MY FIVE BEST ARTICLES OF 2019

31 December 2019 Middlesbrough, UK

As is customary at this time of year, I take a personal look back at some of the stories I've covered over the past year, to highlight my top five for 2019



5.) The Love Island Effect

2019's Love Island summer seems a long time ago now, all the more so for recent controversies.

But with a brand new winter edition set to due to commence on 12th January, this long form article looking at 'The Love Island Effect' feels as relevant now as it was when writing it.

Providing an understanding as to why the show has become such addictive viewing and recognising it's unheralded commercial success, this piece goes on to question what price the shows young and impressionable audience is paying for their regular dose of reality escapism.

LINK: DISCUSSING THE LOVE ISLAND EFFECT

2019 Love Island winners Greg O'Shea and Amber Gill

4.) Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Mark Simpson Interview

Interviewing someone of high authority can be a daunting prospect.

The desire to make the right impression, whilst also making the result of the interview a compelling story can provide some difficult challenges.

But in this instance, my interview preparation was indicating that my interview with Teesside University's, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Mark Simpson to talk about the newly constructed #StudentLife Centre had the potential to be a Christmas cracker - and it didn't disappoint!

The ensuing almost hour long interview, separated into two articles and four different video packages, brought up many a talking point, including favourite pizza topping's, the Dickens Inn and Dave Grohl, alongside much more serious subject matter.

LINK: TALKING STUDENT LIFE WITH PRO-VICE CHANCELLOR, PROFESSOR MARK SIMPSON (PART 1)


Teesside University's Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Mark Simpson

3.) The World Parmo Championships

The World Parmo Championships returned to Middlesbrough for 2019, with Stockton Restaurant Borge once again walking away with the much converted title.

My reporting on the event was extensive - taking me to local restaurant Al Forno's to see how a Parmo was made, finding tips from the public on where they thought the best Parmo could be found (see video below), before attending the event on the night, sneaking a bite or two of the delicious breaded chicken and heavily layered cheese dish in the process.

In very different circumstances, this could conceivably have been my highlight of the year.

LINK: WORLD PARMO CHAMPIONSHIPS RETURN TO BORO


2.) Twisterella Festival 2019

One of the great things about the North-East and indeed Middlesbrough, is the vibrant up and coming music scene.

An area full of prodigious talent, this can be seen st its fullest effect through the annual spring and autumn local music festivals that are Stockton Calling and Twisterella.

I was lucky enough to get my first taste of these festivals through an even luckier request for a press pass - and fully enjoyed my day travelling across the multi-venue event to catch as many of the 40+ artists on show, including the likes of Martha Hill, Red Rum Club and Dylan Cartlidge.

If you're a fan of great music, you could do a lot worse than checking out my report and looking up some of the acts highlighted as artists to follow for 2020.

LINK: TWISTERELLA TAKES MUSIC FANS ON A FESTIVAL RIDE


1.) The Knife Angel comes to Middlesbrough

But undoubtedly, the most important and poignant story I've covered this year was the unveiling of Alfie Bradley's imposing sculpture The Knife Angel.

Made out of over 100,000 surrendered blades and standing at 27ft tall, the sculpture aims to vividly highlight to people the heart-breaking consequences of knife crime, at a time when the subject is all to prevalent in daily news bulletins.

Displayed in Centre Square during the month of August, the Knife Angel was brought to Middlesbrough following a bid from local anti-violent crime campaigners, Theresa and Tom Cave, with support from Cleveland PCC and Middlesbrough Council.

And it was witnessing the steely, unflinching, heartfelt dedication of the mother and son team that is Theresa and Tom to the cause - in the memory of their departed son and brother Chris Cave who was a victim of knife crime at just 17 - that made reporting on this event feel so significantly important.

To help spread the word as far and wide as I could seemed the least I could do.

LINK: THE KNIFE ANGEL INSTALLED IN CENTRE SQUARE AHEAD OF OFFICIAL UNVEILING



If you've enjoyed looking back at these stories from 2019, make sure to keep an eye out for my content on TUXtra during 2020 and of course more my blog content, here, on The Southernist.

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