Thursday, 30 June 2011

Rude number plates

Would you find this number plate offensive?

I personally think it is hilarious and it would be entertaining to see this number plate out on the road.
The DVLA, however, took a dim view of the number plate, and ordered Alan Clarke to remove it (the police must have reported him).
But, Mr. Clarke had bought the number plate in good faith for £399 from the DVLA in the first place, so what is going on here?
Had the DVLA failed to spot the potential of the number plate to upset some people?

Do you think that smutty number plates would brighten up our roads or do you agree with the DVLA?

Tuesday, 28 June 2011


What does a handbag say about its owner? What sort of person would own a handbag like the one in this picture?

Do you think that the style and contents of your handbag reflects your personality?
According to Kathryn Eisman, they do. She spent two years researching the subject and came up with the following

These women are the envy of others. Any woman who can make do with a small bag carrying only their necessities – wallet, keys, phone and glasses – has mastered the art of organization and never has to wade through a pile of sweet wrappers or old receipts to find their mobile phone.

Not quite as clutter free, but still practical and focused, this woman is extremely well-organized and carries items which are sensible and practical. She likes to be prepared for every eventuality. Be it tissues or toothbrush, hair accessories or phone charger, every item in this bag has a purpose. Women who fit into this category very rarely swap bags, according to Eisman, and are likely to choose neutral colors and classic cuts which will never go out of style.

According to Eisman’s research the creative woman has a free spirit and “tends to rebel against conformity.” Their bag is most likely to be a treasure trove or a bottomless pit. However, the contents are still relatively organized – full but functional, even though it may appear chaotic to the casual observer. Household bills, medicines, food wrappers and other assortments of random items can be found lurking at the bottom of this purse. The Creative spirit likes handbags in bright colors, showing others that she is fun and approachable, says Eisman.

The Florence Nightingale
These women are caring and sensitive and carry a multitude of items which are useful to others. Medicines, band aids, mints, chewing gum, perfume, tissues, safety pins and other practical items. Expressive personalities also tend to carry sentimental trinkets, photos of loved ones and a book or magazine which they can lose themselves in. Often appearing shy, don’t be fooled by this woman’s exterior, according to Eisman, there is a wild side just waiting to be unleashed!

Not only can the style of handbag give away your personality type but your color choice is also an indication. According to Eisman, women who go for bright colors tend to be fun loving, friendly and approachable. These are women who will happily strike up a conversation with a stranger, in an elevator or a train compartment.

Colour Neutral, classic colors such as black and brown means that the owner may be more reserved and appear less approachable. Sometimes coming across as shy, these women are confident and are often down-to-earth.

I have one black (very tidy) bag that I’ve used for years and one very large red bag crammed with stuff that I use for uni...

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Happy Smurf Day

Do you like the smurfs?
Are you celebrating Smurf Day today?

I love the smurfs – they don’t do politics and live in a happy communal village where everyone is kind and helps everyone else. The smurfs don’t use money and are not troubled by greedy bankers or exploited by their employers. Everything they do is for the good of the community.

Professor Ellis Cashmore, a sociologist from Staffordshire University thinks that the smurfs embody the ethos of the Big Society. He said: ‘Cameron is asking people to get organized with their local community, have organic collectivity and work for each other, like we used to before industrialization came along and fragmented society.’

Other people believe that their creator, Peyo, used them as a metaphor for socialism.

For those of you who have been scarred for life by psycho exes the idea of peaceful communal harmony could be very tempting as the smurfs don’t seem to go in for one to one relationships.

Perhaps we could learn a lot about how to organize a fair and tolerant society from the smurfs – what do you think?

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Politics and the English language

I’ve just been reading a fascinating essay by George Orwell on the use of hackneyed euphemisms in political-speak. It was written in 1946, but it still applies today.
Orwell says that ‘politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia’. I don’t agree with the last bit, but the other comments seem accurate and I get really annoyed when politicians and the media use cosy phrases to describe awful things with the aim of attenuating them and making them more 'acceptable'.
Orwell’s essay argues that writers should make their meaning clear and not used clichés.
He offers the following tips for writers – (politicians don’t seem to follow Orwell’s advice - I wonder why!!!!)
1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

Thursday, 16 June 2011


Sadly I have to leave my lovely university with its superb lecturers and head off to pastures new. I now have my degree classification and thankfully I have managed to fulfil my conditional offer - so I’m off to do an MA in creative writing at another university in the Midlands. I just wish that I could have stayed at my current university, but it does not offer an MA course in my chosen subject.
I thought people might be interested in what it is like to attend an MA course in creative writing, so I will be posting things on my blog about my experiences. It might be useful for anybody thinking of applying for an MA in creative writing, and may vicariously help those who don’t have time to.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Blood red moon

There will be a total lunar eclipse tonight – so if you have nothing better to do go outside at approximately 9pm and stare at the sky for an hour.

If it is clear night you may see the moon turn blood red!