Monday, 7 December 2009

Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it

It has been nearly 3 weeks since our last post and although I have been inundated with messages (Thanks Mum) to tell our hungry audience about the recent goings on in the PR office, we have simply been too busy!!

The "Big Boys Should Cry" campaign is generating some good coverage already. Richard Bailey was kind enough to mention it in Behind the Spin and the Leeds Met press office also covered the story. Another big thank you must go to Neill Crispian as he has created a permanent banner for the Counselling service (It's the second from last image). Not sure who the ginger bearded model is, but he plays "young troubled man" superbly in my opinion!!
The poster competition winner is decided this week and I have to say the standard of entries is just superb!!! We are hopefully having Aidan Winterburn a graphic design lecturer and Sue Dominey a counsellor at Leeds Met judging the entries.

In other news the team were part of the BBC's attempt to break the world record for planting the most trees in one hour. Yes it was Tree O’clock. Clare and I flexed our green fingers and helped plant 1000 trees on the Hawksforth Estate in Leeds. We will find out on the 14th whether or not the record has been broken, but regardless it was a fun day and our efforts have made the Hawksforth Estate a much greener area!! We will hopefully have some nice coverage in the YEP this week, so look out for it Mum.

Look at what Clare and I conjured up on Friday. It was lots of fun, but has struggled to gain coverage thus far (It does not reflect the views of the Students Union or the University). We will soldier on, you never know it might be on "Have I got news for you" next week!

Another personal achievement for yours truly coming your way this week. This may warrant double pocket money Mum. Stay tuned.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Throw a lucky man in the sea, and he will come up with a fish in his mouth

PRCA Guest Lecture

How & when to sell digital PR to a client

I've got to say, without sounding like a creepy little brown nose, that PR students at Leeds Met are lucky little buggers. We are on a weekly basis treated with talks from industry professionals all eager to give us an insight into how we can best equip ourselves as we take our first small steps in to the world of PR. We are of course paying for the privilege and I'm sure most would argue that our fees warrant such calibre of guests, however what has impressed me is the energy the speakers have exerted, they haven't used the ninety minutes to massage their egos, quite the opposite in fact. They've willingly laid bare their experiences and filled our pockets with pearls of wisdom which will enable us to hopefully follow in their footsteps. This year we have heard from Daryl Wilcox, Andy Carter, Andy Green, Carl Christopher and this week Fernando Rizo from KetchumPleon educated and entertained in his thick New York accent.

Yes we had our first American speaker and just like Jack, the kid who joined my middle school after moving from Arizona and was straight away know as "the cool American kid", Fernando had his audience hanging on his every word. He was also pretty funny, like a cool Ross Gellar, sickening. Fernando aimed to teach us "How and when to sell digital PR to a client" and after some ironic technical difficulties, resolved by Theilmann the German tech master, we were on our way.

Fernando began by talking us through the evolution of the media, he explained throughout history the dissemination of ideas to media was solely dependent on capital investment, until of course the internet was born and everyone inherited the power to publish, "even the stamp collector from Belgrade". Answer this rhetorical question Fernando then asked "Is the New York Times print based media or online?" his answer, "Who gives a crap! No traditional media worth its salt should be without an online presence" he bellowed in his Regis Philbin like tones.

Fernando went on to talk about something I have always found hard, creating an audience, he began by asking how many of us had a blog, a stupid question really as it's probably the first thing Richard Bailey told us to do, Fernando followed this up by asking how many of these blogs have a bigger following than “your mum and your room mate” or house mate for you English types. Of course a few of the smarmy students kept their hands up, but most conceded their blogs had audiences similar to that of an "Audience with John Barrowman" on the day England face Germany in the World Cup Final. Fernando's point was clear, it's very difficult, expensive and time consuming to create a brand new audience and much easier to borrow or steal from a community that already exists. The example we were shown was Open Forum, a resource for small businesses. Open Forum purchased content from influential bloggers and posted it on the website, therefore borrowing an audience which already exists.

Fernando went on to show us his favourite example of bad PR and told us "If you ever find an example of bad PR keep it and learn from it", his point being of course you are unlikely to hear about poor PR campaigns. His was from an American tuna company who had teamed up with the American Apprentice and asked people to come up with a new idea for a tuna product and pitch it to them in an online video. Fernando explained that offline to online tie-ins very rarely work and that although this campaign was opportunistic, it was neither strategic nor defined the personality of the brand in any way.

I always enjoy lectures in which we are presented with examples of campaigns that practitioners feel illustrate their point and Fernando certainly delivered in this area. Other successful campaigns that the American maestro had worked on himself included the bounty for the “Montauk Monster” on behalf of an energy drink called Venom and a campaign for Stride gum who wanted to target 18 to 24 year old computer gamers. The latter started by reading something said by Uwe Boll a German film director famous for transforming computer games in to disastrously bad films, he was quoted as saying “If the petition to stop me making films reaches 1 million signatures then I will retire”. On behalf of Stride Gum Fernando’s team jumped on this and gained as much coverage as possible for the petition using influential computer game bloggers and journalists. Needless to say the petition reached its target. The Stride Gum campaign was indeed opportunistic and incredibly topical and Fernando explained that these type of campaigns are made possible because of the “marrying up of account executives interests with what they work on” he went on to say that he himself would never be able to run a campaign for a gardening magazine “It just wouldn’t happen” he said.

Favourite quote of the guest lecture: “When Google takes over the world, I hope they eat me last”

I left the Rose Bowl inspired to make my next PR campaign innovative, cheeky and for it to be a success both in traditional and digital media. I am currently working with Leeds Carnegie Men’s Football in an attempt to improve the attendances at games. I believe this a perfect example to launch a digital media campaign as a large majority of our target audience, students, will use digital media daily. I will keep you updated.

I would also like to congratulate myself for finding £20 on the street the other day. Here I am celebrating just after the fortunate event. I did the honourable thing though and put the money back in to the local community, well I should say temporary local community as I treated myself and Gem to beers, mulled wine and Bratwurst at the German Christmas Market.

For now I bid you a fond Farewell, auf Wiedersehen, Goodnight.


Saturday, 14 November 2009

Meet our team...Elizabeth Taylor

My name is Elizabeth Taylor, I'm from Manchester and I’m a second year Public Relations student. I am often asked, “Did your parents name you after the actress?” My boyfriend also likes to try and embarrass me by laughing out loud and saying, “No it's not don't be silly” when I use my name in a shop! But no, my parents just loved the name Elizabeth, as do I!

I truly love my home city, but decided to flee the nest to conquer another big city, Leeds. A year on, Leeds has made me feel very welcome. I lived in halls where I had an amazing time and really found my feet (as well as new friends). Now, myself and two girlfriends have a beautiful ''apartment'' in Headingley, Leeds students' haven.

This year I am determined to get my foot in the door in the PR industry. I currently have a weekly placement in the PR department at Brahm, a large marketing company. I am finding the experience of being in an agency extremely valuable and looking forward to developing my skills further. I am also interested in gaining more experience in different sectors, perhaps from in-house departments. I have proved my dedication to the industry by becoming a member of the CIPR. After attending the CIPR guest lectures at University and especially Andy Carter’s lecture from Leeds City Council press office, the public sector is definitely an area I would like to further my knowledge in.

I’m excited to be part of the Student Union’s PR Unit. It is a relatively new project and I’m sure that with hard work and effort as a team it can be a successful project. I am especially looking forward to working on the ‘Mind Your Head’ campaign, more information will be blogged soon!

In University I am a ‘STAR’. Obviously I’m brilliant, but this actually stands for ‘Student Academic Representative’. This means I attend monthly meetings with staff during which I represent my classmates, and can express their opinions on anything that is bugging them or that they particularly enjoy I am also part of the volunteering society, CALM (community action @ Leeds Met),I love helping those people who are less-fortunate, it is thoroughly enjoyable and fulfilling. I have recently become the secretary for the committee so I am looking forward to becoming even more involved. Please keep an eye on our blog for the latest press releases!

At the weekends I work for an event catering company which gives me the chance to work at different types of private functions, such as weddings, birthday parties and many others. It's giving me an insight into how large events are organised and managed from start to finish.

To end, I would like to share with you my three favourite things in the world: Twilight, DHL Vans and Jedward off X-Factor (get voting people!).

Friday, 6 November 2009

A SPOOKILY good week for the team!

Well would you Adam and Eve it, we only went and won the Ptarmigan Bell Pottinger competitive pitch! We got the news on Friday afternoon that Paws Communications would be the very first "Student PR consultancy" working under the very experienced mentorship of Nathan Lane and Marie O'Connor (Pictured with the Paws team, minus myself).

The opportunity is incredibly unique as it gives students the chance to work with real clients, to be mentored by PR professionals and to get paid an hourly rate the equivalent of an account assistant. I had heard a few whispers that Ptarmigan Bell Pottinger offers some of the most valuable work experience from a few friends and Beth Stallman seems to agree.

I celebrated the win by spending Friday night belting out my best Bruce Springsteen impersonation at my friend’s birthday celebrations in OK Karaoke! To say it went down a storm would be the understatement of the year, I strategically made sure I sung last as after four more pints the boys could have been stranded by Jedward and would have still gave them a standing ovation.

I spent Halloween in York at one of the many events hosted by the city. The York tourist board had really embraced Halloween and the feeling in the city was electric. I treated my girlfriend to a very pleasant dining experience at Piccolino Restaurant and Bar, (the football accumulator had earlier come up trumps, I'm not always this flash) it was fit for bursting and many of the diners were in fancy dress, including me.....(See scary man on the left)

After some lovely meatballs washed down with a decadent pinot grigio we left Piccalinos and headed, a little tipsy, for one of the many ghost walks starting at Clifford Tower. As we approached there was a crowd of about 50 people listening intently to a Richard O'Brien (of The Crystal Maze fame) lookalike who was spouting about some ghostly nonsense. He took us on a tour of the city in which we encountered the most haunted pub in York and Starbucks outlet that some years previous was the site of some paranormal activity. The paranormal activity took place when the store was a JJB Sports and apparently shoes would line themselves up in circles at night, very spooky. That’s about as scary as it got, I just enjoyed heckling from the back, "Give us a tune on your harmonica Richard!".

As weekends go it probably the second best I have ever had, the first best was when I went to Silverstone and shook Jackie Stewarts hand. Brilliant." A bit of Partridge for you.So things at the PR unit are coming along nicely, we have will be launching our campaign to raise awareness of the universities counselling service this week and have sourced some great prizes from some very generous company's, so thank you to The Cockpit, Ok Comics and Esporta Gym.

Also something I have been working on is our blogs' search engine optimization (SEO) and I think we're doing ruddy well indeed. A search for "Leeds PR Blog" in Google ranks us at NUMBER 1! Look for yourself....

This week I will also feature a profile on our team, so keep reading!!!

Bye for now.


Thursday, 29 October 2009

And the winner is.......

The most hectic week of second year PR has just been and gone. A competitive pitch, a university presentation, a guest lecture, an enterprise evening and a trip to London all squashed in to one week. The passing of this week means that now I will be dedicating more of my time to work on Student Union projects, as well as putting together the team that will lead the PR unit through the year.

On Monday the PR students at Leeds Met were treated to a lecture from head of communications for Leeds City Council, Andy Carter. On the surface it seemed this would probably not be as exciting as Carl Christopher from Playstation, who intrigued us with talk of Richard Benson and The Face Magazine, however by the end of Andy's talk I was ready to welcome Leeds County Council in to the Zeitgeist.

The whole talk centred around how Andy's team had dragged the council kicking and screaming into the digital age, with its very own virtual newsroom. Andy talked of how some senior councillors were very much stuck in their ways. Most were happy enough to have the tone of their day dictated solely by The Evening News, and that the concept of an online newsroom was alien to say the least. We were shown the falling readership figures of our regional newspapers, which amongst other factors including the rise of the internet, staff cut backs and shifting audiences had taken the council's comms team from press office to digital news room.

All in all a surprisingly entertaining lecture. I went in expecting the content, although very relevant to my PR degree, to be rather dull and it wasn't in the slightest. Andy even threw in a few jokes, and although I find the line between a funny lecture and just sounding like David Brent a tricky one to walk, Andy kept the cringe worthy gags down to an absolute minimum and was genuinely entertaining. He also offered a placement opportunity which I have since applied for.

After a busy middle of the week which included a presentation on persuasion and rhetoric, in which we scored a healthy 2:1, concentration turned to the upcoming competitive pitch. Described by Lucy Laville as "A unique opportunity and a first for the PR course" competition between the level two PR students was sure to be fierce. Nathan Lane from Ptarmigan Bell Pottinger was offering five students the chance to become the very first "student consultancy". Working on real clients and being mentored by the experienced Bell Pottinger team this was a chance that few could afford to pass up.

The brief was to produce a campaign for Nestle who were launching a new character, Bluebell the Milkybar cow, as part of their CSR initiative to reduce the packaging in their Easter egg range. To view our presentation please click here. Obviously you will not get the full effect of being guided through the wonderful world of Bluebell by myself and Steph, but it may be helpful to fellow students.We are still awaiting the result of the Bell Pottinger pitch, it's like the last day of the football season when your team is teetering on the edge of relegation and the other team hasn’t finished playing yet. Ironically I'm a Newcastle fan so this analogy doesn't work, but we live in hope.

Now everything is quiet on the university PR front, I can concentrate my efforts on the PR unit. We have some really exciting projects coming up and by the end of next week will have filled all the managerial positions. We are currently working with the universities counselling department to raise awareness amongst young men of the facilities available to them, if they are suffering from any kind of mental illness. It's the first campaign that I have worked on that in essence could really change people’s lives, this for me makes it a rather exciting one. As well as this we are running the Hall Representative election process, the first of its kind at Leeds Met. Finally we are part of the national attempt to break the world record for planting the most trees in an hour, a world record, a PR's dream!!!

Anyway must dash as I'm meeting my beautiful girlfriend (she still hasn't let the swine flu article go) for some tea at Browns. Yum.


Thursday, 8 October 2009

Monday Monday

I had a bloody cracking Monday this week, the best Monday for ages. Let me share the higlights.My usual Monday morning involves driving my spectacularly better looking over half (I'm still in the dog house after the swine flu article I wrote) to work from Doncaster to Wakefield, she has just been appointed communications assistant at Wakefield NHS. After I drop her off, I immediately switch frequency from the babbling buffoonery of Chris "my definition of comedy is playing annoying sound bites of Strictly Come Dancing judges laughing" Moyles, to the voice of reason and some underrated witticism of Nicky Campbell. The topic of discussion was David Cameron's plans to cut the incapacity benefit by £25 and enforce more stringent tests to vet the supposed incapacitated masses. I'm all for getting the lazy sponges who abuse the system out from in front of their 50inch tax payer bought moron boxes, they can always Sky plus the Jeremy Kyle show.

The worrying part of the discussion came from a man in his fifties who had lost his sight two years previous and after a long career working in the manufacturing industry was forced to claim benefits. He told Nicky that he was "suicidal" over the thought of losing £25 of his £92.50 that he gets weekly. Obviously the gentleman was a legitimate claimer and Nicky tried his hardest to re-assure him that Cameron's proposal would only affect the fraudsters. It was clear that Cameron's plans had worried many and although some of his messages seemed to have been lost in translation, I do think he should have set clearer guidelines in his proposal before scaring the wits out of the genuine cases. Politics hasn't previously been a passion of mine, but I have to admit as uncool as it is I am starting to get rather interested in the political ding dong between Brown and Cameron.

Monday ended as beautifully as it started, I shared an evening with my gorgeous, intelligent and funny girlfriend (You can almost hear the shovel). We attended a Lecture by the head of sponsorship and promotion at Sony, Carl Christopher. He was a refreshing change from the usual "suits" who give our guest lectures, dressed in Fred Perry cardigan and black jeans, he reminded me that P.R is cool. With talk of Richard Benson and Kate Moss he explained how his team took the Playstaion brand from the niche markets to the global stage. Playstation embraced counter culture, made journalists speak their language and gave consumers an experience not just a video game. Carl crammed Playstations lifetime into an exciting one hour dialogue, he talked of the rise of the celebrity and how brands no longer have mystery. These days Playstation will use Kate Moss to launch their products, like in the case of the Singstar game, whereas ten years ago they would use niche magazines like Vince Noir's favourite "The Face". Instead of sending their newest games to influential journalists to create the "water cooler moments" they now inundate premiership footballers with piles of equipment.

Carl concluded by offering his opinion on what is the best personal attribute to have in PR, he told us that honesty and transparency will get you a long way, as long as you are driven of course. All in all a very interesting evening.

The group pitch for Ptarmigan Bell Pottinger is coming along very nicely, watch this space!

Monday, 28 September 2009

Freshers Fair-ly Keen

As promised here are the exciting snaps from Freshers' Fair. The idea behind having a stall at the fair was to promote our department amongst both new and returning students. We also wanted to recruit some new blood so that this year we can have a bigger team to call upon if we need help with events and campaigns. The fair was also an opportunity to network with other departments, societies and students.

I arrived at the Fair at around 9.30am to set the stall up. I was told I was on table 155 which was on the raised platform of the Metceno. After half an hour printing off some posters to make the stall visually interesting, I meandered my way through all the other stalls, by the time I had reached our plot I had enough free pens to supply an infinite amount of monkeys, enough free lollipops to de-tooth Janice Street Porter and enough two for one offers to satisfy Victor Meldrew. Alarm bells began to ring in my head as I realised I had nothing free to give the freebie hungry masses, I rooted through my bag and found a half eaten egg Mcmuffin, a toothbrush and a copy of the student newspaper "Leeds On". I decided to finish the calorie laden breakfast bun, brush my teeth and indulge in some light frophy reading. I would rely on my charm and my Lord Kitchener posters to draw in a crowd.

Although the pitch was not the best, there was a steady flow of students and many that were caught by my handy work with Microsoft WordArt. The sign read "Are you Studying Public Relations? Marketing? Events Management?" as although we are formally a P.R unit, it would be nice to involve a broader spectrum of the business courses in the department. Many students were interested in what we had achieved last year so I showed them the work I had put together in my online portfolio.

The Fair didn't really get going until the afternoon, so instead of just sitting on my backside reading the paper and updating my Facebook status with some witty prose I decided to have a chat to the stall next to me. The society on my left was called the "Apologetics Society" and the society on my right seemed to be the "Campaign against everything including having a shower society" and although many of their causes seemed worthy, the fact one of the lads was wearing a beret put me off slightly as i've never got on with freedom fighters much before. So instead I kicked up a convo with this guy.

Now although I do not agree with Carnell's beliefs that Charles Darwin was a fantasist and God made the world in seven work filled days, he was a very interesting guy to chat to, and if anyone is interested in voicing their opinion or belief on how the world was made or any other of the big questions, the Apologetic Society meets the last Friday of every month at the Civic Quarter room CQC515. I won't be buying a t-shirt as I am a follower of the work of Richard Dawkins and Carl Sagan, but I may well just pop along to the little monthly swaray for a healthy debate.

The day was a great success, I got to speak to lots of first year P.R and Marketing students about where I see the department going this year and how they can be apart of it. I also spoke to a few third years who seemed keen to get involved if they can spare the time. I also made contact with the Photography society who told me they would be more than happy to offer their services for future events and campaigns, as well as Jacob from MetAir the new radio show, who was very interested in joining forces with our department to make sure the voice of the Students Union is heard by the Leeds Met Students.

One slightly sore point from the Fair was the presence of an online Poker website who had a stall directly opposite ours. Just look how busy it was!

The rotund gentleman had the fresh faced tax dodgers eating out of his hand, with glamorous promises like "It cost's nothing to enter and you can win up to £25,000" he worked the floor like a slightly better looking John Mcriock. It made me quite uncomfortable to think some students may think their student loan and online poker make easy bedfellows .Who needs to join a society or department that may aid me in getting a first class degree when I can play poker online and get a first class gambling addiction? Don't be taken in by this portly fellow, instead why not sign up with this young gentleman.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Opportunity Knocks!

After a hectic morning emailing my tutor and P.R admin, I finally found out what time my tutorial was, 9.30am!!!! I don't use four exclamation marks because I feel this is too early, I do this because I received the information at 9.22am!!!! Luckily I live four minutes walk away from the Rose Bowl and it only takes me four minutes to get my self looking G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S enough to sit in a room full of P.R girls.

My tutor for the year is Lucy Laville which I am very happy about, not only is she the leader of the course and very passionate about students achieving great things but she is also a very nice lady. Lucy told us about some very exciting opportunities including an initiative set up by Leeds based P.R company Bell Pottinger to create a "student P.R consultancy". This will involve five students working for REAL clients under the watchful eye of the guys from Bell Pottinger. This opportunity is something that I am very keen to be part of, so will be working my socks off from now on, to ensure I am at least considered. Lucy also told us about a Sports P.R event being held at Headingley Stadium in mid November. The main attraction of the event is undoubtedly the head of communications of the Football Association, who will be speaking. This has been firmly lodged in my diary and I am looking forward to it already.

We had our usual introductory lecture and then it was off to pick up the feedback from last years assignments. For my portfolio I achieved a first which I was pleased about, although Rudiger did comment that my rationales would have to improve if I were to achieve the same grade in level two. Food for thought.

Tomorrow is the Fresher's Fair so I am currently making lovely posters and printing off coverage we gained last year to plaster all over our stall. I have also just read a very interesting interview with Joe Favourito. I love the part where he stresses the importance of "treating people like people" and not hiding behind emails. This month I plan to network a lot more, even if it is just with fellow students and staff members, I am starting to realise reputation is very important in this industry.

Tomorrow I will have some exciting pictures from Fresher's Fair and hopefully the calendar of events that we plan to work on.

After a hectic morning emailing my tutor and P.R admin, I finally found out what time my tutorial was, 9.30am!!!! I don't use four exclamtion marks becuase I feel this is too early, I do this because I recieved the information at 9.22am!!!! Luckily I live four minutes walk away from the Rose Bowl and only take four minutes to get my self looking G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S enough to sit in a room full of P.R girls.

My tutor for the year is Lucy Laville which I am very happy about, not only is she the leader of the course and very passionate about students achivieing great things but she is also a very nice lady. Lucy told us about some very exciting opportunities including an initative set up bu Leeds based P.R company Bell Pottinger to create a "student P.R consultancy". This will involve five students working for REAL clients under the watchful eye of the guys from Bell Pottinger. This opportunity is something that I am very keen to be part of, so will be working my socks off from now on, to ensure I am at least considered. Lucy also told us about a Sports P.R event being held at Headingley Stadium in mid November. The main attraction of the event is undoubtedly the head of communications of the Football Association, who will be speaking. This has been firmly lodged in my diary and I am looking forward to it already.

We had our usual introductory lecture and then it was off to pick up the feedback from last years assignments. For my portfolio I achieved a first which I was pleased about, although Rudiger did comment that my rationales would have to improve if I were to achieve the same grade in level two. Food for thought.

Tomorrow is the Freshers Fair so I am currently making lovely posters and printing off coverage we gained last year to plaster all over our stall. I have also just read a very interesting interview with Joe Favourito. I love the part where he stresses the importance of "treating people like people" and not hiding behind emails. This month I plan to network a lot more, even if it is just with fellow students and staff members, I am starting to realise reputation is very important in this industry.

Tommorow I will have some exciting pictures from Freshers Fair and hopefully the calender of events that we plan to work on.


Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Fresh Prince of P.R

With the Freshers Fair only two days away preparations are being put in place hurriedly by the P.R team so that our stall entice them keen young eyes. We are targeting new and old students who study Public Relations, Marketing and Events Management. We aim to build on the foundations we made last year and turn our department in to something special this year.I

have started to write anecdotal stories about my past and as we have nothing yet to cover I thought I would share another short story with you. This time I recall the key moments in my failed football career.

A fall from grace

“And the winner of this year’s player of the year is……..Adam Burns!!” announced Colin Suggett, the head of Ipswich Towns Football academy. I was honestly surprised as I had been playing most of the season at right back and not centre mid which I felt was my natural position. Even so my team mates seemed to agree with the ex Sunderland and Norwich player and as I walked up to collect my little golden mini me, I had a sense of pride in my belly that I had never felt before. As Mr.Suggett handed me the trophy he whispered “Keep your eye in Burnsy lad, and make sure you start eating your veg, you could do with growing a few inches” his thick Geordie accent reminded me of my hero Peter Beardsley, and as I posed for photos, tightly holding my proudest achievement to date, my dream of becoming a professional footballer seemed as tightly in my grasp as my trophy.

“Who’ve we got this week?” asked Ross in his broad Maccem accent as he put on his Nike astro trainers. “Inter Ya Mam” I replied. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Instead of running out to thousands of adoring fans at St. James’s Park and scoring a hat-rick at the Gallowgate End, I somehow find myself paying £9 a time to play teams called Multiple Scorgasm and Sporting Lesbians. Instead of rubbing shoulders with other graduates of the Ipswich Town academy system like Kieron Dyer, Titus Bramble and Darren Ambrose I find myself facing opposition who have clearly spent more time thinking about a funny team name than actually playing football.

The beginning of the end was probably that night when I experienced pride like never before, the comment Colin Suggett or should I say Mystic Meg made about my height was like a Nostradamus prophecy. When I returned for preseason training my team mates had suddenly been swallowed up my puberty and spat out looking like the BFG, whereas I looked like I had just got of the boat from Lilliput. I was smaller, slower and weaker than every player in the team and I new from the very first training session at the young age of fourteen that my days with the tractor boys were numbered.

It didn’t take long before I was sat on the bench, freezing my pre pubescent balls off, watching other lads becoming more accomplished players as they came up against the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham and West Ham. The final nail in my coffin came ironically after I scored my first goal of the season, a header in a 3-3 draw with Arsenal. My parents were taken into a room with my coach and told that their son was not developing fast enough, that he would not be able to make the step up to Y.T.S and that it would be unfair to drag the process out any further. I found out later in life that apparently my Dad fought my corner well, but my mum had to throw the towel in as he took too many devastating blows. The news hit me like a punch in the stomach, I felt winded and unable to breath. The drive back to Newmarket in my Dad’s Ford Granada was quite easily the most depressing forty five minutes of my young life. I knew it had hurt my dad as he didn’t even go to the Cherry Tree for killer pool, Super Sunday and a pint of Boddingtons smooth. I can now understand why my Dad felt this way as looking back it had been he who picked me up from school to take the ninety minute round trip, four times a week to Portman Road, and he who had kicked, headed and tackled every ball with me during my 8 year career with “George Burley’s Barmy Army”.

When we pulled in to our modest semi detached house on our sleepy Suffolk street, I turned to my Dad and told him I was sorry, “Never mind that! Gan and get the grow bag out the shed, we’ll have ya 6ft in ne time” he joked, in his familiar Geordie tone, whilst ruffling my hair and playfully kicking me in the direction of our weathered shed. My Dad’s optimism wasn’t shared by myself, but I laughed anyway and told him they’re plenty more clubs in the sea.

After brief spells at Norwich and Colchester which had also ended with my Dad going punch to punch with some old pro turned coach, It seemed I was never going to be good enough to make a living out of football. This was not a decision made voluntarily, it was more forced upon me. My career didn’t go completely Alf-Inge Haaland, as I once again tasted success at Portman Road, unfotunately this isn’t Roy of the Rovers and I was not picked from obscurity by new Town boss Joe Royal, instead I was represetning the county in the F.A County Youth Cup Final. We won a dramtic game 2-1 and at the function following the game I enjoyed champagne and salmon whilst the usual boring speeches took place thanking the refs and the county officials. There was one last tropy to give out however and that was for the County Player of theYear, the tropy would be presented by David Sheepshanks and yes you guessed it, now head scout, Colin Sugget. There were whispers that I had done enough to win the award, and when Mr.Sheepshanks said my name, I made the long walk through the tables of people I had never seen before with the same smile I was wearing when I was fourteen. Colin Suggett handed me the trophy and shook my hand, “Well done son” he said. I thanked him and the club for the hospitailty and told him inperticular the vegatables were some of the finest I had ever eaten, he replied with a puzzled “thankyou, I’ll have to tell the chef”. I wasn’t dissapointed that he hadn’t remembered me, it had after all been nearly five years, he probably thought I went on to become a Jockey like my dad or a Borrower like my mum. I was happy that I had in a way had the last laugh, of course the last laugh would have been sweeter if it was the World Cup I was lifting as captain of England, but like I said beofre this is’nt Roy of the Rovers.

Heres the amzing goal that won us the final!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

So long summer

"Hello, Good evening and Welcome"

The long cold and drizzly summer of 2009 is officially over. It's back to life in the P.R world and 2009/2010 looks like an exciting academic year for the Leeds Met Students Union Public Relation Department.

We have all spent the summer globetrotting around the world, adding to our P.R experience and generally being young and frivolous. On the Friday the 25th of September we will be holding a stall at this year’s Freshers Fair to try and recruit some fresh blood to add to already talented team.

After my meeting with the big boss man Ben Mac, I will be able to add a calendar of events so that students can pick and choose which events they want to contribute to.

On another note here is an article written by yours truly for the Freshers addition of "Leeds On"

George Berkeley once famously pondered "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

I thought about this philosophical riddle as I walked into my bedroom with a tray of hot soup and toast, and placed it on my girlfriends lap. My thoughts were this "If my swine flu infected girlfriend calls out for her pillows to be puffed, or for the channel to be switched over to Loose Women or for another Lemsip and no one is around to hear her, does she make a sound?" granted mine is slightly less poetic than George's, however I, unlike Georgey boy, know the answer to my riddle. The answer is simply, there is no conceivable situation in which I would ever be able to leave my girlfriends side as she battled against her feet becoming trotters, growing a corkscrew shaped penis and losing the ability to look upwards, even if I wanted to, the emotional leash round my young neck was fascinated far too tight. So of course the solution to my philosophical ponderment is that the whole idea is flawed because during my girlfriends many hours of need there is no way I was leaving the flat.

Now I am well aware of the dangers of the H1N1 virus and in no way am I talking candidly about the infection before thoroughly researching the subject. The BBC news reported in late August that the deaths relating to swine flu in England and Scotland stood at 40 and that all of these cases related to people with underlying medical problems. This is proof enough that the infection is still a massive problem for our country and with winter round the corner it seems the government is desperate to vaccinate the most at risk groups, pregnant women and children, with plans unveiled to vaccinate 13 million people in the first wave of injections. I think that’s about enough research. So the problem I have with the whole episode is that in my experience, as soon as anyone has a little sniffle, a tickly cough or the desire to eat from a trough they don't just jump on the pig flu bandwagon they request to drive the bloody thing. “Pig flu will kill 40 a day” shouted one tabloid rather sensationally and then suddenly work colleagues, football teammates and even my own girlfriend were struck down faster than Nick Griffin at a Lethal Bizzle gig. Now, I know most of them had no contact with a doctor, so unless the people who I work with in the Halifax call centre, or my mates who struggle with the Box pub quiz, or my girlfriend who failed to point out where Wales was on a map of the U.K, have all secretly got PHD's then surely their self diagnosis is nonsense. Coincidentally they do all read the Sun, strange.

After my girlfriend got through a pocket sized pack of Kleenex she decided it was time to call the flu hotline. The man on the other end of the phone began to read a script of questions to her, these were used to determine whether or not she was infected. "Are you currently having a fit?" asked the helpful gentleman, "No, but my boyfriend just threw one after I complained about the temperature of my coffee" she joked, obviously loss of sarcasm isn't a symptom. The flu inspector went on to ask more questions like "Can your chin touch your neck comfortably?" I stopped myself from asking which chin of my girlfriends he meant, as I thought this might inflame the situation and as my matador’s sword was not within reach in case I needed to tame a raging pig, I kept stum. With all her might she called on all the things she had learnt in G.C.S.E drama to continue the mobile examination, she played young women on deaths door extremely well, she was more convincing than the nanny in "the hand the rocks the cradle" and after putting down the phone nodded and told me my next task was to drive 4 miles and pick up the antidote, the magical Tamiflu.The man on the phone had told her because she had 3 of the 5 main symptoms, chances are she was one of the infected and because of this she had to be quarantined, she spoke like she was in a scene from the sequel of “28 weeks later”. “28 trotters later”.

Her symptoms included a sore throat, a cough and blocked ears. I don’t know what the hell blocked ears are because she could clearly hear what Ruth from Hollyoaks was babbling on about as she transformed some deserving souls house into an IKEA clad eyesore in 60 minutes. Needless to say I took my orders and returned with the ten capsules. Four capsules and two and half days later my girlfriend was conveniently well enough to enjoy her 23rd birthday. Celebrations included a saunter round Meadowhall, lunch at Yo Sushi!, where she stayed true to her piglet roots and had pork and quail egg yakatori and the evening culminated with a fine dining experience with her doting father. I thought this was quite an achievement for someone who was bedridden only 24 hours previous and that needed breakfast, lunch and dinner made for her in bed. Unfortunately for me loss of appetite was not a symptom.

I’m pretty sure that if swine flu had not been shoved down our throats like a hog roast sandwich with extra crackling that little sniffles and tickly coughs could have just been cleared up with a Lemsip and kick up the arse, which is how my dad used to cure my ailments and I turned out just fine.

I understand the need for prevention and that the government have a responsibility to protect the people of this great island, but if I see another Facebook status saying “bedridden and on Tamiflu” I’m going to do the unthinkable and delete my Facebook profile, imagine that, a world where I’m not inundated with inane drivel from people who I used to go to primary school with telling me about their latest pregnancy or which “Skins” cast member is the most shagable.I’m sure that I will come under much criticism from sufferers of the H1N1 virus and I’m sure many will call for my resignation and a public apology, well to them people I say you’ve got more chance of seeing..........I’ll let you finish that one.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

"Two! Bookends"

You may be wondering what the title to our latest blog is all about, well if you're a fan of of comedy genius Ricky Gervais you will be aware that when he won his second Golden Globe at last years awards he opened his second acceptance speech with the line "Two! Bookends". So at this years Student Particpation awards it was left to myself to pick up the two awards won by the P.R unit.

The first award we were nominated for was an individual award for myself as I was one of the four in the best writer category for the student paper. To my surprise I was succesful and soon after I was making the walk to stage for the second time, this time the P.R team had one the Outstanding Contribution award for setting up and running a brand new department in the Studnets Union. This time I was intent on recreating the comedy moment that Mr.Gervais treated us to last year. "Two! Bookends" I said, bold as brass and confident as an otter in the rapids, the room fell deadly silent, tumbleweed blew through the room and I sneaked off back to my chair. Note to self, leave the comedy to the professionals.

A very successful night all the same, and with our first big event two days away it has given the team a much needed boost. Bargain Hunt takes place on Saturday, to view our poster campaign please click here.

New projects coming soon

Friday, 3 April 2009

Condom Advertising relaxed in light of rise in teenage pregnancies

Here is an article I have written for my column in Leeds On.

With the news that the ban on condom company’s advertising before the watershed is going to be lifted and that pregnancy advisory services will also be permitted to advertise, Adam Burns ponders exactly what this will mean for the plight of Britains sexually charged teenagers.

I have long tried to understand the reasons to why Britain has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Western Europe. The figures were all ready embarrassing, but with new figures out in the spring, word on the grapevine is that the number of teenagers falling pregnant on our Great Island has risen for the first time in five years. I find it hard to fathom how children of such a young age become sexually active and how little is being done to combat this social epidemic.

Now you may think that my use of the word epidemic is slightly sensational but take the case of Alfie Patten, the 13 year old who for about two weeks became Britain’s youngest father, earlier this year. Unfortunately for Alfie fatherhood was short lived, and even before the men from the Guinness Book of records could get round to his house, a DNA test proved Alfie was not the father. In fact it turned out that a number of young boys had spent a night of romance with 15 year old Chantelle. The Daily Mirror reported “The result will be a blow to Alfie who was "devastated" by the boys' claims and "adored" Maisie”. Luckily Alfie’s mum eased the pain by buying him a new Spiderman suit.

O.K I’m sorry for making jokes but if this is a snapshot of Britain in 2009 then get me on the next plane out of here. The Netherlands who sit rock bottom of the table and heading for relegation seem to be getting it right, but what are they doing differently? Well for a start both forms of sex education are compulsory in the Netherlands whereas in Britain only the biology part is, parents can opt to take their children out of the personal and social side of the subject. As well as this Dutch schools have nationally set attainment targets for sex education whereas Great Britain has no such targets. Another major difference is the openness that the Dutch seem to exude when dealing with sex, this is often mistaken for permissiveness, but if the British were less reserved when dealing with sex then it would surely not be such a taboo and not so appealing to teenagers. The British reserve was illustrated excellently to me not so long ago. I was watching a film with my dad and my girlfriend earlier this year, and as Leonardo Dicaprio ripped off Kate Winslet’s clothes on Revolutionary Road, my Dad decided it rather conveniently that it was time to make a cup of tea. Later in the film when Kate cheated on Leo with the neighbour my Dad decided it was time to feed the cats. This was mildly amusing, and it got me thinking about when I was a teenager. Back then my Dad didn’t just find a job to do, when the screen was filled with rumpy-pumpy, he used to censor the film for me, by “checking the news”. I’m sure this is a familiar story for most of you, and I believe it is because of this type of behaviour that sex still remains a taboo, I’m not suggesting that children should be allowed to watch gratuitous sex scenes, but the total disregard to acknowledge what is the most natural thing in the world seems to be the wrong approach.

My opinion of the recent shake up by the Advertising standards Authority is still a dubious one. There decision to allow condom’s and pregnancy advice to be advertised before the watershed is undoubtedly a controversial one, well we are in Britain after all, but what impact will these adverts have on teenagers thinking about indulging in a game of bed sports. My opinion is probably very little; I believe the buck stops with the parents and to some extent the schools. If children are properly educated about sex then surely they will be able to make the correct decisions.

What is clear is that we are inline for some potentially titillating adverts. Durex the market leader in prophylactics has had some great slogans in the past, “Durex.Crowdstopper” and “For a hundred million reasons”. The best one I have found is a French advert which depicts a son and father in the supermarket, when the father refuses to buy his son some sweets the boy screams the place down; the tagline reads simply “use condoms”.

I do hope that the introduction of condom and pregnancy advisory services helps the number of teenage pregnancies decrease, if not for the teenagers who are cutting their own childhood short, then for the children they are bringing into the world who stand very little chance of a happy existence. I am however quite confident that this will not be the case. In my opinion we are in a vicious cycle, children are having children who will most probably have children when their just children. It will take something drastic to change the state of “Broken Britain”, any jobs going at the Daily Mail are there?

I leave you with the news that Alfie Patten has recently joined the fathers for justice campaign, you know, them dads who dress up as superhero’s and climb up Big Ben, apparently Alfie isn’t quite sure what fathers for justice is all about, but he does have his own Spiderman suit.

Adam Burns

Friday, 20 March 2009

Survival of the fittest? I best get to the gym!

In his latest blog entry "Survival of the fittest" Richard Bailey discusses the different types of placement students. The two types according to Richard are closed and open. He explains that the closed students "take a self-centred view of their placement year. 'It's all about me: my role, my aspirations, my portfolio.'" and that they are confident, assertive and sure to succeed in good times. The only problem is that we are living in volatile times, businesses are being asked to do more for less and having to be extremely adaptable in the process. Richard points out that closed students would be much better off if they "get their heads down and show some adaptability". What I think Richard is trying to say is that in these testing times, a student has got to be a whole number of things, not just a P.R student collecting pieces for their portfolio. They will gain much more cache if they roll their sleeves up and help the team wade through this financial quagmire. Richard goes on to say that a closed student will find it difficult to adapt, so it is the tutors job to make them see the bigger picture.

The other side of the coin is the open student, described by Richard as "much less confident of their abilities and have a more flexible view of their role in the placement organisation." these type of students are thriving because they are adaptable and can turn their hand to all sorts of different tasks, such as marketing, sales and that dreaded word admin. Richard comments that adaptability within an organization is "a good survival strategy" and that tutors have to work with open students to coax out their confidence, whilst helping them understand the relationship between their degree course and their role during their placement.

This all got me thinking about my future placement and also how I have acted whilst on my previous placements. My first placement was with a Leeds based consultancy, I worked one day a week and my responsibilities included photocopying and making the tea. Now I expected to be given very little responsibility but after five weeks working 9-6 and not getting paid, I made my excuses and left. I had taken the placement to get a feel for what it was like to work in a consultancy and also hoped that I would be able to get a piece for my portfolio, I thought this was not to much to ask after working very hard on organizing the massive back log of press cuttings. In my fifth week when I asked if I could have a go at writing a press release and was turned down, I decided to call it a day. If I would have stuck at it for a few more weeks would my portfolio now be bulging with pieces? I very much doubt it, but maybe if I would have been a little bit more "open" chances may have started to materialise.

Anyway I secured a two week placement at Trimedia UK in Roundhay, which although was again unpaid, I was determined to be paid in portfolio pieces. Two weeks later I had three superb pieces, I had not photocopied a single thing and I was tremendously upbeat about working in a consultancy. The staff were warm and welcoming, they gave me credible tasks which involved me using my initiative and allowed me to be creative.

Now although my placement year is approximately 16 months away, I have begun to think seriously about the type of placement I want and the skills that I will have to develop to succeed. I know however after my brief experience of working in P.R that I will have to be the open student that Richard talks about, I will have to develop my adaptability and master the art of SURVIVAL.

It is now 3.30pm on a warm Friday afternoon, I am retiring for the day. I hear the Oak beer garden is splendid this time of year.

I am still having problems with the Video of my interview with Lewis. I have formatted it and compressed it but still Youtube won't have it. I will work on getting up by Sunday.

Yesterday my press release about Superpowerless was published in the Pontefract and Castleford express. I will scan it in for your reading pleasure very soon.

Good afternoon


Room for one more?

Name: Charlotte Richardson

Hometown: Cambridge

Course: Public Relations

Question One: Who is your role model?

I really want to say Dangermouse, as he’s so cool and super! Think it might need to be a real person though. Real person… I’d say Richard Branson and not just for the facial hair. He’s a multi-billionaire who started off selling old vinyl’s from the boot of his car. Genius! I admire him as he came from nothing and did it all himself; which is what I want to do. Because even though I come from Cambridge “Daddy” doesn’t pay for everything.

Question Two: Why Leeds and Why P.R?

I can’t even remember why or how I got this obsession with Leeds, but I have it. So choosing Leeds was pretty simple, except for the random three months at UEA, but we’ll forget that. As for PR that’s simple, a computer told me to. I did one of them random tests and it came up with PR, Marine Biology and Accounting. Tried the accounting for three months didn’t get on so well with that and am now giving PR a go. So far so good, rather like this vocation, so don’t think I’ll be moving on to Marine Biology anytime soon.

Question Three: What would be your ideal profession apart from Public Relations be?

Easy or what….I want to be a ROCKSTAR!!!!! Who doesn’t? One slight problem though I can’t play an instrument. So next best thing be their PR.

Question 4: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Still travelling the world. Apparently we are estimated to live till we’re 125. Figured I’ve got ample time to make my millions owning my own PR Company and settle down. After I’ve finished my degree and got at least a 2:1, I plan to see the world. Start in Russia, down to Asia, then to Australia, stop off in South America, make my way to Africa, get some street food in India then back on home soil. This might take me a while as I plan to volunteer and do PR work in a few of these places. Hence, the still travelling in 5 years time.

This team just keeps agrowin'

Name: Will Jones

Hometown: West Kirby

Course: Public Relations

Hi, I’m Will Jones and I’m a first year student at Leeds Metropolitan University studying Public Relations. I’m really glad to be part of this blog, not only has it helped with my portfolio but it’s given me different areas of PR to pursue. I’m hoping that more and more students get involved. This is a good opportunity for everyone studying PR to get useful information on current events and also to discuss what they’ve achieved or learnt in the trade. Anyway, below is my profile for Leeds Met SU. Enjoy!

Question one: Who is your role model?

I’ve taken some time thinking about this question, it’s a hard one…I wasn’t slacking Adam, just pondering. To be honest there aren’t many successful people out there that I’d be proud to call a role model. If I ever came up with someone I’d probably be lying! So I’ve decided to keep this answer in the family, my role model would have to be my Dad. He’s a short balding man in his late 40’s to early 50’s, there is absolutely nothing special about him but he’s taught me a lot and I don’t really know where I’d be without him today. If I had even half of his wisdom I’d be happy. From the age of thirteen I’ve always had a job. He told me from a young age to rely on yourself and always try to earn your own way. Work hard and you’ll reap the benefits. My Dad’s a tireless a worker and rarely does he moan. He’ll think things through calmly and he’s almost always irritatingly right. Obviously I haven’t always lived up to what he’s said or done! But I know never to take anything for granted. The best advice I’ve ever had has been from my “old man”.

Question 2: Why Leeds and Why PR?

Originally I wanted to go to Newcastle to study Media, but after performing badly in my A levels I was rejected. Hopefully I won’t say this a lot but I’m very glad I failed! Leeds is a quality city, vibrant, exciting, unique..the list goes one! After getting into Leeds Met I began a degree in Media, it was interesting enough but I didn’t feel I could do anything with it when I eventually graduated. I dropped out of that course and then found myself doing PR. My best friend’s Dad is in PR so I’ve always known there’s a good living to make from it. After some thorough in depth reading of courses I decided that PR sounded like the most interesting and different. It’s a job filled with creativity and opportunities to see the world. The importance of PR in any organisation is crucial. It’s definitely underestimated by prospective students. Question three:

Question 3: What would your ideal profession apart from Public Relations be?

Being a full time well paid athlete wouldn’t be bad! Boxing, football, rugby; these are three sports that I’d love to be able to play professionally. But after coming to Leeds Met and witnessing the serious potential some sports members have I decided the couch is my best option. Question four: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?In five years from now I will have a degree in Public Relations and I’d be finished travelling the world. The money situation will be awful at this point but I’ll be probably very happy, full to the brim with life experience! Ideally I’d have found a country that I’d love to earn a living in. Hopefully one day I’ll be in that country working in PR either in house or as part of a consultancy. But as we all know from studying planning in lectures and seminars things don’t always go the way you want!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Good Afternoon,

And what a lovely morning it is. It seems the sun has put his very best hat on and is ready to come out to play. It does make it very hard to resist the urge of the first year student inside of me that is telling me "The Oak beer garden is splendid this time of year" but with portfolio hand in on the horizon I have assured him that there will be plenty of time for The Oak and it's splendid beer garden.

So the coverage for Superpowerless is coming on well, splendidly. H2B magazine and the Castleford and Pontefract Express are both running the story and I have a few other promising leads.

The first Adam Burns meets....interview is finished. Here it is.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

P.R team gets Superpowers

Good afternoon ladies and gents,

It has been a little while since our last outing in the blogosphere, since then Colin Jackson seems to have got off scot free, our team has two new additions and we have two new clients.

One of our most promising new clients is Superpowerless, a chiptune electro band who recently won a national competition. I have included the press release below and a picture of my alter ego "Slightly Receding Man"

We are also working with Ben Mcdougal to arrange an event which will keep the streets of student areas clean of the usual mess left after the "moving house weekend", this is still in the pipeline and not for a few months but I will keep you updated.

The two new additions to our team come in the form of Charlotte Richardson and Will Jones, they are both first year P.R students and have both promised me a profile to add to the blog, but being first years, of course I'm still waiting. Slackers!!!

Tomorrow we are meeting with S.U president Lewis Coakley for the first of a series of interviews with the Student Union execs, they will be hosted by myself, Adam Burns, and I am thinking my interview style will be a mixture between David Frost and Alan Partridge.


Leeds band scoops national award

Leeds based electro artist Superpowerless fought off competition from 200,000 entrants to win the MTV Vodaphone Soundbites competition .

Oliver Hindle’s track “Wasted my time” impressed the judging panel, which comprised of industry experts, and after being short listed to the final ten he was crowned winner in a ceremony held in London.

Oliver has won the chance to work with renowned producer and D.J Andy Chatterley as well as shooting a video with director Luc Janin, who has worked with The Fratellis, Stereophonics and Boy Kill Boy. The single and video will be launched on the 23rd of March and broadcast on MTV.

20 year old Oliver ,who was born and raised in Pontefract and is now in his first year studying Music Technology at Leeds Metroplitan University said:

“After winning the competetion things have gathered pace, and with the single and video released soon it doesn’t seem like slowing down. Although this is all fantastic the live shows are the most important thing to me and the ones we have had so far in Leeds have been amazing”

Superpowerless are the most exciting new breed of “Chiptune” or “Chipmusic” artists that are emerging around the country. Chiptune is software used to programme Gameboys so that they can be used to create music. With the very unique sound and exhilirating live shows.
Superpowerless are causing quite a stir in the Leeds music scene after selling out their first two gigs.

Bradford Based music Magazine described their latest gig as

“Electro dance music at its best, not only is it a sight for the eyes, the music they create is top class”

Along with the single and video launch Vodaphone have also commissioned a Viral Marketing campaign to be run by which will coincide with the launch on the 23rd. of March. With many musical success stories being written in Yorkshire over the past years, The Cribs, The Arctic Monkeys and Kaiser Chiefs to name a few, Superpowerless are well on the road to writing another chapter in the musical heritage of Yorkshire.

The next Superpowerless gig is at Subculture on March 19th at 8.00pm.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Paul Harrison: A Leeds Met success story.

After my last rant about the urban Olympics I witnessed outside my front door (Are we fighting a loosing battle?) I was left pondering the task which we had undertaken. I decided to cheer myself up by trying to find a student who doesn't believe climbing over cars like a monkey on E is acceptable walking home etiquette. It didn't take much research to find that Leeds Met has success stories coming out of its....ears or arse, you choose.

The first bundle of brilliance to baffle beyond belief (those alliteration classes are paying for themselves) is Paul Harrison. Below is an unedited version of the article I have sent to the local press and the student paper. Take heed those amongst you, who are contemplating competing in Saturday nights urban Olympics and see what you can achieve if you put your energy into something constructive. For those of you who still want to compete, I just thought I would mention that I have recently purchased an air rifle and am looking for some target practise.

(the last sentence is a joke and I in know way condone the use of firearms and it is not my intention to glorify the use of them, I was only joshing)

Leeds born footballer Paul Harrison has become the latest success story of Leeds Metropolitan University. After graduating with a 2nd class honours in Sport Coaching and Development, Paul has secured a one year contract at Glenn Hoddle’s Football academy in Spain.

Paul has played football for Leeds Met throughout his three year course at university. As a 1st year he was selected to play for the 3rd team, but after soon impressing he was moved up to the 2nd team, who went on to be only the second Leeds Met team in history to win the national title. In his second year of studies he was selected by John Hall to play for the 1st team in which he stayed for the rest of his time at Leeds Met, winning many trophies, including a final victory at Elland Road.

Whilst Paul was playing for Leeds Met he was spotted by former England international Glenn Hoddle. Glenn was launching his partnership with Carnegie, who were sponsoring the Glenn Hoddle Academy trials at Chelsea Football Club. Two weeks after the game Glenn rang Paul personally to ask him if he would like to attend the upcoming trials at Chelsea. Although Paul got injured on the day, Glenn decided he had seen enough and offered Paul a two week trial at the Spanish resort of Montecastillo. The two week trial culminated with a game against Darren Ferguson’s Peterborough United, in which Paul impressed and was offered a one year contract at the Glenn Hoddle Academy.

Paul is still enjoying his time in Spain, his daily routine involves an early breakfast with his team mates, followed by a morning session concentrating on fitness, techniques and small sided games. After lunch the players can take advantage of the 5 star facilities by either working out in the gym or relaxing by the pool. The afternoon session is usually larger sided games with a tactical theme in which ideas are broadened and the players are challenged by new information with tactical and technical input from the coaches. The coaching staff includes ex pro’s such as Nigel Spackman, Dave Beasant, Graham Rix and Hoddle himself.

In a recent tour of England the Gelnn Hoddle academy played fixtures against Chelsea, Southampton, Derby and Manchester City, in which the likes of Bojinov, Nathan Ellington, Leo Franco and other under 21 internationals played.
Paul is well aware of how privileged he is to be playing in such high profile games and said he owes much of his success to Leeds Metropolitan University

Paul said:

“Without Leeds Mets football programme I literally wouldn't be where I am today. I only heard about the football team through the Students Union, who do a fantastic job getting students involved with all kinds of activities . I also owe a lot to the likes of Kev Hammond who gave me my first game, and to John Hall who recognised my abilities and invited me to join the 1st team squad, where I was spotted by Glenn Hoddle. Also the support from my tutors helped me achieve my degree but also allowed me to concentrate on my football.”

Although Paul is enjoying himself in Spain he hopes that his stay will be as short as possible and that he will be offered a trial at a professional club. So far 3 of his team mates are currently on trial at professional clubs.

Paul added:

“My time at Leeds Met was a fantastic chapter in my life, and has played a massive part in my development, I am very grateful for the chances I have received and hope I can pay back all the time people have invested in me by securing a professional contract.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Another member of the team. Introducing Erin.

Name: Erin Mills
Hometown: Harpenden
Course: Public Relations and Marketing

Question One: Who is your role model?

If I had to chose a role model it would probably be Agyness Deyn, formally known as Laura Hollins. Born in Manchester, she started work at 13 in a fish and chip shop. Later on in life she moved to London and work by day in a fast food restaurant and a bar at night. Realising the potential she had to be a model she visited modelling agencies and was signed to Models 1. She is now said the be the fashion industries next worldwide supermodel, and has been the face of campaigns like Burberry, Vivienne Westwood, and Armarni. It is not that I aspire to be a model or even famous, its just the huge success she has achieved from working in a fish and chip shop in a small town in Manchester, to being a huge representation of British youth culture.

Question Two: Why Leeds and Why P.R?

I had not really put much thought into which university or which course I was doing till very last minute. My reason for choosing Leeds was mainly due to the fact I had heard a lot about the city from friends and family, my brother had studied at Leeds, and the well credited music scene. I also think it is far enough away from London to feel detached from it. Everyone ends up in London at one point in their life, and I think that getting away from it to get my degree was the best option for me. The reason I chose P.R was a bit strange and unexpected. Throughout my time at school I had always planned on studying physiotherapy. It was not until I was given the chance to get some work experience in P.R that my mind was completely changed. My sister is a P.R and I was given the opportunity to work with her at this years Global Gathering, a dance festival, and I also worked with the same company in the office and at gigs. I absolutely loved it and decided that it is the career for me.

Question Three: What would be your ideal profession apart from Public Relations be?

It sounds stupid, but if I could be a professional first year student till the end of time I think I would. You get to go out as much as you want, you don’t really have any worries apart from money which everyone seems to work around, and you constantly get to meet new people and you have all the freedom in the world. Although I realise I am not Peter Pan and soon I will have to grow up and fly into the real world, I am intent on enjoying my first year as much as possible.

Question 4: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In five years time I see myself in my first year of employment and most likely struggling to find a good job. I am doing a sandwich course so the degree will be 4 years in total. I will have lots and lots of debt just like every other student, but I am sure I will be very happy with my 1st that I get from my P.R degree! I can only hope.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Are we fighting a losing battle?

After just two weeks of setting up the PR unit for the Students Union, I am already questioning whether changing peoples opinions about students is going to be impossible. Our mission statement reads as follows:

"The Mission of the P.R unit is to raise the profile of the Students Union amongst students and the local community. We aim to create and implement innovative public relations campaigns which will allow us to communicate with our public and make the S.U more accessible to everyone."

Now a big part of this was to eradicate the unfair stereotypes that we felt students had acquired over the years. In the eyes of the local non student community it is clear that their is a lot of animosity towards us tax dodgers, but why? well I will tell you why my Countdown watching, pot noodling eating friends. Let me share with you what happened to me last night.

So there I am sitting in bed with my girlfriend Gem watching "The City", now usually I wouldn't admit to watching such tripe but I feel that you need to know every detail. Just as the credits roll we hear some commotion outside our window, not at all unusual as we live opposite one of the Headingley Pubs, so I thought I would take a look. Peeking out of the curtain like nosey neighbour Michael Pain, I was astounded at what I saw. A group of drunk students, one of them preparing to hurdle a row of cars like he was taking part in some sort of urban Olympics. Egged on by his cheering buddies, who could quite easily be 6 of the missing links in Darwin's theory of evolution, each of them shouting some sort of incoherent babble to encourage their answer to Colin Jackson.

He mounts the first car with consummate ease, gliding over the Vauxhall Corsa like a gazelle. With the soundtrack from Chariots of Fire playing in his head he moves on to the Peugeot, up and over in a flash he even manages to dent the bonnet on his descent, what a pro. Now as he eyes up his next obstacle, three mini coopers, he is met by the wrath of my girlfriend who shouts some expletives from the window, as she realises that her car is next. Does this put him of his stride, does he let one persons blinkered view of what is acceptable behaviour shirk his confidence? Of course not, after all this guy has won gold medals in being a (enter derogatory here). Getting more and more daring as he reaches the penultimate hurdle, he jumps from my girlfriends car on to the next car without touching the ground, a feat which any Parkour professional would be proud of.

Landing on the next Mini he deals a devastating blow to its bumper, climbs over the roof, dents the bonnet and lands with the elegance of elephant. Now I'm no car expert but the second Mini he trashed is a very nice car indeed, in fact I was only commenting on it and it's driver the other day, now he may or may not be a "flash b******" but he defiantly does not deserve his pride of joy being damaged by a drunken Colin Jackson.

I did not see him complete his last hurdle as I rushed to get my clothes on and congratulate him on his marvellous achievement. As soon as I got out on to the road him and his motley crew had scarpered. All I saw was Gem in her car with a possessed look in her eye, "get in" she screamed, I duly obliged. Racing around Headingley like a scene from the Italian Job we knew we could cut them off on the next road. With no thought for her own safety or mine, Gem raced around corners like Cruella Di Vel on the hunt for 7 dogs.

When we finally confronted the perpetrators, the ring leader, or Colin as he prefers to be known, was not satisfied that he had caused us enough aggro and tried to open the drivers seat door and was very aggressive towards Gem. I thought about getting out of the car and confronting all 7 of the louts but unfortunately God didn't make me to fight, if they however wanted a battle of wits then I'll meet them behind the bike sheds. After exchanging some very strong words we drove off. It was then I realised that I knew who Colin was, I won't disclose the details off how I know him, but needless to say he will soon be getting a call from the boys in blue, the fuzz or the pigs if you will.

I hope that these seven idiots only represent a small minority of the student population and that others don't act with such little respect for other peoples property.

It seems that we have a lot of work to do, if we are to fulfil our aims and change the public perception of Leeds Met students. I will keep you posted about what, if anything, happens to Colin Jackson.

Rant over.