Suns Out, Guns out

So after a 7 month hiatus (alas life happened) I return to my blog in homage to the great British summer and the Brits that embrace it – which I write as it’s pouring with rain.

However this post isn’t about the rain but rather the glorious sunshine that we had last weekend. Hot enough that some even justified wearing no shirts – something that I cannot excuse whether you’re in Barcelona or Blackpool. The streets were bursting with overly confident Brits in shorts and vests and gardens were filled with the sweet smell of charcoal meat.

The greatest trend of the weekend though seemed to be sun burn, or certainly was the topic of conversation in my office on Monday morning, as people begrudgingly admitted that they were sporting a rosier-than-rosy-glow .

With temperatures reaching a scorching 23 degrees, you’d think we’d have learnt to put on sun cream but, the majority of us have some excuse for our lobster exterior.

‘I thought I was in the shade’ or ‘I did cream but I must have missed that bit’. And the biggest culprit of all: ‘I didn’t think it was that hot’

Even when we hear ‘heatwave’, we still slather on some olive oil and hope that our pasty white skin (having not seen the sun in months) will just become a nice shade of tan.

I mean obviously I don’t relate to any of those cliches and definitely wouldn’t have been as foolish to burn on the warmest weekend so far this year….

Well except my shoulders…they might be burnt a bit…


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Suns Out, Guns out

Spectre – Film Review

After much anticipation, last week Spectre was released. I, like most of the country rushed to the cinema, unhealthy snacks in tow, to get an overdue dose of 007.

The infamous finale endeavoured to tie all three of Daniel Craig’s Bond films together (let’s not talk about Quantum of Solace). The trailer, seeded out months ahead to fan the Bond flame, promised action, seduction and SPEND. And, whilst Spectre delivered on all of the Bond glamour I couldn’t help but feel a little underwhelmed.

Maybe my expectations were too high, but in all honesty, the film (at a staggering 2 hours and 28 minutes) felt laboured and a little predictable.

The pacing sometimes felt glacial and any ‘edge of the seat’ moments were so dragged out that you were more inclined to fall off the seat then cling on in suspense.  Equally, despite being packed full of classic Bond elements such as; the re envisioned ‘Jaws’, flashy Aston Martins and a ‘monologuing’ villain, it sometimes felt like a clichéd echo of the old Bond movies.

Even Christoph Waltz and his undercurrent menace couldn’t spice up the plot. The love story between Bond and Madeleine Swann also felt insincere and failed to inspire the same chemistry clearly palpable in Vesper and Bond’s tragic affair.

Of course there are spectacular action scenes, filmed across various exotic locations, and witty one-liners. Ben Whishaw’s Q provided great comic relief and the perfect level of awkwardness to offset the suave, sophistication of Bond. But, it still wasn’t enough to surpass Skyfall or Casino Royale. So, whilst Sam Mendes does create the perfect transition for a new Bond to take over it failed to climax as the grand finale.

No doubt, Spectre is a good send off – if Craig does call it quits on 007 – but it didn’t quite live up to the hype or budget which it promised.


Spectre – Film Review

Golden Age for the Grey Age

Once again the young generation of our country are revealed as the worst affected by economic cuts and unemployment. And yet, in the same week, further reports suggest that pensioners are prospering more than ever before.

It would be fair to say there is just a slight disparity in this generation gap.

Whilst I think that pensioners deserve to be taken care of by the state and live comfortably after years of work, I can’t help but think that this is somewhat at the expense of the younger generation – whom will inevitably prop up and provide for the aging population in years to come.

A fundamental difference between the older and younger generation is housing. Many pensioners are home-owners, whereas it is near impossible for young people to even get onto the housing ladder. If they can secure a mortgage, they still need a 10% deposit – which is impossible to fund alongside market rent. Therefore in order to combat these costs, many young people are forced to live at home – the ‘Boomerang Generation’.

I am part of the ‘Boomerang Generation’. Now a graduate, looking for full time employment, my main priority is finding a job and that just isn’t compatible with moving out.

So whilst the older generation enjoy luxuries such as paid TV licences and bus passes – which many do not need – the younger generation are facing a bleak outlook; rising student debt, housing costs and unemployment. Those under 24 are even exempt from the rise in the national living wage – as if we didn’t have it bad enough.

Help the ageing, yes. But don’t forget about us too.

Golden Age for the Grey Age

The Graduate Paradigm

This first post is dedicated to the plight of graduate employment

I like many other graduates across the country are feeling the heavy withdrawals from student life. Lie-ins, cheap nights out in smelly night clubs and decidedly, a lack of responsibility. Added to this loss is the highly pressing and overwhelming question: what do I do next? Those that have avoided the issue entirely and headed straight back into the comforting arms of academia are exempt from this demanding matter that plagues us graduates like an incurable hangover.

Unless you’ve opted for a vocational qualification (yes, clever you), the rest of us end up with an expensive certificate (thanks Nick Clegg…£27,000 later) and really no clearer idea of a career than before.

Not exactly the best start. To add to this, a degree has far less value than ever before, so employers look for graduates with previous experience but, they aren’t necessarily prepared to offer that opportunity and if they are, well it’s unlikely to be paid.  The conversation that follows is somewhat telling:

Graduate: I am calling to enquire after any graduate vacancies….

Employer: Do you have any experience in this industry?

Graduate: Well I’ve just graduated so am looking to start a career in (insert *any* career sector)

Employer: I’m afraid we look for graduates with at least 3 months experience. But I can offer you an interview for an unpaid internship?

Why is it that so many employers can justify free labour under the guise of the PC ‘internship’? Is it not a troubling contradiction that to get a graduate job you must have previous experience? Graduates are prepared to learn, but the graduate employment market is so crowded that even a degree from a good university is not enough to secure an interview, let alone a position. It is then worsened as employers take advantage of graduates determined desperation to get employed by only offering unpaid work.

Obviously not all employers adhere to this framework, but there is a growing trend that in order for graduates to gain employment in graduate, entry-level positions they must be prepared to do it free.
Why is it that this generation of graduates have to hand their foot over to get it in the door?

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The Graduate Paradigm