home time

Esther and I are packing up my room. I go home tonight after about 6 wees away. Apart from a brief visit to give mum a form on Tuesday, it’s the longest time I’ve ever been away. I must say I’m rather pleased with myself, as a man who not very long ago couldn’t bear tto stay a night away from his parents. Why I was ever such a wimp beats me. I see university as my home now – it’s the place where I’m most forfilled. its whhere my friends are Anyway, dads waiting. I cannot believe I’m about to enter my final year. Time flies, and uni is too much fun.

a quick poem

I just got home, read this article, and thought up the following reworking of an old classic:

Tiger tiger burning bright

Motion sensing cameras fight

Still no hand nor electric eye

Frames thy fearful symmetry

And about time too!

EXTREMELY coolly, 1voice was in the guardian today. My favourite charity has won an award from my favourite newspaper. Mind you, given the work they do, if you ask me it’s about time: all joking aside, I think 1voice do an excellent job. Growing up, I felt somewhat alone, so the idea of bringing children who used vocas together with adults who used them is quite quite brilliant in my opinion. I’m not sure what the kids get from my being there – an academic rather too fond of alcohol – but my fellow role models do a truly great job. To say this award is well deserved is an abject understatement. Well done everyone!

Click here for the article, or see page 8 of the society supplement of today’s guardian.

no explosions

Please can someone explain chick flicks to me! I was at the cinema last night with a couple of girls and we went to see The Holiday – I told them they could decide what we saw, since I chose last time. I rather like Jack Black anyway, so at first I had no objection.

However, this was a sugary, over-sentimental movie: apparently we brits all live in chocolate box cottages and have plumy accents; apparently everyone in LA works in the film industry and has big houses. This is a film where nothing bad happens – that is, there is no plot-retention, no twists or suspense. Its just two women swapping houses and finding love in each others countries. They all live happily ever after. No baddies, no cheating, no cool cars, no guns.

Well, charlotte and Julie loved it. They both said they cried. Explain please!

the gig at the limelight

Last night was cool! Four of my friends are in a band – kind of the campus house band – and were playing last night in the limelight club, Crewe, in a charity gig for St. Luke’s Hospice. The limelight is one of those cool little places where you feel like you’re entering some underworld, although I was cursing the designer for putting in so many steps. You go up some steps to enter the place (where there’s the foyer with the bar which sells old speckled hen) then down into the room with the stage. Steps having been negotiated, I sat down with my beer.

Almost inevitably, given the purpose of the gig, I thought of school. Before the bands came on, Bryan Adams’ everything I do’ was playing on a big screen: that reminded me of a trip with school to centre parks back in 1994. we went to the one in Sherwood forest, and Miss. Tomlinson put Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves on to help prepare us. I thought of my class, hoping that they were having as much fun as I was. But then, the truth of that situation is complex, and, given that three of my old class had MD, prone to make me think bleak thoughts. Aye, I know about hospices…

That bit of thinking having been done, I sipped my pint and thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Brand new day were the last of four bands to play, all quite good. One band was made up of teenagers, and – as Nicky remarked – the lead singer looked like Elijah Wood, which struck me as funny. I then saw the lead guitarist had a passing resemblance to Samwise Gamgee, and mentally branded the band Hobbits.

I spent the evening talking and dancing. I realised too that I don’t like Brand New Day simply because I know its members – I like their mix of rock, Irish folk and strong procession. Charlotte rules on the violin, and I don’t just say that because she’s a good friend. These guys have a truly great sound.

Life rules more and more these days; I am almost considering trying to slow down. I can’t believe we’re about to enter our last term.

its trek, jim, but not as we know it

The internet is an odd thing indeed. It is at one and the same time the most wonderful depository of information ever known, and the biggest pile of shit ever to grace thee planet. This is it’s greatness; its why I spend hours on it; its why I add to it.

Nothing epitomised this paradox better than fanfic, or it’s most recent incarnation, the fan film. Yes, believe it or not, people have started making films of their favourite television programmes and posting them on the net. Predictably, with the demise of Enterprise, there are groups of people now making films based in the trek universe: I’d presume that one would need a fictional universe as detailed as the star trek one to facilitate such an endeavour. Either way, I came across such a phenomenon on Thursday night, and decided to find out more.

What I uncovered is, in a way, quite fascinating, both on the sociological level, and from the perspective of a student film interested in structuralism. Why would these people need to make such films: where do they get the resources, and for that matter the time, when they get no profit? Already, ‘hidden frontier’ has 7 seasons to it’s name, each with 6 half hour live action episodes. Admittedly, the cgi and production values aren’t up to cinema, or even television standards, but it’s still impressive. I watched season 6 last night, and it’s not as abysmal as you would expect.

The creators seem to be reading trek against the grain, as it were. We have a crew on a federation star base – DS12 – fighting a war against the ‘Grey’, but they seem to doubt Starfleet; that is Starfleet is portrayed as sanctimonious in it’s ‘holier and thou’ attitudes. It can be covert, too secretive; it wants other species to help it, but it keeps information from them.

No prises for putting two and two together! This is obviously a critique of the conduct of the united states in its war on terror. Both Starfleet and the US see themselves as having the moral high ground without actually having it. In hidden frontier, it is posited that the federation planted the evidence which brought the romulans into the dominion war on it’s side. Thus, the federation is shown to be fallible and duplicitous where once it was seen as the moral guardian of galactic piece.

You see now why I am interested? As people start to question America from within, the on-screen surrogates for America start to be questioned. This is why I can forgive the terrible dialogue and often abysmal acting. What we see in such series is a response, not only to star trek but contemporary society. Hence we have an openly gay couple in this series, something avoided in the mainstream.

I can already hear my brothers moaning, but I like it, and find it interesting. I’ll certainly continue to watch. Go take a look.


I must admit the pangs of homesickness returned last night. Believe it or not, I was in a church; my friends were giving a gospel choir concert, and I went along to listen. They were really really good, actually. Sat there in the church, with a decidedly festive spirit in the air, I suddenly thought of my parents and home. I wondered what was happening back there – my parents probably sat round the TV, or talking to mark or Luke on the phone.

Given the family home is about seven miles away, for about two seconds I wondered if I could get someone to drive me home. But then I realised my friends all felt the same way, and to do so would be very selfish. Indeed, there are people here from as far afielld as the united states who do not have such an option. I looked at a friend of mine from Texas, singing on the back row, and resolved to hug her as soon as I could.

After the concert came yet more singing. It was karaoke night in the plough, to which we all went after the show. The place was heaving, but we found a table near the stage. My friends, extroverts that they all are, performed, and it made me very happy when I got three of them to sing ‘nobody does it better’ by carly Simon. If I had gone home I’d have missed so much fun!

Home is home, a place where I’m always welcome, but university is so much cooler!



I woke up this morning in a much better mood than I have in the last couple of days. University just seems to be dragging abit, or perhaps its just the time of year, but today I feel re-energised, ready to face the day. Ready to continue my search for filmic neuroaesthetics; ready to write stories; even ready to do paperwork (well, it needs doing). It feels like someone just put new batteries in. how long it’ll last I’m not sure (I haven’t checked my email yet, which always has the potential to herald doom). Today I have writing, my culture lecture, then a carol service, then a house party which promises to get messy. Now doesn’t that sound like fun?

Well, onwards and upwards, and forwards into a bright new day.

Diskjockeys are nobjockeys.

My plan failed at the last hurdle. Last Saturday, at Onevoice, a guy called andy made a track by mixing recordings of statements from the kids and rolemodels and putting it to a beat. If you ask me, it was a really good record, and the first time I heard it I decided I wanted to get it played at the chrisstmas disco in brandies.

I asked Andy (whose band is called the Victors) to send me a CD as soon as he could. He happily obliged, and it came yesterday. Embarrassingly, the cd was in a ballamorey case, so I spent most of yesterday carrying what looked like a kids TV programme around. Anyway, everything seemed to be going according to plan.

Last night was quite a cool night. Before the disco, there was a party In kellet with pretty much all my mates. I was, needless to say, dressed as a fairy, my costume trimmed with tinsel. We were all dressed up, with four of my mates going as each other. We played I have never, a very embarrassing game indeed.

After that, quite drunk though we all were (Steve actually carrying me down the stairs, to my great surprise) we all progressed to the bar. It was freezing! Nevertheless, upon getting to the bar, I handed Steve the cd and asked him to ask the dj to play the track.

The dj said he would do so – later. So I waited, dancing and drinking rather copious amounts. And I waited. And I waited. Having a 9am lecture, and probably looking tired, charlotte took me home at 11, the track still not having been played. I cursed the dj for his lack of taste, and fell asleep.

Well, I tried guys.