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The Sunday Ramble: Me an amateur?


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I dragged myself out of bed and went to photograph this Charity Bike Ride in Darlaston yesterday. I’m not really a morning person, but if they can get up and do something to help others less fortunate than themselves, then I can make the effort too. Besides, I think they can be proud of themselves today.

Doing something to help others or enhance the community you live in does raise your self esteem. It makes life better for everyone. I uploaded those photos to the local newspaper, who are changing the way they publish to take into account the way in which technology and publishing in general is changing. Digital publishing is here to stay and newspapers have to change or die. The Wolverhampton Express and Star serves the Black Country and I’ve noticed the printed edition of the newspaper has got a lot thinner over the years. Many of the pages used to be filled with classified adverts with things for sale and notices of bereavement. It seems it’s more difficult to do on-line classifieds. The section with cars for sale is far smaller than I remember it, years ago. With competition from dedicated websites it’s difficult and the same applies to the jobs section. There are now a myriad of websites run by employment agencies and the government runs a couple too.

The Express and Star has recently announced changes to the way it will operate and a new section will be on the website soon called ‘voices’. This section will feature blogs like this one. I think the general idea is to give a voice to the communities and get interesting content for a lower cost. Do people want to know about local carnivals, fun days, beer festivals and charity bike rides? I think they just might…

Yesterday, the Express and Star published a story – ‘King of the bedsits tells of rise to the top’ which was about James Haliburton and his J9 company. “I buy rundown, derelict properties properties that no-one wants.” he says. It seems he owns 150 of these properties and has become a multi-millionaire by buying them cheap and renting out rooms that he describes as studio apartments. He is now teaching young people how to become millionaire landlords too, for a small fee of £299 each. That’s less than a month rent for most of his one room tenants.

Time for a video. What do you think? Someone called the guy a slum-lord, is that fair or is he providing  a much needed service? After all, it does seem to be officially sanctioned with most of his money coming from Housing benefit payments.

The Three Horse Shoes pub is just up the road from the Frying Pan and home to many of the tenants. I must get a picture of that one of the days before it self-demolishes…

I took a photograph of a child yesterday and had to sit down to do it because I’m quite tall. The photograph of James Haliburton in the Express and Star looks like it was taken by a midget. Maybe he needed to stand on a chair and there wasn’t one around?

I had some photos in the Express and Star not long ago, they described me as an amateur photographer. I must admit that my camera is a Nikon DX DSLR whereas those professional photographers from the Express and Star tend to have a FX (full frame) camera and a selection of lenses. I need another lens, I want a 15 – 105mm or even a 15 – 200mm. They are so expensive and we amateurs just can’t afford them…

These days to be considered a professional rather than an amateur, you need a degree or a doctorate. The University of Wolverhampton stripped someone of a honorary doctorate this week. They need to take the honorary doctorate back they gave to the head of the West Midland Ambulance Service too. Not content to be working a 2 day week here, with 3 days in the East of England staying in luxury hotels; it seems he’s going there by taxi at tax payers expense! I’m surprised the University isn’t giving a doctorate to James Haliburton for services to student housing…

Today’s ramble is going on a bit… I only usually write about 500 words. I edited a paper this morning that is going to presented at a conference by a professor. That’s in China though. Wouldn’t it be cool if I got a honorary doctorate from a Chinese university? It will never happen, but at least they don’t think I’m a bleedin’ amateur…

What do you think? Please have your say in the comments box. You can also follow me on Twitter.

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One response

  1. Pingback: The Review: getting close to nature | Mike10613's Blog

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