Yes, journalists do still use shorthand – and here’s why

I’m a huge fan of McFly but Tom Fletcher, singer and guitarist, has annoyed me today.

It’s all because of this story about a disabled student who’s been told he would not be able to pass a Scottish journalism qualification as he is unable to do shorthand.

I get the uproar about this. I think that Kyle should be able to get a qualification – just perhaps with the caveat on it that it does not include shorthand, since employers will otherwise assume that his certificate will encompass that too.

He’s a teenager with cerebal palsy and journalism desperately needs more diversity, not less, so give him a chance to cut his reporting chops and get a slightly altered qualification. We don’t want to keep a good journalist out of the field just because of shorthand.

But that’s not what’s spurred me on to write this blog. Tom Fletcher chipped in with this:

“I can’t even remember the last time I saw a journalist use shorthand,” he said.

Well that’s probably because you haven’t been to a court hearing or a council meeting recently.

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Kate Nash’s Made of Bricks tour – 10 years on from teenage fandom

Kate Nash’s debut album, Made of Bricks, was definitely one of the big albums of my formative years, having been released when I was the tender yet crucial age of 15.

Almost three years later, her second album, My Best Friend is You, was released just a few months after I passed my driving test and I remember driving round listening to Paris and Do-Wah-Doo in the sun.

But of course it’s Foundations, and the more twee Mouthwash and Birds, that captivated me first. We Get On was great teenage crush fodder, and every single song on that album had something to connect to.

So when Kate announced a 10th anniversary tour for Made of Bricks this summer, playing the whole album, I just had to go – even though I’d seen her during a more shouty phase in York in 2013 and hadn’t been quite so enamoured. (I still thought she was awesome and girl power-y though).

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International Cat Day and why I love my job

Not every job would let you go and pet cats at the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in Old Windsor on a Tuesday afternoon!

International Cat Day was the perfect opportunity to organise this – the day was trending on social media all day and we had incredible success earlier in the day asking people to send in photos of their cats on the Get Surrey Facebook page. I’m sure the fact I put a photo of my beautiful cat, Shanti, on the post made it all the more attractive to readers ­čśë

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Take That at the O2 Arena got me emotional – here’s why

Yes, it was about two weeks ago already, but I thought it would be nice to share this.

Take That always put on an incredible live show for a pop group and I saw that for myself during their recent run at the O2 Arena in London. So much thought had clearly gone into their Wonderland tour, way more than at most gigs I’ve ever been to.

And yet it was something really simple that meant the most to me.

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Sharing the love: Lessons in compliments from my cat

As anyone who’s met me in the past year-and-a-half is probably aware, I have a cat. She’s called Shanti and she’s very fluffy and cuddly.

On any given day, I’ll probably say most or all of these things to her:

“You’re lovely.” “You’re so pretty!” “You’re beeeautiful.” “You’re perfect.” “You’re my bestest friend!” and so on.

All normal things for a crazy cat lady to say to her feline friend.

But one day I got thinking – how come I, or indeed so many of us, don’t give these compliments to our real-life human friends with remotely the same regularity?

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What I’ve been watching in January

La La Land

1Although I’ll happily acknowledge its faults, I was still taken in by La La Land, like so many others. I was almost put off in the first scene by some dizzying and relentless camerawork which actually made me feel a bit queasy. Thankfully, things calmed down and, although the whirling long shots returned on occasion, I was able to sit back and enjoy the songs.

I’ve been listening to the soundtrack for days – I love all the songs and the beautiful instrumental themes, made all the more impressive by the fact Ryan Gosling learnt jazz piano for the film. He and Emma Stone are wonderful together, yet again, and though the story can be rather bittersweet it is a totally┬ájoyful ride. I’d happily watch this again very soon.

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My London bucket list

I’ve lived in London for three years now and I love being near so many places of interest and activities.

In reality though I work in Surrey so it’s not as simple as it might be to get out and about in London.┬áBut weekends and evenings certainly still have a sense of possibility (and I do get to a lot of concerts and shows).

I’ve decided to create a bucket list of everything in London I’d love to do that I never have so I┬ácan start work on it this year.

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