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Lesson of the Week: Commonwealth Games Diving GIFs Don’t Exist.

5 Aug

I’m kind of bummed out that no one’s really picked up on the irony of the WWI commemorations being immediately followed on news bulletins by info on the Gaza war… I’m also fed up with being bummed out so I’ve been watching Frank’s new video for intestine-filled kicks. Is it also ironic that Frank’s a vegetarian?

Anyway, I’ve been tapping away at commissions and etching out a legit portfolio site, which you can expect to see in roughly 3.7 million years or when I’ve got the cash to replace the standard colour palette with something I like. Business is a little slow at the moment – possibly because everyone’s on holiday, possibly because they’ve all been mesmerised by the Commonwealth Games and haven’t yet left their sofas.

[Insert imaginary GIF of a diver diving off the 10m board here. I thought it would look cool because their twisty dives are brilliant and hypnotic but there is not one fucking GIF of a single diver in action. So here is an entire YouTube video. Please go to 3 minutes 40 seconds to get whatever the fuck I was aiming to post about two hours ago before 20 tabs Googling Tom Daley drove me mad. The rest of the post was finished two hours ago. Two hours. I'm going to have nightmares about search engines.]

Anyway. I was thinking that it would be cool to do little flash fiction giveaways every week, to keep my mini story muscles flexed (my friend Jay has asked me to do 5k words on a prompt inspired by Cloud Atlas, a book I haven’t actually read. Expect it in one-to-two weeks!).

So if you fancy reading something shorter than a Vice article but longer than the phrases on coffee mugs, leave a comment with an idea or phrase and I’ll rustle something up!

Ew, I feel like a chef.

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The Six O’Clock News: Keeping Up With Current Events

1 Aug

With the ever-changing nature of ‘current events’ and the complications of understanding it anyway, I thought the Israel-Palestine conflict (war? See, defining this shit is tough) would be a good topic to use to discuss ways to keep up with the news. All the cool kids are doing it, so listen up!

The Traditional Way: Newspapers and Magazines

Aw, print media. A declining medium and usually so full of editorially-biased bullshit that often it’s not worth going near anyway. We all know that tabloids aren’t worth even opening (I discovered a Daily Mail parody on Twitter the other day. It’s beautiful) but what about the broadsheets?

Well darlings, there are some good choices. The Guardian and Telegraph, traditionally a bit leftie and rightie respectively, have pretty decent articles which give a detailed explanation of a story, usually with some photos or maybe an infographic. I don’t usually get the Financial Times but I’ve heard it’s good too, as is The Times, if buying something owned by Rupert Murdoch doesn’t give you the heebie-jeebies. Then there’s the Independent and its sister publication the i, which I loved to read at school because it’s really short and has super-duper-easy-to-digest articles. It’s also only 30p and available from Starbucks, so you can look smart while sipping a skinny mocha polkadot frappe. All the papers have websites too so you can read an article as many times as it takes for your blood pressure to return to normal!

That’s pretty much the extent of my paper knowledge and I encourage you to utilise your local library and have a read of whatever you can get your hands on – you’ll find your favourite style of writing pretty soon. One word of warning: even the news articles will contain bias. Not as much as a column – not as obviously much as a column, anyway – but differentiating between reported fact, the writer’s opinion and a senior management-based reference (like a journalist highly rating a film released on a company owned by the newspaper’s owner) is a fun and useful skill. One that Daily Mail readers are lacking above all others.

In terms of magazines, there is only one I read, though I read it more thoroughly than I do all papers: Private Eye. Edited by the dude who sits on the left in Have I Got News for You, it’s predominately satire but also has some serious reporting and its Street of Shame section calls out other newspapers’ crap. If I remember correctly, it was one of the few publications that picked up on Cyril Smith being a paedophile about 20 years before the Jimmy Savile scandal – I think they got sued over the allegations. They get sued a lot. The Economist is also useful if you want to get really intellectual – and the ads in the back are brilliant if you want to pretend you have a PhD.

The Family Debate Way: Television

Ah, the real Six O’Clock News. I love it. If you’re anything like me, couch-surfing wise, you start your channel-flicking marathons around the entertainment channels (Virgin Media 121) and go up to music (Kerrang! TV is 342) and maybe into films (avoid the porn channels just past them).

This is stupid.

Go straight to the good stuff: the plethora of news channels. BBC News 24 HD is 604 for me and it’s on all the time. So if you’re out at ten o’clock or eating at six you can keep in the loop! I’m assuming your family bought a huge massive mega TV broadband phone package deal, in which case you probably have access to CNN, Al Jazeera English, Euro News, BBC Parliament and if you’re unlucky FOX.

The good thing about TV news is that because they’re broadcasting to everybody, they have to explain everything. Hence why reporters go to whacky places or walk through green screened graphics – the information needs to be understandable to the average viewer. You’re not the average viewer because you’re a) reading this and b) you know that you can access CNN.

A downside to the TV is that because most non-24-hour slots are short, detail can be missed from a story, and some stories aren’t told at all. Syria is big news when there’s been a huge bombing or war crime, for example, but gets overtaken by the next big thing. The same thing happened in all areas of the mainstream media to #BringBackOurGirls and Flight MH370. Both are still missing, by the way.

 The Hands-Free Way: Radio

You know, the way they kept up with business in World War II. Radio is cool because you aren’t rendered immobile and you can listen while you’re in the car or doing boring stuff, like chores. BBC Radio 4 has a good broadcast in the morning, which I discovered completely accidentally when I was searching for a radio station without jingles or adverts for my morning alarm. I’ve also heard good things about the BBC World Service, which apparently has a worldwide following because it’s an alternative to propaganda-ridden state media.

The Hipster Way: Websites and Social Media

I should probably point out that I’m not entirely sure what a hipster is, although many of the people I’ve known who have declared themselves to be one have actually been twats. I’m not sure if that’s the point. Anyway, social media basically sparked the Arab Spring, because for the first time people had ways to communicate meet-ups and ideas quickly. So instead of using Twitter to hashtag how great your favourite band is to promote a crappy MTV contest, use it to keep up with a conflict or political situation as-it-happens. There was a Russian soldier who posted a picture of himself with Russian weapons inside Ukranian borders on Instagram, and Osama bin Laden’s house’s siege was posted about on Twitter as it occurred, which says it all. The people inside war zones are exactly the same as everyone else so you can see the actual stuff that’s going on. You don’t have to follow accounts if it bums you out, but searching a tag here and there makes you like well intelligent.

Word of warning: social media is the least moderated of all broadcasting platforms and there are just as many idiots posting political things as there are idiots posting pictures of themselves in their underwear or bitching about their boss. Take with a bucketful of salt and always use two sources to corroborate information, especially if it’s for a school thing. I once stumbled upon a Hammas-supporting website which bitched a lot about Israel and the stats I collected were totally the opposite to the ones we learnt in school. For quick info, use the BBC News app and for research, the CIA World Factbook has great profiles on each country – well, they would – and lists states numerically by how great their literacy rate or GDP is, amongst other things. The BBC also has great country profiles for getting a simple explanation and timeline of a country. This explains Kosovo perfectly, for example.

The Fun Way: Entertainment

Not going to lie, Tim Minchin taught me the background to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Then there’s Have I Got News for You, Russell Howard’s Good News, The Daily Show… the list  of programmes is endless. If you’re prepared to put up with some Hollywood gloss, films and books are useful. Some, like Shooting Dogs or books by Khaled Hosseini, don’t have gloss. They may make you cry noisy tears and expand your cynicism. But they’re actually really important because you’re more likely to empathise and understand the nuances of a situation through fiction than you are just by watching the news.

Documentaries are also excellent because it’s their job to make sense, tell the truth (again: apply salt) but keep hold of your attention. Plus your teachers will support the concept of watching them instead of doing a timed essay. Probably. Possibly.

Okay, I’m off to watch the diving at the Commonwealth Games and keep a tally of my parents’ homophobic comments regarding Tom Daley. Let me know if I’ve forgotten a supercool way to follow the news!

Audioblog: IMCRD & Coffee Deficiency

23 Jul

#ProjectSnowflake

I also feel I should clarify that the twelve shots were individual, not all shoved in one pint glass. Happy IMCRD!

Moving Image Appreciation Post #7

15 Jul

In case you were wondering what I want to be listening to on the beach, here are some videos that I can’t wait to get the CDs for!

frnkiero andthe cellabration weighted

I don’t care that it’s not got footage. Let’s flyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

Lily Allen URL Badman

I don’t care that this very site to which I owe two thirds of my writing career (‘career’). Lily is brilliant!

NME interview: Gerard Way On Solo Life After My Chemical Romance

I don’t care that there’s not a tune in sight. (I do care that I can’t go to Reading or Leeds. Take pictures at Leeds Jacki! Please!)

Yes/No Show with those guys from X Men

I first saw a GIFset of one of the questions on Tumblr, then the video popped up on the YouTube suggestions and it’s funnier with the accent. This probably isn’t available on CD. Whatever.

Blog Stuff and a Minor Rant About ‘Blurred Lines’

2 Jul

‘Sup snowflakes. I’m going to write a poem about hayfever. I’ll print it out on fancy paper and sell it on Etsy with links to tissue manufacturers.

Anyway I have to stop discussing illness here. Maybe I’ll start a whole new blog for it, just a little Tumblr or something. Like the one Jay made. Don’t read it if you’re under the age of 16. Actually I’d better work on current blogs first – the sidebar here is doing my head in because since WP stopped hosting the theme it’s been twice as tricky to customise links. I want cute and glittery things with pictures! But I don’t want to pay $30 for a WP upgrade! Because I don’t have $30! I’m seriously looking into merchandise options for here since it’s the five year anniversary really soon (I know) and it’d be nice to have something to celebrate. I’d also love to do a giveaway, but since I can’t afford merch to start with I think it’ll have to wait a while… I was thinking of using this place to make things – what would you guys like as designs or potential products? What’s your price range? I’m asking because you’re the people who’d be buying it!

Speaking of blogs, I’m going to put this documentary on The Webways soon. You should watch it and not just because I’m in it talking really fast.

Speaking of crazy fans, I just realised that I should probably update the Sherlock countdown since they have actually announced a new series… I was enjoying trying to maximise the timespan, my aim was to have it count down millennia…

I also feel like I should tell you guys that at my school prom the other night my friends and I were all “yeahhh dancing!!” then Blurred Lines came on and we were all “ewww bye!!” I have honestly never seen so many people simultaneously leave a dancefloor, it was almost good and almost as good as this. Yuck.

Okay I swear I had something else fun to say but since I can’t remember it I’m off to work on The Webways/write about hayfever.

The Six O’Clock News: Some Old Commentary on New News

20 Jun

I’m not sure whether it’s heyfever, a cold, exhaustion or sheer utter relief that I’m not in school any more (or maybe all four) but my eyes hurt and I can’t really remember how to type so I decided that instead of the News we should share bullshit news stories that are almost too weird to believe.

Unfortunately after two years of minimal commenting I am aware that maybe two people will respond so here is a video with unlikely pertinence to the ISIS shit that’s currently going down which is actually too depressing for me to write about before my eyeballs fall out. So Tim can say some stuff!

If I remember correctly he follows up that sketch with the Pope Song… can’t remember if that has any baring on current events so I’m going to see the dogs and maybe complain about football.

I mean really, it’s a ball game. Even I know that you’re supposed to score goals and stuff…

The Six O’Clock News: Smart Videos #2

30 May

Doing this on a superduper tight time limit so let’s just watch and enjoy – or not – these gems.

Thank you to Jacki for showing me this – it’s definitely made me think about public perception and domestic violence. I think it’s called the Kitty Genovese effect when nobody in a group helps an individual because they think someone else in the group should? I’m half-remembering Watchmen and last year’s psychology lessons, seriously, let me know if I’ve butchered science!

I haven’t heard the next one properly yet so if it’s bullshit and not just because of UKIP I do apologise, please let me know.

 

This isn’t news but I just saw it so let’s pretend it’s still Oscar season! Lupita for president of the world!

It’s kind of funny/depressing that white people in the UK are giving themselves cancer on sunbeds for a tan while tanned people are actually bleaching their skin. Citizens of the universe: the media is full of crap so ignore it and please wear sunscreen. Love, Francesca xxx

Moving Image Appreciation Post #6

5 May

All we need is YouTube, ladies and gents. That’s it. Ever.

The Chainsmokers – #SELFIE PARODY (by The Midnight Beast)

If I ever get bored by The Midnight Beast, please quietly remind me of this video. Is it a parody of another song? I usually can’t tell (and I think I’m in these guys’ demographic, haha)…

Dumb Ways to Die

Maxim showed me this and I think it might have been a big deal a couple of years ago? 

Woa. Plot twist. I have a feeling that this is like Canvas Bags in that I will hum it whenever I’m near a train.

Axis of Awesome – What Would Jesus Do?

This one counts as Religious Studies revision.

Last but not least…

10 Chick Flick cliches you will NOT see in He’s Just Not That Into You

Watching this is now on my “shit to do in summer” list. Someone on Tumblr noted that at no point do any of the guys pretend to be women, the realisation of which makes watching the whole thing a second time twice as joyous.

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