Chris Jones: Disabled Daredevil

The full copy from my story about Chris Jones which appeared in Metro.DCIM100GOPRO

A former British soldier who was injured on active duty has found a new career as a disabled daredevil.

Chris Jones, 40, was seriously injured while on active service in the UK serving as a trooper in the British Army Air Corps and is now in a wheelchair.

Chris sustained a fractured left foot, a torn achilles tendon, soft tissue damage and a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder in April 1995. He lost 50 per cent mobility in his legs, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and a brain condition which causes him chronic pain. Continue reading


Journo Film: The Shipping News (2001)

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This slow burning drama set in remote Newfoundland follows the exploits of an emotionally beaten man who returns to his ancestral home to reclaim his life.

Quoyle, played by Kevin Spacey, is an ink-setter at a local newspaper and married to a crazy wife who clearly doesn’t love him. When she is found dead after running off with his daughter, Quoyle and his daughter head up to the icy landscapes his father came from to get away from the past.

Once in Newfoundland Spacey is picked up as a reporter at the local paper even though he has never been a reporter. He is assigned the shipping column. Continue reading

Journo Film: Edison (2005)


I looked at the iMdb page for Edison. I was amazed, a film starring Kevin Spacey, Morgan Freeman, Justin Timberlake, Cary Elwes and… LL Cool J which I had not only never seen but never heard of? Why? WHY?

Because it is total shit.

This straight to DVD, conspiracy-thriller-by-the-numbers, follows fresh-faced reporter Pollack, played by Justin Timberlake as he uncovers a shady department in a police force full of corrupt cops. Along the way he teams up with a jaded newspaper editor, Morgan Freeman and a suspicious district attorney, Kevin spacey.

To begin with, I was on board with the film. As Pollack peeled back the layers on the story I was intrigued, I wanted to know what was happening. Continue reading

Forest Man: Meet the Indian man who planted a whole forest single-handed.

547785_373513996039977_765183361_nA woodland planted single-handedly by a villager determined to save his home from soil erosion is now bigger than Sherwood Forest.

The sprawling jungle, created by Jadav Molai Payeng, 50, was only recently discovered by outsiders and has been praised as a vital habitat for Bengal tigers, elephants, rhinos, deer, rabbits, apes and a huge variety of birds.

Mr Payeng began planting trees when, as a 16-year-old boy, he discovered snakes which had died because their natural cover had been destroyed by erosion caused by flooding.

He started to regularly pace the length of the sandbanks, planting seed Continue reading

Journo Film: Press For Time (1966)


Norman Wisdom is pretty happy selling newspapers outside Westminster tube station, but his grandfather (the Prime Minister no less), thinks differently. He gets Norman a proper job, as a reporter on a local newspaper.

This British comedy starring Norman Wisdom is essentially a series of sketches strung together by a flimsy plot. Basically Norman gets an assignment, Norman messes it up. Norman goes to cover a village hall opening, his bike gets stolen. Norman covers a council meeting, he accidentally causes arguments within the cabinet. All with hilarious consequences. Continue reading

Journo Film: The Manster (1959)


I’m sure every journalist worth their salt has at some point had to go on a routine trek up to visit a deranged Japanese scientist at his volcano base, right?

In The Manster, the J-Movie goes B-Movie.

Foreign correspondent Larry Stanford, played by Peter Dyneley (who I thought looked a lot like Jeff Tracey from Thunderbirds only to google him and find out he actually voices Jeff Tracey), is injected in the neck by a crazed Japanese scientist while looking to find a story in Japan. Continue reading

Journo Film: Final Edition (2009)


On February 26, 2009 The Rocky Mountain News published its final edition.

Final Edition is a documentary film about the last ever edition of The Rocky Mountain News, a local paper in Denver, Colorado. The film interviews people who have worked at the paper for years and shows the effect that the closure of the paper will have on their lives and on society.

The most effective thing about the documentary is that in such a short time, only 20 minutes, it gives an emotional resonance to the closure of a newspaper. The film conveys the hole that The Rocky Mountain News will leave in the lives of its reporters and its readers.

One heartfelt interview with one of the reporters shows him nearly crying as he describes how when he moved to the paper her has hoped that he would grow old there and end up being the crusty old journalist in the corner of the newsroom who had been there forever. Now he knows he never will be.

The film ends with a shot of a reporter talking about a story she was covering the day before. She looks at the final edition of The Rocky and says that the story will never be told, it was meant to go in Saturday’s paper. Continue reading

Journo Film: Ace in the Hole (1951)


There are two types of journalists in movies. The first is the crusading journalist, the moral, upstanding reporter in search of the truth. The other is the ruthless immoral hack who will do anything to get a story. Ace in the Hole is a film where the central character is the latter.

This cynical classic from director Billy Wilder follows the exploits of disgraced reporter Chuck Tatum played by Kirk Douglas. The film begins with Tatum’s car breaking down in Albuquerque. He then blags his way onto the local newspaper, despite revealing to the editor that he’s been fired 11 times from 11 different newspapers.

Tatum’s insistence that he is a top newspaperman lands him a job on the sleepy local paper and soon he’s out covering a rattlesnake hunt. But, on the way to cover the story Tatum comes across a man trapped in a mountain. Tatum crawls into the cave to find his next big story, and he hopes to crawl back out with a Pulitzer.

Tatum begins manipulating the story from the outside and soon the whole country’s media is on the doorstep of this mountain.

The film is a modern morality tale with razor-sharp witty dialogue. The film is not ashamed of its deeply cynical take on the media and America’s relationship with it. As the literal media circus begins to grow outside of the cave in which a greedy treasure hunter has become trapped one local café owner, and wife of the trapped man asks “why shouldn’t we get something out of it?” Continue reading