Posts tagged "Worcester"

A bunting obsession

Bunting: Most commonly seen as strings of triangular pieces of fabric, plastic, paper, etc. with patriotic colors and flags. It was originally made to serve as signal flags for the British Royal Navy.

When I first got to England I didn’t know what it was or even paid much attention to it. Every English town we’ve visited, large or small, is decorated with it. From houses in the countryside to London streets, you can’t escape it.  Walking around Worcester, it’s everywhere. Strung across buildings, hung over streets and wound around lampposts. At first, I thought it was to celebrate the Queen’s jubilee but the event passed and it stayed up. Then I assumed it was the Queen’s visit to Worcester to open the library or in honor of the Olympic Games, but the decorations haven’t moved.

Now I never want them too. I’m in love.

I don’t know if it’s the unique British history or the cheerful colors and designs, but bunting makes me wish I hadn’t spent a penny on anything else since I’ve been here. Doesn’t matter if it’s waving proudly in the wind or hanging limply on a rainy day, it never fails to brighten my mood.

At first I only wanted to buy it. I saw some in Bath made of fabric with embroidered union jacks and crowns, but I couldn’t afford it. Shops in Worcester have it zigzagging across their ceilings and it slowly breaks down my willpower to resist every time I look in.

Then I realized I could make my own and the possibilities were endless.  It can be sewn, knitted, or crocheted out of anything imaginable. I don’t think I’ll even make it home from the airport without a stop at Hobby Lobby to buy supplies.

Sarah Ellis | Designer

Scoring gold medal tickets

Soccer, a popular sport around the world, generally doesn’t peak my interest.

But it was the Olympic Games. It’s Team USA and Canada with each team vying for a spot in the gold medal match.

The conclusion to this particular match, one of the few matches I’ve watched from start to finish, was unreal. Every time Canada scored, the U.S. came right back to even the contest. The same was true when the U.S. scored. Canada wouldn’t go away.

But it was the U.S. who triumphed 4-3 in extra time, forcing a re-match of last summer’s World Cup final with Japan for the gold medal in London.

The thought of buying tickets never crossed my mind. Everything is so expensive here.

As I departed Worcester for London, I pondered the possibility of getting tickets. Once I arrived at our London flat, I took out my laptop and began browsing the ads on Craigslist.

I came across one particular post, which read: “Four Tickets to Women’s Football Gold Medal Match; CAT A; First Row; Section 144.”

After pulling up the seating chart for Wembley Stadium, I realized these seats were right at midfield.

I replied to the listing and texted the number provided on the ad, “Are those football tix still available for gold medal match?”

Shortly thereafter, my phone lit up with a response, “So far, yes, but many people are calling.”

The asking price was 250 pounds per ticket. The first words out of my mouth were, “Holy cow. That’s outrageous.”

I got a call from, Remi Padoin, the scalper who posted the ad on Craigslist. I told him I was from the United States and wanted to see my country play in the gold medal match. I told him I’d get back to him shortly as I needed to round up three colleagues to go with me.

After asking around for nearly an hour, I was in luck. Alix Sappington, Jena Levy and Sara Schaefer agreed to go with me.

I rushed to my phone, punched in Padoin’s number and told him we’d buy them.

Having no idea who this man was, my stomach started churning. Scalping is illegal and I wanted to make sure we didn’t get caught.

Padoin told me to meet him at the Tottenham Court Road tube station at 7 p.m., roughly an hour from the time I spoke to him.

I hung up the phone and began recruiting volunteers to go with me to pick up the tickets. After another extensive search, Alix and Jena joined me, and we were off to the Farringdon tube station.

Upon arriving at the Tottenham station, I received another text from Padoin, “Hoping on the tube now. There in 15ish. Look for ridiculously long flag pole with Norway flag.”

As Alix, Jena and I made our way toward the exit and walked up the stairs, there was no sign of a long flagpole with a Norway flag.

We decided to go into Burger King for a final count of our money. It was all there.

We came out of Burger King and I couldn’t believe my eyes. A giant Norway flag was swaying through the air right across the street. Padoin was holding the flagpole, draped in a Norway flag while wearing a Norwegian Viking helmet with horns shooting out of both sides.

After being so nervous about making this transaction, I couldn’t help but laugh. It was an entertaining site to see.

The three of us approached Padoin. He greeted us with a smile, shook our hands and showed us the tickets.

He even asked me if I’d like to wear his Viking helmet. I couldn’t resist. All three of us posed for a picture with our newest friend.

Minutes later, I was holding four Olympic women’s football gold medal match tickets in my hand.

It was the strangest of occurrences, but it turned out to be one of the finest moments of this trip to the Olympic Games.

Tyler Poslosky  |   Sports Reporter

Seeing the Queen is a moment I’ll never forget

Recently we turned out in the streets along with many Worcester residents to witness a historic moment: Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to open Worcester’s new library.

I don’t know about everyone else, but I was SO excited to see real-live royalty in person. Everyone lined up along the barricades were craning their necks to see the first sign of the royal car turn the bend. Even the skies were awaiting her arrival; the rain clouds cleared and bright sun shone down just as the car appeared.

When Her Majesty stepped out of the car, supported by the arm of her dashing husband Prince Phillip, I almost swooned. She was everything I pictured! Petite and adorable in her pink skirt-and-jacket combo, looking just like someone’s cute little grandma (or “nan” as they call them here)—the kind of grandma who always remembers birthdays and never burns cookies.

The Queen greets crowds of people as she makes her way into The Hive in Worcester, England.

Yes, these were the thoughts going through my head as I photographed the Queen’s 15-second walk from the royal car into the Hive, as the new library is called. As I sorted through the photos later in the day, I was struck with the thought that someday, 50 years from now, this photo will probably be framed on my wall and I’ll look at it and be instantly taken back to that spot on the side of the street where I was a mere 15 feet from the Queen of England.

And that is exactly why I love photography, because photographs have the power to transcend time and distances and immediately take you back to a moment that will never happen again.

Valerie Carnevale | Photographer

@vmcarnevale

Opportunities of a lifetime can be a little intimidating

I’m so excited to have been given the opportunity to partner with The Chicago Tribune. Although I am a senior in college and well into my major, it amazes me how much I’ve already learned from my editor, Alex Bordens, in less than a week!

Currently working in Worcester has allowed me to get my hands on some great graphics work. The projects have tight deadlines, and with the rest of my team working in London, I was able to help Alex out with a few graphics that were due back in Chicago on Saturday. I was a bit nervous, but obviously I took him up on the offer and got right to work.

Slowly but surely I’m going to get faster and better with these programs. I picked up a venue graphic about ExCeL, London’s largest venue, as well as a small locator map and a swimsuit graphic that Emily, Sarah, Jen and I were given a few weeks ago.

Unfortunately, because of the results of one of the races, it seems as though our swimsuit graphic won’t be running any time soon.  Looks like the athletes are actually talented enough to win medals without that fancy swimsuit worn in the Beijing Games.

Anyway, working with The Chicago Tribune also means I have to follow its style guide and overall flow of design, work, research, etc. This is a big jump from my usual work, which has always allowed me design freedom and never had a strong student-media focus.

This is a huge step for me, but one that I am happy to take. This fast pace and strict way of working is keeping me on my toes as well as allowing me to explore newspaper design. In the long run, I am confident that this work will improve my overall skills as a designer, and that is something I am excited for.

During the summer weeks when a few other designers and I worked with Alex, we found it difficult to send our files back and forth for editing. Having him here now brings us such relief. I know what to change right then and there, what works and what doesn’t, and what needs more attention—all bettering my understanding of the Tribune’s design style.

I’m still finding myself struggling to really go out and show what I can do. Maybe it’s some sort of stage fright or maybe it’s not—either way I am hopeful that I will be able just to relax and realize that this what I love to do. I shouldn’t hold myself back for fear of failure. Besides, producing multiple drafts doesn’t mean that I’m failing. It means that I am moving one step closer to the final product.

Lastly, can I just freak out about the fact that my name, alongside my peers’, will appear in bylines in multiple issues of The Chicago Tribune? OH MY GOSH.  I am so lucky and could not be happier to be in this position. This is the opportunity of a lifetime and one that is stationed in the city of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

Best. Summer. Ever.

Annie Gonzalez |  Designer

@annie_gonz

10 things I wish I knew before coming to the UK

So, I’m starting a new series. I’m going to post a “10 Things” post. Everything from 10 things I wish I knew (like today) to 10 things I’m wishing for to 10 really great books I’ve read. The possibilities are endless!

For now, I’m kicking it off with (in no particular order)….

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Coming to the UK

1. Everyone smokes and apparently it’s no big deal.

I mean everyone. Cute mothers pushing babies in strollers (also called “buggies” or “prams”), 12-year-old girls sitting outside stores and everyone walking down the street. I guess I hadn’t realized due to all the smoking bans and laws in place at home that smoking has become a bit of a taboo thing. Not the case here.

2. Drink sizes are WAY different.

As in, the “veinte” at Starbucks (hello, 20 ounces!) is smaller. There is no such thing as a fountain drink or free refills. Bottles are teeny. Cups are teeny. How do these people stay hydrated, or over-caffeinated?!

3. Everyone dresses to impress. All. The. Time.

I am not kidding and wish I was. For this girl, who loves to rock a t-shirt and jeans every day, it has been tough to keep up with the super trendy British chicks. I have yet to see a British girl wearing gym shorts and a t-shirt, a hoodie or even sneakers. It’s always skinny jeans, shorts with leggings, cute dresses, oversize sweaters that look perfectly thrown together, flawless makeup and perfectly mussed hair. Boys aren’t even allowed into bars if they’re wearing Converse. It’s crazy.

4. The coins are confusing.

At home, I’d be pretty embarrassed to pay for a $5 item in coins. But here, it’s no big deal. That’s because there is a £2 coin, a £1 coin, 50 pence coin, 20 pence coin, 10 pence coin, five pence coin and the one pence coin, called the penny. So if something cost £5, you can pay for it with three coins. Even though I’ve been here for almost a month, I still find myself holding up the line at the checkout counting out all the coins. I think it’s because their five pence coin is the size of our dime, so I always get tripped up thinking I’m counting tens when I’m counting fives. What a bother.

5. People think we are Canadian.

Apparently the only people who sound like Americans are Canadians. And apparently Canadian visitors are more common than American ones, at least in Worcester. Everywhere we go we get asked, “Oh my gosh, are you Canadian?” When we respond, “No, American,” they say, “Oh yeah, that makes sense. Canadians are way louder.” Whatever that means.

6. They have never heard of Modern Family.

There are no words for this one.

7. Even though they speak English, we can only understand them half the time.

I thought it wouldn’t be any trouble to get used to the slang terms they use. Um, wrong. Even though our languages are technically the same, it’s really hard to follow along when people are speaking here. There are so many slang words and terms that I am unfamiliar with. And the reverse is true as well. When a cashier asks if I need a receipt and I say, “I’m good,” they stare at me blankly.

8. They have very different ideas on travel.

For example, when we said we were going to Edinburgh, a 4 1/2 hour train trip, people were amazed. “You’re going ALL the way to Edinburgh for the weekend?” was the response. To us, four hours is no big deal. You can drive four hours and not even get from the north end of Indiana to the south end. I thought in a country this small people would be way more apt to travel more frequently. Not true at all.

9. They really love their queen.

That’s fine with me, I’m obsessed with their royal family as well.

10. They have good design everywhere.

I mean REALLY good. And it’s EVERYWHERE. It’s going to be hard to go home to Indiana where we have town names in comic sans on the water towers ;)

Valerie Carnevale | Graphic Designer, Photographer

@vmcarnevale

Wish you were here–greetings from England!

Hello from England! I’m part of the University of Worcester group, so I’m already over here and have a full week of classes under my belt. It’s weird that I’ve only been in this country for three weeks because honestly, it feels like a LOT longer! It’s cool how quickly you can settle into your surroundings. My surroundings right now are beautiful–old brick buildings and winding cobblestone streets, some dating back to the Tudor times! The town of Worcester sits in the shadow of the massive Worcester Cathedral, which began construction in 1080. SO OLD.

It finally feels real that I’m in England, but it still doesn’t quite feel real that I’m covering the Olympics. THE OLYMPICS! I thought it would sink in once I got here, but nope! Maybe it’s because I’m not in London where all the action is going to be, or because I’ve been so busy getting acquainted with Worcester and starting classes, but it’s hard to believe that in just a few short weeks, the rest of the Olympic crew will be here and the whirlwind of interviews, planning graphics and shooting photos is going to begin.

That being said, the excitement of the Olympics being held here in just over a month is palpable. There is bunting everywhere. Bunting, in case you were wondering, are those little flag pennants you see all over Pinterest that have suddenly become very trendy for DIY weddings. And yes, I’ll be using it all over the reception at my own wedding because it’s so cute! And cheap and awesome and cheery. But literally, every store window is draped with it. The streets of Worcester have red, white and blue bunting criss-crossing overhead, and Colleen picked up several strands of it for her and Ryan’s flat. It’s addictive! As if the bunting overload isn’t enough, there are union flags hanging everywhere from house windows to giant ones all along Oxford and Regent streets in London and from every official-looking building.

One of my professors here at the university told our class that this display of patriotism and national pride definitely isn’t the norm, but due to Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, everyone is trying to “beef up the Britishness” and really reclaim what it means to be British and proud. Which is why, even aside from all the amazing things we’re doing with BSU at the Games and all the incredible content we’re going to produce, this trip is so worth it. It’s so fun to be part of the atmosphere and soak up the energy of the country as it prepares to host international athletics’ biggest stage.

My professor says that it’s a very exciting time to be British. I would one-up that and say that regardless of being British or not, it’s a very exciting time to be in Britain period. It’s already been one of the best experiences of my life, and I can’t wait to see and experience everything as the Games draw closer.

Cheers!

Valerie Carnevale | Graphic Designer, Photographer

@vmcarnevale