Freelance Journalism and its dangers!

After reading yesterday’s Guardian and maintaining the idea that anyone can be a journalist, I thought this would be very appropriate.

The prison in Tripoli where Ghaith Abdul-Ahad spent two weeks in solitary confinement

Freelance Journalist for the Guardian Ghaith Abdul-Ahad recalls his two weeks in a Libian Prison.  The article is set out much like a diary recalling what he say and thought, it also includes his recallection of his cell and the other prisoners during the Libian Uprising.

The thought of being held prisoner in a foreign country and with no idea of the length of imprisonment is something that all journalists with foreign or war journalism interests have to be aware of. This area of journalism is rarely voiced in the news and this was the main reason that it immediately caught my eye.


The piece gives the readers of the Guardian the chance to imagine the fear behind the Libian Uprising for not just the Libian people but for all, the article is extremely hard hitting as we as a reader know that it is a first hand eyewitness account of Libya during Gaddafi’s ruling. Ghaith Abdul-Ahad reports on his return to Libya after his time in prison and his meeting with the prison guard Hatem and how it was almost like his period of solitary confinement had never happened. This was merely two friends meeting again, something which Ghaith Abdul-Ahad himself descibed as eerie and quite surreal. He states that Hatem had despised journlaists, naming them “spies and enemies of Libya”. It is inspiring to know that Ghaith Abdul-Ahad made it from Libya alive and can expose his memories for us to read, however, it does set fear in me to know how close he was to death and how everyday he didnt really know what would happen to him.

We will never quite know how severe the conditions were in Libya during the Gaddafi regime, but this account does shine a light over the areas, we as the public never really heard about at the time. It is clear from this that being a journalist is on a knife edge between seriously dangerous and seriously exhilerating, it really is a question of how far one will go to get the latest and freshest news available, even if it means imprisonment, or possible death.

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad’s tracks down his jailor and speaks of his strong opposition with journalists. The totalitarian beliefs in Libya are clearly evident as Hatem is seen as a member of  the Libian community  who still believed in Gaddafi, even during the few days before his capture, ” you are here to destroy Gaddafi’s Libya” were the words that Ghaith Abdul-Ahad remembers vividly.

The account of this freelance reporter and his time in Libian during Gaddafi rule comes across to readers as extrememly personal and something which im sure would catch the eye of the majority of readers, especially during the current global interest in the Libian rebel uprising and the failure of Gaddafi.

Can England win the European Championships in 2012?

England; THE big underachievers in international football. It’s been 45 years since England last won a major tournament, their only ever tournament success. And with Euro 2012 just around the corner, the question is asked again, can England triumph? Do the current crop of players at Fabio Capello’s disposal have what it takes to compete with the European elite? Continue reading


It seems that the increase in usage of social media sites by young people is accompanied by the increase in eating disorders in the same age group.

Continue reading

Noel Gallagher Flying High in Edinburgh

Last night Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds had landed in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall to play what was only the third date so far in their current UK and Ireland tour.  After swaggering on stage in true Gallagher style,  much to the adoration of his most devoted followers- identifiable by their haircuts,  Mr Gallagher got straight into it, starting at his roots with the Oasis tracks: “(It’s good) to be free” and “Mucky Fingers”. He then went on to play some tracks from his successful new album, “The death of you and me”, which went to number 1 in it’s first week, selling 120 000 copies. It was no surprise then that many in the crowd were able to belt out every word of “Dream on” and the title song “The death of you and me” as Noel showed his more melodic side now having left Oasis. Also from the new album he played “If I had a gun” which he devoted to his Edinburgh born wife Sara MacDonald who was present in one of the seated tiers of the bustling Usher Hall.

Continue reading

The Massive Suprise (to me) that is Plan B

Today I was properly shocked. Really, properly shocked. I sat down to try and update myself with the goings on of the internet (with the general intention of actually getting some work done) and thought that I’d get some background music on. I must have heard Plan B on the radio earlier or somthing because I’d had his song “she said” bouncing around my head all morning. To my 50,000 (ok, I’m kind of bragging) strong Itunes collection I went, only to find that I hadn’t yet acquired “The Defamation of Strickland Banks”, Plan B’s second studio album. To Spotify I went, finding the record in no time at all. Don’t you just love the internet by the way?

Wow. What an incredible album. It’s definetely the best I’ve heard since listining to The Streets’ brilliant “A Grand Don’t Come For Free”. I love a good themed album that tells a story and lets just say that if they made a movie based on Plan B’s songs, I’d be the first in line at the local Cineworld. The Album tells the story of Plan B’s fictional alias “Strickland Banks”. A famed soul singer, Banks’ goes out celebrating his success and meets a women at a bar, spending the night. In the morning she declares herself to be his biggest fan telling flabbergasted Strickland that she is in love with him. He rejects her advances, only to wind up in court after she falsely accuses him of rape in anger. The album then goes on to describe Banks’ struggle in prison, originaly keeping his head down, but when other prisoners begin herassing him, he buys a ‘shiv’. In self defense, Banks kills another prisoner only to let a fellow inmate take the blame. He is sticken with guilt and begins to become angry at being in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, only to give up and accept his fate. The album’s finale sees new evidence appear and Banks is back on trial. It finishes with the listner never finding out whether or not Banks in freed.

Not only is the album a beautifully written tale (I think Plan B deserves an Oscar for best scipt) the songs are aswell. In “Stay Too Long” Plan B tells us how Strickland is “feeling happy now” in his brilliantly melodic voice- only to switch the pace half way through and shock us with some seriously gritty MCing (Mike Skinner, take notes) What a joy to listen to. “Trading in my Cigarrettes” Has Strickland bartering for a knife to protect himself in prison. The track has a guitar rift (I’m not sure whether that actually is the right terminology) reminiscint of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, but also has a decidely upbeat tone of somthing that definetely sounds gospel. The lyrics of “What You Gonna Do” towards the album’s end are quite brilliant. “You can cut me loose or bang me up, ’cause to tell the truth, I don’t really give a fuck” is one of my favourite lines in the entire record. Plan B pulls off cool so well.

I went to Radio One’s big weekend back in may, and massively enjoyed Plan B’s performance. I hadn’t really heard anything of his before but I still enjoyed it. Now I’m kicking myself for not quite appreciating just how lucky I was to be only 10ft from a guy I now consider to be a genius. Thank you Plan B for you’re phenomonal music, I underrated you fella. I think I’ll go on Twitter and see If I can follow him, I’m so late in finding “The Defamation of Strickland Banks” that his new album must be coming out pretty soon. I can’t wait.

The Death Of The High Street

There is an interesting article in today’s Guardian about how more than 20,000 high street jobs have been lost. It is nothing new; we have been hearing about the financial struggle for a while now. But it got me thinking about my own high street and how only a small selection of shops still remain from my childhood.

Continue reading

Facebook is taking over my life. And yours.

I was just trying to browse through Twitter and the BBC looking for stories to inspire another blog. Then I found myself on Facebook. For the third time during this task. When I got up this morning I checked Facebook. As I sat and studied throughout the day I checked it periodically. When I got back from the gym I checked Facebook. Even though I was actually on it on my phone walking back.

Continue reading