Sunday, 9 March 2014
Alright guys. I'm back. Tired, snotty, and with ears that feel as if they're clogged up with enough wax to supply a candle-making factory, but back all the same. And haven't you missed me. Now, as much as I'd love to give you the idea that I came back because my emotion towards you all was simply too strong, that is not quite the truth. You see, my friends get a little bit annoyed when I go on and on about politics, and you are a captive audience. I hope. I mean, you could technically stop reading this article but you don't want my broken heart on your conscience, do you? I thought not.
So anyways, what is it this time that has annoyed me? Well, to be honest, I think I’m justified this time. Because, as some of you may know, Uganda has just passed a bill that angers me when i even think about it. You see, anyone who LGBT could face a lengthy stay in prison, and homosexual sex and same-sex marriage can now mean that the couple live the rest of their lives in prison. It also means that those who help members of the LGBT community can face up to 7 years in prison.
Now, I don't think I even have to spell out for you why this is a problem. LGBT rights, quite simply, are Human rights, and any violation of these, to me, is just ridiculous. It is simply nonsensical to put people in prison for simply being themselves, and I see absolutely no excuse for making love illegal. Because, quite simply, that's what it is - Love. And whether its between two men, a man and a woman, or two women, it should be accepted.
Anyway, only a short one today I’m afraid but I am extremely tired!
P.S: Here is a petition against the bill
Sunday, 2 March 2014
I’ve been meaning to write this blog for a while and I’ve finally gotten round to it! You lucky, lucky people.
Now, for the past few weeks, I’ve been watching The Musketeers (which is excellent and on at 9pm tonight on BBC 1) and I have decided to let you all know who they are because I’ve been watching this for ages and I barely know myself.
I’m back from google-ing.
The Musketeers come from the French historical novel ‘The Three Musketeers’ by Alexandre Dumas in 1844. It is set in the 1600s where D’Artagnan (my favourite from the TV series) meets the three musketeers: Athos, Porthos and Aramis (who I always get confused, but who cares when D’Artagnan’s there). But, anyway even if you didn’t know their names (like me up until five minutes ago), I think everyone knows their motto “all for one and one for all” which was first put forward by D’Artagnan.
And don’t think that Dumas just made these people up, oh no, Dumas did very good research because these ‘musketeers’ were real. They were an “early modern type of infantry soldier equipped with a musket” as stated in my favourite, oh-so-reliable source; Wikipedia. However, there are some differences between what the TV show depicts and what actually happened. For example, in episode four, it shows them acting as body guards/ welcoming the Duke of Savoy, when really the musketeers were one of the lower units of the Royal Guard and would therefore have had little to do with the royal family. On the other hand, they did actually have those blue capes that you see occasionally in some of the episodes, but they had to wear them all the time as part of their uniform which they are obviously lacking in the photo above.
Overall, even though I am glad I now know all of their names, the only thing I have really achieved is 310 words and an hour of procrastination and counting... So I’m afraid that I’m going to have to leave all of you Musketeer fans here while I go and ‘do homework’ (i.e. even more procrastination).
Sunday, 23 February 2014
UN Security Council WebsiteOkay so it's after midnight, my laptop has 7% battery and I really should be sleeping, but I just made the most amazing discovery. After flicking through my 'The Week' magazine (which I would definitely recommend by the way) I decided to find out more about the UN's report on North Korea. Quite honestly, I did not except to find any sort of report or anything- I would have thought the UN would be relatively secretive about most of their documents etc and understandably so. But no! If you go on their website you can find letters, reports, minutes from their meetings- it's amazing!
There's just so much there and it's definitely worth looking through for information etc. Wow. Just wow. Whether or not they ever intervene in North Korea, there's at least one thing that the UN have done right. ED
Wednesday, 19 February 2014
Instead of going out with friends or doing my homework, today I decided to be very productive and stay in my onesie all day watching the 1977 adaptation of ‘The Prince and The Pauper’ from the historical novel by Mark Twain. It was actually pretty good and educational (wink, wink). I mean, apart from the fact Edward Tudor was nineteen years old instead of nine. But, as I am not a qualified historian, that didn’t bother me... well not too much anyway.
And I bet you can all guess what this blog is going to be about! Yes, Edward Tudor.
So now you lucky people are going to get five (hopefully interesting) facts about him:
- He was made King of England when he was nine (considering that I can barely make up my mind about what I want to eat and I’m six years older than him, I find that prospect very frightening, even if he did have advisors).
- He died when he was 15 (there’s not really any way to sugar coat this one, it’s sad but true).
- Despite the fact that his sisters were disowned for a short period, they were still quite close to him- Elizabeth gave Edward a “shirt of her own working” and I thought that was quite cute.
- He liked his step-mother, Catherine Parr, whom he referred to as his “most dear mother” (see, not all step-mothers are evil like in Cinderella).
- He could play the lute (for all of the musically inept like me, this is a string instrument that looks like either a small guitar or a big violin. You can see it below).
Overall, I feel that this shortish entry on Edward Tudor can be interpreted as something productive, so now I can just watch another film and eat Ben & Jerry’s Ice-cream instead of starting half term homework. All of Edward’s responsibilities have been stressing me out too much.
Tuesday, 11 February 2014
The History Department's trip to the First World War battlefields of Belgium will soon be taking place again, and we are particularly looking forward to it this year as it is the 100th Anniversary of the outbreak of the conflict.
Here is a link to the powerpoint used at the information evening last night which contains details on what to bring and what will take place on the trip. If you have any further queries do please get in touch with the History Department.
Keep an eye on the blog for further posts related to the trip and the centenary commemorations.
PS: Please note that the issues regarding ParentPay should now have been resolved. We apologise for any inconvenience that was caused.
Thursday, 6 February 2014
So why am I feeling so strongly about the Winter Olympics? I can tell you now, that it’s not excitement I feel towards events in Sochi. It's a very British annoyance (if I was to get 'angry', there’s a possibility of some tea-spillage. The thought gives me goose bumps.). Because, to be honest with you, I’m not a big fan of the Russian political environment right now. So here's a (not-so-short) list of the main reasons the 2014 Winter Olympics are annoying me like a wasp buzzing around your picnic on the only sunny day of the year.
1) Human Rights Issues
Basically, Putin has put in a series of laws that seem to undermine the right to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association in the run up to the Olympics - which are three of the Human Rights laws I hold most dear.
In short, property prices around Sochi have skyrocketed, not to mention the fact that these Olympics seem to be costing a lot of money that seems to go less into the Olympics, and more into the pockets of high-up Russian Officials
3) LGBT Rights Issues
Okay. So right or wrong, this is the issue that gets the most up my nose. The stance of the Russian Government on homosexuals, is that they are allowed to be gay (which is a right, not a privilege), as long as they don’t 'advertise their lifestyle'. You know, in case people suddenly get 'converted' to being gay, and then what would society do?! I also watched a really interesting programme on the Winter Olympics, in which the mayor of Sochi insisted that 'there were no gays in Sochi', before being informed of several Gay Clubs in the capital of Sochi.
What I find the most interesting about the Winter Olympics is that the corruption and blatant Human Rights abuses are as 'out there' as Louis Spence at a Gay Pride convention. Yet nobody seems to really be doing anything. So although one less television tuned into events in Sochi won't really make any difference, maybe it will inspire others to do the same. Because we have to do something...
Friday, 31 January 2014
'Guns don't kill people, people kill people' But they tend to find it a bit easier with a gun in their hand...
Anyways, amigos (noted that 'amigos' makes it sound like we're in a badly made Mexican film) it may come as a surprise but I have a gripe. I am using the word 'gripe' because I feel that it makes my unreasonable anger towards something that doesn't concern me seem slightly more trivial and slightly less... psychotic. In fact, if I call myself 'passionate', it doesn't sound quite as bad... does it?
Now, I speak as a Briton so I don't really have a grasp on culture across the ponds, although I have, of course, watched more than my fair share of badly made American sitcoms - if it hasn’t got Sandra Bullock in it, I’m not watching it. So maybe I’m being a bit dense (it wouldn't be the first time). And I understand that with the government, it's not as cut and dry as we'd all like it to be. But for god's sake, how many children have to die before something is done?
The brightest of you may have realised that I’m speaking about America’s gun laws. It is taking an incredible amount of self control to not just facesmash the keyboard in anger, so you should count yourself lucky that I'm actually going to the effort to form some sort of coherent sentence - it's more than I do in most lessons. But I’m going to level with you - Columbine, Virgina Tech, Dendermonde Nursery - all of these done by young people with relatively easy access to guns, and all of these causing unbelievable trauma and upset to everyone involved. These events are horrendous, and that is the only work for it. Reading about them makes me feel sick to the stomach, because the idea of a teenager getting to the point where they are prepared to kill innocent people... it just doesn’t quite sit right with me.
And I understand that the government can’t change the number of mentally ill teenagers - god knows the U.K probably has roughly the same amount of teens who would be willing to commit atrocities. But the U.K, thank goodness, doesn't have high-school/university shootings in the same way that America does. And I hate to be that girl who states the obvious, but the only startling different between the two countries is the gun laws.
Again, maybe I’m being simple, because I always tend to be - but surely it's a lot harder to shoot somebody if you don’t have a gun? I don’t know, maybe I’m being traditional. But if you tighten your regulations, then maybe the number of shootings will decrease. Maybe the simple act of receiving education won't have danger attached to it any more.
So yes, the gun itself doesn’t kill people. The person holding the trigger kills people. But maybe if you take the trigger away, it will be harder to kill people.
Okay you lovely lot, the growling in my stomach has got to such a volume that I can't even hear the odd few thoughts flutter through my brain, and so I must leave you.
Monday, 20 January 2014
As many of my friends and family know, I love shopping, and with the return of ‘Mr Selfridge’ on ITV, I have decided to write about the history of my two favourite department stores- Harrods and Selfridges (not that I can actually afford anything inside *makes mental note to get a part time job*).
Anyway, one of the main differences between the two stores is that Harrods was set up by the Englishman Charles Henry Harrod in 1824 while Selfridges was set up in 1856 by the American, Harry Gordon Selfridge. Despite their grand department stores, both had humble beginnings, while Harrod started off by selling groceries in London, Selfridge was an errand boy in Chicago.
Now’s time for my favourite moments in their histories. First, Harrods:
Picture this. 16th November, 1898, on a Wednesday, the first escalator was used in England. Although it might not have looked much to the average person from this era, to a Victorian this contraption made of woven leather and a mahogany and ‘silver plate-glass’ balustrade was the in-thing, super exciting stuff. In fact, it was so exciting that customers had to have a glass of brandy after using it to ‘calm their nerves’. So at the moment, I really want to put some Victorians on a roller-coaster and see how their nerves fair then. They would probably need a whole gallon of brandy after I’ve finished taking them around Thorpe Park.
However, my favourite moment from the history of Selfridges is somewhat more educational and therefore more sophisticated. You see, Mr Selfridge liked education and science and as a result had many educational and scientific displays to attract customers. An example of this is when Louis Blériot’s monoplane was exhibited there during 1909 where it attracted 12,000 people.
Overall, it’s nice to know that there is an interesting history behind Harrods and Selfridges so that my pointless window shopping can actually be passed off as something educational *wink wink*. Please don’t tell my mum.
Sunday, 12 January 2014
After watching The Great Gatsby, my already present love of the 20s reached an all-time high. I have always loved their dresses and thought that the whole era was wonderful, but now I seem to be bordering on obsession. I almost cried at the end of the film and I never do that! I am also desperately trying not to ruin the plot for you so if you haven’t watched it, please do (and make sure you have plenty of tissues if you’re anything like me).
But, anyway, that’s not what I’m here to lecture you on. I’m here to give you a little insight into the glorious era of the 1920s so you will become just as obsessed as me and go and research it as well. So without further a do, here are my top 5 facts:
- Winnie the Pooh was published (which was a big surprise for me because I thought that it was published recently... oops).
- Yo-yos were as popular as the new xbox (I’m not joking. I don’t understand how people get joy out of this thing when I can’t even get mine to come back up the string).
- Kool-Aid was sold (for all you people out there who have no clue what this is, I had to google it too- it is a very brightly coloured drink).
- Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean (guess who feels like a proud feminist at the moment...)
- Mickey Mouse was thought up by Walt Disney (if you know me well enough, you would know how happy this discovery makes me, especially as I have a onesie with Mickey Mouse on it).
So there you have it. If you like these lovely facts, you can find some more here. And if you say that you still aren’t as obsessed with the 1920s as I am, you’re obviously lying. I mean, who wouldn’t be?
Saturday, 11 January 2014
In Britain, we have this law that after 20 years information that previously was kept private from the public can be published, which is how I knew about Margaret Thatcher’s plans to deploy the army onto striking minders. And I think that's a great plan. Because it means that we actually get to know what went on behind some of our most controversial moments, and that give a better backdrop and therefore chance of understanding our history. Except the more mathematically minded of you may of realised that the 1984 miners strike was 30 years ago. And the most observant of you may have noticed that 30 years is actually a little bit longer than 20 years. 50% longer, in fact.
And it's not just with information about Thatcher that the rules have proved to be extremely lenient. The Royal Family’s idea of 20 years is also 30 years. And unless someone’s going round with a Tardis, it seems to me that, actually, no-one quite seems to stick to '20 years'. 20 years is like speeding laws. You know it’s there, but if you have to, then they can be broken.
If you've been reading my posts for a while, you'll be able to work out exactly how I feel about this. I'll give you a hint: my current mood is a close to 'annoyed' as a bullet in the brain is to a headache. Because could somebody please explain to me that point of a law promoting, basically, free speech, that be changed whenever the government sees fit? That doesn’t say to me that the government is doing it's best to be on the level of the public, really. You can’t form educated opinions without the facts, and we are being denied the facts...
So anyway, you lovely lot, my oven timer is beeping to tell me that my cookies have just finished baking, and I think that a burnt mouth is worth the first taste of cookie. Thanks for reading, again, and it won’t be long until my next article!