Sunday, October 31, 2010

Once Upon A Dream..

Snow WhiteImage by joedawson via FlickrThe adventures in Newcastle are to be continued... We enjoy the city too much, the [birthday] reunion didn't have Carnage like last year but it wrote it's own chapter in folklore. I was up early on Saturday morning like a child at Christmas, hardly able to contain the excitement I decided to head into town and pay bills, purchase plimsolls and return with McDonalds! An emphatic start, although our engines then stalled until the afternoon. A letter of apology was issued from 'cat girl', following her antics at the house party. I don't think she really needed to apologies as she was one of the highlights! It's a shame that the Guiness Book of Records weren't present when we ate lunch at a Chinese as we consumed the fastest all-you-can-eat meal ever. This was largely due to the happy hour/pricing applied! With hunger locked away, we returned to the house that my partner's cousin shares with friends. The place is incredible, spacious and features a scenic balcony, every essential necessary for student accommodation! Drinking games were introduced, I wasn't familiar with the rules but had a fair attempt before the taxis arrived to take everyone to Digital, Newcastle. The night was running smoothly until security nearly derailed everything. Confusion over the queues meant that I was banished! I returned after an interlude to permit everyone on my guest list entry to the nightclub through an alternative route. Brains triumphs over brawn! What made the charade even better was that I used the iPhone as a form of identification, Facebook profiles are now accepted, who knew?! The night was incident free until the journey home, I would have enjoyed revisiting the town but reminiscing at the end of the night was special. Especially as we were in good voice! Arriving back at the house, we were greeted by a wrestling free-for-all taking place. Not sure what started the spectacle but it provided entertainment value until the early hours. Another great weekend, let's do it more often...
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Look For The Good In Others...

Audrey?!Image by joedawson via FlickrI could lose many hours attempting to understand the logic behind Leeds, the Inner Ring Road must have been built to prevent people leaving the city. We managed to escape yesterday, heading in the direction of Newcastle for the [birthday] reunion. The first installment was a fancy dress house party! I was unable to secure a last minute special and opted instead for a Rat Pack-esque tuxedo. This was chosen as it related to my partner and her sister costumes, who looked beautiful, dressed as Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. Also participating was my partners flat mate and his friend who was recovering from measles. Nice that! We arrived fashionably late but this meant that we had limited time to change and prepare for the event. We were soon changed and interacting with the other party goers, several tracks were rinsed but that added to the enjoyment. The main attraction was 'cat girl' and her pimp partner, who hadn't even come in costume. Not sure what they were about, my partner's sister could need a tetanus booster after 'cat girl' erotically scratched down her back. That should surely be confined to the bedroom?! This led to the end of their participation as embarrassed they departed soon afterwards. The party finished in the early hours, we slept on the sofa but were nervous that 'cat girl' and her pimp partner would return and drag us away like the scene from Paranormal Activity. Great night, didn't catch measles and looking forward to hitting the Toon tomorrow!
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Friday, October 29, 2010

What Goes On Tour...

Halloween NewcastleImage by joedawson via Flickr
A slow start to the day, which was expected following an entertaining night. There were a few people out and I'm sure that the photos will provide an interesting portrayal of what went down. Was anyone even keeping count? Our biggest kept secret was uncovered, and with alcohol involved in the equation there were a few tears. Not that it was a problem but at times I wish more people knew, then I might be able to get closer to reaching closure. Today I had a meeting in the library about a presentation that I'm working on for Media Studies. I really couldn't be bothered, especially as I hadn't had much sleep but I arrived early and produced a document that was almost sensational. I actually feel settled into university now, I have days when I feel like withdrawing because I miss the children and student poverty takes it's toll but I convince myself that doesn't set the right example. Funds have improved over the last few days as I sold an iPhone that has been burning a hole in my pocket. I attempted to spend a significant amount on costumes for Halloween but then realised that was a bad idea! This meant that the journey to Newcastle this weekend is much more appealing because I have money to spend. The long awaited reunion, excitement levels are peaking because last year was when I was first introduced to my partner and that led onto an amazing twelve months. The usual faces will be there, although sadly the previous years biggest casualty won't be making a guest appearance. It should be a decent week because the 'after party' is taking place in Leeds for the following weekend!
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

F For Fun

F for FakeImage via Wikipedia
F for Fake is the last major film completed by Orson Welles, who directed, co-wrote, and starred in the film. Initially released in 1974, it focuses on Elmyr de Hory's recounting of his career as a professional art forger; de Hory's story serves as the backdrop for a fast-paced, meandering investigation of the natures of authorship and authenticity, as well as the basis of the value of art. Loosely a documentary, the film operates in several different genres and has been described as a kind of film essay. I watched this Tuesday afternoon, it was a private film screening announced to compliment the course module: Introducing Cultural Studies. The film wasn't the greatest, I enjoyed the quote about the power of art and the nature of authorship and I'm going to use it for reference and write about free citizens and cultural dupes for the essay attached to the module. For the last few days my partner has had her sister and friend staying, being guests they have occupied the bedroom. As I have been staying there on a regular basis, I was relegated to the sofa for the first night but yesterday as a change we decided to stay at Sugarwell Court. Admittedly this was the first time I had stayed there for some time and arriving in the early hours of the morning we weren't exactly quiet. I discovered later that I had lost the notepad I have used since starting my degree, I wasn't the happiest but thankfully I awoke to an email from my tutor that the notepad was in her safe hands. After a busy week, tonight there appears to be decent interest in attending Teknicolor and then we're heading to Newcastle for the reunion!!
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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Modern Life Is Rubbish

lolcatImage via Wikipedia
Attempting to recollect anything from the last few days has been difficult; visited friends, friends visited, further home improvements and I had to work for the university. The previous sentence provided an overall summary, the real story is a complete blur, the events started in Mint on Tuesday Thursday, and progressed at a steady pace. The Year of the Consulship of Hadrianus and Caesar, the emergence of Facebook in new circles and the cat macros appearing as intricate side stories. Bree Tanner has nothing on the short second life of our misdemeanors! With a disrupted sleeping pattern, working for the university was, as expected, very difficult but thankfully bearable. I was based at Broadcasting Place, the recipient of the 2010 Best Tall Building in the World award, providing assistance for the Civic Quarter campus tour. Through the role I made a few friends, also studying at Leeds Met, one even a third year on my course. Although I spent the weekend with them, I refuse to apply the predictable cliche of name checking for the sole purpose of adding on Facebook. That said, it would have been useful having the services of a media and popular culture veteran to assist with my studies! Saturday was an experience, we rearranged the furniture, decorating the surfaces with everything that usually occupies the floor. It reminded me of being a child when we used to pretend that the floor was water. SHARK!! Being a mature student is going well for me in case you didn't know already :)
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Ritual

Voodoo Doll DoteesImage by elasticcamel via Flickr
Late nights and early rises, having been in this circle for more than a decade you would expect it to get easier but it doesn't. It's reassuring to see the 'hanging' status updates, at least I'm not the only one struggling! It starts with a quiet night, attempting to resist temptation, before you realise it's escalated and then you're in recovery mode. It's the same in every environment, a glance around the office, workplace or lecture room the following morning to see who's also struggling and a nod of acknowledgment. I know what you're going through, I feel your pain! I had work for Voodoo yesterday evening, I managed to shift a reasonable amount of tickets the previous week and I was awarded with three hours walking about in the cold! There's appreciation, although this is a Voodoo ritual, basically do well and you will be awarded with additional work based on performance. I had to approach people and pitch the night to them and attempt to get them interested with an event flyer! It was okay, and allowed me to interact with other workers that I hadn't met before. Afterwards there were drinks provided, I stayed for a while but then remembered university and headed home to make plans for going home to celebrate my daughters birthday. I still have to pinch myself to believe that I have been a parent for a decade!!
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Répondez S'il Vous Plaît

USB flash drive (unbranded)Image by Peter Hosey via Flickr
I have been really channeling energy into course work these last few days, and have reached the point where I'm really immersed in the degree. Attending every lecture and seminar, taking constant notes, reading and spending time in the library. I have also been preparing material for the essays and exams although I'm not where I would like to be in terms of progress. Tonight I went to the library with my partner and a friend and individually concentrated on our assignments and wider research. My friend appeared distracted by Facebook and eventually lost interest completely and headed home. Our focus then shifted to food and we agreed to finish for the night, intent on creating something that required minimal effort but eventually opted for pasta bake. My partner then realised that she had forgotten her pen drive and keys, the library is only walking distance from her accommodation so I walked back to see if I could locate the misplaced item. The security person couldn't be any less helpful and although the items were recovered, he didn't receive a dinner invitation for his reluctance to provide assistance!
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Monday, October 18, 2010

Lost Points

DJ Spooky performing at Earth Day 2009, Washin...Image via Wikipedia
Last night we attended a house party, the occasion was to celebrate a friends birthday. He's living at a different Halls of Residence, walking wasn't an option, instead we travelled by taxi to the location. Admittedly we could have arrived earlier but we made a notable impression. We started by introducing several recommended tracks from our infinite playlist, the songs are enriched with personal value, deep meaning and build momentum. Shortly after taking over the stereo system; the party emptied and thus signalled the end of the pre-drinks. After obtaining several promotional vouchers that were pinned to the 'noticeboard', we departed for the city centre and hoped to find a place of interest. We were naive because at 1AM on a Sunday evening, it was always going to be touch-and-go but a possibility considering the nightlife in Leeds. Nothing materialised, instead we spent a fortune in McDonalds and retired to watch movies. Leeds lost points, hopefully this will be rectified for future occasions!
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

All Falls Down

Miniature Food- Rainbow Gingerbread HouseImage by Stephanie Kilgast via Flickr
I started today by falling out of bed, it wasn't a defining image and neither was the huge bruise that appeared on my thigh. Admittedly it hurt and I felt like crying but I was unable to sleep because I had visitors heading to Leeds. My brother and the children were on route, I was excited because they were the first to travel from home to my Gingerbread house in the North. It's a shame that Sugarwell Court isn't made of gingerbread, instead the flat smells more like an Indian restaurant.

Not that they noticed because they were more interested in the grand tour; the bedroom, the kitchen, the corridor, toilet and shower area. This is what the eldest sibling and father of two children now refers to as home, for the next six months anyway! It was brought to my brothers attention that he had misplaced his valuable items, including his wallet, at a service station but thankfully the satchel had been handed in and held for him to collect on the homeward journey.

With limited lasting appeal to be found at Sugarwell Court, we headed to explore the universities and city centre. I enjoyed watching as the children ran amok through the library, that was my favourite! Afterwards we visited the museum, the children* created a swastika from one of the interactive sessions and then learnt about animals. We were then treated to a meal and joined by my partner who provided a tour of her accommodation. There weren't enough hours in the day sadly and the departure was really difficult. Both children had tried to keep it together but it was a mutual outpouring of emotion at the end! I think even my brother got caught up in the moment but he remained composed. I reassured the children that I would see them soon. As the car drove away, I watched as my son, who was staring directly at me, turned from a quivering bottom lip into a face that broke my heart. Tears streaming down my face, I ran through the streets again questioning whether university was the right decision!
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Friday, October 15, 2010

How Do You Eat Yours?

saucepanImage by Leo Reynolds via Flickr
I attempted to get back into the action last night, firstly pre-drinks at a house party, followed by the standard Thursday misdemeanor's with the usual suspects. Obviously hypothetically, Thursday afternoon ends our studies for the week so we're committed to the nightlife! The night provided a decent distraction, I knew that my partner, who was with her sister, wasn't feeling well so my mind was elsewhere. At the house party, I made a delightful friend and I'm surprised that he didn't get injured the way he threw himself into photography. I made sure to keep distance, being in close proximity meant that you were in the blast area! Teknicolor couldn't be any further from the Indie scene, but it's a great night and could even be declared a bonding exercise! I enjoyed the night but when I got the call that my partner was home I headed back to watch a movie in her company. I couldn't be bothered with the washing up so ate from a saucepan which I think should be an institution! How can you be a student and not complete this accolade?!
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

You're Waiting On An Abandoned Bus...

Kitesurfers at Juno BeachImage by Captain Kimo via Flickr
You're waiting on an abandoned bus. A bus that will take you far away. You know where you hope this bus will take you, but you can't be sure. But it doesn't matter. How can it not matter to you where this bus will take you? Because you'll be together. The bus eventually departed, once the original driver had been replaced, and we reached our destination, Toby Carvery and enjoyed a nice meal together. With the restaurant being in a remote location, the employers weren't very knowledgeable about the surrounding area, which meant we had an episode getting home. Although studying should have occupied the majority of the week, more important matters have emerged and meant they had to be neglected. I don't have a hamburger phone, I'm not on the sports team and I don't have all the answers. Today was extremely difficult, I hope that just like being on the abandoned bus that we will get to the destination eventually! Even if it means watching the entire DVD collection in the library, although I recognise I need to be more decisive with the choices. Finally, I'm really proud of my partner, if Carlsberg made girlfriend's then she would probably definitely be the best in the World!
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Sunday, October 10, 2010


fragileImage by adotmanda via Flickr
Propaganda, Leeds was the destination yesterday, we were very enthusiastic after last weeks excitement, having decorated the accommodation for freeee with 'souvenirs'. The pre-drinks was coupled with an introduction to duct tape featuring the word 'fragile', which was originally purchased to package a video camera that I had sold on eBay. We decorated ourselves with the tape, adorning ourselves with several intricate creations, this was short lived as the O2 Academy security team weren't impressed, they're like the Gestapo and frown at anything that could be interpreted as fun. We removed our creation but like Gollum, protecting the 'ring' from the hobbits we managed to sneak the duct tape into the venue. This became more than just the theme for the duration of the evening, it became an obsession. Everyone that came into close proximity, ended departing from our radar with the word fragile slapped across their back! It was entertaining, it was enjoyable and even when the tape was eventually taken by the security staff they still managed to walk away with 'fragile' slapped across their back. Oh, the joys of being a student!!
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Friday, October 08, 2010

Play With Your City

Light Night SheepImage by joedawson via Flickr
Light Night is an annual multi-artform festival, which takes place on one evening at numerous venues across Leeds city centre. It is a celebratory showcase for the full range of diverse and thriving creative activity taking place in Leeds all year round, and gives visitors free access to art and venues that they might not normally see. Being new to the city this was hugely appealing and we ventured out into Leeds with our maps! The Moving Maze wasn't that appealing as we passed through Millennium Square quickly, hoping to purchase tickets for the Town Hall. Unfortunately we were too late but we were able to visit the court room, prison area and the Light at the End of the Tunnel which looked beautiful. After the Town Hall, our group divided and we visited various contemporary art displays, some were highly innovative although not sure what to make from pass-the-parcel. We participated regardless and were able to walk away wearing unique styled hats for a keepsake. Managed to find a Light Night sheep, by proxy, which had the purpose of being returned to the Town Hall but we kept this as another keepsake. Likewise with the record player made from cardboard that we stumbled across, overall a successful night of acquisitions and plus we got to explore the city that will be home for the next three years.
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Thursday, October 07, 2010

They Taste Good

Good Will HuntingImage via Wikipedia
During lectures this week, other than being acknowledged as one of the oldest students on the course, many believe I'm the most intelligent and well established. The amount I write in my notepad has been noticed by quite a few students on my course and obviously discussed. Speaking to someone this afternoon, she stated that the perception is that I'm smart and have an understanding of the expectations required. This couldn't be further from the truth, I admit I have a firm grasp of writing but I take notes because without them I wouldn't have anything to refer to when writing essays and preparing for presentations. When writing for this blog, I incorporate a wide range of interpretations using various forms of media to relate scenarios that I encounter during everyday life. I really like the movie Good Will Hunting and this afternoon the bar scene entered my conscious thought. Not the main encounter, which is one of my favourite movie scenes, but the one where Will bangs on the window and states " do you like them apples?" I felt that was relevent as I had a sense of achievement, even though it was just being recognised by peers! Hopefully the teachers will be equally charmed by the effort I put into my shooting star decorated notepad, it looks great and makes me bright!
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Monday, October 04, 2010

Home Improvements

LONDON - MARCH 29:  Actor/Comedian James Corde...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Our group attended Propaganda, Leeds again at the weekend,  they  were proud to host Mat Horne (Gavin & Stacey) who had joined them as a guest performer. I admit I wasn't expecting much after witnessing Preston attempt to DJ during freshers week but Mat Horne provided much better value. He was involved with the crowd, understood how to entertain, mix through the tunes and everyone was feeling his enthusiasm. We left with several wonderful souvenirs from the venue, possibly every poster that we were able to find was considered memorabilia. These later hung proudly from the walls of my partners accommodation and with blank space to hide, I'm sure there will be further opportunities to decorate! After recovering for the rest of the weekend, we had a doctor's appointment today. I won't go into the details but I will state that I'm looking forward to getting into university tomorrow and having course work as a welcome distraction. I have struggled to adjust to life in another city so far and there has been a lot in the background that has made it harder! Hopefully everything will settle over the next few weeks, I'm especially looking forward to the visit of my brother and the children. Can't wait!!
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Saturday, October 02, 2010

Who's House?

Run's HouseImage via Wikipedia
Run's House is an MTV reality series. It shows the family life of rapper and hip-hop music pioneer Joseph Simmons, also known as Rev Run. Since arriving in Leeds, I have been excited about experiencing Rev Run's Halo nightclub appearance as a guest DJ.

I frequently watch the reality show along with my partner, who was equally enthusiastic about the performance. Halo is a 1600 capacity, refurbished church and genius that Reverend Run, a practicing minister, was booked to entertain students. My partner hasn't been well recently, the lively dance floor then wasn't very inviting, especially as the venue was at capacity. Instead we occupied the seated area, gaining an impressive viewpoint, away from the pushing and stray arms that always knock drinks out of your hand.

The anticipation was building, the DJ setting the tempo impressively for the introduction of Rev Run who displayed all the charisma reminiscent from his Run DMC heyday. He jumped around on stage and interacted with the crowd, the DJ set accompanied his vocals, crowd taunting and playing through the Run DMC back catalogue which delighted everyone in attendance. We didn't stay until the end but witnessed enough to appreciate one of the founders and most influential acts in the history of hip hop! Halo was well and truly Run's House for the evening!

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Friday, October 01, 2010

The New Friday

Day 14 - Visual Representation of a Reading ListImage by margolove via FlickrEducation commitments have effectively enforced the notion that the weekend now starts on a Thursday. Many of our timetables display boldly that Friday doesn't consist of any lectures or seminars. Research, essays and reading obviously dictate our mindset before any concept of recreation enters our thoughts! We have only scrapped the surface of what Leeds has to offer in terms of the nightlife but already Mint has emerged as a group favourite. Providing an impressive sound system and 'disco panel' lighting this is definitely one of the best small clubs around. There's a decent crowd, even though many appear to be under some kind of influence, possible music induced euphoria?! Although the emphasis should be on enjoying the music, I found myself giving relationship advice to someone lost at sea. Not exactly what I had envisioned but I attempted to provide rationale. I didn't last the distance as my partner wasn't feeling well so I left the club night to be with her and play doctor!
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