Sunday, December 26, 2010

The midnight bong of Big Ben means the End of 2010


As we close in on 2010, I wanted to reflect on the last year, which has been the beginning of a new decade. I began 2010 very drunk outside a flat in Salford, first footing (at least that’s what they tell me, they probably just wanted me to leave), and I end the year in my house in Chorlton, Manchester, which I share with Angus.


I began the year in a very difficult second year, which was so much more difficult than final year; my dissertation doesn’t cover half as much grief as what a group module in my second year caused. Needless to say I couldn’t wait to finish 2nd year, and this resulted in me leaving my shared house in Leeds; sadly leaving two of my closest friends, but gladly leaving other people behind where friendships had dissolved. From Leeds, I moved to Chorlton with Angus, where we have been cozily living in our 3x bed, 3x bathroom house (thank you very much!), and it also meant that I had to learn how to drive again due to the move… and being in a car with me is like being in a car with Mo from Driving School (remember her?).


I completed a charity run (yes me!), although run being a bit of a misleading word, for I merely meandered across the finish line; I wasn’t rushing things; plus there had to be a pit stop to take photos of me in Coronation Street which the run traveled through. This wasn’t the only time I went to Coronation Street this year; I was invited back to ITV for a birthday special for the show’s 50-year anniversary. If you are as sadly obsessed as me, you’ll know how exciting this was.


I began working back in the hospitality industry in a hotel chain in Manchester; and that’s when I realised I never want to work in a hotel again. After the three days I was there, I quit (I really gave it my best shot didn’t I?) and began working for the QCDA advising schools on Teacher Assessments. If your child’s education was messed up this year, it had nothing to do with me.


After an immense stag party around Preston; I was an usher at my cousins wedding (a lot of trust and responsibility has been put in me this year – lord knows why?) where I saw old relatives, and mainly trying to hide my relationship with Angus from the elderly members of the family, although that failed and it turned out they were more liberal than we assumed. The wedding was fantastic, and now I’m wondering when mine will be (where’s Angus gone?).


I went to Pride Festival (by now your wondering if I’m still the same David Hatton?) and this followed by a holiday with Angus to Barcelona where I fell in love with Spain and can actually see myself retiring out there (mainly for the nudists which meander the streets).


After the summer I began my final year, which after 2nd year I was rather worried about, but everything worked out well. I began my dissertation on the Touristic Legacy of Michael Jackson (no surprises there) and I’m doing some consultancy for a fishing company up in Yorkshire (wow). While university is a long commute from Manchester (6 hours of travelling a day!) I’ve got through so many books and I’ve actually begun to enjoy the commute, although at times really hated National Rail. Why they can’t add an extra carriage to a route that is constantly packed, I don’t know. This country…. *shakes head*


I’ve also begun my search for graduate jobs, which has been found to be truly difficult although some companies have taken interest and will just have to watch this step. It should be interesting to read next year’s blog to see where I will be then.


Christmas was spent at mine and Angus’s home, where we invited both of our parents to dinner (are we mad?). And New Year is being spent with friends in the house, anticipating the coming year, which for me should be an interesting one as I finish university and begin a career… who knows where I will be when I write this next year.


So as I close this blog for the final time in 2010, I wish all my readers a wonderful New Year and hope 2011 brings you everything you wish for xxx

Thursday, December 23, 2010

An Alternative Christmas Message


Well as I practically am Royalty these days, one has to do as a Royal does and send out a Christmas message.... I'm even doing as the Queen does, and pre-recording this as (like Ma'am)... I don't want to have to work on Christmas Day.

I will be spending Christmas in my home with Angus and both of our lovely parents. We have our black Christmas tree up with sickeningly tacky decorations which will make our guests throw up before we give them chance to endure food poisoning. If that isn't Christmas... I don't know what is.

Hopefully the weather won't cause too much of a struggle to everyone, I know our inability to cope with a millimeter of snow will cause many people to be stranded, but I hope all of you, whereever you are across the world, will have a wonderful Christmas.... even if you end up stuck at home, on your own with a Tesco's ready meal.

Anyway I'm off to put 'Fairytale of New York' by the Pogues on, and listen to music from a day where 'Faggot' wasn't an offensive term! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! XXX

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Interviewed





I was interviewed by the Lancashire Evening Post after I visited ITV Studios to celebrate Coronation Street's 50th Birthday:

http://www.lep.co.uk/lifestyle/culture/superfan_finds_the_drama_also_goes_on_behind_the_scenes_1_2846723

Official Author


I have begun writing for One Face in a Million News! Check out my work:

http://onefaceinamillion.com/author/david-hatton/

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The time I (almost) interviewed Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais was a guest on ITV's This Morning and I emailed in to ask him a question, and my name and question was read out! :) Enjoy x

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Birthday Coronation Street



This year see’s the 50th Anniversary of legendry soap, Coronation Street. For 50 years we’ve seen many pints being pulled in the Rovers Return, countless marriages, deaths and, of course, affairs.

For me, Coronation Street has always been part of my life. As long as I can remember it has always been on in the living room of my parents home, watching Alan Bradley being knocked over by a tram to the Battersby’s causing mayhem across the street.

I spent a year in Chicago, which when people over there realised I was from the UK, one of the first questions I was always asked was ‘Do you watch Coronation Street’. It has been part of many people in the UK’s lives, it has caused more controversy and discussion amongst people at work, school and in the pub than Xfactor, Big Brother and I’m a celebrity combined; even leading to the prime minister getting involved in 1998 when Tony Blair asked that Deidre Rachid be freed. But why is Coronation Street so popular?

Unlike other soaps such as Eastenders and Emerdale; it has merged humor into every storyline; even some of the most dramatic or horrific scenes have been turned into hilarious sketches; most notably when Richard Hillman battered Maxine to death suddenly switched to Fred Elliot bashing a piece of meat turned my shocked and disturbed self reaction into a fit of laughter. Characters such as Blanche Hunt and Norris Cole have been around to make a sly comment even if it was within the most mournful scenes.

Another key to its success is that it is about normal, working class people. For so long before Coronation Street, films and TV shows were about the rich and the famous; this even continues today with programs such as the OC and Desperate Housewives. But Coronation Street was different to this, people could relate to the characters and brought forward the working class humor, which translated, not only across the country, but also all over the world including Canada, the USA and Australia. It has some prestigious fans including Sir Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Julie Walters…the list goes on. But there is no more famous fanatic than the Queen, who has been said to tune in regularly. However, what impressions she must have of us up here in Manchester these days due to the show could be worrying!

I’ve been lucky to visit Coronation Street twice this year; one was on a sponsored run through the set earlier in March; and I was invited by ITV last week in celebration of the anniversary to join a discussion over Coronation Street for the Corrie Uncovered Live program on ITV 2 for its 50th birthday which airs on the evening of the crash.

It is without a doubt that Coronation Street has become a national treasure over the last 50 years, and there is no doubt that it will continue to be so for the next 50. So I end this by saying thank you to Coronation Street for the shock, the tears but mainly the laughter over the last 50 years and I look forward to seeing more. Happy Birthday Corrie!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Graduate Assessment Day


I traveled to Windsor for my very first assessment day for a graduate scheme on Tuesday. I was rather nervous about the event, mainly through watching 'The Apprentice' and having this image that everyone was going to be over competitive and aggressive. It was nothing of the sort.

I was welcomed by the company as soon as I got to the head office, and straight away the people attending the assessment were incredibly friendly and we all clicked instantly. I was expecting between 20 and 40 people at the assessment day, but there was a total of 7 of us. I was surprised to hear that 5000 people had applied to the scheme, and 7 of us were here for the first day of assessments.

The company broke the ice by getting us all to introduce ourselves, and this followed by a presentation of the company and the scheme itself. The day was led by last years graduates who had begun the scheme; it was refreshing to see how excited they were with the scheme and the company itself.

After the presentation, we were given a written test, where I was required to read a complaint from a customer and write a letter of response to the customer, write an action plan to implement so the problems don't occur again and to write a memo to my manager explaining why the plan would be effective.

I was called to my interview where I was readily prepared after researching all about the company; however there were no questions on the organisation, and was all competence based questions, and as it was a Human Resources role, a question on why I wanted to work in that department and why I would be effective within this role.

I returned to the assessment room where we were broken into groups, and were observed as we put together and presented a presentation. Thankfully no one was over-competitive within the group and we all got on perfectly, and everyone got their input and say.

After lunch, I had the final part of the assessment which was an individual presentation. I had one hour to research the strategic plans for the organisation and assess how the role I was going into would be affected by it. The fire alarm went off during my presentation (typical), and was put on hold for 15 minutes while we stood in the car park waiting to be told to go back inside.

The other graduates talked about other assessment days and said they had seen varied ones. They explained that some of the assessment days were quite competitive with more people, but pointed out that it is often dependent on the type of role your going for.

We finished the day by traveling to London together as we were all getting similar timed trains home. We had dinner together in London and a final drink, wished each other luck and returned home.

It was a refreshing day, and really got me excited about the organisation and the role. Of course I can't say how it went until I hear so I'll just have to wait and see. But whether I get the job or not, it was certainly an experience, one which I will be able to take to another assessment day and be able to be more prepared as to what type of assessments I'll be expecting.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Taking the X out of the Xfactor


It was expected to be Katie Waissel's last weekend in the Xfactor after weeks of abuse from the press and the public, however she managed to slip through to another week of performances, much to many people's anger.

Simon Cowell doesn't seem to be able to win; after the public complained that the judges were sending the wrong people home, this week they left it up to the public vote; and yet the public are still complaining even though it was in their hands.

Some argued that people didn't vote for Aiden because they didn't feel he needed the votes, but is this the Xfactor's fault? If you want someone to go through, vote for them. Simple as. People are complaining that its all rigged, but after the complaints following last year's phone competition problems, ITV wouldn't dare make the same mistake again, and there is no doubt that there are both external and internal people making sure that all votes are above board, as anything else would be deemed fraudulent.

People are forgetting that this is not Big Brother. This is not a personality contest. You vote for those who want to go forward, and Katie's fans took the time to vote for her; sadly Aiden's didn't, and this will be a lesson to any other Xfactor fanatic.

People are also forgetting that Katie is just a girl who wants a music career, and the public are responding with abuse and even death threats. Any aggravation the public have of the show should be taken up with Simon and his team, not this poor girl who just wants to get on with her life.

Many of this is boiling down to the rumors that Katie is there because of her friendship with Sony; however these rumors have been cleared up by her family who explained that she met with Sony once but nothing came of it. We must also bare in mind that Xfactor have a very strict policy on people who have already had contracts, and have removed people in the past. The accusations against Katie are put down to tabloid rumor and doesn't appear to be any hard evidence for it.

But even if the rumors were true, the viewers should remember that it is a TV show. Nothing more, nothing less, and abuse of any kind is unacceptable. If you like somebody within the show, pick up the phone and vote. It is just like politics, you can't complain or have any say morally if you didn't vote in the first place.

Finally, it is unfortunate for those who are Katie haters that there is no doubt she will become a success regardless of the show, she is clearly talented. While we're on the subject of talent, it is unbelivable that people such as Katie get abuse while untalented hopefuls such as Wagner get through each week. Xfactor is turning into some reality TV show rather than a talent contest; maybe the loss of Big Brother this year is causing people to turn to other shows. But it is the public, not Katie Waissel, who have taken the X out of Xfactor

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Little Perspective


Yesterday I was watching 'Julia', a movie about people fighting against the persecution received under the Nazi regime . While watching it, it was refreshing to see people fighting back against these evil monsters who murdered millions across Europe.

However, it got me thinking about the protests against the rise in university fees this week, and the behavior of the protesters. Attacking policemen, smashing up windows and destroying everything in site. The scenes were uncanny to those seen in Julia and other Nazi uprising movies I've seen in the past.

Who the hell are these people? We're not being persecuted. The ConDem government are not murderers. We are not having our human rights taken away from us. They're putting up fees. Something which has happened twice before.

So we have to pay more for our education? Student loans will take care of that; it will take longer to pay back, but in no way does it stop us having an education. A few years ago, higher education was free, then it went up to £1000, and now it is £3000. A rise in fees is inevitable, especially in a recession.

I am in no way a Conservative follower and disagree with many of their political decisions; but the behavior of the protesters this week was despicable, and those involved should be ashamed. These were not protesters, but simply arsonists who put peoples lives at risks, and for what? Cheaper fees. Are these the type of people we even want at our universities? A peaceful protest, march or petition would of been sufficient enough without violence and arson.

There should be a little perspective in all of this; remember how lucky we really are to live in this country and have the right and access to education despite its expense, while there are areas in the world without access to education or even basic resources; and many are persecuted for their beliefs or for simply being themselves.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Real Thriller!



A Real Thriller!

As part of a birthday treat, my boyfriend Angus took me to see Thriller Live, a stage musical of Michael Jackson’s life. From start to finish, the show lived up to its name, and was a real Thriller!

The show took the audience through Michael’s life, from the early days of the Jackson 5 through five decades of an amazing career, covering songs from ‘ABC’ right through to ‘They don’t really care about us’. They recreated Michael’s hit live performances including Billie Jean and Smooth Criminal (they even did the lean!). This wasn’t some impersonator copying Michael’s act, instead they had various dancers and singers recreating his work and making it entertaining to all.

What was different about the show is that they had made it into a concert environment; people were dancing in the aisles and partying across the Palace Theatre. However the Theatre were obviously not used to this type of show and were constantly having to threaten drunken women that they will throw them out if they didn’t sit down. The most interesting, funny and ironic part of the night was when two women to the right of us began to start a fight during ‘Heal The World’ – a song about world peace. Before long though, the whole audience were on their feet, singing and dancing along to some of Michael's greatest hits.

From fireworks and amazing visual affects, along with a catalogue of fantastic hits, it was the perfect tribute to the life of Michael Jackson, who as they pointed out, is still the undisputed king of rock, pop and soul, and one of (if not, THE) greatest performers of all time.

The Cirque du Soleil group have just announced ‘The Immortal Tour’, their tribute show to the King of Pop, and is about to tour America, with plans to be global in the next two years, one which many fans of both Cirque du Soleil and Michael Jackson are anticipating to be another springboard of posthumous celebrations of a musical genius. Michael Jackson continues to thrill fans across the world, and there isn’t any sign of it stopping anytime soon.

Set List:

Jam
Music and Me
ABC
Stop the love you save
I’ll be there
Dancing Machine
Can you Feel It
Wannabe Starting Something
Working Day and Night
Don’t Stop Til ‘You Get Enough
PYT
Your Out of My Life
Rock With You
The Way You Make Me Feel
Beat It
I Just Can’t Stop Loving You
Dirty Diana
Man In The Mirror
Billie Jean
Smooth Criminal
Dangerous
They Don’t Really Care About Us
Heal The World
Bad
Thriller
Black Or White

(Photo taken from: http://www.eurweb.com/?p=31055)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Michael Jackson: Fans Still Fighting




In 1989, Gardner Street Elementary school in LA dedicated the name of its auditorium in Michael Jackson's name; Jackson had been a past pupil of the school and due to the height of his success, the school decided to make reference to their past star pupil. Sadly, when Michael was accused of child abuse, the school made the decision to cover up the pop-stars name as not to offend parents of the school.

This cover-up continued for the rest of Michael's life despite him being found innocent of all charges; but earlier this year a campaign began to uncover Michael's name at the school. Websites, Facebook pages and fan groups became involved, many in the LA area met with the school to reveal the King of Pop's name upon the auditorium. Those who couldn't attend the meetings, including myself, wrote letters to the school campaigning to reveal Michael's name.

On October 15th 2010, the school finally uncovered Michael's name, with much celebration by both the Jacksons and Michael's fans. However this celebration was short lived as a spokesperson for SNAP, a charity for the survivors of abused by priests, said that the uncovering was 'disappointing' and was a 'slap in the face' for those children who have been abused. And now fans, family and friends of Michael are wondering, will these accusations ever end?

The spokesperson explained that despite Michael being acquitted in 2005, the accusations in 1993 which resulted in a pay out from Jackson has left people with doubt and suspicion. But you would hope that a spokesperson for an organisation would complete a little research before making these statements; but seeing they didn't, here are some facts.

The 1993 accusations were made by Jordan Chandler, whose family rather than taking the usual route of childhood abuse and informing the authorities, decided to take it upon themselves to sue Michael Jackson, and accepted a huge pay out. You have to question the integrity of anyone who would rather take a pay-out rather than see a pedophile be sent to prison where he can't harm another child. There are many books written on the real story behind the Michael Jackson allegations and the evidence is quite clear that the Chandler's were money grabbing liars with not a single piece of evidence against Michael.

But many question, if this is the case, why did Michael pay out? Michael was incredibly depressed at the time and was not fit enough to fight against these accusations and was advised to pay out as it could have continued for years. However in 2005 when similar accusations were made, Michael was ready to fight and cleared his name once and for all under US law. He has been legally acquitted, and anything other than this is slander.

Why Joelle Casteix, the spokesperson for SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) needed to make any comment, is unbeknownst to many people. Michael was neither a priest, and nor was he a pedophile. And what would Casteix's words have brought to this situation? Was there a need? One can only assume that it was some shameless self promotion of the charity to increase donations. Instead she has just upset a lot of people, who thought that these horrific accusations had finally been put to rest. The sad part is, that if Michael was still around, he would of most likely provided a large donation to the organisation, due to his incredibly charitable nature.

Many fans, including myself, have taken it into their own hands and emailed the charity asking for a retraction of the statement. It is currently the next big project since the uncovering of his name from the elementary school. It is refreshing to know that Michael's friends, family and his fans are continuing Michael's legacy and promoting his innocence long after his death seeing he isn't around to do this himself. And so, while the accusations will keep coming, Michael's fans will not stop fighting...

by David Hatton

[image taken from: http://www.celebritywonder.com/picturebydate/20090708_29.html]

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Graduate Scrap Heap


The Graduate Scrap Heap

I am in my first semester of final year of university and haven’t even graduated, and yet I am already feeling the heat of the graduate leftover pile. My original beliefs of starting early and getting on a graduate scheme ready for when I finish would lead me to be ‘all set’, have quickly been blown out the window. My original beliefs of those who had failed to find a job when they graduated were because they didn’t start early enough and didn’t apply to the schemes available to them, have changed. I now realise at how wrong I was and how difficult it has been for my friends and associates who have and some still are on that scrap heap of people affected by this devastating economy.

You begin university with so much optimism that if you go to university and get a good degree, you will finish and the doors will be all open. Today, you are lucky if you are even accepted by entry-level jobs, which may for some be rejected for being over qualified. Maybe the irony of the situation would be funny if it wasn’t so frustrating.

‘Go on a placement year’, they pushed. I did, and that seems to have pushed me further into an area of industry I want to stay away from. How is one supposed to actually get the correct amount of experience and a degree without starting at the bottom after spending the last 3-4 years getting a degree to avoid just that?

Maybe the rise in the university prices will at least be of some benefit to the last of those who are being charged £3000, as it may cut down the competition.

The graduate schemes themselves have gruelling application stages. To even get past the first stage of actually completing the application form seems to be difficult enough. An average time of 3-4 hours filling in an application to get an automatic response seconds after submitting it, informing you that you didn’t quite make the cut is always the worst.

Once you’ve got past the first stage you progress onto the second round of numeracy and verbal reasoning tests. The tests wouldn’t be so ridiculous if you didn’t have to answer 35 questions in 21 minutes, and didn’t have to spend at least two minutes a question trying to absorb the massive quantities of information you need to answer the question. I gave Angus the opportunity to try the practice questions, and even somebody who took A-level maths and uses maths frequently in his job found the questions challenging. And all this to apply for jobs which don’t even require that higher level of maths in the actual role, seems somewhat of a joke.

I haven’t as yet progressed to the 3rd round of the application process where you are invited to a day of tasks and challenges which probably make the BBC1 show ‘The Apprentice’ look like a stroll in the park.

It hurts when the one graduate scheme you dreamed of joining rejects you; but when the back-up schemes in retail inform you that you don’t have the sufficient experience for the scheme after working over six years in the customer service and retail industries; you begin to wonder what you are actually qualified for?

And so I retire in the hope, like everyone else, that it will all work out in the end; that I will find a graduate job eventually….

By David Hatton

[Image taken from: http://www.mikecausey.co.uk/]

Sunday, October 3, 2010

London Baby, Round II


Traveled to London for Angus's brother, Rory's birthday, one which after last years events at Milton Keynes was surely to be filled with laughter and lots of booze.


We were not disappointed.

We arrived in London on Saturday, immediately unimpressed that the weather was just as terrible as it was in Manchester. I thought it was meant to be warmer south of Birmingham?

We traveled over to Camden Market which is very much a very large outdoor Aflecks Palace. I must warn anyone who wishes to go however, to get cash out before you go! There is a lack of cash machines anywhere and nowhere accepts cards. I was gutted as I found a Michael Jackson Bad Tour DVD which you can't find ANYWHERE, but had no cash to purchase it with :( We also saw people with their legs in a tank having their feet being eaten by fish! It was like a more mundane version of Jaws.

Afterwards we ventured over to Borough Market where we met Rory and his friends where we commenced drinking in a wine bar at 2pm, and that was the beginning of a very messy afternoon.

We checked into the Thistle Euston hotel, which is a very clean, modern and comfortable hotel. However their service was rubbish. For those of you who know me, will know I've worked in customer service and the hospitality industry, and I was shocked at their level of service. They checked us into a twin room despite us booking a double... would it be that awkward to confirm the room with us? They charged the wrong credit card and refused to change it over and we saw others complaining of room problems and credit card issues.

The last straw was when Angus found a passport of another guest's on the front desk and handed it in; the girl instead of taking it, pointed at a man on the other side of the room and said ''its his over there''. Angus asked ''so should I just go and give it him then?'', and the girl behind the desk replied 'yeah sure', and continued her conversation with her colleague. When Angus returned, she was serving someone else and we had to queue! Unbelievable.

That evening we visited Rory's new apartment where he decided to make us jealous with his spectacular views of London.

We spent Saturday night at the G.A.Y club, which was expensive (it is London), but awsome. To go outside you have to get stamped, and now I have GAY branded upon my wrist. I assure you this was not the work of the SS or the Gestapo. Sadly, McFly were not at G.A.Y to perform naked again.

Upon leaving the club, we discovered how difficult it was to get a taxi in London. Plenty were around and many pulled over, but as soon as we said ''Euston Station please'', they replied ''I'm sorry mate, not going that way''. Excuse me? Your not going that way??? What kind of taxi service is this??? So after trying at least a dozen cabs, the only option left was to take a rickshaw home. It took one hour and cost £25 for us to go 2km, and didn't even drop us off anywhere near where we wanted to be. And he asked for a tip. The cheek!

Sunday morning we awoke rather hungover but had to check out. We were immediately disappointed to see the weather was just as terrible as the day before. After breakfast we went over to Oxford Street and wondered around the shops we had no money to spend in. This followed by lunch in an American Diner in Soho and was served by a real American! Finally we stopped off at the Apollo Theatre where Thriller Live is showing to see the plaque which had been erected for Michael Jackson; which unless I was looking in the wrong place, doesn't appear to be there???

We said our goodbyes and got the train back to Manchester and now I've put 'new feet' on my birthday wish list my current ones are killing me :( Maybe I should go for the Camden Market fish treatment?

An awsome weekend and now back to the day job... by job I mean lazy student bum.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Barcelona




Angus and myself jetted off to the Capital of Catalonia. After visiting Spain many times across my 22 (nearly 23) years on this earth, it was interesting contrast to the other resorts I’d visited in the past. We arrived at Barcelona on Monday lunchtime and was immediately glad to see that despite being further north than some of the seaside resorts I had stayed at in the past, it was still just as sunny, just as warm and still had an outstandingly beautiful beach.

But before we took advantage of any of that, there was some culture to take advantage of. So we stopped off at the local zoo. There we saw a range of animals from bears to elephants, and even saw a tortoise humping an alligator. Afterwards we rented out a boat and Angus rowed us around a lake while I led back and took in the scenery of Citucidella Park.

On Tuesday we wondered over to the Gaudi Park to see a collection of Gaudi’s architectural work as well as a strenuous stroll to the top of the mountain, where we saw a theme park built around a church. I wondered if this was something the new pope was encouraging; someone should ask him while he's over here in the UK.

After the Gaudi Park we went over to see Guadi’s most famous work, the Sagrada Familia, which was impressive, however there is building work around it due until 2030, so I didn’t really have the time to see it become finished.

On Wednesday we had a walk up through the Manjuic Park where we hiked to the top of the mountain to the castle to see some of the most spectacular views of Barcelona.

The afternoon was spent having a long awaited rest on the beach, although we were quite surprised that the Spanish have a different approach to nudity than we do; they just let it all hang out, even on the streets near by the beach! I hope they used plenty of sun cream.

Our final day was spent taking in galleries and museums, from the Contemporary Art Gallery to the Picasso Museum. I decided I liked Barcelona. It is like Paris, except its hot and has a nice beach. It’s the Chicago of Spain. I was also happy to find that Spain has Dunkin' Donuts; a brand which made me very happy in America and we should campaign it to bring here to England.... their coffee is better than Starbucks!

Our final evening was spent watching fountains outside the National Gallery, which danced to music. It was like the Bellagio in Las Vegas, so impressive and equally popular in terms of the crowd gatherings.

We returned to the airport for our flight home on Friday where we discovered there was two things which could have disrupted our flight. France were having an air traffic control strike (wonder how they’ll deport all those Roma people now?), and then a terminal at Manchester Airport was closed due to a bomb scare. I don’t know why but I always manage to attract trouble when I go on holiday, two terrorist attacts have occurred while I’ve been on holiday as well as various other misadventures, I’m clearly a curse to the tourism industry which is terrible seeing that is my major.

I’m now back at home in Manchester ready to start my final year at university. An interesting and tough one, no doubt. But hopefully it will all pay off next year.

Friday, September 3, 2010

a letter to my dear new yorkers

Dear naive tabloid junkies,

It has come to my attention that many of you are rather upset about a mosque being built upon the area of Ground Zero in New York City. It seems you find building a mosque would be insulting and insensitive to all those who died on 9/11 after all the terrible things those Muslims did to you.

I wanted to write to you today to confirm a couple of things with you before you all lose your head and embarrass yourselves during your protests and before you go writing your letters to the President (who by the way, is Muslim).

First of all; it is NOT a mosque. It is a centre of which holds a swimming pool, basketball courts and restaurants. It happens to also hold a prayer room.

Secondly, it isn't even on ground zero. It is 2 blocks away. And if it was a mosque, is there a particular distance you would like it to be away? Maybe you could measure out a suitable distance which is inoffensive for us so when we do decide to build an actual mosque one day, we can keep it within it without upsetting you all.

Finally, even if it was a mosque being built on ground zero. Who cares? Muslims are not the cause of 9/11, the Taliban (who actually happen to be muslim) did. If the city of New York decided to do a tribute memorial statue to Osama Bin Laden, then I'd say 'Go Ahead, protest away'. Remember lots of Muslims died that day just like any other race were affected that day; with the majority actually pretty distraught over the events just as much as you are, without their faith being slammed. So take your Islamaphobia, your mixed up tabloid affected minds and go home, switch the kettle on and have a cup of tea. Try reading a little less National Enquirer and a little more New York Times :)

Yours sincerely,

David Hatton

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pride Festival 2010


This was my first Pride Festival in the UK, it was quite a contrast from the Washington DC Pride which was heavily political with many people protesting against Proposition 8 and The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policies in the US Army.

Manchester Pride seemed a lot more fun, and gay and straight people from around the country were all involved just having a party! There seemed to be more straight people than gays in some areas.

This didn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy Washington DC’s. I enjoyed being in America and at a more serious Pride and being involved fighting and protesting for the rights which sadly many Americans still don’t have like we are lucky to have here across the UK. Plus the Washington DC Pride finished with a rock concert in front of the Capital Building, which you can’t argue with. That is just pure awesome.

The Manchester parade was fantastic. Sir Ian Mckellen fronted it, one of the most famous gay actors in the world, and is from Manchester! This followed by the cast of Coronation Street, drag queens and others entertaining floats!

On the Sunday I decided to go along to the markets along Canal Street. It seemed strange having to need a wrist band to walk somewhere I walk through so regularly for free. I was speaking to one lady who lives on Canal Street, who said it took her an hour and a half to get a residents pass to get into her own house! Once I was in I grabbed some lunch and meandered along the stalls; from jewelry to dildos; they had it all.

The afternoon was spent watching the bands and having some beers in the lovely sun (which in Manchester is a rarity which needs to be appreciated before it goes away for another year). The bands were all local and absolutely fantastic. They had an interpreter for the deaf on stage; correct me if I’m wrong but I wondered what deaf people were turning up and watching lyrics? How very strange. Maybe everyone in the audience were signing and not dancing?

In between bands there was a live DJ playing all different types of music from dance to Motown to rock and roll. Everyone was dancing and people were so friendly, a real community. It was unlike gay clubs and bars; you didn’t feel like people were coming onto you, it just felt friendly and comfortable and just wanted to enjoy the day, the sun and the people. The beer went down well too!

I’d encourage anyone to go to the day events. Many people I knew were just going for the nightclubs, which to be honest you can do any weekend, and it’s a lot cheaper when its not Pride. I went for the bands and the events and had a terrific day!

Today (August 25th) is Michael Jackson’s birthday, and would have been his 52nd. I wore my MJ t-shirt to the festival, and it was so wonderful how many people came up to me to high-five me or just talk about Michael and how much they loved his music. He still lives on despite being gone. Long Live MJ!

‘Born to amuse. Born to inspire. To Delight. Here one day. Gone one night. Gone too soon.’ – Michael Jackson, (1958-2009)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Dawkins Delusion



Whether you watched the Raoul Moat Tapes on Channel 4, or the Richard Dawkins Faith School documentary on More 4, you were pretty much watching the same thing, two deluded nutters talking gobbledygook.

I’d like to begin this blog by confirming with everyone that I am NOT religious. I think this is important to my argument for my problems with Dawkins and most of his views.

Last night Dawkins tried to argue across that religious schools should be banned. His main arguments were that it indoctrinates children into believing in religion and that children shouldn’t be forced into their parents beliefs. It divides society and doesn’t allow children to mix. That they teach children incorrect information, that they should be taught about evolution and not about creationism.

I went to two faith schools and my experience was a positive one. We were supposed to sing and pray in assemblies, but to be honest if anything it gave us structure, discipline and thought. Science lessons were taught as science lessons according to the national curriculum and RE taught all religions, beliefs and faiths. The religion actually came into school in assemblies, where we did hear bible stories, sing hymns and pray; there was also optional communion once a week. Did I feel indoctrinated? No. Not at all. My peers around me were of different races and faiths, but mostly had already decided they were atheist. When in a Christian primary school, most pupils had made up their mind by the time they were seven years old that they didn’t believe in god, so clearly the ‘indoctrinating ‘ as Dawkins believes isn’t working.

But what is most interesting that most of my peers who turned out atheist in primary school went onto CHOOSE a religious high school, and it was the same for my jewish, catholic, muslim and hindu friends. Why?

Lets face it. The clientele and the grades. My high school was in the top 10 high schools in the England. It had a strict entry system that you had to be a member of a church, synagogue, mosque, temple or other, and had to have a minimum number of weeks attendance at that school. From my point of view, it was about dedication. You really want to be in this school? Go to church. Prove you really want to go. Most of these people came from Christian upbringings or equivalent and brought a well behaved group of people to the school. The behavior compared to other schools in the area was spectacular, and the grades were brilliant. At no point do I believe God caused all this; but its religious structure and the clientele and background of the pupils along with of course the teachers. One year the school opened its doors to anyone, and after the behavior of that year was despicable and probably one of the worst years the school had ever had, they reverted back to the original, selective system.

Dawkins argued about mixing and childrens choice? Should the children be liberated and allowed their own choice? Or is it not the right of the parent to be able to raise their child in the religion of their choice. My parents chose to bring me up as a Christian. Are they evil for that? Have they indoctrinated me? Well as an unreligious gay 22 year old, I don’t think they were too successful if they had.

If it is about liberating our children to choice, then should churches, temples and mosques be closed to all under 16s? Allow them to go in at 16 and then make their own choice as anything before then would clearly indoctrinating?

And if its about mixing, should we close all single sex schools as it stops boys and girls mixing? Should we close independent schools because it broadens the divide between middle and working class people? No. Because those parents have the right to choose how their children are taught and who they are surrounded by. Just like my parents wanted me to be in a Christian environment.

I agree with Dawkins that religious schools should be heavily monitored to make sure they are teaching science correctly and that RE lessons are balanced and informs them of everything they need to know along with the national curriculum. But if they choose to have religious assemblies, prayer and hymns then who are they really hurting?

It wasn’t really just the program subject which got me last night. I put some of my thoughts on Twitter and some of the abusive replies I got from atheists and Richard Dawkins fanatics was unbelievable. It was as if I had insulted the Catholics or Muslims the reaction I had received, for putting up a couple of thoughts. It seems Dawkins is turning atheism into a religion in itself.

I’ve read Dawkins book and various programs, and it seems he cannot rest until everyone is atheist. Religion can be a beautiful thing, it gives hope, purpose and structure to so many people’s lives. Don’t like it? Don’t get involved.
Last night we saw him actually tell a Muslim man that he should be like Christians have, and change his faith and beliefs on creationism. The Muslim man looked like he was about to laugh out loud at the suggestion.

Lets face it, if we see a Christian preaching in the middle of a city centre, shouting Leviticus passages or the Revelations; we walk past and think ‘what a nutter’ and get annoyed at them for forcing their views onto us. And yet Dawkins is doing exactly the same thing?

To be honest, his shows and books are pretty pointless. Those who read or watch them have often made up their own mind already. I haven’t heard of any nuns or priests reading it and going ‘’yeh your right Dawkins, fuck it’’, or Our Ladies Catholic School Headteacher suddenly scrapping the religion in the school after hearing Dawkins views. Anyone watching the show was pretty much for or against, and those who hadn’t made up their mind most likely didn’t bother to tune it, because they weren’t bothered. Richard Dawkins like that ‘nutter’ in the street is only being listened to by those who already see his point of view or wish to argue against him.

But these are just a few thoughts and opinions of mine and I know others disagree; I’m not saying I’m right or your wrong. I’m just asking at least, please, formulate a more sophisticated argument than that cringe-worthy Richard Dawkins does, who in my opinion is just like his view of believers; deluded.

Next week a more sophisticated debate. Who should win big brother???

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Michael Mcintyre at Blackpool Tower


Sunday 1st August 2010

When I saw the price of a ticket to see Michael Mcintyre I couldn't believe how cheap it was to see someone who sells out arenas around the country; along with the fact that it was at Blackpool Tower, I had to be there.

Mcintyre who after years of fame became well known to the world after his performance on 'Live At the Apollo' with his observational comedy, hilarious anecdotes and energetic performances is now a household name and now has his own show 'Michael Mcintyre's Comedy Roadshow'. He has built up a reputation of which he is loved or loathed; but I, like many, love him.

As soon as we arrived at Blackpool Tower we were instantly pleased with the intimate venue which he had chosen to perform his 'Working Progress' gig. We felt so close to the stage and gave the audience a much more personal performance than the arena tours allow. There were no grand entrances or exits, and it took us back to the days when he was still working the comedy circuit as an amateur.

He instantly explained the cheap ticket as soon as he got on stage that this was a warm-up gig ready for his television Comedy Roadshow gig in Blackpool later this week. He wanted to try his jokes of his observations of Blackpool on us before he did the live show later in the week. He had even brought on his notes which later (after realising he had run out of material after 35 minutes) referred to and tried different stories out on the audience. Some got huge laughs, others left the audience in silence. But Mcintyre, professional as ever kept the show incredibly entertaining and much of it was made up on the spot. He even began one joke with ''This might be funny'', before going into it and getting the audience to imagine he had just talked about something related earlier.

It was an interesting insight into how professional comedians put together jokes and how they decide if they will work on large audiences. I cannot wait to see how he fits the jokes that did work into his show when it airs in the next series of Comedy Roadshow.

From stories from him dealing with fame and a family, to scoring blow jobs from his wife, it was every bit of fantastic comedy.

It was a short but sweet gig, and the mixture of the small venue along with the warm up style performance made it feel incredibly personal and seemed like we were a few of his mates in the pub.

It has opened my eyes to these warm up performances, and in future will be tempted to go to these type of gigs rather than pay the £35-£50 for an arena tour and still get a fantastically funny show.

The good news for Mcintyre fans as he certainly hasn't lost it and wont be going away anytime soon.

(photo taken from: http://www.solarchitecture.co.uk/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=85)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Is This it?


Is this it?

25th June 2010

It has been exactly one year to the day that the King of Pop, Michael Jacskon, tragically died and left the world in mourning. Since then it has been one of those common questions – ‘where were you when Michael Jackson died?’. I was out in the United States in Chicago, working on the front desk of a hotel; I had just started my shift when the news came up on the televisions in the reception area. The world was filled with disbelief, twitter was over-capacity, text messages and phone lines were going crazy. Now I am back at university in England, and the shock, the disbelief, but more importantly his legacy continues.

Michael left behind a family, children, friends and millions of fans. He also left behind a legacy, a lifetime of music, 50 unfinished concerts and an unknown number of songs which he had been working on before his death.

It has been shown over the last 12 months that even though the king is dead, his legacy certainly isn’t. His music has continued through other artists,; kept alive by directors and producers in films; and replayed by television stations, radios, DJ’s and his fans.

In the past year, Michael has achieved a number one movie ‘This is it’, top 10 chart albums, the opening of an exhibition, his own cirque du soleil show and brought out unheard songs and albums. And from what we’ve seen, it isn’t to stop anytime soon with more unreleased tracks, albums, a video game, tour video releases and a museum in the pipeline; Michael isn’t going away quietly, and who would want him to?

Despite the film, album and tour title, Michael has in fact proven that this really isn’t it. Not by a long way. And like many, I look forward to seeing how he is going to continue to surprise and mesmerise us in the years to come.

Long live, Michael Jackson. The man, the myth, the ultimate legend.

By David Hatton

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I'm a dot.



On the 25th June, 2010, will be the one year anniversary of Michael Jackson's death. Its unbelievable to think that a year ago, the world was in shock to hear that one of the world's greatest entertainers and humanitarian died suddenly, just weeks before his farewell tour.

Since his untimely death, there have been many tributes, websites and shows which have been a tribute to an amazing life of an extraordinary man. One site which caught my eye however was the Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait, where artist David Ilan is creating a portrait of Michael using photos of his fans. There will be 1 million photographic dots making up this tremendous picture, which will be a wonderful representation of the people who loved Michael. I have already added my photo to become a dot on their website. The tribute also requires money, so any Michael Jackson fans are encouraged to either donate or buy a product from their gift store where you can buy the portrait, t-shirts and other MJ gifts which goes towards supporting this project. This is a wonderful scheme and if you are interested in anything they do please visit: http://www.michaeljacksontributeportrait.com/home.php

On the June 14th, Dr Conrad Murray will be entering court again regarding his involvement with the death of Michael. Joe Jackson and representatives of the family have asked that Michael's fans keep calm and not to shout abuse at Murray as it would look negatively on Michael. This is absolutly true, and is certainly what Michael would have wanted. However what is not being pushed is that Murray deserves his day in court. None of us know what happened on that tragic day, and fans and people across the world have sent abuse to Murray. I would like to take you all back to 2003, where Michael was on trial for those despicable allegations; all Michael asked was for us to listen, to keep an open mind, and to let him have his day in court. The same respect should be provided for Dr Murray, as we just don't know what happened, and is up to the courts to decide. People have asked me what I believe, and I've told them that I just don't know, and will let the courts decide to make a firm judgment. We must remember that for a long time Michael trusted Dr Murray as his general practitioner and also as a friend, and while Michael hasn't always made the right choices in his companions in the past due to his wonderful character of always trying to see good in people, he still trusted him and it is up to the courts to decide whether Murray has done anything wrong. So let Murray have his day in court, we cannot give rights to one man and not another just because we have respect for one of them. Lets hear him out, keep an open mind and lets see what the outcome is. I have complete faith in the American justice system and will not judge either way until the outcome has been decided and hope others will do the same. So if you are attending the court date on the 14th, go in peace, and go in support in Michael. I hope once this has been sorted that Michael's family will find peace and will be able to move on from this tragic last year without their son.

Long live Michael Jackson :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sport Relief 2010


Took part in the Manchester Sport Relief run in Manchester on the 21st March, along with Angus, Clare, Janet Atkinson, Laura Atkinson and Laura's partner Leanne all met up in Manchester, very early to complete the charity event!

The most exhausting part of the event was the warm up at the start.... they made us dance around to 'I gotta feeling' by Black Eyed Peas (or is it Pees? I dont know), while some camera man was filming us all looking very silly.... I hope we weren't on national tv... some sicko probably got a thrill out of that.

Then we began the run, after a few meters we entered Granada Studios where we ran down Coronation Street. I say we ran down Coronation Street... we actually spent 20 minutes taking photos of each other in front of the Rovers Return, Street Cars and Auderys hair salon. We also helped ourselves in the Websters back garden as some fool had left the gate unlocked. I couldn't believe how tiny it was down there! All the houses looked so minature... which made me wonder how the hell they supposadly have about 6 rooms in each house to accommodate the millions of people who seem to shack up under each roof. I also couldn't believe how fake it looked down there, most of the scenery around Corrie is all just large billboards with prints on them... unbelievable. Not even the bridge is real. Anyway it was all very exciting getting to go down Corrie... it was like Disney for grown ups.... well sad grown ups like me who don't miss an episode.

I remember going to the studios years ago when they were open to the public. Its a shame they don't do that anymore as they were amazing days out. I remember there being a walk through ride where it was like being in an episode of the Borrowers, everything was so large, the furniture was made for giants and at one point the roof was lifted off us and a giant cat tried to eat us. It was so good, in fact reading this sounds like I was hooked up on ketamine at 5 years old entering the studios!
I also remember getting to see 'Sutty-Live' that day too... that was good. I don't think I'd appreciate that as much today though.

So after we spent all that time gawping at Corrie, we ran the rest of the way to the finish...I couldn't tell you how long it took us... but I did receive a medal for my run, as well as a bottle of Sainsburys own water and a nutrigrain. mmm nutrigrains. Its a good job we werent taking the time too seriously seeing we spent half of our time acting like bloody tourists! I was considering entering the New York Marathon for Aids, but I think I'd get too distracted by the Empire State Building.

After the run it was straight to the pub where we spent the day necking vino and catching up down anal treet. sorry thats meant to be canal street.

Anyway the run was so much fun and I raised quite a lot for charity... the current online total is £115, and I have not quite clocked up all the cash, so once thats done I'll update everyone with the final amount... my mum's been getting change off anyone whose brushed past her for sponsorship. http://www.justgiving.com/DAVID-HATTON

Thank you to everyone who sponsored me, it was a great day out and doing something different, and all the money has gone to good causes, so thank you very much to everyone for your support :)