I am Beyonce, but better

Mouth organs

In my head I am Adele. I am Aloe Blacc and Eminem. I am Florence Welsh and Fiona Apple. I am Elton John and Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and Michael Stipe. I am Kylie and Dolly, Janis and Dusty, Aretha and Billie, all rolled into one pitch-perfect, perky-breasted package. Give me a stage and I will strut with the best of them.

Except back in the real world, I am Ruth, and I can’t even sing Happy Birthday in tune. I am that girl who was asked to mime in school performances. Continue reading

Internships: just for the young?

spiral bound notebook

Internships are wasted on the young.

Or maybe they’re not. Maybe it’s just that mine was wasted on me.

How I look back now and wish I’d taken more advantage of the opportunity. I was 21. I applied on a whim, scrabbling together a last minute CV, and was stunned to be invited to an interview. That meant a day away from my full-time but unpaid summer job as an arts reviewer at the Edinburgh Festival. I took the 5am train down to London, the 4pm train back, arriving in Scotland just in time for my publication’s launch party.

In between train journeys I spent several hours in the offices of a national newspaper, along with a dozen other wannabe hacks. First we were just observed as we sat and chatted, not realising it was part of the screening. Next we were given a marker pen and a copy of the paper to scrawl on. ‘Tell us what you’d do differently,’ they said. I circled the headlines. ‘Too small to be effective signposts on the page,’ I wrote. Finally we were paired up and had to interview each other – ten minutes to talk, then twenty minutes to turn it into a publishable piece. That bit was easy. Everyone loves to talk about themselves. Everyone has a story.

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Friendship and Loss

I have not written about P before.

That is partly because I’m not confident that my words can do him justice.

But it’s also because loss can do funny things to people. It can make you claim a closeness that others don’t recognise, as you grapple with your own emotions and try to make sense of them.

I don’t want to do that.

There are others who knew P better than I did, so I’ve waited, because I didn’t want to speak on their behalf.

But he was my friend too, and now the time feels right.

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Fashion – Who Cares?

red silk dress

So apparently it’s London Fashion Week. Or LFW as those in the know seem to be calling it.

Now, I like to think of myself as a fairly open minded kind of person, with a broad range of interests. But when it comes to the F word, I struggle to count how many damns I do not give.

It really, truly, genuinely baffles me that otherwise quite sane people can go into raptures over a heeled shoe, a hat or handbag.

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Student Journalism: Just Another Story

You know how some writers shove a manuscript in the back of a drawer, convinced that it’s worthless drivel, then return to it years later and discover that it’s actually bloody brilliant and it secures them a six figure advance with a major publisher…


I’ve just had the opposite happen. I’ve spent the last ten or so years convinced that my student journalism days were golden, that I had spent my time at university effortlessly churning our several charming and original pieces of writing every week; from hilarious reviews to insightful interviews and ground-breaking news stories.

Sadly, when I recently unearthed a box full of old Student papers and peeled apart the curling, yellowing pages to read my first attempts at a writing career, it turned out that they were nearly all crap.

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