Monday, 3 October 2011

Revolving doors

I feel like I'm going round in circles lately. Wrote this a while ago and came back to it today which I think proves my point.

Empty handed and alone in a revolving door,
Confused, I can't seem to find the exit,
Increasingly dizzy, the cheerful lift music,
Inside the revolving door is on repeat,
People come and go, seemingly at will,
Some in pairs, some with shopping bags,
Full of groceries and commodities,
I watch them as I revolve around,
Around in the revolving door.

Here's a song from Wilco's new album which is brilliant.
Seeing them soon, should be good.

Monday, 4 July 2011

There must be some kind of way into here (said the thief to the joker?)

Today was an action-packed day. In the afternoon I played two long and exhausting sets of tennis against Alex. He won both on tie-breaks so it was fairly close. I went home, recovered from my exertions, and had a shower. I am very glad I did this. After my shower I decided I would nip down to Morrison’s to buy some dinner. I changed out of my tennis stuff (big mistake as we shall see), grabbed the £5 Morrison’s voucher from the kitchen (petrol points or something) and strolled to the big yellow supermarket. There I bought a chicken korma ready-meal (I’m lazy), some Dolmio sauce and some mince. I was about to go pay when I noticed that the gingerbread men in the cake section were looking at me. Unable to resist their sugary charm, I took two. Perhaps it was a coincidence. Perhaps they took pity on me, somehow foreseeing my impending predicament. I’ll let you decide that one. Anyway I paid and left the store. Only then, as a cold sweat took me, did I realise what I had done.

I had forgotten my key. Normally I keep my key in my wallet but as I put away my change I realised that it was gone. I’d left it in my room, in the pocket of my other pair of shorts. “Bugger,” I thought. I should outline the situation at this point. Firstly, I am home alone this week. My mum and step-dad are away in Devon, and my sister is also on holiday in a different part of Devon. None of them will be back until the end of the week. Secondly, I know for a fact that we don’t have any spare keys. The neighbours don’t have any, and we don’t keep one hidden under a tactical flower-pot. The only one I know of is in the possession of my Grandmother, who lives in London. As all of this went through my mind I wandered calmly home in the hope that I had left a window open. I had not.

Arriving home, I went around to check whether the back door was unlocked. I knew it wouldn’t be. It wasn’t. It must have been about 7pm at this point. The sun was beginning to go down behind the trees at the back of my garden. The clouds were dispersing and the air was warm. It was a beautiful evening. I sat down on the grass and had a gingerbread man. It was pleasant. As I munched away I considered my options. The obvious thing to do at this point was to make a few phone calls. First I called my mother. No response. Next I phoned my sister who confirmed that there was no spare key nearby and laughed at me. I was about to call my Grandmother in London before I realised that she too was away on holiday and that in any case I was still too worn out from the tennis to consider getting several trains just for a key. The most sensible solution was to call my dad and ask him to come and get me. He didn’t pick up when I phoned so I figured he was still working. I ate another gingerbread man.

It was at this point that I realised how inconvenient being locked out for three days would be. I didn’t have any clothes except for what I was wearing. I didn’t have my phone charger, I didn’t have my laptop. I wouldn’t be able to get to the last can of beer that I had put in the freezer to chill. This thought spurred me into action. I double-checked all of the windows on the ground floor. They were all definitely locked. I shook the back door handle a bit (dunno what I expected to happen) and considered smashing the window. “No,” I said, looking into my own reflection, “that would be stupid.” I then noticed that the first floor bathroom window was ajar. It’s about twenty feet off the ground and there’s no ledge. Acknowledging that trying to get through would be difficult and very dangerous, I went into the shed to look for a ladder. I found a fairly rusty looking bit of kit that was about five feet too short. I carefully extracted it from the shed. I then looked at the wall, the window and the concrete patio below. I looked at the ladder. I put the ladder back in the shed. I then noticed an old sand wedge that I used to use for chipping practice. This gave me an idea.

When I started writing this blog I thought it would probably be best not to reveal exactly how I finally broke in, but I realise now that that would be a bit of an anti-climax. Also it can’t do any harm now because I’ve taken steps to make sure such easy access is impossible. I took the golf club and went around to the front of the house. I slotted it through the letterbox, flipped it around, and used it to pull down the latch. This only took about thirty seconds but someone definitely walked past while I was doing it. I’m pretty sure he noticed me, but he didn’t stop or say anything so I assume he decided that it was far too nice an evening to risk challenging me and my golf club. As the door opened I felt hugely relieved. There was also a strange sense of victory. Amazingly at that very moment my mobile buzzed and I spoke to my Dad who I think was fairly proud of my achievement. After that I double locked the door and left my back door key in a discrete location for future emergencies. Please don’t try to find it – you won’t. I celebrated with the chicken korma and a very, very cold beer. The end.

Here’s a song about me by Miracle Legion who are great.
Shame they spelt my name wrong.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Don't get sentimental, it always ends up drivel

I just wrote a fairly long post which I'm gonna throw in the discard pile with all my other failed blogs. I got to the end and realised that most of what I'd written was unnecessary and the gist could be expressed much more succinctly. A mediocre haiku trumps five crap paragraphs any day in my view.

The path I have walk'd,
All along strewn with new leaves;
Each of them rotting.

Bullshit as well really but at least it's short.

This song is basically Radiohead's homage to Sonic Youth.
So thats cool.
It's about nice weather.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Theologians, they don’t know nothing about my soul

Ok, well I wasn’t gonna post this blog but due to popular demand (well Mini and Harry) here it is. This one may come out as a bit of a rant but we’ll see how it goes. It’s about a subject very close to my heart (or at least the tattered remains of it) and that is religion. The pretext you need to know for this is that I was recently turned down by a girl because, and I quote, I’m “not a Christian”. I could go into the emotional side of this but really it’s not worth it, all you need to know is that I’m fine - strangely upbeat actually. Anyway: religion.

To start off with, I’d better try and make it clear that I don’t want to offend anyone. You can believe whatever the hell you want as far as I’m concerned. I might disagree with you, but as long as you’re a decent person I really don’t care what you think. You can have as many gods, prophets and holy teapots as you want. You can believe the universe was sneezed out of the nose of a being called the Great Green Arkleseizure (Hitch Hikers Guide) or that we do in fact live in the matrix. I don’t give a damn as long as you’ve got a decent set of morals and are as willing to tolerate my beliefs as I am yours. I only get angry when people change their behaviour to accommodate some irrational dogma from an institution whose main aim is to promote itself.

Last time I went into a church, the vicar told me (well the congregation) that atheists (like me) live in sin. What does that mean exactly? Does that mean we are morally inferior? Just because my morals aren’t dictated to me by some ancient book doesn’t mean they’re any less valid. If anything they’re more so because they’re based on life experience and rationality. It’s this ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude that frustrates me. I’m not saying I think I’m a better person than this vicar. I’m sure he’s a nice guy and does lots of good work in the community – which is more than anything I do. I’m just saying that he shouldn’t think that he’s a better person than me just because he believes in a god.

But it’s not just the moral values. Religion creates artificial boundaries and divisions in society. This girl (unnamed but relevant people will know) didn’t turn me down because I was a bad person. She didn’t turn me down because she wasn’t attracted to me, or because she thought it just wouldn’t work out. She turned me down because I’m not a Christian. I never thought this sort of thing would be a problem. I figured I’d get to university and I’d meet a load of clever, open minded people who’d accept me for what I am, and vica versa. But apparently not.

So yeah. I would write a conclusion but it’s 3am and I’m quite drunk. Here’s a song by Wilco (who are awesome) that may or may not be relevant.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

If you think this is over then you're wrong...

Ok blog number 2. Yes I am shamelessly stealing mini’s lyric-title idea, deal with it. It’s been a while since my first blog post. To be honest I find the whole process quite challenging. I’ve actually written a couple of entries but not posted them. I figure with a blog you’ve got to be either thought provoking or entertaining, without being too self-involved. The ones I didn’t post... well the first was full of sentimental bullshit about a girl and her religion, and the second was full of inconsequential opinions about films and sport. I think it’s probably best if they stay hidden away in some forgotten corner of my hard drive, gathering dust (or whatever the digital equivalent is). Anyway I have found something to write about that is relevant to most of you so we’ll go with that and see how it pans out.

At some point during the last month, the Forum died. Attempts to resuscitate it seem to have failed. No doubt it will linger on for a while yet, with the occasional post or two, but these are just the twitches of a deceased body - really it has been dead for a while now. It had a good run, five years on 12th March and over 88,000 posts. It has gone through a number of different incarnations and been the setting for profound debate, violent slanging matches, incisive wit and a huge amount of nonsensical wittering. What follows is a brief account of the Forum’s life: its beginnings, the glory years, and its eventual decline.

The Forum was born on 12th March 2006 as a medium through which members of the Arbiters alliance in Ogame could discuss tactics and other pressing matters. All the members were boys from Beaumont School year 9, who seemingly had nothing better to do than squabble over internet games. Alliance politics, in particular the leadership issue, poured over into the Forum, making it a turbulent and exciting place. Disputes could be vicious and personal; however they would rarely extend into real life. With the death of the Arbiters alliance came the end of the Forum’s first incarnation, but it would not be down for long.

The forum was re-imagined and remodelled, transformed into a general discussion board for our year group at Beaumont. The old guard remained, but a new breed of poster was emerging that would revolutionise the board - for the first time the Forum had a significant female contingent. This period can in some respects be regarded as the glory years of the Forum, though this was probably not appreciated at the time. Forum politics remained a bitter issue. Law and order was maintained through warning points and bannings, though these were hotly disputed. Despite these arguments, the Forum was in general a happy place. Plans were made, interesting discussions were had, and humour of the highest calibre was always to be found. Perhaps the Forum’s most glorious moment was its role in securing St Albans victory in the ‘Here and Now’ Monopoly competition. A moment of unity and inspiration, remembered by all those involved.

Such good times could not last forever. As the years progressed new challengers began to threaten the Forum’s position on the digital stage. Facebook emerged as a more efficient way for peers to interact. Gradually use of the Forum declined, and all but it’s core members drifted away. It continued, at a slower pace, but still alive for a while, with the ‘Crappy Times’ thread in particular getting a lot of use. More recently Twitter and Blogspot have been adapted as alternative mediums through which to share our thoughts, and thus the Forum ceases to hold a unique purpose. There have been several revival attempts, but all have petered out fairly quickly.

Ok brace yourself for a sentimental conclusion. Yes it is sad that the Forum has died. It was fun while it lasted. But in a way it lives on. Today I went to the cinema with seven of the top posters on the Forum. A group that, to some extent, was brought together by an internet message board.

The Forum is dead, long live the Forum.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Just killing time...

Somewhere between listening to ‘Maps’ by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on repeat and trying to do Monday's Guardian cryptic crossword (7 clues so far, which is quite good for me) I thought it would be a good idea to write a blog. Well not so much a good idea as just an idea. Not even my own idea really since all those who might read this (why?) already have their own blogs and I’m just jumping on the bandwagon. Not really sure what to write about. My life has been pretty dull recently due to a series of successive essay deadlines, all of which I somehow managed to hit. Ok I’ll write about that for now. Not the actual essays ( ‘cos that would be dull unless you have a weird interest in pottery analysis) but rather the writing process. The following is my patented (it’s not patented) seven day essay writing guide.

Day 1
Relax. You have a whole week to write this essay. If you really feel the need to get started then read the essay question or choose a title if you have that option. If you don’t have any alcohol you should probably stock up at this point because it's gonna be crucial for days 2-5.

Days 2-3
Procrastinate. Reassure yourself that there’s plenty of time left. Get some books out from the library but don’t look at them. Kill time by watching something, anything, online. Films, comedy, drama - whatever. Read Mini’s blog for advice on this. While you have time you might as well read everyone else’s blogs. Maybe even write one of your own! If the thought of the impending essay is worrying you, have one of those alcoholic drinks and maybe see if people want to go out. You’ll forget about the essay in no time.

Day 4
Acknowledge that there is an essay to be done. Write out a plan for the next three days knowing full well that you are never going to stick to it. Have a drink and relax after a job well done.

Day 5
Realise that you now only have three days left and there’s a lot of work to be done. Make yourself feel better by opening a word document and putting the essay title at the top. This is progress. Decide not to go out tonight (this is often a Friday for me) on the basis that you really need to do some work. Stay in but inevitably get very little done. Maybe read a bit.

Day 6
Panic. You’ve only got two days left and you’ve barely started. What on Earth have you been doing for the last five days? Launch into some reading and make scribbly notes. If anyone else but you can read them then you're not writing fast enough. Become increasingly aware of the volume of the task ahead. Stock up on coffee. If you have an essay plan done by the end of today you are doing very well. Read the books you picked up earlier and find some articles to bulk up your bibliography. Go to bed at a reasonable hour in preparation for the potential all-nighter tomorrow.

Day 7
Focus. Calm is essential now. Work in short bursts and have lots of breaks. If you have reading left to do (you will) just skim it and read the conclusions – they should have all the information you need. As it gets later you may find you lose focus. This can be tackled through regular coffee breaks. Biscuits are also a must have if it looks like it’s gonna be a really long night. Separate the work into chunks and write a paragraph at a time, taking breaks in between each one. Keep going until finished. You’ll probably never want to see the essay again at this point so submit it as soon as possible (if you can do it online) and go to bed.


Day 8.....?
Wake up and remember about that other essay that’s due in three days. Scream.