(While at the Sackville Tribune-Post, I got to write a weekly column called Instant Intern. This one appeared in the January 13 edition.)

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When I was in the ninth grade, I job shadowed my aunt for a day. She works in administration at Mount Allison University, here in Sackville.
I didn’t see much of the town, just the inside of her office and a little bit of the campus. I don’t remember much about that day, honestly – as it was seven-ish years ago. Before last Wednesday, that was my only experience with this town.

My name is Jillianne Hamilton and I’m an intern at the Sackville Tribune-Post. I’m a second-year Journalism student at Holland College in Charlottetown. I’m originally from Five Islands, Nova Scotia – yes, a community smaller than this one.

Before I arrived in Sackville – two days late because of poor road conditions – a friend of mine who attends Mount A suggested I bring lots of sweaters and dress in layers.

I understand now.

I chose Sackville for my internship placement because I’d heard nothing but lovely things about the town. I also wanted to try my hand at a weekly newspaper since I was at a daily last year in Truro, N.S.

After my first few interviews for the Tribune, I quickly discovered something about the locals that I never found in Truro or Charlottetown.

In this business, you will regularly come across people who are too busy to be interviewed or stand for a photo – or they just don’t like reporters.

“Those sensationalists just look for the scandal in everything.”

Sackville citizens, as far as I can see, genuinely care about their local newspaper. People seem eager to help out with a story or a photo and don’t mind when an intern stammers out a question. I don’t feel like I’m being ridiculed or judged when my words sound less than graceful. (I like to think I write better than I speak.)

And that’s refreshing.

If you care to drop me a line – feedback, criticism or a story idea – feel free to e-mail me at jill@jillianne-hamilton.com.

East Coast Overture

July 1, 2009

After months of research, work and preparation, my East Coast music website is finally finished. I’m so relieved to finally have it up and done. But I hope to add new reviews, articles, interviews and links at least once a week from now on.

If you or someone you know would be interested in helping out with the project, please leave a comment with your contact info.

You can check out the site at the address below. If you have any questions, suggestions or comments, feel free to email me.

HTTP://EASTCOAST-OVERTURE.COM

The renaming of a king

March 5, 2009

Not that many college-age kids give a flying cod piece but this year marks the 500th anniversary of the coronation of English king Henry VIII.

I know. Exciting stuff. You can barely withstand your exhilaration, I can tell.

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Illustration by Natasha Kudashkina

I happen to be a long-time fan of Henry Tudor and his various achievements. He’s best-known for being a turkey leg-eating, wife-beheading womanizer who was a strict Catholic one minute and an anti-papal bad boy the next.

But despite his bad reputation, some historians want King Harry to be bestowed with the title of “Henry The Great” (and not just because of his size). And what better time to give Henry the title than this?

But what’s so “great” about this guy anyway? He’s been dead for, like, a million years. Why is his story still relevant?

(Actually, he’s only been dead for about 460 years, but I digress.)

Henry had his faults, especially when he was older. But compared to his royal contemporaries, he was a chivalrous romantic, inspired by whimsical tales of King Arthur and his court.

He divorced his first wife, a Spanish princess, to marry someone he was in love with, something that no other English king had ever done. His second wife, Anne Boleyn, was executed on charges of adultery that were almost certainly false.

His third wife died in childbirth and his fourth wife, a German princess, agreed to a divorce and lived wealthy for the rest of her life. Henry’s fifth wife, a 16-year-old, was executed for adultery (but at least this time, the charges weren’t so fake).

His son, Edward VI, died of tuberculosis when he was a teenager. His daughter Mary burnt hundreds of Protestants and earned the title ” Bloody Mary”. However, his daughter by Boleyn, Elizabeth I, is known as one of the greatest monarchs in history.

One of Elizabeth’s greatest victories was the defeat of the Spanish Armada. It was her father who poured so much money into the impressive English navy.

Henry VIII was able to divorce his wives because he (and his councillors, many of whom helped Henry along his path to greatness) simply changed the law.

He was born a Catholic but rejected the Pope’s wishes, named himself Head of the Church of England, divorced Catherine of Aragon and married Anne Boleyn.

I don’t know about you, but risking purgatory so you can marry the woman you love is a bit romantic, isn’t it?

Henry continued searching for the perfect queen until a few years before his death, a wife who would deliver him a healthy son who would carry on the Tudor family tree. His final wife, Katherine Parr, acted as nurse and companion when Henry was bed-ridden and far too ill to conceive.

Henry VIII died in 1547. During his life, he was a patron of the arts and the first English monarch to authorize an English-language Bible. By separating England from the power of Rome, Henry instilled a sense of identity and pride in his people.

He may not have been the perfect ruler, it’s true. But any fan of English history can tell you there’s no such thing and no such person.

If Henry was anything, he was one of the more human of all the English monarchs. And definitely one of the most interesting.

And for that reason, he deserves to be called “Henry The Great.”

(Published in the March 5 2009 edition of The Surveyor. Also featured as a guest post on historical blog Tudor Stuff.)

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Simon Pegg and Kirsten Dunst star in How To Lose Friends and Alienate People, released on DVD on Feb. 17. Photo courtesy of MGM.

Based on Toby Young’s 2001 memoir of the same title, How To Lose Friends and Alienate People is a cliché from start to finish and a knock-off of five other movies, all of which are better than this one.

As an avid fan of romantic comedies and English actor Simon Pegg, I had high hopes for this film. I really did. It looked clever and cute. And who doesn’t love peering into the glamorous lives of A-list celebrities like a voyeur?

Pegg’s character, Sydney Young, is a struggling journalist in London who gets the opportunity to work for a prestigious celebrity magazine in New York. He tries to be different and write what he wants but ends up selling his soul and bowing to the powers of those who can help his career progress.

Pegg’s characters are always lovable. They’re always a bit clumsy and awkwardly charming. And good for him for breaking into American film, even if it wasn’t a great one. But he brings that weird, nerdy, English charm to all his projects, making him a pleasure to watch on-screen, even in this piece of cinematic garbage.

There was nothing fresh or new about this film. The characters are generic beyond compare and the story has been done a thousand times. An underdog gets the chance to see how the celebrities live, only to find that it’s not as fabulous as they always thought. (How original!)

This film is generally a lesser version of The Devil Wears Prada (2006) but with a male lead. Fashion models are replaced by movie stars and Meryl Streep is replaced by Jeff Bridges as the scary, intimidating editor.

Kudos, though, to Gillian Anderson (of X-Files fame) for her performance of high profile publicist Eleanor Johnson. She was fabulous and scary. Megan Fox (Transformers, Hope & Faith) plays the young, pouted-lipped celebrity Sophie Maes and the object of Young’s lust. 

Kirsten Dunst portrays Young’s love interest and fellow journalist, Alison Olsen. She’s a serious writer who is trapped writing the fluff stories she always despised. She hates her life and, at one point, is seen drowning her sorrows away by drinking wine right from the bottle. (My kinda girl.) 

At one point, a scene is directly copied from There’s Something About Mary (1998). Young tries to befriend the dog of a love interest. Instead of seriously wounding the dog (like Ben Stiller’s character did), Young accidentally kills the dog. (Call me old-fashioned but a dead dog doesn’t make for good comedy.)

The film doesn’t paint journalists in a positive light. But it’s honest in its portrayal of competition in an office environment (except for a particularly awkward scene involving an office prank and a stripper). It also explores the friendships and rivalries that develop between coworkers.

I chuckled seven times during this movie, which runs almost two hours long. (Yes, I counted.) And I don’t mean to demean myself or my sense of humour, but generally, I’m easily amused. So, that says something.

Despite this waste of money and time, the film has a wonderful soundtrack, featuring Joey Ramone, The Kinks, Scissor Sisters and The Killers. Instead of renting this movie, just go buy the soundtrack. And then go rent The Devil Wears Prada and pretend Anne Hathaway is a dude.

(Published in the March 5 2009 edition of The Surveyor.)

A column I wrote for this week’s issue of The Surveyor (due out this Thursday!) was also featured as a guest post at Tudor Stuff, a lovely Tudor history blog. Click here to read King Henry… The Great?.

I recently said I had too much on my plate and shouldn’t accept any more offers to write for any more sites, especially ones that didn’t pay. But here I am again. I’ve agreed to contribute to a Halifax arts website (currently under construction- I’ll add the link later), music articles mostly, I guess. Which is good, because that’s what I want to write.

Also, I’ve been contacted by a new college site called Dorms 101 about writing pop culture articles. I’m pretty excited about this because they said they like my witty style of writing- it happens to be my favorite style to write in. So, that’s always good. With the school year coming to an end, I’ll have more time to write for these various publications now.

I think I’ll also start working on my big music website project this summer too. Maybe put the site together, get some interviews done, articles written, albums reviewed, links posted, etc. I’m a little a-feared of the idea of re-learning some HTML stuff but I’ll likely end up redesigning the site again after I’ve taken Interactive Multimedia, here at Holland College (after Journalism, that is). But I still want it to look nice before then. I’m just really excited about it!

Oh. Almost forgot. My clip-folio is on it’s way to being put together. Good for me!