Category Archives: Professional Writing

This contains work which demonstrates my creative writing capabilities. Stories, scripts and letters which would be of public interest.

Chapter One: Unjust

I wasn’t sure whether I should go to school today, mum is bad today she’s really shaky and hasn’t even been able to get out of bed. Its okay, I already know my seven times tables anyway. Probably should introduce myself, I am Ben Arnold and I’ve just turned eight. I don’t feel eight. I haven’t felt eight or I never felt seven for a long time, but that is beside the point. I’ve had to grow up quick, real quick. Mummy’s not well; I wish it was just the sniffles like I get sometimes. I really have prayed that if I give her some calpol and cuddles she will get better like she does for me and everything will be okay and I will have my mum back. But the doctor man says that sometimes things aren’t that simple. Instead its serious hospital visits for complicated operations that they say I’m too young to understand. And painkillers, lots of them, to make sure she feels better. But I’m not sure if she does and I’m not sure she ever will.

They say she has Cerebral Aneurysm, the doctor, Dr. Scott is really nice all the time and he tries to explain it to me. Because sometimes all I want to do is understand. Understand why my mummy could be going to heaven soon, when she is the only person I have. Understand when my daddy left and why he left when he knew I was in mums tummy. And why, all these questions I have come back to that one. WHY. Why my mummy? It’s okay though. There gets a point where you have to stop asking, because no one is answering.

Dr. Scott tells me that one day my mummy woke-up with a headache- I remember this. Sometimes she would get more angry at me for watching too much TV or not brushing my teeth properly. The headaches wouldn’t go away, they kept happening, so she came to see Peter. He did some tests, quite cool ones where he would try to look inside her brain and stuff. But what they found wasn’t cool. Far from it. Somewhere in her brain, the veins, like the ones I can see in my arms, are swollen. There are risks of them starting to bleed inside her brain and this would be really dangerous as it could mean mum gets even sicker. I have seen her faint before. I have seen her in a lot of pain. But there is nothing I can do to stop it and it hurts, it makes me really sad. I can cry all I want it doesn’t make it go away, nothing does. I open my eyes and she is still in pain, still finding it hard to speak to me and all I can do is hand her the blue pills and a glass of water and give her a cuddle. All the cuddles in the world won’t ever make it like it used to be, just me and her. My mummy.

At first, when mum first went to the doctors, she tried to keep it from me. I got upset at her, because she always says that lying is bad and that is what she did. But she explained that sometimes grown-ups have to lie to protect the people they love. So this is what I did. I lied to my school whenever they wanted to meet with her, I lied to my friends mums when they asked about her and most importantly I lied to grandpa and grandma. They live somewhere far in the north of the country, every time they called I would make an excuse about where she was and every time she spoke to them it was the same.

“We don’t tell them because we love them, we are doing it for them. You know how they are getting weaker, I don’t want to put them through something like this” is what mum would always say. Something inside me told me this wasn’t right.

In Science one morning, I was speaking to my friend Greg, he looked sad. I asked him why he had tears in his eyes just in case his mummy was sick too. But he told me that his parents had been shouting and crying loads and they are getting divorced, this means them living in different places and he never wanted this to happen. When I asked him why all he knew was it was because of a secret. This showed what I had been thinking all along. Secrets are just like lies and they are bad. I decided I needed to tell grandma Ruth and grandpa Fred, before everybody started getting angry with each other.

It was about 4pm, I was watching some after school TV while mum was resting, her painkillers make her sleepy most of the time. The phone rang and I ran to answer it so it wouldn’t wake her, it was grandma, something inside of me felt sick. I knew I had to do it, just wish I knew how. My voice turns weak as I explain mums in bed, because she isn’t well, but grandma assumes it is one of her silly headaches and says she will call back. I froze.

“Hello..hello darling are you there? Hellooo…Fred I think the lines gone dead, I told you we should have bought that new model”

She has no idea. How do I do this? I don’t know how to say it, I don’t know how she will take it, what if everybody gets angry with me? I can’t sleep thinking about it. Tomorrow. I’ll call do it tomorrow, I’ve got to.

There’s a knock at the door. 10am on a Saturday, I’m not expecting anyone. I answer the door feeling jumpy. It’s grandma Ruth and grandpa Fred standing in the doorway with weekend bags and huge grins on their faces. Picking me up and giving me a huge cuddle she says:

“Oh my little darling! Look how much you’ve grown. We thought we would come and surprise you and your mum. Where is she?”

How am I going to get myself out of this one?

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‘Facebook destroyed my relationship’

The Facebook logo

Two hundred million members around the world, are you one of them? That’s right, Facebook. The popular social networking site has become a global phenomenon and continues to strive in its success, gaining hundreds of member’s everyday. Although it is true that Facebook is a useful website to interact with people and keep in touch with friends through wall discussions and other things, it can also prove to be very unpleasant at times in the way it is used.

“It can be very dangerous at times” says Nicola Cohen, a 22 year-old student from Essex. As we sit at her local coffee shop in Chelmsford, she began to tell the tale of how Facebook ruined her relationship, lost her friends and nearly led to a failed degree. Nicola is resentful of the day she became a member of Facebook. It is known to be addictive. A previous study has found that 70% of users become addicted and sign in around 15 times a day! This is how it started for Nicola; she decided to get it because almost all her classmates had it too. Once signed up, she was amazed at some of the people she found, old primary school friends and people who she hadn’t spoken to for years. It was also a good way to see what her friends were up to, through checking people’s statuses and looking through the pictures of their eventful weekend. But it was only a matter of time before the interest in the lives of other people on Facebook became obsessive. Admitting to checking her Facebook 10-15 times a day, Nicola confesses: “It would be the only thing I would be doing if I was at home, the first thing when I woke up and even if I would be out, I would sometimes get the urge to go to the nearest internet café to sign in”. And although she had replied to comments, accepted or declined friend requests and changed her status, she would still be on the site for at least another 3 hours.

These hours would be to pry on other people, this is commonly known to Facebook users as ‘Facebook stalking’. “Nobody likes to admit it, but everyone does it. You’ll be sitting there for hours looking at pictures of the hot guy down the road and it is daft to think that it would make more sense to go and have a face-to-face conversation with the person. The insight that is gained from someone’s profile may make their personality more apparent to you and you may even feel like you know them, when really you have never had more than a two minute conversation with them.

Are you part of the statistic?

Addiction, that’s one thing, but Nicola’s problems worsened when her now previous boyfriend also decided to sign up to Facebook. Mike went through the same process of the compulsion, checking up on Nicola whenever he had the chance. “This is where it all started, the arguments. It was awful, he’d check who was writing on my wall and commenting on my pictures and every male that did would be told to stay away. I was constantly being accused of cheating, even though I knew this was nowhere near true. I had to try and prevent my male friends from leaving comments.” Of course they listened, but from hearing it, contact lessened and it seemed like they lost respect for Nicola.

“Things just got worse and worse, but it wasn’t just him that was doing the stalking. I admit I would tend to go on his profile a lot just to see if he was being completely honest with me. I found out a lot of stuff, mostly trivial, like lying about where he said he’d be and, although petty, it was the fact that they were lies.” Nicola began to feel like there was no trust what so ever in the relationship, not only did he not believe her when she said she wasn’t seeing anybody else, she realised that actually she didn’t trust him at all either. “If he can lie about minor details and be dishonest when it isn’t necessary, then who knows what he could be keeping from me. This was my general thought process.” It was time to end it, after their heavy three year relationship, they both decided it was time to go their separate ways.

Whilst all of the drama had been occurring over the last year or so, Nicola’s university work suffered a great deal. “I had been getting bad grades for the assignments I would stay up all night doing and it showed the times when things were really tough for me personally, I would be failing the coursework. And to other people it seemed ridiculous that I was letting my love life distract me, but it’s different when you’re actually in the situation yourself. When you think you’re in love, the thought of losing that person is all that matters.” It got to the point where Nicola’s tutors had noticed a dramatic change in her work, attendance and enthusiasm, not to mention the times they caught her on Facebook in the middle of her lectures. So, they got into contact with her, this is when she realised that she had let it all get on top of her.

 “I deactivated my Facebook account. I thought that would solve my problems, but I lasted two days and I just had to get back onto it to check up on Mike.” Facebook allows users to deactivate their accounts, but this can be temporary. Nicola wasn’t impressed by what she saw, people who she thought were her friends had been making bitchy comments about her, and Mike had seemed like he had moved on. Losing her boyfriend, having friends turn against her and failing her degree, Nicola was unhappy and at her lowest point.

 Psychotherapy helped Nicola get over her dependence of Facebook and with this came an understanding of what was really important in her life – herself. “I got over the boyfriend, found out who my real friends were and focused on the most important thing; my education, because it will take me where I want to be and unlock so many more opportunities for me.”

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‘Addiction’ part II

“Megan” a comforting whisper echoed in my ear, as I looked up to see a familiar face, but not one that I would ever want to see me in this state. It was my grandma Paula. Looking up to see the worry in her eyes was heartbreaking, but a look that was familiar. She had always been there for me through all my setbacks and, believe me, there have been many. If there was one woman whom I respected, whom I wished to mirror it would be her without a doubt. I held her gaze. I had so much to say, that I wanted to tell her. But no words materialised. It only took two words escaping her lips to start the tears; “Darling, why?” Slowly tears were trickling down my face, as I tried to explain.

“I didn’t think. I can’t explain. It was the only way I could see out…” I said sobbing.

“You know this wasn’t the way to do that. Look what you’ve done to yourself and…” she paused, struggling to compose herself.

The disappointment that I could feel was unbearable and I could see I had failed her once again. A stupid mistake? No. Worse this time.

After a long silence grandma Paula finally asked: “So, come on, what was it and was it worth it?”

“I don’t know” I answered dismissively.

“Do you think I’m stupid?! The doctors have already told me what you’ve poisoned your body with. I just wanted to hear it from you; I thought you owed me the truth at the least.”

“You know. Usual and I’m not really sure what else.”

I was so ashamed at the substances that I couldn’t even bring myself to say it, not to her and the worst thing was I didn’t even know what I had or hadn’t taken. The state I was in before going to that place almost determined the outcome, but I never thought it would be this bad, ever. My Nana sat beside me. The look in her eyes turned from hurt and disappointment to sympathy, as she turned and said: “I knew you weren’t dealing with it very well, but this. I’ve never turned my back on you no matter what foolish mess you’ve got yourself into.”

I knew she was right. I couldn’t say a thing. My flippant responses were the only thing I had. I couldn’t show it but inside I was devastated. Her eyes met mine instantly she could tell.

“I found the letter” she said.

“What letter?” I asked, slightly unsure.

“The one you hid under your bed, from the hospital telling you about the first scan.”

“I won’t be going to the hospital for any scan now will I. There is no baby.”

There it was. Those words. I uttered them, as if it was nothing. As if I felt nothing. But the grief was excruciating, it felt as if every emotion inside me had been challenged, by this consequence that I just couldn’t take. My parents had given up on me, years ago. I turned self-destructive, seemed to meet the wrong kind of people along the way. Got into drugs, at first it was only marijuana and then I would be trying everything. One word. Addiction. Joe, I thought he cared about me, but junkies don’t make good friends. We got close you could say, in the way that he got me pregnant and ran a mile when I told him. He could never have been a father, seventeen and an addict.

“What have I done?” I murmured, as the realisation hit me like a wall.

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Summerball fever

We found fellow decoraters

Bumping into Deal or No Deal boxes and seeing Goldilocks arm in arm with the bears, have I ambled into some sort of parallel universe? There is only one place you would find yourself in this kind of situation, Bournemouth’s most anticipated event of the year: The Summer ball.

With 769 tickets remaining, the Summer ball is fast approaching with the question on everyone’s minds ‘Is it worth it?’ Well, reflecting on the previous summer ball experience it seems the event does live up to its hype. Not just from my opinion, but most of the regular goers if not all are more than satisfied with the evening’s outcome!  

Summer ball 2009, I was there, as you would have guessed. I felt that buzz looking out into the crowds seeing the most comical and unusual costumes you could ever imagine. Staring down at my own costume, I thought I had the idea focusing on comfort. A group of my friends and I went dressed up as painters and decorators, white overalls with paint splashed all over us- which is where the fun started! Waiting in the queue to get on the buses to get to the venue was very entertaining, speaking to a few Gladiators, Rastafarians and Firemen inquiring where their inspiration came from. I was eager to see what the arrangement of this field I’d been hearing so much about would look like. We arrived and the first thing I saw was a sign to ‘nowhere’, which pretty much summed up the random night that followed. The highlight for me was running around in the rain seeing the weirdest and wonderful costumes whizzing past me. It was amusing to see little heads poking through massive foam crayons, nuns and classic characters like little miss sunshine and super Mario (with his little brother Luigi). Evidently the students of Bournemouth University have overactive imaginations and had saved the last of their loans for maximum effort on the costume front. After all, who says three meals a day are absolutely necessary.

“In each of the tents there was slight shortage of bars to cater to the amount of people there” Ben Mackintosh, a 20 year old student who worked the night as bar staff in the ‘We are your friends’ tent. Mackintosh himself didn’t dress up, as his ideas for a costume may have proved somewhat uncomfortable to work in! When describing the night, he does class it as one of the longest shifts he has ever done. However, he also appreciated being in that kind of atmosphere: “It was crazy the costumes I saw, things that I would never have thought of. There were even some rude ones, some current ones which I liked- Stavros Flatly was a funny character”. After his shift, Mackintosh joined in the dampened, but lively festivities and he sticks to his word that it was one of the best nights he has ever been to. His favourite performer had to be Chase and Status, “They absolutely killed it! The crowd went mental, that was my highlight”. Other highlights for Ben were when he saw an octopus and carton of milk try and fit in the empty space in front of the bar, which nearly turned into one odd brawl. Ben jokes that he must have burnt off millions of calories with the running around he did, whilst working and playing in the mud. “It was one hectic gig, I think that has got to be the hardest I’ve ever worked doing my job. It isn’t always easy especially when you run out of something and the angry matches spark!” 

Miss Dynamite-tee hee

Performers in the past have always been of quite a high standard. In 2008 the line-up consisted of Jaguar Skills, Pendulum, Scouting for Girls and Subways. The following year, I had the pleasure of seeing Chase & Status- who did get the crowd going I have to admit. But my personal favourite, Ms Dynamite took us back to the old school garage days and represented what she was famed for. Rumours of Chipmunk and Plan B are lingering, though nothing has been confirmed yet, the official line-up will be confirmed at a later date. 

Aside from the performers that stole my undivided attention, Isabella Chappell had a different love. “The bumper cars!” she exclaims, as I approach her for a quick chat in Dylan’s bar. Grilling her on last year’s summer ball, it is clear that her first purchase of next term (when she isn’t broke) will be that ticket. Izzy, as she likes to be called, describes her fondest but most embarrassing moment from the day. It was a rainy day, consequently a muddy field, clumsy Izzy loses her mobile phone in the mud. “I was running around looking for it in the puddles. And then suddenly someone came up behind me, in the shape of my best mate and pushes me straight into the puddle”. As you can imagine the state of her when she picked herself up, hoping nobody had noticed. Other than this the night had sailed past for Izzy, as she reminisced being on the rides “for free” she added. Although, the prices of the hotdog and chips at the food stands made it up, she joked. All joking aside, Izzy believes that summer ball is the best event the student union have ever organised and that it definitely does live up to the hype! “When I first came here, I remember people telling me about the summer ball, it sounded good and I had already decided I would go. And I’m glad I did!”

The one thing that Izzy missed out on was the one thing that everybody does talk about…The survivor’s photo. Self-explanatory, though it is all about pace! 5am in the morning on Bournemouth Pier a photograph of those who have braved the whole night. It’s a challenge every year, where the number increases with more students making it to the end loud and proud!

Tampax compacts

G-G-REATT

 My advice- get your tickets and get them now! It is a great night that has even been compared to festivals like Bestival. The spirits are always high no matter the weather. And don’t think that this night is only for students, I met a good couple of ex students, who are now JP Morgan employees that absolutely loved it. Get your tickets from the Student Union shop or purchase them online at a £1.50 charge. £32 and worth every penny! So, Bournemouth’s biggest ball. Are you in? 

 

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Jail blog

Weezythanxyou is not just an ordinary fan site…It’s actually the site where New Orleans born rapper, Lil’ Wayne blogs updates from his prison sentence to his fans.

Say cheese Weezy

Whilst we are still getting used to various celebrities having Facebook and Twitter, posting updates and using social media to generally boost publicity it seems hard to believe that now we are getting intimate posts from celebrities in prison. However, this is not one of those situations where we all complain about the useless american police system where celebrities get priority over the average deviant. Lil’ Wayne is writing letters to his label and the company’s online marketer Karen Civil rewrites the letters into a post. In his first letter ‘Gone ’til November’ on the 2nd April, Wayne expresses love for his fans and assures them “my spirit and my love can never be confined to prison walls”.

Carter, as referred to by his birth name, was jailed last month for the possession of a gun. He is to serve a year long sentence for his crime, but this will not stop the rapper. Although locked up he has made sure he won’t be forgotton in a hurry, as he is still all over our music channels- he lined-up a good few releases. And it’s not just that he’s taken care of, there are ‘Free Weezy’ t-shirts available for purchase at $29.99. Talk about taking care of the finances..

Inspirational words are sent in the post: “The more time you spend contemplating what you should have done…you lose valuable time planning what you can and will do”. It really gives a personal insight into the situation Carter has found himself in and is quite touching. Personally, I think it is amazing that Lil’ Wayne is staying true to his fans and showing his appreciation by answering to them.

I admire his loyalty. So although I won’t be buying a ‘Free Weezy’ t-shirt anytime soon, I still support this move. Head-up Weezy, you won’t be replaced the game ain’ the same without you!

I’ll leave you with a track off his brand new album:

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Mephedrone madness

Mephedrone the new ‘party drug’ also known as meph, m-cat, meow meow, bubbles and white magic has now become illegal and classified B. The newly abused substance is marketed as plant food and comes in powder form, usually in a white or yellowish colour. It is usually snorted or ‘bombed’- meaning it is wrapped up in paper and taken like a tablet. The effects of the drug are said to be similar of those of experienced by ecstasy users, euphoria being a common feeling. Although it is often being confused with ‘methadone’ (the drug that is used to treat heroin addicts) the drug is still highly addictive.

Mephedrone has been featured heavily in the news, with rows over the ban and the classification as well as reports of deaths from abuse of the drug. Alan Johnson takes a hard approach on the matter vowing to “ban these dangerous drugs from our streets”. The rows over the delegalisation of the drug resulted in Professor Les King, the chairman of investigating legal highs resignating from his position. He felt the media pressure was too much and was affecting the decisions being made.

Said to be 'harsh on the nostrils

Several young people in the UK have been linked to deaths from taking the popular drug, in total it is suspected that 18 deaths in England are linked to mephedrone. However, there is no conclusive scientific proof that the deaths were caused by just mephedrone.

“I was so close to becoming dependant on it”

After an article in Bournemouth University’s student paper The Wire had been written about sellers of the drug in proximity to the halls of residence. I spoke to an ex-user of methedrone who requested to remain anonymous. “I can understand how people can become addicted to mephedrone, it’s hard to explain, it’s a feeling you can’t compare to anything else”. The insider spoke of the nights they had on it out in clubs and the experiences. “It’s ideal to take in that environment because you just want to dance and talk to everyone”. When asked the reason for not taking it anymore, the response was “It came to a point where I realised the up wasn’t worth the down. It had wasted a lot of my money and I was so close to beoming dependant on it. I would never want that to happen, ever”

Since reports of deaths have surfaced, there has been a decline in the usage of mephedrone. But the real question is, will the delegalisation of it really stop people from taking it?

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Comedy nation fascination

Only £3.50 a ticket!

There is nothing more relaxing than enjoying some light stand-up comedy on a Tuesday night in my opinion. Every month Bournemouth’s student night club the old firestation is home to an event where 3 to 4 hopeful comedians take to the stage to try their material on students and the general public. It never fails to be a night of entertainment at a very reasonable price!

Nathan Caton

This Tuesday (23/03/10) I proceeded to make way to the venue, excited for the acts that I knew would get me giggling like a girl. The first act Nathan Caton set the bar really high as he impressed the audience with jokes playing on stereotypes of his race. The self-confessed Lemar lookalike joked about his family, claiming his brother was at that difficult age of 14- the infamous ’stabbing age’. Telling us of his grandmaa’s hate for swearing, accompanied by a witty anecdote of how he outwardly swore at a driver without thinking, turned to her to apologise and was shocked when she agreed with him! Another funny get-up about his family was when his dad swore by him settling down with ‘a nice West Indian girl’ and Nathan replying: “Dad look, everyone loves chocolate but milk is good for you”. In which instance his father replied: “Not if you’re lactose intolerant”. I don’t think I speak for myself when praising Caton, his general stage presence was impressive and consequently he stole the audiences attention.

Carl Donnelly

Napoleon-Rogan appearance

I had presumptions about the headliner, as he would have to be pretty damn good to level Catons standard. But I had faith when he walked on stage looking quirky (he admitted himself) a little bit like Napoleon Dynamite! Carl Donnelly had a different style which was more improvised, which I liked- he did waffle, but I enjoyed his casual approach. Especially when he announced that he had been spitting on me the entire set, which was slightly embarrasing. His random anecdotes were hilarious, as you could imagine the compromising positions he described himself in. It seemed that Donnelly and his friends often get themselves into laughable situations, like when his friend emerged from the bushes at a party in the early hours with a fab ice lolly. Another situation that I personally related to was when he got into a strangers car and asked the driver where his friend was.

 After the headline act the night unfotunately came to a close and I had very much enjoyed my laid back evening of comedic amusement. Comedy Nation is on once a month and I would strongly recommend trying it out, I did and am now a regular. Be sure to check out the next one which is on 4th May, with headliner Rufus Hound- get your tickets at the SU shop!

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