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New Music

March 20, 2010

Hi,

Just thought I’d make a blog detailing some of the new music I’m listening to at the moment and really enjoying.
So here we go:

The Morning Benders- Excuses

I’ll admit I don’t really know much about this band but saw there album got some good reviews and thought I’d check it out.  I really like this song, particularly the live version which can be seen above.  I’m not too sure about the rest of the work and may have to look into it more but I am definitely addicted to this song.  I love the lyrics ‘I made an excuse, and you found another way to tell the truth’.

Liars- Scissor

This song has a really dark feeling of urgency to it although I’m not entirely sure what it is about.  For me it kind of evokes images of Edward Scissorhands, particularly with the lyrics ‘I found her with my scissor’ and ‘…my hands are freaking out’.  Either way it’s a song I keep wanting to listen to and the video is pretty awesome too. 

Foals- Spanish Sahara

Of the bands on this list Foals is the only one I’d heard of previously.  I’ve listened to some of their past work, such as ‘Cassius’ and ‘Balloons’ and quite enjoyed it but this song seems to be a very different direction.  Foals previous work seemed to be mostly upbeat indie pop, whereas this song is a lot darker and lead singer Yannis Philippakis uses a very different vocal style.  I really like this track and look forward to checking out more when the new album Total Life Forever comes out.

Adam Green- Buddy Bradley

I read about Adam Green and his new album on AllMusic.com so I decided to check it out and found this along with a number of other videos for songs from his new album Minor Love.  I enjoyed them a lot and have now listened to the whole album.  I have to say it’s good stuff, although I suppose you have to take a liking to Green’s rather quirky and eccentric lyrics.  Lines like ‘…you were the flatulent one’ as heard above are not uncommon in his work though I don’t feel they really detract from the enjoyment I get from his music.  If you’d like to hear something a little more serious from the album then you may want to search for ‘Boss Inside’.

Albums of 2009

December 23, 2009

I’ve managed to listen to quite a good number of new albums this year so I thought I would make a list of my favourite.  I’ll try and give you a brief review of each album, a few of my favourite tracks from each and a video of a song from the album.

Top 10 Albums of 2009


1). Wild Beasts- Two Dancers
For those unfamiliar with Wild Beasts, they are a band originating from Kendal, Cumbria and now based in Leeds.  I came across this album while browsing through well-received albums that came out this year.  After looking these guys up I could tell precisely what was so appealing about them.  They have a unique sound that perhaps is better heard than described but it has certainly kept me listening throughout the year.

Top Tracks:
Hooting & Howling, All the King’s Men, We Still Got the Taste Dancin’ on Our Tongues


2). The xx- xx
The xx is an indie band from South-West London consisting of four 20 year olds whose debut album hit stores in August of this year.  The combination of Oliver Sim and RomyMadley Croft’s quiet, calm and breathy vocals gives a dreamy and floaty feel to their music.  The arrangements almost feel minimalist in their subtlety, however, they are perfectly formed and everything combines to make some truly wonderful music.

Top Tracks
: Crystalised, Islands, Infinity

 


3). Eels- Hombre Lobo
As can be read from the subtitle of Eels’ Hombre Lobo, 12 Songs of Desire, the album is a concept album based on tales of desire, told from the point of view of a character created by lead singer E (Mark Everett).  The character is the, now grown-up, Dog Faced Boy from the track of that name on the 2001 Souljacker album, hence the title of this album being Hombre Lobo which means Werewolf in Spanish.  The tracks alternate from those that burst with the energy of lust and desire (such as Prizefighter and Lilac Breeze) to the sadder melancholy of longing and wanting something unobtainable or unachievable (as on The Longing and My Timing is Off).

Top Tracks:
Lilac Breeze, Fresh Blood, Ordinary Man


4). The Antlers- Hospice

Probably the most deeply touching and emotional album of the year.  The Antlers’ Hospice tells the narrative of a man losing a loved one to bone cancer and watching her die.  The whole tale is carried through some of the most beautiful songs this year and is such a convincing story that it’s surprisingly that songs are not actually coming from a personal experience.  Hospice is actually the result of a Justin Vernon-esque period of social isolation went through by vocalist Peter Silberman, making this the second brilliant album to come from such an experience (maybe all musicians should start doing it).

Top Tracks: Bear, Two, Wake


5). Camera Obscura- My Maudlin Career
For those unfamiliar with Camera Obscura, they are a Scottish indie band fronted by lead singer Tracyanne Campbell.  Scottish singers have a tendency to for somewhat gloomy vocals (it’s probably the weather) and Tracyanne Campbell certainly brings a good touch of that to her music.  However, this can perhaps be expected from what is essentially a break-up album.  Also, the general sadness of the lyrics doesn’t mean that the melodies can’t be bright, as on ‘French Navy’.  The melodies are truly strong throughout and the there is enough variety in the vocal stylings of Miss Campbell to make this album a really great listen.

Top Tracks: French Navy, The Sweetest Thing, Careless Love


6). Imogen Heap- Ellipse
Four years ago, Imogen Heap released what would I suppose be considered her breakthrough album ‘Speak for Yourself’.  She didn’t really make it into the mainstream but I imagine a good number of people would recognise the tracks ‘Headlock’ and ‘Goodnight and Go’ if they were played to them.  Heap didn’t really rush to capitalise on this success and has only now released a follow-up to her 2005 release.  Ellipse is the new release from Imogen Heap and its quality is certainly on a par with Speak for Yourself with beautiful vocals flowing over electronic backdrops.  The only real criticism I have of the album is that there isn’t really anything new here, nothing that really stands out as being radically different from anything on Speak For Yourself.  More of the same certainly isn’t a bad thing but it would have been nice to have something a little fresher on the album.  Despite this, Ellipse is still a beautiful album with some wonderful songs and I would always welcome more material from such a great artist.

Top Tracks:
First Train Home, Wait It Out, 2-1


7). Regina Spektor- Far
By far the quirkiest artist on the list is everyone’s favourite Soviet-born female singer-songwriter Regina Spektor.  Much like Imogen Heap, Regina Spektor is an excellent vocalist outside of the mainstream with her own individual style.  Regina tends to opt for a more sparse musical backing with the piano playing the most prominent role.  While this clearly isn’t anything revolutionary the really quirky element of Regina Spektor’s work is in some choice of lyrics and subject matter.  For example, lyrics such as ‘we built a computer from macaroni pieces’ and ‘I’ve got a perfect body because my eyelashes catch my sweat’ feature in songs across the album.  Also the song ‘Wallet’ is a song revolving around a lost wallet and it contents, ending with the lines ‘you’ll never know me, I’ll never know you but you’ll be so happy when they call you up’.  Whether the song is a witty criticism of the hyperbolic nature of love songs or simply an attempt to make something sweet out of something very mundane can only be speculated at but this is some of eccentricity you get from Regina Spektor.  I suppose this could be equally annoying to some people as it is endearing to others but I have to say that most of the tracks on the album aren’t quite as bizarre. 

Top Tracks: Eet, Blue Lips, Dance Anthem of the 80’s


8). Raekwon- Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Pt. 2
Raekwon, with an assist from the rest of the Wu-Tang Clan, returns with a sequel to his classic 1995 album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx that snaps up the rap album of the year award.  The album also boasts what is probably the best rap track of the year in the de-facto opener ‘House of Flying Daggers’, which has the Wu-Tang Clan on top, vicious and visceral form.  There isn’t anything really new here in regards of what a Raekwon or Wu-Tang album sounds like, apart from the fact that RZA only produces three tracks, but it feels so much fresher in times when far too much rap music attempts to crossover (The Blueprint 3 being case-in-point).  Now I cannot completely blame people for making commercial rap music (some of it is quite good) but personally I love some rugged and raw rap and that is Raekwon’s album all over.  A true Wu-Tang album and fully worthy of holding the heavily load of being an official sequel to the legendary ‘Only Built 4 Cuban Linx’.

Top Tracks: House of Flying Daggers, New Wu, Kiss the Ring


9). Mos Def- The Ecstatic
Those who follow rap music may be aware of Mos Def as one of the big names in underground rap, perhaps best known for his collaborative work with fellow underground rap star Talib Kweli, as Black Star.  However, non-rap fans may be able to recognise Mos Def from his acting career.  His most prominent acting roles to date include playing Ford Prefect in the 2005 remake of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and co-starring alongside Jack Black in Be Kind Rewind.  Whether you recognise him or not and whatever you think of the movies he has starred in, let me tell you that Mos Def is a very talented rapper.  To qualify that statement, Mos Def can freestyle amazing raps off the top of his head and at speed too, just type ‘Mos Def Freestyle’ into YouTube to find out what I’m talking about.  Mos Def’s talent for the short witty and intelligent rap is certainly injected into the album and is reflected in runtime of the tracks with less than half exceeding 2mins 30secs.  I think this suites Mos Def’s style and also makes a seemingly unwieldy 16 tracks much more palatable.  The whole album just feels like a breath of fresh air in comparison to your average rap album these days, with no hooks, some authentic rap talent, a mere two guest appearances (from Slick Rick on Auditorium and Talib Kweli on History) and lyrical subject matter that isn’t all about money, killing, sex and misogyny.  In a year with a lack of major rap releases this really is a hidden gem and well worthy of anyone’s attention.

Top Tracks: Auditorium, Quiet Dog Bite Hard, Life in Marvellous Times


10). Girls-Album
Girls’ Album covers quite a lot of ground in its twelve tracks with themes of drug-use (which are pretty much present throughout), enjoying the Summer (with Surf Rock inspiration) and failed relationships.  However, the jewel in the crown of the album has to be the amazing ‘Hellhole Ratrace’.  The song somehow manages the seemigly impossible task of being both uplifting and deeply saddening at the same time.  As Christopher Owens sings out the chorus ‘I don’t want to cry my whole life through/I want to do some laughing too/So come on, come on and laugh with’ the message is one of savouring life but one can’t help but get the feeling of what kind of dark place inspired such lyrics.  As it turns out Christopher Owens has had a difficult life with his family being involved in the ‘Children of God’ cult.  His older brother died due to the cult not allowing him medical attention, his father left and the cult sometimes forced his mother to prostitute herself.  The inner darkness of Owens is also reflected in a number of other tracks on the album and the emotional undercurrent is certainly intriguing.

Top Tracks: Lust for Life, Hellhole Ratrace, Lauren Marie

Twilight: New Moon Review

December 9, 2009

Greetings!

On Sunday evening, I went with Erin, Sarah and Katy to see the new Twilight movie, New Moon.  Obviously the hype around this movie has been massive but I thought I would go and check it out for myself.  Also, I have to say I went to see the first Twilight film with my sister, not knowing what the whole thing was, and actually quite enjoyed it.  Yes, the revelation that the real reason that vampires don’t come out in the daylight is because they are glittery was laughable, but as I remember, I found it quite enjoyable.  Sadly, as you may well be expecting by now, the same could not be said for the new movie New Moon.  Basically, if you are not a hormonal female teenager (in which case you’ll enjoy admiring the muscled bodies of Robert Pattison and Taylor Lautner, who spend considerable amounts of the movie topless- Hurray for feminism!) or someone who loves the Twilight books so much that any form of visual adaption would satisfy you then you then I can’t see why you would enjoy this film.

I have to say now that I haven’t read the books, for better or worse, but personally I think it makes me considerably less bias as I have no interest in seeing good in this movie where there isn’t.  My female housemates keep telling me that the book is much better, of which I have no doubt, however, this movie remains to be poor.  Although I have to say I am critical of the whole premise of the story, at least as it is potrayed in the film.   As far as I can see, the main female character, Bella Swan, is a far from endearing hormonal teen with an incredible level of angst.  It seems fairly clear that practically no Twilight fan that I’ve spoken to actually likes her character despite the fact that she is the main character.  Also, the whole story really boils down to a love triangle between this over-emotional teenage girl and two teenage boys.  It just so happens these teenage boys have deep dark supernatural secrets, you sure know how to pick them Bella, randomly picked from folklore.  It’s just a teen drama with vampires and werewolves in it, the story isn’t clever and just seems like a convoluted mess when you consider the other plot points that are mixed in- such as Bella’s immunity to vampire powers, which is apparently important in ways which are completely unexplored.  The film also fails to actually advance the storyline in any meaningful way, it might as well just be an introduction to Jacob Black’s character because that in effect is all that happens.  The situation at the start of the film of Bella wanting to become a vampire so she can be with Edward is exactly the same as the situation at the end, if the film makers hadn’t added in a bit of action there would be virtually nothing to this movie at all.

Aside from the fundamental problems with the very story on which the film is based I have other issues about how the film is presented.  Remember all those great characters from the first Twilight film? No?  Well nevermind because they won’t be appearing in this movie anyway.  In an odd decision, the movie seems to completely ignore all the other characters they went to the bother of introducing in the first film.  A funny point I found was that people repeatedly tell Bella not to be so reckless and crazy because she should think about Charlie- in my head I had to try hard to figure out who Charlie was but apparently it’s her dad.  None of the characters, outside of Bella and Jacob and to a much lesser extent Edward, are advanced at all and despite scenes of her continually abandoning her school friends and turning reclusive they all immediately forgive her for no adequately explained reason (apart from the fact that everyone seems to find her attractive- despite the whole manic depression thing).

Another issue is the soundtrack, it isn’t that the soundtrack is bad, in fact it has some great artists on it, including Bon Iver, St. Vincent, Muse, Lykke Li and Thom Yorke.  However, the way the music is incorporated into the film I thought generally detracted from the film rather than adding to the experience.  It seems the only way they could figure out to put the music in was to stop everything else that was happening and have some pointless montage while the song played.  They might as well have just put an advert for the movie soundtrack in the film because making such an excessive point of it felt like exactly the same thing.

After all that ranting, I should probably summarise that I thought Twilight: New Moon was a poor movie and considerably worse than the original movie, in my opinion.  It is far from deserving of the hype it has received and should be treated with the realistic vision that there are few redeeming features of this other than its affiliation with a popular series of books and, if you’re a teenage girl, the attractive young male actors.

Peace Out!

Goodbye Anna

September 16, 2009

Greetings!

A few days ago saw my very good friend Anna left Scarborough and seen as though I haven’t wrote anything in this blog for a while, I think it might be worthwhile blogging about this.  So, this blog is dedicated to my dear friend Anna who I will miss lots now that she won’t be around.  Anna has been living in Scarborough in rented accomodation while she finished her course at Westwood as her parents moved to London after she finished Sixth Form.  Now that Anna has finished her course and got accepted on a music course (well I imagine it’s a little more complex that just music but I can’t quite remember the name of the course) at Brighton University, so she’s moving onwards and upwards but sadly has to leave Scarborough.

Fortunately, although she was undoubtedly very busy, I got see Anna a couple of times before she left.  The first time we hung out along with my sister, which is what we usually do when Anna comes around, went around town and then ended up watching a Pokemon movie.  The movie wasn’t great but it gave us to do for the afternoon.  I also got to give Anna her leaving present, a Regina Spektor CD.  The second time, sadly my sister was busy but Anna brought Penny around to come and see Toffee (those are our dogs for clarity).  Toffee and Penny hadn’t seen each other for a long time but they used to get on really well back when Penny was just a puppy.  Penny is a bit bigger than she used to be but they still seemed to get on pretty well and did a bit of play fightning.  Danny also came down to see Anna as she would be leaving the next day so he came along to say goodbye to Anna.  We took the dogs down to the beach and threw a tennis ball around for the dogs.  Well I say the dogs but it was really only for Penny’s benefit as she’s way to fast for Toffee to actually get the ball and Toffee isn’t very good at playing fetch either.  We stayed on the beach for a while and then we went with Anna to go and see Kerry who was working in one of the shops in the new Sands building.  After that we headed back to my house to give Penny a bath to clean her from all the rock pools she’d been jumping in.  Anna put Penny in the bath and was filling it with water but the water got to hot and Penny made the most horrible squealing noise as she jumped out of the bath.  The experience seemed to leave Penny a bit shocked and she wasn’t quite so excitable after that, sat on the sofa wrapped in a towel shaking, Anna claimed she was just being a drama queen (which seemed a pretty fair point).  Danny had to leave to go to work soon after that so he said goodbye to Anna and went to catch the bus.  Anna and I then just watched some daytime TV until Anna’s parents came to pick her up to go for tea.  It probably wasn’t quite as exciting as Anna would have hoped for her last day in Scarborough and it was a pity that my sister couldn’t be around but I really appreciated Anna coming round to say goodbye.

I’ve known Anna for about three years now and she really is a very unique and amazing person.  She is really talented musician and has a great enthusiasm for music, traits that I’m sure will serve her well on her Uni course.  She also has a strange but hilarious sense of humour that I am going to miss greatly.  My whole family loves Anna, especially my sister and my dog Toffee (although she’s done some pretty cruel things to him over the years), and I think Anna has done a lot to bring me closer to my family, which I can’t thank her enough for.  I could probably talk for ages about this and that and reminisce over good times but I will just summarise that Anna is a person who means a lot to me and I’m very sad to see her go.  She will hopefully be visiting Scarborough during the Christmas holidays and hopefully I will see her again then, either way I hope we can keep in touch.  I wish her all the best for University and I’m sure she will have a great time and be very successful.

All the best Anna and this blog is very clearly dedicated to you.

Peace Out!

Moot Point

July 12, 2009

Greetings!

As I made this blog and I haven’t really updated since, I figured I’d make a new entry.  I’ve done a few things over the past couple of weeks, including get a job for the summer.  I managed to apply, along with my brother, online for a job at Sainsbury’s and fortunately they took me on.  They had quite a lot of positions so I don’t think it was because I particularly shined at the interview but I’m very happy to be making money to go towards living in a house next year at Uni (which is both an exciting and scary prospect) and to update my CV.  So far work has been quite good, there are lots of nice people there and I think I’m coping pretty well.  So I’ve been at work and being trained quite a bit over the past few weeks.

I also returned to Uni a couple of times, the last time to hand in my keys as term is now officially over and everyone has finished for the year (although I finished about 4 weeks early).  The first time I returned to go to a Mooting Competition held by the College of Law for students of York Law School.  As nobody really knows what ‘Mooting’ is I’ll attempt to explain.  In some ways it’s like a mock trial except it isn’t about interviewing witnesses and establishing the facts, it’s about using legal authority to debate points of law in front of a judge.  In all honesty, that probably doesn’t help but I was teaming with my friend Rachel Pennington for the moot.  Rachel got a first in our assessed moot as part of our course, so she’s rather good.  After getting up at 6:00 to catch the 7:00 train into York, I got the bus to Uni and then arrived at Goodricke.  It was then I realised after coming all that way that I had forgotten my keys (which was incredibly foolish of me).  So, I went over to Goodricke Porters’ Lodge and luckily I was given a spare set of keys without too much hassle.  I then rushed back to my room and got changed into my suit for the moot (I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it).  I then met Rachel and our fellow mooters Tom Metcalfe and Michal Kovac outside Goodricke Porters’ Lodge to get a taxi to the College of Law.  At this point it had already felt like a long day for me, having gotten up at 6:00 and then panicked about not having my keys.  Luckily there was plently of time to rest as we arrived at the College of Law early and spent some time hanging around and preparing for the moot.  Eventually, Adam, Frankie and Ben arrived together having driven up in Adam’s car and Richard arrived having walked apparently (which is quite a distance).  Rachel and I were in the first moot against Richard and Adam, I had to good fortune of going last overall which allowed me to get more prepared as the others were talking.  Richard, who also got a first and is apparently rather experienced at this sort of thing, went first and was quite good although he overan quite a bit and I didn’t like the tactic of trying to counter arguments before Rachel made them.  Then it was Adam who admitted that he had only spent about an hour or two preparing as he has being working full-time as an estate agent since term ended.  He kept it rather short and sweet but I think he did very well considering the lack of preparation.  Our team was next and Rachel went first, she was very good and got her points across well although she seemed a little nervous at the beginning.  Finally, it was my turn and I stepped up and I feel like I did quite well and got my points across.  After the other team got their chance to respond we were dismissed so the judge could make their judgement.  In the judgement, Richard won on his ground of appeal and then I won on my ground of appeal with the judge quoting parts of my speech and even saying part of my argument is ingenious.  So, I was rather pleased with that and felt I’d done rather well.  We were then brought back one at a time for individual feedback.  I was told I did well but I should have summarised my argument (although nobody else did either), my authority list wasn’t put together properly (which was a slight accident on my part) and that I needed to vocally highlight important parts of my argument.  The four of us then had to wait while Ben and Frankie went against Tom and Michal for the second moot.  We just sat around and chatted until they had finished.  After the others had finished we were told which four people were going to go into the final.  The people who got through were Richard, Rachel, Ben and Tom.  I felt a little hard done by not getting into the final after the judge had told me that my argument was ingenious.  However, I was very glad that Rachel got through because I think she deserved to get through.  We then were given lunch which consisted of sandwiches, some fruit and a muffin.  Then we went to prepare for final moot, where I tried to help Rachel, who got the hardest side of the argument in the whole moot sadly.  Rachel also wasn’t helped by Richard who, despite being on the same team as Rachel, was very patronising towards her and even told her she was going to lose.  Whether that was some kind of tactic to put Rachel off I don’t know but either way it was pretty harsh.  Rachel did well to ignore him and soldiered on anyway, eventually forming an argument worth making (although it was certainly a struggle with such a horrible ground of appeal).  After a couple hours of preparation the final moot took place and all the ‘semi-finalists’ (I use that term loosely seen as though we were all semi-finalists technically) were allowed to watch on.  It was a good moot and quite good to watch, at the end the judge decided who had won and said that Ben & Tom were the best team and won £50 each, while Richard won the award for the Best Mooter and gets his name engraved onto a trophy.  Personally, I didn’t really agree with the decision, firstly because Rachel didn’t get a prize indicating she was the worst of the four and I think she did really well, especially considering she (even the judge agreed) had the hardest part of the argument.  I also thought Ben was probably the best mooter but he was happy with the £50 prize so I suppose it all worked out.  After the moot, Rachel, Tom, Michal and me got a taxi back to Uni and, after thanking Rachel for being my moot partner and commiserating her on the result of the moot finals, I headed back to Goodricke.

Once I got back I thought I would go and say ‘Hi’ to everyone as I hadn’t seen anyone yet.  I knocked on Erin’s door first and she was happy to see me.  She’d been a bit lonely since her boyfriend has left for a three month trip of Japan and Sarah had gone home for a week to revise for her upcoming exams.  I then caught Sophie as she was coming in and she shouted my name which then brought out various other people around the corridor.  Everyone was very happy to see me after a few weeks without me.  At this point it was getting to tea time and I hadn’t eaten yet so I managed to get Sophie, Tim and Erin to agree to come to The Courtyard (the Student Union Bar) to get something to eat.  Sophie and I had a burger and chips and we all chatted about things that had been going on while I’d been away.  We had a good catch-up and I think I’m reasonably up-to-date with all the things that went on while I was away.  After coming back, Sophie and Tim had to get ready to go to a party of someone I didn’t know I think.  So, Erin and I decided to go and watch the Lion King.  Apparently, despite being a Disney fanatic, Erin had never seen The Lion King so I told her she was in for a treat.  We watched the Lion King and both lauged at Timon and Pumbaa who are classic every time.  After that we chatted for a while and then I went back to my very bare room to sleep.

Sadly, although I had planned to go to the Woodstock Music Festival on campus the next day I had to go to work and had to catch the train before everyone was going down.  It was a shame I missed it, apparently it was really good.  As this blog is dragging on quite a bit I think I’ll end this entry here.  I’m not sure it’s very coherent or well written but at least I got most of the stuff that happened down.  It was certainly fun to go back to Uni and see everyone after my considerable length of absence, I’d missed them all very much, even if I only got to stay for just over a day.  I did return again to finally hand in my keys but I’ll leave that tale for another time I guess.  That’s all for now…

Peace Out!

Goodbye Goodricke

June 9, 2009

Greetings!

As of Thursday of this week I finished my last exam and I have finished my first year of Uni, a time for reflection if ever there was one.  Although if you said the word ‘reflection’ to any other York Law student they might be likely to subject you to torture, which is quite a tangent on its own but I suppose I’ll briefly explain.  As part of the sparkling new Law course at York, we had to complete a Learning Portfolio for five of our modules.  What is a Learning Portfolio?  That’s a very good question that many asked for a very long time, the answer early on being ‘If we tell you how to do it then that will defy the point in doing it’.  It turns out that a Learning Portfolio is an 8000 word piece of work explaining how we achieved the various module learning outcomes that we didn’t know about.  As a lead up to this we were supposed to have been keeping some sort of diary about how we were getting on with the modules called a Reflective Learning Journal.  As a result a large amount of our Learning Portfolio was suppose to be dedicated to our ‘reflections’ on different modules.  This basically resulted in us all writing 8000 words of made up rubbish a week before our Learning Portfolio had to be handed in.  It was an unfortunate time for everyone involved.  My friend Hannah said she still has nightmares about it.  Anyhow, after that tangent, I will actually get back to reflecting over my first year of Uni.

I arrived at Uni in October along with my mum, dad, sister and Anna (who came along for moral support or to laugh at me).  I was very scared and nervous upon my first arrival, especially seen as though the place I was about to see would be home for the best part of year and the people I met I was going to be living with throughout that time.  I did choose Goodricke College at my first choice of college when applying to York Uni, basically because it was in the middle of campus.  It turns out a lot of other people didn’t because they knew what it was like.  Despite having a better opportunity to go and look at the colleges than others I never really bothered to check it out and lets just say that Goodricke College D-Block isn’t the best accommodation on campus.  Upon seeing my room, Anna commented that it looked a lot like a cell, which is true enough seen as though the walls are just breeze blocks painted a less than delightful shade of cream.  Also, the less than large kitchen with one cooker and three fridge-freezers intended for all 17 of us seemed like a less than exciting prospect.  Later on in the day we all grouped together in the kitchen and took part in some awkward forced socialising, playing games such as ‘Never Have I Ever’.  However, it all worked out eventually as we got to know each others names and soon made friends.  Fresher’s Week was a really great time as we took in all the sights and sounds of York and went to places that we never intend to go again (Blue Fly for example and personally I’ve never been to Ziggy’s since).  It was an really awesome start to our first term and I think we all enjoyed it immensely.
Corridor Photo

After the turmoil and excitement of the first week things began to settle down and we started to get used to our Goodricke surroundings.  Facing facts it was never the best accomodation and things were never perfect but together we made the best of it.  Thanks to living with so many great people it was easy enough to settle in and my only major trouble was cooking (which I have no talent for).  I’m not even sure what I ate in the first term but I think involved a considerable number of Pot Noodles, plain pasta and tins of beans.  Some may even recall me listening to pasta sauce to hear if was cooking (something that I was later much ridiculed for).  I suppose I also got a number of food parcels from my mum via my dad (who was working in York at the time) which helped tide me over, although these food parcels were resented by many of the others.  With some support I managed to improve my cooking repetoire beyond pasta for the second and third terms so I could actually make some viable meals. 

I don’t feel it would be right to finish talking about the first year without mentioning the Goodricke Bar Reps, my good friends Sophie, Tom, Tim and Sam.  They ran for the position in the Goodricke elections in the year and after winning it took over the duties of the Bar Reps, which mainly involves putting on events in the College Bar, McQs.  Every Monday, they put on a bar quiz that we, as their housemates, faithfully attended.  Personally, I have attended every bar quiz they have ever put on, a feat only matched by Dave I believe.  However, my attendance for the last two quizzes of term as severly endangered by the fact that I’ve come home now (is it worth the train fare?).  I’d also proudly like to say that we have been the most successful quiz team of the year, winning many a quiz and many a cheap bottle of alcohol as a prize.

Bar Quiz Winnings Our Alcohol Winnings at their height
Sadly, people soon began to figure out that we were the Bar Rep’s housemates and started to suspect foul play.  So much so we were booed once for winning (some people are just sore losers).  Our success in the bar quiz, sadly, has never quite been matched in the bonus round, which always involves some sort of bizarre challenge.  It is customary that Dave always does the bonus round no matter what it is, however, he has only one once in a dry cracker-eating contest (which left Dave crying and in great need of a drink).  Other bonus rounds have included a paper aeroplane contest (which we definitely should have won) and recently, in a Student Welfare-themed quiz, I had to hold a banana in my mouth while Dave to put a condom on it (not one of my proudest moments).

I have to say that what I have written is basically a random jumble of memories from my time in Goodricke in first year and not half of the stories I have of my time at Uni but I suppose I’ll keep them for another time.  All in all, the whole year of living in Goodricke and all the things that happened during that time with all the friends I made were fantastic and I can tell I’m going to really miss those times.

My course has also proved to work out quite well.  Apart from the Reflective Learning Journal and the Learning Portfolio that I mentioned earlier things have gone pretty well in this first year.  We were put into groups of 10 at the start of year to form a Student Law Firm, which is basically just a group that your in for practically everything.  My group consisted of Aditi, Ben, Felicity, Frankie, Hannah, Ian, Kate, Rachel and Sam, who fortunately are all great characters and we all managed to get on really well (although we have had some differences between us).  In the style of ‘The Apprentice’ we had to name our Student Law Firm at the start of the year and after some sort of team work exercise we ended up voting for Ab Initio (a latin legal term meaning from the beginning) as our name.  From there on we staked our claim as the best Student Law Firm in York Law School, whether we suceeded is highly debatable but from a purely subjective point of view I think we are (or perhaps that should be ‘were’, as we make new Student Law Firms next year).  I don’t think any of us are looking forward to being split up next year and being put with different people who just won’t understand us, however, I’m sure we’ll managed to survive one way or another.  Ab Initio has been a wonderful group to work with and I think we’ve all helped each other out over the course and especially during the exams.  It’ll be a shame to be broken up but I’m sure we’ll all still get to see each other and stay friends.

Moving onto the future, I’m very much looking forward to the start of next year as we all move into our houses.  It’s a daunting but exciting prospect and not sharing the kitchen with so many people is something I think we are all looking forward to.  I’m happy to say that I will still be living with the lovely ladies, Emma, Erin and Sarah as well as two newcomers in Toni and Chui next year on Cosmo Avenue (which is a pretty cool street name too).  However, I’m also quite sad as living with so many good friends was really great.  I think next year its going to be a bit more of an effort to see each other but I for one will certainly try to keep in close contact.  I certainly wouldn’t want to miss out on any of the fun.  Also, I’m sure I have another fun-filled year of Law ahead of me and if not, well I’m sure I’ll survive.  With any luck next year will be just as good as this year has been and I’ll be sure to do my best to make that the case.

To summarise, I’ve had a really awesome first year at University, I’ve made some awesome friends and I’m quite sad that it’s all over but looking forward to the future. 
That’s about all I’ve got for now…

Peace Out!

End of Exams

June 7, 2009

Greetings!

This is my first post in my new blog, as suggested by Anna and much supported by Danny (a long time fan).  I haven’t been blogging for quite some time and I never really knew what exactly made it entertaining but I thought I might as well give it a go again.

The past couple of weeks have involved revising for exams and sitting exams.  There were four in total, a Criminal Law, Obligations, Property Law and Public Law exam.  Two days (and in some cases longer because Sundays and Bank Holidays don’t count as days because nobody could possible do any sort of work or revision on those days) before the exam we were given a scenario and then the exam questions were based on the issues in the scenario.  Overall, I think the exams were pretty well structured, apart from perhaps Public Law, and I feel that I’ve done reasonably well in all of them.  After our last exam, Public Law, on Thursday finished at around 11:30, fellow Scarborough native Ben Proctor and a few others organised a post-exam barbecue.  Through the art of persuasion they managed to get the Law School to pay £50 for the barbecue and all the food.  The barbecue was suppose to go on from 12 til 5 but as the weather and suddenly become unfortunately cold I went back to Goodricke to change clothes and get a coat.  Frankie then gave me a call telling me to come down and I headed to the field we were suppose to be having the barbecue, when I arrived there was absolutely nobody there and I had to give Frankie a call.  Her and Ian had also arrived to find nobody there because apparently Ben and co. were still out buying the food and the barbecues; so Frankie and Ian decided to go to Derwent Bar to avoid looking odd.  As they were coming back to meet up with me some of the Law tutors approached me asking where the barbecue was, to which I had to explain that I didn’t really know.  I also felt like a massive reject as it looked like I was the only person who had turned up.  The Law tutors then decided to leave to buy a sandwich instead.  Frankie and Ian then turned up, managing to make me feel a little bit less like a loser and we sat on Frankie’s blanket on the grass, apparently Frankie and Ian would have done this earlier but they didn’t want people to think they were on some sort of tragic date.  We then sat and chatted hoping either the food would arrive or other people would arrive to make the situation less dire. 

Eventually, the food did arrive with Ben and Linda carrying bags filled with burgers, sausages, crips, donuts, cakes and gateaux, it seemed we had the potential for quite a feast.  Particularly as there was only a very small number of people around at the time.  Not soon after, if I remember correctly, the Fairfax troupe joined us along with a blanket and sweets and our gathering became a little bit more substantial.  Sam turned up as well as was integral to the lighting of the barbecues as he had to teach Ben and Frankie how to use a lighter and follow the instructions.  Once we actually got the barbecues we then had to wait for them to be ready for use, however, the waiting game soon got boring and we ended up trying to cook some rather horrific looking burgers pretty early.  During this time we actually managed to get a few more people coming and we got a real gathering going on.  Sadly, the barbecue wasn’t going all that well and the burgers had a looked fairly horrible.  Against common sense I ate the first burger of the day in a breadbun with a slice of what was apparently cheese (although as Frankie pointed out it didn’t actually call itself cheese).  The definitely wasn’t the best burger I’ve ever had or what Jonny would call a ‘good burger experience’, however, I think I can count myself fortunate not to end up with food poisoning. 

Not a good burger experience

Not a good burger experience

Nobody else had a burger for a very long-time, which, perhaps says something about the burger that I was given.  Everyone else decided that eating crisps and sweets was probably a better idea.  The poor development in cooking meant that Ben and Linda decided to go and cook some of the food in a kitchen at Derwent.  This was actually a fortunate decision as our barbecue was soon shut down by the man (or the powers that be as stated by security), two members of security came over to us and told us that the land belonged to the University and that we weren’t allowed to have a barbecue on it.  Although there were a number of attempts to argue otherwise this ended up bringing a tragic end to our tragic barbecue as we were forced to put them out.  So, as though the main course was spoiled we moved onto dessert and busted out the iced buns, donuts and cakes.  Eventually, Ben brought out some of the products from their cooking in the kitchen and we did manage to get a few hot dogs and burgers going.  After eating so much low quality food I started feeling quite ill so I decided to stop there.  During all this time, Sam had been drinking cans of Strongbow and somehow managed to get incredibly drunk.  As Sam is a very energetic character at the best of times this turned out to be quite eventful.  Sam ended up doing a variety of gymnastic manoeuvres including numerous attempts at a no-handed cartwheel (which is about as dangerous as it sounds), which he didn’t quite pull off but he didn’t injure himself which may be more impressive.  Sam’s other antics included stinging his feet on nettles by going to the toilet in a bush with bare feet and having a wrestling match with Ben.  Impressively, despite Ben’s massive height advantage and Sam’s very drunken state, Sam managed to stay on his feet the whole time and even managed to floor Ben.  After all this excitement, time was pressing on and as the plan was to catch the train to Leeds at 7:30 for a night out we all decided to head back to our respective homes.  Sam, despite being blathered, insisted that he was going to go play badminton, which against better advice he did. 

Later that evening, there was celebratory night out to Leeds for the end of our exams.  I was in two minds about going but I decided, seen as though I was going home on Friday, that I should do something exciting before I go.  I’m glad to say that I didn’t regret this decision and it was an awesome evening.  I met Ben, Ian and the others in The Courtyard (the Student Union Bar) and then we booked taxis.  Sam was supposed to turn up but after his incredible drunken performance at the BBQ and going to play badminton afterwards we all had our doubts about him.  Felicity managed to turn up, although she sadly missed the barbecue, which was good.  As the taxis arrived Ian and Felicity went to throw a plastic bottle at Sam’s window in an attempt to wake up Sam.  Sam did wake up but it was a bit too late as he wasn’t dressed or anything so we caught the taxi and Sam managed to catch up later.  We arrived at the station and bought our tickets and then had to wait around in the cold for the train to arrive.  Sam managed to catch up before the train and Frankie along with a couple of her housemates turned up in time also.  Frankie’s choice of dress wasn’t all that appropriate for the temperature and so I ended up lending her my cardigan as we stood at the platform.  Eventually the train arrived and after some confusion about which train we were getting on we got on the right train and managed to get to Leeds.

Upon our arrival we headed out to find somewhere, sadly that place ended up being Yates’s which to put it politely had nobody our age in it.  Felicity, Sam and I decided it wasn’t worth the expensive prices in a place we didn’t want to be so we just sat and chatted.  While we were talking Felicity decided that I couldn’t understand sarcasm (although I beg to differ) and so she said that she would wink when she was being sarcastic for my benefit.  This then led to just saying ‘wink’ at the end of sentences or putting them at the end of each other’s sentences to imply something very different from what we were saying.  Such as the time when Felicity said ‘I am not a racist’ to which I replied ‘Wink’.  That was about as much entertainment as we got out of Yates’s and we were glad to move on.  However, as nobody seemed to know where to go we ended up in an almost equally empty Varsity, next to Oceania (our destination for the evening, for the purpose of 80p drinks).  In Varsity, we had a few drinks, sat and chatted, Sam sang every song that cam on, Felicity and I bonded over our shared appreciation of Irn Bru and the lads almost ended up in a fight over a pool table.  After Varsity, we decided to head to Oceania which was next door and get started on some 80p drinks.
Somebody decided that we should start by going to the top floor, where we bought some drinks and watched a few breakdancers have a dance-off (something that doesn’t happen in York so often).  Sam, Felicity and I soon managed to lose everyone in a very short period of time and ended up hitting the dancefloor by ourselves.  There were certainly a few odd characters out that evening, particularly those who were dancing by themselves and some of their dancing was verging on criminal.

Sam & Felicity in Oceania

Sam & Felicity in Oceania

Clearly, the three of us brightened up the dancefloor no end and after some more dancing and little more drinking we managed to attract our other friends back to us.  We managed to dance with Ian, Sarah, Frankie and her housemates before the night was through.  As it approached 3:00 we decided it was time to group together and go, we met up with April who tried to organise everyone and we set off.  Before heading to the train station, Sam went for a late night McDonalds while some of the others went to Subway.  Sam shared his food with Felicity and myself and after trying Sam’s mayonnaise filled chicken burger I started making obscure Pulp Fiction references.  Surprsingly, Felicity actualy knew what I was talking about, suprising because if I’m not talking to Adam or Dan usually my obscure quotations go completely to waste.  We managed to arrive at the train station in time for the last train, although it was later than expected, which is when I found out about what happened to Ben.  He was rather conspicious by his absence and when I asked about where he was Ian told me that he ended up in A&E due to a heart condition.  This was certainly a surprise although I had great faith that he’d be fine.

On the way back, Felicity told us all about the delightful stories in the Metro and we chatted until we were back in York.  Once there, we found there was a horrific queue of people waiting for taxis.  Apparently, someone had ordered taxis but by the look of the queue I felt like we would be waiting for ages.  I suggested walking and Felicity said she would as long as Sam came along too.  With some persuasion and Felicity lending Sam a cardigan she had in her bag we headed off into the early morning.  We made good progress, however, sadly we encountered a chav on a bicycle as we got into town centre.  He decided to stop in front of us bouncing the bike on its rear wheel and asked us ‘Have you ever seen a pro-biker?’.  He then hit Sam in the face with the front wheel of the bike, to which Sam was greatly surprised.  We decided that discretion is the better part of valour and just walked around the guy, while a small group of his friends (who apparently were stood behind us) decided to start swearing at us despite the fact that all we did was have one of us get hit in the face with a bike.  Getting away from that misfortune we walked on discussing how we had all been misled as to what pro-bikers actually do.  Later on the walk we also think we might have seen as pro-rickshaw rider but he seemed considerably less aggressive.  We also decided to climb Clifford’s Tower as Felicity said it was something that we should do in our first year.  It wasn’t the easiest of climbs but we all made it.  We then walked on and eventually arrived at Uni as it was getting bright, it was probably some time past 4:00 by then.  I said goodbye to Sam and Felicity, who I may not see now until next year, and headed back to Goodricke to have a good sleep before leaving later that day.  Overall, it was a really good day and I enjoyed going out with my Law friends for the first time, definitely a good way to spend my penultimate day before leaving.

Peace Out!