READING QUESTIONS (Foundation Tier) INFORMATION RETRIEVAL (Search and find) List details or Make a list or Find specific information What evidence does the writer/text use …? Explain why… IMPRESSIONS What impressions do you get of the writer or a place or an organisation or people? What do you think and feel about …..(person, place etc) What do you learn about…? VIEWPOINT/ATTITUDE What are the writer’s attitude to … What are the writer’s opinions of … What are the writer’s thoughts and feelings about … ANALYSIS OF PERSUASIVE TECHNIQUE How does the writer try to encourage or interest or argue? How does this text try to persuade or show or sell or influence? COMPARISON OF TEXTS Compare and contract these texts. Using information from both texts, explain why or what you learn … Find examples or information from both texts READING QUESTIONS (Higher Tier) INFORMATION RETRIEVAL (Search and find) Explain how and/or why (What explanations/reasons are given ….?) What evidence does the writer/text use….? IMPRESSIONS (Personal Response) What impressions do you get of the writer or a place or an organisation or people? What do you think and feel about ….. What do you learn about…? VIEWPOINT/ATTITUDE What are the writer’s attitude to … What are the writer’s opinions of … What are the writer’s thoughts and feelings about … ANALYSIS OF PERSUASIVE TECHNIQUE How does the writer try to encourage or interest or argue? How does this text try to persuade or show or sell or influence? COMPARISON OF TEXTS Compare and contract these texts. Using information from both texts, explain why or what you learn … What do you learn from these texts about … Q1 (a) The reason that foxes have become so popular is because of two reasons. Firstly John Masefield wrote a popular poem and it showed that the fox is an amazing creature. Secondly the media as foxes were made into lovable characters like Basil Brush and Robin Hood. This has made them more lovable to the people. (b) Adam Edwards claims the reason that foxes have become so common in towns is because he was protected by the Animal Liberation Front. Also he was fawned over by animal charities and bunny-huggers, but then saved by persecution by the law, so in conclusion they grew more in common areas. Q1 (a) Foxes became popular because the poet John Masefield wrote a very popular poem ‘Reynard the Fox’. Also they were seen as the lovable Basil Brush. This gave the fox an image makeover. They were no longer known for killing chicken or other animals for pleasure. By giving the fox a makeover they were considered lovable and friendly. (b) According to Adam Edwards foxes have become more common in towns as each generation of foxes get more able to deal with traffic. They have no shortage of food. They have no predators ‘except man’. Foxes are regularly seen in daylight not just at night. They are regularly seen in supermarket car parks. Q1 (a) Foxes became popular in the twentieth century after their image changed. The fox grew in popularity as it was portrayed in a humorous way in television programmes such as ‘Basil Brush’. Described as ‘as cute as a Disney character’, the fox became loved by many for the appearance of the animal. The fox went from being ‘despised’ to a ‘victim of oppression’. This had a lot to do with the poet John Masefield. His poem ‘Reynard the Fox’ created sympathy for the animal and many felt ‘compassion’ for it. The fox also grew in popularity due to a public relations campaign that ‘any X Factor contestant would die for’. The fox was portrayed as ‘an amusing fellow’ in advertisements and Disney used him as ‘heroic’ figure in cartoons. (b) Foxes have become so common in towns for many reasons. They are protected by law and they can find ‘shelter’ in people’s gardens. They are used to the ways of the town and they can rummage through bins so there is no shortage of food. Traffic is not a problem for them anymore so fewer are killed on the roads. As the fox has no predators except man it is easy for them to look for food without fear of being hunted. Q2 Edward tries to tell his readers all the bad things that fox have done in 2010. He does this to try and turn the readers against foxes. In the extract Adam says ‘the urban fox is more fearless than ever’. He says this to try and frighten his readers. By doing this the readers wont like the fox. ‘Fearless’, ‘cunning’ ‘trickery’ this semantic field sums up how horrible the fox is. Q2 Adam Edwards tries to turn his readers against foxes. He uses the word as if it was single fox that done loads of bad things. Whos to say it might not of been a couple of female foxes. Adam Edwards says all the bad things foxes have done such as ‘he crept into London zoo and killed 11 penguins’. He says words like ‘bit and mauled’, ‘killed….for fun’ ‘savagely bitten, ‘cunning’ and he also says that foxes ‘symbolised trickery and deceit’. Q2 The text tries to show the fox as a criminal. The writer does this by using simple sentences and opposites. These bring a bigger impact to the reader in his text. Firstly the writer uses simple sentences to exaggerate what the fox is doing. We can see this in the line ‘For fun.’ This line demonstrates that the writer is trying to explain his point more fully. He uses alliteration in this line which also adds to his point. This line contrasts with the first half of the text by saying that he is killing animals and injuring humans for fun. This point and how it’s put across to the reader makes them want to change their attitude to the fox. Also Edwards uses opposite to try to change the attitudes of the reader. We can see this when he says ‘Basil Brush has a beastly side’. This demonstrates that the once loved fox has now changed to a horrible monster. Again Edwards uses alliteration to add to this point and push it further towards swaying the reader to think that they are horrible animals. In conclusion Edwards uses simple sentences, opposites and especially alliteration to push his point about foxes being beastly. These techniques push his point to make the reader feel disgusted at the way the animals are acting to us as humans. Q2 Adam Edwards tries to turn his readers against foxes by telling some true facts and incidents the fox have been in. He starts by saying ‘he bit and mauled baby twins as they slept’. Already he starts with such a horrible fact this will make the reader hate the fox straightaway. He then goes on ‘he crept into London zoo and killed 11 penguins’. This also brings hatred as not only does he hurt humans but kills other animals as well. Adam Edwards also mentions ‘he decapitated the Queen’s flamingos at Buckingham Palace’. This makes it clear that he is a danger to every animal no matter where the place is. This turns the reader against the fox so Adam Edwards was successful. Q2 Adam Edwards tries to turn his readers against foxes as he lists the tragedies that they have caused, ‘In 2010…Last month’ The way he describes the fox killing penguins ‘for fun’ almost frightens the readers. The separate, quite short paragraphs are effective, as it emphasises the severity of the foes ‘charge sheet’. As Adam Edwards refers to foxes as a ‘he’ it strikes fear with the readers as it seems as if they are all one and they are all cunning. The harsh way that things are said, ‘it has not deterred him’ suggests that foxes are relentless and this would turn readers against him. Edwards mentions several attacks on ‘young’ victims and this also strikes fear and turns the readers against foxes as they wouldn’t want anyone to experience being ‘savagely bitten’ or ‘mauled’ whilst asleep. The generalisation that ‘across London’ there are ‘cries’ for ‘urban hunts’. This would turn readers against foxes as it seems that it’s a ‘surprise’ that foxes were ever thought of like ‘lovable in the first place’. Q2 Edwards turns readers against foxes by talking about the attack on baby twins. He uses the word ‘maul’ to suggest a gruesome, savage attack. He walks about Basil Brush’s beastly side’ to suggest an untamed, savage animal, as opposed to the lovable Disney character. A ‘feral chav’ which ‘breeds indiscriminately’ creates an image of a disgusting creature and Edwards goes on to list recent attacks against humans and animals. The fox not only attacked a woman in Fulham and a baby boy in Dartford but also ‘crept’ into a zoo and killed 11 penguins. ‘Crept’ suggests cunning and ‘for fun’ also shows that the fox kills ruthlessly and for pleasure rather than for food. The Queen’s flamingos were ‘decapitated’ which creates a horrible image in the reader’s mind. Edwards suggests that the fox targets humans and animals which are defenceless and more gruesome images are used such as ‘savagely bitten’ which suggests brutality. He mentioned that the fox symbolises ‘trickery and deceit’ in the Bible and even Roald Dahl presented him as a ‘thief’. Q2 Edwards uses a lot of unpleasant and disturbing facts and language to turn us against the fox, beginning with ‘he bit and mauled baby twins.’ The harsh ‘mauled’ evokes a disgusting image and the fact that it was ‘baby twins’ make the reader think it is even more detestable. Edwards also says a woman was ‘savagely bitten’ and the word ‘savagely’ suggests the fox intentionally meant to hurt the woman, increasing our dislike. It then says a ‘baby boy was attacked’ and this suggests that the fox is a vicious coward for choosing such a vulnerable and helpless victim. To add to the cruel and brutal image, Edwards describes the fox as a ‘feral chav’ and this has negative connotations as ‘feral’ suggests savage and uncivilised and ‘chavs’ intimidate people. The fox is presented as a scavenger and a parasite as it ‘feeds off discarded buckets of KFC’ and also ‘breeds indiscriminately’. Edwards uses words such as ‘crept’, deceit’ and ‘thief’ to suggest that the fox is not to be trusted and the attacks on the penguins and the flamingos are horrible. The word ‘decapitated’ suggests that dark and disturbed mind of the fox as he kills ruthlessly and ‘for fun’. Q3 Stephen Harris tries to prove that foxes ‘have a place in our hearts’ by explaining that even though they rip up our bins, when we see them we stop and watch them. Also Harris has found that ‘as many as one in ten households regularly feeds local foxes’. He also explains that they might nip a small child but nothing serious has ever been reported. Q3 Stephen Harris tries to prove that the urban fox has found a ‘place in our hearts’ by describing how these ‘red-coated invaders’ are gentle and quiet creatures. He starts by saying ‘we adore’ these creatures. This will make us change our heart because everyone else adores them. Then he goes on about the story of the fox who goes to the lady every night. This makes us feel we could be that woman and that they’re nice enough to stroke. Finally he says that ‘no serious injuries have ever been recorded’. Again it makes us trust the foxes as he finished by saying they belong in our hearts. Q3 Stephen Harris tries to prove that the urban fox has found a place in our hearts by showing the fox positively and using positive language to describe the fox. The writer defends the foxes’ littering and noise by saying it is ‘just an act’, trying to convince the reader that the foxes aren’t horrible. He uses an example of homeowners taking the time to watch a fax in their gardens and that people ‘marvel’ at the animal. He describes the fox as ‘intelligent’ and ‘resourceful’ which are positive words to try to convince the reader of their love for the fox. He says people must have a place in their hearts for foxes otherwise ’one in ten households’ wouldn’t deliberately leave food out for them. He describes a bond between a woman in Bristol and a fox as ‘cosy’ and that the fox was ‘calm’ and ‘didn’t panic’ when it was in the woman’s company. Finally, the writer compares the fox as less dangerous than a dog to show the reader how tame and relaxed it is compared to a domestic animal. Q3 Firstly Professor Harris tries to prove that the fax has found a place in our hearts by stating that ‘we city dwellers love our urban foxes.’ He goes on to prove this by simply overlooking the point that they rip bin bags and disturb our sleep by barking by saying that ‘secretly we adore these red-coated invaders.’ He mentions that we all stop and stare at these ‘resourceful’ and ‘intelligent’ animals and we ‘marvel’ at the sight of them in our habitat. He goes on to prove his point by mentioning that we feed them and that half their diet comes courtesy of us humans, suggesting we love the urban fox. Professor Harris goes on to mention the story where a fox became so accustomed to urban life he sneaked into a house and ate the cat’s food and then casually napped on the owner’s lap. This proves they have a special place in our hearts. He also states that they are so common in our lives that we have grown used to seeing them so they have become embedded in our lives. Q3 Professor Harris tries to prove that the fox has found a special place in our hearts by saying that ‘all this hostility is just an act’. He says that ‘secretly we adore these red-coated invaders’. He proves by our typical response to spotting one which is to ‘stop for a moment and stare’. People are in awe of the fox and they ‘marvel’ at the sight of such a resourceful and intelligent animal. People enjoy seeing a fox as it is ‘like a little bit of countryside has suddenly come to town’. He proves it also by saying ‘many of us feed them’. This proves townspeople accept and care for foxes by feeding them. He uses figures such as ‘one in ten households regularly feed local foxes’ which shows evidence of just how many people care for foxes. He tells a story of a woman in Bristol who would feed a fox and it would climb up onto her lap and have its head stroked. This creates an image of a pet-like animal rather than a wild, feral animal and this proves that people have a soft spot for foxes as they treat them like pets. He says stories like this prove they are ‘totally at home’ in our cities and they have ‘little fear from humans’. This proves we don’t hate them and they have been accepted by people. They are so accepted they will take a rise on an escalator and Professor Harris suggests there is no reason why our ‘love affair’ with foxes should not continue. There isn’t any evidence why the fox shouldn’t be loved. Q4 The threat foxes are to humans are they can bit and maul us in our homes at night during our sleep. This will make us very wary of what can happen. They can tear apart our hearts by ‘chomping’ on our pets for example ‘guinea pigs and even kittens. Although foxes have done so many dreadful things they do have good points. If you don’t do anything to them then most times out of ten they will leave you well alone. Most of the time they are only looking for food and that is essential for them to live. The threat foxes are to other animals are foxes will east anything as long as it keeps them alive and this is shown when a fox crept into London zoo and killed eleven penguins and then the Queen’s flamingos at Buckingham palace. Foxes are very dangerous animals so what out but if you see one don’t disturb it and you’ll be alright. Q4 In ‘The rise and fall of Mister Fox’ the threat foxes are to humans is that they bite and attack people. They also take food and make a mess. In ‘Fantastic urban Mr Fox’ the only threat to humans is that they will nip a sleeping child left in a garden. The threat foxes are to animals in ‘the rise and fall of Mr Fox’ is that they kill a number of animals each year and they even sneak into zoos to get animals. But in ‘Fantastic Mr urban fox’ the threat foxes are to animals is that while barking in the night, they might frighten small animals such as kittens, rabbits, rats and guinea-pigs. Q4 The threat foxes are to humans During ‘The Rise and Fall of Mr Fox’, foxes are described to have a ‘beastly side’ and they are ‘feral’. Also, the descriptions involving a fox that ‘mauled baby twins’, another killing ‘for fun’, show the reader the sheer threat that these foxes are to humans. Also, as the foxes are described as ‘more fearless’ than ever before, they are an obvious threat to humans. The fact that shooting is the ‘most effective’ way to control foxes proves their threat to humans. During ‘Fantastic Mr Urban Fox’, there’s mention that foxes ‘nip’ at babies, therefore they are capable of being quite a threat to humans. The threat to other animals During ‘Fantastic Mr Urban Fox’ it is mentioned that ‘small pets’ such as rabbits, guinea-pigs and even kittens are in danger and are threatened by these urban foxes. Edwards mentions that foxes are a clear threat to other animals as one ‘killed 11 penguins’ and the Queen’s flamingos were also ‘decapitated’ by a fox. Foxes are clearly a threat to pets as ‘a number of pet rabbits’ were also killed by foxes. Q4 The extract by Edwards shows that foxes can be a huge threat to humans because they have hurt people of all ages by bites or mauls. However, in the part by Professor Harris we see how foxes and humans can get along and that they can be a lot less of a threat as a woman had a fox as a visitor with no problems. In the part by Professor Harris we see that foxes may be a tiny threat to animals by only killing rabbits or maybe a guinea-pig. However, in the part by Adam Edwards we see that the foxes can be a serious threat as they can sneak into zoos to kill animals and also animals outside like the Queen’s flamingos. Q4 The threat foxes are to humans Edwards tells us of how ‘a woman had her ear savagely bitten’ and ‘a baby boy was attacked’. This text shows the real danger of foxes and the many attacks on humans. However, Harris speaks very little about the attacks on humans. He says a fox ‘may occasionally take a curious nip at a baby’. He claims ‘no serious injuries have ever been recorded.’ This greatly contrasts with Edwards who says ‘a young girl had her arm mauled’. The two articles are a clear contrast. Edwards shows us the severity of fox attacks but Harris says they are almost harmless and that nothing serious has ever happened. Q4 The threat foxes are to humans Edwards tells us of how ‘a woman had her ear savagely bitten’ and ‘a baby boy was attacked’. This text shows the real danger of foxes and the many attacks on humans. However, Harris speaks very little about the attacks on humans. He says a fox ‘may occasionally take a curious nip at a baby’. He claims ‘no serious injuries have ever been recorded.’ This greatly contracts with Edwards who says ‘a young girl had her arm mauled.’ The two articles are a clear contract. Edwards shows us the severity of fox attacks but Harris says they are almost harmless and that nothing serious has ever happened. The threat to other animals Again the two articles show different opinions on the threat foxes are to other animals. Edwards says the fox ‘killed 11 penguins’ and ‘decapitated the Queen’s flamingos’. However, Harris only suggests that the fox ‘occasionally’ takes a small pet such as a rabbit or a guinea-pig that has been ‘inadequately protected’. This suggests it wasn’t really the fox’s fault that the pet was not protected from him. Edwards also states that the fox killed a number of rabbits so both articles do show that foxes can attack and kill small animals. However, the killings are much more serious and violent in ‘The Rise and Fall of Mr Fox’. Q1 In the early stages of Charles Starmer-Smith’s life he enjoyed cycling very much, he enjoyed pedalling among villages in search of bread and adventure. So as a young boy he seemed very enthusiastic I would image that he was one of the Tour de France greats. In the stage of his life which was his adolescence years, he unfortunately got distracted by cars and girls and cycling no longer seemed to be cool. He preferred the stereo playing Pearl Jam with a girl in the passenger seat of his Mini. As a man he pursued his young boy’s dream and became a cyclist. He cycles for the new Sky Team and has done much to inspire a new generation of Britons onto their bikes. He enjoys that he does a sport that helps the environment as he admires the landscapes of Britain. He enjoys all the journeys he takes each day. Q1 Charles Starmer-Smith’s thoughts and feelings about cycling changed throughout his life. When he was a boy he thought of going on adventures and his freedom. It seemed like a part of his life. He used it to pick up food and have fun and explore which is important to a child. When Charles gets to an adolescent his thoughts change because it’s not ‘cool’ to ride a bike. He thinks it was a lot more important to be with a girl, some music and a car that seem a lot more grown up than just a bicycle. It seemed to limit what you can do and where you could go especially compared to a car. As a man his feelings had changed. Once he had bought a special outfit to wear cycling it was like a new him to cycle. Even though his wife thought the outfit was funny he really wanted to look good and feel like a sportsman. He feels smug as he is in front of the traffic then it contrasts him turning and it going to silence. He then embraces the weather, views and noises around him and realises how ‘precious’ moments like that are. This shows how important cycling is to him. He then mentions the views he has earned. This shows he’s glad he’s worked hard to see these views and it means a lot to him. Q1 When Charles Starmer-Smith was a boy, he enjoyed cycling, remembering ‘childhood holidays in France’ when he would ‘pedal among the villages in search of bread and adventure.’ He talks about the ‘freedom of pedal power’ and imagining he was one of the ‘Tour de France greats’. As an adolescent, cycling was ‘no longer cool’ and along came ‘girls and guitars and cars’. On a bike he was unable to ‘play Pearl Jam on the stereo’ and do other like things like have the roof of a car down and a pretty girl in the passenger seat. As a man, he has an ‘inflated sense of his sporting prowess’. When cycling in Richmond Park, he felt like a man on an ‘epic ascent of some legendary Alpine peak.’ He spent a small fortune on a new cycling outfit and felt ‘streamlined and ready for anything’. As he weaves through the traffic, a ‘wave of smugness’ washes over him as he is able to avoid the ‘noisy commuters and choking traffic’. Q2 Charles Starmer-Smith thinks cycling is a popular and enjoyable activity because he describes his time on the track as ‘precious moments’. He says ‘a string of champions on the track’ which shows that a lot of people take part in cycling and its popular. He says cycling is done anytime of the day. In the article it says ‘mornings, evenings, weekends and holidays are all about pedal power.’ This would show that cycling could be enjoyable at any time. It also says there is a charity called ‘cycle to Work’. This would show cycling is popular. The article shows that cycling across Britain has a lot of routes. It says ‘more than a million journeys on these routes.’ This shows that cycling is a popular sport. Q2 Charles Starmer-smith thinks cycling is a popular and enjoyable activity because he continuously mentions the landscapes that he encounters on his journeys and mentions the lack of delay ‘no deadlines, no delays.’ There have been a wide string of champions on the cycling track, these people have inspired so many Britons to go out and cycle for themselves. Aided by an overpriced and overcrowded transport system and savings from the ‘Cycle to Work’, the cycle has now become an answer to rising carbon emissions. He says that you don’t need to be the world’s greatest athlete to contribute to this revolution. The National cycle network covers an amazing 10,000 miles and enjoy the many routes they take each day. Q2 Charles Starmer-Smith thinks cycling is a popular and enjoyable activity because of the ‘escapism’ it offers. When cycling, he forgets the cold as he listens to the ‘hum of the tyres and the whirr of the chain’. He can see a beautiful view – ‘the patchwork of green fields’ below him. He has ‘no deadlines’ and ‘no delays’ and cares for little but the ‘verdant hills and plunging valleys’, speaking of the ‘panoramic views’ he can enjoy. He says ‘travel is not just about the destination but the journey there.’ He talks about how ‘the bicycle is now seen as the answer to rising carbon emissions’ but adds that it is the ‘escapism’ that is ‘the real draw’. He tells us that the British landscape is ‘perfect for cycling’ and reminds us that ‘we are clocking more than a million journeys’ across the ‘mind-boggling’ 10,000 mile cycle network every day. Q2 Charles Starmer-Smith thinks that cycling has now become a popular and enjoyable sport firstly because he feels that cycling is not about the destination but ‘the journey there’. Cycling has ‘no deadlines’ and ‘no delays’. He also mentions the rewards that come with cycling, explaining how his efforts had gained him ‘panoramic views’. He also puts the risein the popularity of cycling down to the success of medal winning Olympians such a Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton. He feels that the success of these people has ‘inspired a new general of people to adopt the ‘cycle to work initiative.’ He tells us that cycling has become a solution to the problem of ‘rising carbon emissions’. He also explains that cycling is for everyone and you don’t have to ‘circumnavigate the world’ to be a part of the cycling ‘revolution’. Finally, he ends by informing us that Britain is ‘perfect for cycling’ giving us no excuse not to give it a go. Q4 Deborah Moggach tries to prove that anyone with sense will cycle by using inclusive pronouns – ‘you’, ‘ourselves’, ‘we’. These pronouns involve the reader and make them feel as though they are part of the article. This in turn allows them to be persuaded by her much easier as they are now part of the text. As well as this Moggach uses triplets to describe the advantage of cycling in London; ‘misery of the Tube’, ‘wall-to-wall buses’ and ‘the hopelessness of driving’. The use of this triple really pushes her point across that London is a horrible place to travel around and emphasises how every other form of transport is nothing compared to cycling. Also Moggach uses rhetorical questions such as ‘how friendly is London to cyclists?’ This question provokes a response from the reader and makes them think about what is being said in the article. Therefore they will see the point that cycling is the best way to travel around London and that anyone with sense will choose to cycle. Q3 Deborah Moggach tries to prove that ‘anyone with any sense’ cycles in London because she thinks ‘nothing beats weaving through the rush-hour traffic’ on her bike and she claims ‘everyone I know with any sense bikes’ because it is the only way to ‘free ourselves of the misery that is the Tube’ and the other methods of transport in London. She goes on to proclaim cycling is ‘free, non-polluting and a wonderful way to keep fit ‘as knowledge everyone should have but goes on to talk about the lesser known efficiency; any other form of transport entails allowing for delays which she describes as ‘a waste of life’. Moggach expands, saying that ‘no longer are you at the mercy of bus drivers’, indicating that cycling puts you in charge of travel. She goes on to point out that a cyclist can do errands en route and that ‘once you start cycling the city opens up for you.’ Her final point is that on a bike ‘it’s you who owns the city’ and of course nobody with any sense could ignore these reasons. Q3 Moggach effectively proves that ‘anyone with any sense’ cycles in London by showing that ‘everyone’ she knows, including her children, bikes. This is effective as if the reader does not cycle in London they will feel silly as the implication is that if you don’t cycle, you don’t have any sense’. She makes cycling seem like the obvious thing to do as she paints a grim picture of other forms of transport as an ‘eternal gridlock’, ‘misery’ or ‘hopelessness’. She shows that ‘nothing beats weaving through the rush-hour traffic’ or ‘whizzing’ while others are stuck in traffic jams. She shows the advantages of cycling such as ‘it’s free, non-polluting and a wonderful way to keep fit’, proving that cycling is good for your pocket, the environment and your health. She uses a rhetorical question to prove how ridiculous it is that people ‘take the Tube’ then ‘spend their lunch hour’ on an exercise bike when they could have cycled to work. Moggach proves that other forms of transport have ‘endless waits’ and uses a punchy sentence for effect ‘What a waste of life!’ She shows the other advantages such as doing ‘errands on impulsive’ and having the city ‘open up for you’, showing that you have control. She uses repetition of ‘no longer’ to reinforce the point that when you cycle, you have more freedom as you aren’t at the mercy of the city. She also disproves people who believe cycling in London is ‘scary’ as you can ‘always get off’, reassuring people who may be worried about cycling. On a bike you ‘own the city’, suggesting you have control and power, rather than ‘the city owning you’. This shows anyone with any sense would cycle. Q4 Deborah Moggach has a much direct approach to getting people to cycle compare to Charles Starmer-Smith. Moggach uses phrases like ‘with any sense’ and ‘scandalous lack of facilities’ to show her view on a direct note, whereas Starmer-Smith gives his views by saying how it gives a sense of ‘freedom’ and he describes the ‘amazing’ views of the landscape around him to get people to start cycling. Both Moggach and Starmer feel that cycling has its benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Starmer says how it shows your ‘sporting prowess’ and Moggach says it’s a form of ‘exercise’ and will get you fit. Moggach and Starmershow the negatives of biking in very different ways. Starmer hardly uses any negatives and only uses them whilst he talks about his journey through adolescence. He says how things got in the way of his biking, not that he didn’t like it anymore. However, Moggach displays her view on the negative aspects of cycling in a rather aggressive manner ‘falls or damaged’. Q4 Charles Starmer-Smith For most of this article Charles Starmer-Smith focuses on how cycling has impacted his life positively. However, he does mention a few problems with cycling. He reveals that as an adolescent other things were more important. He says ‘cycling was no longer cook and the limitations of a bike, rather than its freedoms, became all too apparent’. He also mentions the impracticality of a bike eg he could play music, or a girl couldn’t sit in the passenger seat, unlike his car. He also shows as an adult how cyclists can sometimes look silly because of the Lycra outfits some wear. But he brushes it aside and makes a joke out of it, calling it the British Lycra Brotherhood. Deborah Moggach Deborah goes into more detail about the problems and disadvantages of cycling than Charles, but does have a lot of advantages too. She mentions how a cyclist can arrive at their destination ‘sodden with sweat and hideous helmet hair’. She also mentions how sexy clothes and cycling don’t go together and so you would have to change in an alleyway. However, like Charles she makes a joke out of it and keeps the article lighthearted. Q4 Charles Starmer-Smith He does not mention a lot of disadvantages about cycling but he says that as an adolescent he realised the ‘limitations’ of a bike – he was unable to ‘play Pearl Jam on the stereo’ or have a ‘pretty girl’ next to him on the passenger seat. He also shows that cycling can be difficult if out of practice, saying that while ‘tackling the gentle contours of Richmond Park’ he was ‘puffing like a man on an epic ascent of some legendary alpine peak’. He also mentions his wife making fun of his outfit. He tells us that she said he looked like ‘a Village People tribute act’. He also says it can be cold in the early morning as he began looking ‘enviously’ at the thick coats of the sheep. Deborah Moggach Moggach speaks about London’s ‘aggressive drivers’, saying cyclists find them ‘scary’. She also says you may arrive at your destination ‘sodden with sweat’ and with ‘hideous helmet hair’. Admitting that ‘sexy clothes and biking don’t go together, she says she has to ‘pop into an alleyway to change’ and can end up ‘looking a bit of a twit’. Like Starmer-Smith, she mentions the weather, saying that cycling is no fun in ‘torrential rain’. A big disadvantage of cycling in London is the ‘scandalous lack of facilities’ and how there are few places to park. Q1 There were 2400 kids competeting He began ballet dancing at two and a half Ballet Tap Jazz Practising ballet, tap and jazz There were 22 places every year They are delighted and believe he will become famous Q2 There were 2400 kids competing to win a place He started ballet at two and half He practises ballet, jazz and tap dances He will have eight hours of dancing lessons and four hours of general education per day There are 22 places available The boys all started clapping at his success and asked for autographs when he is famous Q2 From the article you learn that they are very supportive of Keenan’s dream. Mr Faulkner plans to take a second job so he can pay the tuition fees. From this you can tell that they are willing to do anything for their son. Mr Faulkner also plans to appear on ‘Deal or No Deal’ to try and earn a small fortune to help pay for the tuition fees. ‘the couple hope to have raised most of the cash before Keenan leaves Barnsley behind’. This shows me that they are kind and supportive of Keenan’s dream and are determined to get the money and they will not let an opportunity of a lifetime slip away. Q2 In the article Mr Faulkner shows his urge for his son by explaining he will obtain a second job for his tuition fees. This shows he is a caring parent whom wants the best for his son. Furthermore, he is also going to take part in ‘Deal or No Deal’ so he can earn a ‘fortune’ to pay for the tuition. He is described as a ‘proud’ father also. His further commitment is shown by him saying ‘I’ll work Saturdays and Sundays’. This shows he is keen his won will go far and that he is a faithful father. Next, Mrs Faulkner shows her effort and courage to make sure her son gets ‘the opportunity of a lifetime’. This shows she knows how important this is for Keenan and she wants to help him reach his target. She says we’re not going to deny him that chance’. This shows she is committed to her son gets what he loves and that is dancing. Q2 When reading this article, we learn a lot about Keenan’s parents and they are proud of him for getting a place. Mr Faulkner earns £15,600 a year by working at ‘an engineering factory’ but needs to raise £100,000 to he is planning to take a second job so they can raise the money quicker. The father will do anything to raise the money so he is going to appear on; ‘Deal of No deal’ and is even looking to ‘remortgage the family home’. Mr Faulkner is willing and determined to raise the money and says he will work ‘Saturdays and Sundays and every day of the week’ so Keenan won’t ‘miss out’ on the big opportunity. Keenan’s mother works as a ‘hospital records clerk’ and also wants to raise the money because she is thinking about her son’s opportunity later in life and how this will set it out. She doesn’t care what others think when they ‘think we’re mad trying to raise such a huge amount of money’ because she knows it will help Keenan and help him in the future. Mrs Faulkner doesn’t want this opportunity to ‘slip away’ because they don’t have the money so she is trying everything to raise the money. She is ‘forming a committee’ to set about raising the funds and by doing this she makes her son happy and is fuelling his future. She knows she will be ‘permanently poor’ but is willing to take the risk to help her son live his dream and ‘he’s not going to miss out now’ so near the end. Mrs Faulkner is worried that the other boys would ‘take the mickey’ because she is protective but was surprised with the responses. Both parents are glad their son has this opportunity and are willing to let him live his dream. Q3 The impressions I get about Ambreen Sadiq from the article is that she is a very strong person inside. I get this impression because the reader mentions her culture and religion and that they disapprove of her boxing. However, ‘Ambreen paid no attention to those who disapproved of her boxing.’ From this you can tell she is determined to do what she wants even if it is not approved by her culture making her a strong person. Also I feel that she’s upset that she doesn’t have the support of her parents and people go to mum and dad and say ‘Tell your daughter not to box’. This upset her because her parents say it brings shame to the family when all she wants is there support. Also for them to except her for who she is no matter what she’s doing. Q3 From reading the title ‘Ambreen Sadiq, Muslim girl boxer, aims to combat prejudice to succeed in the ring’ I get the impression that she is a dedicated girl to boxing and wants to go far with the sport even though it’s not the type of thing that is expected as a girl in her religion. She shows a lot of commitment to the sport as she has won the national female championship for her age and weight and has now been nominated in the female category of the junior sports personality of the year for the British Asian sports awards. Ambreen gets on with her boxing even though people disagree with her doing it because of cultural reasons. She has two completely different personalities. She is a shy Muslim girl but transforms into a ‘rapid-fire fighting machine’ The impression most shown is that Ambreen loves boxing and trains hard even though it’s not cultural for her to do so and the write has shown she is dedicated by the way he describes her ambition in life. Q3 I get the impression it has been hard work for Ambreen to get where she is but she is proud of herself and wants to continue. She is strong and has ‘overcome opposition’ to get where she is. This shows she will do anything and fight anything in her way. She is aiming for the 2012 Olympics and is determined to get there. This demonstrates the fight and willpower she has to get to her dream. This article states that she has ‘already won’ big fights which shows that Ambreen is good at what she does. She gets ‘mixed feedback’ from the community but takes on the chin and gets through it. She is willing and wants to win. Ambreen paid ‘no attention’ to those that disagreed and carried on because she wants to be a boxer and will do anything to get what she wants. She is a ‘dedicated boxer’ and in the ring shows how talented and ‘strong and determined’ she is to get her goal because she really wants it. She blocks out ‘negative feedback’ because she knows it affect her so she shows her strong side. The writer describes her as a ‘rapid-fire fighting machine’ which shows she is good at what she does and she wants to prove the people that she didn’t believe in her that they were wrong. Q4 The way Keenan is unusual is that he doesn’t do or enjoy the things his classmates do eg playing video games or football. The ways Ambreen is unusual are that she doesn’t do what her friends do. She also does a sport that most boys would do and doesn’t do what most girls would do. However they are both similar they both do something they want to do and are determined to do it no matter what they will do it. Q4 Keenan is unusual because he has been chosen from 2,400 children to go to the royal Ballet school. Also few boys like Keenan do tap or ballets, especially in a town like Barnsley. Ambreen Sadiq is unusual because boxing isn’t an Asian sport at a competitive level. Few girls let alone Muslim girls are expected to fight. Being nominated in the female category of the junior sports personality of the year at the British Asian community is an unusual and unique achievement. Keenan and Ambeen are similar in that they are both ambitious to pursue a sport not caring what anyone else thinks, following their dreams and ignoring nasty comments of why they should stop doing the sports they love and a career in. To whom it may concern I am writting today to express my views on TV talent shows. I think these talent show, such as X Factor are Just there so other people can laugh at other misfortune and lack of any talent ability. Even though the winner earns a big sum of money many views are lost after the auditision are over as there is nothing to laugh about people being Good. I think there should be secret auditision as many people don’t like being laughed at, personaly i don’t think shouting ‘Off! Off! Off!’ on one of the TV talent shows is very kind. Please change something about these tv talent shows i hope you concider my views. Yours sincerly Dear Mr X I am writing to you to give my opinion on tv talent shows. My name is Katy and I am a teenager from Wales. There isn’t anything better than sitting at home on a Saturday night watching shows like to X factor and britains got talent with your mates and a slice of pizza. Yet its obvious that there aint that much talent. Apart from the odd singer with a troubled background. Mostly on these talent shows it just fools thinking they are living the dream. Even if singers are okay at singing, they still have to have a certain look, don’t they? Unless their beautiful and skinny there aint much place for them on these ‘talent shows’. Some people view that talent shows like the X factor are ‘giving unknown people a chance’ A chance of what? Become famous. Some of these people dont deserve a chance just because you have been blessed with a angelic voice you deserve to be famous? What about people who need a chance at life. They deserve a chance. Maybe im being to harsh, I guess there are genuine people out there who have worked really hard to achieve their dreams. And well done to them. If these talent shows are meant to be serious, if there intention is to achieve some poor souls dream then why do they spend hours humiliating people. Over 60% of people who audition for talent shows cant sing or don’t have talent, just think they do. It’s cruel setting someone up for public embarasment . Anyway my view of talent shows are that although there entertaining to watch and there something to watch on a Saturday night, there not really that great. I think the newspaper don’t print enough real stuff of talent shows. I would like to see more of the effects the laughing at someone can have to there self-esteem. This would potentially stop people from laughing so hard. Thank you. Yours truly Dear The Sun I am writing to you in reply to your article expressing the views of TV talent shows. TV talent shows, mostly run by Simon Cowell, are a incoherent bore; humourless; and mean. They deliberately bully innocent people who are passionate about singing. They forget pentioners like myself and give them a stage to entertain people like animals in a zoo. The judges point and laugh and have little respect for the auditioned that long for their ‘expert’ opinion. After a fix to win Christmas number one the winner disappears and sometimes just want to ring them up and say, ‘There’s a reason you weren’t a pop singer in the first place!’ The singing industry is hard and it takes more than several boring Saturday night shows to conquere the industry. I think it is the thought of being famous they long for. Why? I’ll never know. Drugs; alcohol; rock and roll, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Admitedly, there has been a few diamonds in the rust and they have done quite well. One Direction. Susan Boyle. Leona Lewis. But would you want to remember it was a talent show that made you famous? One thing that really bothers me about talent shows is the hidden auditions before the ‘real auditions. Don’t be fooled to think that the awful, but apparently entertaining, singers just turn up to face Simon Cowell and the forever changing judges. A previous round of auditions divides the entertaining from the talented, giving false hope to those who may be passionate but not gifted. I hope to hear that I am not the only wife one who switches off TV ‘talent’ shows. Yours sincerely, Dear Editor, I recently heard about a new talent show, ‘The Voice’, from my children. They said it is ‘way better’ than the ‘X Factor’ because the show is less focused on the appearance of the singer and more focused on their talent. I must admit that initially I was quite interested in this – I thought that perhaps the industry had finally taken a leap from Benny Hill-esque showbiz to a higher form of culture. Unfortunately I found that I was quite misguided. ‘The Voice’ does not promote a culture where people are never judged on appearance – they are simply judged a little later than before. I am not saying that ‘The Voice’ is the main culprit in this vicious industry. I am merely highlighting it because it claims to be different to shows such as ‘X Factor’. Quite frankly, I do not feel that they have anything to feel superior about. It is not that ‘The Voice’ is particularly bad. It is just the nature of the beast. It seems that it is impossible for talent shows to refrain from indulging in the glory of young, beautiful people who could be ‘stars’. But these people are often so young that they have barely left school are led to believe that stardom is just a step away. I believe this undermines the work of many musicians who struggle for years to find fame. What is the point when you can have it all in a week? The problem is the sort of artists emerging from talent shows are all one genre – pop. No blues or folk artist, no matter how talented, would ever appear on such a contest because they do not appeal to the mainstream audience. So we are stuck with anodyne, mindless performances that all seem to be identical. Perhaps these ‘artists’ should stop expecting that they can find fame in minutes and realise that it takes hard work and dedication to make real music. And maybe we should stop telling them that it is all right to appear in these meretricious talent shows, because it is a long time since I saw any talent come out of them. Yours sincerely Dear Editor, It is with great exasperation that I have decided to pick up my pen to at last vent my anger to you. I am writing about nothing than the sickening TV ‘talent’ shows that ruin our primetime television schedule. These shows were not designed to for the purpose of showcasing great British talent, rather they are a cunning plot that some bright spark thought up to increase the TV companies’ revenue. These programmes are a foul waste of decent licence payers’ hard-earned cash, which is extravagantly blown on tacky stage sets and unfunny, awkward presenters. ‘X Factor’ and ‘The Voice’ are not the fast tracks to stardom for undiscovered musical geniuses, but a chance for the contestants to win over the audience with their horrendous sob-stories about their partner’s drug addiction, seven hungry mouths to feed and no hope of employment. Rather than judging on creative brilliance, the audience use a pathetic ‘cute scale’ – the more depressing the life story the better the contestant. This nauseates me every time I glimpse a few seconds of these programmes as I flick through the channels to seek respite in some intelligent, refined viewing. Furthermore, instead of being the masterpieces of entertainment they are portrayed to be in the media, they are cringeworthy flops that cannot be seen as pleasure but rather as punishment for the viewers at home forced to endure such misery. And I’ve not even started on the judges. These so-called music ‘know-it-alls’ star on such shows for one reason only – to become rich and famous. Depicted as stars, heroes, Gods, they are really just experiences punters signing up to get a get-rich-quick scheme. It pains me to watch the fake enthusiasm they put into giving doomed contestants false hope and advice. These shows are an absolute abomination. Yours faithfully, Dear Editor, I am writing to you to show my support for Mr Bialy’s idea of a local outdoor music festival, a ‘showcase of our region’s prodigious talent’. As far as I am concerned, any help we can give to the bands in our area should be welcomed with open arms. They represent our culture, and bring a vibrancy to the towns around here that attracts people from far and wide. Many people have noted how amazingly talented many bands and singers from our area are, and I think that showing this to anyone who cares to see in a music festival would be excellent. Why not be proud of them.? As well as being a good opportunity for bands around here, a festival of this sort could help local businesses a lot. For example, it would be a wonderful way to get people to try the amazing food from the area – what festival is complete without food stalls? It would even showcase our beautiful location – anyone who came would surely agree how stunning it is, which can only improve the tourism on which this region depends. And for the locals? It would be great entertainment, as well as a chance to encourage people to get outdoors a little more. We have been enjoying wonderful weather recently, and such an event would be a brilliant way to spend a summer’s day. Some have raised eyebrows over potential noise pollution as a result of this festival. Firstly, can music be described in any way as ‘pollution’? Surely, our usual symphony of roadworks, traffic noise and groups of people who have just exited the pub is far worse? Plus, it would only be one day. Secondly, the festival will hardly be held in the middle of town, so if you don’t want to hear it, you simply needn’t go. Also, there has been worry over whether such an event would attract the ‘wrong sort of people’. What a ridiculous idea! Any undesirable persons would more likely be attracted to the vast array of pubs and clubs we have to amuse our bored residents. An outdoor music festival would attract people who love music, not hooligans! It would also benefit those in the hospitality industry, as most visitors will need a place to stay. Overall, as far as I can see it, this idea is a great opportunity for our region. We would be able to showcase our amazing local talent, help tourism and trade in the area and have a great day out. I simply can’t see the problem – what’s not to like? Yours sincerely, Dear Ryan Mum told me last week that you are thinking of taking up boxing. I couldn’t quite believe it as you’ve never really shown an interest in it before. You have always enjoyed playing football and you are really good at that. Dad and I used to come and watch you play on a Saturday morning. You were always by far the best player on the team and you always scored the most goals. You never failed or disappointed us. Why don’t you carry on with football? It’s much better than boxing. Boxing can be such a dangerous sport, people get hurt all the time. You would never have any free time as you would be training so much for it. Your life would change drastically. It will take months and months of training anyway so you’re definitely going to get bored and lose interest. Personally, I think it would be such a waste of time. You would have to go on a very strict diet which would be hard for you. You love your food way too much for that. You could also end up getting seriously hurt and end up in hospital. Do you really want to worry your family and friends? It wouldn’t be nice at all. You might end up with broken bones or scars over your face. I know for a fact you wouldn’t want that. I can see why you would want to box. It would keep you fit and you would be able to defend yourself properly. However, I think you should take some time to think about this as I don’t think it is a very good idea. As your sister, I am asking you to think about this properly. Please listen to what I have said as it means a lot to me. Please write back soon. Yours sincerely Dear Eric, We have been friends for a very long time. Now, I know this means I’m supposed to support you in everything you do and always be there for you whatever happens, and for our entire friendship, I feel I’ve done this pretty well. Remember when you wanted to be a racing driver? I sat right next to you in that car while you drove around the track for hours and I didn’t complain once, did I? Even when you forgot to brake and we had to ring the trainer for instructions over the phone, I said nothing even remotely reproachful. Now I want you to bear that occasion in mind while you read the rest of this letter. Also, I love you and you have really nice hair. OK? Right, here goes. You CANNOT, absolutely ever, ever become a professional boxer. I am not advising you on this. This isn’t a friendly, cautionary word. This is a totally categorical ban on you going within three miles of a boxing ring, a punchbag or a pair of boxing gloves. Now, I realise this would unreasonable, but please hear me out. Firstly, you can’t even beat your own brother at arm wrestling. He’s six, Eric. And don’t pretend you let him win, because I saw that look in your eye on the eight attempt. That wasn’t brotherly love. That was sheet determination. Having the arm strength, and I say this with love, of a slightly unwell toddler will not be much of an asset in the boxing ring. I would also like to remind you of your uncanny ability to trip over everything and anything that lies in your path – books, chairs, rugs, unusually short members of the public and your own feet, to name but a few. Clumsiness, I feel, is not a desirable trait for someone who is trying to avoid injury on a confined space! Finally, I will mention the fact that very few people actually want to see you get your face destroyed by big, aggressive men. I certainly don’t. Admittedly, some people you have tripped over in the past, and that driving instructor whose car you broke, may enjoy the experience. But your family and friends value your well-being and facial features, which will inevitably be destroyed in a boxing ring. So please, please do not ever bring this idea up every again, or I will be forced to sedate you. Lots of love, COME TO CARDIFF Come to Cardiff We have an old beautiful castle in the city centre, with timeless history and rooms of natural beliefs. Come to the castle and watch centurys of history float in front of your eyes. Not only do we have a castle we have many shops and leisure faciltys for relaxation and if you want a fitness work out we have loads of hotels for you to stay in. Cardiff bay: Cardiff bay is full of things to do from watching something at the Cardiff Millenium centre to fine dining and boat rids, and even fishing. Just one tram away we have the lovely barry island for the wonderful sunny days. We always go to the beach because we get none-stop sun no matter what month. Why come to Cardiff town centre? Because Cardiff town is great! It has everything you need to keep yourself entertained. Cardiff is in the heart of Wales, were surrounded by beautiful scenery. You really can’t miss it. No matter what age you are, what gender you are or what ability you have, Cardiff is suited to all. If you love shopping, male or female then our brand new shopping mall is right up your street. Go on have a quick indulge I wont tell. We have all the well known brands like, Topshop, River Island, New Look, Burton Luara Ashley, Primark and hundreds more. Cardiff is also full of unique shops, shops you wont find anywhere but here! Cardiff’s mall is filled with lifts, escalators, automatic doors, wheelchair ramps and many more helpful features. If shopping is not your thing, then hop on a bus/train/waterbus to Cardiff bay! If you come to Cardiff you must come to the Bay. It has developed over many years it’s not just docks anymore it’s a whole community. There’s restaurants, cafes, walks, entertainment skatepark, Coastal beauty, Famous Norwegian church. It’s easy to park and easy to access. You will love it as much as we do. Cardiff is also perfect for the kiddies! There are plenty of activities for the children to enjoy. We have a brand new swimming pool, jam packed with slides and other fun activities. We have a new ice rink and a white water rafting centre which is brand new and incredibly safe! There are many cinemas for those days where the Welsh weather is being as predicted in Wales. However with every cloud there is a silver lining, why not check out the amazing museums, filled with intresting things. Kids would love the museum, its not boring at all and its educational for them and you. There is always the Doctor Who world and ten pin bowling down the Red dragon centre. Now where would Wales be if it wasn’t for the sport. We are famous for our grand slam victory and our continuous finals at Wembley with our football boys. And the Olympics is coming to Cardiff! An extra reason to come to our glorious city. I hope this guide has helped you finalise your decision to come to Cardiff and espically our town centre. seriously you would be missing out. Thanks for reading this guide. See you soon! When most people think about Blaenau Ffestiniog they think about a dark slate covered town thats always raining and has sheep here, there and everywhere, causing havoc and mania. But it isn’t Blaenau is a wonderful, exciting place with lots of welcoming people. One of the misconceptions of Blaenau is that it’s always raining. There’s even a famous Welsh song about it. But it doesn’t always rain in Blaenau, it does 90% of the time in winter but in the summer the place lights up with the sun, and Blaenau becomes a totally different place. You see little children on their bikes, people walking their dogs and people swimming in the local rivers or lakes. Why? Because they can. Blaenau has many attractions and many things to do. The mountains that circle the town are great for walking or biking and the views when you get there are extraordinary. You’ll see the sun glistening on the lake, the trees dancing in the breeze and the different animal and plants you can see will send nature-lovers wild. One of the main attractions of Blaenau is the steam train that goes to Portmadog. You’ll be able to go on the same train as the Olympic torch did on the 28th May 2012. The views that you will see while going on the little train are amazing, even to those who live in Blaenau. From waterfalls to landscape and you will even see a massive wolf made out of branches. The little steam train in this town is famous around the world. The other main attraction in the area is the Llechwedd Slate Caverns, bringing thousands of tourists every year from all corners of the globe. The history in the caverns will blow anyone’s mind, it’s like it’s very own movie including tragedy and happiness, love and loss. There’s even an underground lake – that’s not something you see everyday! Blaenau is one of the most interesting places you could go to, and you must include it on your bucket list, or you’re going to miss out! VISIT YORK There are many layers to the historical city of York, and each one will hold appeal for a different type of person. Fancy a quick shop? York city centre has all you need and more! History more your thing? Then visit the Dig or the Jorvik (say ‘yorvic’) centres. Do you thrive on fear? Then enter the York Dungeons or meet with the Ghost hunters every Thursday night in the Shambles. Not for the faint of heart! Before entering the city, you should be advised that the locals speak a slightly different dialect of English. All you need to know is that: Streets are called gates Gates are called bars Bars are called pubs So, with your mastery of the York dialect now apparent, you will want to know what is in York. Probably the most famous attraction in York is the Jorvik Centre. This is a ride on a slow-moving cart giving you a first-hand glimpse of the sights and sounds and smells of Viking York. With an audio commentary in several languages (including English, French, Spanish German and a simplified English) Viking Jorvik has never seemed so real. Some of you may, however, view all this as boring. If you are fed up of hearing what other archaeologists have found, or you have children who want to grow up to be archaeologists, you should go to the Dig Centre. Here you can uncover ancient ruins from four different eras of York’s history (Roman, Viking, medieval and Victorian). If you are worried about weather or dirt, don’t be. The centre is indoor and you will not be digging through mud. For those of you a little more interested in the darker side of York’s history, look no further than the York dungeons. It is an exhibition that interacts with you. From criminals jumping you to an in-depth look at torture instruments, this exhibition is not recommended for those of a nervous nature. If you want a little less history and a little more scary, you could try joining the Ghost Hunt. Starting at 7.00pm every Thursday night in the medieval street of the Shambles, who knows what ancient and tormented spooks still linger in those streets when the sun has gone down? On the other hand, you could just want to spend your time in York shopping and that is just fine. There are many different shops in the city centre and if you are unable to find that perfect item, there is a shopping mall just ten minutes outside of the city. York is well-known for its racecourse, and no guide to this fair city would be complete without at least mentioning it. Even when races are not on, you can still wander the course and occasionally bands will play there as well. However, on some days you have just had enough. On such a day, why not go down to the river and book a boat trip, relaxing to the sound of water all around you as you gently bob on the surface? These are just a few of the attractions in the great city of York. For more information, please check the York website or just visit and see what is there for yourself. EXPERIENCE THE SIGHTS AND SOUNDS OF SHEFFIELD Welcome to Sheffield! We are the greenest city in the UK and have more trees per person than anywhere else in Europe. But if it’s not the lush, verdant outdoors and close proximity to the Peak District National Park you’re after, can we tempt you to the city centre to soak up the urban masterpiece that is the 2012 European Capital of Culture? A Triumph of the Arts Home to a spectacular array of the bright museums in the north and art galleries that would delight even the most hardened art buff, not to mention the largest theatre complex in the UK outside London, Sheffield is a culture vulture’s dream. Here are some ideas to get you started: Weston Park Museum – recently developed, Britain’s first free museum take you on a tour of the vibrant animal world and the funfilled history of Sheffield’s industrial superheroes. David Mellor Museum – British design icon, David Mellow was the designer of modern traffic lights, not to mention a mind-blowing selection of inspirational furniture and cutlery design, a hint towards Sheffield’s bold industrial past. Find where your dining room cutlery was made – it’ll just be a five minute stroll … Wandering the pavements of the city centre’s many seductive, twisting, cobbled streets, you’re bound to encounter the once bustling hub of British industry. The ‘little mesters’ populate the back streets in droves, some still handcrafting and selling their wares today. A Loud Music Scene It only takes ten minutes on West Street to discover the unsigned groups of tomorrow. The British rock legends of Def Leppard were born here as well as more recent chart-toppers The Arctic Monkeys. With ever-popular venues like the Motorpoint Arena, Plug, corporation and Sheffield City Hall (which is Yorkshire’s largest most visited entertainment venue), you can be experiencing the thrill of aw-inspiring live music, whatever your taste. Sheffield is the place to be right now. The modern developments and ultracook art galleries and underground music venues are at the forefront of the UK’s 21st century renaissance. Get thissen to Sheffield, tha’ll have a reight good do! Music review Whatever your tastes, there is no doubt that now is a very exciting time for music. If you hear any nostalgic whiners, I have one piece of advice for you – don’t listen to them. If you are trying to say that the modern music world can’t live up to its past, then I suggest that you clean out your ears and listen a little harder. It’s not that we don’t have a lot to be thankful to the past for – far from it. In this writer’s opinion, the most vital, exciting music is being made by artists who are well versed in the vocabulary of pop music’s history, but who twist it into dynamic, disfigures and utterly thrilling new shapes. Take, for instance, the White Stripes. This is a band who are self-confessed Delta blues freaks (a genre of music that couldn’t be more regressive and ‘authentic’ unless it was being played at the Battle of Hastings), and their debts to seminal bluesmen such as Robert Johnson are evident and worn proudly on their sleeves. Yet, what could so easily be seen as a Luddite, deathly dull retreat into well-worn influences somehow translates into a display of passion and fundamentalist power that has no parallel in the history of music. Their punk version of the blues is an explosion of such guile and ferocity that you have to catch your breath after listening to them. Frankly, you need to hear their latest, phenomenal album, Elephant. It is a raw, melodic and elemental display of power that you will not find anywhere else. Bands such as the White Stripes are sprouting up all over the place these days, and it has been dubbed in many quarters as the rather illustriously tilted ‘New Rock Revolution’. Whether or not the term ‘revolution’ is a bit optimistic in a moot point, but there is no doubting the fact that somebody has made guitars sound EXCITING again after a decade of entirely deserved dance and rap dominance. Bands like The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Vines (and yes, it is a requirement of the revolution for the comrades to have band names beginning with ‘The’ something) may not bring as much to the table as the most daring and innovative electronica but they sure do present what they have with style. So if you’re tempted to hold your head in your hands and despair, please don’t. Review of ‘Reality Television’ As the eighteenth series, or so it seems, of Big Brother invades our screens this June, it seems that we are drowning in a flood of reality television. Back in the olden days, or so we’re told, there were two types of television: news and sport. Then came dramas and discussion programmes and soaps, and comedies until finally, in the 21st century, television bosses have decided that what we really like watching on television is ourselves, or rather people who could be us! It was all very well when ‘Airport’ came out and it has to be said that Jeremy made us all laugh, but ‘Hairdresser’? ‘Road Sweeper’? These programmes have all hit the schedules recently and most of them suck like industrial hoovers. Take ‘I’m a has-been, look at me’. Apart from the loveable Phil Tufnell , the ‘characters’ in the programme just came across as a sad bunch of whining, overpaid D-listers, who couldn’t entertain us any more than they could get in touch with the reality they claim to be showing. However, my square-eyed disciples, there is still hope for us yet. There is still television we can escape to, safe in the knowledge that it is about as real as David Dickinson’s tax. Much of it has come from across the pond. Take ‘24’ which led the way in TV action with its groundbreaking time structure and dialogue. Although it had a plot as believable as the Iraqi Minister of Information, it wiped the floor with the competition. Another good example is the surreal yet wet-yourself-laughing Six Feet Under, set in a funeral parlour of all places. Despite its melancholy setting and kooky characters, it has been head and shoulders above its more conventional stablemates in sitcom, particularly the dismal Friends. I’m starting to see a pattern here. In a return to the ancient fantasy classics, like the dead goldfish it is and bringing back the iguana of zaniness, the tarantula of oddity and the python of surrealism. No British programme exemplifies this better than Bo Selecta. By taking the celebrities who tire us with their drivel about stifled creativity and ‘mean’ contracts, and giving them all the rubber mask, this programme has produced the funniest comedy since Ali G’s early work. So please, TV channel bosses, don’t show us grim reality TV, give us the products of people’s imagination. After all, why would we turn on the TV to see reality when it’s all around us anyway? Good afternoon. I won’t ask you to raise your hands but I would like each and every one of you to take a moment to consider whether or not you know someone suffering from cancer. Not everyone will, I know but if you don’t , then someone sitting very close to you will. There is nothing pleasant about cancer. It weakens, destroys and kills. For many forms of it, there is still no cure. Every year, thousands of young people such as yourselves are diagnosed with cancer. It’s everywhere. It’s inescapable. It’s killing innocent people. What would you do if your best friend was diagnosed with lung cancer tomorrow? Or if your sister suddenly developed leukaemia? Would you fight a losing battle with them? Would you say your farewells then and there? Or would you do your best to make their lives as fantastic as possible? That’s where the Ellen McArthur Trust comes in. Ellen is a record-breaking sailor. It’s her passion and its always has been. Her trust provides real joy and adventure for young cancer patients. They take them out of hospitals, spring them from their beds and take them for sailing holidays they will never forget. There are no pills, no hospital sheets and no painful treatments. The Ellen McArthur Trust heals the hearts of these children with a happiness some thought they would never feel again. Would you want your friend, brother or sister to die, fading away in a hospital bed? Or would you want them to feel the wind on their faces and the sun on their skin as they sped out into the ocean, the most beautiful place of all? At the Ellen McArthur Trust we don’t lie to our patients. We don’t tell them a boat trip will save their lives, but we do show them the joy such an adventure can bring. We do put smiles on their faces and gladness in their hearts. We let them know that they can still enjoy life and in the end that’s as great a gift as anyone outside the hospital can give them. We don’t fund the treatment of cancer but we do pay to give sufferers all the happiness we can, so please donate and be a part of that. After all, it could have been your friend, your brother, your sister…or even you. Smoking KILLS So you smoke? Why? Maybe because: You think it’s cool Your friends do it You feel it relieves stress OR maybe it’s because you want to die young? FACT: Every cigarette you smoke five minutes off your life. If you smoked 12 a day, that’s an hour off your life every day. If you did this every day for a year that’s 365 hours off your life. Most people smoke more than this. Maybe it’s because you want cancer? FACT: 60% of all smokers end up with some sort of cancer or serious organ failure later in life. That could be heart problems, liver problems, kidney problems or a series of other equally life-threatening things. Maybe it’s because you want to be unattractive? FACT: As you smoke, you are damaging your hair, teeth, nails, skin and even your eyes become bloodshot. Maybe you don’t want to find a partner? FACT: Cigarettes cause seriously bad breath and make you smell awful. Nobody is going to want to kiss someone like that. Maybe you actually want to fill your body with poison? FACT: almost every ingredient used to make a cigarette is poison. The three main chemicals are lethal and you are putting them into your body. Have I guessed correctly yet? No? Well, how about this? Maybe it’s because you want to kill those around you? FACT: One in three people who die from smoking each year have never actually smoked a cigarette. So go on, tell me why do YOU smoke? www.help2quite.com or phone our free helpline 70676867 Remember your decision could be affecting others’ lives.