Archive for November, 2012

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Just Learning By Example

25 November 2012

The knitters among you may remember Knit Camp, which was held in Scotland in 2010.  It was “organised” by Jo Watson and I’m placing the word in inverted commas for a reason!  Some interesting details here.

Tutors were sourced from around the world – some of the biggest names in the international knitting community – but a number of them were deported when they got to London.  Jo’s promise of work permits didn’t materialise.  Other tutors pulled out before travelling when they found their contracts changed without their permission.  People cancelled when they discovered their favourite knitter wasn’t teaching, classes had to be swapped around, substitute tutors found.  And from what I’ve heard from people who worked at the event (work, that is, as in “voluntary work”) it was complete mayhem.  The knitters I think ended up having a good time but most of the tutors didn’t get paid – and bear in mind they had large travel costs for this Camp.

The internet was awash at the time with complaints from tutors and students alike and Jo Watson was NOT popular.  I believe Stirling University where the event was held sued her as they didn’t get paid either. 

In March 2011, she put something vaguely resembling an apology on Ravelry and also stated that she had had a nervous breakdown (that post is no longer available, as she deleted it).  One reply she received was as follows:

“Alongside this “apology” are the tutors who are still owed thousands of pounds ever going to see their money?

You know that I gave up a family holiday and missed my eldest 2 children’s birthdays to come and teach for you at really short notice when Ysolda pulled out.  My invoice for  £1560 is still outstanding despite your promises on email that you wouldn’t let any of us be out of pocket and that you would sort it.

The post above is just not good enough Jo.  Not good enough at all.  I personally have no interest in your nervous breakdown but I am not facelessly harrassing you. I am happy to put my name and my face to it. I want the money you owe me and until I get it I will not stop doing what I am doing now which is to make sure as many people know about what you did as possible so that you cannot do it again”.  

It’s difficult to believe that the same Kerrie who wrote that is the one who’s now bemoaning the state of her mental health, is criticising those who won’t put the loss of their money behind them, and has accused all and sundry of harassing and bullying her if they’ve dared to raise the question of their missing samples/magazines/money.   And at the time of writing this in 2011, many contributors to her magazines were already complaining that they hadn’t been paid by Kerrie.

There is a group of over 500 people on the internet who are sick of the way that KAL Media/All Craft Media and all the other businesses involving Kerrie have treated subscribers and contributors so we are making sure that “as many people know about what you did as possible so that you cannot do it again”. 

We’re just adopting Kerrie’s way.

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Thank You For Your Comment

21 November 2012

I’ve received the following comment on my last blog post from Claire Smith.

“Let me introduce myself. I am Claire. Smith is my married name, the surname that my daughter also holds. Barzilay is my maiden name. So understandably for social sites, I clump them together to make Claire Barzilay-Smith. I don’t have to explain that do I? I am hoping you are intelligent enough to understand the reasons behind the two names.
If I had a £ for every ”can you spell that for me please”, I would be very rich.

I am wanting to say thank you to you by the way. All this press you keep giving to us, good or bad, is making people want to know more. Which is brilliant. We have had more hits on Truffle in its first few days, (without me even having to do the marketing side), than I could ever dream of. Wicked. Go Truffle! (Printers name, will be on the printed version. No need for the digital download. Obviously).
And just to keep myself at your level for a minute. English grammar. Have you spotted your mistake yet? Easily done!

I don’t want you to stop what your doing by the way. Like I said, it was just a thank you for now. Oh, and you have said that you don’t know what has happened to Be Creative magazine, as we said on Facebook…. Be Creative is a blog for Claire and I to share some of our thoughts and beliefs on creativity. We will be putting together a digital FREE crafty magazine but probably not until next year. Until then we hope you’ll join us here and on the blog and share your creative creations with us. x …so nothing yet.

I understand you don’t live in Saffron Walden, Bishop’s Stortford or Stansted. Even the UK. So if you want to be kept in the loop. Please e-mail me. I will forever keep, interested parties in the loop.

As always, I will look forward to reading your thoughts. Take care.”

No, Claire, I wasn’t confused about your name or suggesting you were hiding under a nom-de-plume.  I was purely pointing out that you were the same person I’d referred to in an earlier post, when I’d used your full name.  I AM confused though by your referral to “Be Creative is a blog for Claire and I …..”  Is there another Claire, or did Kerrie write this?  (And, putting on my proof-reading hat,  it should be “Claire and me” by the way,)  

Your Be Creative blog mentions a monthly magazine from the end of October.  As we are now approaching the end of November, I naturally wondered what had happened to it.

Thank you for your comment.

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There’s Really No Stopping Her…

17 November 2012

Big drum roll please for the launch of a new magazine – Truffle.  This apparently is a “monthly, glossy, high-end lifestyle, handbag-sized, beautiful local magazine.  For free!”.  It will be delivered to households in Saffron Walden, Bishops Stortford and Stansted.

And the Editor is (another drum roll, please) – Kerrie Allman (aka Jenn Smith-Clarke, Tallulah Ray and a few others that don’t immediately spring to mind).

Now before you think that Kerrie has gone out and obtained employment with a reputable publisher, perhaps we should look at the facts. 

Ad. Sales are the responsibility of Claire Smith, aka Claire Barzilay-Smith who used to work for Kerrie and with whom she was launching a magazine called Be Creative (no idea what happened to that one).

Claire registered the domain name for this business on 1st November, at an address in Little Dunmow

One of the advertisements in the magazine is for a marketing company called “5iftyfournine” (no, I don’t get it either).  The domain name for this company was also registered on 1st November, at the same address, by Shirley Rycroft – who as we all know is Kerrie’s mother.

And of course it contains all the usual Kerrie trademarks, including an inability to spell and a complete lack of understanding of English grammar.  As in “The Truffle families favourite Christmas dinner recipes” and the lovely plural “address’s” – to name just a couple.   (Although this can’t beat describing Liberty’s as “infamous” in the last issue of Sew Hip).

As usual with magazines coming from this stable, there is no printer’s name published, which is a legal UK publishing requirement but, what the heck, who cares about silly rules and regulations?

I normally admire persistence but “If at first you don’t succeed” doesn’t really mean just keep doing the same things over and over again in the faint hope that they’ll work out better next time.  Two businesses went bust within 12 months of each other.  Most people would have learnt something from that.

EDITED:  On 17th November, the domain name registration for Truffle was changed from the same address as  5iftyfournine to the address shown in the magazine.  And 5iftyfournine was changed to the same address as the address (which is a postal one only) shown on the Craft Magazine shop site.  I’m glad I was able to point out the “slip up”.

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Special Parents For Special Children

16 November 2012

I’m sure there are many of you who think I shouldn’t be writing this.  I’m childfree, by choice, and I’ve never had anything vaguely resembling a maternal urge.  But I really don’t hate children – there have been many small children in my life who have known I’ve loved them dearly.  I just didn’t want any of my own. 

I do appreciate though that there are many people who feel that their lives are not complete without a child.  There are people who go to quite extraordinary lengths to have a child.  And as long as those children are loved and cared for, that’s fine by me.

But if I hear one more programme or read one more article about how overseas adoptions should be made easier, I’ll scream.

For the last 40 years or so, adoption has been a long and gruelling process.  I know it seems unfair that practically any woman can give birth without any assessment of her ability to care for a child but do we really want to go back to the days when children were just placed with anyone who’d have them? 

In the 1920’s my grandfather went to the funeral of a distant relative and came home with a little girl.  She’d just buried the last of her parents and as my grandparents had only one child, a girl (my mother), he thought it was his responsibility to care for her.  My grandparents were a kind and loving couple and I’m sure this girl was well-loved, but that was just good luck on her part.   In the Second World War, English children from the cities were sent to country areas away from the bombing.  Often they were lined up in the village hall and local people who had any spare space in their houses were obliged to pick a child and take her home.  There are some horrendous stories about what happened to some of these children.

We don’t just hand children out any more.  We want to know where they’re going.  And if that’s what we do for domestic adoptions, then that’s what we must do for international ones.  I KNOW that some of these children are living in dire conditions but that doesn’t mean that their welfare should be any less important to us than that of Australian-bred children.

We hear cases of children whose background is covered up – they haven’t always been put up for adoption for a start, but have been bought.  There are children with huge psychological problems which may never be cured (as was found with the large number of Romanian babies adopted by the British in the 1990’s).  These problems don’t just go away with a lot of love and cuddles.

We need special parents, highly-vetted, not just the first person to put her hand up.    

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NO, We Are Not The 51st State . . . .

11 November 2012

Australia was more than a little surprised this week to read all over the internet comments from Republican Americans along the lines of “If Obama wins, I’m moving to Australia”.  There was even one young woman who said “I’m moving to Australia because their President is a Christian who actually supports what he says”.  (No, I’m not joking – read about it here).

We are all wondering what it is about Australia that could possibly appeal to a staunch right-winger and presume it’s none of the following:

Our Prime Minister, the highest elected politican, is a WOMAN.

She’s also an ATHEIST, and living with a man she isn’t married to.

Our Head of State, the Queen, is obviously a woman, as is her representative in Australia, the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce (though that wouldn’t be so obvious to anyone who hasn’t seen her as her name is a bit confusing).

We have strict gun-control laws.

We have universal healthcare.

We teach evolution to our children.

We have easy access to contraception.

We have mandatory voting.

The list is endless.

But one thing we don’t have is an open border.  So the chances of any of these idiots actually being allowed to move here is pretty remote. 

 

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Well, Like, I’m Kinda Like, You Know …..

6 November 2012

St Johns College, the 150 year old Catholic college at Sydney University, is in deep trouble again.  I won’t go into all the details here but it involves disgusting initiation ceremonies for new students and the dreadful way they treat the female students.  There’s a pretty good account of it here.

The college is quite naturally concerned that parents won’t want their children to enrol there so last night, on the ABC’s Lateline news programme, they put forward a first-year female student to assure people that it’s really not like that at all. 

This is what she said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald:

“It’s definitely not what it’s like inside those walls”, Georgie told Lateline.

“I’m a fresher there and, like, I’ve never been intimidated or forced into drinking anything as they say. Like, all the rituals have been ruled out and all that kind of stuff.  Like, the leaders of this college, like, they always sit us down, they’re like ‘you’re never forced into anything and all that kinda stuff’ ”

And now we learn she’s not a first-year, but a third year student who sits on the 2012 House Committee, whatever that is.

I certainly wouldn’t want any child I know to attend this college but not just because of the violence.  If the student they hand-pick to face the media is so inarticulate and unable to construct a proper sentence, what are the rest of the students like?

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You Have A Blog, Kerrie – Use It

3 November 2012

I was recently approached by Tallulah Ray (aka Kerrie Allman) who suggested that I be willing to send her 10 questions which she’d answer, and I’d post her responses here.  She complained that I’d never asked her for her comments.

I toyed with this idea for a while (well, there are loads of questions I’d like answered) but decided that this would serve no useful purpose. 

Kerrie has the same access to the internet as I do, and doesn’t need me to facilitate that access.  She has her own blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts, for a start.  There are too-many-to-count blog posts about her, together with knitting, sewing and quilting forums, not to mention publishers’ and printers’ websites, where her business activities have been discussed.  If any of what I or others have written is not factually correct, she has always been free to put the record straight but chose not to do so. 

As Kerrie now seems keen to answer her critics, I suggest she does it in her OWN internet space, and I’ll do what I can to make sure this is widely circulated so that everyone has the opportunity of reading “the other side of the story”.    

Over to you now, Kerrie. 

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