Local Birmingham heroes in the spotlight
THE MAGNIFICENT seven names of Bogle, Gordon, Nanny, Sharpe, Bustamante, Manley and Garvey are the inspiration behind a glittering annual awards night in Birmingham where seven local heroes’ efforts are rewarded as they are ‘matched’ with Jamaica’s seven national icons.
More than 400 guests attended the glittering annual gala at Aston Villa Football Club organised by the Association of Jamaican Nationals (Birmingham) UK, (AJN).
Keynote speaker Bentley Cunningham, a retired university lecturer, who was born in Kingston, brought the house down and won a standing ovation for a brilliantly-timed speech on his life’s experiences both in the UK and in Jamaica.
In her statement, Beverly Lindsay, AJN chairman, wrote of leaving a ‘trail of hope’ for the next generation and how it was important to show them that real heroes could be found right at the heart of their own communities, not in the celebrity world.
Former Emmerdale actor Wil Johnson, who played single dad Dom in the long-running soap, presented the awards, saying he was always delighted to be back in Birmingham.
Novelist Caitlin Moran Wryly Shows 'How To Build A Girl'
. This new book reads very much like Moran's own autobiography, exaggerated for effect. Dolly Wilde — as Johanna christens herself — lands a job as a freelance music journalist, travels to London, has lots of sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll. It's a fast-paced tale of a working class girl whose brains and way with words, and her sheer grit, ensure her escape and her success.
Moran never loses touch with what seemed to me an authentic and believably teenage voice — from the self-obsessed navel gazing nature of Dolly's reflections to the exaggerated emotional responses and flights of fancy. At times, the tone does become a little too breathless and over-excited. But, as any mother who has despaired of the sharp intake of breath and "OMG!" exhalation that accompanies the most banal of observations by an adolescent girl could tell you, this too is probably true to life. Moran manages to poke fun at her young alter ego just as she elicits the reader's sympathy.
The joy of this easy-read novel is not just the scrappy protagonist. As Dolly navigates her new life going to gigs and parties in London, and as we are reminded of the fate of her family back in Wolverhampton, Moran makes strong statements about social inequality and gender throughout. In one particularly moving — and uncharacteristically restrained — moment, Dolly tells the reader: "my biggest secret of all — the one I would rather die than tell, the one I wouldn't even put in my diary — is that I really, truly, in my heart, want to be beautiful. I want to be beautiful so much — because it will keep me safe, and keep me lucky, and it's too exhausting not to be." Even as she finds her way into womanhood, Dolly is beset by self-doubt and consumed by a negative body image. She may be living the feminist creed, but building yourself is never going to be an easy task.