story where female characters are central to the storyline.

Another reason is the assumption about what an audience would prefer to see in a film. You are unlikely to here a female talking about her problems to her colleague in an action packed Vin diesel film. Even if it was a cliché romcom, nine out of ten times the conversation will be about a male love interest.

To restore your faith in humanity here are some films that do pass the Bechdel test:

1. Legally Blonde

There are several instances where Elle talks to females on other topics beside men.  Elle gets Brooke to tell her her alibi; Vivian lies to Elle about the party being a costume party, and Elle interviews chutney on the witness stand. Legally_blonde

2.Black Swan

The main character regularly talks to her mother; there is also a lot of discussion between the other ballet dancers about the challenges of the profession.

3.Coraline

Women in the film include: Coraline and her mother, her other mother, Mrs Spink, and Mrs Forcible to name a few.  All of them at some point have a conversation with another female character that is not about a man.

4.Juno

Juno has plenty of arguments with her mother, and a discussion about prenatal stuff. Fails the anti-Bechdel test – no two men talk to anything other than a woman.

 5. Pan’s Labyrinth

Mercedes and Ofelia talk about believing in fairies and Ofelia’s dress; the both manage not to talk about a man while Mercedes is getting Ofelia milk. If it is easy for a dark fairytale like this one to pass the test, why does it seem so difficult for a simple romcom to do the same thing?

By Louisa Danquah

Why we love: The Fault in Our Stars

12 Jul

The fault in our stars” is a novel about love between two teenagers named Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace- but with a twist, the twist being they both suffer from cancer. It is not a typical story; even though the cancer is a big part of the story-line, the novel still manages to be humorous and uplifting despite the serious themes. “The fault in our stars” explores what it means to be alive and challenges the typical idea of a teenage romance.

TFIOS

So why is “The fault in our stars” a New York Times bestseller?

When searching through different reviews on the novel, we found that most people had a strong attachment to the characters of Hazel and Augustus. One person wrote:

 

‘I felt that when I was reading it I was friends with Hazel and Gus, and that I was with them, sorting out their problems, helping them’.

Another reader, similarly wrote:

‘this book was the total opposite of some sappy love story because of how realistic it is.’

 

Their strong and witty personalities make it easy for readers to relate and connect to them. Hazel and Augustus bring a realistic element to the novel, unlike most other teenage love stories. John Green is able to write in the voice of a teenage girl to create a story that isn’t just a

.bout ‘ordinary teenagers with teenage problems’ but about an extraordinary teenager who faces something much more than the ‘average teenage problems’.

If we could describe the novel in one word, it would be ‘powerful’; another reader shared our feelings:

TFIOS2

‘I loved it because of how powerful it was. How everything in Hazel Grace’s life, she questioned, even if it was something as simple as ‘Why should a person only have breakfast food for breakfast?’

 

The book is able to raise questions that normally wouldn’t even cross our minds. In this sense Hazel is able to present ideas that go beyond the surface and make the reader think outside of the box.  Hazel tells her mum the her t-shirt does not have a pipe on it:

‘It’s a drawing of a pipe. Get it? All representations of a thing are inherently abstract. It’s very clever’

 

Even though The Fault in Our Stars is fiction, the struggles of Augustus and Hazel, are in fact a reality in some people’s lives. The novel has inspired many people around the world, here is an example of just one:

By Louisa Danquah & Steffi Maranan

Broadcast from your mobile

12 Apr

Glenn McMahon came in to explain why you’ve got the power to report to a high standard in your hand.

The speed that you get your content online is vital. Eg Genoa 2001 an activist filmed the police beating the activists and in the lack of anyone form the main stream media a citizen created footage now being used as the basis of a film and a successful lawsuit.
During the riots Sky News reporter captured the action with nothing more than the power in the pocket

Why ? We all have phones on us every day. Shoot in one take with no edit and all you need to make it semi pro is an external mic is important, and a reporter and cameraman

TOP TIPS – put it on airport mode to stop your calls coming through
Whats’ happening, who’s doing it and why. Don’t forget your viewer doesn’t know what’s going on your asking questions on their behalf.
Keep it short, multiple camera angles to keep it fresh and good sound quality

If you don’t have these items then use your journo skills : Who, what when where why : I’m here at 10 am in Croydon

Read Glenn’s blog for Vison On HERE

& Our ed teams 1st attempt in the office

Good Music is Back!

23 Oct

With Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto coming out tomorrow, after three eyars of toil, tears and loving, I thought I’d write a review of one of the lead (and probably will prove to be most popular) songs from the whole album: ‘Princess of China’ ft. The one and Only Rihanna.

Enjoy!

‘Princess Rih Rih becomes a ‘Princess of China’ in Coldplay’s new album.’

The much anticipated collaboration between the princess of pop and the gods of rock has finally been leaked. The track features on Coldplay’s forthcoming fifth studio album, ‘Mylo Xyloto’ and has already been widely tipped to reach the meteoric heights of Rihanna and Eminem’s ‘Love the Way You Lie’. The track was uploaded onto YouTube and Soundcloud after it debuted on Dutch radio stations but has since been taken down by Coldplay’s record label EMI.

The band have claimed that this might possibly be their last studio album as they have been in the game for so long and newer players such as Rihanna, Adele and Justin Bieber are stepping up to the plate. With that in mind, Chris Martin tells us that the album took three years’ worth of toil and ‘is designed as a whole piece’. It tells the stories of boy and girl lead characters and Rihanna was at the top of their list to provide vocals for the female characters. It is hard to believe that legends like Coldplay have ever felt nervous about approaching an artist for a collaboration, but with Rihanna making her name as a global superstar, they can be forgiven for ‘being very Hugh Grant-like and spluttering about it’.

I heard the song last night and wasn’t too enamoured at first if I’m honest. I thought that Rih’s classically flat but hypnotic voice was too overpowered by the strong techno-buzz beats of the band’s legendary guitar riffs. I remember thinking that her voice sounded too auto-tuned. But I gave it another chance because I truly love and respect both Rihanna and Coldplay as artists and I really wanted to like their latest offering. Having listened to it on Soundcloud on RIHpeat (see what I did there?) for over two hours, I can now say that I really love the tune. It might definitely prove to be a grower but Coldplay have not been in the business for over fourteen years for nothing; and with Rihanna claiming ten number ones under her belt, with ‘We Found Love’ (her latest collaboration with DJ Calvin Harris) currently topping the British iTunes and singles charts, this song will surely prove to be a winner.

It is no wonder that Rihanna is famous for her many collaborations with successful male artists (Yes and um, Nicki Minaj). Over the six years of her mind blowing career, her voice has grown from strength to strength and she has transformed herself into a sexy, strong, powerful and influential figure in the industry – powerful and versatile enough to work with pop, rap, RnB and rock titans. Naturally, she can hold her own as ‘Loud’ has shown us, but it seems she is at her very best when part of a dynamic duo. As one fan puts it on Twitter: ‘[Rihanna] sings pop like pop, she sings reggae like reggae, she sings rock like rock!’ and is should also be noted that this lady keeps making histoRIH (I did it again!) as this is the first and possibly only feature in the long history of Coldplay albums. Chris of course collaborated with Kanye West in ‘Homecoming’ but that was a side project – a bloody good one at that!

But anyway, whilst we wait for ‘Mylo Xyloto’ to be released on October 24th and ‘Talk that Talk’ to be released on November 21st, we can sit back and enjoy the sultry vocals of Rihanna come together (and work really well) with the classic sound of Coldplay, as if there had never been anything more natural to have ever happened.

I reckon this deserves an unapologetic solid five stars from me.

 

Siana Bangura.

 

Ps: Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter !

One Love.

 

What’s it like to join a leadership programme?

20 Oct

Read this blog from 22 year old Rowan for a first hand account

For six months prior to my current role, I volunteered with City Year full-time in a primary school. The level of responsibility was immense; the children would confide in us any problems that they would have. This was definitely an amazing experience for me.

To tell you a bit about myself, it was slightly over a year ago that I graduated from university with a degree in English. I left university extremely unfocussed and unsure of what my next step would be.

After a brief spell of experimentation with trying to gain entry into various job sectors, I quickly realised that it was a waste of time trying to pursue jobs that I had little or no interest or passion for. I decided to join City Year because I recognised that it would allow me to step into a world that was completely alien to me. I had never volunteered or worked with children before. The reason for my decision was that I thought the experience would allow me to uncover hidden depths in myself.

In those six months I learnt more than I could possibly have imagined as well as gaining some direction as to which way my life was heading.

In the schools, we had an active involvement in the playground as well as the running of activities throughout the day and after school.
What was really good about volunteering with City Year is that we had a huge amount of freedom as to the types of activities we could run as well as developing our own teaching methods to use.

The school allowed a colleague of mine and I to organise and run a listening exercise for a short period in the day. This was received well with the school and the children. We also developed and ran two concurrent after school art clubs, one for the younger children (5-7 years old) and one for the older children (5-11 years old).

When I was offered to return to City Year for an additional year, the decision was difficult for me because of the level of commitment that it would entail. However, I think that a part of me knew that I really did want to stay on after the amazing experience I had had the year before. I would hugely recommend volunteering with City Year to anyone who wants to develop themselves as a leader in our society, as well as acquiring some extremely valuable experience mentoring children.

Being a volunteer at City Year also has many other advantages, for example there are many opportunities to interact with our corporate sponsors at training sessions as well as various other functions. If you are interested in recruitment there are also many opportunities to get involved.

This year we will be having a mid-year volunteer intake to coincide with our move into a school in Tottenham. For more information phone 02070142680 or email: londonrecruitment@cityyear.org.uk

To find out more about other leadership schemes read more here

The Only way is Birmingham… ‘Course.

13 Jul

Howdy!

Long time, no blog. Sorry about that, I’ve been busy (as always).

Between launching my alternative radio show, completing my first year at Cambridge and trying to kick-start my career in journalism, I’ve been busy with Lucy trying to nab a bit of funding for a really cool project.

We want to make a film that is so bad, it’s actually brilliant. Why? Well, to help show you what not to do when you take that huge step and make your first film.

Lucy, Adam (from Brickwall Films) and I took a lil’ trip to Birmingham. We were wowed by the modern take on vintage interior of an old converted church and the taste of halloumi Meze but were dismayed by the general greyness and industrial mood of the city (to be expected as I suppose as historically Brummy’s an indusrtial town). We came close to death by Adam’s driving (well kinda) and made it home, with mochas and flakes in hand. All of this for your delight, peeps!

So in any case, watch this space and get excited!

I’m off but remember: Keep it real, keep it raw and always keep it togther;

Siana, Over and out

*Salutes*

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