Friday, 18 April 2014

A Retrospective and Amended View of my Life Thus Far (Part 2- Music)

Following on from my bout of self reflection, this post shall be about music. To remind ourselves of what on Earth I was wittering on about in January 2010, here is an excerpt:

2. Music: Music was big thing for me in 2009. My tastes have drastically altered. I have stopped listening to DragonForce, much to the delight of some of my peers. I have also discovered my love of all jazz and swing, and have decided on Michael Buble as inspiration. I now have a severe dislike for R and B, because lets face it is both overplayed and overrated. I have discovered a whole bunch of new bands like the Royal Crown Revue, but most notably was the only NES-rock band in existence, the amazing 'I fight Dragons'.

 Needless to say, the music tastes expressed above are somewhat... antique. To start, DragonForce is well and truly out the window. I do very occasionally listen to Fury of the Storm (like once a year) for the purposes of nostalgia, but that's it. As for the Jazz and Swing phase, that has moved on to an extent, giving way to an altogether new stage of my tastes. What is it? I have no idea. People have said gypsy, but I don't think that entirely catches it. Many of the bands I like at the moment have some element of carnival influence or equally unusual sounds, and I think this comes from a longing for something to break the monotony of pre-packaged, individually wrapped slices of utter boredom the popular music industry is churning out these days.

I like liking bands that nobody has heard of. It shows that I'm not just another chump who is told what to like and how many times I should listen to it by Radio 1, before it becomes hilariously 'last week' and the trendy kids begin to devour the new zeitgeist before I realise what is cool. I like small bands. Bands that are made of real people, that because of their smallness, one can get a genuine insight into the way they work and what kind of people they even are. I don't have to pick up their autobiography in waterstones for £19.99 to know what flavour crisps is their favourite, there is a realistic chance I may get to ask them in person, if that was something I truly desired to know. For some reason, I don't tend to idolise many famous musicians, because I can't really relate to them. The only  musicians with worldwide success I truly enjoy are the likes of Tom Waits, for his famous 'screw you producers, I'm going to hit some tin cans and punch a piano and it everyone's going to love it' approach; and Gotye, for his personal video blogs into the way he works with music as if he is creating art and his refusal to pigeon-hole his music. And even then, sadly, nobody is aware of his finest work because its not that one that we all heard a thousand times on the radio. But I digress...

I like Tankus the Henge! I've met them at various gigs I've been to, and their lead singer signed my accordion. Magical.

I like MynieMoe! Chris Otero and Ben Jones. Two apparently ordinary blokes with a talent for making me do nothing else but listen to the music they make. The addition of a sousaphone? Brilliant. Grab the drummer from Origami Dinosaur and the Slytones? Brilliant. I've met them too.

Town of Cats? Saw them playing with MynieMoe in Brighton. Ended up supporting their EP launch with my new band (I'll get to that) and sleeping in their house. Fantastic.

There are more that I could rattle on about. The point I'm making is that I appear to have placed relatively ordinary people who make sublime music on a pedestal equal to.. I don't know... a Take That fan's love and respect for Take That? With this in mind, I have met and interacted with my own personal celebrities in a way that has made music and its pursuit all the more incredible for me. I know that the kind of music I like now is the fully mature being that grew from my earlier tastes for one reason- the music I write, the music I hear in my head and the lyrics I choose all fit into this genre, whatever it is- and that feels very nice.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A Retrospective and Amended View of my Life Thus far (Part 1)

How does one go about summarising the changes in my life over the last three or four years? Looking back through the posts in my blog, I find it acts as a constant source of entertainment and a reminder of all the good times I have had with dear friends. Fortunately for me, a younger version of myself, sat waiting in Atlanta airport for a connection flight back to the UK, caught in the throngs of yet another family holiday, created a handy template for such a summary- one which I shall endeavour to repeat. In this short run of 2014 blog posts, I shall be offering a series of rebuttals that address the points of summary I was making back on Sunday, January 3rd, 2010.

Let us begin.

"Churston: Well, my first section of 2009 was spent at churston grammar school. I had a great time with friends and stuff at that school, and as strange as it sounds, I will genuinely miss that place. All that arsing around with Alan and Wade in the music and art room. Me and Wade got caught with a gun in school, that was fun too. See further back in the blog for what that was all about! Also, my A levels turned out great. We even turned the 6th form room into a barn for the last day, complete with hay and all. The worst part was parting with my dearest friends, that is tough. But hey, I still see them now and then."

So, education then. Well we all know I don't go to Churston anymore. I went originally straight from there to study at Bath University, only to leave after my first year for reasons which are detailed here. I then spent a year living back in Devon, working at Wetherspoons in Brixham. During that year I decided that I wanted to become a primary school teacher, and set about applying for university courses. As we know, I ended up at Reading University on a four year BA(Ed) with an art specialism. Little did I know, I would meet the girl I had always dreamed of having, make some great new friends and generally find happiness all round.

I am now three out of four years in, and after spending two years at two separate universities being a fresher, I am finally progressing like a normal person and dauntingly so, a future in which I am a real person who pays taxes and works a full time job is a distinct reality. How very peculiar.

I have always regarded the endurance of my friendships as a particularly strong aspect of my life, and as the years have passed I am happy to report that this has remained so. Ever present characters that appear throughout the archives of my blog such as Ricky, Wade and Big G are now my housemates here in Reading. I still have contact with  my dearest friends from back in Devon, Sam, Phil and Lee, and we always catch up for a pint when we can. (Happy 26th Lee you old sod!)

Well there we are, point number one sufficiently addressed. Stay tuned!

Monday, 4 February 2013

The return of Haaziq the Snowman

Today, I looked through a couple of my old blog posts. Somebody remarked on my relatively whimsical writing style, so I figured it couldn't hurt to briefly resume.

I don't like the new blogger interface. It is too new, and looks too simple and easy to use. Bring back old and complex, I say. Alas, it can't be helped.

In other news, I saw on facebook today that one of my old Eastwood 4 housemates, Haaziq Basir, has set the photo of 'Haaziq the snowman' as his profile picture. I found this rather intriguing for a number of reasons:

  • I haven't seen Haaziq for a number of years, so the photo is by no means current
  • Haaziq was just the nickname Tom, Phil and myself gave to the snowman in his absence
  • As a direct result, Haaziq himself is not actually in the picture
  • After having a quick stalk, Haaziq clearly HAS pictures of himself on his page that are good enough to choose over a snowman that we built..
  • The original snowman has of course melted
Its little things like this that make me chuckle. Thanks Haaziq!

Yes, this is currently the profile picture of someone I haven't seen for years. The snowman itself is not even a good likeness.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

You deserve an explanation

Re-reading my prior post, it is easy to understand how one may reach the conclusion that I died of happiness on Thursday 29th of March. To be honest, that is not actually far from the truth; although I can assure you that the 'happiness-based death' was purely meant as a metaphor.

"Well... well.. well... " says as much as I was feeling at the time. A kind of empty-headed, vacuous train of thought. I was entirely dumbfounded by a turn of events that I had only hoped for in dreams; perhaps the kind of feeling a man might get when he thinks he has won the lottery, but still has that biting thought that he may be mistaken.

As it turns out, I wasn't mistaken at all. If only my self from Thursday 29th of March could see how well things have turned out, I daresay he would have never made it to the keyboard to type the word 'well.' He would have exploded, causing considerable water damage to many of his possessions including the computer. We can all agree that would have been particularly annoying.

Her name is Emily by the way.

Thursday, 29 March 2012





Somebody just made me feel like the luckiest person on this planet.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Human Buckaroo

At the studio on tuesday, we went to our usual spot to eat our lunch. There is a cafe on campus that has an area with some beanbags and imitation grass, so we eat there and hang out.

Although I must point out that the rule is 'NO PICNICS' and there are numerous signs attempting to guilt trip you like "you wouldn't bring your own food into a restaurant"... but to be honest I really couldn't give a firetruck. We do it anyway because the campus does not provide a designated area for eating packed lunches. Also, not all of us bring packed lunches so the ones who buy food would be left out.

Anyway, it is tradition for people to have a rest on the beanbags in between studio time. Charles, the only other person on my course with a Y chromosome, often takes 'resting' a step too far. He has been known to fall asleep, and it is common practice to play human buckaroo on anyone who is asleep. For those of you unfamiliar with human buckaroo, you just keep putting things on them until they wake up.

A classic example was Big G. We got drunk while watching Flubber, and I bet him he couldn't fall asleep on the kitchen floor. Well, I lost the bet, but we had a good game of Human Buckaroo with kitchen utensils.

He eventually woke up when I put a cold spoon on his face. Damn. Charles on the other hand, does not drink, and has no excuse for such a heavy amount of sleeping. I mean come on, it was the middle of the day! well, I won't keep the suspense much longer.

As he fell asleep, we put apple cores on his hands. He didn't realise. In fact, we exhausted our supply of lunchtime rubbish on him. We then all looked at eachother with a knowing glance. We slowly picked up our things, and made our way...

We snuck away. It was hilarious. That'll teach him to fall asleep near us!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Re-educating James Wade with Wumpa Fruit and Lame Snakes

Today Wade was over and we played some of my video games. It surfaced that Wade, coming from a childhood that was rather lacking in consoles, has never played the vast majority of games I consider 'essential' to have played in order to count as a human.

First in line was Crash Bandicoot 1. 

Wade said he recalled playing it back when supermarkets had creches... I told him this was simply not good enough. We started playing, and it soon became clear to me that Wade was having considerable difficulty performing even the most simple of tasks, such as jumping to avoid obstacles. For quite a while he was just muttering to himself "why am I so sh*t?..."

The whole charade quickly became a to and fro between us, as Wade consistently lost a whole bunch of lives and then me having to earn them all back. For the first 15 levels or so, we were hovering around the 3-5 lives remaining mark. 

Although, at points, I was impressed with Wade's enthusiastic approach to play. After navigating a reasonably challenging part of the course in one go (one that even I have trouble with) he recklessly dived straight back down the cliffside to retrieve ONE wumpa fruit he had missed. For those who aren't sure, wumpa fruit (colloquially referred to as 'apples' by crash noobs) are the staple item for collection, similar to coins in mario, rings in sonic, and gems in spyro. 

The whole game is littered with them and the is no extra points for getting all of them apart from the standard rule of 100 fruit makes one more life. The only instance where one would dare to return for ONE wumpa fruit is if you are on no lives and have 99 wumpa fruit. We nearly did have to do that anyway at one point.

Also something we noticed was how well rendered the bats were in the game, compared to the snakes. Considering that the game in Wade's words is "old as f*ck" (not sure how old 'f*ck' is, apparently mid 90s?), the bats look fairly realistic. However, the snakes are hilarious. They just pop up, sway and wiggle their tongues non-threateningly at you.

As we progressed through the levels, Wade slowly picked it up and pulled me out of sticky situations a few times. I know feel that Wade is part of the way to honorary 90s child status. Its a long road and there are many games he missed out on, but we have plenty of time and if Bro House is anything to go by, we'll get there some day.