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e17 storywalk

November 3, 2013 6 comments

As part of the Words Over Waltham Forest literary festival currently being held, there was an E17 Storywalk event yesterday.

Over two hours an audience visited six venues in Walthamstow and at each they heard a short story created especially to feature the place where they were standing, read out by the story’s author.  the walk was free, but voluntary donations of a suggested £5 were collected for Lloyd Park Children’s Centre.

A couple of weeks ago, one of the authors unfortunately dropped out, and I was aksed whether I’d be interested in taking their place. Rather nervously, I agreed – my reasons at the time purely being to help the group out (of which I only knew one) rather than for myself.

The venue that I was given was Lot One Ten – a curious little antique shop less than five minutes walk from my flat.  Due to current personal time constraints, I literally had about three to four hours to write my story, which I did last Saturday.  So, that was the main obstacle out of the way.

However, the thought of reading my own work out to a group of strangers absolutely terrified me. I tried it out on my lovely mate – but I know he would have said it was good even if he thought it was crap!  I didn’t get a wink of sleep the night before, and woke up a bit sniffly, which didn’t help at all.

It also didn’t help that the others reading their stories out were all ‘writers’ – unlike me!

Filled with trepidation, I wandered down to the library where the walk was due to start.

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Reading my story, with the other writers, my venue and the poster

The authors and venues were:

Each group had about 20 in the audience – and it was especially cosy on my one – but we fit everyone in.

The other five stories were fantastic, and I think we all relaxed after the morning group as the readings felt even stronger the second time round.

Poor Ken gave himself the short straw as his was the only outdoors venue. The first time round we were ambushed by a drunk piss-drenched Polish guy who demanded a tenner off the group to make him leave us alone. Luckily he was convinced to leave us alone without getting a tenner!  I’d like to think that it enhanced the colourful atmosphere of Ken’s story.  The scond time round it started raining pretty heavily and the wind really picked up – literally JUST for the time that Ken was reading.

All other readings were pretty uneventful in comparison!

I hope that anyone who did come enjoyed it – unexpectedly, once I’d resigned myself to the fact that I was actally there and just had to get on with it, I really, really enjoyed myself. And I met a great bunch of people, which helps! I’d totally be up for something like that again.

Paekakariki Press are printing a booklet featuring all six stories in the next 2-3 weeks, which some of our audience have already ordered. I’m very excited about this as I see it as my first instance of being ‘published’.

I must say, although he originally got me into this, I couldnt have done it without Simon’s help. He waded in and helped edit my brain-dump first draft and was brilliant at it!

So, despite my fears, it was a brilliant experience – what next?!!?

leave our trolls alone

August 6, 2013 Leave a comment
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Awww, look at the ickle troll!

Since the media uproar about the whole ‘Twitter abuse scandal’ (which I wont validate with an explanation as this is not my point here!), the term ‘troll’ has been used incessantly.

In fact, just this morning, BBC Breakfast asked the question on their Facebook page:  “What do you think needs to be done to tackle Twitter trolls? At 0720 we’ll speak to a senior police officer about threats and abuse on the social network.”

Now, I have been ‘social networking’ on internet sites for about 20 years (Yahoo! Chat anyone?) and I am fed up with seeing ‘troll’ used in this way.

An entry on the ever amusing Urban Dictionary sums up how normal internet users view a troll:

1a. Noun

One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.

1b. Noun

A person who, on a message forum of some type, attacks and flames other members of the forum for any of a number of reasons such as rank, previous disagreements, sex, status, ect.

A troll usually flames threads without staying on topic, unlike a “Flamer” who flames a thread because he/she disagrees with the content of the thread.

1c. Noun

A member of an internet forum who continually harangues and harasses others. Someone with nothing worthwhile to add to a certain conversation, but rather continually threadjacks or changes the subject, as well as thinks every member of the forum is talking about them and only them. Trolls often go by multiple names to circumvent getting banned.

For example, on our local newspaper website, there have been a number of stories over the years about the campaign to save our local cinema.  There is a troll on the site currently calling himself ‘Cornbeefur’ that flames on almost every story, but especially anything to do with the cinema campaign, using the same language all the time, mentioning people dressed as ‘darleks’ (sic) etc because he KNOWS that it is going to get a rise out of all the people that have been passionately supporting a campaign that he doesn’t consider worthwhile.

That is a troll, and I have to admit, I have trolled in the past.  I would be surprised if the majority of people that spend a long time on the internet haven’t trolled at some stage.  Have you never been contrary just to annoy someone whose views you don’t agree with? (especially those that you don’t know, so don’t necessarily care about their feelings).

So, now that there have been high-profile online abuse cases (forget all the internet abuse that has come before that, they weren’t marginally famous feminists, and therefore unimportant), the media are branding these people trolls.  They are not trolls, they are online abusers.

Although trolls aren’t fluffy, they are rather amusing if you can get out of your own arse long enough to see them for what they really are.  Threatening and abusive people are not really funny (although often blockable) they are exactly what they are.

Don’t take away our trolls BBC and other media.  Learn what social media is, accept what a troll really is, and report criminal harassment and abuse for what it is instead of making the internet (and especially Twitter) out to be some out of control crime-fest to those who don’t use it and have never intended to!

PS – this post is not intended as trolling.

a disgrace to my gender?

February 25, 2013 6 comments
I'm All For Girl Power!

I’m All For Girl Power!

I know that by posting something like this I am prone to open myself up for attack, but I am genuinely interested in hearing the ‘other side’ of my argument on this subject.

I don’t understand women-only groups.

I am quite loud online (I hate the word ‘prolific’ – I just think of myself as being noisy), I have met quite a lot of people in various circles.  Although I suffer from chronic shyness (ARGH! STRANGER DANGER!!), I have found that a swift couple of vodkas and a huge deep breath (and probably a little too much laughing) gets me through these initial meetings, and I then really enjoy myself, and love meeting such a wide variety of people.

Due to me spending so much time online, and often meeting people in ‘real’ life, I seem to be invited along to quite a lot of stuff.

Today is a case in point.  I received four email invites today.  One for a local group, one for a blogging group and two for general networking / ‘thought platform’ (??) opportunities.

And each one of these four was for a women-only group.  So, I wont be going to any of them.

I like women, I think they’re great.  I do think that in certain areas they seem to be over-shadowed by men or not taken quite as seriously, but I honestly believe that women-only groups in these situations serve not to empower women, but to prove that they ARE different to men.  They highlight the differences rather than proving the similarities.

I’m not saying that there should be no women-only groups at all – I can understand groups where women want to talk / act freely, especially for religious or cultural reasons, but for example one of the group meetings I was invited to today is supposedly to give women a stronger voice in media roles and has many ‘prolific’ women speakers.

Surely women already think that they need a stronger voice, so you’re kind of preaching to the converted.  Wouldn’t it be better all round if all of those women were just meeting with a group of people working within the media (apparently including bloggers I’m guessing, otherwise I have no idea why I was invited!) whether they are male or female?

If there is some kind of re-education about gender equality needed, then why aren’t the men being included in this?

Perhaps I am completely missing the point, but then I have never even seen the point of ‘girls nights in/out’ either.  As far as I’m concerned, if I fancy a party, I want to ask my friends along.  that may turn out to be all girls just due to circumstance, but I have never felt the need to seclude them from proceedings.

Come on – I would love it if someone could really tell me why I am so very very wrong on this matter.  I am totally for girl power (I’m in no way an anti-feminist) – but I’m all for boy power as well – if they’ve got what it takes!

the twitter diaries – imogen lloyd webber & georgie thompson

The Twitter Diaries

Seeing as Twitter has been around for almost 6 years now, I guess it is hardly surprising to find a book almost entirely composed of tweets between two people.  In fact, it is probably more of a surprise that it has taken this long – although I am not altogether sure that it’s the first…it is just the first that I have come across!

The Twitter Diaries begins on New Year’s Eve when a society party in New York held by Peter Mignon enables is the setting for a meeting of 30-something Brits Stella Cavill (wannabe shoe designer to the stars) and Tuesday Fields (sports reporter).

When Tuesday returns home to London, they start tweeting regularly as @StellaCavill and @TuesdayFields (the book was released on 21st May, and the accounts have been active since then).

Over the next 365 days, they talk about everything – love, life, their careers, family and pop culture.

This should be totally up my street – I am an avid tweeter after all (22,000 and counting!) and in the main, it was fun, light, frothy stuff.

However, there were a few little niggles I had.  Eg:  EVERYTHING was done by Direct Message…so in theory, not exactly tweeting.  And considering it was all done by DM, there were a fair amount of Retweets (RT) going on, which you can’t do within a DM.  It would just be a standard cut and paste.

Also, there was a lot of stuff about existing tweeting brands, which (as I am not a celeb-follower or a brand guru, I didn’t particularly get).  There was also a lot made of a twitter feud between Peter Mignon (@PM_TV) and @LordTw1tter which I assume is Piers Morgan and Lord Sugar – especially as the authors were introduced to each other by Piers Morgan!  (And yes, if you were wondering from one of the authors’ names, she IS his daughter!)

As I said – light, frothy and very ‘now’…especially as the year it’s set in I believe is 2012, and we’re not even halfway through it yet.

This isn’t a new idea by any means.  I remember the small trilogy Chat, Connect and Crash by Nan Mccarthy that came out in 1998 about two people who had met in a chat room, and then of course there are countless email-based books – probably one of my early favourites was E by Matt Beaumont in 2000.

But this is an enjoyable enough summer read, that you could speed through in hardly any time at all – and then follow the main characters on Twitter!

my day, by twitter

January 12, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s been a funny old day – and I only realised when I popped onto my blog page and noticed my Tweets stripped down excluding any with mentions in them.

This has apparently been my day – there must be something in my water…

My tweets today!

However, i DO still think that I’m funny. Just occasionally!

the world through my eyes (part 2)

September 13, 2011 4 comments

Further to my previous post, here is another time that my (lack of) height always becomes an issue – in an ‘audience’.

This is my view of David Lammy MP last night at the House of Commons.

Just a teeny-weeny bit of David Lammy was visible to me!

Luckily, his voice carried incredibly well – which is good, because he had some good stuff to say about the riots, what had obviously happened in his constituency, some lovely words about what we had all achieved etc.

By the time Yvette Cooper came to speak to us, I had managed to move forward.  But to be quite honest, I think I would’ve preferred to hear David Lammy speak a bit more 😉

I could see almost ALL of Yvette Cooper! (ooer)

(PS – although this was in the House of Commons, I do NOT want to get into any political discussion (hate it!) this is purely meant to be about my literal view point, not my political one!) 😀

making life just that little bit sweeter

August 19, 2011 4 comments

We were on the front page of yesterday's local paper (and yes, I AM in the pic)

I mentioned in a previous post about the fantastic work that was happening at the St Mary’s Respite Centre and Pop-Up Canteen in Walthamstow for weary and hungry policemen 🙂

I went along Weds, Thurs, Fri and Sunday.  I meant to go in on Monday & Tuesday this week (which was the last day it ran) but with everything that happened on Monday, I had actually just shut myself away and cried for two days solid!

I enjoyed every single minute that I was there – it was a fantastic opportunity to show the police how much the work that they do is appreciated, and to feel that we had managed to do something so good that it felt like it made up for the attrocities of the looters.

There was one two-hour stretch on Friday evening where we managed to serve about 250 hot meals to various police officers – including riot squad, dog unit and street pastors…the place was absolutely buzzing!

On Sunday, we put out a Tweet for more cake (police can get through a LOT of cake – as per this BBC article that our centre was mentioned in but not named).  Every time a tweet for supplies was put out, we would get innundated with donations really quickly, so it came as a bit of a surprise when over an hour later we still hadn’t really received any cakes.  It became obvious WHY pretty soon after that though – that was the time it had taken locals to BAKE the cakes!!

Some of the vast array of homemade cakes on Sunday

Oh no, no Mr Kiplings for OUR coppers, they get homemade lemon drizzle cake, malteaser cake, lemon polenta cake, apple muffins with fresh cream, blueberry muffins, aubergine cake, beautiful little cupcakes with E17 iced onto them.  THAT was why there was a delay!

Cops love cakes!

It’s been a totally uplifting experience – and I am in complete awe of the people who put so much work into it, rushing around handing out food and serving the police and generally giving a massive morale boost to everyone they came into contact with – so a special mention to Dean, Wifey, Frances, Jess, Faye, Carolyn, Mel, Ali, Ann-Marie, Amy and Hannah who were amazing! (I know I’ve probably missed someone important out, but I am emotionally-crippled at the moment, and I’m sure I will be let off!)

We also made the front page of the local Waltham Forest Guardian, which was nice!

And finally to just part of our amazing wall of thanks from the police.

Thanks to the people of Awesomestow

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