The Patch


The Patch is a Newsblog, which will be updated daily with articles from seven resident writers covering Miscellany, UK News, Politics, International News, Music & Film and Celebrity and TV. It will also include pieces from Guest Writers on various subjects. If you’re interested in being a guest writer, please comment to be considered.

More here shortly. For now, here’s a little about us.

Edit- We have now implemented a new policy on the Patch. Instead of having one writer for each subject, we will share the responsibilities and allow a lot more flexibility in subject matter and timing. We hope this will result in a better and more well tended Patch. Did you see what I did there? Did you? No? Ok.

Alice Dowhyj – Miscellany (Monday)

Trudging slowly over a muddy canal towpath; the stereotypical Smiths/Morrissey fan is traditionally a geeky, glasses-clad, socially inept loner. I excel at the latter. I say excel, I can win medals at it, so really yes, excel is the word. In a similar stance, I can list in abundance the things I despise, detest, or simply don’t like, but when it comes to that tricky question “So, exactly what do you like?” I’m stumped. Out for a duck.

Consequently, this means I have no specific column title. I am “miscellaneous”, compiling hodgepodge thoughts in a desperate attempt to attract and sustain your attention whilst secretly despairing about the state of humanity. That’s no joke; I do do that, though sadly not to the ability of certain other folk.

One of the most vexing things about me, is my parents chose to name me a name that confuses plurals and singulars: A-lice (only without the hyphen). A-louse would be more apt, but I’m heartily sick of both insect and literary references to my name, so I’ll stop there. No, my genitor was not an opium-addled mathematician though yes, I have fallen partially down a rabbit hole. And should I ever come across a hookah smoking caterpillar, you’ll be the first to know, I assure you. Similarly, if I am to leap into a premature science experiment and vanish, waking to find myself putting things right that once went wrong, I’ll also inform you. Only I’d better get one good hologram guide.

Claire R. – UK News (Tuesday)

Hello, my name’s Claire, but you can call me whatever you like, within reason. I’ll be writing here at The Patch about UK News, for no other reason than because I want to. You don’t have to live in the UK to be a UK News reporter, I suppose, but it helps, and I’m from probably the best part (according to me, anyway), Yorkshire in Northern England. Whilst this doesn‘t make me completely qualified to write about what‘s going on in the greatest Britain there is, it can‘t hurt.

I wanted to write for The Patch because I’ve got delusional aspirations of being a Journalist when I grow up so I thought I‘d better get in some experience. I’m currently in my first year of an English degree, which will, fingers crossed, equip me (barely) for the job. I’m currently professionally unemployed, but dwindling funds will probably mean me coming to an Asda checkout near you pretty soon, and enjoy reading, writing, and faffing about on the internet. Hence The Patch should keep me pretty busy…

As you can see from the above, I’m adept at rambling aimlessly. Which, whilst boosting my word count, doesn’t really make a lot of sense, so I guess I should wrap this up now…Thanks for reading this (if you managed to get this far, I actually salute your patience), and I look forward to writing for you!

Alan Sharkey – Politics (Wednesday)

Everyone hates politics. It seems all too often presided over by dull grey men, mouthing dull, grey policies in ever duller, greyer soundbites. Everything seems so established, so immovable that, whilst people may feel aggrieved, even furious, it seems a waste of time and effort to raise any kind of consciousness against the mainstream politicians. It never seems like they’re the ones to have any power anyway – what’s the point of caring about what they do?

You expect me at this point to turn this statement upon its’ head, to deliver a wonderful speech extolling the virtues of democracy and citizen participation. You can change everything! The established order can be fundamentally altered! Politics isn’t just two sides quibbling over who can perform the same policies better!

F*ck that. I’m as bitter, twisted and cynical as the rest of you – perhaps more so – the difference being that I choose, voluntarily, to continue to masochistically watch the soul-destroying process as our hopelessly corrupted representatives take us on the slow road to hell with not even good intentions to make us feel warm and fuzzy inside, whilst the rest of you do the sane thing, and tune out. I’m here, however, to share a little of that misery back into your lives.

I’ve been unnaturally obsessed with politics since I was a small child. I was wheeled along in a pram protesting the Poll Tax when I was 2, and when my father was standing for a seat on the council, I stood up and shouted “Crush the Liberals!” as we went around giving out posters and stickers. I’m happy to say in over twelve years, my yearnings to carry out that action have not lessened at all, having watched in despair as the Liberals have grown from a gaggle of tepid champagne socialists, “centrists”, and Lloyd George worshippers into the larger gaggle of tepid pseudo-greenies who have a wind farm on their house but still want to keep the Hummer, “centrists”, Orange Book worshippers, and Lembit Opik, who’s too busy chasing meteorites and Cheeky Girls to care about ideological positions. Watching the Liberal Democrat party still remains like watching a man take both forks in the road at the same time and wondering why he has groin strain.

It’s never been easy, though, being interested in politics. When people normally find out you have an interest in politics beyond the usual, they sort of recoil with a mixture of disgust, shock, and awkwardness, not unlike if you had just casually mentioned to your friends at a dinner party that you had raped their mother. (Remember kids, sexual abuse is never funny, unless you’re an American soldier in Abu Grahib, in which case you’ll find it hilarious.)

So in this column I’m free to witter on about politics, which means, strangely, I have an extremely broad remit. I won’t just be going on about who will succeed who and who will get the most seats, but wider issues, the problems faced in actually getting anything done, or just musings about the nature of politics and the philosophy behind it – who deserves power? Why? How much? That kind of thing. And, of course, who will succeed who and who will get the most seats.

I, myself, am pretty firmly on the left; in my wilder, more utopian days I am a full-blown wild-eyed utopian democratic socialist, whilst in my more sober rational days, I still seem to be well to the left of the mainstream sphere of political debate, despite staying within the broad confines of social democratic thinking. I have no time for pragmatism, in general, or at least the pragmatism of the “centrists”, the people who actively seek “the middle” of mainstream political discourse and stubbornly refuse to shift from their Platonic ideal of “sensible centrism”. Never mind that they are always wrong; never mind that their limited imaginations are always overwhelmed by the capacity of ordinary people; they always regroup, ceaselessly intervening, storming in wherever one man says “2+2 is 4!” and another to say “2+2 is 6!” to announce imperiously that 2+2 is 5 and denounce both sides as extremists.

Pragmatists such as those seem to tell you what is possible, and then give you thousands of reasons why it would be impossible to do. I prefer idealists. They tell you what is impossible, and work ceaselessly to make it possible. I’d like to think I’m one of those, but then I remember I’m on a computer wittering about politics to someone from Helsinki. So it goes.

Phil Whitehead – International News (Thursday)

Why hello there. I’m Phil. I am currently in my third (yes, third) year of sixth form, and as a result of this, I seem to have far too much time on my hands. I’m studying Biology, Chemistry and Film Studies at the moment. My love in life is film. I just typed Phil instead of film which is perhaps more accurate. But anyway, making films is what I want to do when I grow up. I do not plan to grow up for a while. I am quite proud of being a geek.

I’m getting mildly concerned about how often I’m saying “I” in this blurb. It’s potentially showing off how self obsessed I actually am. My self obsession is more than a little likely to come across in my writing, and for that I apologise. I shall declare now that even if I disagree with your opinion, I would fight to the death to defend your right to hold it. But I still think you’re wrong.

My area of The Patch is international news. I define this as news which has global implications, wherever it might have happened. I want to write about the issues that influence how we all live our lives, the affairs the affect us all. In a rather grandiose way, I want to try and cut through the bullshit and sensationalism and offer my views on the current affairs and events happening all over the world. I’d like to do it with a bit of style and wit too, but we’ll wait and see about that.

Of course in practice, these things never quite unfold how you expect them to.

Tom “Spanky” Meek – Music and Film (Friday)

Husband of a murdered wife; father of a murdered son; owner of a slightly molested cat – I have finally got over all that and now dedicate my life to writing about the magical world that is music and that. ‘That’ being film and television, you know, those funny moving pictures where people you recognise (and occasionally don’t know where from and you get really annoyed that you can’t remember how you know their face or lips so bestow upon them the name ‘whatshisface’) speak and shout and occasionally bump and/or grind.

What can you expect from such writings? Well, opinion springs to mind. And a lot of it. Many a great artist has suffered under the barb of this tongue, or word processor to be more precise. I shall take apart all the albums/singles/live gigs/programmes/films thrown at me and carve their content up into bile and effluence with the great gleaming knife of evaluation. This sodding mess shall then be translated into word form so everyone can delight upon what I think of what they’re watching or listening to so they don’t have to think about it. Yes, I am that lonely freedom fighter, fighting the great fight against freewill and thought. For I shall take over that thought.

I shall also do my very utmost to keep loyal readers up to date on such events we in the business like to call ‘news’ relating to the great worlds of music, film and television. If Pete Doherty is on Blue Peter using some sticky back plastic for a roll up – I’ll be there. If Noel Edmonds is opening a box – I’ll be there. If Daphne and Celeste are crying for their wasted youth – I’ll be there. If Martin Scorsese is dying – I’ll be there, so engrossed in writing about it I wouldn’t even care of calling an ambulance. Yes, dedication. That is me.


Amy Feldman – Miscellany (Saturday)

So the all-too-common question; how did we get to here? It’s quite simple really; I am a first-year English literature student, pretending that I’m going to do something sensible with my life, when all I really want to do is write. That’s the one thing I’ve ever actually been able to make my mind up about in my life, my inability to commit to one thing being the reason that I am writing the ‘miscellaneous’ column.

There is (slightly) more to me than indecisiveness. I am one of the clumsiest people you will ever meet, once managing to fall into a fishpond that had a wall around it, and I don’t do much for subverting the blonde stereotype, being one of the most dopey people you will ever meet. I am also happy, sleepy, sneezy, grumpy, bashful, Doc… And a not-so-secret Disney Dork, if you hadn’t already guessed. I am also a big theatre geek, particularly when it comes to musicals. I like dancing- badly- to classic (aka cheese) music. Like many females, I am a huge fan of both shopping and chocolate, though I would like them more if they didn’t involve money and weight gain. I love the cinema, but I have a tendency to annoy people by making flippant comments throughout films. I have just started kickboxing, and am amazed there is a sport out there that I actually enjoy, and am not TOO bad at. Finally, I have serious Wanderlust and one day plan to travel properly- at the moment I am unable to scratch my itchy feet, due to midget arms and the fact that all my money seems to disappear behind the counters of Tescos and bars. But I know that my time will come after I find my fortune as a playwright and can afford to retire at the age of 40. Writing for The Patch is just the beginning- you’ll see…

Jamie Osborne – Guest Writer (As and when)

Welcome to the small English backwater of Yeovil, an autonomous colony of God-fearing troglodytes who still like to consider birth as a free vascular supper. If you look to your left, you will see a landscape adorned with barrows, burnt offerings and several wicker effigies. If you look to your right, you will see Mayor Ian Martin, drinking blood from the skulls of our rivals – those strange and incestuous folk from neighbouring Dorset.

I know what you might be thinking; Yeovil sounds like no place for this inspiring polymath to live…why on Earth am I wasting my precious time reading this guy’s blurb, when I could be sat here with my pants around my ankles, googling myself a sex, that midget has a really nice scrotum.

I know, I thought the same when I checked out your profile.

That aside, I’ll forgive you all for not thinking of me as an inspiring polymath or some sort of modern day renaissance man. I’m not saying I don’t resent you slightly for it, or that I haven’t made a voodoo doll in your image, cast a hex upon your family, or repeatedly asked God to smite you in my prayers, but I’ll definitely forgive you for not buying into a clearly groundless and self-indulgent lie. In fact, if I’m to be completely honest with you, I’m yet to evolve much further than stupidity, imprudence and the occasional use of big words as a cunning mask for my somewhat inferior and oddly-shaped genitals.

RANDOM THOUGHT – Why not make an actual mask for your genitalia? Simply cut a hole in the end of the willy warmer granny knitted you for Christmas and voila, a little balaclava. Just don’t go robbing any sperm banks with it. That would be retarded.

Well, that’s about it. If you feel the overwhelming urge to say hi, or are slightly worried about me asking God to smite you in my prayers and want to convince me not to do so with generous cash donations, don’t be shy to drop us a line here at ‘the Patch’.

Other than that, you’re now free to fuck off and resume your sexual relationship with Google images. I am.

Amie Wyman – Guest Writer (As and When)

Graham Phillips – Guest Writer (As and When)

I asked people that know me what they thought I was like. Some notable replies include: “pedantic”, “slightly disturbing” and “a little damp”.

Now, how did I get to where I am now, I.E. in front of my computer? It was the 3rd of July 1985 when my mother, being heavily pregnant, decided that I’d sat in her womb for quite long enough. Hours later, I was kicking and screaming in the arms of a doctor. If we fast forward through the monotony of 20 or so years we cover broken limbs, strange first words, being run at by cattle and more scars than you can shake a broken foot at.

I have a love for Pink Floyd, good ale, good comedy and generally annoying the hell out of anyone that’ll care to listen. I’m also beginning an Open University course in Law, which means I’ll soon become even more pedantic than what is socially acceptable. I work for Sainsbury’s, and this has made me lose my patience with most of society. I’m hoping it doesn’t come across too much in my writing but it’s hard luck on anyone who reads it if it does. I’ll be stepping in for anyone that can’t make an article, so essentially I’ll be helping clean up after the resident writers when they decide they are too hung-over to contribute. I hope this will be a rare occurrence. They can hold their drink.

Rox Girling – Guest Writer, Fashion (As and when)



  1. There are some fantastic articles here. If people would like me to add anything (i can string some words together coherently, and i have a lot of free time) then i’d like to be considered 🙂

    Comment by Graham Phillips — January 21, 2007 @ 8:59 pm | Reply

  2. Damn, i forgot to add my email to it…it’s insertsomethingwitty AT hotmail Dot co Dot uk.

    I’ll wait to hear from someone about it 🙂

    Comment by Graham Phillips — January 22, 2007 @ 10:56 pm | Reply

  3. This all looks pretty interesting. Just like to chuck me name into the hat for a guest writer slot. I know you’ve probably got a list as long as your arm so if you can’t fit us in don’t worry, but i’m here if you need me! Capable/willing to write about just about anything.

    Comment by Stu (the Doc) — February 2, 2007 @ 9:50 pm | Reply

  4. Too many boring blogs out there, but this is good. Interesting, well presented. Thanks for doing it, John

    Comment by super exotic cars — March 27, 2007 @ 2:05 pm | Reply

  5. Hey, great blog. Your writing squad is funny and talented. We are a couple of new entrepreneurs ourselves, trying to start our own celebrity news blog. If you’d be interested in swapping links on each other’s sites, let us know. We could always use some extra exposure and we have a modestly large (and growing rapidly), dedicated fanbase that we could offer you all. Check us out and let us know! Thanks!

    Comment by RockyLovesEmily — April 15, 2007 @ 5:17 pm | Reply

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