seen it!

We just got back from the cinema. We went to see casino royale – well, me, charlotte and Tony. All I can say without spoiling it is that it rules. Totally. I especially like the end. I love the beginning, too. Of course the middle bit also rocks! Its just excellent.

I’ll go to bed a happy man.

cleaning up lafter ast week’s brain fart

I just realized something with regards to academia that I wonder why it didn’t occur to me last week. The two purposes of university are education and research. We want that research to be as accurate as possible and I see two opposite ways of ensuring this.

Universities should have tougher selections. This means that only the best people go to university, meaning a smaller amount of ‘good’ research.

To have a student body as wide ad diverse as possible. Work produced will vary hugely, some good, some not so good, but in diversity there’s a truth which transcends subjective ideas of ‘quality.

In art there is no right answer. In science we should do research into as many areas as possible and let peer review do any weeding necessary. Give these two facts, universities should open their doors.. option two is the logical solution The government wants 50% of people to go to university, this now seems low. If humanity is to progress, we should do it as a whole and as many people should be given the resources ad support to pursue their talent as possible. This is irrespective of race, religion, physical, or metal ability, or ay other superficial factor, ad is applicable for all arts and sciences. The fact that I ever said otherwise appals me.

I must see it

As most of us probably know, casino royale is released in the cinemas today, and never before have I been so sorely tempted to abandon lessons to go to the cinema. I guess it’ll have to wait till Saturday – after all, films don’t disappear after a certain period – but my id demands I see the film now.

NOW NOW NOW!

I’ve not been this excited about a film since return of the king. What is it about bond? The gizmos? The girls? The locations? I love it all. In my teens, before uni, ITV had a bond season; every Wednesday I used to watch bond films in bed. I tended to fall asleep and since then I’ve associated them with comfort and warmth. Also, they put bond films on on Christmas day, so there’s an association between bond and the taste of roast turkey, the feeling one gets when surrounded by family.

I better stop writing before I get carried away and miss lessons. But something tells me I have to see this film. My mind is bent on the task. I wants it!

campus

Campus is a very liberal environment. I was just talking to a couple of friends: academia is like a country unto itself, where creativity is encouraged and free independent thought is the norm. its quite wonderful, and my friend, the previously mentioned graham, was lamenting the prospect of ever having to leave. It’s a place where the constraints of the outside world are irrelevant, so that one is free to prosper. It’s weird, now that I think about it. I’ve already nearly finished my degree. Only about 7 or 8 months to go. The prospect of saying goodbye to my friends is absolutely gutwrenchiing.

300000

I just realised: today my hitcount reached over 300,000. woohoo! Quite why people keep coming here frankly baffles me, but people obviously like it, so I’ll keep on blogging.

cease, cows. Life is short

Graham must be insane. It’s the only possible solution.

Some time ago my friend graham asked for my input on his stage adaptation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s A Hundred years of solitude. He leant me the book, which, as usual, p prevaricated about reading. However, last Thursday I went to his rehearsal, and was so impressed that I decided I wanted to get the damn book read. I was then only sixty pages in, and, given the next rehearsal was next Tuesday – today – I would have to average 100 pages a day.

I read slowly, so this meant at least five hours of solid reading a day, at least. I’m glad I did it on two counts: first, I needed to prove to myself that I could still do it; it’s been ages – years – since I seriously sat down and read something. The last time was Moby dick, and then I cheated by getting the pc to read to me. Second, I wanted to know what the hell graham was on about. Now that I know, however, I don’t think I support g’s project.

The thing is, the book is beautiful: it’s absolutely stunning in it’s scope; it matures over time; characters mature and shape in the mind. It’s a slow, introspective piece of prose, and that’s why I think it’s unsuitable, almost ludditry, for graham to want to convert it.

But that is also why I am fascinated. I want to see how he would pull this off. With any luck, he’ll let me help. What he produces could either be a masterpiece or a total mess. Either way, it’ll be fun.

the life of chavs

I found this a couple of days ago. you know, they really should be classified as a now species.

[kidding – boy, that does sound like it has racial overtones. I didnt mean it that way. okay I’ll shut up now.]

jock fihting?

Tonight sees the second in the current series of planet earth. I cannot wait: I’m going over to watch it in the student lounge with Steve tonight. I’m a huge fan of this amacing series, of just on the scoppophilic level. It’s just…wow!

If the dumbass jocks are in there watching the infantile kikkie-ballie, there’ll be hell to pay!

good food, old friends

I still feel uneasy about what happened here yesterday. Part of me says my concerns were legitimate from an academic perspective, but a larger part of me says I was being an elitist prat. I suppose I was being narrow minded, and Kate’s point about me ‘always saying you are pro inclusion – or is that only at school level. You seem to be saying higher education is only for non or not quite so disabled people.” Made me feel like dirt. She is, of course right. I should never have written that damn piece, let alone posted it.

On a much happier note, yesterday was Dan’s birthday. Dan is the boyfriend of Vikki, and they’re both good friends of mine. Just after lunchtime, I was talking to Vikki, who was telling me about how herself, Dan and a few friends were going to a Thai restaurant. Jokingly, I said ‘ehem, and why wasn’t I invited?’ (the way my lightwriter says ahem is quite amusing). I expected Vikki to laugh it off, but instead she said they had two spare places – did I want to come?

It transpired that my friend Steve was going. Steve has done some PA work for me in the past, and apparently he would be more than happy to help (although he’s too fine a man ever to say if he wasn’t). to cut a long story short, at about seven last night Vikki, Steve and Nicky came round to my room; I put my coat on and we headed across town to Dan’s. Dan had a couple of mates from back home up, and we watched something called dirty Sanchez while we waiting for the taxi to take us to Crewe. Our table at the lak Thai restaurant being booked for half nine, the plan was to have an aperitif in a pub before eating.

This plan was going quite well, until we got to the pub. We all got in except Jamie, who the bouncers refused to admit. Apparently he looked too young, which is rather silly because I look younger than he does and got in no problem. Poor dude had to wait outside. I was tempted to go to he bouncer and explain that Jamie was on my PA staff (which he kind of was) and therefore needed to be admitted, but that would have just been an abuse of the system, if not downright cheeky.

We stayed in the pub, talking, drinking, and watching music videos. At one stage I found it highly amusing to note that I owned a white leotard similar to those which were currently being worn by the dancers on screen, but nobody was interested in this odd fact except Vikki. I must say that it seemed quite a pleasant little place, if crowded and slightly Smokey. It certainly made a change from brandies and the pubs in alsager.

Either way, about half an hour later we headed out again. I expected to see Jamie by the door, but he wasn’t: I supposed he must have gone for a walk. We started to head to the restaurant, Steve pushing me in front with the others behind, passing the now dark shops. As in Paris, Steve made slightly irreverent jokes about the things we passed (”help the aged? No. we do not want to help the aged. We do not like old people!” in a slightly dirty French accent which had me chuckling.)

It was then that it all went terribly wrong! Out of the dark a man with a hood approached us: ”give me your money!” he demanded. I shrieked, Steve prepared to fight. I thought we were doomed.

The man pulled his hood down to reveal Jamie. Never have I been more relieved to see his wolf-boy complexion. I laughed in the relief we were not doomed after all, silently vowing to ram Jamie in the ankles next time I see him.

”Apparently, disabled people are more likely to be sexually deviant (for want of a better term). This could be due to our affiliation with rear entrances.” I thought this rather crap joke up as we entered the Lak Thai restaurant through the back door, avoiding the stairs at the front. It was then that I had the second shock of the evening, but this one was much nicer. It was a hug.

”is that Jane Higgins?” I thought. Jane, the learning support co-ordinator from South Cheshire College, was sitting at the table in front of the door, and, recognising me, rose and greeted me. It was great to see her again, and we had an all too short conversation before going to join our friends. She is doing well, as bubbly and as exuberant as ever.

The meal, I must say, turned out to be one of the best I’ve had. Ever! It was delicious; I think I’ve fallen in love with Thai cuisine. Me and Steve ordered a meal for two, consisting of a mild, creamy, pork curry, curried fish, and dips. The taste and texture was gorgeous, and I’ve not had food as good as that in a long time.

As I ate, listening to my friends chat, happily celebrating Dan’ birthday, I got to thinking.

”you know, without that lady sitting over there,” I thought, ”I wouldn’t be here. Without her encouragement and support, if not her sheer level headedness, I would still be that rather bitter young man I was four years ago.” When we first met, Jane had asked me a simple, but life altering question:

”Matt, why aren’t you at university.” Before then, it never occurred to me that such a thing was possible: I didn’t think myself good enough. Jane proved that assumption wrong – very wrong. I never thought it possible that I would not be alone.

I looked down the table: Dan, who is always good for a laugh; by him, Vikki, one of the kindest people I know; by me was Nicky, a fellow geek and trekky; and opposite me Steve, who is probably one of the greatest friends I ever had. Before I met Jane, I was a lachrymose little twerp, full of self pity and unable to see beyond disability. Two years at university had taught me how very wrong I was. Looking down that table, I realised with regret the errors I made yesterday: no disability, intellectual and physical, should be seen as a barrier to happiness. No disability, intellectual and physical, should be seen as a barrier to education, at whatever level.

And I was happy. I looked over my shoulder at Jane: ”You know, Steve, I owe that lady a the world.” I said.

The meal continued. After a while Jane came to say goodbye, and presently we left too. Striding out into the rain, listening to my friends chat; then the taxi ride home, snuggling up to Vickie as if to nod off; then the warmth of bed back on campus. To say that anyone should be denied such joy, for whatever reason, is nothing more than idiotic.

idiotics

This afternoon I did something rather stupid. I tried to argue that there should be limits to the social model of disability in the area of academia. I argued that some people should be denied entrance into university. While I am still for academic rigor, to argue that literacy should be a yard stick was stupid; there are no reasons why the inability to read should dictate one’s intellect. To be honest, on bad days I find reading hard due to a shaking head and restless fingers!

What I wrote here earlier was inane. I felt guilty about it/ and deleted it (see previous post) education is for all, irrespective of disability. In my exploration of the issue, I blundered, unthinkingly, the wrong way.