Category Archives: books

Is Gap Racist? A picture paints a thousand words.

No doubt, by now, you have seen the new advert from Gap depicting three white, middle-America girls, and one black girl. In the picture, two of the younger, white girls are performing ballet, gymnastic moves whilst the third, larger, white girl is resting her arm on top of the head of a younger, smaller, and passive black girl.

The picture itself isn’t overtly, racist if you actually look at the picture itself, with your first glance it is simply four girls and it’s difficult to argue it is deliberately racist, as there is no divisive racist message. But there is a deeper message, which may be Gap, and the photographer in question didn’t realise – which is more indicative of American culture which is where the problem lies.

The fact that Gap, such a large organisation, probably didn’t realise how it would look through the eyes of at least 20% of the American population is unbelievable and hard to comprehend – but it’s clear to see that they didn’t. The question isn’t that the image itself is racist, the question lies in the underlying theme it is conveying, and the symptoms it reveals lurking in ‘accepted’ culture, which is a damaging message. The subordinate and passive role depicted by the stance of the young black girl is this is only half the subliminal message within this shot. The other equally worrying message is the gender issue – so Gap is saying girls can do anything yet uses stereotypical imagery of female performance, ballet and gymnastics; the strange text and odd imagery, feeds into American deep-seated problems of racism and sexism, all used for marketing neatly in a single image.

You might disagree, and I am sure Gap will, but in my view the image itself isn’t sexist or racist but why it evokes a response is that the image is indicative of deep-seated problems in American culture. It doesn’t take much of a leap of thought for Gap to have promoted an image that showed equal status, ethnicity, and some of the girls doing things less stereotypical!! Perhaps writing, composing, a science experiment – not just exercises!

Church Stretton School Visit

Thanks to everyone who made me so welcome yesterday at Church Stretton School.  I was looked after by a group of year 10 guides who did an excellent job. I really enjoyed sharing my books with pupils in year 7 and year 8  – the classes were great to work with and pupils had some really imaginative ideas in the creative writing workshop sessions.  Well done and thanks to everyone, staff and pupils, at Church Stretton School.

Church Stretton entrance        The_Horse_Lord_Cover_for_Kindle

Lakelands School Visit

I must say a big thank you to all Year 7 at Lakelands Academy School, Ellesmere – what a great bunch of people you are! I had a lovely time talking to each class about my books and I was very impressed with the imaginative ideas pupils came up with when we did the creative writing session. Throughout the day I was made to feel very welcome.
I was lucky enough to be accompanied by Anna from Ellesmere Library, she outlined what is on offer at the library. Anyone in the vicinity really needs to check out Ellesmere Library – it is a hub of activity – and worth keeping in these dark days of library cuts.  Mrs Jacques did a great job in organising the day and her pupils were a credit to her.

The Week – Do you need an agent? – Today I thought I would chat about the value, or not, of having an agent.

As someone who didn’t have one but has had some interest and even rejected a few agents I think I’m in a good position to speak on the subject, I think the best way to answer this is to put you in the seat of three different types of authors. Number one; someone who is just doing it as a bit of fun or as a legacy, so you written something silly or a bio on yourself but you don’t think it’s going to sell, you just feel that you have something out there, something to say you have been on this planet, to leave your mark. Does this person need an agent? Continue reading The Week – Do you need an agent? – Today I thought I would chat about the value, or not, of having an agent.

Day 2 of ‘How to sell’ 11th August, 2015

So, to continue with my theme on launching your book, a word of warning, don’t use the ‘like’ system on Facebook, where you just pay to get so many likes – it’s fairly pointless really, people ‘like’ it because Facebook will target people who like everything they see so you will get your likes on your page but it’s meaningless because the people won’t really react to your content – which is a bit tricky for a writer as we are all about content!! They won’t really react to you at all and are unlikely to buy your book or pass your links on –

Continue reading Day 2 of ‘How to sell’ 11th August, 2015