classes

I may have said this here before, but I want to say it again. I was just looking through facebook: all my friends are there, so it’s a good way to keep in touch. I just have so many memories from there. University brought me the three best years of my life; I was surrounded by people who shared my interests, who wanted to learn and also wanted to have fun. This, of course, goes without saying – they wouldn’t be there if they didn’t want to learn.

Yet there are certain groups within society who take thee opposite approach to life. Many kids view learning as geeky and school as uncool. These people worry me. For starters, I cannot help but feel sorry for them, as they are denying themselves so much fun: uni brings so much joy, from going to summer balls to seeing your big brother wear a stupid hat! It is clear that I come from a very academic family, so was brought up to value learning, but only now do I properly see why. At the end of the day, university and learning opens just so many doors. Graduates become teachers and writers, politicians and scientists. In short, I cannot help but conclude that in our hands – the hands of the learned – lie the reigns of power. To turn one’s back on learning, as many school kids do, is thus folly.

Now, it is not as simple as a choice. The decision not to take the academic path is born of many factors, class being possibly the foremost. My middle class family always impressed upon me the need to learn, taking the time to teach me things school did not. Now look: so far, the haul is two firsts and a PhD. I must say that my parents got this drive from my maternal parents, where the haul is even more impressive: among my siblings, parents, cousins aunts and uncles are 8 degrees, about 4 masters and 2 doctors. At present, the only one without a degree is my bro Luke, due to finish next year. But I digress. My point is, our grandparents endowed us all with the motivation to learn, a drive which too few kids are being given.

Of course, it is far too simplistic to argue that this is just down to motivation. Parents need the time and money to encourage kids. Yet, this way the status quo perpetuates itself: working class kids will settle for a second rate education, not push themselves, and grow up to be working class adults. To me, this is a stupid state of affairs as it means the squandering of a hell of lot of potential and a gross imbalance of power.. Surely the more we encourage kids the better off we will all be.

Hence we must stop this anti-intellectualism in children. Try to break the circle through will. We need to show them how much fun, how cool learning is. I rather suspect that this is especially prevalent among kids in special schools, who are apt to become very disillusioned with the whole system. It is up to the likes of me, therefore, to show tem what is possible, and just how much fun it can be.

of nightmares and new CDs

Ye gads and little fishes! Never have I been so relieved to wake up than I was this morning. I was having a nightmare, dreaming that my brother had been executed by the French. Ii can’t remember what for, but it was terrible. I remember thinking ‘but he only got his PhD yesterday’. Bloody miserable dream. It’s all Graham’s fault: him and his Outsider. We were all very upset.

I woke up and smiled. The French had not executed mark, after all. Yay! I was in bed, and the sun was up. I dressed, and went to find breakfast, hugging mum on my way. The day got better when I saw, on the kitchen table, my Cat Empire CD! Yay! These guys rule man: as I say, c got me into them, listening to them on Wednesdays before brandies. Their music is just so lively, and will always remind me off the best times. Its music to chase the demons of the night away.

proud

This entry will be nowhere near as long as it deserves, given the probfundity of that which it details. Today, my brother became, officially, dr. mark Goodsell. We just got back from the graduation ceremony in durham, so I’m tired. Nnevertheless, I’ll just record that I am now the proudest brother ever. Well done mark!

brown pm, mark phd

What do I write about today? There are two major things going on. The first you all probably know about, the second only my family knows of.

Today Gordon brown becomes PM. This is a good thing. If we leave aside for the moment the Iraq debacle, I like Tony Blair. He’s a little more conservative than I once thought, but his innings have for the most part been a good one. The nhs has improved vastly; disabled people have more rights, such as the right to a good education; employment is up, crime is down. I do not sense the hatred for the government I felt towards the end of the Tory era. Nevertheless, its time for Blair to go he upset a lot of people over Iraq, including myself, and to stay any longer would be undemocratic.

Eyebrows must, however, be raised over the coronation of brown. It is true that he dies not have a mandate from the people, although on the other hand the people reelected Blair in the full knowledge that one day they would see him morph into brown. I think, therefore, that brown must call an electron sooner rather than later maybe next year or the year after.

I just hope the people off this country do not fall for CaMoron. This means that Brown will have to establish himself as authoritative and genuine, in contrasts to CaMoron who changes his manifesto depending of who he speaks to. For me, as a disabled person, brown is the rational choice – the Tories would see us all back in homes and special schools in a money-saving scheme. I am quite certain that, under the Tories, I would not have gone to uni: the support structures I needed, like direct payments, would simply no have been there. It was only under a liberal, left-of-centre (well, nominally) government that a person like me could do so well, leaving as I did with a first class degree as well as friends and memories I’ll cherish forever. If Brown does not get re-elected next time, and are fool enough to fall for CaMoron and his crowd of sycophants and spin doctors (did you see David Davies on Newsnight last night desperately trying to spin the defection of Quentin Davies as a new labour stunt? It is sickening how low Tories will go to distort the truth) then I fear that future generations of disabled people will not enjoy the advantages I did. The fact is that in order to flourish we need the state infrastructures guaranteed only by a left-of-centre government. This is why brown must be re-elected.

In much less worrying business, I go up to Durham tonight to see my big brother mark get his PhD tomorrow. I am, needless to say, immensely proud of him; now I get to call him the doctor. I saw a hard-bound copy of his PhD thesis on Saturday, and was almost as impressed as when I saw that copy of the complete works dad got! I was jealous too – I wanted to be the first brother to be hard bound! Seriously though, all three of us seem to be flourishing. With my first and Mark’s PhD, Luke has a bit to live up to! No doubt that, with the right support structures, he too will excel!

Graham Rees’ The Outsider

Before I start this, I better apologise to mum for keeping her up so late, and thank Jo, her dad, Gilles and Maria for the lift home. How lucky I am to have such excellent friends and parents.

However, let me assure you that it was all worth it. Last night I watched (and had a small cameo in) Graham’s adaptation of Camus’ The Outsider. As I wrote on here before, graham lent me the book and then his script to read. First, I liked the book; then, I was very impressed by the script; yet the final piece blew me away. Never have I seen a finer piece of theatre. Never! Graham is my friend, but I am not simply being a sycophant: it was excellent, standing head and shoulders above anything

I have seen at uni,

Most university productions are contemporary theatre, and short. As such, most are abstracted to he point of incoherence. The Outsider, on the other hand, was more akin to traditional theatre inasmuch as it had a discernable plot and ran to about two hours. It also had characters one could believe in. Although I must sat I will never fully understand Mersault, he seemed real flesh and blood, with real (well hidden) feelings. This is ion stark contrast with the dramatis Personae of CTP, which are figments: hollow and random. I must say here that Steve jessop, who played Mersault, delivered possibly the best performance I have ever seen. His eruption at the end was phenomenal – literally jaw-dropping. He played his part to absolute perfection. I was extremely impressed, as were all the audience.

I am unsure whether this was because of the actors or director. From what I saw, both worked their socks off. While the utmost praise is due to the cast, I stand in awe of graham. I saw him create this text – working solidly for eight or nine hours straight sometimes, shaping, polishing and sharpening it. As a writer I was impressed

by his script, but he seems to excel at directing.

I had to miss his production of 100 Years of Solitude – a fact which I still regret – which I had to make certain I saw last night’s performance. As with solitude, graham has imbued me with fresh enthusiasm for the dramatic art. I sincerely hope I can one day work with him again.

fretting

I must admit I am rather troubled, and have been all weekend. My friends and I want to go to Ibiza this summer. Charlottes working out there, and there was an embryonic plan to go visit her. Problem is, I don’t know how. I’ve never organised anything like this in my life. Newquay was great, as was Paris, so that is encouraging, yet I can’t help but feel flustered. It’s the small things, like what if my friends organise to go the weekend of 1voice. 1vooice must take precedence, simply as matter of principal (C I suspect would agree). Hence in London, where we went this weekend, I spent yesterday worrying about getting a message to my friends not to book it for that weekend. I felt…well, powerless to be honest.

It’s funny, really. I’m probably blowing such things out of all proportion. If we go, its good; if not, I’m sure c will understand. Its just that I cannot help but fret.

helm, prepare to dock (for noww, at least)

Dad just plugged in my university computer at home, and everything’s up and running, so I’m happy. I have a mountain of paper to sort through, clothes to put away, so I’m pretty busy. It doesn’t seem two minutes since I sat in this very spot – maybe to the right to inches or so – and wrote this. yet I also seems an age away; I’ve come so far, grown so much. University is an experience I’ll never forget; it gave me memories I’ll treasure my whole life. It was the greatest thing I ever did.

heading home

My last day as an undergraduate just started. I cannot really believe it’s been three years. I do not want to repeat myself – you know what fun I have had, and how intently I will miss it. Anyway, all being well I will be back here next year for my masters.

For old times sake, I’ll just send you here, once again. Its been a blast!

jamming

Last night something pretty cool happened. Dad came here at about 7 to repair the chair, and after that I headed over to ps1 to catch up with g and the guys. I found that the rehearsal had just ended, but Richard and Justin were hanging around to work on the music. I waited about for ten minutes, then rich returned with some beers, and I watched the guys jam.

Those two guys were awesome. Justin, a friend of graham’s from the south, is quite a good bass player; Richard was on the drums. They must have just played for about ten minutes, just riffing. The lights were low, and I had a beer, and a huge feeling off contentment slipped over me.