Restorative Justice

It’s been over four months since Monedo Man crashed into me and my friend. To have one’s life nearly whisked away through another’s stupidity has been hard to swallow, and in a parallel universe I wouldn’t be here to write this blog. Determined not to be consumed by bitterness and hatred – the bloke did run away from the scene of the crime after all – I have been thinking about restorative justice and my part to play in his punishment.

Restorative justice enables the victim to tell the perpetrator the impact of their crime, to ask questions and (hopefully) receive an apology. It is based on the theory that the crime was against the individual or community rather than the state.

Not that it’s about money, but research has shown the RJ would likely lead to a net benefit of over £1billion over 10 years. A report from the Restorative Justice council found :

“That diverting young offenders from community orders to a pre-court restorative justice conferencing scheme would produce a life time saving to society of almost £275 million (£7,050 per offender). The cost of implementing the scheme would be paid back in the first year and during the course of two parliaments (10 years) society would benefit by over £1billion.”

I first heard about it while listening to Radio 4. It was very enlightening and decided that if I was a victim of crime, then I would explore this idea. I didn’t realise I would have to seriously consider this idea. I want this man to take responsibly for his actions, and stop him from doing it again. The Restorative Justice Council claims there is a reduction of re-offending of 27%.

It has got me thinking. I don’t believe that locking someone up in jail is the only punishment available.Our jails are already full and the recent riots has pushed the capacity to breaking point. Boris Johnson told the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee that three quarters of those arrested in the British riots had criminal records and blamed the UK justice system for not turning offenders away from crime.

The punishment should fit the crime. So in the case of the rioters, they should be tasked to clean up the areas that they damaged and meet the people whose homes and businesses they set alight.

Although I have no idea if a) I can take part in restorative justice, and b) that I will get a sincere apology from Monedo Man, I want to stop this man from committing a similar crime. After all, he may not be so lucky next time.

Get mad and write!

I find my best writing comes I’m tired and it’s very late at night. It’s quiet, I’m focused and I don’t care what appears on the page because all I want to do is get to sleep. If I’m angry, so much the better.

Recently, Dutch researchers found that angry creative people produced a higher volume of work. It’s short-lived though because anger depletes your resources, and  reduces creativity. For creatives, they found it was better to be sad than angry.

Read more on the study at Freakonomics.

When do you do produce your best writing?

Oh Diana, how you frustrate me

I’ve been frustrated with Diana. She is unpredictable, has embarrassed me at times and is expensive. I left her alone for a few weeks, but she kept looking at me, enticing me to pick her up again.

Before I go any further (and you thinking that I’m a bit of a weirdo) I am talking about the Diana F+, a cheap 1960’s camera made entirely of plastic, which produced dreamy-like photos. I’m not using the original, but using the Lomography  version – the F+.

With today’s digital cameras, photography is more accessible. We’re used to gratification of the photo appearing in an instant. As with all Lomo, the Diana is an analogue camera. In other words, she uses film. Waiting to see what you get back is all part of the fun. Diana uses 120 film, a medium format film, originally used for amateur photographers before the 35mm. Getting these films developed was expensive, and I only got the maximum of 16 frames. I decided to buy the 35mm back, so I had more frames and I could get the film developed faster and more cheaply.

My first attempts, were abysmal. There were too many things for me to remember. What didn’t realise was I had my Diana F+ on the the pinhole setting. Helpfully, it’s at the bottom of the lens and I had been happily snapping away. All my prints were black because I didn’t let enough light into the camera, due to the pin sized hole. It crushed me. It was embarrassing when I went to pick the prints from my local independent photography shop. They’re not fans of Lomography. They see themselves as very serious photographers. Lomography is not. I felt like a failure.

The other thing I forgot to do was adjust the focusing. With no automatic focusing, you need to this manually at the front of the lens. She gives you three options – 1-2 m, 2-4 m and 4m to infinity.  Unlike today’s cameras, the viewfinder doesn’t tell you if you are out of focus.

The 35mm back also changes where the middle of the photo would be, as you are putting a smaller sized film into a medium format camera. A lot of my photos have been off-centre (and not in a good way) or I’ve chopped people’s heads off.

It can be hard work to remember all these things, but the beauty and frustration of the Diana is the luck of the draw.

The 10 rules of Lomography:

  1. Take your camera everywhere you go
  2. Use it any time – day and night
  3. Lomography is not an interference in your life, but part of it
  4. Try the shot from the hip
  5. Approach the objects of your Lomographic desire as close as possible
  6. Don’t think (William Firebrace)
  7. Be fast
  8. You don’t have to know beforehand what you captured on film
  9. Afterwards either
  10. Don’t worry about any rules

Can this man do no wrong?

While logging onto my Yahoo account, this headline appeared: Walliams saves dog during charity swim. Kudos to the guy. Not only is he swimming the River Thames for the BT Sport Relief Challenge in all it’s sewage glory (according to the report, half a million cubic metres of the stuff has entered the river in the past week), suffered a bout of “Thames tummy”, he even had time to save a dog with a bad hip who was trying to get out of the river.

He is aiming to cover 140 miles in just eight days.

David Walliams, I salute you.