You will know when it exists -- Obscure journalism direct from our man on the ground.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Solving Gibraltar's border crisis

The UK papers have today been running a story based on a newsworthy quote from the chief minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo.

He is reported to have said Spain were 'acting like North Korea' and 'sabre rattling'. This was in response to Spain's Foreign Minister José García Margallo who the day earlier said he was considering implementing a €50 fee for every vehicle entering or leaving The Rock through the Spanish border.

Much of the row stems from border checks by Spanish police causing long tail backs, meaning people remain stuck in their cars for hours in extreme heat.  

A lot of the reactions I have seen to this on comments sections and social media have been far from constructive.

So seeing as I was there and experienced the huge traffic jams at the border first hand I decided I should propose a solution. I am not saying this is the solution, it's just an idea.

A considered entry fee system to benefit Gibraltar and Spain

To begin with, I think a fee for vehicles to cross the border is a good idea. I've seen people arguing that this is against some EU right on freedom of movement. But without even checking I'm sure a right of movement does not automatically give you the right of movement by car!

Crossing the border would remain free for pedestrians and cyclists.

Also disabled persons would be allowed free entry and there would be concessions for the elderly. Reductions could also exist by purchasing monthly or yearly passes, this would be useful for businesses that need to make deliveries.

A huge car-park could be built in La Linea near the border, there are many suitable sites. 

Proposed sites for border-side car-park

This would create additional parking attendant jobs in the adjacent town and provide a new revenue stream for the local council.

Gibraltar could invest in improving its own public transport system and a ticketing scheme could work in conjunction with the border-side car park (park and ride). This would promote cross country collaboration.

The money Gibraltar would lose from the sale of cheap tobacco, alcohol and fuel could be made back by an increase in tourism. 

My Grandad told me that Gibraltar was the worst place he had ever visited. He said he would never go back, after stopping there briefly on a cruise holiday. 

If they cleaned up their fly infested, rubbish strewn beaches and helped La Linea to do the same the whole area might begin to get a better reputation.

Gibraltar is roughly 3 miles long with the main town located less than a mile from the border. Getting around without a motorised vehicle is easy.

It seems to me to be a better option than what we are currently seeing:

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Starting a Male Fashion Blog < FAIL >

Most of the clothes I own I've been given, the rest come from Sports Direct. That means my wardrobe only really gets updated twice a year: birthday and Christmas. 

This April I was given a £45 gift voucher for Amazon. Seeing as I can download music and films illegally and books are for losers, I decided to buy clothes. With all the new apparel that this would bring into my life I knew it was the right time to start a male fashion blog. I was reading a lot of blogs at the time and most of them were begging to be parodied. Here is some of my inspiration.

Top 3 male fashion blogs

This Boy Ben

London Mckenzie


My intention was to make a spoof fashion blog. I wanted it to be as cringe as possible. To make this work I had to make it seem like it was not a joke at all. So I had to be myself, keep it real, and as I wasn't a naturally inclined fashion blogger, it would prove to be tricky. I would have to adopt a new persona for a while.

Choosing a name for your blog

First of all I had to pick a catchy URL that would also be the blogger-brand I'd go by. Some options I considered were:

  • (Chris Cross Couture -  too high fashion) 

  • (too sponsor hungry)

  • (just too much)

  • (:-0)

In the end I decided upon ChrisGetsDressed.Wordpress.Com (had a nice ring to it)

I thought my strap line 'Chris Gets Dressing' was particularly clever using 'Gets' to mean 'Understands' in addition to something that I do.

The header image (above) was not actually going to be this one. I was going to do a digital illustration of myself.

Next I wrote an about me section, where I defined my style as nautical-inspired-city-practical.


The clothes arrived and I organised a photoshoot but I never got round to posting the result or doing anything at all on Chris Gets Dressed. I had so many great ideas but my heart just wasn't in it. 

However I can no longer deprive you, the public, of the magic that was created when I posed in my garden wearing brand new outfits. So here it is. I think I would have called the article: 

3 Spring/Summer looks for £45*

From spring showers to summer sunshine, use these four simple items to create a range of outfits that are great for BBQs in the garden or football in the park.

Chris wears:
- Hanes Mens Slim Fitted High V-Neck Cotton T Shirt £4.08
- Piazzaitalia Light Knitted Cardigan (Turned out to be completely different to the online picture) £6.99
- Pierre Cardin C Chino (Good trousers but the buttons keep falling off - also got a free mug because the order was fulfilled by Sports Direct) £10

- Unisex American Style Fleece Hoodie (Forrest green) £11.99

*All available from - prices do not include P+P

Thursday, 1 August 2013

How to get a job in Content Marketing

I worked in content marketing for the last 10 months. It was fun and I learnt a lot, but yesterday it ended. I quit.

I am moving to France to learn the language. Its highly likely that I'll, once again, be behind a bar rather than a screen. 

Since I no longer have a stake in the industry, I thought I would share the secret of how I got into the world of blogs, keywords, infographics, 'outreach' and linkbait. This is the story of how, and why, I used a video application to get a job in content marketing.

Leaving university

At university I studied magazine publishing and wrote a dissertation about customer magazines (a form of content marketing.)

After finishing I got a job with a small magazine in Gibraltar. I got fired within 3 days, but I'd seen enough to know that the magazine was going nowhere. It was a hyperlocal-monthly-print-publication that used the free model: its only revenue coming from the sale of adverts. It competed against a few other similar endeavors; all chasing the limit advertising budgets of local companies (restaurants and cosmetic surgeries).

After looking for similar jobs in Spain, on other magazines and newspapers, I realised what a small and shrinking industry print was. It was time to embrace the future and go digital. 

Out of necessity I returned to London to look for jobs. I decided I would help brands create their own media: articles, videos etc. So instead of placing adverts next to interesting editorial the brands themselves would provide the audience with editorial of value.

To find companies to apply to, I didn't look in a telephone directory or anything like that, I just Googled 'content marketing London'.

Using a video cover letter

I wanted to get into video production as I'd recently made a short documentary and believed that video offered the most holistic form of communication. So I applied using a video cover letter. 

Quad Digital (an agency with offices on a boat) was the third company I contacted. They replied within 10 minutes, and following a face-to-face interview, I'd landed a job. The whole process took less than two weeks.

Here is the video:

I re-recorded the narration for each application, tailoring it to each individual company.