Freelance Writing and Ethics – What Will You Not Do?

I’ve received several approaches since I started freelancing some three years ago to do something I had already decided I would never do. I’m sure that businesses providing such services will and do pay handsomely for it but I have a major ethical problem with putting my academic and creative writing talents to such projects. Continue reading “Freelance Writing and Ethics – What Will You Not Do?”

A Lesson in (Social) Media Manipulation

This is another ILPPS transplant. More commentary on the power of manipulation through the written word.

The migrant crisis seems to have brought out the best and the worst in everybody in Europe. Supporters at Bundesliga football matches in Germany last year held up signs saying “refugees welcome”. In stark contrast, right wing commentators on social media are asking “Why do they all want to come here?! Its obveius, its 2 take are benefitz!!!11!111”.
Continue reading “A Lesson in (Social) Media Manipulation”

The Power of Words: Use & Misuse of Statistics

This is the first article I am copying over from ILPPS. It’s an important lesson about media and statistics.

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” – Benjamin Disraeli

Please read the following two hypothetical statements and answer which of the scenarios shows an increase of 20%. Continue reading “The Power of Words: Use & Misuse of Statistics”

Happy Christmastide – A Look at Medieval Christmas Food

Last year, I wrote a blog post on Saturnalia and Roman festive food. I mentioned in the comments that I hoped to write an article on medieval Christmas as a companion piece. A year later and here it is! Hmm, should I perhaps aim to do a Tudor and a Victorian one this year too, though you may have to wait until 2016 for those! Continue reading “Happy Christmastide – A Look at Medieval Christmas Food”

Social Commentary in Science Fiction: Mockingjay

I know I have already written a post on The Hunger Games but here I want to write specifically about the final book/film where everything changes and the story is brought to a satisfactory conclusion (well, for some). Though it follows the same theme of celebrity culture, there are other elements that make this final chapter interesting in its own right. Continue reading “Social Commentary in Science Fiction: Mockingjay”

Spoofing Best Selling Books

There was a time, perhaps ten years ago, when it was all the rage to spoof the bestsellers. It seems to have died a death in recent years. I went through a phase of buying them for light bedtime reading and humour. It was a short phase and because they were of mixed quality, I didn’t tend to stick with the genre. Here is a list of those I have read. I’m assuming it isn’t necessary to explain what is being spoofed in each case:
Continue reading “Spoofing Best Selling Books”

History Boys and Girls – Noteworthy Historical Fiction

Ciaran Hinds as Gaius Julius Caesar in the TV series “Rome”

I talk a lot about science fiction books on here and I realise that despite posting quite a few book reviews on the genre, I’ve neglected discussion of novels set in the past. I have read quite a few set across a diverse range of periods with different approaches and ranging in quality. Continue reading “History Boys and Girls – Noteworthy Historical Fiction”

Dys ability

The meaning of words and how we use them. Fascinating blog post from Stormclear on the meaning of “disability” and whether we should use “neurodiversity” for such learning difficulties as dyslexia and dyspraxia.


I’ve been pondering the idea of disability. I recently read a very emotive article online about how the government’s austerity cuts are damaging towards the disabled, and this lady’s very eloquently worded it:

“My illness is about the way my body functions or fails to function, but my disability includes how accommodating or unaccommodating society is towards disabled people. If disabled people aren’t enabled by society, we simply become more disabled.”

These words are by Rosa Davies in The Guardian (see link here)

In my own little way, I want to join the fight towards making the world more accommodating for people who live outside of what is classed as ‘normal’ (I hesitate to use the ‘n’ word, so it gets speech marks)

The idea behind Stormclear is to discover more ways of helping people with dyslexia and dyspraxia – and other similar difficulties – to cope with a…

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