Jarman drops jaws at London Met

An award-winning journalist turned lecturer at London Metropolitan University passed down humble words of advice to students aspiring to go into the same field last week, charitably giving up his own free time to give a group session.

(London Met on Holloway Road – Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Wales feature writer of the year Brian Jarman popped into a class on Tuesday to tell students exactly how he fell into the field, waving goodbye to all doubters and those who stood in his way.

Jarman admitted that he first thought up the idea when handing in an essay on human linguistics when he was a student himself. He was told by his university lecturer “you may not have the deepest penetration into the subject, but you know how to set it out. Have you ever thought about being a journalist?”

Jarman then explained how he went immediately to his careers officer who told him to “forget it” due to the sheer intense competition of the job. However, beyond all doubt he still applied and passed a postgraduate degree in the field and went on to work for his local newspaper in South Wales, as well as working at the South Wales Argus.

When asked on advice for any aspiring journalists wanting to follow in Jarman’s footsteps, he noted “you have to be persistent as a journalist, you have to know who you’re writing for or it doesn’t work.”

Jarman has ruled his field, not only working in the print sector but also taking the world of TV and radio by storm, grafting at notable companies such as the BBC. An inspiration to all journalism students out there, proving that with a little bit of hard work and persistence, anyone can do it.


D.I.Y giants aren’t doing much for themselves on Holloway Road

When you think of Holloway Road, what springs to mind? An endless number of betting shops and family run newsagents, the towering structure that is London Metropolitan University looking over the three kilometre stretch, or even the world-famous Emirates stadium peeking round the corner? If you know the area at all, you most certainly would never imagine sticking a B&Q halfway down this obscenely busy area which has little to no space to park a bicycle never mind a car.


Well, it’s happened. Ex Arsenal star Martin Keown cut the ribbon on B&Q’s first ever high street store in March this year, however the hardware firm have left themselves susceptible to mass criticism by opening in such a location.

Twenty-nine-year-old bricklayer Luke North said “Quite crap actually,” when describing thoughts on the new store, adding “really small you know? I mean a lot of B&Q’s, they’ve got a lot of choice but this is for only indoors mainly, they haven’t got much options.”

“It’s quite limited in what you’re gonna find.”

Entrepreneur Chloe Grimshaw, 30, who was picking up paint from the store also said “In terms of knowledge and expertise they’re nowhere near as good as the guys down there (a nearby store). They just know it inside out what they’re doing.”


…and of course, as it always does, the internet chipped in with its opinions:


It appears that the D.I.Y giants are going to have to plot out fresh blueprints on how to gain the respect of Holloway shoppers before cowboy planning leaves them lost for punters.

Is fashion unfair?

In a world where everyone is a critic, fashion has never been so talked about as it is in today’s society. However, the industry isn’t as glamourous as it seems according to a panel who answered burning questions put forward by journalism students at London Met this Tuesday.

Markus Roberts-Clarke, Denise Brown, Daniel Lismore, Julia Robson and Barry Laden, who have a plethora of knowledge and experience across all boards of the fashion trade all gathered on the university’s Holloway Road campus to weigh in on the discussion, however still planting seeds of motivation to aspiring fashionistas in the room.

usd(From left to right; Markus Roberts-Clarke, Denise Brown, Daniel Lismore, Julia Robson and Barry Laden)

Lismore, who according to the Coventry Gazette has been deemed “beautiful, big and impressive,” by Vivienne Westwood, a globally recognised designer chipped in on how fashion should not be gender specific, in an age where people are still discriminative of those who are transgender and/or choose to cross dress.

“We’re confined so much with boundaries and we’re told who we’re supposed to be,” said Lismore, “you have to wear this if you’re a guy and you have to wear this if you’re a girl, we have these boxes that we conform to.”

“Just go and buy what you want to buy and go and wear it.”

Julia Robson, who has made a living from writing freelance about fashion also made a point regarding a lack of diversity within magazine and catwalk modelling, speaking of “blonde, blue eyes clones of models.”

“There is still this very old fashioned model of ‘you have to look like this to go into fashion’” said Robson, although adding “things are very gradually starting to change.”

(Lismore and Robson listen to Laden as he discusses the industry)

“I think things are becoming more diverse than they have ever been,

“We’re seeing more women of colour on the catwalk,

“The next generation will change it (the stereotype of models in the fashion industry).”

Lismore also added his thoughts on the topic in saying “I’ve seen the worst things happen because of gender or where they’re (the models are) from.” “I was casting for a show and a stylist said ‘oh another black girl’.”

“I’m so fed up of the fashion industry being so discriminative all the time.”

In answer to the title of the event, the panel asked for a quick show of hands after the conference as to who thought fashion was fair. Apart from one or two, all hands stayed firmly down and a grinning Markus Roberts-Brown concluded by saying “our work here is done.”

Snakes and property ladders

The London Evening Standard last week revealed first-time buyer homes that you can bag for less than £100,000. A deal and a half…if you don’t mind shared ownership with three other buyers.


King’s Crescent, Hackney once had a reputation for being a bit “rough around the edges”. But the ex council estate has been rescued and restored, boosting colour and variety into the area. The new 800-home regeneration also gives people a chance to take their first steps onto the Goliath that is the London property ladder.

Obviously, renting a property is anxiety provoking enough, but laying down a deposit for a mortgage is a completely different affair altogether, especially in the Big Smoke. According to an Evening Standard article last year, London was named the most expensive city in the world in which to reside, ahead of New York, Hong Kong and Paris.

But why is this the case?

Dawn Foster, a journalist for the Guardian suggests that “scarcity” is a problem, and that “Britain simply isn’t building enough housing to meet the demand for homes.”

“Part of that is due to a brick shortage that began before the recession, and a skills shortage: British workers predominantly don’t want to be builders, and the rhetoric against hiring in skilled workers from the EU and beyond also stymies attempts to build more,” she wrote.

Supply and demand of the city could therefore explain why the average house price in the UK is £282,000, compared to London’s average of £525,000, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The deal with King’s Crescent is that you get a 25% share in a one-bedroom flat for £98,750 outright – meaning if you want to buy the whole property it’ll cost you £395,000. Rental works out as £679 a month as well as additional bills such as service charge and mortgage.

Northern born Josh Fletcher, a 24-year-old bartender said “You get a bedsit in London for the same price as a two bedroom, decent furnished flat in Sunderland or Newcastle,” adding “f***ing extortionate!” Friend of Fletcher, Matthew Preece, 23, added “I’d rather live in a house up here (Northern England) than a box down there.”

Results from a Holloway Hotspot survey carried out regarding the cost of living in London revealed that 78% of participants agreed that £98,750 for a flat was ruthless. Just over 85% also went on to indicate that living in London was unaffordable all together, 42% giving this as the main reason they do not live in the capital.

And in true British style, the public ripped into the Evening Standard, as well as the government, with fierce opinions:











An army of artists

Art enthusiasts from London gave opinions on the importance of watercolor during the First World War last Friday.

The Estorick Collection, located in a grade two listed building on Canonbury Square in North London has been displaying predominantly Italian art since first opening its doors to the public in 1998. Currently however, the gallery is exhibiting the work of famous figures in WW1 such as Ernest Brooks, William Joseph Brunell, Keith Roberts and Sydney Carline, who played an crucial part in documenting the war through their photography and artwork.

Carline’s work especially drew attention to retired Bryan Collett, who mentioned that he came to the gallery out of sheer curiosity in some of the artists whom he’d previously never heard of.

17142366_10213061863847225_1767041219_o(Some of Carline’s work which he painted from his cockpit in flight)

“I’m familiar with some of the war artists, but some of the others i’m not, that’s why I came along – out of curiosity.”

Collett also explained how important he felt it was that these artists documented things they seen, saying “The whole idea of a war artist is it’s a bit like being an embedded journalist or a war correspondent, they were the equivalent.” Now 100 years on, and the public today can see first hand what these correspondents lived through on a daily basis.

(Digital copies of work by William Joseph Brunell, exibited in the Estorick Collection)

Claudia Zanardi, the marketing assistant at the collection who was kind enough to give a tour of the exhibits explained more about the gallery, its work and the history behind it all.

Zanardi said the exhibits at the moment were “British artists who went to Italy during the First World War,” adding “this exhibition is quite important to us, all of our exhibitions are important to us, but this one in particular.”

Zanardi also added that the gallery and its exhibits aim to develop conversation with a British audience about modern Italian art with the help of the Imperial War Museum and the Pullman Centre who loaned the gallery various original pieces, as well as digital copies to aid them in their ventures.

17141153_10213061864527242_204758667_n(An airplane piece by Keith Roberts)

Zanardi finally went on to say that the gallery has “four temporary exhibitions per year, ll about Italian topics,” which will keep avid art admirers coming back for more.

Finding a good heart is as easy as charity shopping

Having family who have struggled with homelessness throughout his life, Bechir Boughami had aspirations to decrease the numbers of people sleeping rough on the streets.

He made those dreams a reality when he volunteered for Shelter on Finchley Road, north west London, a location which has gone on to become the company’s first ever “Boutique by Shelter”, taking charity shopping to the next level by selling designer items.

picture1(By Geoff Wong – Flickr: Homeless II, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17704840)

Boughami, now 34, has spent the last six years of his life dedicated to the cause. He started from the bottom but now is a high flyer, as a store manager on Holloway Road, Islington. Juggling this with his other job as a translator, Boughami displays a real passion and desire when speaking about how homelessness has affected his life.

Boughami’s modesty in saying that when working as a volunteer he didn’t consider it a job suggests that his heart is in the right place and genuinely wants to play his part in making a difference.

“Homelessness is a big issue in this country,

“I have family who suffer, so I know how it is…the mess you’ll be in.”


vant_boston_music_rooms(Photo Credit – By Paul Hudson – https://www.flickr.com/photos/pahudson/)

London rockers VANT released their debut album DUMB BLOOD via Parlophone today…and it’s something to be excited about for sure.

The 4 piece fronted by Mattie Vant — whom the bands name comes from — have been paving away over the past couple of years, making a name for themselves through a combination of live touring and promotional singles, establishing quite the fan base, leaving them eager for more material.

Accruing over 30k combined followers on Facebook and Twitter, VANT have succeeded in leaving their names on the lips of the likes of Annie Mac and their singles have made appearances on her “Hottest Record in the World” show time and time again. That’s just mentioning their tracks though, their live performances are something else completely.

DUMB BLOOD showcases 13 solid edgy alternative rock tracks which will blow your speakers. It’s a 41 minute roller coaster through the eyes of an eco friendly Mackem. Mattie’s lyrics are very topical and lines such as “We need another term not another Afghanistan,” as seen in THE ANSWER are sure to get people talking politics.

In a nutshell, the album is Fuck You punk rock in its newest form. It’s not a complete racket, the lyrics are audible and it probably has songs on it that your mam and dad cant help put tap their feet to. In terms of genre, the album doesn’t stay on the same level throughout but varies from song to song. Apart from the very distinct voice, you wouldn’t think that some of the tracks were performed by the same band — Time & Money, for example, is on a complete different wavelength to Parasite, which holds heavy similarities to an old-school Misfits or Ramones track.

They say that variety is the spice of life and as cliché as it sounds, VANT prove that with this record. With not one single throwaway present, (a rarity for most artists who are just starting out due to lack of experience) the album is worth every penny. If you’re looking for a revolutionary punk rock band, you’ve found them.

The release is also available as a deluxe, jam packed with extra songs for those who can’t get enough.

Off the back of supporting Youmeatsix across the country last October, VANT set off their own headline tour later this month. You’d be mental to miss them.

Tickets are available at http://www.wearevant.com/

For fans of: Sundara Karma, Ash, Darlia, Circa Waves, Kings of Leon.


Stereophonics drummer gives students Just Enough Education to Perform

Stereophonics drummer Jamie Morrison told aspiring musicians to “make this instrument sing” at an event by the East London Drum School earlier this month.

The clinic in De Beauvoir Town, Hackney, was host to a group of around 30 in the back room of The Barge House, a café facing the canal in the local area, after a last-minute change.

Morrison, 33, arrived equipped with a tote bag on his shoulder and cymbals under arm at around 3.20pm, ready to proceed to open ears ten minutes later.


After a warm welcome from the audience, Morrison wasted no time in jumping on the kit. He treated all listening to an array of drum solos throughout the session, pausing frequently to answer any questions that the initially shy crowd had to present him with.

Morrison also entertained the crowd with personal stories about picking up sticks, playing in a Stereophonics covers band, jamming with Kelly Jones (frontman) and the lads that got him where he is today.

Mentioning that he started drumming at 11, he joked with younger listeners around the same age, saying: “I was a typical drummer, eleven hours a day…skipping school-wouldn’t recommend.”

Most importantly however, Morrison offered the room advice on how to become a successful drummer.

“We make this instrument sing,” said Morrison regarding the drums, adding “this doesn’t dictate how we make music, we dictate how this makes music.”

Morrison also stressed that simply playing isn’t enough, and that presentation is a key to success. Morrison said that he would experiment by filling drum kits with ping pong balls and mounting his bass drum to a train track so it moved.

“We can play any beat that we want, it’s the way that we present it…it’s our angle,” said Morrison to motivate musicians to also try new things, adding “if we have a sound, we’ll work forever”.

After playing and chatting for around an hour and a half, the tables turned and Morrison observed as drummers in the audience courageously performed songs to him, then offering his critique and advice. Some drummers were even brave enough to play ‘Phonics tracks and there were others he could not fault, so genuinely impressed he was with their standard of playing.

The afternoon ended with a united photo with everyone present, before a quick chance to get pictures and autographs from the main man, who also handed out his weathered sticks through sheer kindness and generosity.

Arguably the strongest advice Morrison presented to rock star hopefuls?

“It’s about the magic in the moment, that magic.

“We’ve gotta make that greatness come, we’ve gotta insight that…we can’t just hope.

“It’s our responsibility to make things exciting.”

Film foods, the furthest thing from budget

The price of tucking into a tasty treat in the cinema is too hard to swallow, said students on Holloway Road this Friday.

It has been a running joke since the dawn of time about how you may as well have to take out a bank loan in order to visit the concessions stand at your local Odeon, IMAX or Cineworld, especially if you’re a student who finds it hard enough to get by as it is.

Adam Shelton, a 17-year-old social sciences and humanities student at London Metropolitan University, described the prices at picturehouses as “too much” while tucking into his cheap meal deal on campus.

“For a student anything can be expensive,”

16710207_10212835094538134_1665290094_o(Oden on Holloway Road)

Classmate Khadijah Hibbert, 18, also explained that there are so many cheaper alternatives to save money when hunger strikes halfway through the film. Hibbert said that she tends to “either take it or buy it from a local supermarket before hand.”

untitled(Bare advertising on the Odeon website)

The nearest cinema to London Met is an Odeon on the same road. There is little to no information available regarding the cost of concessionary products on the Odeon website (potentially due to different pricing in different areas) apart from the advertising above which shows a couple of “deals” which could still be construed as daylight robbery.

Obviously it isn’t easy for students with the cost of smelly halls, a weekly shop of beans on toast and enough cheap vodka to kill a small rhino to keep on top of, but even for the average citizen it could be argued that prices in general are a little steep.

Oh well, there’s always a spoons in an old ex-cinema (The Coronet) just down the road…


It’s mental they aren’t getting the funding for it

Staff at St Martins on St Paul’s Road said Monday that they play their part in improving the mental health of people who choose to access their services, despite cuts in mental health funding.

St Martins has been concentrating on developing services for people with complex mental health needs since 2011.

(St Martins on St Paul’s Road)

Trish Macmanus, the 60-year-old receptionist for St Martins head office, said they provide residential care homes for people with mental health issues.

“We try and help people recover so they can live independently in the community.”

A 22 percent positive turnover was stated by St Martins in their annual review which was published last year, showing that 11 out of 50 people moved to lower support needs. In contrast, a considerably higher negative turnover of 36 percent was shown leaving doubt as to whether enough is being done. Could this be due to the lack of funding in the sector?

Lorna Zacharek, a single point of entry officer Hackney MIND (a mental health charity organisation) has a different view on “success”. She believes that “it would be very hard to say in any specific way,” how successful she believes MIND to be as it depends on the individual’s aspirations.

Zacharek also explained that MIND uses a lot of CBT and mindfulness in their work, teaching people coping techniques while waiting for care, proving that despite the cuts in funding, people can still get the help they require through the generosity of others.