Category Archives: Life

Post-Mortem

There is absolutely no reason on earth why I should want to write my higher-education woes but I’ll do it anyway.

As mentioned yesterday, I had an interview at UCL today. Despite everything arguing to the contrary, I believe that when you come out of the interview, you have a gut feeling of how it went and whether you’re likely to get an offer. Unfortunately, I get the impression the news is not going to be good for me. It’s not that anything went horribly wrong either; it’s more that I just don’t think I was terribly impressive. The thing that’s bugging me the most, though, is a couple of really stupid grammatical mistakes I made (when speaking French – I don’t get that wound up about the accuracy of my English grammar!). The second you’ve said them there’s no going back. It’s not even worth correcting yourself – that only serves to draw attention to something the interviewer may not have already noticed.

Anyhow, I now await my rejection letter and only hope that Edinburgh look upon me a bit more kindly.

Elsewhere, in my humble life:

Whilst on the train coming home today, I spent a good few hours just thinking things over. Perhaps not the most sensible thing for me to be doing, as the type of thinking involved usually only leads to inflated expectations and great disappointment, but I did it all the same. Anyway, in a perfect world I’d say that having this kind of mini-epiphany will prompt me into changing several things about my life, and start a whole heap of others. The root of it is that I just don’t think I’m being all that productive. My friends and I have often had the conversation regarding not devoting too much time to our work. This is because, as I’ve witnessed on a few instances, if that falls through, there’s nothing left. Obviously, this is nothing revolutionary but I’m trying to keep it in mind at the moment.

I’m no study-freak. In fact, I’m positively lazy when it comes to working. I’m quite happy to lie down on my bed and read a book – or even better, listen to some music – but I find it difficult to even spend an hour doing some solid work. So, the case is not that I’ve been devoting to much time to my studies; it’s that I haven’t spent enough time developing things outside of college. Listening to music, reading a book and socialising with friends is all very well but I’m sure it must be possible to put my time to better use and get something out of it. The unfortunate thing is that I’ve just not quite decided what it is yet.

Thankfully – for myself, at least – I’m quite certain that whatever it is will not prevent me from rambling into the abyss as I so frequently do.

Meanwhile, here’s a picture I found today that I thought was quite good.

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A Post

Yep, unfortunately It is going to be another of those posts that contains random comments about my life and some music I’ve been listening to. As no one actually cares or reads what I’m saying, it may as well be that way. It turns out writing random thoughts out in a post like this is quite therapeutic.

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Its funny how things change, isn’t it? After hearing Men’s Needs I had ranked the Cribs alongside Hard-Fi as another appalling band, based purely on the fact that one of them really can’t sing – you know which one I mean. Anyway, after my brother got the album late last year I started listening to it, if only to recognise a few more of their songs when I saw them supporting Bloc Party. Anyway, it turns out a lot of the other songs on their third album, ‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever’, are quite awesome, addictive and, dare I say, I might even have got used to the ear-piercing wail on Men’s Needs. Personally, Our Bovine Public is my favourite off the album. It has to be one of the most catchy on there, at least. I think I’ll definitely have to invest in their previous two albums as soon as I can. I’ve been missing out.

Aside from sitting at home, listening to the Cribs’ album and reading a lot more than I ever have done before, there’s not been a hell of a lot else going on in my life at the moment. I wanted to go and see British Sea Power last night; my friends refused because they’d never heard of them. I wanted to buy tickets to see Foals in March; my friends refused, once again, because they’d never heard of them. I wanted to go and see Justice, Simian Mobile Disco, Hot Chip, The Young Knives and Late of the Pier; Yep, you guessed it, they didn’t want to go. I tell you what, my friends need to get out more!

At present, I’m waiting to go back into college for the most useless and pointless subject ever to be known. That would be fucking Key Skills ICT; something I’ve been made to pickup because I don’t do the right combination of subjects. Basically, I don’t do Maths or an ICT-based subject. Despite getting A* at GCSE, I’m being forced to go back over a load of stuff that my 3 year old cousin could do. I don’t normally go but I have to show my face occasionally, which is what I’m going to do this afternoon. Anyway, that’s all for now.

 

You’re Second Best

Today could have been awful; another mind-numbingly boring day at work, with no one but the over-70s for company. Instead, it ended up being a bit better. Not loads better. Just a bit.

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Basically, that Foals track that I mentioned yesterday – Cassius – had been eluding me for too long, so late last night I got serious and went on the hunt. Eventually I found a copy and despite its slightly low sound quality, I’ve listened to it many, many times today. I really can’t wait for that damn album to be released.

 

What’s interesting is that this is the second version of this post I’ve written; the first, I realised was just a collection of things that I said in November. It seems a long break from blogging doesn’t work well for the smoothness between posts. Perhaps I should delete some of the older ones then I can quite happily repeat myself! Anyway, I was just going to refer to my hope that Foals aren’t another Air Traffic/Reverend and the Makers. I.e. something that didn’t live up to any hype at all. I’m fairly confident, though, that Foals are a million leagues above the latter two bands. They’ve just turned out to be quite….well, naff. So, basically, I’ve just been saying what millions of people already know; hype ain’t no good for a band.

 

Which is why the ones that creep up on you are usually a lot better. Recently, in the two-month break from posting, I’ve been loving the new Band of Horses album, ‘Cease to Begin’. I don’t listen to it several times a day like I do with other new albums for about a week. Instead, I’ve been putting this album on a couple of times a week for the last few months. It just keeps growing and growing on me. Which is good.

Although they’d already released what I’m told is a great debut album (I must get my hands on that), my uneducated mind had never heard of Band of Horses before. When I went into the record shop in Manchester the other month I was really fed up and bored of all my other music; I needed something new to listen to and something different. As I said on this blog that very evening, I bought it based solely on the shop’s recommendation. All I can say is thank God I was in that mood. It was a real find. Perhaps I should try it more often.

 

It’s Been A While…

Yeah, it certainly has been a while.

In fact, it’s nearly been two months since I wrote anything on here. The reason? I just couldn’t be bothered. Still, I’m not abandoning the whole thing just yet. I figured it’d be fun just to dip into on the odd occasion. Whenever it takes my fancy.

Not that I’m making excuses – I’m waaay past that now! – but a hell of a lot has happened in the last two-ish months. So where do I start? Well, firstly, I had an eventful christmas, along with millions of others around the world, which was quickly followed by a three week burst of revision for some Chemistry and History exams; perhaps there were a few less people doing that. But…I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.

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Music —> I saw Kaiser Chiefs again; it seemed a bit lame, really, and wasn’t half as fun as when I saw them at the Apollo earlier in the year. Arctic Monkeys were fantastic but I didn’t quite get close enough to the front to get the most out of it. Also, Bloc Party now stand at joint 1st in my best gigs of all time – alongside Muse at Wembley. Adding to the pleasure of Bloc Party’s gig were the superb support acts; The Cribs were great fun (I almost forgot how awful that man’s voice is!) but they weren’t nearly as incredible as Foals. I’ve fallen in love with their music since that concert and am impatiently waiting for the release of ‘Antidotes’ in March. I’ve got a few crappy quality tracks to keep me going but am craving Cassius like nothing else right now. I need it so much and can’t even find a crummy radio rip to satisfy the need. It seems I’ll have to wait for March.

Elsewhere, I’ve made a New Year’s resolution to read more; its going great so far. At this rate, I’ll have more than doubled the length of last year’s reading list. It seems the ‘Penguin Popular Classics’ that sell for £1.89 on Amazon are incredibly useful. I’ve got a nice big pile of luminous green books at the side of my bed just waiting to be read.

Something else that’s been consuming a lot more of my money is DVDs. I decided over christmas that I quite enjoy watching a good film before going to bed and so have proceeded to try and build a collection that could rival my CDs number. Of course, that’ll be expensive and will require a lot more time but I’m having fun with what I’ve got so far.

If I get my act together I might even post on here a bit more frequently. Now that exams are out the way. All that remains is to get into a half-decent university! I have an interview at UCL the week after next…..and it’s in french!! Ah well, that’s what I applied for, after all.

Finally.

If you’re looking for someone to blame for the return of my relentless internet littering, look to the blogroll on the right; it’s their fault for not posting as often as they ought to. I’ve been deprived of good quality blogging recently and that’s what has turned me back towards my own.

Musical Relaxation

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Chilling out to the sound of some great music…

Despite what you may have inferred from the post title, there’s to be no ‘new music’ talked about here; I’m just finding a way to unwind at the end of what has been an extremely stressful week. Yes, I am sure there have been many, many people worse off than myself this week but I am still so relieved for it to finally be Friday evening. As a way of unwinding and shedding all thoughts of coursework, essays, foreign novels and university interviews, I decided to spend the majority of my evening just listening to music.

I enjoy nothing more at the end of a tiresome day than to come home, crank my stereo volume up and listen to some great music. Whilst doing this, I spent a little while downloading new music from various blogs, some of which I’ll probably talk about over the coming week, some of which I’ll quickly be deleting from my computer. It is something I do not do nearly enough of; given the number of great songs I’ve found today, I have begun to realise what I miss when not constantly scouring the Internet for new tunes.

In addition to some new stuff, I’ve been playing my iTunes library on shuffle. This is another thing I don’t do very often as I mostly just listen to my albums from start to finish, then move onto another one. Some benefit did come of this, though, as I flicked across to The Good, The Bad & The Queen, the final track of the album of the same name. It appears that this is one of those select songs that brings back a lot of fond memories. It was last Winter when I first came to hear about Damon Albarn’s new project and I spent many cold evenings listening to this 7 minute epic, embedding it in my mind as a track strongly associated with Winter. The wonderful nostalgic feeling I got from hearing that song has made me want to dig back into my library a little further, dragging out some of those songs that will always have a special place in my heart.

Wow. 386 words to say what, exactly? I don’t know, but it felt good.

A Week Off

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and some bloody cold winter mornings

No, no, I haven’t given up already, I’ve just been off on holiday for the last few days. Where I was, you don’t get a mobile phone signal, never mind an Internet connection. So, here I am, back in the warmth to warn you about camping in the English countryside in winter; it’s cold, if you hadn’t guessed. That, anyway, is the reason I’ve not been on here over the last week but I plan to get back to work as soon as possible.

Another point you may have noticed is that back in the old days, I used to write about nothing other than music but now it seems that I’ve only made one music-related post. The reason for that, I reckon, is that I’ve literally spent the last few weeks listening to ‘In Rainbows’, with any breaks from Radiohead being filled by other long-time favourite bands such as Franz Ferdinand. I just haven’t even had the chance to go hunting for some juicy new music. Still, the obvious and popular choices have been creeping through the net in increasing quantities so maybe over the next few days I’ll even have something worth mentioning.

Now, I’m off to go and enjoy my school holidays.

It’ll Be Over Soon

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…or so I keep telling myself!

It’s that time of year, for most 17 year-olds at least, to be making yourself out as the most perfect student on the planet and explaining just why it is that you enjoy spending all your free time reading French literature. That’s right, it’s university application time!

Hopefully, if all goes well, I’ll have everything sorted by the end of this week but with a tutor who’d struggle to find his own back-side, I’m doubtful I’ll have even a half-decent reference to send off before next Christmas. After months of deliberating, I’ve decided upon the two courses I want to apply to; either French & History or just French, and have now just finished writing the dreaded personal statement. What I hate about that is that to stand any chance of competing against everyone else applying, you have to know so much about your subject and have ‘read around’ so widely. I’ve read statements from friends who list reams of books that they intend to have finished by the time they could be called for interview but personally, I think that’s a bit of a risky move. Instead, I’ve gone for the option of reading a few books, listing a few I’d already read that could be loosely related to French or History, and choosing just one per subject that I plan on finishing before December/January time. Not too much pressure on me, then.

In addition to a few of the books, I decided that watching a few French films would be another way for me to ‘immerse myself in French culture‘. Thankfully, this didn’t take half as much time as ploughing my way through books on the French revolution; instead, I have really enjoyed watching some brilliant films that I would have otherwise never seen. The closest I would have got in English is some poor quality, big-budget Hollywood remake. It is because of this new-found love of some classic 1950s films that I will be talking about them in the coming week. Hopefully, that will make for a slightly more interesting read than my ravings about UCAS forms.

Anyway, that was a bit of a stupid way for me to let off some steam about the whole stressful procedure of university applications and just a way to break the gap between one piece of homework and the next (why, why, why does it all get set for just before the holidays?).

P.S. Being pushed for time, I didn’t even get chance to read through that post so I’ll say sorry for anything that makes no sense at all. That’s just me rambling.