Space and Sunsets


Well it is only in the universe of spraypaint art that such a illogical title can make sense for there are no sunsets when you are floating around in a rocket, right?

So yes, that is what I have been doing with my time for the past few days. Well that and reading and I have a funny story to tell. I was reading The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy and the book I had from the library was four hundred and fifty pages long so I thought I should read it every chance I got in order to finish it in time for the lecture on it. However, it was as I neared the end and the the pages accidentally slipped through my fingers that I realised that the book was merely two hundred and fifty pages long! The rest was background and context!

Now that’s the English degree related malarkey done with, lets get on to the fun stuff. Spray Painting! You may recall that I dabbled a bit in it a few months ago but having run out of materials to work on, the cans lay forgotten in a box under my bed. Promising to grant my tutees a present if they completed their homework three weeks in a row (which they have yet to do), I came up with the idea that I’d give do some art work for them and write their names in cool graffiti style because kids like that-and some adults like me do too.

So here’s a bit of what I have been doing. I then decided to practise more and bought a whole load of spray cans and materials which were a bit expensive but I thought I will have quite alot of fun.

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Now I cannot wait for the weekend as I will have hours to work! If the weather is good that is. Yes, I’ve given up on snow since Spring is fast approaching.

Until Next Time

A Worried Student

A Conversation


So what have you been doing with your reading week Mister?

Umm…

Yes, that’s exactly what I thought. Lazy university students begging for a reading week after only five weeks of learning in which you only have eight contact hours!

Yes well there’s a lot to read.

Pah! Nonsense, no one actually reads in their reading week and wait you’re in your first year. There’s nothing to do in your first year, just coasting along like a lazy bugger.

Who told you that?

Well I know because I went to university when I was your age. It was all fun and games really.

How old are you?

I’m forty five mate so only twenty years ago which means nothing has changed in that time.

Oh really? How much did you have to pay for your degree?

That’s the best part. We paid nothing in my days! The government paid us instead, oh those lovely bursary days.

Aah yes I really don’t know that feeling you see. I use my bursary to pay for my £9,000 a year fees and as that’s not enough, I work part-time in the evenings

Oh wow, you work whilst at university? My friend worked at the bar when I was studying, he loved getting tips from the other students and handing out free drinks to his mates.

Wow, most students living in accommodation can just about afford their own food these days, forget about giving tips! And no, I work as a tutor you see.

Oh that must be tiring. All those annoying kids! I can’t stand them.

No they’re okay but yes it can be tiring.

So how many days a week do you work?

Well four days but its 12 hours across the four evenings. Not too bad as I have my weekends free but then instead of getting up early to perhaps study, all I want to do is sleep!

So is that what you did with your reading week then?

No, well yes. I slept in and then studied in the afternoons. Gosh you are sounding a bit like my dad you know and he’s almost ten years older than you. Then I relaxed for a few days and did some spray painting.

Spray painting? That’s vandalism! I knew you were a little criminal! All these teenagers are!

No no, spray paint art! On canvases or wood or posterboards.

What? Never heard of that. There were no such things in my days. Tell me more. Show me!

Oh no you have to wait for my next post for that

Okay, I will await your letter eagerly then young man.

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What’s Your Story?


I wonder what possesses a person to write about themselves. What makes them think that their life is so worthy of the ink and pages that fill up a book until they come to the present day of their life and there they write their hopes for the future. I wonder if people suddenly wake up one day and think, yes perhaps I should write about my life, it has been very interesting so far. I was born to a quarreling couple, went to university, dropped out and then got married, divorced, married again, had a couple of kids and now here I am on this nice pine bench enjoying the sound of the sea. Because no one is going to write an autobiography where they end up poor and homeless, that’s for sure. Primarily because they would not be able to go through the logistics of finding someone willing to publish the story of their life, even though theirs is the one which may actually be worth reading.

Most autobiographies in today’s day and age are written by famous people because of course, they are more likely to sell as their fans will be clamoring to get a taste of their intimate lie. Do these famous people wake up one day thinking they need to tell their story or are they suggested the idea by their agents? Let us not start debating whether these type of autobiographies are actually written by them or not!

Instead, think about one thing. Out of all of these autobiographies, there are only a certain number which actually have a unique story behind them. You will have the boxer who fought against poverty and racism to become the champion of the world, you will have the activist who fought against imprisonment and violence to end the apartheid and you will have the underdog politician who battled through terrible setbacks to get to the top. Does this mean the rest are not worthy? 

Well not really, because what you will find is that the rest of the galaxy of autobiographies which flood the market share one thing in common: human experience. These supposedly successful people went through the same things we all go through in life as humans. We turn the pages and realise that life is the same for all of us. We are born, we encounter problems growing up, we experience issues with our family, we breathe through relationships, we desire to become successful and then we come out on the other side, washed up and beached on the end years of our life. This human experience is dramatic, captivating and interesting no matter who you pick up off the street. Every person if they so desired to tell you the story of their life, would be able to leave you in tears at the sadness and joyousness, at the highs and lows and the tears and laughs of their life. 

With all the talk of movie awards over the past few weeks, there is one which is an example of this shared human experience. Boyhood is quite simply an ordinary film which follows a child right from when he was young till when he is setting off into the world. It has received an emotional reaction as viewers cannot help being captivated by the journey through childhood and the teenage years that the character makes yet there are some critics who have dismissed it as a ‘gimmick film.’ Funnily enough, these are the same critics who are in support of the film ‘Birdman’ which has made the news mostly because of its cast, cinematography and use of a ‘single-shot’ rather than its actual story. You see, Boyhood is a film people are able to actually relate to; tears spring in their eyes as they watch and feel remorse over some of the actions they did in their lives. They pick up the phone and build bridges once again, they live. 

Human experience therefore, is what can be used to connect us all. The fact is, every person’s story is worthy of a book.

Until Next Time,

A Worried Student

aworriedstudentsblog@gmail.com

Let It Snow…


 

The people of Britain love talking about the weather, we all know this and we have all heard this but come on, people all over the world must surely talk about the weather in the same way right? Unless you live near the equator where it is always delightfully warm.

 

Saying that, I still want it to snow here in London. Say this in a room of adults and this will most likely be met with groans of disapproval. “How dare you want it to snow!” “No don’t say that!” As if at my mere words the sky will release a duvet of snow. Yes a duvet, I do not want just a blanket of snow, I want a full, fluffy, plumped up, 100% Hungarian Goose feather and down, 15 tog duvet of snow. That would be awesome. We missed out on it last year so we are overdue down in London.

 

Yes, I know snow causes disruption and chaos. I mean the London Overground is already terribly unreliable and breaks down whilst the underground can be just as bad. Sometimes when I am late to a lecture or seminar due to train issues then the London Underground song plays through my head which yes is not really factual but can cheer one up by venting frustration in a humorous way.

 

So yes, despite the fact snow will cause all these problems no matter how much salt the councils stockpile; I still want it to fall. The reason is quite simple: snow is fun. When I was young, I could never build a snowman and no one taught me how. I would try to collect snow and compact it into a large mound. Of course, the trick is to not compact the snow but to simply roll a ball of snow around and let it grow ‘naturally.’ Perhaps my desire to make snowmen is due to my hobby for making things. Whether it be out of K’nex, Lego, Duplo or simply drawing, I have always liked to indulge my creative side in such activities. It is also why I like writing so those of you will say ‘You are crazy for wanting it to snow just so you can make a snowman’ then hey, the same reason I want to build a snowman is the same reason why I have this blog. No snowman then no blog.

 

Yes I know, some of you cheeky buggers may still want to choose no snowman.

 

Until Next Time (By which time it shall hopefully have snowed)

 

A Worried Student

A Worried Student

A Tightening Noose


It would be a lie to say that the past week has been an easy one. It would be a lie to say that international events have not affected me. The only reason I have not posted about the issue is because at times I have an urge to pen a post and then at times I give up in despair.

I am of course referring to the events in France which I am sure you are aware of. When I read the news these days and in the aftermath of the terrible event, most of it is the same. Sometimes I find something which gives me hope, an article which does blame an entire religion for the actions of a few. At the bottom of these articles, I may find comments from ordinary people who make me smile. They allow me to hope that there are still people out there who have not been swayed by propaganda and the ceaseless assault on Islam. However, this happiness does not last long. Pretty soon, I stumble upon other reports describing how the entire religion is to blame and sorting the followers of the faith into categories whilst offering opinions on the rules of Islam as if the writers themselves are scholars.

Then there are the overwhelming double standards. (Did you know there was a hostage crisis in France today? It made a brief appearance on the news before it was confirmed that it was not a terror attack. So if anyone else commits the same crime but are not of the religion of Islam, then it is not terror? Ask the hostages, surely they must have felt terrified.) Every news article appears to be an attack on the religion with shocking comments by readers that make me wonder whether I will be safe in my own home in a few years time. Every article has its faults but the sense of despair means I do not angrily type into the comments section for I know it will achieve nothing. What is there to be done against the relentless media onslaught? The juxtaposition of freedom of speech and racism? The prejudice eye of the news outlets and television anchors. The hypocrisy of world leaders who join a freedom march whilst an entire nation suffers imprisonment in their own country? 

The people I communicate with everyday appear normal, friendly and welcoming. Yet, I feel the world is becoming unfriendly to Islam and to religion in general. I am afraid that in ten years time I will be too afraid to take the train to work. I am afraid that in ten years time, I will have to travel in disguise, hiding my religious identity. Slowly slowly, a net is closing in and we are being attacked on all sides. Do you think any sane, true and real Muslim would commit such crimes? Yet we must apologise on the murderers’ behalf as if we have a direct link with them. They may share a few core beliefs regarding God, yet the similarity ends there. The Muslim community have constantly declared their distance from such people yet each time something like this happens, we are faced with the same suspicious questions. Do you think what they did was right? NO of course I bloody well don’t!

I fear events like these more than the everyday person on the street. Not simply because they result in the death of fellow human beings but I know what the backlash will be. The increase in ignorance, prejudice, misplaced hate and diminishing of religion in the world. I am tired of having to constantly explain myself. I am tired of battling and arguing my innocence. So no more, please simply understand. 
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What Do You Want Our Beowulf To Be?


Somehow, somewhere, you must have come across the name ‘Beowulf.’ Even if you know absolutely nothing about it, there is a very slim chance that you have managed to go through your life in education without hearing the word. Perhaps your curiosity spurred you on to search this mysterious thing on Wikipedia or perhaps you waited until you were forced to learn about it. Maybe you weren’t even forced to learn it and continue to think of it as some piece of literature from the past.

Well my intention with this post is not to give a lesson on it since I know very little about it myself as I have only began studying it. Instead, I would like you to answer the question my title poses but to do this you need to know what it means. Beowulf is an epic poem that was written around 750-1000, the scholars have yet to agree on a specific year but interestingly, the actual manuscript of the poem only became popular in the last hundred or two hundred so years. So why has its importance leapt to amazing heights?

You see, we only have about 5% of the literature from the times of Beowulf. Who knows what we have not been able to read of its time? Perhaps if Beowulf were to be compared to other works of its time, its status may simply be like today’s Biff and Chip stories or The Hardy Boys. Fun but hardly a masterpiece. The problem is, we have very little to compare Beowulf to and it is from Beowulf that we get some ideas of society during that time.

So the question is; if you had to pick one book from today’s time which would be the only book to remain from this era a thousand years later, which book would you want it to be? Which book best portrays a sense of our society and culture? Not academic writing or theoretical work, I am talking about creative writing, books, poems or plays. 

A slightly less grave thought to contemplate is imagine if a book like Fifty Shades of Grey was to be the one that survived, what would that tell people about our society? Would it be an accurate portrayal? 

Hmm perhaps that thought is quite a grave one after all.

Drop Your Thoughts, Until Next Time

A Worried Student

Why You Really Should NOT KIDNAP Me


I have no idea why this topic came into my head but I thought it would make a funny post. Perhaps it has something to do with binge watching the TV show Elementary. It is the American take on a modern day Sherlock Holmes for those of you don’t know. I have of course already watched the British version Sherlock so when my uncle introduced me to Elementary, I was a bit sceptical. So far, it has proven to be quite interesting so it has held my attention, as well as the fact the British version takes over a year to release a new series so there isn’t a Sherlock alternative.

Anyway, back to why it would be a bad idea to kidnap me.

First of all, any ransom demanded for me would simply not be paid. I mean, do you actually think my dad who is a bigger scrounger than old Del Boy himself would let go of a hundred thousand pounds to secure my safe return? (Of course, as I am a high value person, my ransom would be that high right?) Forget about not paying it, he wouldn’t be able to afford such a high sum. What would a feasible ransom be then? Ha, well mate if I was to tell you, you would realise there is no point in kidnapping me as the money would not be worth all the trouble.

Secondly, if you were to kidnap me, then prepare yourself for a very annoying time. I don’t talk much but when I do, the topics I discuss would drive you crazy. I mean, I am an English student after all so prepare yourself for debates on Is the Author Important or The beginning of language or Signs and Concepts. You would be saved from medieval literature though since even I can’t be bothered with that.

Thirdly, I don’t eat breakfast so starving me of food in order to weaken me will not work. You would probably have to go to the shops to restock your own supplies before I start feeling hungry and in that time, I would escape!

Fourthly, people who read books have an active imagination and people who read alot of crime books have an even more active imagination. This means I would be looking for any opportunity to escape your evil clutches and so you would become exhausted from keeping watch. I mean come on, I didn’t read Famous Five or Alex Rider as a kid for nothing you know.

Another thing is you definitely would not be able to torture me by threatening to keep me away from the sales. I would actually welcome the chance and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to save some money. You would become a financial guardian angel basically.

This would mean that when you do get caught, I would continuously visit you in prison and behave in such a manner that would simply infuriate you. Every week you would see my chirpy face telling you what I ended up buying in the sale as you languish in your cell with a rather large mate who is constantly thinking of ‘interesting’ ways to entertain you.

So yes, simply not worth it you see. Please don’t kidnap me. 

A Worried Student