Friday, 18 May 2007

Plane Crash (Fictional Story)

A plane crash has left two people dead and a third seriously injured after a charity parachute jump went horribly wrong.

A mechanical failure caused the plane to crash land on a military firing range in Bere Regis, Dorset, where the two fatalities were confirmed as the pilot and the parachute instructor.

The four remaining passengers aboard the plane, owned by Dorset Parachute club, jumped out just prior to impact.

Matthew McGrath, who was parachuting for Leukaemia Research, praised the pilot and instructor’s bravery "We owe our lives to those guys, we wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for them".
Laura Cameron, who was also jumping, fractured her leg from the crash, but Kate Tong, Debbie Smith and McGrath are all unharmed.

There had been growing anxiety for the four charity jumpers who leapt from the plane, a mere 500ft in the air, half of the emergency parachuting height.

Having survived that, they were feared dead after landing on the military shooting range, where there are potentially hundreds of unexploded mines.

They were later rescued when, after gaining refuge in the woods, the army discovered their whereabouts.

Roger Daltrey, Lt of the Royal Armoured Core battalion, emphasised the dangers from which the group escaped "There’s a reason why this is a no go area, we fire over 70, 000 tank shells every year and they can ricochet anywhere".

He added that the crash itself was "the worst I’ve ever seen. The plane has literally been atomised".

The private passenger CESSNA 337 plane crashed at 10:20am, a mere 20 minutes after it took off from a private airfield en route to the jump.

The crash comes as a shock to Dorset Parachuting club, who recently checked the aircraft to ensure it met safety standards.

Big Mac, as he’s known at the club, stated "We’ve recently had an overhaul of our aircraft, so for this to happen is deeply distressing".

The co-owner though was quick to decline the pilot and instructor were at fault adding, "I’ve lost two great friends. They would have done their best not to harm anyone".
Mark: 72 (1st)

Film Review: Casino Royale

Casino Royale (12A)
Director: Martin Campbell
Starring: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Judi Dench
**** (4 stars)

If we were to believe the pre-release criticism facing Daniel Craig’s selection as the new 007, Casino Royale could be the worst Bond film of the franchise; it couldn’t be further from the truth.

In this daring prequel, Campbell goes to the very heart of what makes James Bond the suave, womanising secret agent that we’ve all come to know.

It’s this analysis of characterisation that sets this film apart from its predecessors, but be warned this is not a traditional Bond film.

This is made explicit from the outset, as the silver tinted opening sequence reveals Bond brutally beating a Russian henchman, before drowning him; no Roger Moore quips here then.

There also isn’t room for Q and Moneypenny, but they aren’t essential for Campbell’s dark take on the secret agent’s beginnings.

James Bond has just been promoted to being a "00" and his mission is to prevent French banker "Le Chiffre" (Mads Mikkelson) from funding terrorists in Africa.

He must achieve this by stopping Le Chiffre winning a multi-million dollar poker tournament, by entering himself.

But with enemies trying to hunt him down, new love Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) to look after and the government’s money at stake, will Bond succeed in saving the world?

It is Daniel Craig’s portrayal of James Bond that deserves the highest praise.

After being accused of being too "dead-pan" and even too "blonde", before filming had even begun, Craig has truly silenced his critiques akin to his AK47.

He displays a tough rugged character, relentlessly dispatching his enemies, but at the same time maintains the humour connected with the secret agent.

In one scene, when asked how he would like his Vodka Martini, Bond snaps "Does it look like I give a damn!" typifying his no nonsense character.

There’s also a treat for female viewers, as Campbell reverses the iconic Halle Berry scene from "Die Another Day", as Craig emerges from the sea wearing…very little.

The rougher 007 is well supported by new feisty Bond girl Eva Green who gets the difficult mix of sensitivity and headstrong independence off to a tee.

She portrays the character with such tenacity that separates her from the submissive female counterparts that have gone before her.

But reversing the franchise norm comes with big risks, and one downfall of this film is the (at times) incomprehensible plot.

It’s only a minor flaw though, in a film with spectacular stunts, fights and a truly remorseless villain in Mads Mikkelson that shocks the audience with ease.

By the time Daniel Craig closes the film on the classic line "The name’s Bond. James Bond", very few can argue against the fact that Bond is back with a bang.

Mark: 60 (2:1)

Opinion: The Loneliness of the Cross Country Runner

As I stand on top of a hill with 300 other students as mad as myself, I’m thrilled at the prospect of running 12km against the finest cross-country runners in Britain.

A daunting prospect for even the most seasoned of long distance runners, buteven more so considering I’m the only the student from my University here.

By the way, did I mention that there are a thousand sets of eyes watching us?

The maths of course speaks for itself. 15,000 students go to Bournemouth butthere’s only me running here.

I’m the first to admit I have no chance of winning this, but it would be nice to have a companion to share in my plight.

The situation I find myself in though, is not too far away from the problem facing the sport in the UK.

British distance running is in rapid decline and we are struggling to mix it with the world’s finest.

The problem is simple, there aren’t enough people competing in every event from the National championships to the Mickey Mouse open.

It’s hard to see why though. We live in a health conscious age and runningis surely a way to keep fit against life’s temptations.

Being honest though, jogging for fun is a far cry from this deadly serious, competitive event. The gun has already gone, and I’ve found myself at the back of the field, still on the up side, only 11 and a half kilometres to go…

Trident Vox Pop

By Luke Starre & Matthew Kiernan

The Labour party has announced potential plans for the £20bn renewal of Britain’s nuclear deterrent Trident.

Investment in the programme will be spread over the next 30 years and Tony Blair is eager to push the proposal through Parliament before he stands down in 2007.

But even given the state of the current world climate does the British public think the scheme is worth it?

"Depends on how much they’ve got in the budget," says Anthony Davis, a 27-year old graphic designer from Sutton Rd, Charminster.

"Is national security still that important? It’s debatable and it won’t make any difference to my life."

"We’ve already got some and if we needed to use them it would be a nuclear war and all countries would loose out," laughs Chris Cox, 20, a sports management student at Bournemouth University.

It’s a view reiterated by Sue Barrett from Stanfield Rd, Winton.
"If there’s going to be a nuclear explosion they’ll be mass death anyway, so what’ s the point?"

Should we be trying to get along instead of out doing each other then? 19-year-old Carl Arreghini thinks so.

"They’re effectively weapons of mass destruction," mused the Law student. "It would make me feel safer if no one had them rather than us having more then someone else."

"The more countries who have them the more likely they’ll be used," agrees Christine Howland of Cranmer Rd, Winton.

"Nuclear weapons do more damage than good", adds Tessa Gustafsen, a waitress from Copenhagen, Denmark. "Actually, I don’t think they do any good".

So is no one bothered about protection?

"It’ll come to a sad time if we need nuclear weapons to feel safe at night", says Tanya Davis, 28, from Charminster.

What about the costs?

"Money should be channelled into education and children", adds Ms Davis.

Liam Henderson from St. Luke’s Rd in Winton thinks ‘they’ll spend it on the military anyway, plus we can use the ones we have’.

"We shouldn’t spend it on a nuclear deterrent," says retired builder Roger Anderson. "Instead it should be used to help stop climate change."

It’s not an opinion shared by all though.

Jack Salisbury feels efforts need to be stepped up saying, "money should be spent on more aggressive tactics – not war however".

Peace keeping and negotiation are what the 19-year-old business student suggests.
So perhaps Andrew Wilson sums up the public consensus.

"I don’t like nuclear weapons anyway and I’d hope they’ll all disappear eventually," dreams the 38-year-old market trader from Lymington.

Mark: 60 (2:1)

What Makes A Good Reporter?

Lawrence Booth’s advice for being a good reporter is to be "structured", "show initiative" and "be dedicated".

The 31 year-old is more than qualified to comment; he currently edits the "Spin" cricket supplement for the Guardian.

According to Booth, these key traits to succeed in journalism are put to the test by the route you take into the industry.

"There are 2 main routes.

The work experience route and the Journalism course route".

It is indeed the former of these two paths, which Booth used to work in the field.

After graduating from Cambridge University, with a modern languages degree, Booth undertook a 3 month work placement at "Wisden Cricket Monthly" magazine.

It was this particular summer of 1998, where his outlook on writing changed forever. "I essentially got one to one tuition from the editor at the time.

He helped me to write engaging articles instead of essays".

This advice has stayed with Booth, throughout his career.

It is fitting then that with his new writing skills at the forefront of his thinking, Booth got his first big break.

With no one following on from him on work experience in the magazine, he was offered a part-time position; his dedication had paid off.

"It was only £500 a month, but we all have to start somewhere!"

What followed was the chance to work on the Wisden Website, as well as the "Wisden Almanack".

This continued until 2002, when he became freelance, which he has remained ever since.
In the present though it’s the Journalism course route that Booth recommends.

Partly due to job preparation, but also due to another key trait in being a good reporter; networking.

"Watch out for those who you think may be successful and try and stick with them!".

A hard work ethic, having a passion for writing and having an interest in you’re writing area, are all important then in the make-up of a good reporter.

Lawrence Booth is living proof.

Mark: 66 (2:1)

Interview: Alan Belshire

Mr Alan Belshire is someone I feel I’ve known all my life and yet a month a go we hadn’t met.

As we sat in his study, the 66-year-old gave an insight into his relaxed approach to life – "it’s important to laugh at yourself, otherwise what’s the point!"

It’s this fun loving character that’s led to a running joke in the house.

A storyteller at heart, Alan used to tell his children when younger, many tales about "Dogsbody Hollow".

The name derived from Alan’s imagination and also due to their home being situated on a hill.
When they grew up, they created a "Dogsbody Hollow" plaque, which takes pride and place in the porch – "I often find people staring at it bemusedly!"

It is with fondness that Alan speaks of his children and indeed he also fondly remembers his own childhood.

"It was the 4th year of the war", Belshire recalls, "and my Dad had to remove a wasp’s nest stuck in our car".

"My dad attached a hose pipe to the exhaust of our Austin, to drench them out!"
It goes without saying it was an extermination even the Daleks would have saluted.

"It was very impressive!" Alan adds amusedly.

For 35 years Belshire worked as a solicitor, running his own firm "Alan Belshire & Co." in Winton.

However, although he enjoyed it, it wasn’t always clear what would happen next.

"Once a month, I had to represent the local bad lads in prison.

But you had to be nice, otherwise you could be stuck in a cell with them, if the police forgot you were there!"

Alan’s family consists of 7 grandchildren as well as his 3 children (Carol, Katy and John).

It’s not always a good thing though – "It can cause a headache at Christmas!"

Now retired, Alan now shares time with his wife Wendy and also works for Victoria Park Methodist Church.

As pastoral secretary, one of the hardest tasks he finds is to stick to word limits writing church news articles.

I couldn’t agree more.

Mark: 67 (2:1)

Day In the Life of...Matthew Kiernan

In October, Matthew Kiernan will embark on a BA Honours degree in Multi-Media Journalism. In a bid to be financially prepared, the 18-year-old accepted a Customer Advisor role at a local school uniform outlet. A member of Croydon Harriers athletics club and Trinity (Oxley) Cricket Club, the budding athlete lives with his family in South London.

Dragging myself out of bed at 7am is the most difficult part of the day in my life. I’m not a morning person and soon find myself attempting to avoid attracting my family’s attention so I’m not forced to grunt at them.

The painful process of slowly coming round to reality is sped up somewhat though, whilst listening to the "Today" programme, on Radio 4, at breakfast time. It is all the more satisfying to hear hard-hitting journalism from John Humphreys to remind just exactly why I’ve woken up this morning. After all, I’d love to be in his position one day.

Still, that’s the long-term goal and any brief moments of solitude found in daydreaming are abruptly ended when I realise my short term objective is in jeopardy…getting to my Summer job on time.

My efforts to arrive punctually aren’t helped on a daily basis with the buses constantly running late. I made the decision not to learn to drive so I could save funds, so it’s my own fault. However with Sir Ken Livingston letting youngsters travel for free, it would be nice to think those who have to pay for it can get value for money. If you’ve ever heard the comedy adaptation of the song "London Underground", you can guess what I would like to tell Sir Ken to do with his Oyster card.

It all seems worthwhile though when I arrive at the shop (albeit after a slow and claustrophobic journey) as my colleagues are so kind and easy to get on with. When the shop opens at 9am, we receive our orders from our managers. It’s a hormonal affair in which a lot of power hunger comes to the fore, with the most effective way to combat the obsessive ordering being copious amounts of automatic nodding.

Once that specific hurdle is cleared, the second more daunting challenge is upon me. Tasks such as making stacking shirts, putting labels on packets and dusting blazers seem more entertaining than watching paint dry is a difficult one indeed. On the bright side though, things take a much-needed upturn when lunchtime arrives; but even then I cannot always be sure. Lunch can only be an hour of sheer bliss (in comparison to the shop floor) if I’ve managed to avoid the dreaded 12pm slot…the hour in which the managers eat. If I’ve been unlucky enough to receive that particular pleasure, then thoughts of sharp blades meeting my wrists quickly become predominant in my imagination.

Thankfully though, having such good friends to work with helps the time pass. Its amazing how close we’ve all become within just 3 months of working together; I feel like I’ve known them for 3 years. That is of course meant in a good way and I’m sure we’ll remain in contact for many years to come.

When the clock finally ticks down to the sacred 5:30pm (closing time), its time to recover from the monotony that is selling school uniform, and instead turn my attention to the other main interest of my life; athletics.

When I tell people I’m a long distance runner I often get an immediate reaction of shock, closely followed by the question of "Why?" My response is a simple one; I find it relaxing (at this point the person I’m speaking to will probably faint). It’s the physical and mental challenge of being able to compete for a sustained period of time that keeps me training. This ironically is the most popular reason why people don’t find distance running attractive.

Imagine my surprise then, when 8 of my fellow customer advisors came with me to the evening’s training session at the track. What began as an initial joke on my part to get one chap running for the first time in years, has turned into everyone else coming down for a run as well. They all enjoyed it (or at least I hope they did) and hopefully I’ll be able to encourage them to maintain their good work whilst at university.

Training ends at around 9pm and its often then a trip to the local pub for a cheeky beverage. Although the other guys indulge in various alcoholic concoctions, I always treat myself to a juicy J20. I’ve never drunk in my life, mainly due to the taste and due to the sick related after effects of being hammered that inevitably comes with it. However, despite the fact I don’t drink or smoke, I always make the effort to go out, otherwise I think you are not living life to the full.

I get in at 11ish, and normally eat something that my parents have kindly cooked for me, before hitting the hay at 12am, ready to do it all over again tomorrow.

"Despite the fact I don’t drink or smoke, I always make the effort to go out, otherwise I think you are not living life to the full"
Mark: 63 (2:1)