Archive for the ‘ My Diary ’ Category

University Achievements

Woo, I finished university with a 2:1! Not a high 2:1, mind, but let’s not talk about that.

I thought this would be as good a time as any to reminisce about all the awesome stuff I did during my three years. Possibly out of a narcissistic need to convince myself that had I focused solely on my work, I would have done better. But, again, let’s not talk about that :p

Well, where to begin…

During my time at university, I’ve been a member of five different choirs:

  1. University Singers
  2. Showstoppers
  3. Sing Out Bristol
  4. The UWE 16
  5. UWE Chamber Choir

I can’t be bothered to work out the exact number, but I’ve been in almost a dozen performances with these fine groups over the past three years (one each with University Singers, UWE 16, and Chamber Choir; and three or four each with Sing Out and Showstoppers). This averages out at roughly one concert per term, which is actually pretty decent going in my opinion.

I’ve also done front of house work for performances I wasn’t a part of – one Sing Out concert and the 2012 UWE musical (which, can I just say, was the weekend before my dissertation was due in and therefore a VERY generous donation of my time).

In a similar performancey vein, I worked for and passed my Grade 6 singing exam. I’m going to be continuing with singing lessons as soon as I get around to finding a teacher ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve been fairly decently involved with Student’s Union activities. I was Welfare Officer for my university’s Student LGBT Network (OutUWE) in my second year and co-President in my third year. I attended two or three NUS LGBT training days and two NUS LGBT student conferences. I attended student council meetings as a representative of OutUWE. I went to every AGM held by my SU,ย  speaking on behalf of a “safe space” motion in my final year.

I made so many amazing friends and fell in love at least once. I lived with the awesomest housemates I’ll probably ever have, in the awesomest house I’ll probably ever live in.

I kind of feel like there should be more, but I can’t be bothered to try and remember it all now. Whatever. The point is, I had an amazing time and I loved every second of it ๐Ÿ™‚

I have returned

Ok, so apparently I haven’t posted anything on here in over five months.

What can I say? The final term of my final year at university was very busy. But it’s all over now, and I have free time again. This means that, with any luck, I’ll be able to start posting here more regularly. I have a lot of opinions on a lot of recent events. But they can wait ๐Ÿ™‚ right now, I want to talk about me!

University’s over! It was, like, super hard but also super good fun. At the moment I’m waiting to hear my results, which come out on Thursday the 28th of June (a week from today). Before exams, my predicted grade was around 63%. I’m hoping that my exams didn’t lower my grade below 60%, which would mean I’d graduate with a 2:1, which would be awesome.

What else… well, I’m single again, unemployed, and living at home. I will most likely continue being all of these things for the next year. I should really be looking for a job (to help fund the MSc I’d like to do next year), but it’s so hard to find the motivation ๐Ÿ˜ฆ this is the first break I’ve had from uni in like a year or something, and I’d really like to work on a few projects of my own before I sell my brain.

It’s getting late now and I’m watching TV, so I’m starting to lose coherence. I’ll post again soon, though. I wanna talk about my summer projects and choosing to be gay and all the reasons Prometheus was both a fantastic film and a tragic disappointment.

Peace out, y’all ๐Ÿ™‚ x

BREAKING NEWS: Jeremy Clarkson “a twat”

So, you think strikers should be shot (in front of their families)? Apparently so. To be fair, though, I think it’d be quite funny if you were run over by an electric car. We’re none of us perfect, eh?

Yup, that’s right, this week Jeremy Clarkson took time out from his busy schedule of homophobia, racism, and misogyny, to remind us that underneath it all, he’s really just an arsehole.

I know this is like two days late, but screw it. I’ve been busy with like a buttload of uni stuff. I was up until 2am last night finishing the draft of a plan of a blog for one of my favourite modules. It’s pretty awesome that I’m writing a blog as a piece of coursework, but I also have to write about all the theoretical aspects of blogging. That’s not much of a downside though, really, because it’s really quite interesting! I’m going to publish the finished blog here, and I might even talk about the theory stuff too! Wouldn’t that be a treat?

In other news, today is World AIDS Day. I don’t really know what to say about that; HIV/AIDS is a massive problem costing too many lives, and words can’t really sum it up.

There have been some really interesting cases lately, though, reminding me that hope is always on the horizon.

My brain is frazzled lately, like, for reals, so I apologise for the lack of posts and the shoddiness of the posted posts. Love x

#nov9 – my protest diary

I write this without any particular political affiliation, but solely as a student who believes that education should be free. This is intended as an account of the mundanities of the day, and as a way for anyone who wasn’t there (but is interested) to put a face to the phenomenon and a personal spin on a story involving thousands.

The demonstration today was organised by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, and was attended by a huge number of students (I’ve heard estimates of up to 10,000). It focused on the recent rise in tuition fees, as well as the scrapping of the EMA, and the various other cuts to education and public services.

Our coach left Bristol at 7.30 in the morning, with around twenty UWE students on board. We arrived in London shortly after 11.00, and were dropped off outside the Tate Britain. After a brief discussion about where the central meeting point was and how we should get there, we began moving. We had only been walking for about fifteen minutes when we reached what appeared to be a police checkpoint (here). We were separated and questioned individually, before being told that we were going to be searched. Fortunately I didn’t have anything of note in my bag (although I did have a lighter, safety pins, and a screwdriver…) and so I was released fairly quickly. I discovered, though, that another member of our group was having less luck. They were, in the end, arrested for possession of an article deemed somehow inappropriate – a pen. Unfortunately, not a joke. Here‘s a pic I took ๐Ÿ™‚

Spirits somewhat dampened, we continued towards the meeting point. Since we were running late I contacted the NUS LGBT representative who had given their details in a prior facebook message, and asked whether the demonstration had begun yet. I received a rapid and very helpful response, for which I’m grateful, and within minutes we had reached the head of the march. As it began, we attached ourselves to its front.

Progress was slow. The police line at the front of the march set the pace, and we continued in this fashion for a little while. As we passed Trafalgar Square, people began deviating from the proposed route and entering the square itself. We followed, and by the time we reached the base of Nelson’s Column tents had already been set up and protesters surrounded the area. Shortly after this, though, the main body of the march had been redirected away from the square. We waited in the area for half an hour or so, until the march had completely passed by. Nothing else seemed to be happening in the Trafalgar Square area, so we decided to move on. Before we headed after the rest of the demonstration, though, we had a look round. The police had blocked all rounds into and out of the Southern half of the square; using officers, horses, and vans. Having satisfied our curiosity, we continued after the rest of the march.

It didn’t take us long to catch up, but when we did we found that the dynamic had shifted considerably. The police had broken the demonstration up into smaller groups, each with mounted police at the front and riot police at the back. We spent a significant portion of time travelling in this manner. There were lines of police blocking every side road, standing behind railings and riot shields. The police wore helmets and balaclavas, which was honestly just a bit rude considering that they’d told us repeatedly that they’d be making full use of Section 60 to remove any masks and facial coverings worn by protesters.

Kettles began forming, but fortunately we were slightly ahead of our group and weren’t caught inside. Further waiting ensued, whilst we tried to discern if the group was being allowed to move. After a while we tried to move round to another side of the kettle, but the police lines there were just as strong. Instead, we decided to try and rejoin the main bulk of the protest.

When we rediscovered the main group, around Moorgate, I was unsurprised to find that they had been completely kettled. We spoke to some other stragglers outside the kettle and discovered that the march had been prevented from passing St. Pauls, despite the fact that it was clearly part of the agreed route. Unwilling to simply wait at the back, outside the kettle, we decided to head round to see if we could find the front of the demonstration again. We did, but it seemed that the crowd’s energy was pretty low.

It was getting late, so we began to head back to the coach. On the way, we stopped at St. Pauls to see the occupation. It was smaller than I’d imagined, but the crowd there was lively and interesting. We headed to Trafalgar Square before the coach as well, and saw the taxi drivers. They had also planned an action for today, and were blocking all of the roads towards the square. This action was unrelated to the students protests, and was in fact to do with a problem they had been having involving the council’s refusal to deal a legal dispute of their own. This was also the first time I’d ever seen a police lorry. I didn’t even know they existed.

We got back to the coach just in time, and managed a safe and speedy journey back to Bristol. All in all, I’d have to say that I’m glad I was there. The tone of the protest was very different to that of the protests I’d attended last year, most likely due to the sheer number of police. The entire route had been lined with police officers, often standing behind barricades. In many ways it wasn’t a march at all, but more of a moving kettle. The mounted police officers were nothing new, but the dog unit (pics here and here) was a bit of a shock, as was the checkpoint we encountered at the beginning of our day.

As is becoming common practice, we were treated rudely and roughly (and for what, daring to exercise our freedom?). The entire atmosphere generated by the police before and during the demonstration was one of intimidation, from the threats we received about the authorisation of the use of rubber bullets, and the letters sent to the people’s homes warning them away from the protest and threatening them with arrest if they were caught attending, to the indiscriminate arrests and disproportionate police presence. A legitimate protest became an exercise in crowd control.

It is during times like these, however, that the preservation of the right to protest seems to become the most important. Bring on November 30th!

Back to the old grind!

hi all! How have we been? And what about this crazy weather, eh? I’ve been absolutely loving it. I’m definitely a warm weather person.

And hey, yeah, we’re back at uni! Lectures and that have been running for a week now, and I’m already really enjoying myself. This year is looking to be really busy, but I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be a good’n. First year was really good fun, and second year was even more fun than that, so it doesn’t take a genius to work out that third year should be the most funnest of all :p

I guess I do have a lot to do this year. Of the four modules I’m taking this year, the two mandatory modules (Interpretation of Forensic Evidence and my final year project) are going to be ALOT a lot of work. The two other modules are, I think, the dossiest ones I could have chosen (fingers crossed) so that should be alright.

Don’t worry about me being bored though, or having too much free time. For, you see, I have several other commitments/goals this year. Not least of all, I’m currently a (co)President of UWE’s LGBT Student Network. That’s going to require a lot of work, but I’m more than certain that it’ll be worth the effort.

What else, what else… oh yeah, I should really be doing some research into what I’m going to do with my life after this year. I guess that’d entail doing some work on my CV, looking up what kind of jobs I’d be interested in/employers who might be interested in hiring me etc. That is, of course, unless I decide to continue my eddycation. I’d quite like to study Entomology, and I’ve seen an MSc course or two that could work. But then I have to get in contact with whatever institution is offering the course in order to find out details, and researching whether or not a Masters degree would be likely to do me any good in the long run and whether it would be worth the money and blah blah blahhh BLEURGH.

There’s more, obviously. This year I plan on (re)joining a few choirs: one university choir I couldn’t go to last year due to a timetable clash, one university choir I was in last year, and Sing Out Bristol. Three choirs at a time… how exciting! Since secondary school I’ve usually been in at least one (and often two) during term time, but never three. How crazy rebellious am I?ย I’m also going to be carrying on with my singing lessons. With some solid practicing, and a little bit of luck, I reckon I can take a good shot at Grade 8 by the end of the academic year.

Throughout all of this I will, of course, be shopping, cooking, socialising, blogging and dating. That’s why a candle has two ends, right?

There’s a good chance that in ten months time I’ll look back at this and curse my stupidity and naivetรฉ, but if it happens it happens and I’ll have learned a valuable lesson ๐Ÿ™‚

Pride Bristol 2011 – a record of my day

Sorry this post is so long and rambly, it’s a first draft that I wrote whilst watching tv and can’t be bothered to be rewrite.

Saturday (the 16th of July, 2011) was Bristol Pride.

I woke up nice and early, looked out the window, and saw that it was pouring with rain. Cats. And. Dogs.ย I should have had breakfast, but I didn’t feel too hungry and I was in a bit of a rush.

The first thing I had to do was dye my hair. I’d bleached it the night before in preparation, and bought a pot of green dye. It was a different brand than I normally use, and it was about twice the price, but I was persuaded because it said it fluoresced under UV light… and apparently I’m attracted to shiny, glowy things.

I combed the dye into my beautiful blond locks and then washed it out again after the required period of time, only to discover that the dye had barely taken in my hair. The overall effect was odd, and fairly unimpressive. No matter, though. I didn’t have time to try again.

I got dressed in ma new jeans (tenner from Matalan) and my UWESU t shirt, picked up my obscenely heavy backpack (which was filled with books to put on our stall) and left the house. It was, of course, raining. I was a little worried about how this would affect the turnout of Pride Day.

I arrived in town at about 11.25. I was supposed to be meeting the other members of Sing Out Bristol in Queen Square at 11.45, but first I had to collect the wristbands from Castle Park. I rushed over towards the park, gradually realising that even though the sky was grey and cloudy the weather was actually quite warm. The fact that I was wearing a massive jacket and lugging around a heavy backpack may have had something to do with it.

It only took me a couple of minutes to get to the park, but getting intoย the park was a different matter. The park was fenced off for the day, and I found myself having to ask a nearby Pride Bristol steward where I was supposed to be going and where the nearest entrance was. They directed me to a point just down the road in search of a yellow building, so off I went; ever mindful of the time.

I reached an entrance just a minute or so later. At this entrance was another steward, skilfully turning away members of the public who were unaware of the day’s events. I explained to him the sitch and he kindly let me in, pointing me towards the yellow building. I headed off in the indicated direction, increasing my speed as I noticed how late I was getting. I passed the large, rainbow coloured, “Community Tent” and paused to say hi to the volunteers from UWE’s Equality + Diversity Unit, who had a stall of their own there. I confirmed that I was heading in the right direction, and carried on moving.

After a couple of minutes, I saw it. The yellow building. I reached it and found there was a queue to get in, which was a bit of a pain. I checked my watch, noting the time as about 11.35. The queue dissipated very quickly and I came to someone who seemed to be in charge.

“I’m volunteering on a stall this afternoon,” I explained, “and I need to pick up my wristbands.”

“What stall are you on?” the nice lady asked.

“I’m on the OutUWE stall.”

“That’s run by the Community Tent, you can pick up your wristbands there.”

And I was all like : |

So I jogged back over to the Community Tent. By now I was really starting to heat up inside my jacket, but I didn’t have time to slow down and cool off! I reached the community tent and was quickly directed to the person I should have spoken to in the first place. She gave me the envelope with the wristbands in, and I hurried off towards Queen Square.

Checking my watch, I was confident that I wouldn’t be (too) late. I was walking quickly, and it didn’t take me longer than five minutes to reach the square. However, when I did reach the square I was a little disappointed. The crowds were almost non-existant, and I was really worried that the turnout would be low. I hadn’t heard from anyone I was supposed to be on the stall with, so I decided to head to the small corner where people were congregating.

The crowd was bigger than I’d first thought, and as soon as I reached it I spotted the choir. I headed over to join them, and was immediately impressed by how wonderfully people had dressed up.

I wandered into the crowd quickly to find OutUWE’s treasurer, who was volunteering selling wristbands. I had a brief conversation with her before receiving a message from my vice-president. He’d just arrived with his boyfriend, and I met up with them quickly to give him his wristband, and then I headed back to the choir.

We circled up and did a quick warm up, and then decided to have a bit of a sing. A friend told me afterwards that they’d really enjoyed our singing, and they thought that it had really added to the atmosphere.

We waited in Queen Square for another half an hour or so, while more people turned up. By the time the parade left at about 12.20, the square was impressively busy. I marched along with Sing Out Bristol, all of us wearing feather boas and singing as we went. The weather was already starting to pick up, and I was having a really great time.

We got to Castle Park just before 1.00, and I headed over to where the OutUWE stall was supposed to be. I looked into the tent, but oh no! We didn’t have a table! I was all like :O

I left the job of finding a table with my vice-president, since I had to meet up with Sing Out. The choir was due to perform on the main stage at 2.00, and we had to be ready backstage by 1.30. I changed out of my UWE t shirt and made my way to the backstage area and met up with the rest of the choir. We were all really looking forward to performing, and when 2.00 came we bundled onto the stage with excitement.

The performance went well. We’d done better, but it was definitely nothing to be ashamed of. I was stuck in the back, but it was cool. The basses looked fantastic with their canes and hats, and the rest of us were gorgeous in our boas ; ) we only did like six songs and I would have loved to have done more, but it was still amazing fun.

After we’d performed I went to see how we were getting on finding a table.ย By now, other members of the OutUWE committee had started to show up. My wonderful co-President Stuart had arrived with our second vice-president, and we decided to head to Wilkinson’s to see if we could buy a cheap table. It was quite important for us to get a table, you see, since I’d brought like a million booklets I wanted to show off (hence the super-heavy backpack) and Stuart had brought something like 160 cupcakes.

Stuart and I headed out of the park and down the hill towards Wilkinson’s. It was great to see so many homos in town, and the sun was really shining by this point. We searched Wilkinson’s but couldn’t find any appropriate tables, so we decided to head back to the park. When we got there, we were overjoyed to discover that one of our vice-presidents had managed to blag a table from the organisers!

We set the table up in the Youth Area, spreading the booklets and cupcakes out. We didn’t get much interest at first, but whenever I saw someone I knew I called them over. Volunteers from the UWE Equality + Diversity stall came over too, and soon enough our stall was getting some attention.

I decided to get a drink, but after I finished it I realised that I hadn’t eaten anything yet. I went for a wander and got some Chinese, which was pretty nice :p ooh, I do love me some chow mein X)

Back at the stall, we continued to get interest for a little while longer. As other stalls began to pack up we decided to do the same. We headed into the crowd to enjoy the show on the main stage.

Clare Maguire was performing. I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of her before, but she was amazing! In fact I’m listening to her on Spotify right now :p

Of course the act everyone was excited for was Kelis. She was due to come on at 7.00, and by by then the crowd had grown hugely. At around 7.15 she came on, and let me just say that she. was. awesome. Seriously, SO good! She performed all of the three songs of hers I knew, and a load of other stuff. Her DJ was absolutely fantastic as well. Hearing Milkshake over Madonna’s “Celebration” was just… ach, perfect. And boy, can the girl dance! Not in the choreographed way that female pop singers are supposed to be able to dance, but in the gorgeous way that gorgeous people dance to real music. Everything was just… SO good.

After Kelis was finished I said my goodbyes and headed home. I was planning on heading out later, but first I needed to get rid of my bag, have dinner and freshen up. I was back home by 9.00ish I think, and grabbed a pizza from co op. I chilled out for an hour or so before getting changed and heading back into town.

The plan was to meet friends at the Queenshilling, and I got there at about 11.00. There was, unfortunately, some drama that meant one of my friends had to leave. I stayed with the other two for a while, visiting the new Bent bar. I wasn’t a massive fan, to be honest. Really, the best thing about it was the sexy rugby player at the bar. We didn’t stay there too long, just long enough to have a drink and dance to a little Gaga.

Our next stop was omg, which was PACKED. Unfortunately, it was so packed that I quickly lost my friends in the crowd. The signal in omg is terrible as well, so I couldn’t contact them by phone. I ran into a couple of friends from choir and hung out with them briefly, but I was tired and decided to head home.

And that was my Pride Day ๐Ÿ˜€

13.07.2011 (Wednesday)

hey wurld X). It’s an exciting week for me, so I thought I’d write a diary style thingy.

I came back to Bristol on Monday. I took the coach, which takes about five hours :/ but it’s quiet and calm, and doesn’t involve any rushing around on the London Underground.

I came back because this week is Pride Week in Bristol, which I’m WELL excited about. I really enjoyed Bristol Pride last year, and this year’s Pride looks to be even more awesome. Kelis is playing, which I’m looking forward to. Sing Out Bristol is performing too, tomorrow and on pride day (Saturday).

Plus, if that wasn’t already exciting enough, I’m volunteering on pride day. Our university’s LGBT society has been given a stall in the “Youth Area”, which I’ll be manning with my co-President and various other committee members. It’s going to be a busy day, but I have absolutely no doubt that it’s going to be an amazing day too ๐Ÿ˜€

Let’s see… what else is going on in my life?

I’m slowly working my way through Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series. I’m nearing the end of Wizard and Glass, which is the fourth book in the series (there are seven in total). It’s absolutely fantastic. Stephen King is, without question, my favourite contemporary writer. He’s written like 70 books, and I’ve read like 15, which means I’ve got a long way to go.

Oh yeah, and being back in Bristol means I’m cooking for myself again. It’s weird, I’m really enjoying it (but apparently I enjoy everying ^^ so I guess it’s not that weird at all). I’ve been trying to eat super healthy: fruit for breakfast, proper vegetables with my lunch, salad for dinner, that kind of thing. The problem is, though, that it is leaving me really hungry and I’ve been snacking through the day. Not specifically unhealthy snacking, just eggs&bacon or cereal, but still I feel like I’m kind of missing the point.

Ooh, I got my hair cut. Is that interesting enough to mention here? The haircutting man remembered me, which was nice. He’s a very good haircutter. He did a good job on my hair, anyway. It’s nice and short again, which I like. I’m thinking about dying it for Pride. I’m going to head into town tomorrow morning and pick up some bleach and some green dye.

Oh yeah, that reminds me! I got some new jeans at the weekend, and dyed one pair green :D. It didn’t work perfectly, but it definitely worked well enough. They’re a kind of blue/yellowy-green now, and they’re nice and comfortable too. I’m hoping they’ll replace my old baggy jeans, which were the most comfortable jeans I’ve ever owned but a little short in the leg.

What else, what else…

Well, I passed my singing exam. Apparently my mark was about 85/100, which is a merit. I’m pretty happy with that, since I did make a few stupid mistakes (i.e. forgetting the words of one of my songs – d’oh!). This means that I can attempt to get my Grade 8 before I finish uni, which I would absolutely love.

I’m still committed to this celibacy thing. It hasn’t been that difficult tbh, since I haven’t really been swamped with offers :p

Ok, I think that’s it for now. Originally I wanted to update this blog at least once a week, but I’ve been really stuck for ideas lately. I’ve got a load of unfinished posts about random things like death, the apocalypse, and what I want to do after uni, but I haven’t been able to get them to a standard I feel comfortable publishing. I rushed through my last post, the vegetarianism one, and that one didn’t turn out so good. I’ll try harder from now on : )

 

Also: world, wurld, wirld, werld. Isn’t that weird?