On…Dalston Yard Street Feast

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Two weeks ago, some serendipitous internet surfing led to me stumbling across something called Street Feast taking place at Dalston Yard for 9 weeks this summer. It boasted over 20 street vendors in what looked like a rather cool venue. As someone who’s really enjoyed the recent upward trend of street food vendors and likes to try out various market stalls on the oft, this looked like a really interesting event. Plus, it gets a bit boring just heading down to Shoreditch or Borough for their markets every week.

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On…A Water Sports Fun Day

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Today, thanks to the lovely Harrow and Wembley Sea Cadet unit, I was repeatedly thrown into a lake. Oh I’m just kidding, I actually had an absolute blast on a fun day arranged for friends and family, as well as cadets, to have a try at different water sporting activities at the Welsh Harp Reservoir. On offer today was rowing, kayaking, sailing, paddle boarding and raft building. Having never done any of these activities, I must admit, I was a huge pansy about it before today, panicking over little things like what to wear whilst sailing. In the end, it really didn’t matter; I was wet, covered in moss and algae, and it was still an amazing experience.

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On…Names

This recent video featuring Katie Hopkins has gone viral and inspired outrage amongst those shocked by comments such as “A name, for me, is a short way of working out what class that child comes from. [And I can decide from that] do I want my child to play with them?”. The Independent’s poll has 91% of people disagreed with Hopkins and would not judge a child by their name. But I can’t help but wonder, is that actually true? Are we actually living in a society where 91% of people don’t make frivolous judgments over factors that an individual can’t help? I have to say, given the world we grow up in, I think that’s unlikely. I’m sure 91% of people will say that, but do they actually act like that? Now this isn’t a blog post sympathising with Katie Hopkins’ views: I still find them repugnant, atrocious and elitist. By no means am I endorsing Hopkins’ view that we should actively make our decisions about who our children’s friends are and who they can hang out with based on names – I think these are appalling things to do! But what Hopkins’ does is explicitly express what, I believe, a lot of people implicitly or subconsciously do. That is a significant difference, and I’m not saying that all people are as bad as Hopkins. What this blog post is going to be about is a missed opportunity by the media to discuss our implicit prejudices, including our prejudices about names, and the fact that a name can signal quite a bit about a person.

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On…Equality

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This might seem like a topic completely out of the blue to discuss on my blog. But what prompted me to write on this topic is that currently, my group of students on the summer school I’m working on has to do a presentation at the end of the week on a topic of their choice. The title of their presentation is ‘The Idea that Changed the World’, so you can imagine the kind of broad ideas which were thought up during our initial planning session. Eventually after passing over ideas such as communism or artificial intelligence, my group settled on the idea of equality. They’re looking at how the promotion of the idea of equality in gender, race, religion and sexuality has changed the world in the last two centuries. It’s an interesting topic, and for the most part, the material they’re covering is fairly uncontroversial.

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On…Mudlarking on the Thames

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A slightly different type of blog entry today, because I wanted to reflect on a rather cool experience I went on last week as part of my work. We went mudlarking on a section of the Thames foreshore, just underneath Millennium Bridge on the north side. Mudlarking, for those who don’t know, is basically scavenging in the riverbed for things of value; whilst we weren’t exactly trying to make a living from our time down there, we did have on hand a member of the Thames Explorer Trust who expertly identified the various bits and bobs we brought to him. And really, I know the term mudlarking isn’t exactly accurate for we were all young adults and not Victorian children, but it’s the most succinct term I could think of. ‘Scavenging and picking up stuff’ is hardly very catchy. Anyway, it was a fascinating experience, and a rather unexpected one, for when I first found out about this item on our itinerary, I was a bit sceptical. What could be found on the Thames foreshore? Surely everything that could be scavenged had already been taken? I expected to find bits of glass bottles and rubbish, and thought the whole 3 hours would be more of a litter picking duty than a real mudlark. However, I was pleasantly surprised and we found a huge amount of interesting objects which kept us preoccupied for our time on the foreshore.

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