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...


      Alright.  I know, I know, that you were probably being lulled into a false sense of security- there have been two articles in a row which is probably some sort of record. But alas, the short-lived golden age is over. Because I’m back, crazier than ever. Basically, I decided that I could either sit around being tired and basically drowning in a sea of teenage hormones, or I could pick myself up, stop feeling sorry for myself, and inconvenience you lovely people. Lucky, lucky you.
 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

The History of Harrods and Selfridges

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

The Roaring Twenties

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:

  1. Winnie the Pooh was published (which was a big surprise for me because I thought that it was published recently... oops).
  2. 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).
  3. 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).
  4. Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean (guess who feels like a proud feminist at the moment...)
  5. 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

The 20 year rule... or was it 30?


Get the party poppers and champagne out; this is only going to be a short article. Phew. But still, however, one I think that is extremely important, owing to my whole 'free speech' obsession. Which, to be honest, I don't even see as a bad thing. Because Free Speech is, I think, one of the most important things to have in a country, because in a way it is the building blocks of everything else. I read an article once in 'The Spectator' that argued, interestingly, that granting a country full democracy before free speech becomes common place can only end in tears, because free speech gives people the chance to actually make an educated decision about who they are going to vote for. In fact, the way I see it, democracy is the icing on the cake, and  free speech is the cake. So democracy without free speech is like icing without cake, and eating purely icing tends to result in a slightly sicky feeling (believe me, I’ve tried). I’m aware the metaphor is once again running away with itself, so I’ll get to the point.
   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!

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Trigger Happy Maggie

     Hiya readers, it's me again! There are probably about 100 things that I should be doing right now, including putting my room in some semblance of order, but why do that when I could rant at you guys about things that happened ages ago but still annoy me irrationally? And seeing as pretty much everything annoys me, due to the fact that my teenage hormones are trying to work out what’s going on, there's always a lot to talk about.
So. What is it this time? Well, settle down and be grateful this isn’t a YouTube video, in which case you'd have to unplug the sound.
 As some of you may know, 'classified information' is allowed in the public domain after 25 years (theoretically) in Britain. Which give eternally grumpy people like me fresh material all the time, especially seeing as a lot of Margaret Thatcher’s original ideas are coming to light right now. And as a result of this, some of the paperwork discussing to 1984 miners strike has come to light, and boy is it controversial! The more observant of you may have noticed that 1984-2014 is 30 years, but apparently our government can change the '25 year rule' is it 'isn’t in the public’s best interest'. I don't think I even need to go into my feelings about that, if you've been reading my articles for a while you should know my take on free speech and freedom of information. Anyway, I’m being sidetracked.
 So because of this rule that has been sort-of adhered to, it has come to light that Margaret Thatcher had a very unusual idea of how to deal with the striking miners. To send in troops to deal with them and basically force them into the mines. Now, I have my own views on Margaret Thatcher as a whole, which I think it's wise not to go the full hog on, because I can get quite carried away  (I know, it's a surprise!). But I think it's fair to be relatively outraged at this. I understand that it may have seemed like the only option at the time, and I’m extremely glad that it wasn’t carried out, because (let’s be honest) it wasn't that much of a great idea. In idea terms, it was almost as bad as when Mr Hitler looked at Mrs Hitler one evening and said ‘shall we go upstairs, love’  
 Alright, my extremely messy room calls for my help. I know this has been a brief and nonsensical post, but mine are always nonsensical, and it’s probably better for you if they’re brief!