Since graduation last week, I have felt an enourmous sense of freedom. It feels as if all my horizons are clear: my thesis is complete, graduation has been attended, the chapter is closed. All that is left is to kick back and enjoy myself. After all, after seven years work i think I deserve it. Time, then, to enjoy the city, and to that end today I went up to Stratford just to see how the Olympic park was evolving.
And yet, that feeling of freedom, pride and acomplishment is mixed with something else: a strange sense of emptiness; a nagging sense of what next? With my masters complete and my formal education over, what is there left to do. The fact that the Monty Python gig, something I was looking forward to for about a year, has been and gone only adds to the feeling of Thanatos. The joy of being able to say ‘I was there’ is counterbalanced by sadness innate in the sentence’s past tense: ‘was’.
But it is not Thanatos. Nothing has ended. Uni may be over and python may have sang their last song, but there is still plenty to look forward to. Indeed, I can’t go into detail but Lyn has something exciting in the pipeline at the end of August, and I have some stuff brewing with the Rix centre. Time, then, to enjoy the moment, drink a few beers and show my thesis to anyone who will look, but also to keep going, to ot stop. Great things may be behind me, but that does not mean that I have no more great things to look forward to: it means that even greater things are now possible.
I don’t have much to say tonight- yesterday tired me out – but I think I’ll just direct you to this simple yet astute music video about the crisis in the middle-east. There is so much horror there, all over a small piece of ground.
I keep looking at the photos of graduation with glee. What happened on Friday was one of the greatest moments of my life, marking a achievement I’m unlikely to soon top. I’m very proud indeed of my masters. University, in a way, made me who I am, not only by encouraging me to do my best work but by bringing me out of my shell socially, by making me independent. Had I not been to university, I would not have dared move down here with Lyn: thus it was a vital part of my growth, as it is for many young adults.
I only went to uni, of course, because of the funding systems in place ten years ago. Last night on Newsnight, I saw how the Tories plan to change the student loan system so that students get their loans from the universities themselves rather than the treasury. They argue that it will encourage institutions to make sure their graduates get good jobs so they can pay off their debt – they will need to take a more active role in students’ future careers. Thus the prick David Willets was acting as if it was a great idea. The obvious problem is, it will mean that universities will only take on students they know are likely to get good jobs; they would only accept the ablest of students or those from wealthy families. In short it is just another tory scheme to make sure wealth and education stays only in the hands of the few. Under this system, any university would just take one look at a prospective student with a disability and turn him away – they would not be a safe bet. After all, due to several factors I’m still not earning money. Under this disgrace of a government, then, I would never have gone to uni; I’d probably still be at home with my parents, wasting away. The old system left payment to one side, letting all flourish; this new system will change the emphasis, forcing universities to be more cautious, meaning students like me will be denied opportunities they need and deserve.
I have another great night to report, albeit one quite different to the Pythonic awesomeness of last sunday. Last night saw another great Gus gig at the local Thai restaurant, possibly the best one yet. While Gus did most of his usual songs to his usual high standard, including a top-notch rendition of Baker Street, for the first time last night he and Lyn were able to jam due to Lyn’s new app I mentioned here. Watching that was incredible: I feel slightly guilty to admit that I was surprised how good lyn was, and by that I mean she was smegging awesome! Her riffs were amazing: I tried to get a video of it, but unfortunately I was too slow. Yet it had to be seen to be believed, and I instantly wanted more when it ended. Armed with her new improvisational app, Lyn can become the ipad equivalent of Carlos Santana! To wrap the gig up, she and gus played Sweet Home Alabama (my request) and I walked home with Lyn and Mitchel thrilled and astounded. L has a nice habit of surprising me – she has one or two things in the pipeline, so I wonder what she’ll come up with next. Either way, I just want to see her jam more.
Yesterday saw me graduate my masters. It was a very emotional day for me, I must say: I am very proud indeed of my achievement of course, but yesterday i bade a final goodbye to mmu, the university I owe so much to. Although I finished writing my thesis in London, I was enrolled there for a full ten years, so it felt like the final paragraph of a long, glorious and pivotal chapter in my life. My years as a student have been wonderful, but yesterday as Dad pushed me across the stage of Bridgewater hall for a second time, they came to an end.
Lyn and I are currently on our way back to London having spent two nights in Manchester. Last night after the ceremony we has a wonderful family meal where I felt like the star of the show. I have never felt prouder than sat at the head of that table, Lyn beside me. It has already been an awesome weekend, and it’s only Saturday morning.
I’m afraid I don’t feel I can write much about last night’s commonwealth games opening ceremony in Glasgow. It’s not that it was bad (although there were a few dodgy song lyrics), it’s just that I found it uninspiring. I found nothing to get my teeth into, nothing I can explore on here at any length. That is a shame as it had so much potential, even with the reduced budget it had; yet nothing stood out and it was all very normal, apart from the fact that it seemed to be confusing itself with a fundraising telethon. It was just a few songs and that’s about it. I must say it left me slightly disappointed. Oh well – maybe the closing ceremony will give me more to write about.
Far be it for me to preempt the content of tonight’s opening ceremony up in Glasgow, but I cannot help observing a few things. It seems to me that comparisons with the opening ceremony of London 2012 will be inevitable, so much so that I wonder whether they could reference it somehow. They probably won’t, of course, as they will want a unique, original product. Yet, given the rivalry between Scotland and England, as well as the Scottish sense of humour, will they be tempted? Could they indeed reference the meeting of bond and the queen. You might think this unlikely, but it could be interesting: the first person to play Bond was, of course, Sean Connery, who is now a staunch supporter of Scottish Independence; if they made something of that, somehow involving Connery to reference both the olympic ceremony, the monarchy, the bond franchise and the referendum, then that has the potential to be fascinating, both artistically and politically. These are just my musings, though: we will have to wait till tonight to see what they actually do; but given Scottish humour and attitudes, could such a dig at London 2012 be on the cards?
A strange, almost eerie, coincidence recently occurred to me. It’s nothing much, and I’m sure it could just be dismissed as just a wierd twist of fate, but to me it begs to be noted simply for the record. As I am sure we all know, tomorrow sees the beginning of the commonwealth games up in Glasgow. Back in 1998, my class back at school took part in a wheelchair display competition. That year, they were bidding for the commonwealth games to be held in Manchester, so our teacher chose to base our display on that, choreographing it to Chariots of fire. We had already sailed through the heats in Withenshaw with a display based on The Full Monty. The odd coincidence is the main competition was in Glasgow.
I can’t help reflecting on that simple duality. It somehow gives me a greater link to tomorrow’s games. It forces me to think back sixteen years, to the weekend my friends and I visited Glasgow. We had a great time. I even won the single disco event! Yet I can’t reflect too on how so many of those guys I went up there with have since passed away, giving the realisation of this coincidence a poigniency I can’t help but notice. Thus tomorrow’s games take me back to an awesome weekend, but one that now seems a lifetime ago in an era long passed.
After last night, I will forever be able to say ‘I was there!’ I was there at the O2 last night; I was there the night Michael Palin sang the lumberjack song, probably for the last time; I was there the night they did The Spanish inquisition; the nigh John Cleese needed prompting slightly during the parrot sketch. I was there, last night with Lyn, watching these five men whose comedy I love, seemingly bid farewell. I was there when they sang ‘Always look on the Bright side of Life’, a tear in my eye, having left it for the encore and just when we were starting to worry that they would not do it. I was there, and I feel very privileged indeed to now be able to say that.
In short, last night was possibly the greatest of my life. To have seen python live feels incredible. While they did one or two things I was unfamiliar with, the evening was mostly about nostalgia, so they stuck to the old classics. I was happy with that, as were, I think, the rest of the fifteen-thousand strong audience. But they put in some new stuff too. The greatest bit of all, the bit I adored and which I now disparately want to see again, the bit that ranks alongside if not indeed surpasses Bond and the queen in terms of epic greatness, was a pre-recorded piece where Brian Cox gets pedantic about the lyrics to The Galaxy Song, and is then chased and run over by Stephen Hawking, who then sings the song through his communication aid. Professor Hawking was then pointed out to be in the audience. It was the greatest, most brilliant thing ever, especially for a Hawking fan.
What more can I say? I won’t even try to go into detail about everything that happened, as I fear it would loose something in translation. Yet I suspect I’ll be smiling over my memories of last night for some time, if not the rest of my life. To have seen these funniest of men perform again, after so long and after so many had thought it impossible, was a great, great thing. I am so lucky. I feel sad that it is now passed, of course, but happy and privileged to have seen it. But also it inspires me, for it makes me wonder: if such great things can happen, where will my life in this great city with my great girlfriend take me next?