Tuesday, 29 April 2008

"You always said we'd inherit the world, I always believed"

Must try not to moan.

Again. Same position. Exam tomorrow, I don't know anything. I've not done the work. Exams in later weeks, I don't know anything. I've not even looked at two of them.

Things begin to fit together and make sense when I look at them, but that shouldn't be happening twelve hours before the exam starts. That should be happening the evening after the lecture when I read through everything and did the work. But I just didn't do that. I come home for a cup of tea and a break, cock about on the internet, watch TV and then it's time for bed. Then repeat. I got away with it in the first year, and I just tried to coast through this year. I thought that it was alright just to leave the work because we went through it in the seminars. But it doesn't work like that. And I've realised that now.

If I resit the year, will I do better? I don't know. I could say yes, but why will I? I've said it before, but I've not done it.

But if I manage to scrape through this year with resits (resits are capped at a bare minimum pass, 40%) then what hope do I have for getting a half decent degree? A half decent degree that I should get. The worst thing is that I know this year hasn't been too difficult. It's all manageable stuff. If only I do the work. If I fuck up because everything's too difficult then that's understandable. I'd be in above my depth. But I'm not. The workload wouldn't even be huge. Reading around the material. Doing the work. That's it.

I've told my parents what the situation is. I'm going to see my personal tutor tomorrow after my exam (I tried today but he wasn't in. But he will be tomorrow) to talk to him about what to do.

I'm not giving up on these ones. I honestly can't see myself passing even half of them, but there's no point in sitting on my arse doing nothing these next few weeks. I'm going to work my arse off when I can. It's just that, however much I delude myself, I can't cram. It's a convenient thing to tell myself in the weeks leading up to exams so I can watch lots of episodes of QI.

I think it's better to realise this now than just battle through and find myself in this same position in a year's time. If I resit the year it's only one year "wasted" (but as one of my housemates said it might not be wasted, but just part of a learning curve). If I'm in this position next year (without resitting) I'll have definitely wasted three years, and over nine grand.

I need someone to give me a kick up the arse when needed.

I should stop quoting ¡Forward, Russia! lyrics.

"I wanted to say that you should have seen this coming. Life is a process, honey."

Monday, 28 April 2008

"Crazy, loopy & un-British"

What's this, ten minutes after an angsty post, I turn on the telly to watch Mock The Week and I see Russell Howard doing this gag ("OMGz! Fakery at the BBC! You mean it's not all off the cuff?! CALL MARY WHITEHOUSE!") and it made me so much happier.

"Thanks Velcro"

"Turn your thoughts into drawings, at art school you'll go down a storm"

Nothing to do...
Well, lots to do. No motivation to do it. Reason to do it? I don't know. Other than to simply finish university, there's no motivation. Yeah, live in London, go to gigs, have fun. That's motivation. But earn a living? I haven't got a clue how. I don't even have a vague thought. Get some shite office job putting numbers into spreadsheets with the intention of just tiding myself over until I find something better, but probably find myself still there after fifteen years. Probably.

How incredibly mopey. Better or worse than inanely dull?

When I'm old, when I am grey
I'll probably see you
in the place that we arranged.

Some fun statistics

I've had someone visit to this rather pointless blog from a search engine! That's made me oddly proud. If you're interested in things like that (which I doubt you are), the search term was "iLiKETRAiNS".

Another thing that I like about the rather fun Google Analytics is that it tells you where in the world visits come from. I've had someone come from Poland, which I'm pleased with. And one from Norway, thanks to James! But my Polish visitor is (I believe) a proper person to come across my blog. I've had two from the same place in Canada. I'm not quite sure who that is. I'd say it might be my friend Rosie who is in Canada, Google analytics says that it's in a completely different part of Canada. Two from the US (one from Ohio and one from Rhode Island). A couple from Germany (Hello Dana!).

Then there are a load of odd suburban places in the UK where ISPs clearly have their local datacentres. As far as I can tell, my ISP (Be Unlimited) have a datacentre in Slough since there are a load of visits from there. So either they are me or I have a stalker there.

You know, I've just realised that is perhaps the most dull two hundred words I have ever written. But it did delay going to the library for twenty minutes, which can only be a good thing. Please don't judge me based on this entry.

Music: Killer by Adamski featuring Seal.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

"So from the teams, Samantha, myself and the good folk of ISIHAC land, it's goodbye"

What's this? My fifth or sixth post? And I'm already writing a tribute.

Humphrey Lyttelton, jazz trumpet player but known by me (as perhaps many others) as the host of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, died yesterday evening aged 86. It emerged from the ashes of I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again in 1972, starting with a cast from that series (Tim Brooke-Taylor, Greame Garden, Jo Kendal and Bill Oddie were the panellists for the first episode), before finding the "dream team" of Willie Rushton and Barry Cryer, along with Tim Brooke-Taylor and Greame Garden.

Humphrey, or Humph to his admirers, was the host from the very start (apart from three episodes in the first series where Barry Cryer was in the chair). Despite being a musician by trade, he was picked to be the host of what became known as "the antidote to panel games" as it was thought that his ability to improvise on his trumpet would transfer to presenting duties. Whoever made that decision (probably a joint decision between Greame Garden and the programme's original producer, David Hatch) certainly made the perfect decision. His combination of deadpan, perfect delivery of double entendres and perfect ability to sound like he'd much rather be elsewhere made the show what it was. That, combined with Jon Naismith's brilliant script, made the show enjoyable to millions of people, young and old alike.

Some of my earliest memories are of listening to ISIHAC on a Monday evening on the way to gym with my dad when I was about five or six and I used to love it even then. Of course I wouldn't have got references to the delightful Samantha qualifying to be a magistrate, judging the cases of criminals and being keen to try a few hardened ones on the bench, but the bits that I was old enough to understand cracked me up.

I was lucky enough to see a recording of the programme in December 2005, and I feel privileged to have done so. To have seen him tweak his horn on stage, to hear him say the immortal words "It's now time to play the game called Mornington Crescent". All I can say is I'm so glad that I saw it once.

And so, as the blue cagouled rambler of time confronts the colour blind bull of destiny, and the dead pigeon of fate decomposes in the water tank of eternity...

As the guardsman of time strokes the bearskin of eternity, as the sergeant major of fate orders him back to the barracks to put some clothes on...

As the Steve Davis of time clambers over the table of eternity to reach for another red, and the wine waiter of destiny asks him to leave the restaurant...

So from myself and no doubt everyone who was ever touched by your wide ranging talents, goodnight.

Humphrey Lyttelton - Born May 23rd 1921, died April 25th 2008.

Friday, 25 April 2008


Due to me messing up timing slightly, and the gig being quite early, I completely missed the first support band (Cat Matador) and missed half of the second support (Kyte). The second half of Kyte's set was very good though. Vocally much like Mercury Rev, I thought. Quite "big" sonically, which I like. Lots of effects on their guitars.

The crowd wasn't enormous, which was a shame. I'd guess the venue (Oxford Academy, the old big room at the Zodiac) was about half full, which didn't help with the atmosphere. I saw them in the second half of last year in the same place and I'm pretty sure it was more full. The audience weren't great (during Rook House For Bobby) there was a couple next to me who couldn't keep their tongues out of the others' mouths, which was irritating. They're playing a song that's not only pretty damn fantastic, not only is it about one of the most interesting men of the 20th Century, but they have some brilliant visuals projected behind the band. I fail to see why someone would pay £8 to stand with their backs to all that.

A few weeks ago they were robbed of a night's takings in Italy by some people pretending to be police officers, and tonight they "dedicated" their last single to a "fake Italian policeman". The song in question was called "The Deception", which is fairly apt. They played a nice mix of songs from their "debut" mini album Progress Reform and their proper debut album Elegies to Lessons Learnt plus a new song which, contrasting with most of their historical songs, appeared to be a bleak look into the future unless we all get our arses in gear and try to stop oblivion.

All in all, thoroughly fantastic. The only let down being the fact that it seemed nowhere in West London (well, Uxbridge and Hillingdon) had a copy of the Guardian this evening so I didn't have anything to read on the coach to Oxford.

Then whilst walking back from Uxbridge station to my house, whilst listening to Radio 4's In Our Time podcast discussing materialism (not consumerism), I noticed that there was a man standing on the pavement bending down putting some trousers on. That's the second time I've walked past people in Uxbridge with their trousers down. It's almost becoming a habit.

Thursday, 24 April 2008


After deciding that I'm going to make another trip up to Oxford to see the fantastic iLiKETRAiNS tonight, I thought now would be as good an opportunity to attempt to explain why I like trains without sounding like a complete loser.

I suppose saying that I like trains is slightly inaccurate. Yes, I like using them, but I have no desire to cross off every single Class 43 loco in a little notebook, see loco number 91110 as part of an Intercity 225 set or Cross Country Super Voyager 221130. Actually, those second two aren't strictly true. The former used to be called Northern Rock until 1998 and the latter was named Michael Palin. But since they're been either renamed (in the case of Northern Rock, to David Livingstone) or denamed (in the case of Michael Palin. Damn Cross Country!), I'm not particularly bothered.

I'd say what fascinated me most is how the railway system fits together. The history of it. The politics of it. Why standard gauge won over Brunel's far more efficient broad gauge. Things like that.

And stations too. Ranging from huge 15 platform mammoths of engineering such as St. Pancras to stations which are little more than a raised surface by the side of a single track like Falmouth Town which were magically (and thankfully) saved from Beeching's Axe.

My love of the railway system has been a fairly recent thing. It developed from my love of the London Underground (which I'm sure will come in a later post, so as not to make this another ridiculously long one). And perhaps it was helped by the wonderful iLiKETRAiNS' track The Beeching Report which led to me spending an evening pouring over the details of it.

Disused railway stations are fun too. Especially recently disused ones. James, Katy and I went exploring Silvertown station a couple of months ago, which was fun. That part of the line closed less than two years ago and it's pretty much been left as it is. There is talk of plans to reopen it as part of Crossrail, so I suppose that's why it's left because nobody really knows what to do with it for the moment.

That's it for the moment. I'll probably do a post about the Underground sometime soon, and I'm sure I'll do writeups of any times that I go geeking.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Gigpost: 2008

I'll try to keep this updated, but these are the gigs that I've been to so far this year. First band are headliners, any supports after the / s. I'll put in italics the band that I was mostly there for and if any bands were playing that I missed or was at the bar talking to mates during I'll bracket them. And I've just realised that it re-sends to RSS feed readers when I update it, so I'll try and keep updates to once a month or so.

16th - Radiohead - 93ft East, London.
18th - The Winchell Riots - The Barfly, Camden.
22nd - David Ford/Richard Walters - Academy, Oxford.
25th - Morrissey/Girl In A Coma - Roundhouse, London. (Only three songs before he legged it)

1st - Blood Red Shoes/Lovvers - 229, London.
22nd - The Subways/The Culprits - The Green Room, Welwyn Garden City.
23rd - Los Campesinos!/Johnny Foreigner/4 or 5 Magicians - Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth
28th - Underworld/Yoav - Roundhouse, London
29th - Underworld/Yoav - Roundhouse, London

11th - Delays/Scarlet Soho - Academy, Oxford
20th - The Cure/65daysofstatic - Wembley Arena, London
25th - The Subways/Cage the Elephant/Someone else - Princess Pavilions, Falmouth
26th - The Subways/Cage The Elephant/(The Culprits) - Thekla, Bristol
27th - The Subways/Cage The Elephant/Someone else possibly? - The Point, Cardiff
29th - Blood Red Shoes/Clockwork - The Cockpit, Leeds

1st - Be Your Own PET/Future of the Left - The Scala, London
9th - Blood Red Shoes/These New Puritans/An Emergency - King's College, London
10th - The Subways/Johnny Foreigner - ULU, London
12th - The Winchell Riots/Her Name Is Calla/This Et Al - The Wheatsheaf, Oxford
14th - Slow Club/Jay Jay Pistolet - Enterprise, Camden
19th - Billy Bragg - Rough Trade East record shop, London
22nd - ¡Forward, Russia!/Errors/Grammatics - King's College, London
24th - iLiKETRAiNS/Kyte/(Cat Matador) - Academy, Oxford

17th - The Blues Band - Ripley Blues, Ripley Town Hall
26th - Feeder (miming)/Heather Small/Random Welsh things - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
28th - Maxïmo Park/Mystery Jets/Blood Red Shoes/Pete & The Pirates - The Forum, Kentish Town

4th - Avril Lavigne/The Jonas Brothers - The Dome, Greenwich

"It's not the same you and it never really is"

I had a fairly productive day yesterday. Well, far more productive than any day preceding it anyway. But today any motivation has gone out of the window. It's sunny, so I might try revising on the outside table for a bit after I've had some lunch.

Things I've bought today. A ticket for the rather ace looking Latitude festival. And a tshirt of the rather excellent Johnny Foreigner. They need a website because I don't like linking to Myspaces as a primary link. (How odd. Never Ending Story by Limahl has just come on iTunes. What fun). That's all quite expensive, but it's all covered by money coming into my account from my housemates. (The deal we have with bills is that I have all the direct debits set up from my account and then at random points I tell them to give me money. It works, which is nice).

Oh, something else. I've got back into halls for next year which is nice. Well, it's not ideal. But since everyone who I know is doing a placement year next year and won't be in Uxbridge then I decided that it's easier to avoid people who I dislike in halls than to have to do the same in a house. It's called Galbraith Hall, and is named after an engineer who worked on the Bakerloo Line, which is rather nice. I think he's mostly known for designing the Kew Railway Bridge.

My favourite piece of spam today?

Girls can go crazy groping you
Girls call me the ultimate love making machine and I don't need a beemer for that.
Delightful, eh? Another one:

Bed her on the first date
Make her strip immediately with this
And then a link. I can only assume that it's trying to sell me rohypnol (a word which my Firefox spellchecker doesn't know. It does, however, offer me hypnotism. I'm not sure which is more morally acceptable).

Oh yes, Latitude Festival. There aren't many bands announced yet but so far they look amazing. And the comedy! I want to see pretty much all of the comedians that are listed. It'll hopefully be a warm up for Edinburgh anyway.

Monday, 21 April 2008

**insert pretentious song lyric here**

I've spent a few hours in the library this morning. I feel like I've actually done something productive, which is nice. I was actually getting into things by the time my headache got unbearable.

The thing is that my library has two "sections". The blue bit which is the main bit with books and things where people can talk, and the red bit is for silent study. Supposedly.

It's not too noisy, but you have to walk through it to get from one set of stairs to the main bit, which means there's a load of people walking through most of the time. Why on earth they don't use the other stairs I don't know.

But the worst bit is that it's far too hot in there. I drank the best part of a litre and a half of blackcurrant juice in the space of two and a half hours and I still had a headache. I'll try and find somewhere that's a bit cooler when I go back in a minute.

When I finally got there this morning I did discover that I'd brought the wrong textbook though. That was very annoying. And they only had an older one on the shelves.

I do realise that's very dull. Sorry for that.

I should go back. We're playing Monopoly tonight! I'll inevitably lose, but it's fun anyway.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Things that I like: "Travel documentaries"

I know, I know. I started this the other day with great promise of writing great things. And then I didn't.

What I plan to do (and that's no promise that I'll stick to it) is write about a few things that I like. I've got no idea how I'm going to do "music". Perhaps I'll write about a few bands that I like. Or... I don't know. That's something for another time.

But to start, I like watching travel documentaries. Yes, it's a fairly rubbish start, but I really do like them. I'm not really much of a traveller myself (I've been to lots of places when I was younger, but I really don't have much desire to go to India and "find myself" or whatever. Perhaps it's a lack of people to go with, or the fact that I'd probably waste it by getting homesick. But what I do like is spending seven hours (sadly my attention span is rarely long enough to manage it in one go) watching Michael Palin or Simon Reeve visit places that I never could do.

When I was a child I used to watch many of Michael Palin's programmes. My memory tells me that I remember Pole to Pole but I'm not quite sure if that's right. It was on TV in 1992 (I'd have been four), so maybe it was a repeat. Anyway, my more recent reintroduction to them was when I happened to turn on BBC Four during the second half of Meet The Stans (presented by Simon Reeve) a few years back. I vowed to track down the first half, but it was only about a year ago when I downloaded the whole series of Holidays in the Danger Zone and watched much of it in a weekend.

More recently I watched Charlie Boorman and Ewan McGregor's motorbike journey around the world Long Way Round. I'm not particularly interested in motorbikes, nor was I a particular fan of Ewan McGregor (I don't watch enough films to call myself a particular fan of any actors really) but I found the whole adventure fascinating. On the extended DVD there are two 45 minute episodes devoted to preparation for the trip. It seems like I'm in a minority, but I found that to be the most interesting part of the series. The thing I particularly like about this is that there's much more of a focus on how they get around than many other similar documentaries. Whereas Michael Palin programmes appear to mostly show things going particularly well, on Long Way Round (and its sequel Long Way Down, which I've only watched the first half of) they'll show things like their frustration at the endless waiting at borders. And, perhaps more importantly, they show (or at least appear to show) everybody who is there. While Michael Palin acknowledges his crew, or passepartout, it's only rarely. In the motorcycling ones the crew are as much part of the adventure as Ewan and Charlie are.

I suspect this is as much due to technology than for the viewers' evolving expectations of travel programmes. In Michael Palin's time they needed (I believe) five people to film, record sound , direct etc. Nowadays with the invention of handheld DV cameras you can have one person to do all that, and also be part of the story. And I much prefer that.

Having said that, I'm in the middle of watching Michael Palin's Pole To Pole and I'm loving it. I think I prefer it to his first adventure (Around the World in 80 days) due to the lack of time constraints. Whilst 80 days is made more interesting by the context (following Phileas Fogg's fictional route), the fact that he's mostly in a rush to get to the next city doesn't help.

Pole to Pole starts, as the name suggests, at the North Pole and the mission is to travel approximately down the 30º line of longitude to the South Pole. I'm only at episode two (of eight) now, and they've just boarded a ferry on the Black Sea from Ukraine.

After I've finished this one I'll either watch Michael Palin's next trip (Full Circle, where he attempts to circumnavigate the Pacific Ocean) or Charlie Boorman's attempt at the Dakar Rally.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

"Captain Beefheart is better than Edgar Broughton"

Hello. I've finally got round to making one of these things. I've wanted to set one up for months but there was a major problem. I didn't have a name for one. I could have just had sven945.blogspot.com, but that would have been dull. And there's also the fact that I don't really like the username "sven945". It leads people to call me Sven. I'm not quite sure why.

After spending a lot of time listening to Radiohead B sides and Underworld album tracks trying to decipher the angsty moanings of Thom Yorke and mentally remove the vocoder effects on Karl Hyde's stream-of-consciousness lines, I finally found this phrase in a book that I'm reading. I like it. It stuck in my mind. Does it matter? I don't know. I'll probably learn to dislike it in a few weeks. Does it warrant a paragraph being written about it? Probably not. But I don't mind.

I've used online journals before. I had one many years ago on an online acquaintance of mine's website where I wrote about five entries, all of which clocked up to around 1500 words each. Not only does it take an awfully long time to write entries like that, nobody reads them. I abandoned that one for some reason then six months later or so I was convinced to sign up to Livejournal. Every so often, once a year or so, I look back at some of my old posts on that. It makes grim reading to say the least. Overindulgent, self obsessed crap. I feel sorry for anyone who knew me at the time of writing all that and who no doubt wanted to tell me to shut the hell up and do something useful about certain situations, rather than spending my time moaning and listening to Easyworld records. I often remind myself how bad things would have been (in the sense of how bad my livejournal would have been rather than how, in reality, I would have been) had I discovered the entire Cure back catalogue. I had Disintegration, which is still one of the most depressing albums I've ever heard, but I dread to think what hearing Bloodflowers would have done to me.

But that's all in the past. Probably like any other music obsessive, there were songs that are always and forever linked to certain people in my mind. Luckily, over the past six months or so, I've realised I can listen to most of those again. Yes, they are still linked to certain people from my past, but I don't see anything wrong with that. It's the past, and there is much that I perhaps wish hadn't happened, but it's still part of what's made me who I am now. And if you don't learn from those things then what's the point in living?

That's all got far deeper than I intended, and I do apologise. Ultimately what I want to say is that the point of this isn't to whinge about girls who don't want to have sex with me. Perhaps it's easy to say that now in a way that it wasn't at other points in my life because I'm not spending my time obsessing over anyone.

That's almost an introduction. I say almost because I doubt it tells you anything particularly worth knowing. I've not really talks about my interests at all, nor have I actually said what I'm going to to use this blog for. Since this post is incredibly long already (I don't think blogger will give me a word count) I'll write separate posts for some of my interests, and I'll try to be more concise than I have been in this one. I'm not sure how successful that will be, but I'll certainly try my best. Do please leave comments. It makes me feel like people have at least a passing interest in my ramblings.
Feel free to ask me things. I might not answer, but ask away nonetheless. I'll certainly reply to you, even if it's avoiding the question that you asked in the first place.

Current music: RPWL - Cymbaline (Pink Floyd cover)