Saturday, August 2, 2014

All that and isn't a Velvet Goldmine

As a practicing journalism major, the tour of the BBC was undoubtedly a highlight for me. Theoretically, I wanted to break through the glass window and scream “Hire me!” as I glanced across the floor full of properly organized desks and monitors—Triple monitors at that!!! It was nice to see a familiar setup to what I’m already familiar with back home (just to name a few: 1. Casually dressed in that “I really don’t have to impress anyone here, plus, we’re all writers and we really don’t give a **** about what we wear to work” outfit of the day—every day! 2. The cup-a-tea in a standard mug with a minimum half a dozen refills when you’re working on a story. 3. The occasional Subway bag nearby with a half-eaten sandwich soggy-ing away for when you’re on the 11th hour of your deadline and really can’t leave your seat to get a proper meal. 4. Several pertinent electronics functioning all at once as you type (can you say multi-tasking expert or probable ADHD candidate?)) …All because you are engrossed in this un-attractive, un-predictable, un-deniable world of media.

I haven’t been posting much onto this blog because I have been busy freelance writing for other sources and trying out other neat things in London (like driving on THEIR side of the road). I honestly started to like London more as soon as my feet left the ground and my hands took the right-side wheel. The city just seemed livelier (probably because of my beyond-full alertness, trying not to hit anything). Perchance, this “unusual” component that transitioned me from a temporary visitor to a temporary Londoner and made me appreciate the city further. Now it has me thinking, if I were to write exclusively for a London publication, would my regards for the city escalate even more? I would certainly think so.

Here’s a (RAW) brief critique sample of this CineTREK based on what I gathered in observation at the BBC: Our tour guides (Adrian and Amita) were excellent and so was our group (second group to go). Ariana and Drake gave entertaining performances as news anchors where even the VIPs sitting in the waiting area seemed impressed. Further along, the second group who participated in the radio show delivered a much better segment than the first group, as the creativity and enthusiasm shows in the student-recorded videos posted on social media streams. Plus, kudos to whoever had the idea to read the script in British accents, I mean, come on, we’re in the UK.

In professional reporter fashion, I observed these scenarios, took mental notes and neutrally judged them to later write about here. This is what journalists do. Even when journalists are sitting at the pub looking pathetically weather-beaten and lonesome, never undermine the fact that they observe everything and some may even have the potential to “make or break” you. Astute voyeurism is a main component of reporting and in a class like this, where we are constantly drilled to observe, observe, observe, we can apply many of the same elements found in film to those found in journalism. Often times, the best part is when you can combine both….

If you haven’t seen this film yet, Velvet Goldmine, watch it to see how a British young man in the 1970s struggles to fit in even amidst the global intensification of liberal-London. This film paints a spectacular portrait of how Brit pop music was portrayed via the BBC and other media sources. 

In a nutshell, the un-pretentious main character (Christian Bale, better-known to many of you as Batman) discovers the pop music mega-secret of the decade while covering a story he originally didn’t want to cover, causing him to revisit his painfully ambiguous past. But when a group of teens tries to give him credit for being something bigger, more important in their eyes, he simply replies with a humble “I’m just a journalist.” Oh! If only they knew the magnitude of his words and the significance of his actions (both past and present). This is one of the films that encouraged me to pursue journalism (for a while). Not so much for allure of critiquing pop culture, but for the prospect of presenting the reality beneath the fictitiously-glamorous heavy makeup many people, at some point or another, have wondered what it would be like to wear.

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