Nothing

I think this speaks to the real person inside all of us. Chin up lovelies!!

Lewis Aaron Wood

I spend a lot of time thinking about nothing.
Not thinking about nothing as in the daydreaming,
Drifting off with eyes gleaming,
That regular people do.
Thinking about nothing as a possibility.
A future endeavour, and trying to imagine what sheer nothingness would feel like.

It sounds lonely.

We as people aren’t defined by solitude, it’s our interactions that count.
No one knows who you are from those lonely nights that you spend eating pizza in your underwear with a tight chest and feeling like your world is about to collapse.
It is not our demons that define us, but the person who makes it outside.
The one who puts on a brave face.
People care about that person, and they don’t want to see the bright light fade.

Life is less about the light at the end of the tunnel, but the tunnel itself.
If you’re constantly focusing on your…

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Knight-Errant

Having not posted in a long time, I feel that I should clarify my reasons for such silence. Spending time between home and university, a schedule that always seems to be brimming over with engagements that saturate though my education dictates with an iron fist. As such, in between I have been researching the history of my local area.

*YAWN* …A history lesson Eve? How droll.

Yes. Yes it is. And I love it. I should really begin with setting the scene. My father and I have always been interested in the Knights Templar, the Priory of Sion and other such pieces of arcane history. Not that we entertain silly notions of far fetched conspiracy theories, just that we enjoy indulging ourselves in research of that time period. With the recondity of the era comes a certain addiction to unfolding the rest of the story.

Danbury Church

Danbury Church

And so, whilst on my little historical pilgrimage, I inadvertently stumbled all the way back home. I wasn’t drunk on the fumes of vanillin textbook pages; no. I had found my way back to Danbury from all the way eastwards in the holy land. I have lived in my little hill top village in Essex for over ten years (not to be confused with Danebury Hill Fort in Hampshire – *has first year flashbacks of barbarian societies lectures and Cunliffe monologues* though it did used to be a neolithic site) and am very proud of our quaint English hamlet with our duck pond, bowls club, and single tearoom. A large chunk of local history rests in between the pews of our church. Growing up, though, I dropped my religion and visits to church became few and far between, eventually culminating in a walk through the graveyard to pick raspberries at our allotment every now and again.

Which is why all history of the area was swept under the rug, back into some small alcove of my mind, and along with it the information of a pickled knight (yes, PICKLED: in mushroom catchup to be precise) that yielded results of the St. Clere family residing in this area, already well known for it’s Templar activities. In particular interest to me was a book by Andrew Collins, which was out of print. I couldn’t find a copy of this flimsy pamphlet on-line for anything less than an extortionate price. After receiving a call from a local library to inform me they had found two crusty dog-eared copies at the back of a shelf, and encountered a refusal of sale or even borrowing by the library clerk; I inadvertently bumped into a lady and fell into conversation. By sheer luck and happen-stance she turned out to be a Templar seeker, same as I.

A Danbury Knight wooden effigy largely unnoticed by parishioners on a daily basis

A Danbury Knight wooden effigy largely unnoticed by parishioners on a daily basis

Having swapped numbers I was delighted to meet with her, upon which occasion she allowed me to borrow a signed copy of the book with notes from the author, as he was a ‘great friend’. Hopefully soon I will be able to converse with him concerning secrets of Danbury Church where said mysterious Knights were buried; and learn more about this amazing and little known village, quietly sitting on top of a hill, surveying the rest of Essex (and sometimes Kent on a clear day). Secretive and silent, now docile and a tad taciturn; Danbury is the perfect blip of bygone times that has eluded many a 20th century scholar so far, but I am hoping that Danbury Church’s previously impenetrable walls of stone impart some information previously veiled to other voyeuristic pilgrims.

Knights Templar land as it looks today - Cressing Temple Barns famous for storing barley and wheat to finance Templar crusades in the holy land

Knights Templar land as it looks today – Cressing Temple Barns famous for storing barley and wheat to finance Templar crusades in the holy land

From this I have learned how important it is to really understand the history of the place you live in. Walking around Danbury now, it has a different feel in the air, suddenly the ground I’m walking on when on the Village Green fizzes with excitable energy now that I know it’s secrets. It’s true then, that knowledge is power; and I’m loving every minute. I highly recommend it. Whether history is occult or not makes no difference if you appreciate it properly.

Getting To Know You

This post is strange. In that it’s about a total stranger.

It’s a woman. At least, I think it is.

I have no idea who she (or possibly he) is, but I know everything about her. NO, I’m not a stalker.

I had the good fortune to find her iPod.

Three years ago, my brother had a summer job working as security for various festivals (I forget which one) and after such an event, he found an 80GB iPod under a chair in the VIP area.

He followed the right protocols; turned it in to the police, and waited three months (the usual rule is 28 days).

He waited, and when it wasn’t claimed, he gave it to me as a present. I was thankful and a bit down for the poor person that lost it.

So began a three year lesson in someone else’s life, based purely on the 5504 songs they have on their iPod.

And over five thousand songs is a lot of music.

I listen to the songs they listened to when they were down, when they were ecstatic, tired, chilling out, raving, hungry, downcast. It’s a very strange phenomenon to have this little slice of someone else’s life. Some songs I’ve never heard before, some I admire this person’s taste in, some I completely judge them for. But the truth is, before I delete a single song from this iPod, I am determined to listen to every one. A kind of musical education, if you will. I’ve even transferred a few records on to my own iPod, which is considerably smaller. In reality, I own two; but to me, this black 6th generation classic is part of someone else’s life. It doesn’t contain any recent popular music (top 40 stuff).

There’s some classic music, like Vivaldi and Rachmaninoff, a LOT of 80s stuff (which isn’t exactly to my taste) some awesome party mixes of the early 2000s and a fair amount of crap too.

There’s everything from the Verve, to the Prodigy, to a disturbing amount of Kate Bush, and back again to Led Zeppelin and Eurythmics.

I am happy that she has one of my favourite songs of all time ‘Downtown’ by Petula Clark, however. (I can see half of you judging me, and the other half googling it to see what’s what).

Anyway, it’s a lovely thing to have someone else (unwittingly and probably begrudgingly) give me their little slice of life via the medium of music. Whoever you are, you have some amazing playlists. I appreciate them all.

The only sneaking suspicion about this person I have is that she must be a woman; as the entire Bridget Jones Soundtrack is on here, including Chaka Khan. I suspect she must be older than me, as every single Robbie Williams song (before 2011) is on there too. I checked. That’s a lot of Angels.

Despite her penchant for much of Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits, of which there are many, I conclude that this woman must be either a complete maniac, or as totally down to earth as you can get. Maybe I’ve passed her in the street. Maybe she’s someone famous? Is she alive? Is she happy? Is she on the other side of the world or down the road? Is she listening to the very same playlist on her replacement iPod?

I guess I’ll never know. It could be anyone’s. But thank you, mystery person; for three years of awesome music so far. For your Kings of Leon, your Paolo Nutini and Stereophonics that I listen to when I’m down. I’m dubious as to why you need so much Madonna still, but I’m getting there.

Awkward and Awesome

Some fabulously farcical and insanely inept things that can only occur at university.

AWESOME: ‘Your lecture has been cancelled’ email.

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AWKWARD: Your essay isn’t done but you sure are…

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AWESOME: Plagiarism free since 2003

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AWKWARD: Too late in the day to drink coffee, but too early to drink alcohol.

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AWESOME: Your 9am hour lecture finishes twenty minutes early.

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AWKWARD: Finding out someone posted about you on Yik Yak during the society AGM.

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AWESOME: When your parents pick you up at the end of term so you don’t have to get the train like

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AWKWARD: Clinomania strikes. Every. Single. Day.

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AWESOME: When your bank balance is saved by student discount

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AWKWARD: Having crippling doubts every single day about your future after this awesome uni experience

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AWESOME: Sitting back to watch the fireworks when someone in your lecture asks a controversial question

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AWKWARD: Exams go one of three ways…

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AWESOME: Breaking up for summer:

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AWKWARD: Knowing that the next year will be pretty much the same…

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REVIEW: AJAX

POSSIBLE SPOILERS BELOW.

If you’re at Exeter University, there’s a very good chance you’ve heard of the annual Classics play, which takes place in the M&D room. Last year’s comedy, Lysistrata, had us all in floods of laughter and bombarded with men wearing far too much make up. This year however, I am pleased to say that Classics Society’s attempt at Greek Tragedy has been quite a success in a totally different way.

It is not enough to say that I enjoyed it. Entering into the theatre, I was hit with a chilly blast of air – and greeted with a thick smog surrounding the stage. Before us stood Ajax, in all his manic bloody breathlessness; staring down the audience as if we were his next lambs for the slaughter.

A credit to Classics Society.’ – audience member

Without going into too much detail of the plot for those of you seeing the final performance – I thoroughly enjoyed the hour-long show. Of particular pedigree was Jessica Ramsey as Agamemnon, who could single-handedly bring down Troy with the icy glares she shot our way. Also of note was Jonny Wood as a chorus member – whose stoic manner dissolved into very believable tears at one point. Many of the cast delivered speeches as if they were still fighting the war –  their tired, sweaty, heated arguments were captivating.

Chilling and mesmerizing.’ – Treasurer

The crew must have worked meticulously to produce such a good adaptation. I felt it was of a reasonable length, and the style of production was markedly effective. The redesign into a modern warfare type setting was a favourable move, and of interest to me as an army cadet. This was especially engaging since the row that we sat on happened to be at level with the stage, so we really felt part of this fateful piece.

Better luck next year.’ – nameless person (who may or may not be Social Secretary)

We were entreated to the heartfelt hopeless rage during Ajax’s death monologue, traumatically delivered by Aldert White who, in hindsight, I could not have imagined a better role for. His fervently firm interaction with his wife, Tecmessa, was a powerful nod to the play’s ancient Thespian constitution.

I have relished getting into the disparaging nature of Ajax, and have thoroughly enjoyed working with such a great cast and director – they really made the performance exceptional.’ – Aldert White, on his experience as Ajax

For an amateur production, I am very impressed; especially since many of my friends took to the stage – performing in front of friends is probably more terrifying than the Trojan War itself. Simply, I hope it will be as good next year as it was tonight, but hopefully there will be less golden-syrup flavoured blood.

A noble man must either live in honour or else have died in honour. That is all.’ – Sophocles, Ajax

(Sophocles’ Ajax was performed by members of The University of Exeter’s Classics Society, Whose webpage is viewable here)

Secret, Stupid Fears

Recently I was asked what my biggest fear was. In my rush for an answer, I replied, ‘Spiders, I guess’.

Spiders? Come on, I said to myself later that night. Were eight legged critters all that I was afraid of? That got me thinking. There are lots of things I have an extreme aversion to, but may not necessarily be ‘fears’ per se.

So here are some secret, stupid perturbing prospects.

  1. The base end/handle of my toothbrush being wet. This sends chills down my spine and makes me want to vomit. I hate hate HATE this for absolutely no apparent reason. I have to leave the bathroom when this occurs.
  2. Peering round corners. This is probably a remnant of being allowed to watch horror movies too early. Be it in a house, down a street, or behind a door that’s ajar, it’s going to freak me out even if it’s painted barbie pink. cat-peeking-out
  3. Wide eyes. my flatmate frequently gets annoyed when I bump into her and scream. She has these wide eyes that when she turns around look scary. I never expect it. I blame Aardman animations.

    Can you say childhood trauma? (nb: my flatamate doesn't actually look like this)

    Can you say childhood trauma? (nb: my flatamate doesn’t actually look like this)

  4. People talking about ghosts. Specifically Poltergeists. I am adamant that ghosts don’t exist, and am grown up enough to be able to reason with myself, but sometimes a door creaking or things that go bump in the night will result in me stocking up on Nytol.

    Caspar can fucking do one.

    Even Casper can fucking do one.

  5. My Shadow/reflection. I make myself jump on a DAILY BASIS. This is so sad that I have to laugh about it.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t live my life in constant trepidation of corners or haunted houses, but just sometimes they irk me enough to get the jitters.

Do you have any silly phobias? Comment below.

Ancient Greek Theatre Comes to Exeter…

A must see for anyone down south! What I’m sure will be a brilliant show #classicslove

Classics at Exeter

The Classics Society are preparing themselves for what promises to be an incredible performance of Sophocles’ Ajax!

Ajax promo poster 1“A noble man must either live in honour, or have died in honour. That is all.”

Nine years of war, and one night of chaos.

When the coveted Cross of Achilles is awarded to Odysseus over the decorated Sgt. Ajax, one man’s understanding of the world begins to tear apart – with terrible consequences.

Exeter Classics Society present AJAX, a re-imagining of Sophocles’ tragic drama set in a modern conflict zone. Drawing upon David Raeburn’s translation from the Greek, be prepared for a powerful exploration of the line between honour and dishonour.

Tickets: £3 HERE – https://www.exeterguild.org/societies/classics/
Contact mfj205@exeter.ac.uk or rc421@exeter.ac.uk with any queries.

Ajax cast and director Ajax cast and director

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Buyer’s Remorse

It seems quite easy for people my age to become used to the capitalist society in which we live. We’re a throw-away nation; a conglomeration of buyers of shit we don’t need. I am a prime culprit of this. I purchase shit I don’t need all the frickin’ time.

Why then, do I feel so guilty for spending prize money I (we) won in a competition?

It’s strange, we all think about what we’d do with the money if we won the lottery – with a million in the bank, the world would become our oyster, wouldn’t it?

Of course, if I’d have won the lottery, you’d have heard about it by now. I wish I had.

No, I refer to a small competition on my University Campus, run for a day by a pop-up company, #HSFPopUpOnCampus.

My friend Toby and I, who entered only because we were vultures drawn in for the free popcorn, took an innocent jovial photograph involving silly props.

Which is why I feel so guilty for having won. All we did was fuck around and take a photo. Suddenly, we get £100 worth of Amazon vouchers to spend? You can imagine my disbelief at earning something so easily. I’m flattered and honoured to be given something so unexpectedly. As the saying goes, ‘good things come in small packages.’ I’ve never blooming won anything in my life.

Toby, the real winner who entered for us, bless him, didn’t have to share any of it with me – but he did. Thank you. :’)

But as soon as he asked me what I wanted, I stalled. Just like anyone else, I undoubtedly have an Amazon Wishlist as long as my arm, but this situation wasn’t Christmas or my Birthday, I didn’t need anything! Immediately I turned my attention to other things. Did the Classics Society need any other things for the ball in March? Why couldn’t Toby and his squeeze use the money instead? Could we donate it?

I don’t want to sit here and pretend that I’m a humble saint who doesn’t want a thing in the world, but really, I’m genuinely confused about all this. Maybe it’s just positive vibes from the universe? Maybe luck is real? Maybe karma is going to totally fuck me over next week.

Maybe.

But for now, I shall sit here in disbelief, and thank my partner in crime, Toby, for being a total lad and talking me into getting free popcorn – (which incidentally we didn’t actually get in the end) and accept the gift of books and a few DVDs he has sent my way via a few clicks of the mouse.

Thank you, Universe.

Towers Of Bolderaja

I feel compelled to write this because of my sheer disbelief that anyone could be so forthcoming and honest with me. After having travelled home for a long weekend, mum and I decided to have a day out in Canterbury, which is a delightful little city. Enchanting really. We were lucky enough to visit all the sites, one of which happened to be the Open Library and Public Museum. We dove in quickly to refuge from the biting chill of the crisp, sunny February day.
In the front room, I met a lovely man called Bob; significantly older than myself, who proceeded to indulge me in regaling his tale of how his magnificent little art installation came to be.
It’s as if I had stepped through into a beach-comber’s paradise. Scratch that; I had stepped into a beach-comber’s paradise. The walls were choc-a-block full of trinkets and dolls and shells and rocks, feathers, stones, etc, all of which told a quaint melancholy kind of story.
But it was the man’s description of one particular piece; ‘The Towers of Bolderaja’ that he had built. I was fascinated by this little grid of epitaphs and plinths with modelled dedications of all the little things he enjoyed. Some crafted from clay, others precious stones, metals and plastics; brought together to form a conglomeration of everyday gods and totems which meant both nothing and everything to him. There were not little stories for these; more an overarching dialogue for the lilliput-like land he had created. Crouching down to view these wooden columns from below, I saw it both though a child’s eyes and his, as he described to me his world on maps and graphs and drawings.
Suddenly I realised that my inherent distaste for some types of contemporary art dissipated quickly when I saw this sweet man tear up with pride and sorrow that it couldn’t ever be more than what it was; a local art piece sitting on a coffee table.

The Towers from below, they are meant to be viewed from this angle to reflect how individuals feel about deification

The Towers from below, they are meant to be viewed from this angle to reflect how individuals feel about deification

Children walked past it to look at the pretty colours and trinkets, adults seemed to glaze over in distaste. True, at first glance the piece was uninthralling and crass, but upon close inspection it was obvious that this man had crafted these totems which unintentionally resembled so much art and architecture and culture throughout history. Small parts, like Bernini’s Columns, a little ceramic Shabti from ancient Egypt, fools gold from america, a carved stone from the beach at dunkirk, all sorts of things.
Though I wouldn’t be particularly happy to install a piece such as his in my house; it did renew my faith in certain types of artisic expression, and how the role and importance of adding personal history when constructing art is nowadays intrinsically linked with our culture. It’s true that I can look at Tracy Emin’s unmade bed (or a piece of similar nature in the Centre Pompidou, say) and grimace at it in respect to the old masters; but next time my face goes wry and pale at a bunch of ceramic seeds, or an upside-down shopping cart in a gallery some place pretentious, I’ll think back to how that sweet-natured man made me feel about his art – and possibly understand a little bit more why such things are in the Gugenheim.

The whole of 'The Towers of Bolderaja'. - biggerthan you might think

The whole of ‘The Towers of Bolderaja’. – biggerthan you might think

Some initial impressions of the collection: melancholy, intricacy, nostalgia, distance – overall perhaps it reflected the overall title of the collection?

You can see this collection by Holder and Lamoon – Artists in residence at The Beaney (Canterbury) ‘The Essence of Memory: A Distillation of Thought’.

Or visit Bob Lamoon’s website at boblamoon.com

 

Here Is What Happens When Each Myers-Briggs Personality Type Makes A New Year’s Resolution

Insightful and funny. Guilty of mine! Where do you fit in? #HappyNewYear

Thought Catalog

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Click here to discover your personality type, then leave your resolution in the comments!

ENFP

“I resolve to make less than thirty new years resolutions this year, and keep at least two of them.”

Outcome: Stays up for fourteen straight days in an attempt to complete first resolution and subsequently ends up creating fifteen more.

ISTJ

“I resolve to be less regimented and spend more time relaxing.”

Outcome: Schedules relaxation between 3:15 and 3:42pm each afternoon, during which time they create detailed lists of how they will relax on following days.

ESFP

“I resolve to party less… On weeknights… Before 5pm.”

Outcome: Drunkenly announces their resolution to five hundred of their closest friend on Thursday January 1st, at the bar, at 4pm.

ENTJ

“I resolve to screw over marginally less of my colleagues as I fearlessly charge towards success.”

Outcome: Keeps a detailed chart of co-workers they are not…

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