A Modern Cinderella Story

It’s my first day off in a week, so I thought I’d have a nice lazy breakfast. I made scrambled eggs on a bagel, and had a little greek yoghurt, blackberries and honey. I was sat at my laptop, reading a variety of articles on the news, when I stumbled across a story about a seventeen year old boy who was talent spotted by a fashion scout, plucked from obscurity, and made the face of the infamous fashion house, Prada. I was astonished, frankly. You can read the story here

Alexander Beck (1)

A cinderella story that really, seems to have happened. I mean, the boy worked in his local fish and chip shop. And then found himself modelling haute couture. That’s really not something that happens everyday. In fact, it happens hardly anywhere. The whimsy of the whole situation is kind of amusing; he was found whilst out shopping one day, in Waterstones. That’s not just something that will happen to anyone; that’s the kind of things that makes you into kind of, a somebody. It must be an unbelievable shock; to go from dressing for school in ten minutes, to the make up and glitter, fittings and so on. The world he had known must have quite literally, exploded around him. But it must have been completely, and utterly, incredible.

I like hearing these stories, because they remind you that there is some hope; if it can happen to a guy who works in a chip shop, it could happen to the shy little girl in glasses, and it could happen to you, because well, why the hell not? I like the idea of looking like somebody, and just suddenly, being a major player in the model world. It would be any little girl’s dream. And there are thousands of models who spend years of their lives applying to agencies like FM, and are constantly told that they don’t have ‘the right look’. There’s no such thing as a ‘right look’, only a momentarily ‘right look’; but these girls and boys all live and die on what these agencies have to say about them. I suspect to have come so far, so fast, must be a dream come true, or just plain, blind, luck.

His shoots with Vogue Homme are supposed to be published in the spring, and I definitely cannot wait to see how he looks; Kate Moss was seventeen when she first broke out, too. Perhaps we’ve met our next Kate Moss. Fashion fans will know it’s kind of like a symbolic second coming of the Messiah; a sign of new blood, and a new way of looking at things.

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(1) http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSrfeGHAb7yDrl6Ze2wU-8MJM0FP9uRqqXosmmMvOPfyp3gVO5Jdb9oyLpI

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To Read Or Not To Read; That Is the Question

I’ve often wondered about literary opinion, and how literary opinion differs between people. Everyone understands the world in a different way to somebody else, and so naturally, they will understand literature differently too. Literature, and one’s attitude and understanding towards it, depends on experiences. Experiences of education, literature, whether you enjoyed your lessons when you were in primary school, whether you have a natural love of reading. These are all key factors in understanding what literature is, and whether you enjoy it, or despise it.

I know people who have yet to finish an entire book, and I suspect there are people who go their whole lives barely reading books and magazines. This is of course, a life choice. Whether you want to read or not is entirely up to you; education demands a certain amount of reading. If you choose a literature, or essay based degree, you’ll find reading to be nonnegotiable. Arts courses tend to be much more vocational, and this choice depends very much on the style of learning one is accustomed to.

Philosophy of the Mind (1)

It’s difficult to know how you’ll feel about different kinds of literature, until you experience it. For example, I don’t like all kinds of literature. I really dislike mythical Greek and Roman texts, as well as finding James Joyce’s Ulysses utterly intolerable. Some regard it as an example of the greatest literary creation of all time. I think it is a grammatical abomination, and something that is so complicated that it begins to lose its point, because it’s completely inaccessible. Conversely however, I thoroughly enjoy T.S Eliot, who is well-known for regarding literature as an elite pursuit and past time.

Philosophy is something else that is considered highbrow, and rarely brought down to an accessible level. It is complicated because it involves thinking about the makings of the universe, and theorizing on that most illusive of characters, knowledge. However it’s less complex than some think; it’s a matter of having a good teacher and a simple reader, to introduce someone to the rudimentary elements of philosophy. There’s no need to over-complicate things, and dive straight into analysis on Plato’s dialogues.

I consider literature to be one of my greatest loves, and I consider almost everything to be literature. I think that the well-written blog can be considered literature of all sorts; some blogs can be understood as literotica, some can be understood as beautiful prose. New writing is the writing that will one day be considered classic, and will belong to the modern cannon, and so I think it’s important to look at new literature, read magazines, of all kinds; fashion, photography, literary; they’re all part of a modern culture that will, like all cultures before it, be revered by future generations.

It’s all about enjoyment, you see. Culture is formulated through the things that people enjoy; a city with a strong opera programme tends to become linked to the opera as a pursuit and therefore becomes a cultural construct. To this end, we create our own culture. I’d like to think we do, at least.

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(1) http://philosophy.uchicago.edu/workshops/_files/Philosophy-of-Mind-Workshop.jpg

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Issuu Update

So, in light of my recent, rather ponderous post, I have decided to go full steam ahead in creating a magazine prototype. So far, I have a couple of articles, a photography spread, a few opinion pieces, and two book reviews, with many thanks to http://procrastin8or.wordpress.com/book-reviews/. The minute details are being adjusted day by day; alignment seems to be a massive problem in creating magazine pages. So far, I have nearly fifty pages of creative work, and it’s really starting to come together. Not only is it starting to come together, but I daresay that it’s starting to almost look professional.

Creating the project seems to have been a rather steep learning curve all on its own. Each spread has taught me something new, especially about IT management and using technology in a creative capacity. The use of colour also seems to be of paramount important in creating something, and creating an atmosphere around the text. The colours within photographs consistently have to align with the text, and enhance it; the emphasis has to remain on the creative element of the spread, no matter how gorgeous the font, or font colour may be. I suppose it’s prioritizing; it’s placing emphasis on creativity as opposed to aesthetics.

Equally however, aesthetics is of paramount importance; the magazine should look professional, and clean. I’m seeking a crisp layout; nothing too fussy, consistent, but not mind numbing. The articles for example are all formatted in a similar fashion; the text is the same size and font, however I’ve placed a variety of images on each of the pages to break up the text, and make it more accessible.

These details seem almost irrelevant, however I find them fascinating; the smallest changes seem to be making an enormous difference to the appearance of the publication. I also keep thinking of different elements to look at including at four o’clock in the morning, and then wondering whether or not this would make the magazine seem unfocused. I haven’t quite come up with a defined idea of what I’d like the magazine to be about, at this point; I know that I want it to be creatively focused, intermixed with some serious journalism and photography projects. It’s still very much in the early planning stages, and prototype stage, but making the prototype is confirming my commitment to pursuing a career in the publishing sector. That I think, makes the project worthwhile in its own right.

However, I need some advice; I need a title for the magazine. I started off thinking of “Live Critique”, however I’m not sure it captures the imagination enough, or whether it seems a little dry, and associated with literary theory explicitly enough to be off-putting. Please tell me what you think!

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To Issuu or Not to Issuu. That Is the Question.

My flatmate introduced me to a website yesterday, called Issuu. I had been previously unaware of its existence, however this morning I created an account, and watched explanatory videos. It would seem that you can create an online magazine, or publish your work as though it were a glossy magazine. Now, I would love a career in publishing one day, and so this seems like a wonderful place to start. I have the resources to begin, but I don’t think I could write an online magazine entirely on my own. So I think I’m going to have to enlist some help.

I thought firstly, I could take a selection of previous posts, and tweak them, to make them into viable magazine articles, and collaborate with photographers at my university for the photo-shopping, and making things look pretty. However, I was wondering if I could find other contributors, around university and amongst the blogging community, who might like to be a part of an online magazine.

Pretty glossy magazines. (1)

If I were to try to jump-start a magazine, I’d take a creative focus; photography, and journalism, perhaps with columnists. I’d attempt to publish initially every three months. I’d like to include reviews on books, films, and music. I’d like to include three or four articles on current events, and I’d also like a photography project in there too. I don’t mind what kind of photography project; anything from fashion journalism, to personal projects. But I think I’d like to include an ‘editor’s letter’ too, and perhaps a theme per issue. The fist issue could be devoted to “Beginnings”; this covers a rather wide scope for topics. I think the idea of creating a ‘glossy’ magazine cost effectively also rather appeals to me. I’d like to be a part of paper publishing too one day, but one step at a time…

There are also innumerable benefits for publishing online; sharing, and sharing the rights to works, is made much simpler when using digital files, and work can be distributed among a much wider readership. Essentially here, I’d try to take some of my blogging experience, and my university experience, and make it more aesthetically pleasing and sophisticated, and pop it up online. I suspect that without the publishing costs, and therefore buying costs, people would be much more willing to read it; and any exposure for authors is exposure. It would be rather an experimental venture, but it could be off the ground reasonably quickly due to our boundless technological advances, and invaluable, curriculum vitae worthy experience too. I suppose there’s an element of coordination and management to be considered.

So, I need some ideas; anyone with experience, or anyone with a pointer to give to me, I’d be more than happy to listen to your suggestions!

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(1) http://c1blogsustainablogorg.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/files/2011/08/glossy-magazines.jpg

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Granta: The Magazine of New Writing

Granta  is one of those publications in the world that allows new, aspiring writers to publish their new work. Reading the magazine allows the reader to feel as though they too are the edge of literary development. Literature breaks ground every single day; the process never ends, and it remains to evolve over and over again.

Personally, I’ve had a subscription for two years, since I was sixteen years old. I adore the magazine, and I read it, and annotate it to pieces every time it flies through my letterbox. Recently I was re- acquainted with the charm of literature; it began to elude me for a little while, when I was studying for A levels that were at best robotic, and almost dehumanizing. The systematic study of a text essentially begins to remove a personal perception or interpretation; working towards a mark scheme only adds to the sense of futility of actually studying a text. It removes the mystical beauty of it and instead creates a monster completely lacking in soul.

A Collection of Magazines.

So I read through it, at the same time as I plough my way through Rivkin and Ryan and their collection of literature. I read, and I read and I hope that one day, I’ll be published in it. I’ll go straight to Ikea and buy the biggest and most beautiful photo frame and stick it up, right on the wall, where I can see it everyday.

As far as I can see, writing takes a huge amount of discipline; much more than anyone really gives them credit for, because without an office, and a cubicle, a person has to sit down and write of their own accord… push through the writer’s block, completely alone. That is possibly very unsatisfying; being completely alone in your quest to create something worth publishing, or something that people will want to read, however at the same time, there must be a degree of liberation in being entirely dependant on yourself; it is only you that makes it happen, and so when it does happen, and the words are flying off the keyboard, making pretty pictures, and pretty metaphors, then the success is entirely yours. It is literally yours alone, and you don’t have to share with anyone.

So being a part of the aspirational world of the written word can really only be a blessing, and something to be proud of. Anyone who wants to join can, but only those who really want everything in it get to stay for the long run.

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