Tuesday, 11 December 2007

UCLH A+E: Open day 6/12/07

Among the pallid faces and the heads in hands is a bubbly American woman who has staple-gunned a piece of wood to her thumb and a Scottish bloke with a suitcase.

He’s trying to chat up a girl with broken fingers – the result of a karate chopping nephew.

It’s University College Hospital’s annual open day but around the corner from the main entrance, where Gloria Hunniford is turning on the Christmas lights, it’s just another day in A + E.

London’s Tottenham Court Road is famous for its technology retailers.

Since 2005, the top end of this gadget Mecca has also been an appropriate home for one of the capital’s newest hospitals.

Today is a chance for healthy members of the public to find out what goes on behind closed doors inside this modern hospital.

UCH is big and glassy, woven together with white-painted steel.

It’s the antithesis to the gothic and ultra intricate St. Pancras station, not far away down the Euston Road.

As I stand outside the huge atrium that forms the main entrance to the hospital, a couple of men in suits are scurrying around studying surfaces for imperfections - “That needs cleaning, that needs polishing, and when is this getting painted?”

Today the sun seems to have barely lifted its shoulders above the horizon before going back to bed.

It’s gloomy outside but the huge Christmas tree and genuinely amazing carol singers help to brighten the spirits inside.

Their voices soar in the cathedral-like space.

A queue has formed in front of the table where tours of the different departments can be booked.

Pensioners are battling for slots on the most popular tours and when I am given a pass to A+E without queuing, my explanation that I am writing an article is met with unsatisfied glares through wrinkled eyes.

Blood, guts, vomit, chest-pounding heroics and a conveyor belt of lives brought back from the brink – this is emergency medicine, at least if you watch a lot of TV it is.

The public perception of what goes on behind closed doors in A+E makes this chance to tour the department a popular one.

Dr. Adeyoke, an A+E registrar at UCH somewhat dispels the myth that patients are regularly brought back from the dead after being zapped with electricity.

Indeed his single most memorable event after two years of working at UCH was a scenario like this.

“A young, middle-aged man came in with pulseless electrical activity”, a particularly bad kind of heart attack, “ and working as a team we managed to stabilise him and get him to intensive care”, he said.

Unrealistic expectations are sometimes placed upon A+E doctors as we imagine them flying around the department with their chests puffed out and a white coat flapping in the wind like a super-hero’s cape.

These people are humans and humans inevitably make mistakes.

Dr. Adeyoke says, “The hardest part of the job is the time constraints. There is such pressure and we can be prone to errors as a result”.

Back in the hospital atrium, the carol singers have finished and Kokila Gillett, a solo musician is performing traditional Indian music.

Before the tour begins, I drag myself away from the festivities and take in the delights of the A+E waiting room.

Facial expressions range from boredom to wincing pain, with not much in between apart from a beaming smile on the face of the cleaner who is gently chuckling to herself as she mops the floor.

From behind protective glass, a receptionist loudly asks a sheepish looking man, “When did you last open your bowels?”

The Scottish man with the brightly coloured suitcase has just arrived on a train from Dundee.

He sits down near to the girl with the broken fingers who has suffered at the hands of an overzealous relative, playing ninja.

“Are you married, love?” he asks, thirty seconds into their conversation.

She gently rebuffs him in a cockney accent that an American tourist would queue up to hear.

With this soap opera playing out around me, I’m a little aggrieved that the tour is about to start but I reluctantly join the group anyway.

We silently traipse around the department behind our amiable tour guide, trying not to get in the way.

Doctors cluster around light-boxes, carefully studying x-rays for signposts towards a diagnosis.

The atmosphere is industrious but calm.

I have my fingers crossed for somebody to come bursting through the swing-doors from the ambulance bay with a knife sticking from their back or something suitably dramatic.

No such luck. Our tour through the slick department passes without incident.

I remember my chat with Dr. Adeyoke - “It’s not like it is on TV”, he assured me.

Perhaps that’s because he doesn’t spend much time in the waiting room.

Great characters played out romance, comedy, pain and suffering in my thirty minutes there.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

When is it not appropriate to sit in your pants watching daytime tv?

(NB. A student colleague of mine has been threatened with legal action over a comment he made in his blog. Following this, I should point out that Jeremy Kyle doesn't actually eat babies apart from baby carrots and perhaps baby sweetcorn, although I'm not sure if anyone eats baby sweetcorn anymore.)

Students love sitting in their pants watching Trisha. I think.

I've never actually indulged in this particular rite of passage because the courses I've chosen at university have mostly involved me being in lectures as Jeremy Kyle eats babies live on TV.

Kyle: murderous hatred not pictured

If I'm not at home, how do I know about the venomous bile that spews from Kyle's foaming mouth each morning, you ask?

Well believe it or not, when I was doing my anaesthetics rotation, the coffee room next to the operating theatres was always religiously tuned into his show.

Anyway, when is it not appropriate to sit in your pants (as in underwear. In England, we call our underwear "pants") watching daytime TV?

If you are watching the show in question, live from the studio - then it is a bad idea to watch in your pants.

On Friday, I went with some of my colleagues from the journalism course at Westminster University to be in the audience for The Wright Stuff.

Slightly shamefully, it's not the first time I've been in the audience for such a show.

In my gap year, a friend of mine worked on Kilroy, hosted by the inimitable Robert Kilroy-Silk, and I appeared on that.

I spoke about prostitutes on that show.

Precisely what I said about prostitutes, I can't remember.

A while later, the same friend worked on Live with Christian O'Connell.

Me and a couple of mates went on the show on St. Patrick's day and had to hold a tray of Guinness while performing an Irish jig.

The idea was to keep as much of the booze in the glasses as possible.

And then there was my snowboarding mayhem on You've Been Framed!

£250 in the pocket thank you very much.

My most recent appearance on TV involved me discussing the virtues of inviting my ex to my wedding.

For anyone who knows me, don't worry, it was all hypothetical.

After the show, Matthew Wright who presents the show had a quick chat with us about journalism.

He started out in newspaper journalism, spending time at The Sun, among other things.

It was a fun morning and if you want to go on the show, there's a facebook group with the details here.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Doing a journalism fing.

Everybody knows that students are idiots and don’t have a clue about anything.

Students - idiots.

This is a fact and I’m not going to dispute it, particularly as I am one and there are loads of words underneath *here* to back this fact up.

Having been a student of medicine and now journalism, I’ve noticed that the two groups share a belief that they’re going to “make a difference”.

Doctors are going to relieve suffering and journalists are going to expose corrupt politicians and stuff.

I’m going to try desperately hard not to “make a difference”, especially in medicine because I’m worried that I’m more likely to contribute to some kind of major catastrophe than find the cure for cancer – I’m that kind of difference maker.

The plan is to play it safe, nice and safe.

Which has just reminded me of a poll I saw a while back about the most trusted professions in the UK.

Doctors are the most trusted professionals and journalists the least.

This is perfect as my two backgrounds should counterbalance one another in the trust stakes and leave me half way up the league – nice and safe.

Anyway, before that brief tangent, what I was going to say was that students have an admirable notion within them that they are going to do something positive.

That’s before the medics mutate into Harold Shipman and the journos become manipulative bastards with an agenda.

Maybe that’s a little extreme but if you’re going to make a point, you may as well make it sensational. I think.

This morning, I put on my rose-tinted spectacles that had a 20% student discount and went off to do what I consider my first bit of real journalism.

Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean I asked Gordon Brown fourteen times what his favourite colour is or anything hard hitting like that, I just mean that I went out and spoke to some people before writing about it.

My reaction to this is what makes me a naïve moron.

I just couldn’t help feeling really good about the world afterwards and I’m sure that’s not what cynical journalists are supposed to think.

On my course, we had to write a piece that was based loosely around Christmas shopping.

I decided to do mine on what London’s foreign population buy for their Christmas dinners and so I went round to some of the cafés and restaurants near me to ask the people who work there.

My first stop was to an Italian café called Vesuvio where the chef warmly told me all about a traditional Christmas in Italy despite the fact that it was lunchtime and he was busy.

They also brought me a coffee which I was told was on the house when I went to pay for it – talk about perks of the job!

Later on I went to the amusingly named “Gung-Ho” Chinese restaurant

Eric chatted to me there and what a nice man Eric was.

I just wanted to share with you a devastatingly good air travel tip he gave me.

Oasis are a low budget airline that fly from London to Hong Kong for as little as £99 if you book it early enough.

I reckon if I take fewer showers and maybe flush the loo less, I could reduce my carbon footprint enough to jet off to Asia three times a year, guilt free.

Woop di doo.

Walter Sickert: Camden Town Nudes, Courtauld Institute

This is a review of an exhibition that I had to write for my course. I haven't handed it in yet so if anyone that reads it thinks it's rubbish, let me know:

Cows sawn in half, thousands of mutilated figures in scenes of the apocalypse, child killers portrayed using the painted hands of toddlers – modern artists go to quite some lengths in order to shock their audience.

Despite exposure to such things, it seems that the 100 year old paintings of Walter Sickert still have the ability to turn the stomach of today’s art fan.

Walter Sickert: The Camden Town Nudes runs until January 20, 2008 at The Courtauld Institute.

The exhibition displays works by the English artist from around 1902 to 1912.

Sickert’s reinvention of how nudes were portrayed in British art is a central theme although the big draw of this collection is likely to be the four Camden Town Murder paintings, which are displayed together for the first time.

Sickert, who once said, “all the greater draughtsmen tell a story”, used the murder in 1907 of a Camden prostitute called Emily Dimmock, to add a greater narrative dimension to his paintings.

The murder really captured the public’s fascination at the time and Sickert named a series of paintings featuring a nude and a clothed male, after ‘The Camden Murder’.

Ambiguity is a key factor though in Sickert’s paintings and alternative titles to these works exist, such as “Summer afternoon” and “What should we do about the rent?”

The truth about what is going on in these scenes is left up to the viewer.

Is the clothed man wringing his hands over money worries or has he just murdered the naked, lifeless figure on the bed next to him?

Unlike the elegant, grace of Degas’ ballerinas in one of the rooms next door, the form of the nudes in this exhibition is without poise.

The prostitutes who model for Sickert are mostly shown slumped, seemingly through exhaustion and as if their last reserve of energy was used to toss aside their clothes before crumpling onto the bed in ungainly poses.

This was Sickert’s response to the idealised nudes coming out of the Royal Academy which represented “an artistic and intellectual bankruptcy”, according to him.

The exhibition also gives audiences a chance to see how Sickert’s paintings developed.

Pencil drawn sketches are displayed alongside the finished works which allow us to see how the artist played around with composition before the final execution of his paintings.

While this exhibition doesn’t shock in a graphic, visceral sense, which is often the standard for contemporary artists, imaginative audiences with a sense of the story behind these paintings could be left unsettled.

Indeed when I arrived, a group of silver-haired ladies said, “I think we should move on. Jane finds these ones a bit difficult.”

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

If politicians were more honest...

Just in case you're wondering why I've suddenly got all serious, this is a piece that I had to do for my course:

Tony Blair has been economical with the truth through fear of being branded “a nutter”.

In a BBC documentary due to be screened next Sunday, Blair alludes to the fact the true depth of his Christian faith had to be concealed so that the voting public would not lose their faith in him.

Alistair Campbell, Blair’s chief spin doctor for much of his reign as Prime Minister, once stepped in during an interview with Vanity Fair to cut Blair off as he began to answer a question about his religious beliefs.

“We don’t do God”, Campbell reminded him.

Our ex-Prime Minister points out in the documentary that it is acceptable in the US for politicians to talk about their religious convictions without people thinking “you’re a nutter”.

Is this because Americans are more accepting or is it because in America, that is what people want to hear?

It is a much more Christian country and a strong faith is surely a vote winner, particularly in Middle America.

When our leaders have a strong faith such as that shared by Bush and Blair, I want to know about it, particularly when it influences decisions.

Allegedly, in 2003, Bush said, “God told me to end the tyranny in Iraq”.

I have my doubts about this and wondered if “God” was actually Dick Cheney, whispering through the walls of the Oval Office.

Nonetheless, Bush’s faith was clearly a big influence in his decision making here.

Leaving religion aside, I am sure politicians have always said what people want to hear to an extent but currently that leaves us with the two main parties in this country, occupying the same middle ground, sharing policies and pretty much sitting on the fence.

This seems to be a result of Labour and the Tories trying to appeal to everybody, treading carefully and saying what they think the majority want to hear.

Any government in power is too scared to make brave decisions, which may be immediately unpopular but ultimately beneficial over a longer period because they are too focused on what will happen in the next election.

Take the drug laws for example – prescribing heroin on the NHS would solve countless problems, particularly in reducing crime associated with funding a heroin addiction.

Unfortunately, the tabloids would crucify a sensible policy like this and no government in their right mind would implement it because they would simply lose the public’s faith.

Admittedly I have hugely extrapolated Tony Blair’s unwillingness to be frank about his faith, to reflect the greater problem of politicians hiding their true colours.

But maybe if they were more open and passionate about what they really believed in, we in turn could have a political system to believe in.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Arcade Fire at Alexandra Palace 19/11/07

(NB. A student colleague of mine has been threatened with legal action over a comment he made in his blog. Following this, I should point out that the depiction of ticketmaster in this blog is for humorous purposes only and doesn't necessarily reflect how the company actually operates. Although their "handling fees" are extraordinarily high, so too are other ticket distribution companies and this probably reflects what a difficult and complicated process "ticket handling" is. phew.)

Last night, at Arcade Fire's gig in London, I scored a mighty victory against The Man... and accidentally stole free healthcare from some of the planet's poorest people.

The amount of money I've spent on "handling fees" for concert tickets in my time is really quite mind boggling.

A quick estimate shows that I've spent around £6 billion on these dastardly fees. (N.B. I added in a multiplication factor called, Hatred Of Money Grabbing Fuckwits - it turns out that this figure was quite large)

Managing Director of Ticketmaster, giving a motivational speech (I think)

As the rain lashed down upon one of North London's highest points, where Alexandra Palace sits and looks out across the city, I arrived ticketless to see one of my favourite bands.

Despite the concert selling out some time ago, I had read rumours that some more tickets were being released for sale on the door.

With this in mind, I looked to those bastions of good will, the touts (scalpers to any Americans out there) for some cut-price tickets.

Bearing in mind I could get face value entry to the venue through official sources, I thought they'd be up for giving me a good price.

They just lied to me though and said there weren't any tickets on the door, but how about a special price of £45?

I can't really blame them though as they do have families of snakes to feed. Probably.

Slightly worried that they were telling the truth (I can't help trusting gold-toothed criminals), I headed to the entrance to find out if I could still get a ticket from the box office.

Hallelujah! They still had them but I didn't have enough cash and they didn't accept cards.

I was directed past the ticket-collectors to a cash machine.

Once I had the well earned readies in my hand (thank you student loans), I turned around and realised I didn't need them anymore.

The astute among you will have noticed that I said they directed me past the ticket collectors to the cash machine - I was already inside!

I almost laughed at the woman in the cloakroom who took £4 from me to deposit my bag and coat.

An astonishing figure to look after my stuff for an hour and a half but much easier to swallow when you paid nothing to get in.

Seeing bands in massive venues is about as electric as the stone age.

I always get disappointed when I go to see a band that I really like and the soul-sapping enormodomes suck the life out of the performance.

After the first couple of songs last night, I was ready for that familiar, lifeless experience.

Win Butler, the lead singer of Arcade Fire, sarcastically told the audience he was blushing as a result of the adulation he was receiving from them.

His words echoed around the silent, cavernous hall.

Things seriously warmed up though and by the end I think the band were genuinely humbled by the audience reaction.

Butler said that the band wouldn't be playing in the UK for a long time and the gig certainly had an 'end-of-term' feel about it with what appeared to be roadies joining them on stage for the final song.

Hopefully they are taking time out to go and write the greatest album of all time.

A small pang of guilt came over me when Butler announced that a chunk of the ticket price was helping to give free health care to people in Haiti.

He sure knows how to kill a mood.

The ridiculous state of the transport links across North London meant that I had a long journey home in the pissing rain.

I don't know if it was the general euphoric glow from the gig, giving me rose-tinted judgment but I really enjoyed the packed train journey home.

Sardine tins don't even come close to describing it and all I can say is that the Japanese would have been proud.

Amid the faintings though, was some great banter.

Yes, English humans, from London of all places, were interacting with each other as if talking was about to be banned.

If commuter trains were that much fun, I'd move to Aberdeen and still come to University in London every morning.

Well maybe not Aberdeen.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Medical Journalism Awards

On Monday night, I attended the Medical Journalism Awards.

Being the only person at Westminster University doing medical journalism, I was invited by my tutor to come along on my own to gorge myself on canapes and free booze.

If you're wondering whether it's possible to "gorge" yourself on tiny canapes, I can confirm that yes, it is.

Without wanting to detract from the awards themselves, I learnt some valuable life skills on Monday, mostly revolving around eating canapes.

As I arrived, it was easy enough to get myself a glass of wine because they were given to us on the way in.

I found it equally easy to get my glass filled up when it was empty.

However, despite occasionally spotting distant plates of food, wafting among the guests like butterflies (butterflies that I wanted to eat, desperately), trying to actually get my hands on some grub felt like chasing rainbows (tasty rainbows - like skittles but not like skittles, more like burgers).

The main reason I was told to come along to the awards was so that I could 'network'.

My current situation was making this difficult as the mighty booze/food-scales-of-dignity were becoming alarmingly unbalanced due to an empty stomach.

Mild panic set in as it seemed that the food had dried up.

Looking around, all I could see were empty plates or dead, moldy, inedible butterflies if you prefer.

The booze kept coming.

Now, I know what you're thinking - "why don't you just stop drinking?"

Ok, good idea but ringing in my ears were Andrew Marr's words - "Journalism and alcohol go together like betting and racehorses".

Whether this was criticism of his profession or advice to aspiring hacks, I can't be certain but I thought it was best to play safe and get really pissed.

Anyway, just in time, loads more food started pouring into the elegant hall where the awards were held and this time I was ready to stop being polite and elbow my way to the nosh.

I think this took the edge off of my slurring and I could start talking to potential employers again.

Some thoroughly delightful people who had done the Medical Journalism course at Westminster were there and one of them was Ashley Mckimm, who started the website JuniorDr.com.

He has already sent me an email offering me some work which is rather splendid.

It just made me think about the opportunities that this course offers, having seen what former students have gone on to do and also the chances I am already getting to write in professional publications.

If anyone comes across this blog after googling medical journalism or something, feel free to get in touch to ask me what the course is like.

It's a wonderful opportunity to do something completely different away from your medical school and even if you don't become a journalist, it will give you great writing and presentation skills which are invaluable to a doctor.

I'll try and write a little bit more about the great stuff we are doing on the course in the future.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Super Furry Weekend

I hate blogs where people who aren't very interesting write about their boring lives.

Oh well, here goes:

My entertainment this weekend was pretty much curated by the Welsh band, Super Furry Animals.

I have had the pleasure of watching this band for quite some time now and I reckon I've probably notched up about 15 SFA gigs.

Sad isn't it.

In the past, these concerts have featured yeti's, power rangers, wrestlers and occasionally even musicians.

Friday night's gig at the Roundhouse in Camden was slightly more low-key, although the crowd were treated (subjected?) to an interlude featuring comedy-rappers, Goldie Lookin' Chain.

After the gig, I had a mildly unfortunate incident as a result of having booze clouded judgement.

TV and Radio's Richard Bacon was wandering the streets of Camden and having noticed him, I summoned all my tact and grace before pointing out, "you're that guy that used to be on TV"

I then made reference to what the tabloids would call, "his drugs shame".


On Saturday, the party continued as the Super Furry Animals hosted a warehouse party in Elephant and Castle.

There were DJ sets from some members of the band, including a particularly eclectic choice of records by lead singer, Gruff.

I think it's become a bit of a cliche to talk about eclecticism in music.

It's a lazy way of saying, "I'm not really sure what it was but I think it was good".

Ok, I'll have a bash at describing it:

- There was African tribal music - a staple surely, of any electic set.

- There was foot stomping folk of the variety that makes you dance like a buck-toothed hillbilly on a gallon of premium cider.

- There was a gentle, sing-a-long cover of a Super Furry Animals song which happens to be in Welsh (all Super Furry Animals fans are fluent in Welsh).

Techno DJ and producer, Andy Weatherall was also there to shake the cobwebs from our dancing shoes.

Despite a surplus of Super Furry hi-jinx, like any good junkie, I'm already thinking about my next hit.

I plan to spend my new year at this.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Michael Jackson: What really happened

This was the title of a documentary screened on Channel 4 in the UK last night.

(Yes, apparently this is Jacko)

After reading a piece in the Guardian Guide on Saturday, which was written by the programme maker, I was genuinely looking forward to watching it.

Although the article was fairly open ended and didn't really tell me much, I guessed that this was because he wanted readers to watch the programme.

Having watched the programme, I still don't think I'm any wiser, although I did get to see lots of footage from the inside of a car as it drove around.

I suppose the footage represented the film maker's journey as he bumbled around without getting anywhere.

I have read some very positive reviews of this documentary so don't take my word for it but it was definitely crap, take my word for it.

Perhaps I missed out on some of the sparkling content of the interviews because I couldn't help getting annoyed by the way the thing was made.

If your making a documentary, surely it should focus on the subject and not the filmmaker?

This is especially true when the filmmaker doesn't add anything to the experience themselves, unlike Louis Theroux for example.

Jacques Peretti, who made the programme, kept cropping up in the shot to the point where it looked like his head had just gotten in the way of the camera on one occasion.

Peretti came up with the idea that Michael Jackson presented himself to the media as wacky and fed them stories to sustain this.

Apparently, this was to keep the world at a distance and stop people finding out what Jacko was really like

Using a leading question, Peretti essentially got Jacko's manager to agree with this theory and lo, it had become fact.

The last thing I want to say about the programme is about the annoying interview techniques used by Peretti.

While talking with Jacko's ex-manager, he left the most outrageously long pauses after something had been said.

This would have been great and dramatic if something profound or shocking had been said, such as, "Jacko used to force Bubbles to clean his bathroom with his furry arse".

The reality was that a boring, unrevealing conversation was being dressed up, pointlessly.

Peretti also got the ex-manager to explain what he meant by, "you can take a horse to water but you can't make him drink".

This was after he had explained that Jacko carried on doing something that he was told not to do.

Is Peretti some kind of idiot or does he just think his audience are?

Anyway, it was hard enough suffering through the programme in the first place without reliving it in this blog.

Things I learnt writing this blog:

Jacques Peretti has made 3 programmes about penises:

1)The Perfect Penis (2006)
2)World's Biggest Penis (2006)
3) And finally, this one about Jacko.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Dear Limey Assholes

Whilst carrying out research for a website I have to produce on the subject of broadsheet newspapers, I came across a hilarious reaction to a campaign that The Guardian launched in 2004.

In a bid to stop George Dubya winning the election of that year, The Guardian encouraged their readers to write to the citizens of Ohio- a key swing state.

Voters who hadn't decided which candidate would get their backing would receive letters from Guardian readers telling them what a disaster it would be for the world if Bush were to get re-elected.

It seems that a fair few Americans found this idea a little patronising.

Almost as patronising as the red line under the word "patronising" that appears when I try to spell the word with an "s" rather than a "z" (that's "zed" by the way).

Sorry, I've gone off on a tangent.

It definitely is patronising and here are some of the wonderful reactions to the stunt from the guardian website.

p.s. Does anybody else find it funny how Brits are often defined by Americans according to our poor dental hygiene? Surely the fact that we're arrogant, superior assholes should come first?

p.p.s. Bush won Ohio

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Cramming fun into the new schedule

Our new, whip-cracking tutor on my journalism course says we're not allowed to go out for the next three weeks because we've got so much work to do.


What about all the stuff I've already arranged though?

Some friends of mine are in a band called Atomic Hooligan and I'm off to see them play a gig in Islington tonight.

Don't tell Hitler... I mean David, our wonderful tutor.

I hope to make my way to Angel tube station, fresh from watching an England victory on a greengrocer's pitch.

The gig is a bit of an industry showcase type thing, where the band will be trying to flog themselves to a major label.

They are set to release their second album, "Sex, drugs and bla, blah, blah" on small, Brighton based label Botchit but would like to re-release it on a major to help promote it properly.

Their stonking, 9-person live act should help to ram the new album down the throats of the industry fat cats in attendence.

Sunday, 30 September 2007

Does the world really need another blog?


But as I said, I have a gun, so do pipe down at the back and settle down to a warm cup of my ego.

While trying to work out what a blog is supposed to be, I discovered that it's basically just a forum for displaying the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Just checking if anyone is actually reading this.

So yeah, a blog is for posting links to cool stuff that other people might like or for reporting on news events without being a published journalist.

I'm not currently sitting in a Burmese Internet cafe and nobody wants to hear about Michael Jackson jumping in front of the train I was on today (still reading?), so I thought I'd concentrate on posting links to cool stuff.

One of my favourite journalists is called Charlie Brooker and I imagine a lot of my posts are going to revolve around stuff he's done.

I rarely read one of his articles without laughing out loud and they often induce belly-ripping hysterics at the most inappropriate junctures.

He regularly writes for the Guardian but rose to notoriety through his website, www.tvgohome.com.

Essentially, it parodies the Radio Times which is a british tv guide (see how my ego already believes that my blog has an international readership).

The programmes are all fictitious and their descriptions are the product of Brooker's cynacism towards modern TV.

The world of trash, reality TV and makeover programmes are satirised perfectly.

Anyway, enough of the bullshit, off you tootle and check it out.