Monday, 22 August 2011

Are You Campaigning?

Rachael Harrie over at Rach Writes is running her Platform Building Writer's Campaign, starting this month. I took part in the prvious incarnations of this (as the Crusdade) and I'm considering joining again this time round.

Getting round the 200-odd blogs that were participating last time was just too much for me, and I did neglect my fellow Crusader in my group as well. I'm wondering if it's a bit cheeky of me to sign up to this while I'm on a schedule hiatus from the blog, and working on the chapter. I'm also on an officicial holiday, the kind where I get to fly away from the UK, for two weeks in September and will be cutting it fine for participation in the all important challenges that month.

All of that said, I read more blogs and wrote more, blog-wise and novel-wise, while taking part in the Campign and it should be a good warm up for NaNoWriMo* in November. A lot of you out there got to the blog through the first two Campiagns and mny of the blog I follow were discovered the same way. So will you be Campaigning this autumn? How did you choose your Campainger group, and how do you plan on staying in touch with everyone? Do you think that this is an unashamed scramble for for followers(on my part, not yours)**?

*Disclaimer: still not 100% decied that I'm taking part in that either. You can though. Sign up for NaNoWriMo here and the Campaign here.
** It isn't that. Well, it mostly isn't anyway. 

Thursday, 18 August 2011


The post title has nothing to do with me going anywhere, but the fact that I've lost a few followers recently. It's not too much of a surprise considering the distinct lack of updating on my part, but it's always a shame to see people go.

I've been very absent from the blogosphere, both in terms of updates and comments, and I'm feeling a bit guilty about it. What is the point in the blog, after all, if I'm not writing anything? Well, according to the -currently-on-hold blogging schedule, Wednesday is an anything goes day, so here goes...

I'm sitting in the student union just now waiting on my supervisor to continue ripping apart reviewing my current chapter together. It's my theory overview chapter, and I'm itching to shelf it and move on to the bit where I actually get to analyse some literature, and not agonise over the intricacies of some inconsistent old man's thoughts on myth. I'm not gonna get to until the end of the month, when I have to hand the chapter in to the review panel. I'll get to move on for a bit until the progress review panel of other Professors from the school where I'll no doubt get more (contradictory) suggestions and have to revise the damn thing again.

I do make it sound like this is my first time receiving feedback on my own writing. Its really not, and I'm under no illusions about the quality and clarity of my writing, but I really do feel like this is lasting forever. I can't believe that it's taken me a whole year to write less than 10,000 words. How on earth am I supposed to get 100,000 in the next two?

Another blog post in which I bemoan something. Bound to get the followers flocking back, huh? Self-pity really isn't attractive.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Riots, Social Networks and the Media Response

 Before I start I would like to point out that I in no way support the actions of those looters and arsonists in London, and the growing list of towns and cities in England. This may have started as a responce to the circumstances surrounding the police shooting of Mark Duggan, however I believe that looters with rooms full of shoe boxes have little to do with the legitimate protest march to Tottenham Police Station to publicise objections to the IPCC conduct in the enquiry into the shooting.
In the wake of plummeting stock markets, austerity cuts, an  wealth gap, record high inflation rates, record low insurance rates and then perhaps the reaction from those facing the worst of this recession is not as incomprehensible as at first glance. The Guardian.

"Combine understandable suspicion of and resentment towards the police based on experience and memory with high poverty and large unemployment and the reasons why people are taking to the streets become clear." Nina Powers, 

Growing materialism and the widening gap between the richest and the poorest of this country has, I believe, as much to do with the reaction of those predominantly young people in London and elsewhere. In our materialist society those who 'have not' seized on the opportunity to level the playing field. Like the riots that escalated from the student protests last year, any legitimate issue with the government or society has been lost.  

Critical focus from the media and the police on the use of social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, and through Blackberry Messenger to coordinate the rioting strikes me as hypocritical in light of the very different reaction to Egypt's rioting and the subsequent banning of Twitter by the government there. Nonetheless this change of opinion from UK news reporters is something we have come to expect.

In saying this publicly and openly, perhaps even playing 'citizen journalist', I run the risk of being called an apologist. I am saddened by bother the damage and violence from the rioters, who are no longer protesters and haven't been for some time now. I am just as saddened by the calls I hear from people here, far away from the damage and devastation in London, for stronger police tactics, water cannons, rubber bullets or bringing in the Army against children aged 14-17.

"The time to 'hug a hoodie' is over ... it's time to get tough." BBC News, 14.19, 09/08/11

This should be a wake-up call, but I fear it will be dismissed as mindless mob violence and not the product of far reaching social issues. Criminals should be brought to justice, and another generation of the disadvantaged poorer class will be sentenced to institutionalised criminality while those people truly hurt in these riots, the shop owners and communities, will not receive that justice.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Quick Post: Free Books Competition

Just a super quick post to say that I'm entering Lisa M Potts' 1st Blogoversary Baker's Dozen Giveaway and that you still have  few days to enter too. She's giving away a fantastic selection of books, so get your entry in before 3rd August (that's Wednesday) for a chance to win.