Monday, 19 May 2008

Final Thoughts

And it's finally done. All I have to do is chop off some endy bits using the guillotine (forgive any spelling errors, I'm tired and IE doesn't do spellcheck) and hand this portfolio in. (And come up with a wall display by Friday of course.)

A number of stories didn't work for a number of reasons:

My easy sex article for Front didn't work due to a combination of laziness on my part (I'm SURE it can be done - it just felt a bit weird in a 'Am I whoring myself out here?' kind of way), the poor rate of responses (two wrote back a few times, that was it) and general obstacle of having a shed load of other work (like the dissertation, almost forgot about that lovely experience) on at the time.

The urban exploration thing didn't happen because nobody was willing to talk at any length about it. It's definitely a strange past time, pursued ossibly by strange people. I don't like saying nasty things about people I don't really know, so I'll leave it at that.

You can see through the reems of ideas that finally didn't make it (you got three articles after all) and although many were concocted whilst under the influence of influencing intoxicants, I was very pleased to have Joe Barnes (your former student) of Front exchange and commend my ideas and pitches. He's said to come up to London for some work experience in the near future, so when I've got a few quid I think I'll take him up on it.

What I've learned: That's an interesting nail to bang into your own grave (or blog). It seems to me that the simpler the idea and the most obvious a hook to it, the better story it will make and easier it will be to write. There's no point in chasing after the invisible man to do a feature on super heroes. It ain't gonna happen. Before I ramble on anymore (I've been up for a good 30 something hours now), I believe that I have written each article for the audience it was intended (music, tv, 'gents' magazines). And what I've learned, really, from over the last three years: I over think stuff, way too much. Gotta stop worrying, umming and arring, and get on with it. (That's nice and profound isn't it?)


Having just read what I just wrote, I'm not sure if I should apologise or justify my inane (but rather witty, if you don't mind me saying) ramblings below. You see, I've been trying to get this done by tonight, so that at the same time I can spend the rest of the night working on my PR presentation. (Hence the somewhat narcky email you may or may not have read.) I'm starting to lose it a bit.

So yes, the work is online and barring a gargantuan act of God, it won't, i'm afraid, be able to make it to your desk until later on Monday (that's today) afternoon (that is if i'm still conscious by then).

My sincerest apologies for being a lazy, last minute student, but it seems (after three years experience) that is the way I produce the best work. I hope you enjoy it.

They're up there in the ether

And thus he smite them by putting beautifully crafted Quark layouts of his work on the delicate shoulders of the beast named the Internet, to show to the world what wonders one man, nay, one writer can do with a bunch of software he's hardly ever used and a big ass load of determination.

Graphics courses? Go back to play school. This is tha shizzle

My final layouts in Quark format.

Or in English, I've just stuck my layouts online if you fancy a butchers. The real deal will be handed in at some point tomorrow, in glorious technicolour and printed on the rarest, finest paper (assuming the printer will let me print them off, college IT has an issue with me) known in all the Shire.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

The final straight...

I figured it would be sensible to write a status update on here, seeing as we're coming to crunch time (nice cliché eh?). Plus it's way more productive than doing Facebook updates.

I've decided that I'm going to go with three articles to hand in. The band abroad story, the Secret Language of the Busker and the Lost article. First of all I'll point out that there is only 3000 words of copy, I'm aware of that. But I shall also point out that I've spent more time working on the layouts (a layout for each piece) than I have on the writing. So using that logic I believe I cover the '6000 words or equivalent' criteria.

So what have I done?

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists' tour of Eastern Europe article can be found here on my MSN Live Space - Ragged

The Secret Language of the Busker can be found here - Secret language

I'm currently writing up and designing the Lost article for skymag (the magazine that gets sent out to Sky subscribers - Lost is shown on Sky). Like OMM it's not quite A4, it's like 294 x 244 mm or something like that. Not a major hassle, as I've found an online ruler (seem to have misplaced my pencil case).

I was also wondering if it is worth mentioning that I met up with the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (or Tom, Julian and Dan as I call them) at their show in Crackow. Bit of a coincidence that, but it does add an element of authenticity to my report on their show at Café Szaffe. I bet few other students got work from abroad!

Will probably keep updating as time draws nearer. It's a great distraction this.

Update: It looks like the MSN isn't working so I'll get them up another time. No time for annoying websites.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Holy shIT

It's getting light outside. The birds are chirping. For the last two hours I've had nothing but major ball ache from computers, particularly this one I'm on now (no fault of the college at least).

I couldn't get my Quark documents to Export, so I tried to update Quark. This resulted in my computer crashing (it ran out of memory for uck's sake). Finally I've got that sorted. I also believe I've found a way of getting my pictures the right size to print (should I ever get it to work on a school machine): make them big as hell and save them as .tif files.

Right, time to make some art.

Amendment @ 06:05: Fuck it. It's just dawned on me that I've spent the entire day pissing around with design software that I barely know how to use. If I spent half as much time writing submittable copy as I did arsing around with that (and this blog), I'd have thousands of words to show. As it is, I do not. I'm gonna do what I came here to do: write.

Thursday, 15 May 2008


No, I'm not being sarcky (that needs an official spelling) or downtrodden by the college's legendary ability at being absolutely fucking useless to students' needs; I've come up with an idea for a feature that I can bang out in a mere matter of minutes.

The TV show Lost is ace (needless to say say really). Anyway, a number of the main characters are named after famous philosophers (Locke, Hume, Rousseau). I'm going to write one of those random MSN Today stories or even a kind of Sky Digital customer magazine feature. I'll see how the research goes and get back.

A visit to the shIT department

The layouts I put online. The morning (or afternoon to be precise) after and they still look good. So good in fact, I decided to go into Woodlane to print the bad boy out.

Double clicking on the newly placed icon in My Documents, Windows then asked me to chose what program (as opposed to programme, bloody Americanised language) to run it with. 'Why, Quark you piece of shit.' I exclaimed to the monitor in front of me. Clicking through a few boxes and menus I arrived at Quark. 'This is not a valid Win32 execution', the delightful pop-up box told me. Hmm, old version of Quark running perhaps? I thought. I tried another computer in the newsroom. Same problem.

Skipping through the spring rain to the library, I found that the computers in their IT suite didn't even have Quark on the desktop. Time to give away some man points and ask for some help. It turns out the bloke in the IT office isn't an IT engineer, he just works in there. 'Try the Fox Suite', I was told.

Down to the Fox Suite I went (that's the IT room near the canteen, not the see through mint endorsed by a polar bear). Same problem once more. And a double whammy, as there was no one in the office to help.

Fuck it, I'll go home and bash my head against my own brick walls, I thought. Stay posted for more / if any progress.