Thursday, 28 March 2013

How to Make a Monster

Josie Cunningam is all over the media for blaging a free boob job from the NHS then getting fame.
There are lots of victims of Josie Cummingam's behavior, we all have our own horror stories about the NHS, but I believe the biggest victim is Josie; and every other woman prepared to go through dangerous surgery to get what she wants. Once we married our handsome prince, then feminists fought so sisters could do it for themselves, what the hell went so wrong? Society  values than our looks now young girls ask their doctor to be butchered on the operation table so they can get their dream man and dream job, a Barbie body to match a Barbie lifestyle. Barbie is made of plastic, she does't feel anything, her body is a fantasy, to get Barbie boobs in real life you take risks with your health, any fake boobs can leak causing havoc with your body, not a problem Barbie has, "Some victims of botched surgery claim that leaking implants have caused severe joint pains and fatigue, but there is no scientific evidence of this." At least Josie had her treatment on the NHS, but still there is a risk. I hope dreams of cash helped Josie through the pain after the operation, she did have her breasts cut open and stitched, this hurts, take it from a girl who had plastic boobs installed," surgeon told me I would have a heavy, tight feeling in my chest, and that lifting my arms up will be painful. Putting on and taking off the required sports bra you have to wear is also going to be painful. (My PS says to me, hopefully, “Do you have a high pain threshold?” I was like “Emmm, nope…”)" Sports bras, stitched up Frankenstein tits and pain doesn't sound glamorous to me. 

This girl is a symptom of a sickness in our body obsessed, self centered world. Josie is ambitious, good on her. While little girls used to grow up with Cinderella Josie grew up with Jordon, a real life Barbie/Cinderella who got everything she wanted. She got her boobs out spilled some secrets and go told she was stunning,Josie slaving away in her telesales job, not an easy way to earn a modest income she thought "I'll have some of that". Add to this a body obsessed culture it's a toxic mix. How about passing some exams, being a good person, loving her family, no, she knew that wasn't worth as much money as her boobs and selling her silly little drama.Passing exams  may well have not been a great option, 20% of graduates are unemployed compared to 7.9% of the population, maybe getting bog boobs are a better option for a girl these days. Magazines aren't full of women who do good things, they are full of women who look good and have dramas, look at the covers of magazines like "Closer" they are covered in female flesh, this is how you get famous.  Even women who win medals Olympic athletes have their looks analysed endlessly just have a look at this,"Some of these sexy female athletes are feminine athletes, such as figure skaters, while others tough it out on the ice in hockey or on the slopes as talented skiers and athletes. Here is a look at some of the sexiest women in the 2010 Winter Olympics." The message is being sexy is as or more important than being good at what you do. We are told we are valued for selling our bodies and being plastic play things for men, that's where the cash and glory are. Josie will be a victim, for now she's being hated, but many of the press who they hate her pay her and give her the attention she craves. Soon the public will get bored of this silly girl and she'll have problems walking her yappy dogs down the street because people will detest her for a long time. 

Until the world values women for what they do and not how they look and how many magazines we can sell there will be Josie's. She is our Frankenstein of the year, somebody to hate or lust over, we will throw her away as easily as an old Barbie doll. Somewhere there might be a human, beating heart, that heart will break, and she will be nothing but a victim and back in telesales.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Dub Mafia 
The Cavern Friday 8 March 2013

Dub Mafia don't do anything quietly, they are big and bold by nature, their tunes there the to be noticed . They we're once a seven piece, now a five piece. They are old hands at Glastonbury, have performed at BBC sound sessions and now it's Exeter's turn to get a dose of bass craziness. Their mixed up quirky sound a grown in their hometown, Bristol, the natural home of great music like Tricky  and a banging alliterative scene. 

The Cavern is not the most glamorous clubs, it's small and grunge chic would be a kind way to describe it; if you want to bump into a celeb, go somewhere else. The Cavern is where you drink beer and even share a cuppa with your mates here not a bottle of champagne with a footballer . This small, quirky venue is perfectly suited to this energetic old school rave up band. There is hardly a divide between the audience and the band, this is a great advantage of playing in a small club. of  After long DJs sets of roots reggie the band starts subtly with the DJ, people soon notice  the main act have arrived. The singer is stunning and charismatic Eva Lazarus, all eyes are on her as her soulful vocals rise above the sometimes claustrophobic macho beats.Eva is not only a great singer but a flawless rapper. Tracks without her voice have real soul missing, she is the human, pumping heart of the band, the boys certainly have lots to do with the magic.  Eva responds to the audience, dancing with us. Eva is the star of the show but she gives the rest of the band and some crazy dancers space to be stars too, like a good DJ at an old school rave she is the main attraction out of many . The boys do a great job playing live instruments, three brothers, they told me backstage  keyboards and one deck, the one deck doesn't replace talent, it's used in totally original ways as another layer to their sound.  its a purposefully chaotic lawless sound the sometimes jars. The audience lap it up, there is a charged ravey, punky atmosphere and people are gong crazy, the best thing is these beats are live, you can see the drummer frantically banning out drum and bass and every other kind of dance music in front of our eyes. It's good to see the sweat on his brow and in turn he makes the audience sweat. The band changes styles with ease, this is no moronic bang bang bang techno act, it goes deeper than that, this music moves your emotions as well as your body, this is helped by a brilliant drummer who plays with passion and soul. unlike a drum machine. One track bleeds to another with abstract segways that showcase their musical skills and gives it the feel of a DJ set; like a great, classic set we are taken to l sorts of places along with the band.  There are some real gems in there but I am a little disappointed at times as they blend in a little to well, I would like more tracks to shine on their own.  

They are happy to talk backstage  meeting them give me clues as to how the magic is created. The band cram in a tiny back room to talk there's lots of free booze thanks to the much deserved rider; Dub Mafia party as hard as they play their tunes.The band are a clan, three are brothers. The chemistry between them is great, they can finish each others sentences; this is a family and when you go to a show you become one of their tribe. The an  sound is part of the whole ethos of the band, Eva told me "It's chaotic that's the style, it's chaotic's who we are as people". The band are very at home in The Cavern, there's even graffiti by Eva from when they last played. I asked them about Glastonbury  their modest about the crowd, one of the boys told me, "it depends what we're up against." and talked about the festival more than their sets. I ask them if they think we're good dancers in Exeter and she answered, "there were two guys in the front of raving it up tops off, hugging everyone."  She didn't appreciate people who weren't fully up for it,There was a blond girl at the front..I thought if our not up for dancing why did yo come?" . The band are more than just bass monsters and party animals, they play about five benefit gigs year benefiting good causes from around the world. This band love their life and are committed to the every aspect, it comes from every pore; if you get the chance, put your old stinky raving trainers, make sure your up for a dance and join the mafia for a night. 

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A Pointless Death

Why did Michelle die?

This is the shocking story of homelessness in Exeter. Michelle Conray was a homeless 21 year old girl. In dreadful weather a tree fell on her tent, she later died in hospital. Michelle was camping in Exeter, a middle class, middle management town; it's a shopping town; John Lewis towers above the town centre. This is a testament to the middle class dream of a comfortable home, so why do so many people in Exeter have no home of their own?

One of these people was Michelle Conray. Michelle was crushed under a tree while camping in a spell of terrible weather. This was an awful, pointless death of a girl barely out of her teens. This girl had no addictions, she was nicknamed "orange squash girl" because she never drank alcohol, she had no interest in drugs either, so if this girl sold you a Big Issue or asked you for change she needed it for food.   There are two questions, why didn't Michelle have a home? And why she was camping under a tree? Talking to homeless people in Exeter gave me some answers to both questions.

Homeless people are often caught in difficult situations. Exeter is short of council houses, she was in competition with 5016 other homeless people. Remember there are many stories behind these figures, from the 20 something who can't afford to fly the nest to the older alcoholic sleeping in doorways. Many of these people are invisible, a 53 year old woman who lived in a van drove to different locations every night to avoid trouble, she had tried staying in a car park in Exeter but was woken up by people bothering her, she told me “I tried sleeping in an underground car park where it was warm but people kept banging on the door.” She was a bright, articulate ex nurse who had bad luck. The woman pointed out a card she wears around her neck to warn people of her condition.  The women explained how she was thrown off her own land where she had a mobile home. Bad luck and tangled red tape seem to drive lots of people to the streets.

While visiting local homeless charity "St Petrocks" I was told "sofa surfing" is conman, crashing on family and friends floors for as long as you can get away with; we can't see these people but their lives are more difficult and unsettled thanks to not having a permanent address.  Michelle stayed in a patchwork of places, like many homeless people. Michelle had spend her life with foster parents, she was in contact with some on Facebook but none of them knew she was homeless.

 Michelle was young at 21 but not young enough to be a priority to the council, she as not pregnant, she had not left prison or the armed forces, so Michelle fell through a safety net with huge holes in it. Many other people I spoke to had fallen through the same net, and then they had a frustrating journey to find a home. The guidelines talk of people being vulnerable but after being made homeless people are vulnerable to the weather, abuse, drug and alcohol addiction and never living a normal life again.

This year the weather has been extreme, the council has a duty to get homeless people shelter if  the temperature goes below 2 degrees. Many homeless people are regally at the mercy of terrible weather conditions. The cold is only one hazard one young man told me “I got soaked, I was staying down the tunnels in South Street, “It was like a river own there." The middle aged nurse told me even though she had a van cold weather was still a hazard, I asked how she survived in cold weather and she said, “Very, very’s absolutely dripping with condensation.” There seemed to be very few places for people to stay “Even on a cold night the shelter a homeless person get may well not be suitable. The woman told me, “They put me in bed and breakfast but I have a mobility problem and it has stairs....I had to leave”. The same woman was put in bed and breakfast but it was not suitable. There are more homeless men than women, this makes a very macho world, mot shelters are full of me, many are addicts, one middle aged man told me, shelter may be in a shelter called "Gabriel House" the man told me, "It's like a prison, your camered from when you get up."  He also said he had not heard reports from Ester House, a woman's shelter. The town centre would have been a safer place to stay in such bad weather; this is often not an option. The same middle aged man told me, “They’ll (the police) will move you on, and security will follow you” I asked the man if she may have driven out of town and been frightened of staying in a shelter and he thought this was likely.

The story of Michelle is complicated, terrible circumstances cost a young life. Every homeless person has a complex story. People gave £3000 because of Michelle’s death, this will only help for a very short time, shelters are in short supply and many homeless people who are not addict don’t want to stay in them and people need have a roof over their head. This crisis can only get worse with the government stopping housing benefits for under 25s and repossessions at a 14 year high; along with a shocking shortage of council houses mean more people will be homeless; another pointless death is not very far away.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

A story of a problem family.

The government are thinking of giving vouchers to unemployed people for food; people all over twitter have been complaining with good reason, it’s treating the unemployed like children, telling them they have to spend their cash at Tesco’s and stealing people’s dignity. To a point I agree with this, being out of work is embarrassing and undignified, money is eked out. I used to put cash in envelopes labelled food, gym, bills and would open them as I needed them.    When I found myself a jobless single mum I had the same mentality, I would tell the kids I was skint so I could scrape my money together to buy some clothes or have a cheap day out. My life wasn't always like this though.

Not every poor person is noble  not every poor person counts the pennies and spends the spare pennies wisely. Some people fed their kids others feed their habits, I should know, I lived with a man who didn't live for his family; he lived to get off his face. “Now “I hear Tories cry, this is a family who need food stamps, why should people go spending taxpayers money on drugs.” I agree, the way some people spend their cash is disgusting.   Unfortunately one of these men was the father of my children. I worked full time in a call center  on pay day I would pray the money would be spent on food , his parents would give him a lift to Tescos. One day I had a vibe he was desperate to get off his face, before work I rang his dad terrified we would starve begging him to make sure the shopping was done early. This man just wanted to feed his habits; he didn't care where he got the money from, the state, the family, his partner.  I probably behaved like a loony but an insane situation calls for insane actions. We we’re a problem family, we we’re an asbo crew. Our problems went deeper than us being childish hedonists living off the state, we had real problems and a long tangled tale, it would have taken more than a team of social workers and some food stamps to sort out our problems.

It seems a simple cure for problem families, force them to feed their children, and stop the habits the problem goes deeper than adults behaving like idiots. My ex was so addicted to so many things he could make money out of thin air. Toys would go missing, things would go back to the shop if I kept the receipt, food cards would just be used by addicts to barter with. Anything I bought would be “stolen”. I was not an addict but I was a victim, I was out of my mind on threats of violence and no sleep. I trusted nobody, I had lost all my friends and I had no money, I could see nowhere out.  My ex had lied so well to social services they believed I was an addict too. The only reason I have a laptop to write this story on is because I got out. I’m on a journalism course and I am really careful with cash. My family rescued me in the end. So Tories don’t think you can help the poor by treating them like children. How about spending money on children’s services, having social workers spend more time with families and making it easier for women and men to get out of destructive relationships? Addiction is a disease; it won’t be cured by handing out food cards. Problems are complex, every dysfunctional family is different, please Tories don’t think some gimmicks will sort them out. 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Zombie Takeover.

Zombies invade Exeter

On Saturday the city centre was infested with zombies’ as part of a Halloween celebration. The event started in Exeter city centres bus station. It then proceeded down Sidwell Street, through Princesshay, The cathedral green, then onto The Phoenix Arts Centre. The event was organised by Exeter’s Phonic FM and The Phoenix.

People came to the march from all over Devon, one woman said “We did this last year and it was very fun. So we did it again. We travelled from Paignton, but it is so fun it is worth it.”
The march was publicised “by social media the event was promoted through social media, word of mouth and Phonic FM, we didn’t use posters around town. “. This was very much a safe, fun community event, a strange disease had not spread around the world nor was Exeter being used as a horror film set.

The people dressed up had some open sores, blood dripping down their faces, calling and moaning after fresh blood. Strange brides wandered the streets complete with dead flowers. Terrified teenage girls ran away from monsters squealing in fear. Many were dressed in strange ripped clothes. Some chased terrified shoppers through the town centre looking for fresh flesh to feed on. This frightening behaviour had spread from North American towns, and then spread to London and Bristol now Exeter was invaded by the zombie mob. The participants reached The Phoenix at around 5pm where they were then greeted with a live music event called “The Zombie Ball”. 

This was a community event was organised by Mike James, Phonic FM’s DJ of The Rock show. Mike has caused quite a stir in the rock music community. Mike had talked to mega famous rocker Slash has talked on his shows. He has also been nominated for FM DJ of the year award. The event was inspired by events around the world. Zombies marched to the Phoenix arts centre for a family rock show; money made from the show is “keeping the station afloat. Last year we made it to the top 100 zombie walks in the world which is amazing considering were up against cities such as New York and London.”

Many families went on to the Zombie Ball and the mix of heavy rock and dressing up kept all generations happy. Prices for the show were recession friendly £10.00 in advance and £12.50 the door “ten bands played and will be playing against a packed house of over 300 people.” All profits went to Phonic FM.

These money making events and contributions are the only way the station keeps broadcasting. Many zombies appeared in a rock video for up and coming band Cambion, the event was partly to find zombies to appear in their video. Cambion had been supported by Phonic FM since they started out; [The Rock Show] had also supported the band”. Many other local heavy bands played such as Your Mums Beard, Flame Fracture and with the Famous Vampire Killers headlining.

The event was a great fun family day out and showcase for some great heavy local rock music. If you want to join in the fun keep posted to Mike James on social media platforms and of course, The Rock Show on Phonic FM. Next a heavy rock Christmas party is due to be hosted by the radio station. Look for the link for a massive collection of stills posted below.

By Ruth Barr and Merlin Spiers. Please visit the link below for high resolution photos taken by a professional camera. Please only use them for personal use, for uses contact before hand.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Waikiki is a great restaurant for Exeter’s fussiest family.

Waikiki is a great restaurant for Exeter’s fussiest family.
As a tribe we are a fussy family. Theirs me, I eat a low sugar, very low meat diet. On the occasions I do eat meat I would really like a full psychological report on the animal, if was happy, I might eat it! I’m not keen on eating in pubs being strictly teetotal. I not keen on menus in a different language, intimidation by waiters and taking my tribe anywhere posh.  My children are easier to please, they like noodles, they make their own lunch most Saturdays, and they can boil a kettle and their experts at getting just the right amount of hot water in the pot. Clever! When we go shopping we often end up in the place advertised by that creepy clown. I hate the food; my kids hate the security guard. I need to watch out for him, I sometimes sneak last night’s dinner in to eat under the table.
To solve our problems with food we try Waikiki. This restaurant sits close to another competitor, the place where you “eat fresh”.  They are aware of this and have competitive offers. I have eaten some dead animal there, wild boar burger. It came with a simple salad, chips and tortillas, all for under £7. I assume the pig had a happy life as it was wild! I was happy to eat my food off a plate rather than a table, how civilised.  
I took my tribe to Waikiki . The d├ęcor is modern with fresh colours, a surf documentary plays on a large screen and pop music plays at a conversation friendly volume. My son who likes his food simple was happy with a familiar ham and salad sub. There was a little too much mustard for his liking but there is a very cheap childrens’ menu. My son liked the bread better than the place you “eat fresh” at, praise indeed. My daughter and I had the tomato and basil soup. The soup was very refreshing and herby like a good pasta sauce. The bread the soup came with was lovely wholemeal bread.  I treated myself to a frozen yogurt on offer at £1.99, you can only have low fat yogurt and it came with a sugary sauce rather than fruit, I do sometimes eat sugar at the weekend and it was lovely.   The atmosphere is very good, the staff wear smart surf dude and dudette clothes, they are genuinely polite and friendly. There is a bar but it is a secondary feature and well tucked away. The restaurant is pleasantly busy without being claustrophobic.
Wakikis is a great family restaurant. It has a relaxing atmosphere with real plates and cutlery. The surf theme is not overdone and the documentary give the most stressed out family something to chat about; you can hear each other chat too. There are familiar favourites for fussy children and older people and even a bar. No security gaud is always a good sign in a restaurant. You can’t buy a burger for a quid or salty skinny chips but the food is healthy. Lastly I would like to thank wild boar, you tasted great!