About Me

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Weston Super Mare, Somerset, United Kingdom
Hello and welcome to my blog. My name is Robin Whitlock. I am a freelance journalist with a special interest in environmental issues and renewable energy. I have numerous published articles to my credit and write regularly for a number of renewable energy websites. I am also a writer for Renewable Energy Magazine and a sub-editor for Renewable Energy Focus. I am currently based in Bristol, UK. Besides renewable energy and green issues I have a wide variety of other interests which includes World War 2, mythology and folklore, gardening, railways and lots more besides. You can also reach me on either of my two email addresses, which are: robinwhitlock66@hotmail.com and robinwhitlock1966@gmail.com Thanks!

Hire Me!!

Hire Me!! - Freelance Journalist specializing in environmental issues and renewable energy
Writer for Renewable Energy Magazine
Sub-editor for Renewable Energy Focus
Contributor to Holmes Digital Media websites (Solar Guide, Renewables Guide, Boiler Guide, Builder Guide)
Contributor to Cleversolar blog and Find Energy Savings
Published in numerous national magazines
See below for writing samples

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Frankie lives in Bristol apparently... Or does she?

Having watched the first episode of Frankie last night  it seems the working class are now invisible, or at least they are in Bristol according to last night's episode. Frankie may say she lives in Bristol but I just don't recognise the Bristol the series attempts to portray. There's not a Bristolian accent to be heard for a start off, and this portrayal of the city is filled with very middle class characters that are obviously doing very well thank you. But there again, what else can you expect from the BBC?

To  my mind, "Frankie" was just another exercise in writing the working class out of British society and culture while attempting to convince us  all that "we are all middle class now". Yes, admittedly, I do think of
myself as middle class, but nevertheless I really object to the demonisation of an entire subset, and a very important one, of British society. Owen Jones book "Chavs: The demonisation of the working class"
goes into this in far greater detail, but having read that book I can now see instances of it right across popular culture, and I object, particularly when it regards my own city.

Really, the BBC needs to balance this middle class tripe with a programme looking at what Bristol is REALLY like, investigating the lives of ordinary working people and exposing some of the hardships that
many of them have to put up with. Yes, there are many areas of Bristol that resemble the society portrayed in Frankie, but that only represents half the city at best. In general Bristol has a very tough, stocky,
working class atmosphere, which I don't particularly like. Even so I certainly recognise unfairness when I see it, and last night's offering by the BBC leads me to cry 'object' on the basis that Bristol's working class population appear to have suddenly been transported elsewhere.

How long did the BBC actually spend in Bristol? Five minutes? Clifton is only a very small part of the city, how about entering Easton, St Pauls, Ashley, Southmead, Knowle, my own district of Broomhill, Lawrence Hill, Stapleton Road, or any number of other places that actually represent the REAL Bristol?
In short, although it may have been rather quaint and fun in some ways, in reality Frankie was another instance of upper middle class hogwash.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Old friends...

I went to George Monbiot's talk on Rewilding in Bristol yesterday. He is actually an old friend of mine from activism days back in the 1990's, particularly the road protest at Solsbury Hill in 1994 and the Land Is Ours campaigns of 1997-8. I talked to him once since, in around 2008 by email, but not actually seen him in person since 1997-8 or thereabouts. So I thought I would buy a copy of his book, which I was going to do anyway, and see what he had to say if I suddenly appeared right in front of him with a copy of his book to sign.

So anyway, he recognized me immediately I am glad to say, and I had to laugh as he suddenly said in surprise "Oh hello, how are you?" "Very well thankyou" I replied, "how are you doing? Been a while..." "Indeed" he said before asking me what I was doing these days. So I told him I was a freelance journalist working for Renewable Energy Magazine and writing a few odd extra magazine articles besides. He signed the book with a greeting of "For the trees! With best wishes George Monbiot" on the basis that that was where we both, more or less, started out from (although he had admittedly been involved in a few scrapes in the Amazon and, I think, Indonesia, before he ended up at Solsbury Hill.

I have to say it was actually quite a magical experience exchanging a greeting with George as an old friend, rather than as an internationally well known author, environmentalist and Guardian columnist, and quite an amusing one too!