The Wire 2010/2011

Here’s a selection of work I have had published in The Wire across the academic year.

I’ve specialised in mainly column pieces.

06/03/11 Comment on Male Comics

28/03/11 Comment on waitress tipping

28/03/11 News story about excessive coffee outlets on campus.

Download the PDF’s here:

Why are male comedians funnier?

Here’s an insider tip – head to California

Stir Crazy

Hint Of Vintage – A Long Island Ice Tea Party

With a Hint Of Vintage, Bournemouth’s Event Management students successfully sauntered through their charity night. Thursday 24th March saw the second years put on a fabulously glamorous evening all in aid of the Wessex Autistic Society. The theme was set as “A Vintage tea party with a modern twist” with classic girly treats such as free designer cupcakes certainly proving popular with the charity supporters.

Half price cocktails gave the Sex and The City glamour to the evening as guests perused the array of retro clothing provided by local vintage stores; Jukebox Vintage ClothingCherilyn LeesonBeau,ClobberVintage Per Sempre and more.

Stalls with photographers, sweets and raffle prizes were held for guest donations alongside live acoustical music performed delicately by Flick White, keeping the crowds frolicking about the dance floor.

By the end of the evening no one left empty-handed as the girls had thoughtfully arranged Lush Goodie bags for all tea party goers to return home with. The finalised total donations to the Wessex Autistic Society is due to be announced this Monday.

Here is a couple of the photographs I took at Bar So. If you would like to see my full photostream, have a peek at my Flickr.

BBC Visit with Rory Cellan-Jones – 5th March 2011

  • 5AM start.
  • 2 hours of bus travel (with several sneaky dozes
  • 10 minutes of blatant London underground inexperience pointing at tube maps & working ticket machines
  • Arrival time 10:00AM to get to the BBC Television Centre and a cheeky visit to see Mr Cellan-Jones

Hopefully now I’ve updated you on the vital statistics of my journey I could tell you in a bit more detail about my day. Luckily since meeting Rory Cellan-Jones and Peter Page, it would seem I had made a good enough first impression for another encounter. Sadly Peter was out on a job during the visit… but a few other faces appeared during the visit which kept me and Miss Caroline Scott amused.Since the Unplugged experiment in October last year I had planned to go up the studios in an acceptable form of stalking the BBC crew back to their base. I hadn’t really thought about what it was I wanted to do exactly when I got there, as work experience is off the cards (Damn you official BBC work experience page).  I’d done the public tour before, but as expected you were following official routes designated for the general public which although fun for the first time – wasn’t anything exclusive I could write home about.

I should perhaps interject that I asked Caroline to join me after she too had worked with Rory and Peter during the filming so rather than be entirely selfish and keep this treat for my own glory she sensibly came along too.

One thing, which is probably not at all surprising but did lead me to the conclusion that any kind of great escape during the public visit to wander around the beeb and bump into any familiar journalistic face would not have worked. We had to be personally assisted through security. Even within the building the amount of time key fob swiping that happened at all but every door confirmed by Rory that you would almost certainly get stuck in a random corridor in the middle of the centre – not a glamorous collision with Fiona Bruce.

We began the visit to Rory’s department, business & technology, and sat in on the morning meeting. I say sat, the meeting was a gathering on one side of the room all standing and putting forward what everyone had busy doing. I’ll be honest in that I was envisioning a meeting room with a lot more of a formal aspect – seeing as previous local newspaper work experience had entailed.

From here, we were led around the office meeting people from 5live, the online crew, then visited BBC World Service, saw News 24 being recorded live, and ending up watching the 1 O’Clock news go out whilst sitting in the Gallery. This was a particular highlight as it was interesting watching the ridiculous amount of screens ranging from VT’s ready to air, live correspondents in Libya, Wales and the Isles of Scilly, and rival broadcasters. The last-minute changes and even removal of stories even during the broadcast and problems with sound could without doubt become an extremely stressful but exciting environment, 1 O’Clock being notoriously most difficult bulletin to work on.

From here, I think Caroline’s favourite part for sure; we took a detour from News spur to the entertainment side of the centre. The BBC studios are often hired out to other production companies so along seeing (**SPOILER ALERT!**) Two Pints Of Larger and A Packet Of Crisps being filmed, we saw a run through of Celebrity Juice, the set for Channel Four’s Ten O’Clock Live, and the massive main studio used for shows such as Strictly Come Dancing.

Finally, we grabbed a bite to eat at The Club which Rory kindly paid for (thank you again if you do get a chance to read this), and then a dash back to Victoria.

We then had a little play with the Weather’s green screen, including Rory! As you can see from the pictures, we aimed to be as professional as possible.Funnily enough whilst looking lost and panicked after exiting Victoria underground at a different exit to the nearer coach station one, I forgot I still had the BBC visitor tag pinned to my top. So in a rushed state I had a Big Issue calling ‘Hey BBC Lady, wanna buy a Big Issue?’ bringing even more attention to the fact that I didn’t really know where I was going.

A day very much enjoyed! Saw a few famous faces like Kate Silverton and Gabby Logan. I would have loved to have been able to have popped into ZDF like I had planned – but time escaped and I think it’s a perfectly good excuse for another visit.

Any Tips? February 20th 2011

Is it fair to give tips? Should we be made to feel that if decide not to tip we may risk a poorer quality of service? Charlotte Gay peers into the world of tipping.

I used to be a waitress – chances are I’ll be one once again this summer. It’s not the best paid job but one benefit to this part-time work is the tips. Extra money just for me doing my job? Thank you very much.

Unlike other jobs, waiting and bar work are standard areas of service where workers can be paid extra money for their services. I would like to say that this is for particularly outstanding work, that the employee had gone out of their usual way to be of help to someone. Yet this doesn’t seem to be the case.

But it’s not just when you’re feeling like eating somewhere a bit classier than heading to the local chippy. Tips jars are becoming common place. You’ve all seen them, and they seem to crop up in the most bizarre places now. For example, it is very often seen as customary to give tips to taxi drivers… does this mean I now have to stash back even more of my alcohol fund on nights out to give to my taxi driver for already expensive taxis?

“I thought I’d already paid you!”

Maybe it is just what I’ve grown up believing but it seems wrong giving money to someone just for the sake of feeling socially awkward if I don’t pay. When looking at why we tip, they usual reasons are obvious but there some people have even handed over extra cash to improve their service. Does this mean people pay before they’re even attended? The mind boggles…

The etiquette of tipping (or to give a gratuity) is fairly vague here in the UK. It’s generally not seen as needed as say a pub, but at bars and restaurants a figure around 10% is the norm. These charges aren’t expected as it varies from place to place. In London and many European countries a service charge is actually attached to the bill. For instance countries such as Brazil attach a suggested ‘service charge’ for customers to pay… so now we’ve been charged for dinner and you’re recommending how much we give you? You can refuse to pay this. But let’s be honest who wants those kinds of moments on your conscience? Surely we shouldn’t be made to feel guilty like this?

Saying all this, I do not mean to offend. So if I am on holiday and it is the done thing to give tips to the staff who has served you – I’m not going to defy their culture (although the staff that just carry you bags… really? You want to be rewarded for that?)

In Japan it is seen as weird and even offensive to give someone a tip, and some states in America, such as California, have even out right banned it! Tipping is illegal in California – who’da thunk it?

Under ‘basic issues of fairness’, 2009 saw the law round up the loop holes where employers were paying their staff partly in the gratuities they received. This was all agreed to be wrong but another reason why people tip is because waiting is seen as a poorly paid profession… This reason I find interesting because as a waitress I can confirm the pay… well let’s just say I won’t be retiring on It any time soon. So for someone to outwardly recognise this is quite unusual for them then to feel the need to be the person who fills this gap.

I just think that the logic behind it is wrong. If someone was above the standards the customer thinks they have paid for then great – quids in. But you are paying someone who stood around talking to theirfriends, texting on their phone and generally unconcerned of your evening – is that right to reward them?

For more of an insight into the world of waitressing why not read some waitressing stories

Chess Boxing – January 22nd 2011

Seeing as I discovered a large amount of unwanted time had been dumped upon my hands I thought I might as well Google this epic sounding new form of sport.

Chess Boxing. Does what it says on the tin. Skilled chess players take to the ring to begin a quick round of chess before the board is shoved to one side and the opponents start punching each other for three minutes. when this time is up the pair then return to their original civil behaviour and resume their game of chess.

This may sound like a total bizarre mash-up of two completely different sports… and although yes I cannot deny that it is… it is brilliantly entertaining to see how the players start the slowly decrease in any chessing talent they may have begun their day with and start making easier mistakes and slowing right down.

This is an official world sport. Not just something some bored buff chess players decided after arguing over where someone put their bishop.

The you-tube video I watched the last tournament in German’s 2008’s championship, apparently in an old train workshop.Being of course an international sport, just like say the football or rugby world cup, the game warms up with a good old sing-song of their national anthems.

The first contenders is a nineteen year old Russian maths student, who isn’t half bad at boxing and his partner a Berlin Policeman who is currently the world champion chess boxer! The pair begin their little game of chess sat on stalls in the center of the ring to begin their first round. Each man has his boxing gear all on (except of course their gloves although would that make an interesting higher level of difficulty?)

If this alone is not a weird looking scenario then wait till you hear that the pair also wear massive oversized head phones to block out the commentator and crowds distracting ‘oooo’s and ahhhhh’s’.

But as soon as these four minutes are up the pair engage in their first round of boxing.

So on and so forth the game carries on until the ends with this new coming youngster whipping the champion by stealing his queen and the supposed world champ quits there. In more perhaps visual interesting games, the winner is decided by whoever knocks out the other player too – a bit more familiar to the standard game of Boxing.

So if you fancy having a game of chess boxing the rules are simple. So go for it. Why not.

I think the best mental image I could have of this sport would be combining champions of the worlds of boxing and worlds of chess, some Napoleon Dynamite character against Frank Bruno…..

SpeakEasy – December 9th 2010

Public Speaking is hard but I still try to do my best at it. When I was younger I used to always enter in the talent competitions on typical British holiday park vacations. Regardless of the fact that the sort of talents I possessed didn’t really fall into the usual all singing and dancing variety, I would still get on stage. Usually disguised under the pretense that I was doing (N.B terrible) stand up comedy, I wouldn’t be totally surprised if it was the beginning of my attention seeking ways that would be later satisfied by radio presenting.

Later stumbling over my words as chairman for the local Rotary Club youth speaks – I noted I think I need a bit of private practice before my ability matched my persistence.

SO. Five years later – I returned to the public speaking platform. There were things that had not changed – I still had no idea what to talk about and fell back onto comedy once more. Admittedly more of a critique, and with less cracking of a nervous voice. I’d like to think it gave people a point to ponder on but you can make you mind up on this one.

Tell me who your favourite comedian is. Is it Russell Brand? Jimmy Carr? Dara O’Briain?

I think there seems to be a pattern here… Where are all the women? This is a question that often bemuses me. It strikes me as odd that we live in a society which appears to be overruled with male comics. Don’t get me wrong I love them! I can’t get enough of Michael McIntyre’s mockery slash adoration of the middle classes, Lee Evan’s frantic explosions and even the scandalous verbal slips that leave Frankie Boyle’s Scottish tongue. Still when I type into Amazon ‘comedy DVD’ and I can officially tell you no women will be seen in their ‘relevant’ list.

Yet, I can honestly announce that I have friends both female and male who are equally funny yet there is some sort of a keys step missing between this level and that of stand-up comics. This thought first occurred to me when a friend of mine back in school announced ‘Men are always funnier than women – FACT!” I tried to defend our lady kind but unfortunately my lack of substantial evidence of comedians proved my argument to be lack somewhat in credibility. This annoyed me (I’d say a 50/50 split between my beliefs and my stubborn attitude which doesn’t like to be beaten) so perhaps I took this thinking a bit too far, or at least I knew my friend had stopped caring by the time I came up with my logical conclusion and here it is:So why is it that these men get national sell out gigs and television appearances? Whilst the most I can find for someone like Catherine Tate was the odd tired half laugh Either way, surely in this day and age women can be just as funny as men?

Women are not as successfully funny than men because it is a seen as unfeminine.

It has been said that stand-up comedy needs a degree of machismo, clear self-assertion and even aggressiveness. All elements typically associated with men. Apparently there is also a rumour that woman have a higher ‘fear of failing’ – pft! I wouldn’t say that. But my point still remains that women have to choose between how they want to be seen by others and how much they are willing to put up with being seen as a bit ‘blokey’. For instance, probably one of the most successful British female stand up’s is Jo Brand (you may not agree but just bear with me a second). Can you honestly say that Jo Brand tries to appeal to men through her femininity – this may at first seem like a harsh thing to say but Jo herself has easily and often commented that she is not trying to represent what the western world calls beauty (whether that is ‘right’ is a completely different discussion). But this is exactly it. With self-deprecating humour she no longer becomes a target for hecklers but someone who is appreciated for the jokes she entertains us with.

It appears that women have to adopt male attributes in order to become ‘funny’. Joan Rivers’ material can be pretty crude and as result gets that label – yet being a fan of some

of Frankie Boyle’s work doesn’t make his female audience crude does it? I suppose my studies in sociology seem to have created a feminist argument – not one I have intentionally started! Trust me sociology is not a fun subject! But to summarise I guess what I am saying is that women can be funny look at Josie Long and Sarah Silverman. It just seems a shame that there is a trend for women to act more male to get a laugh. I’m waiting for those under the radar females to prove to us girls we’re just as funny.


Flash Mob. November 20th 2010

What’s a Flash Mob? They sprung up in 2003 are most likely known from that little known TV ad by T Mobile . The first flash mob was organised in Manhattan by Bill Wasik, senior editor of Harper’s Magazine. I believe Urban Dictionary gives the best definition:

“Flashmobs, group who are likely less than 1 degree of separation from each other meet up and attempt to get the media to pay attention, before going back to their subversive blogs.”

Just like to point it doesn’t relate 100% to my experience – but a humorous definition if not. I joined in this mini flash mob in trying to show Pepe Jeans Brand Ambassadors my keen-ness for the brand – ehm – free jeans for a year…
I think for it to have been considered more successful a larger following would have been required, however back in the hazy days of Freshers Fair I thought ‘hmm a bit of promotion for jeans – I think I can bring my level down to that’
Unfortunately my shameless self promotion did not result in free jeans – next year maybe eh? Either way, this is our flash mob. We quite simply disturbed the peace of Bournemouth town center by causing a stand still in the high street… confused? Watch the video above and have a peek at our little experiment.

Tackling Light Pollution in Bournemouth

This is my next television package. It’s a bit longer at 1’33” and covers the issues of Light Pollution.

Filmed in Bournemouth, I can confess I got a lot of weird looks for being that girl who was filming the street lights in Winton.

I will update this if I get a first… If I don’t get a fantastic grade I may stay quiet.

Aimhigher Scrapped

Why not have a gander at my first television package it’ll be about 50 seconds of your time well spent.

It’s about the Aimhigher funding cuts but delightfully voiced over with a slight cold – my highest apologies – but I got a first for it which makes me pretty happy.

Feedback would still be great though.

Following this, Aimhigher asked me to create a short video documentary on what Aimhigher did, how people have felt it has enriched their lives, and reasons why similar work should be continued.