Are we living in a 21st Century Industrial Revolution?

From around 1760 to somewhere in between 1820 and 1840 there was a massive change in the world; the Industrial Revolution.

This was when there was a transition from hand production methods to machines, and it has come to my attention that we seem to be heading for a new industrial era.

With more and more shops across the country and the world having self-service machines it seems that we are replacing people with machines… again.

Despite the unemployment rate dropping by a 7.1% in 2013, it is curious to wonder where these people are working.

Nowadays people are urged to get work experience otherwise they are deemed ‘unqualified’ for a job.

But how can people get work experience if we are insisting on having self-service counters?

Large supermarkets that could employ more people and reduce the unemployment rate are replacing them with machines for the ease of the customer.

But is that still the case now?

Money clearly has a massive impact on this… Why would a supermarket pay some a wage when they could just as easily have a no-wage self-service machine?

Buying items on self-service checkout can have its benefits but I cannot help but see that they can sometimes cause more trouble than they are worth.

If they machine breaks, the customer has to wait for the one sales assistant to fix the issue.

If the customer needs help with something, they have to wait for the one sales assistant to help.

If the customer is purchasing something with an age limit, then they have to wait for someone to check.

The hassle of waiting just seems pointless… And they barely save any time at all.

You might as well wait in line to be served by a real human like what EVERYONE used to do.

 

On The Piste Review

To celebrate the Theatre Royal Wakefield’s 120th anniversary, On The Piste is now being performed at the Stephen Joseph Theatre this week.

On The Piste follows the story of two couples who meet during a ski trip to the French Alps which escalates into a holiday of fights and affairs.

Written and directed by John Godber, the play was brought together by his own experiences when on a skiing holiday.

Originally written in 1990, the play has toured by Hull Truck and played a season at the Garrick Theatre in London.

With a cast of five people (originally six but after a rewrite, a character was dropped) and performed at The Round, the play required the audience to imagine what the cast are describing and seeing.

Throughout most of the production, the cast wore full, proper ski outfits with the occasional casual wear (or no clothes at all).

Tom Rooke’s portrayal as the French ski instructor Tony was a truly brilliant performance and it wasn’t his characters sex-thirsty attitude that shocked the audience but when it was revealed he was actually English, showcasing his acting talents.

He managed to stay in his role perfectly and his confidence to come out on the stage only wearing a towel was courageous plus his constant use of his catchphrase it’s all rock ‘n’ roll was a perfect way to end the production.

Emmerdale’s Roxanne Pallett’s performance of the whiny and irritatingly annoying Bev was hilarious and relatable for anyone who has been skiing before.

From her very first scene to the very last scene, she managed to make the audience roar with laughter whether it was through her loud bursts of dialogue or her hilarious walk.

The rest of the cast which included Peter McMillan, Samantha Seager and Matthew Stathers all kept to their respective characters and all five cast members worked well together and with only 10 days to learn their lines, they all showcased their talents as actors.

Not only was the performances truly brilliant but the simplistic set design, by stage designers Foxton, of a bar table, two fir trees and a snowman creatively brought to life a scene of a ski resort.

The scene would change to suit the up-coming scene for example the bar table was transformed into a chair lift and through the acting and the lighting, by Graham Kirk, the audience could easily imagine what was happening.

The music needs to also be mentioned. As the play was set in the Alps, Godber originally had alpine music during the first run of the play but changed it for rock and dance music as he tried to make it as authentic to a skiing holiday as possible and it worked well.

As the music choice was well-known by all ages of the audience, there were moments of rhythmic clapping alongside the songs as the set was changed.

John has won numerous awards for his plays including a Laurence Olivier Award and seven Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards.

It is a brilliant play about the highs and lows of a skiing holiday and for anyone who is an avid skier will no doubt want to go home and book a skiing holiday.

Theatre Information

Writer & Director: John Godber

Cast: Matthew Stathers, Roxanne Pallett, Peter McMillan, Samantha Seager, Tom Rooke

Theatre: Stephen Joseph Theatre

Running: Nov 18 – 22

The Quick by Lauren Owen Review

An illicit love affair and blood-sucking aristocratic vampires, what more do you need in one book?

Told in five parts, The Quick, by British author Lauren Owen, follows the story of the young and naïve James, who is thrown into a world of London vampires pitted against East London vampires.

Set in Victorian England, Owen manages to portray the Britishness of the dreary era in the opening pages: “He was looking back at the hall – the unlit, uncurtained windows. She did not like the place in dusk any more. It was too melancholy.”

It could be said that part one, which focuses on James’s move from a bleak Yorkshire to a majestic London and his forbidden love affair, could have been a book in its entirety.

We are introduced to the lively and dashing Christopher Paige whose character is the opposite of the quiet, reserved James: “He had an air of enjoying himself tremendously – which James would later learn, was habitual.”

The romance between James and his lover would have been enough in itself as a sort of Romeo and Juliet-esque love story but Owen removes you from the beauty of the tragic love affair and places you in a violent and dangerous world.

Owen creatively introduces characters through diary entries, which slowly reveal what happened to the characters in part one and their role in the rest of the book.

These diary entries do become a bit tedious to read as who is writing them is not revealed in the main narrative.

Sometimes it is hard to keep up with the ever-increasing character list and who, and more importantly, what they are but it adds to the suspense created by Owen: “She had wiped the blood from her mouth, but there was a trace of it – or something else red – showing on her jagged and uneven teeth.”

There are similarities between other vampire novels including The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice, and it’s hard to see any unique qualities in The Quick but nevertheless Owen keeps the suspense high.

She moves away from the contemporary (and boring) ‘happy, glittering, love-thirsty’ vampires and brings back the original ruthless, blood-sucking, murdering ones which are far more interesting.

The Quick is Owen’s debut novel who has already revealed a sequel is in progress.

With unexpected twists and turns throughout each chapter, it brings back the beauty and violence of the vampire novel and will make you constantly question ‘what will happen next?’

The Unspoken Rules of Guy’s Toilets

Every guy will know that there are certain things that you do and most importantly DO NOT DO whilst using public toilets.

This is something that seems to be a natural instinct for most guys but there are those who haven’t yet grasped the etiquette of a guy’s toilet.

I decided to create a list of The Unspoken Rules of Guy’s Toilets.

  • Never use the middle urinal

It is becoming more and more frequent that public toilets have a small amount of urinals available and most guys know that using the middle urinal just causes an uncomfortable feeling throughout the toilet. Always make sure that there is an equidistance space between you and the other guys in the toilet.

  • Never stand next to someone

Similar to the first rule, if there are available urinals then use them! Do not stand next to a guy when there are countless available urinals. It’s creepy and creates and undesired tension.

  • Noise pollution

Any noise being heard in public toilets is not acceptable or desired! No ‘deep sighs of relief’ when peeing or no passing wind when in a cubicle. No one wants to hear it!

  • No unnecessary touching

Never touch another guy when he is trying to pee! Not even if you have known them since birth! A shoulder grab or even an ass smack is just distracting for the guy peeing and unwanted!

  • Avoid speaking

Swift in and out motion! Do not start up a conversation about the weather, the fit girl by the bar – no speaking whatsoever! If you and your friend happen to go to the toilet at the same time, never by any means wait for your friend. Go out of the toilet and back to your seat.

  • Never try for a sneak peek

Self-explanatory really. Never try to peer over the cubicle and look, it is extremely creepy and, for obvious reasons, creates an uneasy and awkward atmosphere that is not needed in an already awkward moment.

  • Never make eye contact!

Never, and I mean never, make eye contact with another guy in the toilet. Guys do not need to smile or say hello when coming in and out of a toilet never mind when doing their business. If they want to talk they will upon leaving. Eye contact is a definite no no. It implies that you know what they have done which people don’t need to know.

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This list will probably be edited every now and again as more and more rules come to the surface but what I will say for now is:

Go in, do your business, wash your hands and leave, nothing more, nothing less.