What I Read For A-Level Literature

Inspired by my best mate Izzy over at Thinking and Inking I figured I’d try and combine revision with blogging and do a review of the texts I’ve read over the course of my English Literature A2.

A Streetcar Named Desire – Tennessee Williams ★★★☆☆

I was really torn about this text. On one hand, I love Williams’ magical realism style and incredible use of stage directions, but the plot just didn’t capture me. All the characters are pretty unlikeable and you end up not really rooting for any of them, making the outcome of the play ultimately inconsequential. I think it would be brilliant to watch on stage, but reading it (or trying to write an essay on it) can end up being a little bit of a drag.

Hamlet – William Shakespeare ★★★★☆

There’s a reason Shakespeare is the most famous playwright in British history. He’s the ultimate expert in my mind when it comes to tragedies, and Hamlet is no exception. Yes, it’s very long and you could probably cut a scene or two, but the more you read it the more you realise that every single character is complex and that initial impressions can be misleading.

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood ★★★★★

Right, so don’t shoot me for heresy but the first time I read this book my reaction was “eh”. (I know, I know, I’m a Philistine who wouldn’t know talent if it punched them in the face.) However, you can put your pitchforks away because the more I talked and thought about this book, the more it grew on me. Atwood’s novels become more and more relevant as Trump/Pence (and similar dickheads worldwide) increasingly try to stick their noses into women’s business, controlling and abusing them. Some cracking quotes from this book include: “Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.”, “Better never means better for everyone… it always means worse, for some.” and “A rat in a maze is free to go anywhere, as long as it stays inside the maze.”. Atwood’s society of Gilead is so horrifying because it’s so true, it’s not the consequence of some apocalyptic plague, but a slow decline into total stifling authoritarianism.

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley ★★★☆☆

Like Streetcar, Shelley’s novel really left me conflicted. Whilst reading it I couldn’t wait for it to end, and yet it is a monumental piece of literature written by a truly fascinating woman. It’s one of those books that you’d want to read a lengthy synopsis of – because the ideas and plot are ingenious – but not actually read unless you’re stuck with a severe case of insomnia. It amazes me that a woman as interesting as Mary Shelley (daughter to two revolutionaries, basically created the science fiction genre like it was no biggie, lost her virginity on her mother’s grave in the ultimate goth move) can write a character as profoundly uninteresting as Victor Frankenstein. He is a caricature of boring men, who rambles on, and on, and on about his life down to the minutiae of his childhood. Brooding walks in nature, mood swings, and blaming other people for his problems are his specialities and after a certain point you kind of hope the Creature will murder him, just to stop the incessant whining.

The Wife Of Bath Prologue and Tale – Geoffrey Chaucer ★☆☆☆☆

This is the only text we did at A-Level that I really really didn’t like. No, I don’t think Chaucer is some kind of revolutionary for writing a sexually promiscuous female character, I think its far more likely he’s trying to mock the proto-feminists of the era. No matter how many times my English teacher tries to convince me otherwise, I can’t view this as anything other than a reactionary text, that repeats the same point over and over to no real avail. I’ve not dipped into any of the other Canterbury tales so this might be an exception in an otherwise brilliant collection of stories, but I don’t see myself reading any more of Chaucer’s work anytime soon.

The Picture of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde ★★★★★

This book was the first one I choose for my coursework, and I built the rest of my essay around it (sidenote, if anyone is a real literature nut, I can send you a very lengthy analysis of desire in Dorian Grey and Brave New World). Oscar Wilde is just excellent in everything he does, and having a full-length novel from him is a blessing. It manages to balance character, plot, and style perfectly – with no one taking precedence over the others. If you haven’t read Dorian Grey, I’d definitely recommend you pick it up, particularly the very pretty Alma Classics edition.

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley ★★★★☆

To me, Brave New World is one of those books that is more an exploration of ideas, a series of moments designed to make a point rather than a piece of art designed to entertain. It is at times a philosophical pondering, considering whether false joy is better than sadness, whether anything can have meaning if everything is available at the drop of a hat. Although this can verge upon tedious at times, it’s a brilliant book to analyse and an interesting one to read.


Overall, I’m really happy with the texts my teachers chose for A-Level, and they 100% beat the GCSE horror of Of Mice and Men and The Woman In Black. Can’t say the same for the A2 poetry anthology, which includes a number of classics such as Eat Me (woman rolls over and squishes her boyfriend to death after eating loads of cake), History (man on beach thinks ‘hmm, terrorism really isn’t great’) and The Leisure Centre Is Also A Temple of Learning (creepy observation of a woman in a changing room, please put the binoculars down you leering pervert.) My Easter holidays have been spent knocking out a respectable 8 essays for English Lit, which I’m sure my teachers will be overjoyed to mark – wish me luck handing them in tomorrow.

Take a walk in next week’s sunshine (fingers crossed), drink enough water, read a good book. Until next time, take care of yourself x

Neil Gaiman’s “Fragile Things”

I really, really, have not been reading enough lately. Instead, I seem to spend my time taking random naps in the middle of the day, eating as much sugar as is humanly possible, and occasionally staring aimlessly at a textbook (under the name of revision). However, I have been dipping in and out of Gaiman’s Fragile Things and loving it. I initially heard about this book a couple of years ago in a youtube video talking about his poem Instructions. Only about a month ago, after seeing it was on offer on Book Depository, did I pick up a copy for myself.


I’ve never actually read any short story collection before, or any work by Gaiman, so his “Short Fictions & Wonders” was brand new territory for me. As a newbie to this, I wasn’t sure whether it was a ‘start at the start and work your way through’ situation or not, so I jumped right into with the already familiar poem Instructions. Although it’s not a poem that really explores an issue or makes any profound point,  it’s just got an amazing sense of lyricism to it. It’s definitely a poem made to be read aloud, with a real sense of sound and rhythm to it.

“Touch the wooden gate in the wall you never saw before, Say ‘please’ before you open the latch’,”

“The trees are old. Eyes peer from the undergrowth.”

“When you come back, return the way you came. Favours will be returned, debts repaid.”


Next, I flicked backwards and read A Study In Emerald, Gaiman’s pastiche style foray into the world of Sherlock Holmes. I didn’t realise until googling the story for this post that it’s actually a crossover, with the Cthulhu Mythos Tales by H.P. Lovecraft. As I’d never read them, this element totally passed me by, but it was a brilliant read nonetheless. Gaiman is a real writing chameleon, seemingly a master at any type of story he tries, evoking Arthur Conan Doyle perfectly whilst still adding his own hint of magical realism. There are certain lines that brought me through a whole whirlwind of thoughts. Firstly, total awe and appreciation, secondly utter jealousy that someone can write so damn well, and the anticipation to see just what is going to come next.

“It was a fine morning, but we were now jolting about the edges of the rookery of St Giles, that warren of thieves and cutthroats which sits on London like a cancer on the face of a pretty flower-seller,”

“I dreamed of shadows that night, vast shadows that blotted out the sun, and I called out to them in my desperation, but they did not listen.”

“If I were a sensible man I would burn all these pages, but then, as my friend taught me, even ashes can give up their secrets.”


My most recent read in this collection is October in the Chair. This story takes a single moment from Instructions (“the twelve months sit about a fire, warming their feet, exchanging tales) and expands it into a story of its own, describing 12 months sat together, telling each other stories. Gaiman is a master of intertextuality, with each piece totally capable of standing alone, but also expertly woven together through themes or language or some other tiny, almost forgotten detail.

” ‘Lay off her,’ said May. Her dark hair was cropped short against her skull, and she wore sensible boots. She smoked a small brown cigarillo, which smelled heavily of cloves.”

“September, an elegant creature of mock solicitude.”

” ‘It’s fine,’ said October. His beard was all colours, a grove of trees in autumn, deep brown and fire-orange and wine-red, an untrimmed tangle across the lower half of his face. His cheeks were apple-red. He looked like a friend: like someone you had known all your life.”


Having a book of short stories around has really given me the opportunity to get back into reading. Rather than having to commit hours and hours to get into a narrative, you can pick it up for a half hour and have read 2 totally different stories.

Get some sleep, eat some veggies, relax with a good book. Until next time, take care of yourself x

 

Why I’m 100% Pro-Choice

Pro-Choice (adjective)
“(of an organization, pressure group, etc) supporting the right of a woman to have an abortion”

Pro-Life (adjective)
“(of an organization, pressure group, etc) supporting the right to life of the unborn; against abortion, experiments on embryos, etc”


I want to make something abundantly clear – you can be pro-choice but not pro-abortion. There is a world of difference between believing abortions are a good thing and believing women should have legal autonomy over their bodies and reproduction. Today I want to just lay out as clearly as possible my reasons for being pro-choice.

1. Not My Business

Perhaps the most simple explanation for why I’m pro-choice is that it’s frankly none of my business what other people do with their bodies. Why should my own moral opinion dictate the laws of an entire country?

2. Larger Feminist Debate

The idea of given women agency over their own bodies goes beyond the debate about abortion rights. This is indicative of a much larger debate about who has the power over women’s bodies – the state, their partner, or themselves. In my mind, it would be hypocritical for me not to be pro-choice: if I support the idea that women should have complete and total agency over their own bodies, there can be no exclusions.

3. Unwanted children

In the UK alone, almost 70,000 children are in the care of the state. Children in the care system face more psychological difficulties and are more likely to end up in the criminal justice system. Children need a loving, safe family environment to reach their full potential, and they will never receive that from a parent who didn’t want to give birth to them. Mothers who don’t want to be pregnant are also not going to be invested in good prenatal health practices, potentially leading to fetal alcohol syndrome or other medical issues after birth.

4. Safe Abortions

Any person who is set on not being pregnant will find a way to end their pregnancy.  Just a quick google search finds pages upon pages of “home remedies” to end a pregnancy, many of which are massively unsafe. Aside from these “DIY” abortions, there will always be dangerous backstreet abortion “clinics” where women can be exploited at their most vulnerable. Criminalising abortion doesn’t stop it, it forces it into the shadows and puts women in much greater danger. Medical abortions are far safer, and in the early stages of pregnancy can be as non-invasive as taking a pill.

5. Psychological Harm

In any situation, carrying a child you don’t want would be massively distressing. Every time you feel it kick, or you get morning sickness, or you look down and see your bump is a reminder that you’ve been pushed into this decision you don’t want. But beyond that, pregnancies that occur in horrific situations such as rape are even more upsetting, and then there is the distress of giving the child up for adoption after feeling it grow inside you for 9 months.


So, there’s my take on the whole pro-life/pro-choice debate. I consider myself lucky to live in the UK, where the world of politics is almost entirely pro-choice, with only a few extreme politicians taking a hard anti-abortion stance. There are many countries in which women are denied this basic right, and even in the ‘land of the free’ Republicans seem to make a constant effort to undermine women’s access to abortion through the defunding of organisations such as Planned Parenthood. If you too are pro-choice and would like to support Planned Parenthood in their work giving women access to a range of healthcare services (not just abortion), here’s the link to donate: https://secure.ppaction.org/site/Donation2?df_id=25409&25409.donation=form1

Go on a walk, wrap up warm, reach out to someone you’ve lost touch with. Until next time, take care of yourself x


 

N.B – For the sake of clarity in this post, I’ve used the word women/woman whenever I talk about pregnant people, but this obviously applies to trans men and non-binary folk too.

14/03/2018

Dear Izzy,

It’s been very weird recently to see my sleepy city become the centre of attention in both the British and worldwide media. Salisbury is so famously uneventful that it’s been a bizarre turn of events suddenly having it be a hub of police, army and journalists. Don’t get me wrong, Salisbury is beautiful (and a great place to get Italian food, a haircut or go to a coffee shop) but it’s hardly exciting.

Hairdressers
Seriously, there are so many hairdressers. This isn’t even all of them

Everyone here seems to have been more inconvenienced than afraid of the fact that a Russian spy has been poisoned. We all continue to wander around town, moaning about the closure of Zizzi’s and trying to nosy in on the crime scene.

My nan’s currently staying round at the minute after having her knee replaced. This means that I now spend all of my time watching trash TV and sleeping on the sofa in a sleeping bag. At least I’m not staying round at her’s, where being offered snacks every 5 minutes means I always put on a stone by the time I leave.

A-Level revision is finally underway (ish) but trying to get anything done in this madhouse of 2 dogs, a brother, parents and my nana is a bit challenging at times. Can’t really blame it on family though, my greatest skill in life is procrastinating. All my UCAS offers are in now, and I have a post-offer day to go to next week which will hopefully help me decide what I’m going to put as my firm choice. It’s a tossup between Bristol and King’s at the minute, I’m in love with the King’s Psychology course but just trying to decide whether I could cope with the craziness of London.

Anyway, there’s just a very quick update on what’s going on with me. Hopefully, I’ll see you sometime this week, and give you your Christmas and birthday presents that are still sat in my cupboard. Drink enough water, get enough sleep and don’t leave your work to the last minute. Until next time, take care of yourself x

Strange Psychology Studies

Studying psychology at A Level has been beyond boring at times, memory models get pretty dull when you’ve been studying them for week after week. Psychology really is science, rather than just sitting in armchairs and talk about childhood, as many people seem to believe. However, there are moments (either in lessons or out) that you stumble across research that really captures your attention, either because it’s just plain weird.

  1. Golombek (2007) – Taking Viagra makes hamsters less jet-lagged. Hamsters were given a small dose of Viagra adjusted 50% faster to 6 hour time differences than a control group. If humans took the same dose (proportionally), it would be less than 1 pill.
  2. Eerland, Guadalupe and Zwaan (2001) – Leaning to the left makes you guess things are smaller. Participants either stood straight, every so slightly to the right or the left. They were then asked to estimate things such as the height of the eiffel tower, or the number of children the Queen of the Netherlands has. Those who were leaning slightly (and I mean slightly, they thought they were stood straight) consistently made lower estimates than the other 2 groups. The researchers believe this could be because of the way most Western countries write number lines – smallest on the left, largest on the right.
  3. Middlemist, Knowles and Matter (1976) – men will pee less at public urinals when an observer invades their personal space by doing their hair at a nearby mirror.
  4. Rundle, Vaughn and Stanford (2015) – there is a correlation between empathy and contagious yawning. Psychopaths are far less likely to yawn when they see someone else do so than highly empathetic people.
  5. Price, Brown and Dukes (2015) – the more attractive a man is, the more selfish he is likely to be. Men who were rated most highly in terms of physical attractiveness were more egocentric in their political beliefs and in their observed behaviour when playing a competitive economic-style game. There was no correlation found in women between attractiveness and selfishness.
  6. Jackson, Connolly and Garrisson (2015) – This study took place over an incredible 75 years and drew a link between personality and mortality risk. Men whose friends rated them as “conscientious” and “open to new experiences” lived longer than those who were not. In women, those who friends described them as “agreeable” and “emotionally stable” lived the longest.
  7. Zajonc (1987) found that couples looked more similar after 25 years of marriage than they did when they met. Explanations for this include: similar diet, similar lifestyle and empathy – mirroring each other’s facial expressions means lines form in the same places.
  8. Miller (2007) – strippers who are ovulating earn $15 an hour more than those who are not. Men were more likely tip women who were ovulating, and those on the pill earned the least.

There you have it, you are now equipped with a whole host of weird research to share. Leave me a comment and let me know which one surprised you the most, or any strange psychology you’ve discovered.

Get enough to eat, take a walk, don’t procrastinate. Until next time, take care of yourself x


Sources

 

The Greatest Showman

TGS

I went to see The Greatest Showman for the second time a few days ago and it really made me realise how much I like this film. It’s a film that’s unapologetically optimistic and theatrical, whilst still managing to have deeply emotional moments. Despite being widely snubbed by critics, The Greatest Showman has been a massive success both in cinemas and in the charts.

The Greatest Showman soundtrack spent two weeks at number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, and it’s not hard to see why. Rather than starting with a drab backstory, the film throws you right into a vivid land of fantasy, a bombardment of colour, sound and theatrical magic. From the first second, it sends shivers down your spine – this really is a film made for the big screen and big speakers of the cinema. The first time I watched it I became so engrossed in ballads like Never Enough that I had to resist the impulse to clap when they were finished, it’s more like sitting in on a Broadway show than a movie.  Yes, some of the songs lean into cliché (This Is Me wouldn’t seem too out of place in a High School Musical film) but they’re so catchy and powerfully performed that you can’t help but enjoy it.  To get a sense of the emotion packed into these songs, check out this video of a workshop session: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLFEvHWD_NE

Hugh Jackman is a global sweetheart, as well as a brilliant Wolverine, and he pulled it out of the bag just as you’d expect. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Cadillac from Netflix’s The Get Down) seems to have been overlooked but his performance absolutely wowed me. Even though he hardly speaks a line, he plays the protective older brother of Zendaya’s character – Anne Wheeler – so well. Every performance in this film was utterly believable, and with an emotional intensity you wouldn’t expect from a film that is primarily about the circus. Loud moments of showbiz passion are countered with almost silent moments where just the touching of fingertips can convey so much. There is no weak link in this cast, and the chemistry between them just makes the whole thing sparkle.

Finally, I just want to give kudos to the costume designer Ellen Mirojnick. She herself says “I really am a crystal freak”, and it works so well for this film. Zendaya’s character Anne Wheeler is perhaps the best example of this, every outfit she wears is just beautifully designed – whether it be full circus wear or just day-to-day clothing. The candyfloss pink hair, the sparkle, the silk, everything is just rich and indulgent and perfect.


So, if you haven’t seen The Greatest Showman yet go watch it in a cinema near year. It will be closing soon as the digital version is released at the end of March, and the DVD at the start of April. Or, if you don’t have the time (or money) for a cinema trip, find the soundtrack on Youtube, Spotify etc.

Get your 5 a day,  take your meds and get enough sleep. Until next time, take care of yourself x

 

Have You Heard About: Sojourner Truth

It’s March, a.k.a Women’s History Month, so I’m putting the spotlight once again on a woman from history you probably haven’t heard much about – but really should. I’d never heard of Sojourner Truth until I did a little digging today, and I’m so glad that I stumbled upon her amazing story.

Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth was born Isabella Baumfree in 1797, enslaved in New York state. At the age of 9, she was sold at auction with a flock of sheep for $100. Although Truth is best known as an abolitionist activist she also worked on causes such as prison reform and universal suffrage. Over her lifetime, Truth gave birth to 13 children but never saw most of them grow up as they were stolen from her a sold into slavery. She was one of the first black women to win a legal case against a white man, after suing him for unlawfully selling one of her sons into slavery.

Truth’s greatest legacy is perhaps her “Ain’t I a Woman Speech” in which she spoke passionately about rights for women and racial equality. A couple of famous quotes from this speech include: “Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.” and “And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?”.

Despite never being allowed to learn to read or write, Truth travelled the country preaching for equal rights, prison reform, an end to capital punishment and the right to vote. She became friends with many key activists of the time, including Susan B Anthony and Wendell Phillips. She funded her activism through selling portraits of herself entitled “I sell the Shadow to support the Substance” as well as copies of her biography.

After the abolition of slavery Truth continued her work, assisting freedmen and fighting to ensure their legal rights. Truth worked for the Freedman’s Bureau and lobbied the United States government to give land to the former slaves as well as pay for their transportation costs to new homes.

Truth died in 1883, and her funeral was reportedly attended by 1000 people. There is much speculation surrounding Truth’s true age, with her claiming at times that she was 105 years old and the “world’s oldest lecturer”, although records seem to suggest she was 86 years old upon her death. Her tombstone is inscribed with the words “Is God Dead?” following a conversation she had with fellow abolitionist Frederick Douglass, where after a downhearted address from Douglass, Truth stood up and asked him “Frederick, is God gone?”.


 

This women’s history month, look back on the women who not only devoted their lives to securing rights for women – but for all people regardless of gender, race or religion. Sojourner Truth is a prime example of someone driven only by a desire to make right the wrongs of her world, and should be remembered now as much as ever.

Drink some water, wrap up warm, don’t forget to wear suncream. Until next time, take care of yourself x

 


Sources:
http://www.sojournertruth.org/Library/Archive/LegacyOfFaith.htm
https://www.biography.com/people/sojourner-truth-9511284
http://www.sojournertruth.com/p/aint-i-woman.html

As Yet Unsolved: The Case of JonBenét Ramsey

Something you wouldn’t know about me is that I absolutely love learning about unsolved true crime cases. If you saw my recent post about my favourite podcasts you’ll know that Stuff You Should Know is a great place to hear about almost any topic, and true crime is definitely not excluded. They’ve done some brilliant episodes including one I watched recently called “The Baffling Case of the Body on Somerton Beach.” Alongside that I’ve watched countless youtube videos exploring the events and theories around cold cases with a sort of morbid curiosity. I’m well aware that for some people this sort of thing doesn’t appeal, but I find it fascinating to hear about different cases – with the mysterious evidence and lineup of suspects. One of the most interesting cases I’ve ever heard about is the murder of JonBenét Ramsey, so I thought I’d share it with you. Once again, there is a lot of violence in this post that could be distressing to certain people. If you’re squeamish or sensitive to this sort of thing, I’d recommend you skip this one and check out something else on my blog.



Who was JonBenét Ramsey?

JonBenét Patricia Ramsey was a 6 year-old beauty queen living in Boulder, Colorado with her father John Bennet, mother Patsy and 9 year-old brother Burke. Her father John was a successful businessman, and President of computer company ‘Access Graphics’. In 1992, just 4 years prior to JonBenét’s death, John suffered the death of his daughter Elizabeth, from a previous marriage, due to a car crash. Her mother Patsy was a former beauty queen herself, and the one to enter JonBenét into the pageant world.



The Day of the Murder – December 26th 1996

JBR grave

On the 25th December, the Ramsey family all attended a Christmas party at the house of John’s friend, Fleet White. After leaving late, JonBenét fell asleep in her parent’s car on the journey home, and on reaching the house just before 6am, her parents changed her clothes and carried her into bed. Later that morning, Patsy Ramsey went downstairs and noticed a ransom note sat on the spiral staircase within the house. The note was unusually long for a ransom, contained a number of strange and seemingly irrelevant details, as well as being written using the Ramseys’ own pen and paper. The ransom note is one of the crucial pieces of evidence in this case, so we’ll explore it in more detail a little later. After finding the note, Patsy called 911 and then a number of her friends in a state of panic, asking them to help her look for JonBenét. A number of police officers arrived at the house but due to the ransom note the crime was assumed to be a kidnapping and police did not thoroughly investigate the Ramseys’ house right away. Around 1PM Jon Ramsey and friend Fleet White conducted one final search of the house looking for clues as to JonBenét’s whereabouts. 8 hours after the 911 call, JonBenét was discovered in the basement, dead, duct tape over her mouth and a nylon cord around her wrist and neck. John Bennett picked up the body of his daughter, and carried her into the living room.



Autopsy/Cause of Death

JonBenét’s official cause of death was reported as “ligature strangulation” with craniocerebral injuries (strangulation with a cord and head injuries). It is widely disputed which came first, the head trauma or the strangulation. The injuries to her head damaged her skull yet didn’t break the skin, leading police to conclude that she had been hit with a blunt object – they later ruled that it was a torch. Photos taken at the crime scene showed that there was a large torch sat on the kitchen counter.

There were also a number of marks on JB’s body, as well as some evidence of a sexual component to the crime. Although described as a “ligature”, some have described the device used to strangle JB as a “garrotte” as it was capable of being tightened. Profilers consider this a very important distinction, as this kind of device is widely considered to have sexual connotations, lending support to the idea that the murder was committed either by an abusive family member or a child sex offender.


 

Evidence

The Ransom Note

Perhaps the strangest part of this case is the ransom note left on the staircase of the Ramseys’ house. At two and a half pages long, the ransom note was already highly unusual, regardless of the content. Why would a murderer write far more than necessary, potentially giving away incriminatory details about themselves? Alongside this there is the fact that the note was written in Patsy’s notebook, using one of the Ramseys’ own pens. This leaves a very short time frame for an intruder to have broken into the house, written a note, and then murdered JonBenét Ramsey. Additionally, it seems odd for the note to have been written just prior to the murder. Why would the killer suddenly shift from kidnapping to murder in such a short space of time? Analysis of the notebook used even revealed that a ‘practice note’ had been written prior, a fragment of which was later discovered at the crime scene. This further supports the idea that the note was written spontaneously, which would be very strange for a crime requiring as much premeditation as kidnapping someone for ransom. The fact there are so many unanswered questions surrounding the ransom note has led many to believe it was a set-up, part of a larger cover-up by the family.

Within the ransom note there are a few details that seem worth mentioning. One confusing aspect of the note is that words considered relatively easy to spell, such as “possession”, were misspelled yet far more sophisticated language was spelled correctly, including the word “attaché”, accents and all. It has been suggested that these spelling errors were made deliberately, in order to conceal the true identity of the writer and try to suggest that it was written by someone either uneducated or not a native English speaker. Analysts also noticed that the note was bizarrely similar in the language used to ransom notes seen in action movies such as “Ransom” and “Speed”. Rather than being the work of a “foreign faction” (as the note claims), it seems to be the work of an amateur, relying on film clichés. The Ramseys were noted to have an elaborate film collection, which makes it seem probable that they could have watched both of these films. The third noteworthy detail of the ransom note is that the writer asked for a specific amount of $118,000. The Ramseys were widely known to be very wealthy, and could have afforded a far higher ramson. Why would a killer ask for a comparatively ‘reasonable’ amount, if they truly intended to commit this crime for financial reasons? Interestingly, $118,000 is very similar to the amount John Bennet received as a Christmas bonus that year, suggesting that perhaps someone he knew well, who had seen his pay slip, commited the crime against his daughter.

Much handwriting analysis has been done on the ransom note, with all family members being entirely ruled out apart from Patsy, who’s results were inconclusive. Analysts believed that whoever wrote the note deliberately distorted their handwriting as it was erratic and inconsistent. The fact that the note was written in Sharpie caused issues with producing accurate handwriting analysis results as using a large brush pen (rather than something like a biro) masks the finer details of handwriting, making it far less unique and individualised.

 

 

The 911 Call

At 5.52 AM Patsy Ramsey called 911 after discovering the ransom note. The key dispute over the 911 call recording is whether or not Burke Ramsey (JonBenét’s older brother) can be heard speaking at the end of the tape. Both parents have stated outright on several occasions that Burke was asleep in his bedroom throughout the whole 911 call, so if his voice can be heard, much suspicion would be cast on Patsy and John Ramsey. As the 911 call was recorded on tape, not digitally, the sound quality makes it hard to distinguish and people have argues that the ‘voices’ at the end of the tape are really just ‘reel-to-reel’ sounds at the end of a tape recording. However, most people do hear Burke speaking at the end of the recording, especially in versions that have had the audio quality enhanced. Burke has been interpreted as asking his parents “What did you find?” and “Please, what do I do?” by many, including Steve Thomas (the key detective on the case) who stated that he had heard a 3rd voice on the 911 tape. Also, before testifying in front of a grand jury, a judge ruled that Burke had a legal right to listen to the tape, which would suggest it contained ‘prior statements’ by him.

Pineapple

Although seemingly insignificant, the presence of pineapple in JonBenét’s small intestine has been seen by many as a key clue in this investigation. Once again, this seems to cast doubt on the reliability of the Ramseys as both of JB’s parents claimed that she was put straight to bed after attending the Christmas party at Fleet’s house, and not fed anything. Experts have suggested that the pineapple must have been eaten at least 1 and a half hours prior to her death, making it highly unlikely that an intruder fed it to her. Forensic experts have also ruled out the possibility of it having been eaten prior to or during Fleet White’s party, as it was not sufficiently digested. Why would an intruder feed pineapple to a little girl that they intended to kidnap/murder? And if not an intruder, then why would JB’s family feed it to her and then lie, if not to cover up some deeper truth?

DNA Evidence

DNA is often considered the most crucial part of a case, and this one is no exception. Police found DNA samples on JonBenéts pyjamas and underwear, using this evidence to exonerate every member of her family, as well as every other one of their suspects. Running the sample through the FBI database in 2004 also found no matches, making the evidence seemingly a dead end. However, perhaps the DNA is not only useless in finding the killer, but in ruling out the suspects. Dr Henry Lee, a DNA expert who was best known for working as part of the OJ Simpson case studied the DNA evidence associated with JB’s murder. He concluded that the DNA was actually in know was linked to the crime, and was most likely from the manufacturing process of the underwear. To test this, he took an unopened package of the same underwear and found that they too had DNA evidence on them. Lee’s findings are perhaps the most monumental revelation in this case (if they are to be believed). If the DNA is not from the killer, then no-one can be exonerated, and any of the suspects could be guilty including JonBenét’s family members.

 


Suspects

John Bennet and Patsy Ramsey

The most popular suspects in these case appear to be John and Patsy Ramsey themselves. Despite a lack of any concrete evidence, or a clear motive, there are a number of strange inconsistencies in both the case and the statements given by JonBenét’s parents that have raised suspicions. In fact, in 1999 a grand jury voted to indict John and Patsy Ramsey on charges of child abuse resulting in death, but the indictment was never signed as the district attorney felt there was not enough evidence to prosecute. Ultimately, both Patsy and John Ramsey were officially cleared by the Boulder Police in 2008.

The first thing that seems to implicate the Ramsey family is the bizarre nature of the ransom note. Written inside the house, using their own writing supplies, it seems impossible that an intruder could have broken in, written the note and killed JB all in such a brief window of time. Additionally, Patsy Ramsey could not be conclusively cleared as the author of the note through handwriting analysis and some linguistic analysts have also suggested that the note seemed to have been written by a woman, with a strong maternal tone. The amount of $118,000 is also strange, being so near to the amount of John’s bonus – suggesting it was written by someone who knew him either personally or through work. The final strange detail noted by investigators as that although the note gave a 10am deadline for the money to be transferred before the captors would “behead” JB, her parents allowed this deadline to come and go with no reaction. Police noted that they seemed to completely ignore the 10am deadline, which some believe suggests they must have known it was a fake.

The primary reason that JonBénet’s father has been viewed this such suspicion is his contamination of evidence. When police instructed John and Fleet to make one final search of the house, John headed straight to the basement – a room totally unused by the family. He then moved his daughter’s body from the room, removed the tape over her mouth,and covered her with a blanket, destroying a wealth of physical evidence that could have crucial to solving the case. Police officers also reported that just hours after finding his daughter’s body, John was on the phone to an airline arranging flights to Atlanta for himself, Patsy and Burke. Of course, this could also be just the panicked actions of a grief-stricken father, rather than indicating any kind of guilt.

One little-known cause of suspicion towards John Bennet is a statement he gave about the window in the basement where JonBenét was found. This bit’s a little confusing so I’m just going to lay it out as a timeline to try and make more sense of it.

  • Pre-10 AM: Both one of the investigating police officers and Fleet (separately) went into the basement looking for clues as to JB’s whereabouts. Fleet reported seeing the window closed but not latched. John was not told that anyone had gone into the basement before him.
  • Around 10 AM: John Bennett went down into the basement looking for JohnBenét. No-one saw him go into the basement and he did not report doing so to the police until 4 months after the murder. John claims that a number of boxes were blocking the door, which he had to move before being able to enter the room. He also said that he saw the window open, which then closed and latched.
  • 1 PM: JB’s body is discovered in the basement.

There are a number of suspicious elements in this. Firstly, why did John wait 4 months before telling the police that he’d discovered such a key piece of evidence? Perhaps he began to feel there was too much suspicion being cast upon him so he tried to further the police’s intruder theory? Secondly, John clearly says that he was unable to enter the basement as the door was blocked, and yet Fleet had not reported any difficulties opening the door. Thirdly, Fleet remembered clearly that the window was closed. He did also note that it was unlatched, so perhaps it could have blown open, but that seems unlikely. Why would John – he claimed he went into the basement to look for a point of entry – find the exact evidence he was looking for and close the window, destroying it, unless it was in fact never open.

Other pieces of ‘evidence’ against JB’s parents include the fact that although there were 2 sets of unidentified footprints by the house, none led into or away from the property. Additionally, why would a killer leave the body in the house, providing lots of evidence for the police? The only explanation I’ve seen suggested is that her parents could not bear to ‘disgrace’ her by disposing of her corpse in a swamp etc. However, aside from an accidental death resulting in a coverup, there are no clear motivations for the parents to kill their daughter. Forensics suggested that JB may have suffered chronic sexual abuse, however the family pediatrician had never noticed this despite performing a number of general check-ups and gynecological exams due to reoccuring yeast infections.

One theory that implicates Patsy as being entirely responsible is that she killed JB accidentally out of frustration after finding that she’d wet the bed. Bedwetting is common in 6 year olds, especially those experiencing the stress of having a very ill mother who they know will likely die. This theory suggests that the stress of Christmas, the few drinks at the party, and Patsy’s strict personality all combined into anger and frustration, causing her to handle JB too roughly and accidentally bang her head on the side of the bath whilst washing her. Patsy was the only member of the family still wearing last night’s clothes when the police arrived, which some have suggested indicated she was up all night – potentially staging a coverup. There has also been suspicion around Patsy as a parent, having pushed JonBenét into the over-sexualised world of pageants and scrubbing doodles off of her skin with diluted nail polish remover prior to a pageant day.  However, once again it is hard to explain JonBenét’s death as accidental, as the strangulation occured whilst she was alive so it is impossible that she was killed immediately from an accidental head trauma.

Burke Ramsey

Although only 9 years old at the time, Burke is one of the most popular suspects in JonBenét’s murder, with many saying he killed her accidentally out of frustration. If Burke was the one who killed JB, then Patsy and John’s strange behaviour and contradictory/misleading accounts to the police would make far more sense – a desperate effort to protect their son. John had already lost 2 daughters (Elizabeth and JonBenét) and it seems fair to assume that he and Patsy would go to any lengths necessary to avoid losing another child.

The most common theory that explains Burke as the killer is related to the pineapple found in JB’s autopsy. The bowl of pineapple on the kitchen counter had the prints of both Burke and Patsy, but none from JonBénet. Pineapple was a favourite snack of the little girl and many believe that when they got in from the party, Burke began to eat the pineapple on the counter. JB decided she also wanted a snack before being put to bed, and reached her hand into the bowl to take a piece. Many have reported that Burke was often aggressive towards his sister, and that they did not get on well – past the point of usual sibling bickering. Perhaps Burke was frustrated with his sister and picked up the flashlight sat near to him on the counter, hitting her in the head with it. What was intended to be just a warning was a little too hard, knocking her unconscious. Burke picks up his toy train and pokes his sister with it to try and get her to move, causing the ‘stun gun’ marks on her neck. In a panic, Patsy Ramsey sees JB on the floor and assumes her to be dead. Unwilling to lose both of her children on the same night, she ushers Burke into bed and calls John into the kitchen. She frantically writes a ransom note and they stage a murder before calling the police. During the 911 call a confused 9 year-old Burke comes back downstairs and starts asking questions, not fully understanding what’s happened to his sister. Later in a police interview, when asked to describe what happened to his sister he implies that it was an accident, saying “Whoops” as he makes a lunging motion. He also suggests that she died not from strangulation, but by being hit in the head with “something like a hammer”. Years later in a 2016 interview about his sister’s death on Dr Phil, his body language has been considered by many to be incredibly suspicious, smiling throughout the interview and looking down and to the right (and indicator of lying) when he states that he did “absolutely not” kill his sister.

This is one of the theories I find most compelling out of all of the suspects. A parent’s love for their children is one of the most powerful driving forces, and I think it would explain perfectly why the Ramseys appeared to be involved in some sort of coverup. It also provides and explanation for both the pineapple in JB’s stomach, and Burke’s voice in the 911 call – which none of the other theories/suspects provide an explanation for. Of course, the evidence of this is all entirely circumstantial and – like everyone else – Burke was exonerated by the DNA evidence. There are also a few clear issues with this story. If the murder was an accident, why did there appear to be a sexual component to the crime? The strangulation occured whilst JB was still alive, so either her mother killed her knowing she was only unconscious (eliminating the need for a coverup) or somehow managed to believe that her child was already dead?

Friends of the Ramseys

Despite a lack of specific evidence against him, Fleet White’s role in JonBenét’s death has often been called into question. John Bennet was known to brag often about his wealth and lifestyle, which many have theorised could have caused Fleet to be resentful and jealous towards him. At a party hosted by the Ramsey’s on the 23rd December, an ‘accidental’ call was made to 911 which Fleet then hung up before speaking to a dispatcher. Police arrived anyway and another friend of the Ramsey’s – Susan Stine – turned the police away.  Stine was so protective of Patsy that she was nicknamed “Patsy’s bulldog”, and some have considered her to be just a little too defensive, perhaps to hide her own role in the crime. However, none of this really really compelled me, as there seems to be little to no evidence and no real explanation for the ‘strange’ behaviour exhibited by either Fleet or Susan. The only explanation I could find for the 911 call is that it was made by JonBenét to report the sexual abuse from her family members and that Fleet caught her and hung up, but this really seems like a stretch to me. There is no proof of this, and a 6 year old would surely be more likely to tell someone at the party about the abuse, rather than thinking to phone emergency services.

John Mark Carr 

In this case, there are 3 separate suspects whose motive can be explained as a desire to sexually exploit children. The first of these is John Mark Carr, who had previously been arrested on numerous charges including possession of child pornography. Carr was an elementary school teacher who did not become a suspect in the JonBenét case until 2006. Journalism professor Michael Tracy exchanged emails with Carr for over 4 years, building trust until Carr ‘confessed’ to the murder. Carr initially claimed that he was in the house the night of the murder and saw the killer but would not reveal who it was. Later, he wrote that he was deeply in love with JB and confessed to bludgeoning her to death with a flashlight. Tracy called his emails with Carr the “worst experience of my life so far” because the things he wrote were so deeply horrifying. Analysis of the emails showed similar language patterns to the ransom note and Carr knew strangely intimate details about the family, referring to Patsy’s mother by her family nickname “Neddie”. Carr fled to Bangkok but was later arrested and returned to America (I couldn’t figure out whether this was for charges to do with the JB cases, or unrelated crimes). However, when he was questioned the police decided he could not have been the killer as his ‘confession’ didn’t match the evidence from the crime scene and his DNA evidence was also not a match. They later discovered photo evidence that he had been in Georgia at the time of the killing, but they continued to investigate him. He maintained that he had committed the crime and that he did not work alone.

Bill McReynolds – Ramseys’ Party Santa

The second suspect who seems to have had a strange interest in JonBenét is Bill McReynolds. McReynolds was hired by the Ramsey family to dress up at Santa for their Christmas party, as he had been the year prior. JB gave a small vial of gold glitter to McReynolds as Santa, and he noted that she was the only child who had ever given him a gift rather than just receiving one themselves. This all seems innocent enough until McReynolds requested that he bring the vial of glitter with him into heart surgery, and that should he die his wife should mix it with his ashes. McReynolds had himself had a daughter kidnapped 22 years ago, who saw her friend sexually assaulted but was later returned. One perhaps unrelated, but creepily co-incidental note is that has Wife had written a play about a child being molested then murdered in a basement, very similarly to the circumstances of JB’s murder. However, McReynolds was also not a DNA match (but is the DNA evidence even valid?) and he could have been no more than a kindly old man deeply upset by the death of an innocent young girl.

Gary Oliva

The final sexually motivated suspect is Gary Oliva, who lived a few blocks away from the Ramsey family. A few years prior Oliva had been arrested on child pornography charges. In 2000 he was arrested on unrelated drug charges and police were shocked to find a photo of JonBénet Ramsey in his backpack, which he claimed was just part of a “shrine” to mourn her passing. Oliva’s high school friend Michale Vail gave an interview in which he claims Oliva called him the day after the murder and told him “I hurt a little girl, I hurt a little girl” in “Boulder, Colorado”. Interestingly, when police checked, they found that no other girl had been reported to have been harmed in that area on that night. Oliva had also attempted to strangle his mother with a telephone cord in the same way JB was asphyxiated. Also in his possession on his arrest was a stun gun, which may believe was the cause of strange marks on JB’s neck. The marks were not present in photos from Christmas morning but can be clearly seen in crime scene photos, suggesting they took place at the time of the murder. However, the autopsy at no point suggested that these marks were burns, nevermind confirming they were from a stun gun, referring to them only as “abrasions”. Oliva also did not match the DNA samples found on JB’s clothing, and was subsequently exonerated in JB’s murder.

Michael Helgolth – Local Electrician and “Hellraiser”

One little known suspect in this case is Michael Helgolth, a local electrician who was reportedly involved in a property dispute with the Ramsey family. There is little evidence linking Helgloth to the crime, other than a boot print found in the house that was a possible match for a pair of shoes he owned. The main reason people question his involvement is that Helgolth committed suicide just 2 days after police announced in a press conference that they had a new suspect, which many have seen as being borne out fear of being caught.

Linda Hoffman-Pugh – The Ramseys’ Housekeeper

Another seemingly unlikely suspect is Linda Hoffman-Pugh, the family’s longtime housekeeper. Although Hoffman-Pugh doesn’t match the police’s profile of a white male, she would have been known to JonBenét as well as having a key to access the house. She apparently asked the Ramsey family for a loan of a few thousand dollars but was refused, and was often arguing with Patsy over minor issues and later accusing her of JB’s murder. She had no alibi and working in the house, she could easily have seen John’s payslip lying around and known the amount of his bonus – explaining the oddly specific ransom amount. However, Hoffman-Pugh seemed to harbour no resentment towards JonBenét and it seems highly unlikely she would murder an innocent little girl just to make some money.


 

So that ended up spiralling a lot more than I thought it would! This post may now be the longest one on my blog, and definitely the most time-consuming. Hope you didn’t get bored to death reading this but there were just so many details that are crucial to understanding the case. There’s much much more to this case, and people have spent hours poring over it on websleuths down to every minute detail. Based on the research I did on this case, my gut instinct would be that Burke Ramsey or Gary Oliva are the most likely suspects, with either one or both of JonBenét’s parents being involved in a cover-up. However, with John’s contamination of the evidence and the unreliability of the DNA evidence, it is highly likely that we will never know who committed this horrendous murder. I hope that one day new evidence will be discovered, and JonBénet’s killer with finally face justice.

Have a hot bath, drink lots of water, and remember to take your meds. Until next time, take care of yourself x

Sources

LilyWhispers – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HAXTkKcSGQ

Buzzfeed Unsolved – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiQ4t2EuhKU

Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_JonBen%C3%A9t_Ramsey

Rolling Stone – https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/lists/who-killed-jonbenet-ramsey-8-possible-suspects-w443881

Autopsy Report – http://hosted.ap.org/specials/interactives/_national/jonbenet_ramsey/jonbenet_ramsey_autopsy.pdf

JonBenét Ramsey Case Encyclopedia – http://jonbenetramsey.pbworks.com/w/page/11682477/FrontPage

It’s Not All Bad 3

Living the UK means that February is really not a great month. It’s cold, rains all the time, and it’s still dark in the mornings. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Here are some good news stories to brighten up the rubbish weather.

  1. A man has won $400,000 in the Virginia lottery after having the numbers come to him in a dream.
  2. A new drug aiming to work as a ‘heroine vaccine’ has shown promise in trials on mice. The drug stops heroine from having any effects which could help combat addiction and avoid overdose deaths.
  3. Finn the dog is helping children at Ashcroft school in Cheshire. The school has many students with complex needs such as ADHD and Finn has become everyone’s new best friend, roaming the halls and sitting under students’ desks.
  4. The last known ‘dancing bears’ in Nepal have been rescued, with the help of the Jane Goodall Institute and World Animal Protection. Although the bears are obviously still traumatised from their captivity, rescuers are hopeful that they’ll adjust well to their new life.
  5. Yacoba Tete-Marmon, Nana Ohenewaa Kuffour and Maame Bema Baffour Awuah  all faced bullying at school in Ghana due to their autism, but now they’re walking the runway and winning awards for it.
  6. Wales is following in the footsteps of Scotland and Ireland by looking to ban the use of wild animals in circuses. The RSPCA said they were “absolutely delighted” that Wales is trying to outlaw this “outdated and cruel practice”.
  7. A quick thinking American Airlines employee saved two girls from a human trafficking plot. The girls had been bought tickets to New York for a ‘modelling job’ by a suspicious online source who deleted all of his social media profiles immediately after being contacted by the airline.
  8. Refugees in Germany are being provided with counselling training in order to help fellow asylum seekers, as part of a program run by Médecins Sans Frontières to help combat the lack of support previously available.
  9. Inmates at Central California Women’s Facility are being given the opportunity to train as beauty therapists whilst in prison, massively increasing their opportunities for work once they are released.
  10. Tesla’s Elon Musk is turning 50,000 homes in South Australia into solar power generators at no cost to the residents in an attempt to help lower electricity bills and stop frequent electricity ‘blackouts’.

 

That’s just a few of the good news stories I found, proving once again that the world really isn’t such an awful place. Hopefully they’ll pick you up a little bit in the way they did for me, and serve as a reminder to look for the positives whenever possible. Drink some water, read a book, call/text someone you love. Until next time, take care of yourself x


Read more about these good news stories here:

  1. https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/man-wins-lottery-with-numbers-from-dream/
  2. https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/heroin-vaccine-prevent-overdoses-addiction/
  3. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/good-news/seven-seas/classroom-pets-can-help-child-development/
  4. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/the-last-known-dancing-bears-of-nepal-have-been-rescued_us_5a3c1030e4b06d1621b2f312
  5. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-africa-42919873/ghana-s-autistic-models-turn-heads-and-win-awards?intlink_from_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Ftopics%2Fcz4pr2gdgvgt%2Finspiring-stories&link_location=live-reporting-map
  6. https://www.sunnyskyz.com/good-news/2650/Wales-To-Ban-The-Use-Of-Wild-Animals-In-Circuses
  7. https://www.sunnyskyz.com/good-news/2649/American-Airlines-Employee-Saves-2-Teenage-Girls-From-Human-Trafficking-Plot
  8. https://www.positive.news/2018/society/31351/refugees-become-mental-health-counsellors-for-peers/
  9. https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/beauty-therapy-course-gives-prison-inmates-skills-make-beautiful-life/
  10. https://www.sunnyskyz.com/good-news/2630/Tesla-Is-Turning-50-000-Homes-In-South-Australia-Into-Power-Generators-At-No-Cost-To-Residents

My Top 3 Podcasts

Having recently moved from an out-in-the-sticks village into town has been a bit of an adjustment. Suddenly, I have been thrown into the modern world – fast wifi, and 4 different pizza delivery places at my fingertips. Better Netflix and more takeaways is definitely not doing wonders for my health but it feels oh so good to not be waking up at 6.20 every day to get an hour-long bus into school. Now that I have an easy 10 minute walk into school, I can get up and moving in the mornings as well as enjoying either the Hamilton soundtrack (again) or listening to a podcast. Here are a few of my favourites.

Another Round with Heben & Tracy

This podcast is honestly one of the funniest things I’ve ever listened to, and I desperately want to be friends with both of these ladies. I used to look like I’d totally lost the plot on the bus, staring out the window with my hand over my mouth trying not to burst out laughing. As well as ridiculously entertaining segments such as “Tracy’s Joke Time”, this show really gets into some key issues – with black women discussing the issues faced by black women. With brilliant guests, comedy gold and serious chat that makes you think, I don’t know what more I could want from a podcast?

Episode Recommendations: Any episode with Bim Adewunmi (I recently watched 107: “Lusting out Loud”, Episode 25: “Stop Telling Women to Smile”, and Episode 100: “Kunta in the House” (it stars Levar Burton aka Geordi La Forge, and I’m a shameless star trek fan).

Stuff You Should Know – by HowStuffWorks

This podcast is perfect for sating your curiosity on practically any topic you can dream of. With 3 episodes a week on a crazily wide range of topics, learn about something new without being bored to death. Most episodes are around an hour long, which lets you really sink your teeth into a new subject, but rather than just dry facts the episodes are broken up by hosts Josh and Chuck’s chats and jokes.

Episode Recommendations: How Psychopaths Work, The Black Panther Party, How The Gender Pay Gap Works (spoiler alert: a lot of the statistics you know are probably wrong).

Myths and Legends – by Jason Weiser

Until stumbling upon this podcast I wouldn’t have considered myself much of a mythology person. If you’re looking for storytime for grown-ups, this will become your new go-to. Jason is a natural storyteller, explaining just enough to help you understand what’s going on but without ruining the joy and flow of just listening to a story. The “creature of the week” segments are also always a fun way to close off the episode.

Episode Recommendations: 57 – Japanese Fairy Tales: Faithful, 47 – Urban Legends: In the Dark, 4 – Mulan: A Likely Hero


 

Another podcast that has to get an honourable mention is Frederic Bibard’s “Talk In French”. I love his podcast as a A-Level French student but it would also be great for anyone whose just interested in French culture or language. I didn’t include it in my list above because I know it’s not really relevant to everyone but I would check it out if you’ve got any interest in French.

Sorry for the delay between posts, it’s been a bit hectic around here – moving, getting wifi set up and dealing with mock exams. Thank you for sticking with me and now I’m settled I will try and get back to posting (how many times have I promised that now?) Drink lots of water, go on a walk outside, remember to floss. Until next time, take care of yourself x