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Monday, 17 October 2011

MONDAY MUSING: Illness sucks.

 I went to the doctors after three weeks of being snuffly and it eventually evolving into some kind of hell born demon disease and now I've been diagnosed with a viral infection. The only problem with such an infection is that a doctor will do NOTHING, because there is nothing they can do as it's all down on you to get some fresh fruit and veg down you as well as some clear fluid.

Now to most this would be a reasonable thing: stay in bed and laze about while stuffing your face with grapes and water; not a bad lot in life, you may not feel well but hey you'll get there. To me though, I hate it because of one simple fact: I hate being ill. Even though it gives me a guilt free pass to be a lazy ass, it's one of the banes of my very existence.

Why you ask?

 Well firstly, I rarely get ill, so when I do it's some sort of hell born demon disease as described above. It never seems to leave and it always is severely painful or unpleasant. Which is not very nice. Sweating, fevers, vomiting and the like have never really been things I enjoy but that always seems to be my symptoms. After nights of not being able to sleep, not being able to eat I just feel terrible and want to lock myself in my room for fear of scaring the poor innocents around me as I turn into some sort of horrible green ill monster. When it does eventually go though, it's almost enough to turn me religious (as it is almost miracle like) and I do like to get up and about straight away. Which leads on to...

Reason number two I don't like being ill is the genuine helplessness and inability to function. I don't like staying in bed, I like to relax but I can't stand not being able to do things and not being able to go out and converse with people or simply stare blindly at the tv. I like being up and about so being knocked off my feet by illness sucks. It really destroys me both physically and mentally. The inability to move a limb is something that really pains me as every tiny ting becomes a chore. It makes me feel helpless and that's a position I've never been entirely comfortable with. So that feeling of helplessness can often lead me to push myself into getting better, which often makes things worse. Which makes being ill suck even more.

 I don't know how it is for everyone else but this is just how I feel towards not feeling well and even though some may disagree with me completely;' I genuinely feel this way. My fever dreams are getting ridiculously uncanny and surreal, so I just hate being ill. Period.

Monday, 10 October 2011

MONDAY MUSING: Beauty and the pen.

"Be grateful for and celebrate the beauty in all things because beauty is everywhere; and ignore all limitations and boundaries wherever they are found, because they are illusion."
- David F Sanders

 I look at this quote and think just this: wow. The reason? Well it's because David F Sanders in this one line speaks something I've believed my whole life. It is a fact that beauty is everywhere and the limitations and boundaries we encounter are often the illusions of our own mind. This beauty and these illusions have always inspired me to write, in fact, I did often write a lot in open parks and other strange outdoor locations because they were particularly glorious. This is the reason I take my journal everywhere with me; because if beauty is everywhere then so too is inspiration.

 Yet, since coming to Sheffield to study, I have written little and writing sessions have become few and far between. I'm not sure what it is whether it is worry, drink or many other things but one thing I do attribute it to is that in the city there aren't many pretty places to go write. Well, I say that there isn't any; it may just be a case of me not having discovered them yet. Yet, this lack of a place I can go sit and think is one of the foremost thoughts in my head everyday and every single night. 

It is almost haunting me that I wish for a small place for a piece of tranquility and clarity above all things; a place or person of such beauty that it may feed my starving imagination and once again reignite the flame of creativity within me. Like a single spark to dry wood. Yet, this will probably never be the case; as a stranger in Sheffield I dare not step foot outside my little room into the massive colossal city filled with noise and people and places. I don't know whether it's because I'm afraid of getting lost or whether it simply is due to homesickness. I really cannot put a finger onto why writing has actually began to get 'difficult' for me. It maybe because I'm being challenged on this course, it maybe because I am not a good writer. 

Or maybe even I'm afraid.

Who knows, for I certainly don't but I do hope that I can find a place to return the spark of wanting to write back to me because otherwise doing a creative writing course may actually be more difficult then I ever imagined. 

Sunday, 9 October 2011

REVIEW: Kerrang! Presents Nirvana Nevermind Forever

Album Name: Nirvana Nevermind Forever
Artist: Various Artists
Record Label:  Various Labels
Release Date: 24th Sept 2011

Track List:
1. Arcane Roots - Smells Like Teen Spirit
2. Framing Hanley - In Bloom
3. Deaf Havana - Come As You Are
4. Rise To Remain - Breed
5. Francesqa - Lithium
6. Young Guns - Polly
7. The Dillinger Escape Plan - Territorial Pissing
8. Kids In Glass Houses - Drain You
9. Evile - Lounge Act
10. The Black Out - Stay Away
11. Frank Turner - On A Plain
12. Spycatcher - Something In The Way
13. Dangerous! - Endless, Nameless
14. {Bonus} We Are The Ocean - Sliver

My step-dad may find it weird that I'm reviewing this album as we often argue about the fact that I'm not a big fan of Nirvana; yet, when I saw the list of bands that were going to be on this CD I was amazed. Half of my favorite bands would be playing tribute to the fact Nevermind, which in it's own right is an iconic record, had occurred two decades ago. It's older then me by a year! So, what's it like?

 The compilation itself has some cracking artist who not only wish to pay tribute to Nevermind but bring their own thing to the table in this CD. One of the songs this is probably most apparent in is the start track and probably Nirvana's most famous song Smells Like Teen Spirit covered by Arcane Roots. Now, for anyone to cover this song is pretty ambitious and everyone would probably admit you could never do it justice but Arcane Roots' take on the grunge classic is epic bringing hardcore esque guitar to an iconic track. Their emulation of the track into their own thing may cause a divide in opinion but it is skillful nonetheless and this theme continues throughout the CD. Bands continually take the songs and twist them into grunge/ their genre hybrids which actually makes the album very enjoyable to listen to. You can tell that even those whom try to keep the song to the original like Framing Hanley in the second track: In Bloom breathe new life into the track.

 And the songs on this CD not only convey the sense of respect but fun had by the bands whom have all worked on the tracks; you can actually hear that all the bands involved in the project have chosen songs close to their hearts and really had fun recording them. They probably also know they cannot be Nirvana, they cannot get the same response from these tracks as Nirvana did but that's not what the CD is to them; it's a way to pay homage and I'm not denying it gets them more publicity but Nirvana were (even if I don't like them) a huge turning point in music. so what musician would pass up the opportunity to be on this album.

 Even so, how could you choose who to put on the album? Kerrang obviously had to think hard on who to put in the compilation and in my eyes they did and awesome job with some of them. The caliber of acts on this disc is amazing and would be hard to top. Framing Hanly, Francesqa, The Blackout and many others all in the same place is pretty amazing and is pretty inspirational.

RATING: 3 & 1/2 As
Even though the album is good and I thoroughly believe there needs to be more rock artist compilations like this CD there is some issues I have to point out. Surprisingly Deaf Havana, Young Guns and Fracesqa pulled it out of the bag with their covers, I knew they were going to be good but they exceeded all my expectations almost blowing my mind like explosivo from Tenacious D. Yet, some songs just didn't cut it for me and with me already not being a Nirvana fan it was pretty much a sort of rating handicap songs like Territorial Pissings by The Dillenger Escape Plan and Frank Turner's On a Plain really didn't sit well in my gut and there were a few others like that too. I really should've liked them but just couldn't. This makes like 80% of the album good and that 20% not even worth listening to.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

REVIEW: Ed Sheran - +

Album Name: +
Artist: Ed Sheeran
Record Label: Atlantic
Release Date: 12th Spet 2011

Track List:
1. The A Team
2. Drunk
3. U.N.I
4. Grade 8
5. Wake Me Up
6. Small Bump*
7. This
8. The City
9. Lego House
10. You Need Me, I Don't Need You
11. Kiss Me 
12. Give Me Love

You've heard The A Team like a thousand times on every chart show, from every fan girl and boy (but from my experience it's mostly boys who would probably turn gay for ginger Ed.) and now the album's out. So, you have two choices by the CD and support the sofa living singer or rip it off the net for free and keep him on the sofa. I chose the first option, not because of the sofa mind you but more because CD quality is always better then rip especially if you want to review an album.
 So, I've never been on the Ed Sheeran band wagon like a few of my mates were but I thought it would be a nice investment to get plus to chill in my room to. It's all pretty much acoustic songs so it's that kind of chill out and do some homework CD. In fact I'm going to put it on right now. So, let's actually get to talking about the album not from a fangirl/boys point of view but from a point of view less skewed. For a debut album + is something I personally would be very proud of; Ed Sheeran's ability is clearly on display in this CD and it is a testament to independent singer/ song writers everywhere. Ed here proves that his quality lyric writing is one of the key things in his music and he flaunts this talent quite frequently with similes and metaphors galore. An example of this would be in Track 10 You need me, I don't need you when he mentions how people rate him as an artist like when they say he's 'up and coming' and he subverts this in the lyric 'they say I'm up and coming/ like I'm fucking in an elevator'. As a creative writing student I do really admire Ed's use of rhythm and his word play. Technically it's absolutely flawless and clever beyond belief. I'd challenge anyone to write songs half as good as Ed does structure wise. 
 Moreover, I'd challenge them to hit the heartstrings as much as Ed does especially in my favourite song of the album Track 6 Small Bump. Whether autobiographical or not Ed Sheeran's songs have such deep rooted meanings that it is hard not love most of them. Small Bump still makes me cry a little bit everytime I hear it because the song matter is rather tragic. These emotional song lyrics are again something that I deeply admire Ed for. His song writing and tracks are superb and as said before I challenge anyone to make a song like Ed's.


Although I'm not a major Ed Sheeran fan I do respect Ed very much. His hard work and dedication are very admirable qualities that a musician and writer must have in order to do what they love and this album is a testament to Ed making it past all the trials he's faced from living on a couch to doing over 1000 shows. What he does is brilliant and this album is brilliant and he deserves what he has; the fans, the shows, the press even the really annoying bum boys. So, I can't wait to hear more of Ed's stuff in the future and wish him all the best because this album is cracking and I'd recommend it to anyone.

* = My personal favorite Track

Prose: Creative Writing Exercise - Dialogue

Author's Notes: So, in today's lecture we were talking about Characters and Dialogue and we had two tasks. First we created characters and then in pairs we were told to make our two characters engage in a dialogue; I was partnered with my friend Liam and his Journalist character, Alistair Foil, actually seemed to fit well with my undertaker Tobias Black. So we got this dialogue going and I actually quite liked it and said I'd finish it. I thought it'd be nice for it to go on here as like, yeah, I haven't really been doing much. Anyhoo, here goes the new remastered, polished version.

 The death of governor Quentin Beckett was a huge surprise to many, such a large local character was going to leave a huge hole in the community. It was truly a sad event and now Alistair Foil, journalist, was determined to be the man with the scoop. This was a huge story and he knew he could not mess up. In front of him sat the undertaker Tobias Black, owner of his family business Black & Sons. The two had not been together long at all. So wasting no time, Alistair took up his pen and began the interview: "What details can you give me on the funeral arrangements Mr. Black?"
"That's for the family to decide Mr. Foil, not undertakers."
Tobias' bluntness took Alistair by surprise. "I'm detecting there's something you don't want to tell me Mr.Black."
The undertaker sat up, putting his hands together in an odd triangular shape and replied with pursed lips. "Have you ever lost anyone Mr Foil?"
"I'm sorry?"
"Simple question."
"Well, yes."
"A parent?"
"Yes Mr. Black." said Alistair curtly "Why am I telling you this exactly?" The situation had become uncomfortable for Alistair, now that the interviewer had for some reason become the interviewee.
"Just interest Mr. Foil."
"Ok Mr. Black, so-"
"I lost my Dad too."
"I'm sorry to hear that but-"
"But what Mr. Foil?"
"That's not the point."
"Humour me."
"Fine." Alistair agreed begrudgingly.
"When I lost my Father I wanted to be alone. To have space, time."
"Yes, Mr. Black can we hurry this up?"
"A second Mr. Foil, my point will become clear."
"A second you have Mr. Black." spat Alistair growing more uncomfortable.
"Then a second I'll take, Mr. Foil, with all due respect I expect you like me to have wished for space yourself when your Father died. Take that as thou wilt but bearing in mind Governor Quentin was more then a politician but also a Father and a Husband and a Friend. Do you really think what you're doing is really appropriate? Would you have wished for someone to pry into your Father's funeral?"
 In that moment Tobias had completely disarmed Alistair, he had in all honesty no idea what to say. He looked at his pen and paper and then at the undertaker opposite him whom although young in years had been the victim to premature graying in his hair. Alistair began to think that maybe the graying of Tobias' hair was not to spite him but to reflect the uncanny amount of wisdom the young man had. Alistair sat in awe and was surprised as he replied to the question asked of him. "No, no I would not appreciate it at all."