Sunday, 7 February 2010

Invasion of Poker fanatics: Defeated.

Midst fears of invasion of the last web address, this is a completely different notion to the murky world of gambling. And as you're reading this you shouldn't be too concerned with ending up playing blackjack with intemperate foreigners. Good weekend? For my part it was a weekend that began with the most wonderful, puzzling, chaotic experience upon my first day placement at a secondary school went with a bang, quite literally in the canteen as I focused my attentions on bullying at the other end of the room.  

It’s on the edge of the city, “Run-down” according to the newly established head teacher who had already made his impact on the destructive kids and exhausted staff with some blocks demolished and new rooms built including an excellent deaf unit. Aided by an aura of confidence I threw myself into classes: relentlessly projecting a steely glare upon troublemakers in the Year 10 science class before instructing those writing short stories in Year 8 English to feature less weaponry and violence as quite disturbingly that they had the nous of a SAS veteran of combat. Their licentiousness puts the fear of God into those teaching yet I have never felt an environment so natural even a swift lunch interrupted by a large number of students concerned enough by my presence didn't deter my passion so a timetable to fit around my studies is on the cards.

The numbers of deaf children attending deaf schools are decreasing furiously with many schools closing down to the fury of the Teacher of the Deaf as I aspire to become so do sign this petition if you wish to halt such frivolous closure and in the meantime, show the Government to be the callous organization they are:

As much as the hard of hearing students of the school impressed me, as they did throughout the day with their razor sharp wit and intelligent manner that reminded me of my own cheerful innocence which defied the joyless ceremony that took place in the staff room (incidentally resembled the set of ‘Teachers’ only less hazardous acting) I still feel that deaf schooling is far greater to their development.

The weekend also coincided with the anniversary with the Munich deadly plane crash as 52 years have passed since the tragedy marked with a 5-0 win at Old Trafford yet the Busby Babes would've massacred our current side as they aare still proclaimed the greatest side that lived and will continue to be remembered for as long as Manchester United exist.  Rest in Peace those who perished.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

JD Salinger: An Inspiration...

Sadly passed away at the age of 91, author of the most intelligent and liberating tales such as The Catcher In the Rye leaving vacant memories and untold stories due to his detachment from the scene to live for the next 40 years in his native New Hampshire. Away from the limelight one can only assume the brilliance his writing in that time would offer and whilst the legacy is in question, it's only right to respect his wishes and keep such material secret.

One quote keeps emerging as observers fill the blank years, "He was famous for not wanting to be famous" claimed Ian Hamilton in his book In Search of J.D. Salinger. Personally I prefer his own, "I'm sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect" which sums him up perfectly.

His letters to a ex continued interest in his life in spite of the fabulous writings he wilfully wanted to be remembered made all the more fascinating considering his educational circumstances as the Guardian commented he was 'asked to leave a New York prep school because of poor grades’. Crazy business, can you imagine that happening in this day and age? Whilst he re-embarked on an creative writing course that I ironically considered switching to at my own establishment due to my own disillusionment, it was by no means certain he'd be the accomplished renowned writer that his fate allowed him to be especially whilst seeing action in the Second World War. It shows an education is to be taken seriously but life teaches you lessons that schooling cannot midst a truly remarkable rise to prosperity and fame akin to Alexander McQueen whom I've written an article on.

Following his Paris/Milan Fashion Shows entitled ‘King of the Paris Haute Couture’ for the WWIT as well as my return for the Hearing Times. In other news: Apple apps to surge, intently so as the world awaits the growing popularity amongst trend-setters thus those without an orderly thought within their capacity to follow suit as the iPad creation will turn into a successful futuristic venture. In the least for independent, information seeking souls it'll allow access to online information to read wherever they may be whilst looking remotely dis-interested in their surroundings and whilst I clearly find it abhorrent I wouldn’t so much proclaim it’s over-priced if so long as there's a boom in readers.

Deep in the consciousness, I realize should I fail to become a teacher than a journalistic outing may be my only chance of a pay-cheque for doing something I’d happily do for nothing as J.D Salinger showed, follow the sentiments of your own choosing and in his infinite wisdom he escaped the torment of his soul, wickedly so. Additionally, this semester will allow me to follow the great works of William Wordsworth as tonight's Romanticism lecture allowed me to see the idealistic nature of his poetry and hopefully soon the craft and endeavour of Keats and Coleridge who once said:

the unhappy attempt at picture petrifactions by Bernini in whom a great genius was bewildered and lost by excess of fancy over imagination, the aggregative over the unifying faculty (CL, IV, 569).

Interesting, one could claim J.D Salinger to be the bewildered great genius lost by excess and in the most part without avoiding fanciful delirium, he wasn't unhappy with his isolation was he? Good for him to take charge of his own destiny. My own, on the other hand is questionable: I still cannot help but assert the thinking behind my lower than expected grades in the last semester for English Literature to the disempowerment of imagination and over-need for structure, pleasing quotations and popularized referencing leading to a sense of self-annihilation.

Back to Salinger, one hopes upon his entrance to the gates of Heaven that an angel appears with "J.D, take yourself to a quiet corner in heaven amongst those of similar irk who you don't have to speak with if you don't wish to, honourable chap". R.I.P

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Wondrous Edinburgh...

As a joint celebration of both our birthdays and yearly anniversary, we decided to visit the mystic and beautiful city of Edinburgh for a few days before our inevitable return to University life. For such a enticing city, it’s largely populated by students and roaming tourists with such highlights as the Castle, numerous shops and galleries that impressed in particular the Turner exhibition as seen here along with the high standards of policing in the area. Also it’s quite remote, finally discovered once the train passes Haymarket after the joyous Scottish Highlands we enjoyed with it’s expansive hilly landscape. Samuel Johnson in the Journey to the Western Isles, 1775 claimed ‘to the southern inhabitants of Scotland the state of the mountains and islands is equally unknown with that of Borneo or Sumatra’, he professed that many hadn’t explored the area whilst in modern terms, it’s largely known across the World due to it’s festivals, events and fabulous buildings however it still feels despite the amusing updated profanity of locals and masses of visitors, that you are unravelling a mystery akin to the 1700’s.

As for the National Museum of Scotland, I spotted Thomas De Quincey’s postbag- rather amusing find considering the blogs I’ve done previously about him nonetheless in great condition and a fairly wonderful place to take your partner, families and friends. Much like the City itself, the Museum was full of vibrancy and exciting with a range of misdemeanours to be taken advantage of amongst the inviting hospitality. Therein, not only did we enjoy the sentimental side to Edinburgh but realised it’s greatest asset is not the pleasing views but the culture: I learnt the diversity amongst the community of locals, Italians and Spaniards amongst the Scots. There was a vibe to be envied by our English cities so much so that in an Italian restaurant close to our hotel that on appearance quiet and unassuming, there was wonderfully presented and delicious food as well as free garlic bread and side bowl of French fries to accompany our three course meal that left us utterly stuffed. I should’ve realised, an Italian gentleman walked in with his Scottish wife which I thought to be an indictment of the restaurant’s quality when a local Italian, of all restaurants in the City, visits the specific one we choose but it was most probably because they provide such extras!

Basking in the warmth of the friendly environment and soft music, I decided I wished to learn Italian for a trip there someday; Sunday Times quite helpfully had a selection of Italian phrases in their supplement: ‘Mi scusi: c’e qualacosa di strano nella mia ostrica’ for example means ‘Excuse me waiter, there is something strange in my oyster’ and my personal favourite for which there is no translation: ‘Bada bing’ which sums up Edinburgh for which I long to return to as I quite devastatingly adore it. Now I'm back to the darkness of University life whereby I must plan accordingly for the semester ahead also write an article for the hip fashion magazine, the WWIT as well as the dating article for my return to the Hearing Times whom under new editorship should thrive. Memo to self: Remember to purchase Simon Lelic's Rupture. Have an excellent week, folks.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

21st Birthday, 18/01/89

Spent in a sybaritic splendour in the rural village whereby I visited relatives close by and ventured to the city with my lady, parents and younger sister following numerous shops we went to watch a film. The Road was our chosen film from a list of mediocre alternatives and whilst my family didn't enjoy it, I found it intriguing whilst foreshadowed by the original context. The novel that set the post-apocalyptic trend and much like The Human Stain by Philip Roth also Cormac McCarthy’s own No Country for Old Men: great modern-era American novelists in an unforgiving perceptive of the world.

In the screenplay, it's a different story as with Coleman Silk in The Human Stain as reading the book you couldn’t forgive him for his heartless rejection of his mother but his ideals were refreshing whereas on screen he is shown to be a pretentious individual similar to the father in The Road is shown to be a barbaric individual- killing in order to survive, forcing an African-American to take off the clothes he stole from them all deeply shocking cinematic devices not as the book reflects with his sole intention to find the ocean with his son's best interests at heart.

Much is down to the casting; Coleman Silk wasn't imagined to look like Anthony Hopkins (who played him in the 2003 film) and even now as my lady is covering the tale for her American Literature module next semester thus allowed me to re-read it, he doesn’t fit. Certainly, he isn’t American nor does he withhold the mannerisms that the author attempted to portray yet the film used another actor for his past in Wentworth Miller who did an admirable job. And in The Road, Viggo Mortensen did well to portray Man nevertheless out-performed by the wonderful newcomer Kodi Smit-McPhee whilst critics slam it's lack of action, the long walks and thought provoking notions such as the gun down throat of his son as suicide may be the only way out- this is a blinkered view of those who probably haven't experienced such love from their parents that'll defy their own contempt.

Looking at the review here from the Guardian: the compelling tale laid by McCarthy is blindly obvious but the highly elevated positioning of Hillcoat's adaption isn't as the book is far greater in character development, plot-lines and intensity whilst saying that, the film will generally create Oscar hysteria and fully deservedly so too. If you haven't already seen it, I'd recommend you read the book instead.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Manchester United announce pre-tax profit of £48.7m...

An extremely concerning time for all Manchester United fans such as myself ahead of the announcements made today and numerous articles on the topic. Roger Blitz on the The Financial Times website discussed the bond issue, £500 million to be repaid by 2014 and rumours circulated as early as last year of such debts and now the reality has hit home. How the situation has progressively worsened, I assume is in part to due to global financial crisis restricting the interest rate thus no foreseeable buyer will approach the club which is what's required as current owners seemingly have no chance of repaying the bond. Gone are the days of complete financial supremacy; Match-day revenues accounted for 39.1 per cent of total revenues, media 35.8 per cent and commercial deals 25.1 per cent with net interest payments almost £42m and operating profits were just £9.3m: the importance of transferring star player Cristano Ronaldo for £80 million is now more evident than ever as the Guardian highlights.

This is an interesting business model of the club's financial hierarchy:

Conflicting reports on the total of the debt, reported at £699 million 12 months ago as it's not disclosed in this morning’s press release – although it will be recorded in the documents that have been lodged with Companies House – but the Glazers’ growing concern over their existing borrowing arrangements has led them to the bond. But how will they manage this if the club's fortunes on the pitch spiral as the £75 million set aside for transfers are nowhere near enough. There's Sir Alex Ferguson's impending retirement along with ageing iconic midfielders Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes also goalkeeper Edwin Van Der Sar all of whom need replacing with the financial might of rivals Manchester City and Chelsea (who have just cleared their debt) and Arsenal look to flourish in the long term.

At least, according to Bloomberg, the latest figures include an 'up-front' payment of 35.9 million from next year's sponsors AON - whose 4 yr sponsorship is worth 80 million. Clever deals and financial nous is required if the bond is to be recuperated with sustained efforts on the pitch with an helpful raise in interest rate as the high interest rates on loans already are severely damaging profits as it's clear the Ronaldo deal was a necessity. Let's hope things turn for the better.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

'O England, model to thy inward greatness...'

How are we all? Coping with the snow, rapid decline in temperature and frostbite I hope? As per usual our country goes into severe panic whilst the sane amongst us sit back and enjoy the sights. My apartment is luckily the warmest amongst the newly built establishment thanks to an easily deceived caretaker who allowed us round the clock heating after one of the girls painted the image of a frostbitten student also it's facing the lighted snow covered streets amongst the stars.

What the deep freeze allows, plenty of time for homemade soup and reading with the odd game on Football Manager now the last of semester one's essays has been handed in. The lady, in her infinite wisdom, bought plenty of food just before the latest snowfall as well as detested newspapers such as the Mirror and Express & Star which I regrettably, read. However it seems there's a reason to read it- a competition to become a Mirror sporting blogger and the chance to visit their Canary Wharf HQ for a placement over the course of a month. An excellent insight into sporting journalism awaits the winner: I'm nearly done with my 200 word piece on 'Manchester United entitled 'Beckham Awaits' and another on 'Talented Youngsters'. If you wish to do so email them a 200 word blog on your favourite side and one on anything you desire: Good luck.

This week has seen the Labour Party in fracas with Gordon Brown susceptible to a coup by Hoon and Hewitt whom if they had any nous they'd kept quiet and supported their leader ahead of the General Election as they have no other alternative leader or polices to grab the public attention thus defeat is on the cards then a new leader would've been sought.

Jonathan Ross: An entertaining but staggeringly arrogant buffoon who surely will be missed but hopefully young talents will thrive in his absence and the obscene pay check he received will go on promoting more drama and enhanced news coverage that shows more than just political squabbling and weather woes. Have a good weekend, all.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Poppy's Family Renaissance

Inspired by an writer whose name is often mis-remembered and an actress famously wrongly named by Gordon Brown as this upcoming favourite blog of mine shows, Renée Zellweger's portrayal of Beatrix Potter in the film 'Miss Potter' shown on the BBC proved to be an eye-opener. As I decided to write my own children's story (along with the short stories, book on deaf education I wish to produce following an Masters) and here's an rough outline of the idea that stemmed from viewing the film: set in the delightful village of my upbringing in the era previous to my birth in the mid 80's, an rebellious guinea pig began causing mayhem thus resolving with it's widowed owner falling for the local carpenter thanks to the efforts of her inventive twin daughters and spiteful landlord. Here's the opening chapter I wrote in the last twenty minutes then perhaps I'll write some more. I should ideally, be producing my Shakespeare essay but such enticement to writing such nonsensical but amusing accounts proved too mighty for even the Bard himself if Much Ado About Nothing is anything to go by. Enjoy!

Gently strolling along the garden path, out of her usual bounds nonetheless she moved confidently and assuredly. Her absence however caused anarchy in the household for the dearly loved creature could come to harm, they called her ‘Poppy’ and rather charmingly she is held in high esteem. Whilst her journey didn’t last as prolonged as feared, since the arrival of the postman by the name of Nigel whom bellowed his usual “Good morning, my dears” to the young sisters of the establishment- Amelia and Charlotte Wiggins without realizing the advancing four legged black spotted Poppy. Such hilarity regined when the mother of the children, Belinda ran like a duck through hazy grass to the feet of the animal before picking it up with moments to spare from being flattened.

The following chaos ensured that Poppy would never walk in that direction again, she was told and that a chicken coop would have to be built. For its creation, the local carpenter Andrew Dudgeon had to be called immediately, “Would you be a gentleman and encroach our garden path to build an extremely important settlement for our roving pest, Poppy the Guinea Pig?” she questioned with great hope for a positive response.

“Of course I shall, Miss Wiggins. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow afternoon perhaps?” he answered amicably despite the curiosity of whether or not she has realized his lust for her, and merely envisaged seeing her in typical flowery attire with beautiful hair curled to perfection. Mr Dudgeon is only 25 and yet, he’s seen many vicious things in such a short span of life whilst on duty in the Falkland’s in the Royal Navy. He returned unscathed thankfully and shan’t remain a worrying hindrance to his family as a fully established carpenter in his village of Hunmanby; located on the English coast midst the picturesque surroundings of North Yorkshire.

The children happily ran amok around the house in glee at such an esteemed gentleman beckoning such arrival, a carpenter! He could build them such marvellous furnishings or a summerhouse that’d be much admired in the context of their sparse garden since the shed of their father has gone. He is much missed, following his tragic death in a car accident on the A64. “Oh Amelia, just imagine a huge tree house or rocking horse for us!” Charlotte exclaimed with such ferocity that she almost burst with joy.

However their mother, haunted by past misdemeanours and triviality of recently losing her teaching position at the local school due to financial cut-backs which left her incredibly upset is in no mood for romance. She even labelled her life to her dear beloved friend, Katherine as being an "Elizabethan tragedy slowly strangled by the masquerading Norman Bates!” in the shape of her loathed landlord, Henry who took no pity on their unfortunate situation.

Unbeknown to her, the children gathered Poppy and began their plans to entice the local carpenter through the medium of an apple pie filled with heart shaped sweets that they believed would make him fall in love with her. All they needed was their grandmother to prepare them a cake so onwards to the bus stop. They had to remind Poppy she is sadly not allowed to venture outside on their exertion so Amelia patted her and placed her on the mantelpiece of all places!

A New Beginning...

As the first blog of the New Year and is it plausible that a greater need to exert panegyric and positiveness in the upcoming decade rather than dismissing optimistic foes could occur? Let's hope so, no more masked insults and in-sincerity. In an ideal society, the media end their assault of those who continue to disappoint, shock and insult our heritage and focus on reflecting on the potential. Starting with those capable of grace, wit and accomplishment with a bright future ahead of them; not just comedians, writers and actors as noted by various newspapers deciding upon their predictable list of those who shall shine in the upcoming year much like their meaningless reflections of the past decade. Allow more emphasis on unrecognized hardworking heroes of society; the council workers who gritted our streets (those who did so), the bus drivers who many rely upon to travel to work and so forth and most certainly charity volunteers that form the basis of any hope for that particular charity. Let's be inspired and moved not emotionally drained or blame others for our predicament. Let's end the hypocrisy which still runs amok in the media; Polly Toynbee has lately angered me. She has form for such occurrences and now once again criticizing the Labour Party on the first day of 2010 without hope for a regenerative effort but to pile more misery on us:

To call Brown, 'delusional' speaks of nothing but bitter undertones. Yet she cannot hide behind her statistics and elegant manner; her hatred blinds her journalistic instinct which we saw just 3 years ago in this article that roundly backs Gordon Brown which appears to be unbeknown to her. Whilst I accept many have changed opinions on New Labour over the course of the last reign or seek active change, one must wonder what has caused her to change ethos so drastically. Perhaps her glamorous mansion in Hampshire has lost tremendous value in the downturn or her chef demands higher pay or deeming the NHS as completely in-efficient on the basis of a friend's opinion so it's Labours fault which is ironic considering here she bellows nothing but staunch support:

Interesting, isn't it? I rather liked 'of all the qualities that Brown's party will welcome him for next week, still the greatest may be simply that he is not Tony Blair' which shows her complete naivety in light of the success he offered and whilst he embarked on tackling the apparently harmless Iraqi regime, I still believe he did the best he could do for our proud kingdom. To discount his efforts, talk up Brown like a fully fledged Brownite then merely discredit all association of support in the latest article shows how in-fulfilled her life must be: following the trend and jumping on any bandwagon that passes her by. And this is what must be stopped. People should form their own opinion, establish collective views on a range of topics from the NHS, foreign policies and the dreaded economy before discussing matters with friends, relatives and co-workers before voting rather than read this grovel. I wilfully wish for the day more thought provoking, interesting and coherent articles are printed/available online such as this: 

A moving account of a squatter whom resides in the abandoned plains of British streets whilst scavenging for food in such inventive ways. She was formerly a journalist who lost her job and became introduced to a world in which most of us gladly would avoid; imagine a life of no money exchanges just pure natural habitat or darkened flat whilst eating the remains of a cafe's lunch hour service via their bins and sitting upon a armchair left stranded outside Mrs Smith's down the road. The sad state of our homing departments lead to this as in London , another issue rarely discussed: homelessness is on the rise. It's not that these people wouldn't happily work; I see many of them in this city with smiles on their faces even in such dire situations that defy any hope of employment as they do not have a fixed address.

Ultimately, it's the article allows us to contemplate how well-off we are. For instance, like many millions in this country, my joyful New Year celebrations occurred midst the cosy surroundings of my apartment filled with laughter, plenty of food and drink and the next day, I felt terribly guilty for those who had no one or nothing as such community shows how irrelevant material goods are which the author attempted to illustrate. Rather than dwell on her misfortune, she plunged all her efforts into shelter centres and finding food whilst still remaining healthy, energetic and most importantly, happy. How many of our entrepreneur, business type millionaires in this country can truthfully say they are happy? It's reminiscent of the Channel 4 show 'Secret Millionaire' and the communities they meet change their lives.

Allow 2010 to change your life for the good whilst appreciating those around you.