Showing posts from December, 2011

A Visit To The Smiling Coast

The Gambia

This month I took my first trip to the motherland, opting to holiday in the West African country of The Gambia; also known as the smiling coast, The Gambia is the smallest country in the African continent, though it surely does not lack any slender or rich history.

A former British colony, Gambia played an important role in the slave trade; the River Gambia was used as a hub for the exportation of African slaves, first controlled by the Portuguese from 1456 then by the British in 1661.
Gambia won its independence from the British in 1965 and has since been relatively political stable.

The country is filled with happy and friendly locals, with my coach transfer to and from the airport greeted with kind waves from the local people.
Tourism is said to be Gambia's biggest industry, though I don't think this alone is the reason for their friendliness, I found the Gambia people to exhibit much pride in their country, culture and a contentment for their lifestyle.


The Lesser Of Two Evils: Britain's Distorted Versions Of History

Watching Bed Knobs and Broomsticks during the festive season, I couldn't help but realise Britain's obsession with the Nazis and World War II.
Not that I hadn't noticed this before nor is Bed Knobs and Broomsticks the only vintage family film to perpetuate an aggressively negative image of the German or Bavarian people, take Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and their made up country 'Vulgaria' whom the citizens all speak with German (type) accent.
I know only too well the acts of genocide preformed by Hitler’s army, not only am I reminded every year before and after Remembrance day in November, the subject also took up much of my secondary school history lessons, with the lesson ending with a 'must see' trip to France to what remains of the battle of the Somme battlefields. World War II is in fact a horrible piece of recent history, with an estimate of six million Jews killed in concentration camps under Hitler’s rule and often not mentioned that another four millio…

TV Review: Black Mirror, Channel 4

This must be one of the best TV offerings in a long time; I really enjoyed watching this show!
Produced by Charlie Brooker, the writer of E4's Dead Set, Black Mirror was a 3 part mini-series shown on Channel 4 that came to an end last night.

Black Mirror, not too dissimilar from the concept of the old TV show The Twilight Zone, took a satirical look at modern culture and offered up entertaining and thought provoking fictional events, some based in the future.
All episodes carried a 'moral of the story' using modern cultural concepts such as fame, social media and the advancement of technology.

The first episode and my favourite, was a political thriller were the British Prime Minster was put in a compromising position when a much loved member of the Royal family is kidnapped for a very creative and personally humiliating ransom - to have sex with a pig live on TV.
As far fetched as it may seem, it did encourage you to think 'what if?', maybe not so much seeing Dav…

TV Review: Class Dismissed, BBC 2

The BBC makes jokes about the class system in Britain.

Yesterday evening BBC2 aired the programme Class Dismissed, a one off comedy panel hosted by Frank Skinner discussing if the class system is still prevalent in Britain.
The comedian guest panel saw Mickey Flanagan, Roisin Conaty and Miles Jupp ridicule working class celebrities, perform joke skits and basically take the piss (excuse my French) out of a serious issue!

Between reading Owen Jones' book (Chav: The Demonization Of The Working Class) and watching this BBC offering, I really do not understand why the middle class are so quick at dismissing classism as a urban myth?
It's made clear to me every time I see the likes of David Cameron and other Conservative MP's on the TV that we are worlds apart, only differences being that I'm more conscious of the lifestyle they are exposed to, where as they are absolutely clueless as to how the other half live!
If that wasn't enough proof I need only visit any UK ci…

Book Review: To Die For Is Fashion Wearing Out The World? + Interview With Author

Environmentalist writer and journalist for the Guardian, Lucy Siegle explores the effect our 'throw away' culture has had on our attitudes towards consuming fashion and the destructive impact it has on the lives of those in the third world as well as the environment.
Siegle takes on the task of educating the average fashion consumer on the exploitive and destructive journey our clothes take in order to reach the shop shelves. Done with wit, Siegle dissects the fashion industry as a whole and scrutinises the product life cycle from design stage to the time we throw our clothes away, as well Siegle also provides antidotes of evaluating of her own imperfect wardrobe and teaches us how to read 'behind the label'.
Siegle begins with an accurate evaluation of our current fashion consumption habits and explains how globalisation and sourcing in Far East regions have bought about a fast fashion model. Not just a concept adopted by high street fashion, Siegle ident…

UK Fashion Industry Told To Stop Exploiting Interns

According to reports the HMRC has recognised the exploitation of interns in UK fashion houses and will in the New Year be issuing out penalties to those that exploit their interns for free labour.
Vogue online states that 102 British fashion houses that showed at London fashion week were notified by letter on the enforcements put in place, any fashion house found not complying will be fined and forced to back date interns pay.

As much as this is a triumph for struggling fashion students that currently work long hours and receive no pay while doing placements at some of the UKs biggest fashion houses, I have no doubt this will have a damaging effect on the industry as well as cause these fashion houses to limit the already very competitive internships they offer.

Reminiscing back to my days as a fashion student, I remember what a struggle it was to complete an unpaid fashion work placement, travelling to and fro in and around London wasn't cheap!
This was why taking placements at …