Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Christmas Post

Nice pun.

It's been a not-very-Christmassy Christmas here. I got a guitar amp - yes, riffage! - and the new FM2006 which I may have to leave at home once I go back to Bournemouth otherwise I expect I'll fail the year. Some general other stuff too which has all been very nice, and I count myself lucky that etc etc.
The trouble with Christmas is you start preparing with the shops - in about September. You spend 3 and a half months building up to one day. And it never quite delivers. Sure you get lots of nice new things, and you have a fantastic lunch which is always the best part of the day. But really, as celebrations go, it's a bit flat. It's just one day for crying out loud.
This is of course from an aethiest's point of view. I have nothing to celebrate on the 25th of December, it just marks a point where I can give and receive presents with the people I want to do this with the most, so why should I start thinking about it so far beforehand? (Answer: because capitalism wants to make as much money from the 'event' of Christmas as possible). As an actual date, an event, New Year's Eve is much, much more significant. There's something far more finite, about the end of one year, and the start of a new one: looking back and being able to file away, if you like, the events of one year, and to contemplate and look forward to the new.

This may all seem a touch pessimistic, but this year I started to see a futility in it all. All the effort - even in little things like rolls and rolls of wrapping paper, hundreds of cards - for one day. Maybe next year, I'm going to say to people: "don't buy me anything, buy something for yourself" and I'll do the same. Instead of everyone spending their money on everyone else, no one spend it on anyone but themselves. The result? You probably save money, unless you go crazy, and get all the stuff you want for Christmas!

And anyway - next time I shopping, I'm off to the sales to pick up what I didn't get for Christmas. They started Boxing Day! So people spend 3 months or so buying buying buying for christmas, have a day off and then start again looking for that must-have bargain.

Perhaps that's what the 25th of December marks. The one day a year that consumers have off.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Music For Africa project

In a backstreet in Hove, Brighton's bastard sister, on a freezing cold night in bleak mid-December, in the cellar of an unassuming cafe that looks like any of the hundreds of small cafes in Brighton and Hove, I had the priviledge to be present to an evening of musical brilliance in the name of charity. The place (it is a cellar after all) holds about 40 people, but the 40 that were there were in for a bit of a treat.

MusicforAfrica is a project set up by Dani Wilde, one of the performers during the evening, to raise money to provide a primary school in Kenya with the resources to teach the kids there musical education for one year. One school, one country, one year. It's not much - in fact in terms of the recent WTO talks it's barely a grain of wheat in the sack, but it's a start, it's something, and what's good is that it happened. Dani recruited 4 other musical friends, and put on a charity concert, simultaneously selling a Music for Africa EP - every penny made to go to the cause.

The peformers were Dani Wilde herself, a phenomenally talented singer who would walk a 'talent' competition like The X Factor; but in hindsight it would be a waste of such a voice. Al Brown, another fantastic singer in the mould of jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald, managed to overcome a middle-aged drunk woman, possibly a hobo, trying to match her note for note during 'I Just Wanna Make Love To You'. Phil Bentley, who was the first act supported by a cellist called Sarah, opened the night with a set of gentle piano songs sung in an even gentler voice, akin to James Blunt but much more listenable. Sarah-Louise Boyle, who can't have been a day over 18, was absolutley gorgeous ;) and sang her own songs with lyrics and musicality that belied her years. And finally, Roger Davies, Yorkshire man born and bred (that's a fact), finished the night with his brilliant songs, gently-comic lyrics accompanied by warm acoustic guitar playing.

The night finished with the whole reason I was lucky to be there - Roger closed with a song penned by a certain Dad, called 'Bushfire'. (The song is called Bushfire, not my Dad). He also helped put together the CD for Dani - and last night (19th) it all came to fruit in a great night of pure relaxed entertainment that didn't take itself to seriously, and the benefits were all for charity.
Buy the CD.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

"Goodnight and goodbye..."

On thursday, for the last time, Trevor McDonald closed the 10:30 ITV news and so ended his association with it. The one respected face on ITV1 will not be disappearing from our screens, or even ITV, but will no longer be presenting the news - which is a shame since ITV's news has always tended to be a bit sensationalist, aiming at the News of the World reader first. It's hard to say whether it's been a case of McDonald bringing the channel up, or the channel dragging McDonald down.
In his stupidly short interview about his retirement (I suppose the BBC didn't want to give him that much coverage - they didn't even say when his last broadcast as newsreader would be) he mentioned a few points about how television news is still vital, important to people today as ever before. McDonald is obviously a person to listen to and has the knowledge to know what he's talking about when it comes to news and media, and it will be interesting to see what he does next after getting to air his own views on the industry he has worked in for so long, in his last moments in it.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Sports comment

So Harry Redknapp, 'Judas' to Portsmouth fans a year ago, has done a U-turn down the M27 and gone back to Pompey, where the fans hope he'll turn into Jesus and rescue them from their thus far shit season and impending relgation.
It was quite clear last Saturday (3rd) that Harry Redknapp has never given much of a damn for Southampton FC. Usually so clever in the transfer window, he did nothing for us - Ricardo Fuller? you can go back to Fratton Park as well. And our indifferent form in a League populated by clubs so much poorer than us isn't deserving of him leaving us in the lurch - we should have sacked him. Oh well. We've got Theo Walcott!

On the England world cup group: Paraguay, Sweden and Trinidad/Tobago. We've got to be looking at 7 points there, really 9 since we're the "2nd best team in the world". We'll probably play Germany in the knockout round, and it will be a case of reproducing THAT 5-1 win vs home nation form. Then it's (probably) Argies in the 1/4 finals, Brazil in the semis, then regardless of who in the Final, if we make it that far, by God we deserve to win the damn thing.

Dear's been a while/cuNTL

Dear God! According to this site, it's been 4 and a half months since I last updated this lovely blog! And it is true, it has been. Why, I hear you cry. Well I'll tell you.
It isn't a lack of interest, it really isn't. What has happened is this: since the end of September until today, I have been in Bournemouth at my beloved Uni, doing my second year. Pressure of work? Nope. Going out too much? Nope. Access to internet at home? NONE whatsoever! Therein lies the problem, faithful blog readers. I have had no internet access in the house I have been living in for the last 2 and a half months. I haven't had time to update this when I have been able to get on the 'net, since whenever that has been, it has been for a specific reason, often related to Uni, and I have had no general time to do this. Woe is me.
NTL, the media company, are wankers. We signed up for a connection on the 29th of September. Here we are, December 11th....nothing. Excuse after exuse after misplaced details after broken waterpipe after excuse. It's been ntl:hell as one website, devoted to ntl: customer service problems, has dubbed it.
So what has happened to me in the last 4 months? I've been studying hard (hahahahahahaha) at Uni, and going out a lot while my relaxed workload permits me. I saw Bloc Party in October which was superb/awesome/brilliant. I've learnt a fair bit about Narrative Structures, Joseph Conrad, InDesign, Photoshop, Marxism (somehow), Gatekeeping, Framing, ooo lots of exciting stuff. And Content Analysis, which is a crock of shite.
I got thrown out of The Old Fire Station last friday week for being very sick, and banned til next term, but sneaked my way in friday 2 days ago anyway for an excellent 6 hour marathon party. I can't remember many more specific things now since it's been such a long time but not at least I can hopefully update whenever I want now I'm home.
Goodboo, blog!