Independent News Sources & Websites


I have been wanting to do this for quite a while. In the last year, I have become more and more frustrated with the bias in our mainstream media, [and frankly, too much drivel] and I wanted to find alternative voices. I have asked friends and colleagues to contribute ideas and websites. I have purposely not added any write ups to each website as I want people to investigate them in their own time. Some have questioned Al Jazeera being on the list – due to Qatar’s financial involvement  [although I do think they produce fairly balanced articles.]  And some have questioned RT [Russia Today] due to their bias. However they do have an American and UK page I have discovered.

Not every website will be to people’s pleasing, I am aware of this. I wanted to give a varied list, that is all.

And please, if you think I have left any off the list, let me know. But they must be independent. They are in no particular order. There is no preference.

Mother Jones –

The Nation –

Think Progress –

RT [Russia, America, UK] –

Left Foot Forward –

France 24 [English and French] –

Addicting Info –

Another Angry Voice –

Middle East Eye [Middle East & North Africa] –

Media Lens –

Truth Out –

Media Diversified –

Asian Correspondent [Asia] –

Rappler [Philippines & Indonesia] –

The Big Eye –

Alter Net –

Global Voices –

All Africa [Africa] –

Sleuth Journal –

Democracy Now –

Exaro News –

Al Jazeera English [Middle East] –

Real News Network –

El Plural [Spain] –

Publico [Portugal] –

KPFK News –

IMEMC [Middle East] –

Narco News [Latin America] –

Rabble [Canada] –

The Intercept [global] –

End The Lie –

Notizie Radicali [Italy] –

Equal Times –

Al Monitor [Middle East] –

The Atlantic –


Media Matters –

Positive News –


Photo Courtesy of Media Studies Resources –

Disabled Dating: I am not a freak, I am not a fetish [Feminist Times piece 15th April]




I was five when I had my first boyfriend. Being only five, I liked him for the following reasons: he had floppy hair, big brown eyes, and wore a denim jacket to class – it was 1978. He was a bit different from the other boys, and being a bit different myself, this seemed like the perfect match.

We would hold hands at break time and I invited him to my birthday party. Naively I thought this is the way it would always be. I would ask a boy out, he would say yes, and we would be happy until I found the next love of my life.

I remember the first time I heard, in hushed tones, “such a pretty girl, such a shame about the ‘handicap’.” I wondered why on earth a limp and a bit of a clenched hand was considered ‘a shame’; I had lived in a family home where I was considered perfect, just the way I was. As I got older I started to notice there were no girls or women who resembled me on TV, in the magazines, or in school, and I began to realise just how different I was. There still aren’t; disabled women remain hugely unrepresented in the media.

The teenage years hit, and with them came the loss of non-judgemental behaviour from my peers. I was told no one dates “spazzy girls”. I was a freak, unattractive, undesirable, and no one would ever want me.

We can all agree that objectification is wrong, however, to have sexuality entirely stripped away from your identity can damage your development just as much as society’s constant bombardment of over sexualised images. What infuriated me then, and still does, is that the choice to express myself sexually – in a relationship or out of one – was laughed at… or worse, fetishised.

A few years ago, on the advice of a friend who had once been a high class escort, I joined a disabled dating website. Actually, their first suggestion was to buy myself a male escort, but as I could not afford the £1,000 for a night of passion (yes, £1,000 – I spat my drink out at the cost; give me £50 and send me to the nearest sex shop please!) I opted for the dating agency. I was in between boyfriends, and not that fussed, but realised that I had never ventured into the world of disabled dating before, despite having cerebral palsy myself.

I dutifully put myself online and waited for the messages to arrive. 48 hours later the first message popped up, from a good looking man describing himself as “able bodied” but saying he had “no problem” having a disabled girlfriend. “How very gracious of you!” I snorted, but I gave him a chance.

Over the course of the next two days things got very interesting. He assumed I was in a wheelchair (I’m not). He assumed I did not work (I worked 2 jobs, and still do). He assumed I had very little sexual experience (HA!) and he was also under the assumption that I could not care for myself. All of these things added up to making him very horny indeed; I am not a naive woman, but I honestly didn’t know whether to laugh or be suitably shocked at the erect penis that popped up on my screen. When I calmly responded that none of those things applied to me, the response was droopingly swift. At that point I laughed… and laughed hard.

So, I find myself in two categories: desexualised or fetishised. Neither represents me. All adults have a right to a healthy sexuality and a choice in how they express it, disabled or not. A disability should not make me feel like less of a woman, or ashamed and embarrassed about my sexual desires. They do not define me, but they are an integral part of me, just as my disability is.

We need to stop seeing disabled women as odd or unrealistic when they express their desires, or in TV shows where they are still treated as side show freaks. They are human and those feelings are real. If we are working towards a more inclusive society, disabled women need to be seen as  whole individuals. I fear though, we still have a long way to go.

Lisa Jenkins is Arts Editor for God Is In The TV Zine and contributor to The Quietus. She also happens to have cerebral palsy. Follow her @lisaannejenkins

– See more at:

Tiny Buddha Article – Getting Back Your Belief in Yourself





“When you believe something can be done, really believe, your mind will find ways to do it.” ~Dr. David Schwartz


Fifteen months ago I was in a rut. A rather large rut actually. The recession was well and truly in full swing and I was up to my eyeballs in credit card and loan debt.

I could barely afford to live, let alone pay my mortgage, and there was the threat of losing my home hanging over my head every day.

I had spent most of my twenties and thirties working to pay the bills and the rent as most of us do, and frankly, considering the economic climate, I was just grateful to have a job. However, every day I would wake up in a fog and go through the motions of living.

Most of the time I felt stressed and exhausted with nothing to focus on or look forward to, and I felt as if I couldn’t do a thing about it—which made me feel worse.

I’m used to challenges in my life, as I have cerebral palsy. My mum passed away when I was nine, my father left the UK when I was eighteen, and I have been living independently ever since.

This is not a “pity” plea. When faced with difficulties, as long as there is some kind of solution, or a door I can try, that keeps me motivated to keep looking for a solution.

Fifteen months ago, I was faced with brick wall after brick wall. I wasn’t happy about it, but I couldn’t see a way out. I’m emotionally tough but my situation was making me question my whole being. I didn’t realize that I was functioning in a depressed state.

I certainly never thought I’d be a single 37-year-old woman on the hamster-wheel of life doing the same job day in and day out, with nothing really to look forward to.

I kept asking myself “Really? Is this it? Is this my purpose?” Something just didn’t feel right about the way I was living my life.

I went to see a friend who specializes in reiki and yoga. She took one look at me and said, “You are at the end of your tether aren’t you?” at which point I burst into floods of tears. It felt so good to let it all out.

After a few moments she said “You can change your life, and you will,” and handed me a small book.

She told me the book would confirm everything I already knew deep down. The book was called The SecretEven if I didn’t believe everything it in, it helped me switch my negative thinking and gave me a much more positive outlook.

Just being told I could change my life made a huge difference in my mood.

In my second reiki session with my friend, she asked me what my passions were. I said music and literature. She then told me to start writing—not tomorrow, not next week, but now!

I realized that I had not written anything in years and had not listened to music—properly—for months. There was nothing in my life I could think of that made me feel excited or joyful, and that just wasn’t me.

In fact, I hadn’t been “me” for years! It was a daunting prospect, and I started comparing myself to my favorite authors and music journalist, so I procrastinated—something I’m rather good at. But once I started to get a few responses from online magazines that were looking for contributors, the ball started slowly, but surely rolling.

I now often ask people who are unhappy with their current situation what their passion is. Most say “I don’t know.” They do, really; they just don’t know how to articulate it.

I ask what they think of first thing in the morning; when they feel happiest; what makes them tick; what they love; and what sends shivers up their spine. Most importantly, I ask when they last felt excited by something.

There is often an underlying passion which can be turned into a job, a hobby, or a lifetime pursuit. I really believe that.

So, a year-and-a-half later I am writing about music, the passion that used to make me as happy as a teenager.

Years ago, I was willing to try and climb out of our house—on the second floor—to get to a concert my father had banned me from. Not easy with cerebral palsy. It was somewhat amusing to watch at the time, but I remember the passion I felt for that band and how good their music made me feel. I was willing to try anything!

Finally after twenty years and doing what people “thought” I should do, I have my passion and belief back.

Don’t get me wrong; life is not a field of sunny daffodils. I don’t get paid for my writing. There are thousands of wannabe music writers out there and hundreds of music magazines. They don’t need to pay you. I write for the privilege of writing about music as a fan more than anything else.

I am still in debt, but I have managed to keep a roof over my head. Something, or someone, gets me through. I am also very lucky to have wonderful friends and family. They would never allow me to go homeless.

I have also stopped fearing loss. Ask yourself what the worst-case scenario would be, and think about the steps you would take if that happened. You would, no doubt, survive somehow.

No matter how bad you think it might be, could you get a roof over your head and food in your stomach for you and your family? If the answer is yes, then you would still be better off than some.

If your fear is losing a person, just know that after they go, through choice or death, your heart will eventually heal, no matter how long it takes, and that it is okay to feel awful about it. You never stop missing the person; you just stop grieving for them, eventually.

My life is so much better than it was fifteen months ago. I am a different person and I feel as if I’m back in the driver’s seat. Through my writing and the contacts I’ve made I have many exciting prospects.

And most importantly of all, the Lisa who existed—the one who thought she could do amazing things with her life—is back.

I still have a day job and I still pay the bills, but my music writing is beginning to be the main focus in my life—money or no money. And this makes me so happy on a daily basis I can’t tell you!

I’m not waiting for someone to “discover me” and I have no intention of becoming famous, but with every new idea I have, interview I do, new contact I make, or new prospect that is offered to me, I get such a buzz.

So, if you find yourself feeling as I did last year, don’t just quit your job, go on the dole, and hope for the best.

Think about a dream you’ve always had and a passion that makes the adrenalin in your body start pumping, and forge a path towards it—for no other reason than you have to.

Expect nothing in return, and everything that comes as a result of you following your passion will bring you untold happiness.

After all, life is far too short to be miserable, don’t you think?

Photo by Dee ❤



About Lisa Jenkins

Writer, Arts Editor for God Is In The TV Zine. Contributor -The Quietus. Body Gossip Ambassador. Shareholder of This Festival Feeling

Born in Hong Kong, to itinerant parents from New Zealand, ensured that my life would be global. My early years included both Amsterdam & New York before the family settled in London. Growing up around the advertising business in the early eighties exposed me to some great creative influences, many of which continued to provide mentorship and inspiration as my own career started to develop.

My family bequeathed me with an unquenchable desire to travel, and over past 20 years I have been able to explore some pretty obscure corners of Europe, USA, Asia, New Zealand and Australia. This enviable combination of interests and experiences is at the very core of my professional life.

Literature, art & music have continued to be an important part of my life. I have been able to incorporate them into my entrepreneurial life since becoming a shareholder and contributor of This Festival Feeling 5 years ago.
The opportunity to write about the subjects I enjoy such as music, provides inspiration and has helped to refine my journalist skills for other websites such as Bearded Magazine, God Is In The TV, Lady Adventurer, The Quietus , The 405 and most recently Slink Magazine

I have  been interviewed for the BBC Ouch Website and appeared on the BBC Radio 1 documentary ‘Let Me Into The Music’ presented by DJ Nihal. I am in the process of writing my first children’s book and am happy to spread my wings and write about any topic that interests me.

For more examples of my work and contact details, please visit –

St Trinians..This ain’t!


“This is the court of hops….and hops must be obeyed”

It’s funny, I had forgotten that phrase until a friend reminded me of it recently, and then slowly, but surely, my blood started to turn cold….

A couple of days ago I joined an old school group; I was resistant at first, as I thought it would bring back some pretty bad memories. I was right in some ways, and wrong in others.

It’s amazing the way the mind filters our memories. Some of the girls loved the school, and remembered it with rose tinted glasses, others felt more like me. Memories that we find traumatic, we either file them away somewhere, or we use them to shape the people we become as adults.

When I was eleven I was sent to an all girl’s boarding school in Garboldisham for 2 years,  then Felixstowe College for five  years. Felixstowe closed it’s doors for good in 1994.

Before the stereotype of ‘rich girl’ is thrown about, there were alot of international students, a few on scholarships and others who had been funded by extended family members or other educational funds. There were also those of us, who’s parents were breaking their backs to afford the fees as they thought we were getting an excellent education. I can tell you, for the record, we were not. The school was actually not too bad if you were academic or sporty. If you were creative, or different in any way, they threw you to the wolves. So I basically had the pick of the lot. Disabled, single parent family [at the start] AND I was creative. Well, just shoot me now I say!

You spent 3 weeks away from your parents at a time. Phone calls weren’t permitted until you were older, as the teachers thought contact would make us more upset. Sleepless nights, in a strange place, homesickness crashing over you like waves. You were only allowed to wash your hair once a week, and bath twice a week [to save water] we had to strip wash at sinks in a mouldy bathroom between our much cherished baths. It is no doubt why I love my baths today. Being not particularly sporty [surprise surprise] my hell was a double hockey lesson, in winter, and being told to run around 2 hockey pitches just to ‘warm up’ Oh and by the way, all we were wearing was aertex shirts and PE skirts…that’s it.  Then there was the lovely initiation ceremony that we had in our house for the younger girls. It was a riddle that had to be solved. We were told to stand on a table facing the girls in the year above us. Every time we got the riddle wrong, we had to remove a piece of clothing. This was to humble…and humiliate us. And it worked. At my prep boarding school, if we were naughty, we had to stand outside our dorm rooms with just a night dress and slippers on, facing the wall, for much longer than was actually necessary. If we were REALLY naughty you were hit with a slipper or hairbrush. Then, there were the bullies. Oh how they loved me. “Come on Lisa, chase us, did we upset you, poor diddums….come on spazzy, chase us, because you can’t hop along, can you? RETARD!” Lucky for me, over the years, I learnt to fight back with my brain. Not my fists. [Although every now and then, they would come in useful]

Enid Blyton…..Oh how she lied.

Before this begins to sound like a case for child abuse, I do have good memories. I still have friends today from that time. One of the definitions of friendship I hold most dear, is the memory of my friend Emma picking me up after one of my ‘falls’ which happened quite often. [You also had to be virtually dying before they sent you to the school nurse, when I used to faint with period pains, they told me to ‘go for a run’ Painkillers were not allowed] In fact when I started my period in maths class at 14 [ironic as Maths was also my idea of hell on earth] my house matron at the time, literally threw a pack of sanitary pads at me, and told me ‘to get on with it’ A tearful phone call to my father that evening managed to make me feel more human. I got a hug over the phone, which was the best I could hope for.

I had one of my predictable falls walking from the dining room to school one morning. Every girl either walked past me, or over me, or ON me. Except Emma. She was the only one to stop, pick me, brush me off, and walk with me the rest of the way, walking on the outside to catch me in case I fell again. In fact 26 years later, she often still does it by default when we walk down the street. If you want a definition of friendship. You have it. Right there.

Or the patience of my friends Caroline and Vicky when I insisted covering my walls with Skid Row, Aerosmith, Guns n’ Roses, Pantera, Iron Maiden, LA Guns and Alice Cooper posters. They endured my ….as they put it ‘terrible taste in music’. To be fair, they had a point. The acceptance of certain girls, despite my difference. The care and compassion of some of the older girls, who hugged me for hours while I was sobbing with homesickness. The younger girls who thought I was ‘cool’ for being different, and who I looked after in turn when they were having hard times. The sense of loyalty we felt towards each other when one of the teachers turned on us. To be a snitch, was never an option. The lovely feeling of having your own personal space when you were sick, and sent to bed early. The whole dormitory to yourself. It was bliss.  Boys [who we were told were ALL undesirables] smoking, and drinking were all a part of our later years. Although I had been ‘asked to leave’ by then [ahem] I was invited back for the official leavers ball. There were boys. Lots of them. Army boys, boys from the local schools, friends brothers. It was like Sodom and Gomorrah. By the end of the night, girls had put all the common room tables together, and what can only be described as an orgy was taking place. Meanwhile, I was busy in a cupboard somewhere snogging my friend Rachel’s brother, wearing knee high suede boots, and a tight red short velvet dress. I looked like a hooker. How I got out of the house looking like that, I will never know. This is still problem with single sex boarding schools I feel. Too many heightened hormones, and no real understanding of sex or relationships. I’m surprised not more of us got pregnant. It wasn’t until my 6th form college that I learnt to be friends with boys. Their advice and perspective on things educated me greatly, and I still value it today.


And then there was my English teacher Miss Bullock. Possibly the most terrifying teacher in the school. Hard as nails. Smoked 2 packs a day, thin as a rake and with eyes that could pierce your very soul. You either loved her…or hated her. She didn’t suffer fools, and would quite happily chuck things at you if you were being idiotic. Her lessons were approached with dread, but inspiration, for me at least. Most of the other teachers [bar my drama teacher] saw me as a stupid girl. So stupid in fact that they didn’t allow me to do Maths GCSE [I no doubt would have lowered their overall scoring as a school, and they couldn’t possible have that] I sat in the library learning reams and reams of Shakespeare for a local drama competition, whilst my fellow classmates were writing about algebra and very long division. And quite rightly, my father kicked up merry hell when he found out. Truly terrible educating when you think about it. Not Miss Bullock. She would trawl the lines of girls, throwing the exercise books down on the desks and poking them with a tar stained finger saying ‘this Lisa….THIS was good. Well Done’ it was the best and only compliment that passed her lips, and it was like gold dust. One afternoon, she called me back after class. I assumed I was about to get a bollocking, and I was frankly, shitting bricks. I still remember her words

‘Lisa, you are not stupid. At all. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are. You are articulate, you can use words well. You have a great future ahead of you. Don’t waste it”

To this day, she is still the most important teacher I have ever had.

Or my drama teacher, Mrs Dann, who for some reason, thought I was quite good and made me do all my L.A.M.D.A exams, which were the preliminaries to get into RADA in those days. Regardless it gave me confidence to speak in public [a skill I have completely lost these days unfortunately] and allowed me to express myself when I felt silenced by everything around me. It transpired that RADA would have never cast a ‘Juliette with a limp’ so my future as a world famous actress playing Kate in Taming of The Shrew was cut short after A Levels.

If I had children now, would I send them to boarding school? Absolutely not. To start with, the fees have quadrupled.  Even if my child requested to go, I would ask myself why they didn’t want to be at home in the first place. However, a couple of my boarding school friends have sent their children and they are thriving. It really depends on the child and the personality. Of course boarding schools have changed immensely now too. What did boarding school teach me? To emotionally survive. Also to make my bed, 3 layers deep with perfect hospital corners so you could bounce a 10p coin on them. To shine my shoes, the old fashioned way.  To cope on my own. To be independent. To know, understand and respect people from all four corners of this earth. To live with pain, both emotional and physical. To understand that your parents can’t always be there. To realise just how strong you can be.

There is much more to write here, and perhaps I will at a later date, these are just the memories that have been swimming around my head in the last few days.

As my friend Emma said – ‘It was a rotten school, but it built character’

I have mixed feelings about that, and I always will.


London – A Poem

This has been rolling around in my head for some time! Inspired by many things. Lady Adventurer’s #LovingLondon series –  – The Olympics, The Paralympics, Occupy Movement, our shite government, The Pussy Riot Case. And most of all my love of London and the freedom of speech that we all have living in it.

[Photo courtesy of Paines Plough website]


I hold you all to me

The fat cats with their bankers bonuses

The disenfranchised youths with their eyes on a nonexistent future.

The sick, disabled, frail and elderly

The unemployed. The entrepreneurs

The inspirational and the inspired

I hold you all to me

I let you vote for ridiculous politicians that are making the rich richer, and the poor bereft

I let you vote for those who think they are rocks stars and still believe in a united Britain.

I let you Occupy me

My streets, my parks, my cathedral

I let you say what you want about our monarchy and government, without fear of imprisonment or death.

I let you riot in my streets, and then watch as you pick each other up again

You have come from all four corners of the globe

To fill my streets with your cultures and beliefs.

You make me what I am

My wall has no boundaries.

I breathe you all in.

I hold you all to me

In our differences we are united

Because I am unlike anywhere else in the world

I am London

And you are all mine.

50 Shades of Grey – An alternative list.

Much has been spoken and written about 50 Shades of Grey. How it is saving marriages all over the world and liberating women everywhere. What worries me is that people actually believe this twaddle.

I am writing this after only one hour’s sleep and after seeing the Ch 4 mock doc on it last night. They only had one journalist on it that disliked it, and the rest of them failed to see that this book had patronised  the intelligence of a whole generation of women. It is not the S & M acts themselves that are a problem, it’s the way they are presented and written about in the book. i.e. very very badly. There is fantasy, and then there is complete delusion wrapped up in possibly one of the worst story lines ever written.

I must watch what I say on here for fear of my MD walking past my desk and seeing the words, ‘His length’ ‘Down there’ [Wherever THAT is!] and just in case ‘my inner goddess does the merengue’ with just the mere thought of Mr. Grey. The language used is laughable at best.  I’m actually surprised words like ‘his thingy’ ‘front bottom’ and ‘woo woo’ weren’t used.  At least it might have been vaguely amusing then….And to be honest, Jilly Cooper and Jackie Collins have always done this genre of the ‘sex romp’ far better. 50 Shades of Grey has put women’s sexual liberation back about 100 years. And I’m fuming. This is not a story of consensual sexual eroticism, but the dominating possession of a 21 year old virgin. Can’t you relate? Nope. Either can I.

So here we go ladies. An alternative list of erotic literature, which is not only extremely well written, it spans the four corners of the globe. Some of it written by women….for women. Some written by men. They all however have the common themes of intelligence, beautifully written words, true eroticism and the sexual empowerment of women. Enjoy!

NB – Most quotes /reviews are from Amazon. Apologies, I am just too damn tired to write original copy right now.


The Almond by Nedjma

L’Amande, written under a pseudonym by a North African woman living in France, reads like an erotic manifesto for modern women who want to break free from the bonds of cultural tradition and unashamedly demand their right to pleasure. [Note from Lisa – this is probably my favourite]

‘My ambition is to give back to the women of my blood the power of speech confiscated by their men.’

Silk-  Alessandro Baricco

“Although they are unable to exchange so much as a word, love blossoms between them, a love that is conveyed in a number of recondite messages. How their secret affair develops is told in this remarkable love story” [Note from Lisa – One of the most beautifully written books I have ever read. Stunning]

100 Strokes of The Brush Before Bed – Melissa P

“As the summer unfolds, she follows her desires wherever they lead her, often into the arms of men who set her world on fire. She is thrilled to discover the sexual power she wields. An instant blockbuster in Italy where it has sold over 850,000 copies and scandalized the nation, and it has gone onto become an international literary phenomenon. Told with disarming candor, Melissa P.’s bittersweet tour of extreme desires is as poignant as it is titillating”

The Story of the Eye by George Bataille

“The Story of the Eye is not so much an erotic text, as an exploration on what it is that drives every human- desire. Desire to live, breath eat, make love, our lives revolve around it, and if there was no desire we would not be alive. It is a mistake to have Batailles novella down as an erotic fiction- it is so much more than that.”

 Nadja – Andre Breton

“NADJA is a Surrealist romance, and has come to be known as a book which defined that movement’s attitude towards life. With its blend of intimate confession and sense of the marvellous, NADJA weaves a mysterious and compelling tapestry of daily life as seen through a magical perspective. Combining autobiographical fact with memory and imagination, Breton spins one of the most unusual love stories in modern literature.”

The Story of O – Pauline Reage

‘A highly literary and imaginative work, the brilliance of whose style leaves one in no doubt whatever of the author’s genius … a profoundly disturbing book, as well as a black tour-de-force’ –Spectator [Note from Lisa – subject is extreme but it is very well written, and a classic.]

The Lover – Marguerite Duras

“A sensational international bestseller, and winner of Frances’ coveted Prix Goncour. Saigon, 1930s: a poor young French girl meets the elegant son of a wealthy Chinese family. Soon they are lovers, locked into a private world of passion and intensity that defies all the conventions of their society. ‘The Lover’ is disturbing, erotic, masterly. Here is an unforgettable portrayal of the incandescent relationship between the lovers, and of the hate that slowly tears the girl’s family apart.” [Note from Lisa – Ignore the dire film that was made of it in the 90’s – the book is quite different!]

Full Blood – John Siddique

‘Bold as love… Each word is to be savoured like a sip of forbidden

Bina Shah – Author of Slum Child

Intelligent, sensual, highly erotic, manly and beautifully mortal – Full Blood is the result of a fifteen-year labour of love. This is literature in its most empowered state, and poetry at its most radical, lyrical and affecting. Full Blood invites you in easily, and then turns into one of those books that you can’t put down because it has become your close friend.