Fresher’s Week

30 09 2007

It has been a good week so far. I have spent most of it doing social things such as hanging out with my wicked new housemates Helen and Adam, and the people who used to live in the house too. I have been drinking almost every night so am subsequently knackered but happy, it’s wicked to be in such a happy social house.

My parents were here this weekend, and to be honest I am very glad they chose this year to visit because it’s the best house by far and I’ve got the biggest room which is fantastic. We went out for an Indian last night and a few drinks and it was great hearing all about their experiences at uni! Well my Mum’s anyway my Dad never went to uni haha. I do really miss my family, it’s only when you move away do you realise how much.

Dan was here as well this weekend, and when I spent Saturday with my family he went to see his family and the new baby. I wish I could’ve spent more time with him but unfortunately he isn’t a student bum and has to work tomorrow. Sad face. He did, however, take me to this amazing restaurant called Miyango for my birthday on Friday. His friend manages it and he got us an amazing booth and a fantastic bottle of wine. The meal was fantastic, and we shared red snapper and scallops for starters, then I had a main course of tea smoked paneer and he had tuna steak. It was absolutely amazing. But the dessert was the best part. Dan had asked them to make me 5 little desserts (creme brulee, chocolate souffle, a kind of vanilla set mousse, and two others I can’t remember haha) with ‘Happy Birthday’ written above them in raspberry coulis. It was the best birthday cake I have ever had, mainly because it wasn’t a cake. I have never had anyone be so thoughtful and considerate like this before.

Currently I am gearing up for next week, first lecture tomorrow and I really have to buckle down this year. But I also have boxing on Tuesday I am really looking forward to, especially because Martin will kick my unfit arse into shape! And in a really geeky way, I am looking forward to visiting the library and seeing if there are any new books and periodicals. Ah my inner super geek will reign this year.


The Guilt Chronicles Part One: Charity vs. Greed

23 09 2007

Typical Sunday, flicking through the magazine that comes with the Sunday Times newspaper when I come across this amazing article about the women of Darfur and their ordeal at the hands of the Janjaweed bandits. It’s horrific. But not as horrific as what was on the following page: an advertisement persuading the reader to buy £100 worth of wine. Charity vs. Greed, the Grudge Match. Whoever has £100 to spend on 12 bottles of wine is obviously someone who has more money than sense, and there are a lot of people who could really use that money to good avail.

But then I’m just as bad, I don’t give because it seems a bit pointless seeing as I’m living off borrowed money anyway. It’s the guilt kicking in again. I can’t go and physically help for fear of being kidnapped, because believe me that fear is very very real. The first year of Egypt it felt like we were in danger (although I am highly paranoid), and needed an armed escort everywhere we went. But that’s another story. So the only other option is to give my money. But then I feel bad because it seems like I’m just another one of those people who thinks they can solve problems by opening their cheque books. There are too many of those people in this world already, but then without them there would not be the quantity of aid available.

It seems the dilemmas are never ending. I suppose that’s where personal choice and convenience kicks in.

Moving in….

20 09 2007

So I’m moving in on Monday, coincidentally my birthday. I am more nervous now I know there is potentially someone difficult in the house already. Also nervous about dissertation and just generally everything. I seem to be mostly fuelled by nervous energy, worrying and guilt. Just like everyone else.

Shell Step: The Finale

18 09 2007

The final Shell Step presentation was the week before last, and I was absoutely dreading it. It was awful waiting to give the presentation, because one of my ex-colleagues from the SCBC (small company in a big company) was there watching, and considering how awfully they treated us it was hard to say what they had done and knowing everything I was saying was going to go straight back to my ex-boss. It was one of the most scary presentations I have ever done. But I got through it it seems.

The reaction to my presentation was actually quite positive, because I presented the problems in a positive way and detailed how I got through them by team work (with another girl who was on Shell Step there with me) they were on my side. Which was surprising. A small company owner even said to me “They sound like they need a good kick up the arse. When you take on a Shall Step student you take on the responsibility of giving that student something they can take away and be proud of.” I could not have said it better myself.

I was shaking as I gave my presentation, and then the worst thing that could’ve happened….. happened. One of the judge asked “This difficult colleague seems to feature a lot in your skills tracker diary and your final report, how did you manage their behaviour?” I froze. I could feel the ex-colleague looking at me from the back of the room and I was desperately thinking “What can I say without absolutely slating her best mate and making myself look like a complete idiot?” I am ashamed to admit it, but I squirmed. Badly. I said “urrm” a lot, and the best I could come out with was: “To be honest I just ignored it and made sure I had all her work done first so she couldn’t say anything.” At least, I think it was something like that but I’m not sure. I was so blinded by this question it was like being a rabbit in the headlights, confidence shaken.

After the presentation the ex-colleague wouldn’t look me in the eye, and she dashed off pretty quickly. I’m still not sure if it was embarrassment or she was so mad at me that she couldn’t look at me. Either way, I haven’t heard from them since and that makes me ask the question: Is that a good or bad thing?

Drugs and Music

3 09 2007

There’s been a lot of hassle lately about Amy Winehouse and her heroin addiction but it has to be asked: Does drug addiction make music more interesting? Just look at Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. They were absolute legends who changed music completely in so many different ways, and they all died of drug overdoses.

But then there is the other side of the coin: the people who are drug addicts who do not make it anywhere, such as Pete Doherty and Courtney Love. They are not really famous for anything, because neither makes memorable or even good music. Oh wait, they slept with a lot of famous people, does that make them famous too? It looks like it.

While intense pain does seem to lend a lot to performances, such as Winehouse’s deep mournful voice, along with it comes gig and festival cancellations and mass media frenzy. The media loves that they fall out of clubs and hotels off their faces, and in Amy’s case fall out of hotels whilst physically fighting with her husband. Does this make their music more interesting? Maybe. Maybe because they fool idiots like me into believing she really is in pain and that her music is a reflection of this.

Maybe. But does buying her album condone her drug use? What about all the artists who use drugs who are not open about it, like the Blur bassist who only revealed the facts about his drug fuelled days a couple of weeks ago? Should we boycott them too? This may even be a clever marketing ploy to make people buy more of her albums. Either way, someone is making money off her suffering, but then the arguement is that she brought it upon herself by willingly doing the drugs. Winehouse’s parents are so involved as well, how does she cope with that? If my parents walked in on me smoking heroin in a hotel room with a call girl I would die on the spot of shame because I had disappointed my parents and let them down immensely.

Winehouse obviously needs to recover, and this endless paparazzi hounding is not helping matters. I wish we didn’t live in a society that called for 24/7 observation of people. That’s what Big Brother is for.

Shell Step: Preparation

2 09 2007

Scotland was amazing, have only just got back with the family. It was lovely. A lot of lovely things have happened lately, like I went out for a meal with a couple of the Home Girls last night and we ended up talking about our futures and where we expect ourselves to be in the future. Exciting but daunting stuff!

Anyway, whilst I was in Scotland I had to prepare and send my Shell Step presentation about my work placement, and I really tried my hardest to make my placement sound exciting, while at the same time get across the fact that we had been badly managed from day one. It was difficult. Now I am rehearsing it for the finals on Tuesday. I have no hope of winning, but I am going to try anyway as that’s all I can do. It would be cool just to get presentation feedback, and see if I have improved on last time.

Anyway the sun is shining and I should be out there. That is the plan for today: rehearse, go outside, await friends arrival, chill, rehearse, go to bed. Perfect Sunday behaviour.