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.