Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sweet (Julie Burchill)

I haven’t read the first Julie Burchill novel for teenagers, Sugar Rush, for which this is the sequel to, nor have I seen the TV programme of it, but I found this book on the ground when walking home yesterday (yep, really!) and the garish pink cover made me stop, read the blurb, and decide that on this occasion, it was finder’s, keeper’s.

Sweet tells the story of Maria “Sugar” Sweet, who has just been released from prison for grievous bodily harm. At 17, she’s already married and got a daughter – both of whom aren’t there when she’s released. Yet Maria is more pissed off about the fact that her husband ran off with her iPod than her daughter. Nice.

Anyway, the novel follows Sugar as she tries everything she can do get out of Brighton. Her first job is doing cleaning up for a pair of gay fashion designers, who decide to use her as their muse for their latest “product” (it later turns out that product is a range of clothes inspired by chavs.)

Sugar is a larger-than-life character, completely sure of her Goddessness and more than a bit of a slut, jumping from one guy to the next. Although she thinks she might be lesbian (there are frequent references to Kim, the girl who loved her, and Sugar didn’t realise she loved until it was too late), that doesn’t stop her from bedding her workmate Asif, making plans to shag a Chinese doctor she liked the look of, as well as snogging the face off anyone she meets.

I found it very hard to like Sugar, who is one of the most selfish, mercenary and insensitive people I’ve ever read about. Yet, I was totally drawn into her world (probably because it’s so different from mine.) She comes out with some of the most shocking and crass things – such as asking her 35-year-old pregnant mother, who wants her baby terminated, if she’d like to be pushed down the stairs to save money on an abortion, as well as referring to gays and lesbians in the widest range of derogatory terms I’ve ever heard. Plus, remember, she’s a mother. And she doesn’t care.

But I couldn’t help it, I felt myself giggling wickedly at everything Sugar said, and even empathising with her occasionally. Julie Burchill writes in the most colloquial way, but she does it so well and the book feels more like a chat with Sugar than anything else. Plus, the ghost of Kim hangs about through the entire novel, and you can feel Sugar letting her guard down about her one true love, who she’d (I’m guessing) manipulated and bullied in the first novel, only to regret it when it was too late. There was one passage in the novel where Sugar was remembering all the good times with Kim, and lamenting her loss, and that was Burchill’s way of showing that the cold bitch does have a heart after all.

Riotously good fun, shocking, rude, vulgar, unrealistic, yet utterly compelling, I was completely won over by “Sweet”, and will now be backtracking to read “Sugar Rush.”


Anonymous said...

i love that quote! esotsm, right?

Anonymous said...

I've not read Sweet but I read Sugar Rush and loved it, even more so the TV programme. Try to find the DVD if you can, Emz, it's very cheeky and naughty, a bit like "Skins", and the lesbianism isn't that explicit (sadly!) and it's just about growing up and finding true love, all the stuff you rate. Olivia Hallinan is perfect.

anahit said...

emma!! I can't believe you just picked it up off the floor!!!

anyway, it sounds uberly...crap, if truth be told lol. still, could be good I guess hehe. there's this guy, melvin burgess I THINK, who wrote a novel called doing it (guess what about) and another about taking drugs, I dunno, really gritty shocking stuff basically. you should check those out. personally, I didn't like them, but they are pretty well acclaimed. xxx

Kayleigh said...

I actually quite liked the book too, it was horrendously chavvy (like it's author) but she has a wicked sense of humour. Sugar is the most vile teenager I've read in a long time - at least Frank in The Wasp Factory had a shit past.
Melvin Burgess is excellent Anahita! Junk should be read by all young teens.

anahit said...

junk!!! that's the one!! lol I couldn't remember the name!

Griet said...

Hi it's Griet again.
Thank you so much for the html code! You're awesome!

PS: I support Germany in this Euros too. They beat Turkey today and I'm so happy!

Rebecca, A Clothes Horse said...

That book sounds like a trip.

Emma said...

Hey Martin, I watched the first three episodes of the TV programme of Sugar Rush on YouTube, and I find it quite annoying, to be honest. I really thought Kim would be this misunderstood, shy flower that I could root for (I love Olivia Hallinan, she was terrific as Ellie in Girls in Love), but nah, she was just another rich rebel, fag in one hand, vodka bottle in the other. And Sugar is even worse. Bi-yatch.

What pissed me off the most though was the CONSTANT referencing of Sugar's tits. I mean, when I fancy a guy, I don't just stand there and stare at his crotch all day! It felt like Kim was trapped in a teenage girl's body, with the mind of a dirty old man.

Cool soundtrack though.

Anonymous said...

It gets better towards the middle. Persevere with it for a couple more episodes? For me?

Emma said...

Humph. You're lucky I don't have a life and have nothing better to do.

(Sidenote: the episode with the failed date rape was quite amusing, as was the crabs one. I should not find it funny though.)

Rusty said...

k seriously, I understand what 'grievous bodily harm' is in a general sense, but not a specific English law enforcement sense. what is it in the latter?

Anonymous said...

Physics Coursework:
Investigating the effect of different masses on a tub

The problem
To investigate the effect of different masses on the distance a plastic tub will travel.

Background Knowledge
• The direction and speed at which the tub will travel will be a result of forces.
• Friction slows moving objects down. Friction is affected by the material of the surface on which the object is moving. Rougher materials like carpet will cause higher friction; smooth surfaces such as kitchen planes have less friction.
• When the band is released, it will go back into its usual shape. However overstretching an elastic band will cause it to snap, as it loses its elasticity.
• Elastic potential energy is potential energy stored as a result of stretching of a spring. It is equal to the work done to stretch the spring, which depends upon the spring constant k as well as the distance stretched. Elastic potential energy is equal to work done.
• Hooke’s law states that the force required to stretch the spring will be directly proportional to the amount of stretch.
• The higher the weight of an object, the higher its frictional force.
• E.P.E. = ½ Extension x force
• Movement is kinetic energy. The equation to calculate this is: ½ mv², where m = mass and v = velocity. Energy is transferred from elastic potential energy to kinetic energy, to heat and sound.

The factor that is to be varied is the mass added to the tub. An elastic band will be stretched around the legs of a stool, like this:


The elastic band will be placed 2 cm up from the floor. There were be a 5 cm pullback from the back of the elastic band, and a mark will be made to record this. A person will sit on the stool throughout the experiment to hold it still.
A coleslaw tub, holding 10 metal 10g discs, will be placed in the middle of the elastic band, pulled back by 5 cm and released. The distance it travels will be read off from the metre rule, and recorded to the nearest millimetre for as much accuracy as possible. Should the distance travelled exceed 1 metre, a piece of selotape will be used to mark off 1 metre and that metre rule will be used again to measure the additional distance. After, one of those 10 metal discs will be removed and the same experiment will be carried out. Each distance for a 10g mass will be repeated two more times for reliable results. An average of all three results will be taken, and that will be rounded to the nearest mm.

The elastic band could snap in the middle of the experiment, and this could cause injury. To prevent this, the elastic should not be overstretched. Students should be careful when handling it, so that it does not fly into someone’s eyes.
Should the plastic tub be broken, the edges may be sharp and cause cuts. Students should be careful when taking the lid off and handling the tub in general, as when they are travelling around the stool, to ensure that they do not trip over it. Additionally, when propelling the object, the impact of it may cause the stool to move, and perhaps topple over. A student should sit on the stool at all times.
Overall the experiment should not be too dangerous.

Apparatus and Materials
- Plastic tub
- Elastic band
- Stool
- Metre rule
- 10 10g weights
- Marking materials (pen, selotape)
- 15cm ruler

I predict that, the higher the mass inside the tub, the distance travelled will decrease. This is because the higher the mass, the more frictional force, and the less it will travel. Frictional force is proportional to the mass of the tub. This was demonstrated in the preliminary experiment. The equation:
½ Fpe = ½ mv² = md (m = mass; d = stopping distance; v = velocity of tub; m = mass of tub; e = extension; fp = pullback force.)
To be precise, I think that when twice the mass has been added, the distance will be half as much. E.g., if I added 40g, I would expect the distance to be twice as much as it would be if I had added 80g. This is because with twice the mass, the frictional force will be twice as much. Work can only been done if there is energy, and the elastic band has elastic potential energy, which should remain constant throughout the experiment. As the same elastic band will be used throughout the experiment, the work done by it should be the same, so a high mass x low distance should equate to a low mass x far distance.

Fair Testing

Factor Why it affects results How it will be controlled
Elastic band
Different elastic bands have different elastic limits. This would affect how far it could propel the tub. The same elastic band will be used throughout the experiment.
The floor
Different surfaces will make different types of friction. This would affect the distance the object travels. The experiment will be carried out in the same area.


Different tubs will have different masses, and this affects the distance the tub can be propelled.
The same tub will be used throughout the experiment. This will be an old, clear see through coleslaw tub.
Stool Different stools may have legs apart at different measurements. This will stretch the elastic band more or less than previously, and it may not be able to propel the tub as much as possible. The same stool will be used throughout the experiment.

Measurements If the tub travels sideways and the distance is measured as a forward distance, the actual distance travelled will be more than what is measured. Extra care should be taken when placing the tub in the exact centre of the two chair legs. This should reduce chances of the coleslaw tub travelling diagonally.

I am going to record the distance travelled by the tub because this is a good measure of how much work is done:

Work done = force x distance moved in the direction of force

I will repeat the experiment three times and find an average of the distances travelled for more reliable results.

I am varying the mass at intervals of 10g because I think every 10g will give different results, and if I have a large range of results, I can be precise with analysing the results. The preliminary trials showed that this would be a suitable range. I will be able to use figures and draw a more reliable best-fit curve, as well as taking the reciprocal of the mass added to draw a straight-line graph.

Distance travelled (mm)
(Nearest mm)
Mass added (g) Try 1 Try 2 Try 3 Average
0 2102 2348 2673 2374
10 1205 1894 1972 1690
20 1332 1612 1579 1508
30 974 1066 1013 1018
40 862 905 989 919
50 801 822 756 793
60 525 479 607 537
70 471 509 409 463
80 425 403 456 428
90 316 302 359 326
100 295 278 321 298

Preliminary Work
The preliminary experiment was carried out before the main method to see the flaws with the method.
An elastic band was stretched around the legs of a stool, and the pullback was 5 cm. I recorded results at intervals of 20g. I made 100g the maximum mass.
Distance Travelled
Mass added (g) Try 1 (cm) Try 2 (cm) Average (cm)
0 231 201 216
20 152 135 144
40 80 87 84
60 57 45 51
80 48 38 43
100 21 13 17

From this, mass added seemed to be a good variable, so I used this for the main trial. I saw from these results that the differences in results were quite large. Instead of intervals of 20g, I chose to have intervals of 10g. This would give me more values for a more reliable line of best fit.
As I calculated distances to the nearest cm, this meant I had to round substantially, which could affect results. So another alteration for the actual method was to measure distances to the nearest mm.
In the preliminary experiment, we had placed the metre rule too close to the tub. When it travelled, the metre rule was often in the way of the tub and it did not get very far. To prevent this from happening in the experiment, I chose to place the ruler 10cm from the centre of the two chair legs, so that it could not interfere with where the tub was moving. However, this would mean that the tub would not be exactly next to the rule to read off the distance, so a shorter, 15cm ruler was required to mark off the distances.
There was one anomalous result, but as there were only two results, I could not be sure which one was more accurate. If the 45 cm result were correct, this would make the 38cm value inaccurate. The anomalous results would be easier to spot if there were 3 sets of results.


Results table
Distance travelled (mm) (to nearest mm)
Mass added (g) Try 1 Try 2 Try 3 Average
0 2102 2348 2673 2374
10 1205 1894 1972 1690
20 1332 1612 1579 1508
30 974 1066 1013 1018
40 862 905 989 919
50 801 822 756 793
60 525 479 607 537
70 471 509 409 463
80 425 403 456 428
90 316 302 359 326
100 295 278 321 298

Anomalous results highlighted in yellow
Graph (next page)

The results on both graphs show that the higher the mass added to the tub, the less far it travelled. This is shown on the graph, where the correlation is shown to be negative.

When the mass added was 10g, the average distance travelled was 1690mm. When the additional mass was 20g, the average distance was 1508mm. 1690mm is not double 1508mm, therefore the second part of my prediction was incorrect. This can be seen from on the table.
On the best-fit curve, the distance travelled for 10g additional mass was still 1690mm, but the distance for 20g was 1300mm. Although 1690mm is still not double 1300mm, the differences between the two values have a bigger difference.
However, on the graph, the best-fit curve shows that the distance travelled for added mass of 40g was 820mm, and the distance travelled for added distance of 80g (double 40g) was 400mm. Here, the distance travelled for added mass of 40g is more than twice the distance for 80g. Because this best fit line is a curve, the gradients of the line are different at different points.

As shown on the table, a similar amount of work is done throughout the experiment, except when a mass of 10g is added. This may have been because this was the second to last result taken, so the elastic band may have been getting slightly overstretched and losing total amount of work done.

Graph 2 (Average Distance to 1/Mass added) was plotted to look for a stronger correlation, as these results will give a straight-line graph. This is the table used for that graph:

1/Mass added (g) (4 d.p.) Average Distance Travelled (to nearest mm)
0.1000 1690
0.0500 1508
0.0333 1018
0.0250 919
0.0200 793
0.0167 537
0.0143 463
0.0125 428
0.0111 326
0.0100 298

As the reciprocal of 0 is an infinite number, I made the omission of that entry.

The points on this graph are at various distances from the line of best fit.

The propulsion of a coleslaw tub is affected by mass – the higher the mass of it, the less it travels.
The results did not support my conclusion, and this was because the average distance travelled by the tub changes constantly throughout the experiment. The reason that it could travel so far with no additional weights and so less at the end is because as less weight was added to the tub, it was still moving, but it was reaching its optimum rate. The graph shows this, as; it changes from a gentle curve (towards the end of the graph) to a steep one (at the beginning).

The experiment was successful as I achieved reliable results and no injuries were caused. The results tied in with the ones from the preliminary experiment. I was then able to plot a straight-line graph.

Most of my results were accurate as they followed a pattern. On Graph A - average distance travelled to the mass added, most of the points are on the line of best fit and the others are close to it. This shows that some results were more reliable than others, but overall, any anomalous results were not too inconsistent so I could include their values when calculating the average.

The elastic band worked and that we carried out a fairly reliable experiment.
However, I did get some anomalous results:

Distance travelled (mm) (to nearest mm)
Mass added (g) Try 1 Try 2 Try 3 Average
0 2102 2348 2673 2374
10 1205 1894 1972 1690
20 1332 1612 1579 1508
30 974 1066 1013 1018
40 862 905 989 919
50 801 822 756 793
60 525 479 607 537
70 471 509 409 463
80 425 403 456 428
90 316 302 359 326
100 295 278 321 298

Possible Limitations:

Limitation Why it affects

One of the causes for this may have been error in the pullback – I may have pulled back more or less than I should have. Although the extra pullback may only have been up to a cm more, this still could have affected the results substantially. To prevent this, a hard object such as a brick or a piece of card could be placed 5 cm back, and this would have caused it to stay constant throughout. Another reason could be when the experiment was carried out, the tub may not have been placed in the exact centre of the elastic band. If it went diagonally or sideways, the measured distance would have been different from what it actually was, and this would have affected the results. However, the anomalous results are not too irregular so overall the method was a success.

However, this was not the best way of carrying out the experiment - One limitation with the method was that towards the end, the elastic band might have lost some of its elasticity. Although care was taken to not overstretch the elastic band, it may have inevitably happened, as the distance between the two chair legs were fairly far apart. Although the change may have been small, this could have affected the amount of work that could be done by the elastic band. In the same way, at the start of the experiment, the elastic band may not have been stretchy as it was in the middle, as it had not been stretched for a while and the particles in the band were getting rigid.
Another problem with the method was that although I looked for trends between the mass added to the tub and the distance it travelled, I did not take into consideration the mass of the tub. This may have been a substantial factor that affected the results. For example, if the tub had weighed 50g, and 10g had been added, the total mass would be 60g. An additional 10g would make the total mass 70g. This is not double of 60g, so the change on the graph would not be as much as if it were between 10g and 20g, a true double in mass.
An experiment that could be carried out to extend this could be to mould a plastic tub that weighs exactly 10g, and repeat the experiment on it. Except this time, results will be taken for the tub alone when it travels. When a 10g weight has been added, the distance will be measured as usual, but this time the mass will be recorded as “Total mass 20g,” as this includes the weight of the tub. To be even more precise, the weights could be weighed before the experiment, as damaged disks would weigh less. From this, I will keep my original prediction, and the results should this time prove them to be correct, as the main improvement in the new method will to be to take the mass of the tub into account, then the true work done can be calculated.

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