Monday, 21 December 2009

New Year Approaches...

As 2009 draws to a close, some will claim it was undoubtedly the worse year of their lives whilst others draw on the ideals of Jean-Jacques Rosseau whom I've learned about as I encountered a philosophy book belonging to my studious (in the field of alcohol, maybe) younger sister. He believed in the fundamental value of all human beings and if still alive, 300 years on, he'd even lend support to corrupt MPs, anti-global warming law evoking establishments, greedy bankers, Tony Blair and Chelsea Football Club. As I write an essay on Shakespeare and Gender, I realise the theatrical view of life isn't too far-fetched from reality as this year has shown some of the finest art and literature, masterful musical talents for a long while whilst on a pitiful side; the worse sincerity since time began when Sir Fred Goodwin attempted to apologise for his extravagant pay-off. What are your overriding memories of the year before us?

In 20 days time, I shall no longer be 20 years of age but 21. I find myself in a rare state of palpitated calm as I collect hazy memories of the past 12 months with the love of a wonderful person who has changed my view on life and I no longer hold everything in disdain (well, just a few things). It's ironic that in classical literature as I've displayed all year long, we can find similarities in characteristics, ideology and situations as I have just done so with Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. When he said to his beloved Beatrice, 'in my heart that I had not a hard heart, for, truly I love none' which is how I felt before meeting my lady in a Angela Carter lecture. I didn't retain venomous hatred as I thought it was just...I hadn't a care in the world and certainly didn't love anything outside of my family yet she changed that just as Beatrice did for Benedick and Elizabeth for Mr Darcy (as highlighted in this blog, 4 months ago).

For those who have yet to find love, that old saying 'your time will soon come' is quite apt if not patronising. I mean who actually believes in destiny? I certainly didn't 12 months ago but I'm now more inclined to believe in fate; I came to current University without a single idea about my long term future as I blindly stumbled onto a course. It wasn't until a few senior figures suggested I'd be an ideal role model and should consider a training to be a Teacher of the Deaf. Then again urging me to stay earlier on the year as I became disillusioned and since I've become engrossed in what I feel is my pathway because as we look back, we must look forward.

And it was on a jaunt through the snow covered hills of North Yorkshire through the most picturesque surroundings and villages towards Helmsley, I realized that I wished to live in a remote stone-built house with many books, floating devices that serve my food and children running around the place but first I must get a degree. I wish you all the best in your new years resolutions and remember absent relatives, friends whilst partying the night away in style.

Happy New Years, everyone.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Snowin' in Paradize...

Ah Christmas is well and truly here, since last blogging I've enjoyed and loathed the entire festive excitement in equal measure. From shopping and family gatherings, early exchanges of presents amongst housemates and partner before returning home to the white opacity and thickened snow in rural North Yorkshire. With the weather heightening the anxiousness with the crazily busy motorways whom very much like my father ignored warnings presumably to gather stocking fillers which drove me to near capitulation as I only required a few goods and yet it took insane amounts of time. Christmas is more than just materialistic greed and profiteering perhaps timely for our recession ending hopes of which Ireland has emerged from smilingly (my bitterness over this holds no bounds, the fecking Irish for Christ sake!).

However, the drive home was a pleasure accompanied by those closest to me and numerous aligned motors travelling at such a speed that was thought non-existent from the days of horse and cart and the fecund years of the Italian Renaissance with periods of traffic blockage to rival that of the Eurostar mayhem. I didn't mind terribly as aided by a surprisingly good selection of tunes on the iPod of my girlfriend's (who has heard of Manu Chao?) 'Rainin' in Paradize' is a top record along with the usual Morrisey, Artic Monkeys and Foo Fighters whom I was dragged to Manchester to see once. Also the vastness of the winter wonderland I returned to, adapted to the title above, with various scenes of dolefulness from the children slow sledging down the hilly surroundings with the sun appearing rather persistently to create an aura of tranquility and beauty of which I shall reveal once images have emerged from the digital camera.

Incidentally, looking upon this blog I've just realized that of all my recent charming pictures uploaded, none surprisingly contained a sexual looking woman. So that's part of the reason for Keira Knightley on the left hand side but also due to her play that I mentioned a few weeks ago, an adaption of a favourite of mine, Molière's Misanthrope set in the modern era opened last week and by the sounds of it isn't worth venturing to London to see. Not that I'd be allowed to, according to my strange dream the other night as I was in court for originally driving offences (no licence, insurance and dangerously swerving) whilst proclaiming my innocence as I stated I was merely taking a cab driver to hospital after he was stabbed by a irate passenger in a dispute over a fare. Ultimately, he comes out of intensive care only to point the finger at me! So I'm charged for attempted murder as well as driving like a lunatic, my hopes of teaching absconded and the family disown me, where do I go from there? We shall see...

Merry Christmas and a happy new year, everyone. I hope you have a bundle of fun over the coming weeks even if I shall be conflicting with emotions of schadenfreude as usual!

Friday, 11 December 2009

‘Wine robs a man of his self-possession: opium greatly invigorates it’

Within my previous blog on Wales, I mentioned Confessions of an English Opium Eater, as De Quincey spirals from fantasy to realism through self dramatic prose. After the heartbreaking grievances following deaths of his father, siblings, children and wife you begin to imagine why he would impart upon the feeling of guilt yet he doesn’t excuse his opium addiction or earlier at Eton, wine as he writes ‘infirmity and misery do not, of necessity, imply guilt’ and ‘Guilt, therefore, I do not acknowledge’ when incidentally the deep anguish inside of him only reveals itself within the depths of his imagination and most surely lead to such a dependence.

Following yesterday’s collection of our essays, it spelled underachievement and disappointment. I need to be getting ‘A’s and ‘B’s not just below as these grades signal those being able to teach, PGCE’s are for the superior students yet my overly elaborate, hugely researched and hurriedly organized pieces are becoming my wine, my opium. I feel, even if this is just the first semester and there’s a long way to go yet, that I have hindered my hopes and there is nothing but anguish inside of me. The end of the year and all students are exhausted, bitterly upset but many have such ability that they will perform much better and could find masses of career options whereas mine is strictly the one: teaching English to the hard of hearing.

My little petite friend, like many others are in the same pernicious situation but at the opposite end of the scale, throughout her four years at the University and swapping from interpreting to teaching she has achieved mainly ‘B’s which will lead her to the elusive 2:1 that is required however now faces the results from two assessments of critical importance that could hamper her development thus lose her prospective enrolment at another University which already had over 2,000 applicants and she found herself being one of 100 chosen for just interviews. Now, that’s pressure.

The transgressive nature emerges through the depth of his sorrow after initially suppressing any forces of doubt attempting to reason with the reader referring to fellow users. Likewise I have distracted myself from any doubt over my future with the amount of reading, writing for various publications thus travelling to various cities also for charity work and socializing; finding employment in a school however is my greatest obstacle it should begin next year will ultimately take up much more of my time. Is it too early to presume my inevitable downfall? At 20 years old, I'm in lecture halls surrounded by likewise aged, disappointed faces and the minority who got the high marks were mostly at least 4, 5 years older than us and presumably read so much more in their lifetime, experienced more and perhaps more apt for teaching yet they do not even realise what they wish to do whereas I do and it tears me apart.

You see, De Quincey had vivid nightmares thanks to his sordid drug abuse, there was deep anxiety found inside of him that ‘literally to descend, into chasms and sunless abysses, depths below depths, from which it seemed hopeless that I could ever re-ascend’ and equally I find myself imagining all sorts of depressing thoughts and wondered if the fortune teller who got so much information spot on, is correct in her observation I shall find myself working for the Police rather than teaching.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Turner Prize: And the winner is...

Richard Wright, the outsider whom I hoped to win due to his admirable ethos and endeavour. Rather than conceptional designs or modernization he seeks pleasures from medieval ways and below is his gold leaf piece, rather stunning isn't it? I've written before of my adoration for the Renaissance period of literature and art which has shown it's vitality over the past year and many outstanding artists emerging yet as Wright's win proves, age doesn't matter- I'm 20 years old and my writing shan't reach it's peak for many years (before I perish in a hotel fire as my frightful imagination whenever I close my eyes reveals). As for the piece itself it could do with a name and with Carol Ann Duffy presenting the award, I'm sure she'd thought of something worthwhile to label it but on a side note-she looked rather stressed and perhaps the joys of sherry and poetry are getting to her. Another problem being Wright's name as it's synonymous with a dead musician at least at 49, he won the prestigious title in admittedly his last possible chance yet one hope it's not the last we see of him...

Of course the other artists had interesting views and ideas in particular: the intriguing manner of Roger Hiorns and the whale's skull by Lucy Skaer (I'll be honest, she wasn't as pretty looking as her name suggests). It showed, firstly the talent dripping through and secondly the merits of the competition and hopefully it's revitalisation in a depressing climate whereby people wish to be inspired and stunned even for a brief fragment of time much like Wright's piece which will soon disintegrate. It is perhaps symbolic, his artwork will not last 5 months nor will it be seen by many juxtaposed with a distant legacy as it'll fail to outshine the financial crisis and climate talks but it'll keep us joyfully entertained for now as 2009 nears an end.

Especially required now Christmas shall soon rear it's ugly overly inflated head, have we all purchased our presents yet? Typically, as a man I haven't and not probably won't until I damn well have to but spare a thought for poor old Tiger Woods- that's alot of presents he'll have to buy thanks to his transgressions and his black book must be filled with numbers of available, sex-hungry and money influenced ladies so perhaps that'd be a neat gift for a cousin or someone. Let's hope his sorry ass disappears sooner rather than later and the tabloids return to normality... there's more chance of Wright's art dealer, Larry Gagosian suddenly revealing he is in fact, a woman. At least the semester comes to a close on Thursday with Shakespeare with one more assignment to hand in...

Harsh realities set in...

After a unremarkable day of lectures, the distant recollection of the calm weekend have ceased to exist and the impregnable hatred of all around me has returned. Forming a bond of complete ignorance and incompetence, our University tutors ladies and gentleman... one of which, upon marking my research proposal has created a new letter, a cross between 'A' and 'B' revealing a strange Japanese letter shape and in the confusion, nor do I realise I have the highest mark or second. Her explanation for such tawdry marking is due to the masses she has to produce, 78, whilst referring to the complexity of my writing which she finds overly confusing. It seems I have to abide their principles thus writing how I feel it should be wrote- nullified in order to grasp high grades at the cost of high intelligence.

Of all the rioting, conferences and deaths in the evening news; this topic is the one that frequently pops up, deaths on school-trips or in this case hiking for a youth organization. The poor girl stood no chance, the group should in hindsight had returned home from the moors and returned home yet one unfortunate slip lead to her untimely death with a shocking body temperature of 'less than 30C'. This happened to me once, on a school jaunt with the temperatures well in the minus and unaware I was utterly freezing as At 13 year old I wasn't too bothered then on a long hike covered in blisters and shaking yet fought on only to slip into a river almost floated away as my diminutive self of non-existent swimming ability evaporated in the strong current.

Luckily I was surrounded by good teachers who pulled me out otherwise I would've perished then concerned I'd be suffering from pneumonia as had done before at 3 years old but once again, quick thinking allowed me to be wrapped up and taken away without a fuss. In this instant, the girls were left unsupervised and the weather was appalling. Surely this shouldn't have happened but as one of life's expectancies, things happen that we cannot fathom only mourn her loss and retain vilified anger over the mis-management and carelessness.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

'Wales is the land of my fathers. And my fathers can have it'..

A fabulous weekend spent in the depths of lands previously unconquered, a place I found to be ultimately relaxing, inspiring yet deadly concerning as despite it's lively nightlife (some nice bars and clubs however avoid Ice , the most mediocre club in the UK.) It's suffering financially with many shops closing as the shopping centre featuring typical favourites thrive and it's regeneration plans as the City looks no nearer to achieving the targets set. Whilst on the train through the darkness upon returning, I scribbled down a poem explaining my thoughts of Cardiff and Swansea prior to bypassing the likes of Bridgend which isn't a particularly enjoyable place to live by any means.

The poem itself, utterly terrible and as you can see I thought it'd be a chance to experiment rather than follow Thomas' structure with a disarrangement of syllables as hypermetrical lines appear with no thought for rhythm and yet it enabled the poem to find stability within complete chaos (much like the places I saw desperately trying to build a future) whilst the present is uncertain. Strangely, I was reading Thomas De Quincey's Confessions at the time so the poem is inscribed within another complex character's retelling experience of opium whilst Dylan Thomas liked a drink hence the first line is due to him possibly deserving a posthumous knighthood, not only for his poetry but disclosure of thoughts as the title quote shows, well in my opinion anyway.

The home of my idol (Sir) Dylan Thomas,
I transpired through the fields of splendour,
Amongst distant hilly lands thus unemployment harass,
Extenuated by Industrialism galore,
As the ageing ships and fisherman boats pass,
Beautiful surroundings upon the shore,

Now a strong wind blows there’s a sinking feeling,
Fine baroque features and marina tarnished,
As the unpolished regenerative effort is left reeling,
Equivocally economic woes mis-managed,
A City of such history empowering,
The home of my idol Dylan Thomas.

Due to the close proximity of the hotel to the marina, the refreshing sea air lead to thoughts of the Copenhagen summit that'll decide the future aims of combating global warming. I thought of a short story to write called Modern Dilemma, as Government shenanigans (inspired by the Thick of It and recent idiotic behaviour by MPs) and coinciding with concise lack of action to solve climate change with an intense rivalry as subplot. Alarmingly, the story isn't too unrealistic with places like the North Yorkshire coast whereby I was brought up with waves pounding any defence in place into submission and once habituated by natural forces as a means of displaying it's powers lead to a hotel crumbling away as this article pinpoints:

Look at the date on that, 1997 and imagine how this shall be regularly occurring in the future so in the last decade or so no huge improvements on sea defences over the years. Why, perhaps money is tight enough or it's not seen as required at this moment in time? It's incredibly worrying as the weather and Chinese/American polluted air will worsen without unprecedented action.