Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Lego Stop Motion..

The kids created their first stop motion video at Oldham Gallery when they attended their monthly Creative Spaces workshop.

They were very pleased with their outcome:-

Olivia made a love story:-

Oliver made an Indiana Joh's and the Pirates of doom:-

They both now have the bug for stop motion and have already been instructing me to buy then an ipad and the app to make it possible for them to experiment at home.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Chester Zoo

We had a lovely day out at Chester Zoo and the kids attended a workshop on habitats and digestion, it was a lovely day that one of the other home educating mums had arranged, crazy woman, I find it daunting arranging a trip for 30 people never mind over 250 home educating families, despite the numbers attending being in triple figures the Chester zoo home education day was a resounding hit, there were lots of smiling faces dotted around the zoo.

Creative Writing

We have been attending the creative writing workshop for the past few weeks at Rochdale Library. The twins have embraced it with all their efforts and their creative juices are flowing. Before we attended the sessions getting them to write anything down was always a bit of a task, both of them had a bit of a block when it comes to writing. they have the ideas, lots of them but they were very reluctant to put them down on paper.

We have gone against all convention as I noticed that the reason they were reluctant to put anything down on paper was due to spelling errors, they have trouble spelling things correctly and they know instinctively that it is wrong and this seems to have knocked their confidence in putting pen to paper. I reassured them that it was ok and the only thing that mattered was getting their ideas on paper, not to worry about spelling right now as they can go back and change what they want to later on, it was the getting the ideas down that were the important thing. since I did that they have flown and we are getting pages of writing in a short space of time.

The block of worrying that the spelling was wrong had a massive effect at holding them back, they are now very confident to put things on paper.

They know the basic grammar rules and we work on them constantly going over them on the computer using khan academy and a few work books that we use, so getting them to use these rules and incorporate them into their writing is something we will have to focus and work on.

Using the computer and workbooks is very different to writing your own words on paper, it seems to be very daunting for them, where as the computer and workbooks they breeze through.

Oliver reads an awful lot, he has a book constantly in his hand, Olivia however is not so keen although she does have her moments.

Oliver managed to write a whole page of instructions on how to do the recovery position when he was at Badgers the other week, just from his own head and what he remembered of the instructions, I was very impressed, this is the first time he has confidently written anything at badgers without getting frustrated because he couldn't keep up, he has come on leaps and bounds just with the few sessions of creative writing we have had and taking the focus off spelling mistakes.

Olivia I feel is still struggling a little bit, I will continue to encourage her to keep up with her  journal writing.

The facilitator at the writing group has noticed how much the kids have enjoyed the sessions for the past 6 weeks and has decided to continue the sessions, he will come up with some more themes to work with and after a short break will get us all to reconvene for some more creative writing.


Exams as a Home Educator!

I have been asked quite a few times how the twins will take exams. For me this is an important question as exams are the whole reason we home educate. As with someone who sends their child to school, the whole school purpose and end goal is to take exams and be ready to get those qualifications that will open those big thick steel doors to those careers that will afford the twins a better quality of life.

I have extensively researched options outside the school system and few of these alternative to school options are free at the point of use so home educated children are at a disadvantage to their peers who attend school, the school system affords school children free run to exams funded by the taxpayer, for us we will have to find the cash, somehow, but on the bright side at least there are options to take the required exams.

For me there is a slight advantage in that the twins can take the exams they really need and concentrate on getting good grades in the exams they do decide to take instead of taking as many exams as they can just to satisfy some social score card.

GCSE is the most widely taken exam board in UK but more and more Independent schools are opting for IGCSE and there is an increasing number of state schools that are also opting for the IGCSE route. For Home educators GCSE consists of a lot of coursework for many of the exams which is impractical for many reasons but most IGCSE subjects have an optional coursework element, whereas with many GCSE subjects they are compulsory, in addition many IGCSE subjects can be taken as individual subjects or as qualifications towards the International Certificate of Education, unlike UK GCSEs, in addition IGCE content of IGCSE subjects are tailored to the multi-cultural, multi-lingual audience they serve, in a way the UK GCSE does not.

In this age of technology there are many online options for taking exams and below are a few of the many options to choose from:-

You do need to bare in mind that you will most likely need to find yourself an exam centre:-

For further reading Ed Yourself has some useful information:- Ed Yourself

For more information about attending college between 14-16,  Ed Yourself again has some very useful information:- Ed Yourself

There are also Groups that can give GCSE and exam support and advice:- 
There are obviously many more places to find exam info for home educators this is just a small selection to show exams are not a pipe dream for home educators, it does take a bit more hard work than if they were in the mainstream school system but it is certainly available and if you are flush with cash, accessible, if all else fails they can sit exams as an adult candidate with the myriad of adult educational options or they could complete an apprenticeship.
We are obviously not there yet at the exam stage but time will fly and doing some thorough research now will stand me in good stead when they do come of age, things may be a little different by then but I will have a head start on getting to grips with the exam situation.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Link Finds

A couple of the links we have used this past few months have been as follows

We spent some time working on the War Horse audio on this website, understanding the different perspectives of characters in story telling.

We spent some time with this website as Oliver asked what was electricity and how did it work so we looked at Atoms and answered one of our long standing questions about what the numbers represented on our Periodic Table Of Elements

This has been great as we have been working through the Wimpy Kids books and Oliver loves them especially after watching the film at the Into Film Festival, lots of lesson plan ideas on here to help him improve his English.

Young writers has been useful on a number of occasions in the past and as we have just signed up to a 6 week creative writing course at Rochdale library this will come in handy again.

Periodic Videos
We love this site, periodic videos of the periodic chemical elements, such a great add on to the periodic table of elements poster.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Catch Up Post

It has been a busy few months with Jury Service, Christmas, New Year and a few other changes in life.

Jury Service was interesting, I had a not too taxing case that involved no blood and guts and it was very interesting to see how the justice system works in the real world.

The kids decided to rack up a hefty phone bill by calling 118 118 numerous times so we ended up having no internet access for a while until I could get reconnected with a different phone company, this actually turned out very good and something I should have done a long time ago and it has saved me £30+ per month, silver lining and all that, so the kids are now forgiven.

Christmas and New year was really nice this year, very low stress levels and lots of fun, deciding to keep presents to a minimum cost and only buying second hand made for one of the best Christmas build up decisions we have made as a family, the kids picked all their own presents over a few months by choosing things from the charity shop, they loved this idea and loved their gifts and I loved the low pressure of having to find money I didn't have to appease the 'I want monster'...The money was better spent on the pantomime we go to every year and a trip to see Santa and the only thing that we bought new where the items for the hamper that we gifted an elderly neighbour.

We have ditched Facebook pretty much completely, I log on to the group I admin every now and again to update the things we currently have going on in there, which are a couple of trips I have arranged. I find Facebook far too stressful and offensive, the amount of racism floating about is incredible, it has never been as bad as it is now, the climate for anyone not of the white persuasion is pretty unpleasant at the moment on facebook so I have decided the best way to deal with it is to block it out, there are some pretty unpleasant and awful people on facebook, everywhere you look on there it's racism this and racism that, it's not an emotionally safe place to be hanging out if you are not of the white persuasion at the moment, so we have ditched the facebook and the god awful people on there, and to be fair I have not missed it.

Work has been pretty awesome this Xmas, I was dreading having to do Jury Service smack bang in the middle of my busy season but it worked out good, I seamlessly managed to run them both with ease, gaining my best sales of the year, outstripping last years takings by triple the amount, with very little stress. I made a few changes in the sourcing of my stock and it appears to have paid off, along with a few other operational changes which have clearly worked, I am very pleased with the outcome.

The kids have come on leaps and bounds, Oliver is doing amazingly well with his reading and understanding of English and Olivia is smashing her maths. They have joined a new boxing Gym and continue with Badgers and Hockey, they started attending an Art Club once a month run by Oldham Council which they both love. I have given them my desktop so that they can work online using IXL for maths and English and Khan Academy for random things, coding and lots of other random things they missed out on when they both broke their own laptops, they are both definitely glad to be back online and have understood that you look after technology and don't throw it around as it is costly to replace.

So life is pretty mundane and uneventful at the moment, it's all good on the western front!..

Monday, 20 November 2017

Universal Credit and the Minimum Income Floor

I am seeing panic across the board with this Minimum Income Floor attached to Universal Credit, to make it clear if there is anyone reading this who does not know about the minimum income floor conditionality attached to Universal Credits for the Self Employed, it is a punishment that if you do not make the Minimum Income Floor each month then you will loose entitlement, even if your earnings are the same as a employee at the end of the tax year:-

For example as provided by the commons select committee (click here):-

In this above example a self employed person vs an employed one will loose £3,567 per year despite earning the same amount of money during the Tax Year.

A newly self employed person is exempt from the Minimum Income Floor for 12 months while they try to establish their business, this leads the way for a very obvious solution.

To fix this very obvious flaw in their great plan all they need to do is continue with the 12 months evaluation as they already do with Working Tax Credits.

Currently they work Working Tax Credits out on the previous years income, so why can they not continue to do that?.. Well it's easy to answer really, because UC is a money saving exercise and the more money they can save by unfairly penalising people then the better!.

On top of that if they conduct an in-depth study on the average earnings of a self employed person across the board they would find a more suitable figure to base the minimum income floor on.

Taking into account the fact that those in employment and the self employed do not work on a level playing field, so how can you evaluate them exactly the same. For example, the lack of holiday pay the self employed get, the employees a self employed person may employ and the tax they may have to pay to employ them, including training costs, in addition they already pay tax on the supplies they have to purchase to run a business, not withstanding the other money a self employed person may put back into the economy before they even get to paying themselves a wage, the amount can be obscene, just look at the expenses an ebay seller or Amazon seller has to pay in ebay,  paypal, Amazon fees and postage.

For a number of years I previously employed a number of employees in my accounting business and those employees after all my expenses were earning more wage than I was coming out with. Does that money that I put back into the economy in petrol, software, office supplies, employee wages, rent etc etc etc all taken before I can pay myself, mean nothing to this Government?, 

They treat the self employed like we are parasites when in fact we are the life blood of this country...

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

An idiots guide to why Golliwogs are Offensive!.

Despite Golliwogs being an interesting character, Florence Kate Upon created the character around 1894, the climate was not good for blacks at that time, to give you a brief idea of what life was like for Black American's at that time in history, One hundred and thirty-four black Americans are known to have been lynched in the year of 1894 and then Enid Blyton used the character in her books as Kate never patented the character, leaving it open for anyone to use.

Blyton used it to enforce negative stereotypes of blacks as stupid, untrustworthy or rude. Blyton was a woman of her time and a vile obnoxious racist at that, in-keeping with the times. Today that very same racism keeps her popular as you hardly ever hear her works spoken about without the racist question being raised at the same time, just as sex sells so does racism and she knew that all too well.

The Three Golliwogs published in 1944 perfectly illustrates historical context of the Golliwog dolls.

'Once the three bold Golliwogs, Golly, Woggie, and Nigger, decided to go for a walk to Bumble-Bee Common. Golly wasn't quite ready so Woggie and Nigger said they would start off without him, and Golly would catch them up as soon as he could. So off went Woggie and Nigger, arm-in-arm, singing merrily their favourite song - which, as you may guess, was 'Ten Little Nigger Boys.'

'Little Black Sambo books are another example of this period and Ten Little Niggers referred to above is the name of a children's poem which celebrates the murder of ten Black children.

Ten little nigger boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self, and then there were nine.

Nine little nigger boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself, and then there were eight.

Eight little nigger boys traveling in Devon;
One said he'd stay there, and then there were seven.

Seven little nigger boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in half, and then there were six.

Six little nigger boys playing with a hive;
A bumble-bee stung one, and then there were five.

Five little nigger boys going in for law;
One got in chancery, and then there were four.

Four little nigger boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one, and then there were three.

Three little nigger boys walking in the zoo;
A big bear hugged one, and then there were two.

Two little nigger boys sitting in the sun;
One got frizzled up, and then there was one.

One little nigger boy living all alone;
He got married, and then there were none.

The climate of the time and the attitudes towards blacks was far from all fluffy and cute as some people like to proclaim and there was far more sinister forces at work perpetuating racists attitudes and normalising those abhorrent racist views that sadly still exist today as we can see quite regularly.

Golden Shred saw how popular Golliwogs were in 1910, again a very bad time in history for Blacks. On 19th December 1910, the City Council of Baltimore approved the first city ordinance designating the boundaries of black and white neighbourhoods. This ordinance was followed by similar ones in Dallas, Texas, Greensboro, North Carolina, Louisville, Kentucky, Norfolk, Virginia, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Richmond, Virginia, Roanoke, Virginia, and St. Louis, Missouri. 

Golden Shred took up the character on their Jam, giving away badges if you collected a certain amount of tokens, again just as Blyton knew, racism sells and this could be nothing but a win win for Golden Shred that proved to be correct.

In the 1960s the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, one of the most noted regiments in the British Army, wore a Robertson's golly brooch for each Arab they had killed. After the war, wog became a more general slur against brown-skinned people. There can be no doubt that these dolls represent racism at its worse the forced indoctrination of young children into racist stereotyping

These Golliwogs became unacceptable to many and Golden Shred were forced in 2001 or 2008 (not sure on the date) to stop producing the golly due to its history and changing social climates.

Most whites are ignorant to its history and the history of the oppression that blacks faced and will vehemently claim the Golliwog is not racist and just an innocent cute character, history tells a different story but none the less they are highly collectible mostly by whites in defiance of the racist claims, but for people like me interested in history, the Golliwog does have a historical value as a good  example of the oppression blacks faced and the mechanisms on how racism works.

The Golden Shred company dissolved in 2013 so are even more collectible now, being a 150 year old company makes it desirable for a serious collector of Golden Shred Memorabilia. However, Facebook Posts of cartoon gollies with hundreds of racists comments below it are not worth very much on the collectors market and only serve to perpetuate the racist attitudes that was commonly found at the beginning of the century, subjecting me and people like me to brainless racists attitudes that are quite frankly outdated. 

A Golliwog is a disgusting White stereotype of an enslaved African that seeks to negate the greatest crime in human history and transform the misery of enslaved Africans into a cartoon figure of fun.

So if you post a Golly that I have to face on my time line then expect to be deleted.

I wrote a previous post entitled :-
'Why I will never discuss race and racism with white people again!'. at the end of that post there is a video by Akala and I will again leave it here below.


Friday, 10 November 2017

Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Remembrance Day

We are currently learning about diaries and how to write a journal so I purchased the book The Diary of a Wimpy Kid recently and luckily for us it has coincided with the Into Film Festival, were a load of school kids get to go to the pictures and watch a few films for free, including home educated children.

We have booked onto a number of films over the coming weeks but this week we got to watch The Diary Of a Wimpy Kid - The Long Haul. What a funny film, the kids loved it and of course another hit as Oliver picked up the book as soon as we got home and we have some resources to work through next week to compliment the film.

Before we went home we decided to pop in to the Imperial War Museum to pay our respects as it is Remembrance Day Tomorrow 11th November and they also have the Wyndham Lewis: Life, Art, War display at the moment which I thought would be good to go and see and I certainly was not wrong.

His last major painting 'A Canadian War Factory' which was unfinished is my favourite painting, there is something about this painting that I love.

It comes across as a sad painting by one that has seen his best days gone by, it epitomises Lewis's demise for me, the unfinished nature invokes an emotion in me based in pity. Lewis was not without controversy in his life which Richard Slocombe, Art Curator, IWM (Imperial War Museums) writes about here

We ended the day with a trip to one of my clients to pick up paperwork and another client to pick up some items to sell on their behalf and then a quick dash to get ready for Badgers, which should be fun tonight as they are starting on their Xmas sculpture.

Suicide Prevention, if only I could!..

One of the worst things to happen to me in my life is loosing someone close to suicide.

It is the one thing in my life that I cannot come to terms with, the pain never gets any easier and the guilt always overshadows me in the background of my life.

That feeling of  'if only I could have done something differently, said something differently or even said something I didn't say that I should have said..

I knew the person in question was struggling to a degree, I just did not know the deep depth of that despair.

In my heart I feel like I abandoned him in his hour of need, this person brought light into my life and I should have brought light into his.

He made my life worth living at times when I felt there was nothing to live for, he was the kind of person who was there for everyone when they needed him, he was the life and soul of any party.

I knew he had financial problems, he spoke to me about them briefly, he had been made redundant from his job that he loved but it didn't take long for him to find another job, he was a talented Gas Engineer, he loved his work and took great pride in what he did.

My heart to this day breaks and I cannot seem to put the pieces back together again, I miss him every day and despite a decade passing by I still feel like I lost him yesterday.

Sometimes I will just sit and cry for hours with the sadness of the life that he never had, the grandson that he never got to play with. He would be so proud of his daughter, she is a beautiful strong young woman and a fabulous mother to her son, he would have loved life, if only he could have seen beyond the dark days that obviously haunted him behind that smile and those witty comments that he gave everyone.

I miss his tacky huge chain he used to wear and the way he used to douse himself in aftershave which made you choke with the fumes because he put that much on, I miss his wit and crudeness, I miss his clumsy but caring warm nature, he made me laugh with his jokey ways and silly antics, he was a special person and no one has come close to filling that gaping gap that he has left me with.

He has left me with a wound that will never heal and I wish every day that I could have done something differently so that he would still be here today to give me one of those amazing warm hugs of his, I have never met anyone that can hug like he could, he made me feel so warm and safe in those bug clumsy arms of his.

My heart is broken and I will never put those pieces back together again, I miss him so badly, life has never been the same since he went away.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

The Celts

Today we got into a conversation about the Celts.

We talked about the Scottish and Irish Celts Language and took a look at a Youtube videos and attempted to learn a few phrases and understand what the language is about.

We then started to look more into who teh Celts where and how they came to be in Britain.

We watched a great youtube video that comes in multiple episodes created by the BBC

We will dip in and out of this series to learn more about the Celts over the coming months.

We talked about DNA again which we have done a number of times over the past few months and discussed the Irish Symbols, we also talked about the Irish Celtic language and how it has a distinct religious feel so we discussed the importance that religion played on everyday life and how it influenced things like language, this is an interesting point toward our infrastructure project.

Oliver talked about his desire to go to an archaeology site and get his hands dirty in an archaeology dig, we have been to Archaeology sites before at Roman Lakes in Marple and we even camped on one but he doesn't remember and was quite upset that he stayed camping on a burial mound and did not remember so I think it is something we will revisit next year when the weather improves.

We looked at the map and talked a bit about Europe and the West Coastal Areas of Britain and will do some more work on that when we look more at the Celt Videos.

We all really enjoyed today covering old and new ground throwing in some Greeks and Romans and familiar things like Stone Henge, DNA and Archeology.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Fiddlers Ferry Power Station

What a fabulous place Fiddlers Ferry is. We really enjoyed this trip, it was fascinating finding out how the coal powered plant runs, we had a tour round the place and visited some control rooms that looked like something out of a Star Trek movie.

Gemma the tour guide and tutor for the day was fabulous, she had a great rapport with both the kids and the parents.

It will be great to visit with some other power plants such as the nuclear power plant and Hydro power plant so that we can compare them.

It was fabulous to visit Fiddlers Ferry as it wont be there for much longer and will be closing in the next few years, approximate date of closure is 2025 but it may close sooner so it was a bit of a treat to be able to go here and experience a coal powered power plant.

The kids learnt how the plant works and how electricity is produced by the coal powered plant, they learnt how coal was produced and the different qualities of coal, how people lived before electricity and how they live now and what has changed, the magnets and inventors and significant scientists and discoveries of electricity.

The packed so much in it is hard to remember everything.

Here are the twins pictures they drew of their day at Fiddlers Ferry:-

Friday, 3 November 2017

Halloween howlers!

We went along to Muncaster Castle for Halloween as we did last year. We ended up setting off later than we intended because I had to work in the morning as the end of the month is the only time I can get my buying in for the month, I had to rush round so that we could get away to Muncaster so I did not do half as much as what I normally do on my buying trips, we ended up setting off on time but it was a bit nerve wrecking going over to the Lake District in the car as it isn't too clever at the moment, it's making all sorts of unusual sounds and is screaming out for a service.

We had an amazing time as we usually do there and it is always nice catching up with friends.

There are fire eaters, juggling clowns, stories in the graveyard, ghostly apparitions in the gardens, creepy mazes, potion workshops, Owl displays, great food and more.

I would definitely recommend anyone to go to Muncaster Castle at Halloween, it is an experience the kids will never forget.

And we did not break down which was a bonus!..

A few days later we had Oldham Bonfire show with fireworks, the kids had fun on the rides and ate cheeseburgers and surprisingly it wasn't that cold, thank goodness as both Oliver and I are suffering a bit with being a bit chesty and feeling urgh, the winter lurgy has struck...

For the rest of the week we will be completing our evolution display books, working on some maths and english on IXL maths and then to end the week with Storyfest and acclaimed storyteller Richard O'Neill at the local library.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Book Signings and discovery!.

It has been a busy week this week, I have been hitting work with some vigour as we are hitting silly season for sales and deadlines for Tax Returns and in between we have been working hard on our maths and English.

We popped into the archive centre to ask a few questions to start off our 'discovering history for ourselves' escapades that we are about to embark on were we will be researching lots of different infrastructure things in Oldham such as the mining history, hospitals and the cotton mills.

We attended a lovely little play called Prince Fire, a Diwali  Story by Forest Tribe Dance Oldham Library, yet again a fabulous production.

We also attended a couple of book signings, the first was  at Browns Cakes in Rochdale, the owner of the award winning cake shop, Natasha Brown has written a children's book called Caught Cake Handed. The wonderful thing about the book is that all the illustrations in the book are the sugar paste figures that Natasha created herself. Her talent is awe inspiring but not as inspiring as the kids who all made their own sugar paste heads during the session which they took delight in eating when they got home.

The second Book signing we attended was Guy Bass with his Spynosaur. Guy is a natural born story teller, he had the whole audience laughing from the get go. Oliver assisted in Guys storytelling and transformed into the Spynosaur to the audiences delight, clad with his dinosaur mask, claws and tail he played the perfect part of the Spynosaur to accompany Guy's story telling extravaganza.

Click on the link above to take you to Guy's website were the kids can take part.

Our book of the week will now be Guy Bass and his Spynosaur adventures, we can't wait to get stuck in.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

The Universal Credit Puzzle

This switch from Tax Credits to Universal Credit shines a light on the incompetence of our UK Government and their attitude to one size fits all approach.

They have an attitude that seems to shine a light on the fact that they hate their own people and view us all with the same contempt.

Some of us have battled on and worked very hard over the years but it appears the Government do not like that and wish to punish us and force us further onto relying on tax payers funding of benefits due to our incompetence to work even harder.

I have run a business for the past 20 years with the help and safety net of Tax Credits, plodding along trying to grow and weave my way through the complexities of life as a single parent, I have employed people and rented out property and housed people all with the help and support of tax Credits, I have been able to grow as a person and stay off the dole, while helping others in the process.

I have worked hard, very hard but it seems that the savings I currently make the Government of £14,000 per year to educate my two by home educating and the further approximation of £5400 per year by me paying a mortgage instead of private rent and in addition the approximate £11,000 worth of childcare I save them in the percentage they pay towards childcare that I save by working my work hours around the kids at home instead of putting them in childcare to work, which works out to approximately £30,000 saving I make this Government each year,  is clearly not enough, they now want to take a further £1000 from my pocket by switching me to Universal Credit.

The consequences of Universal Credit being that I will loose that £1000 per year until my two reach 13 and then we will loose double that amount, so clearly my mortgage payments will not be met and I will be forced to either sell the house and move into rented, keeping my business going as it is, but that means I will have to then claim housing benefit to help afford private rent thus taking a further approximation of £5400 per year in housing benefits payments or alternatively give up my self employment and look for  employment to fit around the kids, probably paying minimum wage which will mean I will still need to claim housing benefit but also costing the government that extra money, as my twins will be forced into an inadequate school system so that £14,000 per year saving will be lost to the Government, so I will be costing them an extra £20,000 per year under the new system as opposed to the Tax Credit system, it will also further push me into poverty as I will now have ridiculously high school expenses to pay for and work expenses to pay for, eating up my minimum wage pay packet, leaving us less for food, not to mention the childcare that the government will have to pay a percentage for with the Child Care element and the rest paid for by myself,  so that is a further couple of thousand per year the Government will have to find and I will loose.

While currently we 'just' manage on what I earn and the top up of Tax Credits and my cost to the Government is minimal, the switch to Universal Credit will make me more of a burden to this Government than I ever have been in my entire adult life, so while I commend the Governments attempt at pushing people to earn more, it will dismally fail, destroy lives and cost the Taxpayer an extra £30,000 per year in my case!...

This post doesn't even cover the devastation that will be caused by the minimum income floor which under Tax Credits is worked out on a yearly basis, many businesses have fluctuations in their earnings from month to month but under Universal credit of course it damn well makes sure you loose out even more and makes sure you jump through hoops every month in reporting earnings, so the above scenario for us having to move home and go into rented will be far worse and will be the tip of the ice-burgh of the problems and stress we are to face when you factor in the minimum income floor as well, it certainly does not look good for the self employed and will have a devastating effect on encouraging new business to flourish as they wont even get a chance to start, so not only will the Universal Credit cost the taxpayer more money and push me and others further into poverty, it will also stifle new business from even attempting to start up and grow.

Which bright spark thought up that system then?... 

By the way it is not the first time that stupid Government policies have interfered with my life, by making any hard work I put in irrelevant, I had a home repossessed because Government decided to pass housing benefits onto tenants instead of landlords, meaning my tenant decided to spend the money on a couple of holiday's instead of the rent it was intended for, culminating in me loosing the house by government refusal to pay me direct.

I am sure the Government will not stop at Universal Credits, they will find further way's to demoralise and destroy its hard working striving people enough to ensure we all behave in a comatose way and become obedient citizens to its every whim and aim of making the fat cats fatter, because despite all our efforts this Government is intent on squashing us low life poor people!..

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Black History Month - British Gospel Music

British black gospel refers to Gospel music of the African diaspora.

 Gospel music can be traced to the early 17th century,[1] with roots in the black oral tradition. Hymns and sacred songs were often repeated in a call and response fashion. Most of the churches relied on hand clapping and foot stomping as rhythmic accompaniment. Most of the singing was done a cappella.[2] The first published use of the term "gospel song" probably appeared in 1874. The original gospel songs were written and composed by authors such as George F. Root, Philip Bliss, Charles H. Gabriel, William Howard Doane, and Fanny Crosby.[3] Gospel music publishing houses emerged. The advent of radio in the 1920s greatly increased the audience for gospel music. Following World War II, gospel music moved into major auditoriums, and gospel music concerts became quite elaborate.
18th century
Perhaps the most famous gospel-based hymns were composed in the 1760s-1770s by English writers John Newton ("Amazing Grace") and Augustus Toplady ("Rock of Ages"), members of the Anglican Church. Starting out as lyrics only, it took decades for standardized tunes to be added to them. Although not directly connected with African-American gospel music, they were adopted by African-Americans as well as white Americans, and Newton's connection with the abolition movement provided cross-fertilization.

American Gospel strongly influenced the British Gospel Scene with people like Mahelia Jackson and Thomas Dorsey

Listen here to Roy Francis joining the dots on exactly how Gospel music gained prominence in the UK. With over 30 years’ experience within television broadcasting, music and production industry, former producer of BBC’s ‘Songs of Praise’ and ground-breaking gospel music series ‘People Get Ready’ shown on Channel 4 in the 1980s.

Gospel Music although a subgenre of black music in the UK today arrived in England in the early post-war years, along with the large-scale immigrant influx and their wide variety of musical tastes. Pioneers in this field include an eight-piece a cappella family group from Trinidad called the Singing Stewarts - 

Oscar Stewart, Ashmore Stewart, Frankie Stewart, Phylis Stewart, Gloria Stewart, Timothy Stewart, Thedore Stewart and Del Stewart - who were the first to appear on a major British record label in the late 1960s. They impressed many English audiences with their unique interpretation of Negro Spirituals and traditional Gospel songs. Based in Birmingham in the Midlands they appeared on numerous radio shows and participated in the prestigious Edinburgh Festival, again increasing awareness of this genre.

In later years and decades when black people began to settle in the UK, groups such as The Doyleys, Paradise, Lavine Hudson and the Bazil Meade-inspired London Community Gospel Choir began to drive the music much further towards the mainstream and out of the comfort zone of the black churches.

The Singing Stewarts are featured in the book British Black Gospel: The Foundations of this vibrant UK sound by Steve Alexander Smith. Huddersfield-born Smith was inspired to write the book after spending time in the USA in the mid 1990s and witnessing the best that Black Gospel could offer.

The book is the world's first to cover the underground British Black gospel scene and is published with a 13-track CD.