Pride of Britain: Clifford Harding Youth Worker

Britain Pride Youth WorkerAfter nine years without a job, with no purpose and no future, Clifford Harding was facing life as just another unemployment statistic. However, one moment changed his life, and put him on the path to helping other young people from deprived backgrounds.

He has gone on to become a role model for youngsters in his community and developed a truly innovative way of teaching children maths that saw him rapping in the House of Commons. Clifford, who lives in Birmingham, had always found school tough. Suffering from dyslexia, he struggled to keep up with his classmates and failed most of his exams.

He remembers: “I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I grew up in a very strict household, and when I left school with no qualifications or job prospects I rebelled. “I was a bit like a caged animal breaking free and didn’t care that I didn’t have a job.”

As he approached the end of his teens, Clifford’s grandparents and mother sadly died in quick succession. “That’s when things became really bad,” he says. “I wasn’t interested in bettering myself and remained out of work for nine years.”I was causing trouble, getting involved in petty crime, drinking, loitering and smoking.” However, one day his benefits failed to come through – and that is when his life changed forever. He says: “It really upset me. But then I thought, what am I doing waiting for this money when I could get a job instead?”
Clifford managed to secure a cleaning job, and inspired by the big offices he was working in, he started to think about his future. He heard about The Prince’s Trust and made the decision to approach the youth charity for help setting up his own business, which started out as a children’s party company.


chatterboxAre you a chatterbox?

A chatterbox is a person who does not stop talking and talking and talking and talking. Curiously, when I was a kid, I was an accomplished chatterbox and my brother used to chase me around the house trying to put a sock in it because he found me very annoying! Moreover, when I was at my grandparent’s house, my granddad used to say to me either: ”Janette, please speak only when spoken to” or “Janette, all that chatter is creating a draft in the house” OMG, that’s just mean!

Thankfully, nowadays, I’m usually far too busy putting food, drink, or vitamins in my mouth to be a chatterbox. How about you? Are you a chatterbox or are you a little more conservative with all that lip flapping stuff?

The British Jamie Oliver Way: How to poach an egg!

perfect poached eggsOk, forget fried eggs, boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, baked eggs, sunny-side up eggs; Jamie Oliver, the well-known British Chef, explains how to make the perfect poached egg.

The British Way: How to make a complaint!

Nikki Big BrotherNikki, controversially, is considered to be by far one of the most entertaining British Big Brother contestants. She is well known for her furious Diary Room rants and her daily battles with the other housemates.

Watch this video to find out how she complains to Big Brother about the lack of heating in the house and try to hear what words she uses to say that she is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cold.

The British Way: How to make a cup of tea!

making a cup of teaSeriously, someone is pulling my leg.

Is it possible that we need an instructional video to show us how to make a cup of tea? Well, perhaps the answer is yes.

So, if you’ve never made a cup of tea before, here’s a simple 5 step video to help you learn the skills and key vocabulary. The main verbs include the following: To fill, To stir, To add, To boil, To brew, To remove. Good luck! Oh, and if you don’t have a kettle, you might be in trouble!

To be under the weather

feeling under the weatherTo be, or to feel under the weather is a common idiom used when you are not feeling 100% well. Perhaps you have a slight cold, stomach cramps or a headache.

Last Sunday, I felt very under the weather. Unfortunately, it was completely self-inflicted! So, no sympathy required!
Why don’t I learn that it is never, ever, a good idea to mix lager with wine?! Anyway, personally speaking the hangover is definitely the reason why aspirin was invented; and on a positive note, over the years I have kept a lot of chemists in business as a result of my aspirin requirements. OMG, I’m a business angel!

British Alternative Rock: Radiohead

radioheadRadiohead are an English rock band from Oxfordshire who formed in 1985.

Radiohead have sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, with the band’s work being placed highly in both listener polls and critics’ lists. In 2009, Rolling Stone readers voted the group the second best artist of the 2000s.

Finally, and very curiously, despite the fact that I adore their track: High and Dry, the lead singer, Thom Yorke can’t stand it, saying “It’s not bad… it’s VERY bad”

So, what’s the song about?

Well, truthfully, I have absolutely no idea, but perhaps it’s about the ridiculous idea of trying to achieve self affirmation and love from others and that, for many who do this, along the way they lose sight of who they are and therefore will never attain contentment neither self-acceptance. On the other hand, what do I know; maybe it’s about an old wellington boot and a bit of mouldy cheese. So, I’m wondering, what do you think?

British Soul: Heather Small

heather smallHeather Small is a British soul singer, best known for being the lead singer in the band M People. Their song: Proud, was chosen to be the official song for the winning London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics bid.

Click here to listen to the track and watch the video.  If you are still sat on your backside 30 minutes later, please repeat after me:

‘We need a change, yeah!
Do it today, yeah!
I can feel my spirit rising, change, yeah, we need a change yeah!
So do it today, yeah! Coz, I can see a clear horizon!
What have you done today to make you feel proud?

British Indie Rock: The Stone Roses

I wanna be adoredThe Stone Roses were an English rock band formed in Manchester in 1983. They were one of the pioneering groups of the MaDchester movement that was active during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

My relationship with The Stone Roses started at university when my, then boyfriend, referenced one of their most popular tracks as a tool to help me write a philosophy paper.

So, the story is:

It was a Sunday afternoon, I was hung over, struggling to write a philosophy paper about Existentialism which was due to be handed in in 12 hours, the clock was ticking and I was getting nowhere fast! As usual, I had done a mammoth amount of research, I had a million post-it notes all over my room with ideas and bite-sized nuggets of intellectual blah, blah, blah, and yet, I still couldn’t make out what all this information meant.

save the brainAfter hours of ‘unproductive brain wastage’ I was beginning to freak out and so, at 3am in the morning I knew I had two options: one, call The A Team or two, wake up the boyfriend. So, as the telephone number for The A Team wasn’t in the public domain, I really had no option; it was Rob to the rescue.

So, I went to Rob’s house, threw rocks at his window to wake him up, and asked him: ‘What does all this Existentialism stuff mean?’ and he said to me: ‘Janette, forget Existentialism; everyone, wants to be adored’.

Suffice to say, I wanted to smack him in his face, as I thought, how is that useful? He then took out his Stone Roses CD and played me the track: I wanna be adored, and promptly went back to sleep. I listened to this track, which, only has 22 different words and yet lasts just under 5 minutes, and I thought: OMG, yeah, that’s the answer. I went home, took some pro-plus, wrote my paper, handed it in on time, and 2 weeks later I got a First; GET IN !

So, what’s the moral to this story?

  1.  Study less, listen to music more
  2. Date people called Rob
  3. Look for solutions in unlikely places
  4. Never study philosophy
  5. Love The Stone Roses
  6. Find out the telephone number for The A Team

The decision is yours!

British Music: Indie Pop – Goldfrapp

goldfrappGoldfrapp is an English indie pop duo from London who formed in 1999.

My favourite track entitled ooh la la, is said to be about relationships although I think it’s more about a great one night stand or a booty call.  Whatever your thoughts, the lyrics do have a great personal twist on the three common phrasal verbs: To dial up, To switch on and To turn up.

Check out the lyrics and explain to me whether this song is about realtionships or a one night stand.