Richmond's Own (but unowned) Website

I’ll apologise in advance for the lack of pictures – short on time for today’s post.  (You’ll be able to see them on Facebook in the next couple days though). Today was Katie’s birthday, so last night we sung to her at midnight! And gave her her gift after breakfast this morning. Today’s breakfast was a croissant – I got there late and ended up getting one that was a bit cold! Oh well though. But we did meet the University President and Vice Chancellor this morning for coffee, and Emma brought us all Roehampton University (or I suppose it’s going to be University of Roehampton now) notebooks for us to use in class!

We had our second academic session (our first in the classroom), with Dave and David Woodman. Today’s topic was politics and the media. We learned about the idea of the political science as the study of power, and the birth and growth of early media, into today’s media, as well as some of the problems and biases of media. We also had to analyze newspapers. Stephanie and I looked at the Daily Mirror – and its tabloid like (and some left leaning) articles – apparently the most important news today was of a child killing his ex-girlfriend on a dare. It was interesting overall to note the differences between American and UK newspapers – most of the UK newspapers were in full color on every page, as opposed to our colored front pages and ads, and our classic black and white. Also, the size was different – instead of American broadsheets, the UK papers were magazine size (not like Time size, but that newspaper size that is smaller than American papers – I think sometimes there are special insert sections in the LA
Times that are that size. And speaking of inserts, most UK papers didn’t have inserts like the US, but rather mixed up the news sections within the paper. Interesting observations).

Lunch today was rather good! It was roast day, I believe Emma told us that this morning – there was roast pork, roasted potatoes, glazed carrots, and broccoli – to me, a very satisfying meal! After lunch, we met Dave at the bus stop to go to Putney to St. Mary’s Church, the site of the Putney Debates in 1647, after the Civil War, where members of the army and the group called Levellers debated on making a new constitution for England, raising many of the same political questions pertinent to today – the role of the monarch and other seats of power, who should be able to vote (property holders), and more – one of the birthplaces of modern democratic ideals. 

After St. Mary’s church, Dave talked to us about our film making, and some of the ethics and strategies for interviewing people, and set us off. We split into our film groups – me, Tom, Alexis, and Kelsey. We practiced a bit and came up with some questions before heading out into the streets! We split into groups of two, so Tom and I went to start interviewing people on the street – many declined (we even had one person give us the “I’m late for a meeting” slip!), but some of the people who talked to us on camera had amazing things to say!

We came back and had dinner – more roasted food! Roasted chicken, roasted potatoes, broccoli. And the mystery juice. So this week at dinner, there’s been a green pitcher on the tables next to the water pitcher, which had some kind of juice. We had been wondering what was in it – we had been drinking it, but no one knew what it was. It tasted kind of fruity, and sugary. For a while we thought it might be tang. But it wasn’t. It was the mystery juice. Until today, Ahren asked. And it is…orange squash juice. Orange squash juice. I got hysterical – I couldn’t stop laughing! I suppose I found the whole situation overly bizarre – as Nicole commented, “I never thought I’d see culture shock come from juice!” So for the next while, I would crack up and laugh uncontrollably every time someone said “orange squash juice” – to a point where I’m sure the others thought I had gone mad! (cough Stephanie cough – who at the bus stop, I tried to make fun of her Baltimore accent – then she proceeded to find out I’m ticklish. Oh well, can’t win them all)

Tonight, Dave took us back to St. Mary’s Church to witness a local debate hosted by the Putney Society, about David Cameron’s new “Big Society” plan – which basically in simplistic terms promotes volunteerism in local communities, and giving local communities more control, while balancing the budget, and reducing government spending.  There was a moderator, Justine Greening MP, who we met yesterday, as well as a member representing labour, and a third (I suppose it’s possible he represented the liberal democrats’ position). There was “debate” when they went back and forth – I suppose I expected the whole conversation to be more specific about policies, but it seemed to be more about the big ideas of the Big Society, and volunteerism. Volunteering is not the same here in the UK as it is in the US, it’s not as large, it’s not as common for people, especially young people, to be volunteering the same way they do in the US. I suppose it’s quite institutionalized in the US, since many of us have to do it in high school (or earlier), and thus it is almost expected to be on college applications, there is incentive (beyond personal growth), at least at first, institutionalized in our system. But anyways, during the Q&A, one woman wanted to know what we thought, as she thought we were interested young people of Putney. Stephanie stood up and said “Hello. We’re Americans” and proceeded to explain about our program, and Katie and Ahren further talked a little about the role of volunteerism in the US. I think the audience liked it, bringing a little break and new point of view into the conversation – I should say they mostly consisted of elder folk, which seems in line with a lot of local community groups in the US as well.  After the debate was over, some of the audience members came over to talk with us Americans (it was funny, some people in their Q’s referenced us as the Americans, or “the American students” – which is quite correct, but I just thought it was interesting like that), to talk about their views and our views on volunteering, as well as sharing some of their stories about travel to the US, and invited us back to another meeting! Maybe we’ll be able to go! We had a nice long debriefing talk with David afterwards as well.

And tonight was Katie’s birthday, so most of us went to a club in Putney (recommended to us by several people in the office), and did some dancing and whatnot for a few hours to celebrate, which was a lot of fun (and also quite tiring for the feet!) I’m getting to know the bus system around here quite well now – knowing which are the best routes to take, and alternate routes, etc etc.

Mailbag! ---

Kevin writes: I was watching "The Social Network" at Kurt's house the other day, but we didn't finish! I must know how it ends >=O

Response: Did you finish it yet? You should go watch it!! Or rent/borrow it!! Or find some other (legal!) way of watching!  I’m not spoiling it here on the blog! But I just wasn’t really satisfied with the ending…it didn’t feel like an ending to me. Which somewhat makes sense, because even now, there have been developments since the movie came out, so it’s not like the story has “ended” yet persay. Interesting to watch overall though.

Kevin Hayakawa
6/28/2011 05:55:30 pm

Tracking down your response to my comment was terribly difficult, and I didn't find it until now. Fail. I hardly ever use Twitter, and misread your tweet thinking you had commented back on the other blog post. When I revisited Day 1, I thought "Richmond lied! There's no response!" And then somehow I found it here. The end.

Anywayyyyy. Omg, that makes me want to watch it even more (I still haven't watched it yet . . . hehehehe). To be discussed in further detail LATER.


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