Live action role playing or playtime for big kids?

Live action role playing could be seen as geeky, something which nerds take part in and the rest of the world laughs at. But what exactly about it makes it for geeks? Is it the costumes? The fantasy themes?

The ‘geekiness’ aside, is it merely a live version of storytelling?

For as long as the world can remember storytelling has existed. Parents still read to their children, authors continue to be making millions of pounds/dollars/euros on sharing a fantasy world made up in their head. Just look at Harry Potter.

How many people, adults included, will have dressed up in Hogwarts robes, painted a scar on their forehead or attempted to ride a broomstick? Probably more than would admit it.

Is live action role playing not the same thing (just with an additional layer)? Adults dressing up as witches, healers and various other characters besides. All you have to do is add a bit of storytelling to the mix and you’ve got live action role playing.

Before books people told stories by word of mouth, they adapted and changed depending on who told them and they were shared, passed down through families, until someone finally had the sense to write some of them down.

Some of the world’s oldest stories, Aesop’s Fables, contain moral messages and history. The idea of myths and legends being passed between people as a form of entertainment is something that our world has cherished for a long time. Just look at the Bible, whether you believe the stories in there are true or not, they are words that have been passed down through the ages.

In modern times, fiction is quite often left on the shelves with many people preferring to watch the film adaptation instead. What is film if it’s not just a visual interpretation of stories that were once written down? And what are actors if they are not just live action role players creating the story for others’ entertainment?

I think that, as a society, we’ve lost touch with our imaginations. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people out there who are creative enough to draw, paint or write their own weird and wonderful ideas. But instead of seeing live action role play as something to be enjoyed, we mock it, make fun of those who do it.

Perhaps we should be taking inspiration from children, those who do get off their bums and do something other than play football or video games. There are a lot of children who still use their imaginations, they tell stories, they run around pretending to be Harry Potter or the monsters of Monster University/Inc. If you asked every single child on a primary school playground what they are doing with their break time, some of them will give you that as an answer. I remember chasing my friend as we played a game called Flowerfairies and Witches. The flowerfairies all had names, they had special powers or abilities and the witch hated them all. That’s the premise of a story if ever there was one. So when we played that game, we told a story through our game.

Nobody laughs at children for using their imagination, for pretending they’re a pirate sailing the high seas or Robin Hood come to steal from the rich and give to the poor. We actively encourage children to dress up for parties, or if they’re really enthusiastic, for a Saturday night in front of the television.

Live action role playing may not be the ‘in’ thing, it may not be something that the whole world sees as an attractive way to spend their time. But that doesn’t make it geeky. If anything, it is, as this BBC news article about it says, interactive storytelling. It is the grownups version of playtime, where they run around and pretend to be something else for a few hours, or even days.

It helps to foster people’s creativity, something which occasionally gets lost in a world where we’re encouraged to enjoy other people’s creative output instead of making our own. It’s physical activity that doesn’t involve sitting on an exercise bike sweating constantly in front of people you’re embarrassed to exert yourself in front of. It’s a fantasy version of paintball or laser quest, where you score points and fight against another person or team until someone comes up victorious.

I’ve never done live action role playing and I’m not sure I ever would, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a fun way to spend a weekend, making new friends, reminiscing with old ones, until one of your ‘dies’ and has to take themselves out of the game.

Advertisements

Fives places I’d like to visit in the UK

When I suggested that today’s blog be about five places I’d like to visit in the UK, I didn’t think this thing through. Looking at a map only made me realise how much of the UK I’ve actually covered. I may not have been to every town and city, but the ones I’ve actually had any interest in visiting? I’ve actually been to most of them. I’ve wandered around the streets of Oxford taking in the history, I’ve looked around Bristol in search of Skins sights and I’ve taken a visit, if brief, to York. I’ve explored Cornwall, Devon, The Lake District, and many more parts of the coast and beyond. I’m not sure what else there is left?

But, when there is a challenge, I will always meet it. So, without further ado, here is my list of places I’d like to visit in the UK. Even if my reasons for visiting some are a little random.

1. Newcastle-upon-tyne

Growing up, my best friend was a girl whose family moved from Newcastle. She was born there and her mum still has quite a strong Geordie accent. Yet, I’ve never really been. Not properly anyway. It’s not necessarily a place I long to visit, I’m not desperate to roam around Newcastle but it has always been a place I’ve been conscious of existing. Not only because of my friend, but also because of the children’s television programme Byker Grove. It gave us a glimpse of life on the other side of the country and actually, I’ve not been over the East side that much (aside from London). So if I had to pick a city to visit, it would perhaps be Newcastle.

2. Cardiff

Up until now I’ve been to London, Edinburgh and Belfast, so really Cardiff is the only city missing from my UK capital city list. I have been through it on a train, but that’s as close as I’ve been.

Like with Newcastle, I haven’t exactly got a burning desire to visit there. But I wouldn’t mind. I’d like to explore what Wales has to offer in a city, as I’ve only really been to smaller towns and villages. (Unless you count St Davids, but that’s such a tiny city that I’m not sure it really counts.)

3. Carrickfergus

I think there’s something so magical about the idea of Carrickfergus, whether that perception is realistic or not, I don’t care. I see it with magical, rose-tinted glasses and that’s all that matters to me. I’d love the opportunity to head back over to Northern Ireland, my last visit there was too brief and when I do go, I’d really like to explore a bit more of the countryside. You can blame Charlotte Church, despite my lack of interest in her as a person, she sung a beautiful rendition of a song called Carrickfergus.

‘I wish I was in Carrickfergus
Only for nights in Ballygrand
I would swim over the deepest ocean
Only for nights in Ballygrand’

4. Isle of Man

The Isle of Man confuses me because I can never figure out whether it’s officially part of the UK or not, what with it having its own ways of doing things. Not that it really matters. It feels like some part of history, some olde worlde filled with dragons and knights. Like Carrickfergus, that’s probably not quite the same in reality, but I still expect the place would be steeped in history and have plenty of places to explore. I’ve made it to the Isle of Wight, so other than the other random islands both up top of Scotland and down south, the Isle of Man is the only isle I really want to see.

5. Cambridge

A while back I made a list of things to do before I die, and on that list was a desire to visit both Oxford and Cambridge so that I could see what their universities (and the places themselves) were like. I was able to tick Oxford off my list last year. But I’ve still not been able to get to Cambridge. It’s ridiculous, really, because I have a friend who was at university there but in her three years I didn’t manage to get there once. Something which I really regret. I’d still really love to visit, perhaps with her, or on my own, I don’t mind. But one day I will stroll around Cambridge, buy a University of Cambridge hooded sweatshirt and enjoy a lovely day in, what I believe is, a lovely city.

Where would you like to visit?

You haven’t touched a cigarette? REALLY?

There are many things in life that are expected of us, so called rites of passage which we travel through when we reach a specific age.

By the age of 18 most people are expected to have drunk their fair share of alcohol, have had sex and tried at least one recreational drug. I’m not sure where these expectations come from, but they are there all the same. There’s even some aspect of expectation that a person should know how to drive, have learnt how to swim and be signed up to Twitter, Facebook and countless other social media websites.

Expectation is a funny thing, because, as I said, I’m not sure where these beliefs have come from. In the grand scheme of life, does it matter if you’re a forty year old virgin, haven’t touched a drop of alcohol and don’t know how to swim? For many people, the answer would be yes. It’s like some sort of personal victimisation towards some people if you happen to utter the words ‘I haven’t…’ or ‘I don’t…’ when in actual fact, it’s none of their damn business.

I’m twenty six years old and there are many things I haven’t done. I haven’t smoked a cigarette, I haven’t touched any recreational (or unrecreational used in a recreational way) drugs. I don’t know how to drive and I very rarely spend my Friday or Saturday nights anywhere but in the comfort of my own home. I barely touch alcohol and when I do, it’s a mouthful here and there. The last time I drank anything was the smallest sip of champagne at my cousins wedding, before that was probably a small glass of Bucks Fizz at Christmas and before that, who knows?

I remember a conversation with a school friend about my lack of interest in drinking alcohol and her response was ‘when you’re older…’. It was like she had this idea in her head that I couldn’t possible live my whole life without drinking alcohol to the extent than many people my age do. Well, I have news for you girl, eight years later and I’ve not changed.

Do I feel like I’ve missed out on all of the nights drinking alcohol? I don’t. Do I feel like I’m missing some experiences by not smoking or trying drugs? Definitely not.

There’s a very high level of peer pressure in the world at the moment. It feels like almost every single teenager is trying drugs, smoking like chimneys and drinking heavily. Of course, this is quite an exaggeration. But will many of them feel pressured into doing so? I imagine so.

I wish I could grab hold of them and tell them, they don’t have to do it. Just because everyone else is doing it, that doesn’t mean they have to join in. It’s their own choice, it’s up to them and they have a right to do what they like without being ridiculed. I think that’s one of the problems, really. If you don’t join in what your friends are doing then you risk being teased or bullied for being different.

I was bullied in school, but that didn’t actually stop me from standing up for my own opinions and beliefs. I didn’t do what all of my friends were doing or even what the other people in my school were doing, I wasn’t have sex, I wasn’t drinking every weekend, I wasn’t trying any number of different substances. And aside from a few ‘why don’t you?’ conversations, nobody actually bothered that I wasn’t doing what they were doing. Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of ‘why don’t you drink?’ conversations and I still get them now. I don’t think it’s that people care whether I drink or not, they just can’t understand why someone doesn’t touch alcohol.

There are so many pressures in the world to look a specific way or dress in certain clothes. There’s even pressure on how you should talk, which things you should like or dislike. Why add to that and give in to all of the things which are, in the long run, bad for you?

So many people talk about ‘my guilty pleasure’ and it makes me so angry because people don’t have any pride in their own identity. I doesn’t matter what you life, it doesn’t matter who you spend your time with, it doesn’t even matter if you want to snort/smoke/etc. every drug in creation. All that matters is that you honour your own personal opinion, you do what you want to do and you don’t care if someone else says to you ‘that is so sad’ because why is it sad? Is it sad because you’re happy not to have tried a cigarette? Or is it sad because someone else thinks that you’re doing the wrong thing?

Forget about other people. Trust your gut, listen to your instincts and don’t let anyone push you around.

Gotta love a food and drink festival!

Food festivals have been happening for years, it doesn’t matter where you live, there’s a chance you may live close by to one of these events. This year alone, I’ve been to four. Over the recent bank holiday weekend, Bolton town centre was busy. For anyone who knows Bolton well, it has suffered in the last few years. Other towns and cities in the region have developed and improved, gaining much of the local business. Even our out of town shopping complex, which was controversial when it was originally opened, is often considered busier (something they predicted before it was built). But for once, Bolton was busy.

Lining the streets of the town were stalls, food carts, local, national and international people. Everywhere you turned, there was something to see, another food to try, another person to talk to.

In the past, the food and drink festival has never really taken over the town as much as it did this year. A place otherwise filled with shoppers taking a break on a bench, charity workers trying to get donations and people selling balloons to children, was transformed into something quite extraordinary. To the average, bustling town, it may have looked like average busy outdoor seating for a café, but for Bolton, it was something else entirely.

The town hall square is always filled with tents, it’s always got something going on filling up the square. The same tents get dragged out of storage for whatever event they’ve got on, whether it’s a volunteers fair or activities for children and young people in the holidays, the square is packed. During the food festival it was filled with a massive tent, where Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, amongst other chefs, held demos.

Taking a step away from the usual hustle and bustle, it was a surprise to find the Market Place shopping centre house demonstrations including one from Sean Wilson who played Martin Platt in Coronation Street. In the other shopping centre, though I didn’t see it, was activities for children around the food and drink theme.

Even the market, which quite frankly, is a bloody good market when compared to others, was in on the action. I didn’t realise it until I saw it in the local paper, but there were demos being held there too. I just happened to be in the market on the day Sean Wilson did his demo, and he was being interviewed by BBC Radio Manchester, sat at a small table in the middle of the Saturday market crush.

The most pleasant surprise was when a group of people known as Ski Band appeared, dressed as chefs and playing instruments. Their performance as they strolled through the market was a real highlight. I wish I could give credit to Bolton for that one, but they’re from further afield and their website suggests they’ll dress up in other outfits too. (They’ve already done Father Christmas!)

Another pleasant surprise, when we sat down to Hungarian something or other (it wasn’t the Goulash, it was the other one they had on sale, something beginning with an S) was two ladies dressed up as housewives/cleaners, carrying around fake brick walls. When they came past us they told us they were from (using your best Eastenders accent) ‘the south’. It was all rather strange, and funny, and kind of perfect.

According to the local news today, record numbers attended the food and drink festival. A whopping 130, 000 people. That may sound minimal to anyone who attends festivals like the Notting Hill festival (which was on the same weekend) but for a town with about 140, 000 people (though that number is actually around 260, 000 when you include the small towns which are now part of Bolton, which are on the outskirts). I know a percentage of that 130, 000 will have come from out of town (someone even came all the way from Australia!) but to almost equal the population of the town is quite an achievement.

If you’d like to read more about this local news story, then you can head on over to The Bolton News, which will tell you all you need to know about the success of the festival. And if you’re really that interested, there are other news stories, including other articles on the food and drink festival from over the weekend and before.

I can’t help but feel proud of my little (massive) town, it’s been really struggling lately, but things like this make me feel like it might just be okay.

Five things five miles from home!

Bolton is a big town, it’s one of these towns that should really be a city and is made up of not just Bolton but other old towns, which are now considered part of Bolton. For today’s blog, lilmisskaty suggested we go out and explore what is five miles away, which was something I would have liked to have done, but it’s not exactly the easiest thing to do when I don’t drive. So I did the next best thing and went on Google maps and looked for everything in a five mile radius. Since today is a five times blog, I will share five things that are five miles from my house.

1. Family – this isn’t a place you can visit (it’s a place I can visit, but you, maybe not) and it’s not really something that belongs on this list, but I really wanted to share this fact anyway. On closer inspection at the list I made, the majority of my family are five miles away. One of the sub-towns I mentioned earlier, Westhoughton, is the home to an aunt, uncle and cousins. Another, Farnworth, is home to my grandad and another set of aunt, uncle and cousin. Then on the other side of town is Horwich, near to Horwich is a Memorial Forest where we planted a tree after my grandma died. My other grandma, she lives almost exactly five miles away, and not far away from her is another set of aunt, uncle and cousins. I have another aunt, uncle and cousin and aunt and uncle who live within the five mile boundary. So there we have it, practically my entire extended family are that close by. When I was talking to TracieWrites about it, she was shocked. (Another tidbit, my sister and my cousin and her new husband are within 15 miles, my uncle and another cousin and his wife are within about 30 miles. It’s only my other sister (who lives in Oxford), another cousin (London) and a final aunt and uncle (Spain) who live further afield. There are even more relatives in the area too, we’re very much a North West family.)

2. A steam railway line – Bury and Ramsbottom are nearby towns (both lovely places to visit), both of which are approximately five miles away. Neither town is connected to the National Rail network, which I find to be very unusual. But they are connected to each other, and a couple of other towns further afield, by steam train. It’s one of those tourist attractions, it’s fantastic. You pay some money and you can have a ride on an old steam train.

3. Moses Gate Country Park – Moses Gate is pretty much in Farnworth (as mentioned earlier), it’s a fantastic country park. It’s filled with a lake, forests and pathways which stretch for a few miles. There’s a park for children to play on and there is a visitors centre that used to offer activities for children. I’ve built dens with Beaver Scouts there on many occasions and it’s just a lovely place to visit.

4. Rivington – like Moses Gate, Rivington is pretty much part of one of the sub-towns, Horwich. It’s a very popular location for walkers. It doesn’t matter whether it’s hot or cold outside, you can guarantee that Rivington will be very popular. They have a couple of barns which house a cafe and information which really adds to the attraction. It’s probably the busiest walking location in the town, Every weekend you will find countless bikers parked up at the front of the barn. I remember going there when it last snowed, we walked for a couple of miles and it was beautiful. There was a reservoir, there was snow and trees, it was wonderful. You can also take a walk up Rivington Pike which is on top of a big hill, a walk many people choose to do.

5. The Moors – in Bolton we’re very lucky. We have fantastic links with Manchester to the south and other towns to the east and west, but north? Well, north is pretty barren. It’s basically just empty land, excepting the occasional farm and a winding road that travels through the moors. I’ve always cherished the fact that Bolton is so close to countryside. Unfortunately, in the summer months the moors are often ravished by fires. It gets so dry up there, and then the dry grass ends up on fire and the result is a blackened countryside. It’s quite interesting really. I always think about places in Australia and the USA when there are reports of huge fires and it makes me think about our fires. They’re in no way comparable, because Bolton’s fires are very small, but they always take me by surprise. If small fires can turn a landscape black, I dread to think what damage bigger fires do.

So there we have it folks, the random things that are in a five mile radius to me. Lots of opportunities for walking, exploring the countryside and taking in a bit of culture. The only problem is, I’ve lived here for so long that we’ve done everything, we’ve been everywhere and there’s little left to explore. That’s not to say we don’t accidentally discover unexpected, hidden gems occasionally. Like a small patch of land perfect for a walk, or the birth place of someone who did something very important in Bolton a long time ago.

The good old days…or the bad old days?

The good old days; we talk about them often, wish we could return to them frequently and they rarely sit in the past as something never to be thought of again. But are they really as wonderful as we sometimes make them out to be?

In the good old days people were nicer, crime was less, you could leave your doors unlocked. Once upon a time people were happier, there was no such thing as depression and jobs were easy to come by. A long time ago life was easier, people knew their place, children were disciplined and the world was safer.

Right?

I think a lot of people just be deluded, or perhaps they’ve only remember the good parts of their childhood/adulthood/earlier years.

People have always been a mixture of nice and not so nice.

Crime has always happened, I imagine the figures probably fluctuate, but the population has grown, so naturally there will be a higher number of crimes committed.

People left their doors unlocked? Well, I could probably leave my door unlocked. The majority of the time it would probably be okay, it’s just those rare occurrences when it wasn’t. Whilst we’re on that subject, doors were a lot easier to break back then, perhaps it was cheaper to let the thieves walk in than have to replace broken glass too?

It’s a myth that everyone was happier, that depression and other such ailments didn’t happen. They did. People just didn’t recognise feeling down as a medical condition, they all just felt a ‘bit sad’. Now we’re smarter about the concept of mental illness and for the better, if you ask me.

Jobs are a contentious issue for me. Maybe they were easier to come by, in some respect, but there was also less aspirations amongst some people. You had a set job whether you liked it or not. Young men often went to do apprenticeships in manual jobs and women stayed at home and looked after the children, or worked in offices. The world’s changed a lot since then, the way we apply for jobs has changed too, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Life was easier? Was it? Was it really? In the good old days we had two world wars. Were those years really that much better than 2013? I think we’re kidding ourselves if we believe that.

People knew their place…well, perhaps they did, but that doesn’t make that okay. The poor stayed poor, the rich stayed rich and nothing ever changed. Except that it did. Women fought for the right to vote, slavery ended, racism has been curtailed (to a large extent, even if it’s not perfect now, it’s a lot better) and homosexuality was made legal. People knew their place? That’s something they tell you when they want you to submit to prejudice and accept your lot in life.

Children were disciplined? Really? They might have been frightened into submission, but I’m not really sure that can be considered discipline. Sure, children and young people today have more freedom, they’re allowed to grow up and have a childhood and be free and independent. That wasn’t allowed in the good old days. A long time ago children worked and when that was banned, teenagers finished school at fourteen and went straight into a profession. I say a profession; I mean an apprenticeship or a job in a factory. Did they want to do that? Some of them might. But I can guarantee that some of them had aspirations of something more. My grandma was one of them, she wanted to further her education, but she wasn’t allowed.

The world was safer. Again, really? REALLY? My mum played in empty factory buildings, she was left in cars with a bottle of coke and a bag of crisps whilst her parents sat in the pub. This is the safer world some people think we lived in? That’s ridiculous.

The good old days, do I want to live there?

The good old days had its good points and its bad points. There’s no denying that it feels like a very different world to 2013. I’m not sure whether I want to live in the good old days, for many reasons:

1. Blogging about random stuff; back then, I wouldn’t be writing this. I might have kept a diary, but I doubt I’d have talked about such things as the good old days.

2. The internet; the downsides to our world wide web aside, it’s a bloody good invention which has revitalised the world.

3. Mental health; regardless of the advantages of living back in the day, I’d rather know that my mental health is cared for in an effective way, rather than passed off as just feeling a little sad.

4. Career choices; let’s face it, the career choices in the good old days were a lot less. My options right now would be limited. I may have a job, but I imagine I wouldn’t necessarily enjoy it.

5. Laws; there are many laws which back then were very different. Once upon a time it was illegal to be gay. I’d be in trouble. It was also legal for a man to rape his wife, what? Seriously? And we’re only going as back as far as 1991.

But the good old days wasn’t all bad, and there are some aspects of it which I would like to take:

1. Simplistic; the world was once a lot simpler. People didn’t have three million choices over jobs, partners, even toothpaste. There were certainly less snack foods and other such things, which made it a lot easier to know what you were eating. These days, it’s all just so complicated. I know I said I like the idea of having a career choice, and I do, but I also know how miserable it is having too many choices.

2. Health; the difficulty with this point is that it should really go in the section on why I don’t want to live in the old days. Health wasn’t always very good. We didn’t have as much of the modern medicine we have now. Except, we did have people working in very manual jobs. If you owned a farm then you would work on the farm. I imagine people were a lot physically healthy back then, as long as they didn’t catch any of the illnesses that we now rarely face.

3. Freedom; children had more freedom a long time ago. I had more freedom when I was a child. Nowadays we over complicate matters. We assume that a serial child rapist is living on our street and will kidnap our children if we dare let them play out on their own. I don’t believe the ‘threat’ is any more severe now than it ever was. The Moors Murders happened ‘in the good old days’, but did everyone run for the hills taking their children with them? No. So please, if anything of the good old days can be returned, make it this.

I think the good old days and modern days are very different places, we have aspects of each which aren’t very good and we have aspects of each which are so much better than the other time period. That’s life, unfortunately. There will always be the good and the bad. We can’t change that and we can’t go back to the ‘good old days’.

That’s not to say I don’t wish we could have some aspects of our history back…but the rest, the good old days can keep them!

News: + or – ?

The news is a weird thing, we share information about the world around us which makes us more aware. But when you really look at the kind of news we receive, it’s often quite mundane and considerably negative. Then there are the ridiculous stories we hear about celebrities, people who are mildly famous, and a few people who really shouldn’t be considerd in the same category. Occasionally you might find a small piece of happiness, a tiny sliver of positive news lingering in the background with the other stories.

But is the news really as negative as it’s sometimes perceived?

Let’s have a look at the very useful BBC News Twitter feed; a perfect sample of news to establish just how positive or negative the news really is. Here are ten sample stories:

1. Four dead in Mexico train crash
2. Police Scotland recover body of the fourth victim from the wreckage of the Shetland helicopter crash
3. Rarely seen species of dolphin has made its home off the coast of Gwynedd
4. Explosion of colour and music opens 1st day of this year’s Notting Hill Carnival
5. Torrential rain and sewage caused thousands of pounds of damage on the south coast of Essex
6. Police investigating double shooting in London that left 24-year-old mother dead arrest second man
7. Green belt house plans have nearly doubled in the past year – research by Campaign to Protect Rural England
8. Tougher sanctions are to be brought in to tackle modern-day slavery in the UK
9. Explosion hits Yemen air force bus
10. Colombian soldiers killed in ambush

Two out of the ten news stories have a positive aspect (I know the sanctions for modern-day slavery is, in theory, a positive story, the fact that there is slavery in the UK is a very negative thing) whilst the remaining eight are negative. Going by the ten headlines, the idea that news has become very negative is one that is heavily supported.

Out of the remaining eight news stories, half of them are reporting deaths. If half of negative news stories are reporting deaths (usually unexpected and/or tragic deaths) then that puts another slant on the negativity of the news. If these new stories are any indication of our daily influx of news, on a regular basis we’re hearing about death, disruption to every day life and government policies that affect the lives of others.

I can’t help but wonder why there aren’t many positive news stories, perhaps it’s not interesting enough to hear about successful festivals or life saving dogs pulling their owners from a river. Maybe it’s just easier, and considerably more shocking, to hear that a family died trying to save their pet from rapids, or of a stage collapse killing a handful of people.

The headlines above came from national news, the BBC is known for covering the whole of the UK and whilst there are occasional news stories which have a local aspect, the main stories tend to be about events which the whole country are interested in.

What about local news?

The following ten news stories come from my local newspaper website, for comparison’s sake:

1. Bedroom tax campaigners spend the night on Bolton’s streets
2. Flat destroyed by blaze in Smithills
3. Reckless drivers “getting away” with breaking the law according to former traffic cop
4. Thieves attempt to rip cash machine out of shop wall in Atherton
5. Bolton’s “Fitness Father” tells life story
6. Hundreds of fans gather at the Reebok for Nat Lofthouse statue unveiling
7. Thief who stole from dead friend lived with the body for three weeks
8. 23-year-old in court accused of stroke pensioner robbery
9. Dentists swap toothpicks for ice-picks
10. Teachers follow petal trail after thieves steal hanging baskets from school

There are seven negative (if you include the fact thieves stole hanging baskets from a school and bedroom tax campaigners) headlines and three most positive ones, though it’s not entirely easy to establish what the positive stories about, they have a local story feel about them which usually contains some aspect of positivity.

The main difference between this list and the one above isn’t really the fact that there are slightly more positive stories. Out of the negative stories there is only one story that mentions death, and even that is more of a natural death than any wrongdoing on the part of the person’s friend.

I always believed that local news was generally more positive than national news, and I guess in some capacities it is. But the fact of the matter is, news isn’t generally positive. Negative stories make up the majority of news reports and there’s little we can do to change that. I guess we just have to grab hold of any positive story and hope it keeps us going until the next positive stories comes out.

If you want to avoid the negative stories, you’re probably going to be more successful reading a local newspaper or watching regional news broadcasts than if you seek out national news.