Tuesday, May 31, 2005
First of all, who is buying it? Who would spend money on a single like that? It's actually tripe. No one over 18 would seriously consider it - it's so far beyond bad that it's not uncool enough to become 'ironic-cool'. It really is shit. So it falls upon the shoulders of the 'kids': pre- and early-teens who are pure suckers for a bandwagon. At that age, easily influenced and desperate to fit in, companies and merchandisers plug the latest crazes to the helpless kids for all they're worth, creating constant awareness and apparant need for whatever rubbish the craze happens to be - Jamsters advertise up to three times in a commercial break during primetime evening television. Thank GOD for BBC channels. According to the Guardian, Jamsters have made £10million from the crazy frog ringtone...and that was before the single had been released. I can't help thinking some of that £10m would be wisely spent putting the kids with that ringtone through school...
Secondly, news last week was that 3 sisters under the age of 16 have all given birth. In other words, ONE family has produced THREE teenage pregnancies before the three pregnant girls should legally be having sex. One of the girls did it when she was 12, another had already had 4 abortions (though admittedly that came from the News of the World, so take the number '4', and in fact the word 'abortions' too, with a pinch of salt). Though this news is shocking, it is only because it is a new level of shocking. It is not out of this world, or indeed that surprising - after all, Britain has the highest number of teenage pregnancies in Europe. But where does the problem lie?
It could be argued that there has been an increase in the problems associated within the youth environment: teenage pregancies, mindless vandalism, burglary of ill pensioners, hoax calling firemen in order to attack them, and more general problems - more kids on streets, more truant from schools, failure of discipline in schools, underage drinking, a resurgence in nationalism/racism etc. This is a core issue in society and needs addressing. It is not a positive feature of this country that gangs of teenagers in 'hooded tops' hang around in public places in the evenings vandalising property, threatening/mugging innocent people and getting each other pregnant. The mother of the three underage pregnancy girls (you could only call her a mother because she gave birth to the sisters, she certainly doesn't seem to qualify as a mother in any other way) blamed the schools. In reality, though (stupid cow), the schools don't have the ability to stop 12 year old girls going to boys' houses and having sex - it's the parents' job. An upbringing plays a huge part in how an individual eventually turns out.
In that case, then, the environment and surroundings a child is brought up in seems the focus for improvement if society is NOT to spiral out of control into a state of dominance by a disrespecting yob culture. Reducing the glamorisation of this status, quelling its appeal, more effort to put the youth through a disciplined education, recreating a certain level of respect for authority.
And the immediate putting-to-death of anyone who publicly transmits any form of the Crazy Frog - song, ringtone or joke impersonation.
Anyway, the last time I posted was in the middle of my exams, now they're all done. Last week was Language Matters and Literature, which I thought would be ok.
- Language Matters, 24/5/2005: This exam was made a lot easier by knowing the first half would be a choice of 1 out of 6 questions, so doing enough revision meant learning 2 topics well and a third as back up. This sufficed, and I was able to answer the question on Grice without much problem. Then the second half of the exam was on an unseen passage - the makeup advert was the obvious choice in this exam, because it was so lucrative to write about as it asked about the use of 'persuasive language'. In fact, it was almost enjoyable, and I rather stupidly, in my conclusion, wrote as though I was the makeup company talking. Definitely a good exam, however, as they go.
- Literature, Genre and Communication, 27/5/2005: Being an open book exam, I arrogantly did not revise for this until the 2 days before it, since before any of the exams started it seemed likely to be the easiest out of the 4. How wrong! It was, incredibly, the hardest. I made the mistake of revising 4 texts badly, rather than 2 texts better, and the questions weren't nice at all. I wasted around 10 minutes at the start of the exam just looking at the paper trying to work out questions I could answer. Not a good end exam to finish with, but it was soon forgotten after getting on the whiskey by about 8 oclock.
So now what. No exams, no work due, free time until end of September. Sunny Bournemouth until July 4th. Classic.
Friday, May 20, 2005
Anyway, I write today half way through my four Uni exams (so that makes 2 done, 2 left). Unbelievable; in about 8 days from now, I'll have officially finished year one of University, bar the partying. So far - media and interpersonal have been done.
- Media, 17/5/2005: well it wasn't that great. The questions weren't brilliant, didn't like the look of any of them really. I did the 2 that seemed the best of a rather bad bunch, like eating the last few edible grapes while avoiding the truly off ones. I had to really work hard to make what I was writing fit the question, and to be honest in some places I struggled to make it happen. Couldn't answer the Frankfurt School question, nor the Media Imperialism one. The more I think about this exam, the worse I feel so I'll focus more on:
- Interpersonal, 19/5/2005: This exam was about as far removed from media on tuesday as possible. The questions were specific, made the asnwers easy to structure and they were about topics that I'd luckily revised pretty thoroughly beforehand. In fact the first question was so enjoyable (as exam questions go) that it was with some regret that I had to conclude it and move onto the second half. Which wasn't nearly as nice, but still better than media on tuesday.
Anyway - Language Matters (it really does!) is my next exam, followed a week today by Literature. I was thinking these would be the lighter of the four exams, so I'd take it if they were as difficult as Interpersonal was yesterday.
Monday, May 16, 2005
Couldn't believe it, really: at half time Norwich were losing, Palace were losing, and Pompey weren't losing to the bottom placed team. We were on a point - we were safe. I said to Matt - it's the last 45 minutes of the season and it's all come down to it. Then Palace equalised and went in front, Pompey rolled over right on cue, Norwich died a death, and we went behind and just couldn't break through. Then in the last 10 minutes we had 4 half chances, including one which Crouch, or anyone taller than Camara, wouldn't have headed onto the fucking bar. A draw wouldn't have been enough as it turned out, and the last 5 minutes were heartbreaking. Our fans couldn't muster the motivation to cheer for a goal which still would have left us needing another anyway. Going out of the EPL bottom though, when 45 minutes earlier we were 17th, really isn't fair and I don't think there's many, bar Pompey fans, who could say otherwise. We've certainly not been the worst team this season.
For next season - we won't be incredibly ruined financially, I'll grant you that, Lowe. (In fact, you could argue that Lowe has spent SEASONS preparing us for relegation. That's forward planning for you). I feel a bit sorry for RL, I get the feeling that Lowe is the unfortunate figurehead of a rather nasty board, for want of a better word. He takes the brunt for things which are not entirely his own doing. I don't think he should go immediately, give him (like we should have given Sturrock) til Christmas to see what he pulls out.
In other areas, we've got a fantastic youth set up, and providing we can keep a stable hold in the Championship for one season, it could prove to be a transitional year for Saints, and see a new younger team emerge the year after to challenge for promotion again. Player wise, I'm resigned to losing Phillips, and/or Crouch, Camara and Bernard won't stay, Le Saux I think will now retire. If anyone like Newcastle, Spurs, Boro or Everton have got any sense, they'll be itching to tak Prutton away too. He really is EPL quality. Niemi has pledged to stay, but we could do with £5/6m - Paul Smith is more than a capable Championship keeper, and would go from strength to strength playng regularly. (Even now, there's whispers of England call ups with his name, albeit probably stemming from our own fans).
Not only will some of our players be bought, but I think now is the time for a clear out. Anders and Tessem are off to Sweden, Nilsson will probably be too. Parhars should stay, he'd thrive in the Championship. Kenton, Van Damme, Baird and Michael Svensson - that's where our defence should now lie. Jacobsson, sorry but you've not been cutting it, and Lundekvam, your time is almost up too. The manager? Honestly can't see him staying. In other circumstances you'd be crazy to let a manager like Harry go, but if he wants to then it's probably for the best - for both him and Southampton.
The one positive I can take from today is that, before now, I haven't always been sure myself where I stood personally with Southampton. A fan; yes, obviously, a supporter; most certainly, but did I really love this club? The scratching of my now hoarse throat, the sickening feeling right in the pit of my stomach, and the urge to switch off the lights, cover my eyes and let tears seep out, tells me that I do. And that's just a little thing that makes me a bit happier.
Southampton: we'll be back soon.
Saturday, May 14, 2005
Casinos - Why? I was on £35, from the tenner I started with...why did I aim to hit £40 and quit? Damn chips! Damn casino! Damn blackjack! Damn 'just one more round' mentality! If you go to a Casino, you expect a few lows against the peaks. So why didn't I take the £25 profit, instead of plugging away and ending up with a £5 loss? Stupid. To be fair, what are the chances of getting 20 (playing Blackjack, 21 is tops) twice in a row, only for the dealer to get 20 twice in a row as well? You always think your luck is about to change, but it never does, or it never changes enough to get you back on track.
The problem with gambling isn't having being good at it. There isn't really a skill in gambling, any idiot can see rough patterns of occurrence. Wait long enough, and something you need IS going to come up sooner or later.
What you need to be good at gambling is time - you've got to have the patience to sit through the bad times. You need to spend 6 hours at a Casino to make anything decent, and even then that might only be £25 profit at the end. But you can't turn up for a couple of hours like I did, expect to churn out £50-100 profit and wander off to the pubs. Granted, it might be your lucky night (going on a friday the thirteenth may have been a factor tonight) but it really isn't going to happen often.
Luckily, I am not a gambling man. It really is a mugs game. There's no skill, no value in it other than a bit of fun: I took £10 into a casino, came out with £5. I'd have spent more on getting into a club and 2 drinks, to be fair. Nevermind, eh.
Monday, May 09, 2005
Why do we go 'clubbing'? (An ageing phrase now, but it will have to do). It is one of the fundamental social aspects of the lives of people between the ages of 18 and late 20s; in fact, the aforementioned politics teacher said he was about 30 before he realised how stupid clubbing seemed. Yet, the reason for it being a such a focal point of young people's lives is hard to pin down.
The positives of going out are probably as follows. You're doing something sociable with people you want to be with; you go out in search of a 'good time'; you drink alcohol which allows you to have more fun, at the time perhaps; you can hear your favourite songs (ha); if you're single you can go out looking to pull or just for a bit of fun; the atmosphere at a decent club is worth experiencing several times; but really, that's all.
And so, the argument against going out. Let's start with the obvious: cost. Even as a student, a night out with 'enough' drink is going to cost between £12-15, and then that isn't counting travelling or entrance fees.
Into the club, then, and here's where it borders on ridiculous. You're in the club for social reasons, but can you socialise? No, not really. It's undeniable - you can't see, properly, the person you're talking to. Under blinding, flashing, any-colour-but-normal lights in an otherwise very dark club, what position are you in to tell what a person even looks like? Is she actually fit? Is she blonde? Is that top black, or red? Are they looking at me? Are their eyes even open? Are they smiling? etc etc.
And if you're struggling to see, then listening and speaking to another person is practically impossible. Without fail, to actually talk to another person you have to press your lips against the side of their head, and shout. Not speak loudly - it doesn't work - but shout. And of course, you have to repeat everything you say because the first time you say something, all you get is polite, embarrassed looks that clearly indicate "I'll smile because I haven't a fucking clue what you just said". So socialising in a club - talking to people you can't really see, who can't really hear you, and who you can't really hear. To be honest, for social interation, a nightclub could scarcely make it more difficult.
Then we move onto wider points. You go into a club, smelling all nice and looking fresh. You come out feeling anything but. A popular club, by nature, is cramped; you will be sweating within minutes. You sweat, uncomfortably hot, for most of the night. And what's worse is you come out of the club absolutely stinking head to toe of cigerattes. Your clothes, your hair, your skin even smells of it. For non-smokers this is a bit of a nightmare, there's a reason you don't smoke, and smelling as though you're on 40 a day isn't going to be on your list of things to aim for. For smokers, too, even they must concede (as my A-Level teacher did) that it makes for unpleasant breathing. Passive smoking; no, I'm fine thanks.
Incidentally, the crampedness menitoned above is a point on its own: you can't really move, certainly not dance, without bumping into people or have them bump into you, and you just can't get anywhere without treading on people (especially when you can't see them).
It's rather late so I'll draw to a close here. Clubbing then: it's socialising except you can't because talking to someone is made virtually impossible. Moving around is difficult when there's no room to do so. Breathing becomes a task. You come out hot and sweaty, smelling of fags (cigarettes or otherwise). You spend around £20 a night to do this. You go home, sleep for a far less amount of time than you would had you not gone out, and wake up with a headache wondering why.
Which, if you're still reading, you must be asking too. Since I obviously go clubbing, why do I do it? The answer is; because I want to go out with the people I go out with. The experience is nothing without other people to share it with. And, because I know I'll never be doing it after I reach the age of about 25, I want to be able to hit 30, look back and think "Well, that was pretty stupid after all, wasn't it?"
Friday, May 06, 2005
There is the argument, of course, that an exam doesn't show anything other than that person having an ability to remember significant bits of information. But at University level, it isn't how much you know so much as what you can do with it, as the lecturers like to drive home. The thing is, though, knowing anything-
We're University students: between, mostly, 19 and 25, in places like Bournemouth, Warwick, Cardiff, Manchester et al. Can we be expected to sit down and read and make notes, furiously, when we're at this age, in these sort of vibrant places, surrounded by thousands of young, intelligent, beautiful people, all of us thinking we'd rather be doing something else - at the pub, beach, football, sleeping?
I'm trying to revise, ha, and managed to do three consecutive afternoons worth earlier this week, but failed today - Bournemouth beach in the sunshine as a default choice of somewhere to go; who wouldn't?! And that's the trouble - sit down in your room and pour through pages and pages of text or hastily scribbled notes which look vaguely like real words, or....well, do anything else? (Like watching the election on TV until 2am).
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
You could aruge that by creating a blog you are, in essence, making the statement "I'm arrogantly assuming you care what I have to say, and even if you don't, here you are reading it anyway". That is my opinion but with an escape clause.
Blogging should not be people, incapable of using a recognisable standard of English or substituting numbers for words because it saves time, writing pointless drivel about how they got stoned for the first time or got off wih their best mate's ex at a party because they were drunk on 4 Bacardi Breezer's their sister had bought for them. (Actually, on a side note, what sort of self-respecting person would do this anyway?). The wider internet really doesn't care about these aspects of your life; keep it to text messaging, messageboards and e-mails, please, and to people who won't ask for the 3 minutes of their lives back after reading it.
Blogging should be about people conveying opinions and attitudes to things relevant in the world today (this post) or of an interest to many people (my Smiths one ;)) - since bloggers are apparantly becoming the new journalists (some claim, to be fair), then discussion should, surely, take place on issues which matter. It is a chance to create debate, it offers new opportunites for individuals to educate themselves and participate in discussions they want to, it doesn't lend itself to only certain groups - the chance is there for anyone. The privelidge should be treated with some respect, not destroyed by self indulgent ramblings about "teh day uve had 2day".
Blogging, then, should be worthwhile comment, not introspective drivel. I intend to keep my blogging lively and interesting, but not about things happening to me in my life, but things other people can relate to. I can moan at the Samaritans if I get suicidal, or just go out with my friends. I don't need to post it on my blog, ffs.
What I only hope is that even if you don't care what I have to say, or what appears on here, it will have been, at least, a comment that has been worthwhile making.
Although if you don't care what I have to say, 'I'd get such a shock I'd probably lie, in the middle of the street and die'. (Nowhere Fast, Meat is Murder).
Basically went through a host of Smiths album and song titles, then was about to try TheWorldWon'tListen but then it struck me - what better for a blog title, since this is my own thoughts to the world, than the world isn't listening (to me, you see)?
This leads me onto The Smiths, sort of, in a tenuous link. People (you may be one) often criticise The Smiths for being miserable, but this is a misinformed point of view. The Smiths' lyrics (Morrissey) are works of genius; the imagery they conjure, the stark reality which they deal with, and the brilliance in the actual way the come about make them into this genius: Morrissey is an astonishing user of the english language, which helps. The music, while in terms of chord sequences may be sometimes tried and tested, is otherwise fantastic - Marr's songwriting and playing is just out of this world at times. The Smiths' music isn't written so much as crafted; in Meat is Murder opener, The Headmaster Ritual, for example, there are close to 12 guitar tracks in that song. It's breathtaking.
In less than a year, after picking up The Queen is Dead for a fiver by chance, I've become an absolute devotee; I now have every LP and the two compilations released in their era (no point getting the posthumous singles collections unless you're a passing fan), and I only don't have Rank, their live album, since most Smiths fans I have talked to have dissuaded me from getting it. But I'm going to anyway, next time I see it.
That's it on The Smiths, for now anyway.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
It's interesting to read on the welcoming page of this site, the apparant change in journalism styles the 'blogging phenomenom' is having. Certainly, it's not doing much yet except for online journalism, which is a different kettle of fish to the established mediums of newspapers, TV and radio anyway. An overexaggeration, probably, since blogging has - let's be honest here - only taken off in the last 24 months.
Posts to come, then, will include thoughts on University - exams, revision, the sunshine stopping me from doing either- how it's 2am and I shouldn't have watched the snooker for 4 straight hours, music, media, and comments on events/news of the day that I can be bothered to write about. And if I ever start an entry with "Well, wot a day i av ad lmfao!" then feel free to report me as a suspected terrorist or paedophile or something.