Wednesday, 8 September 2010

We Used to Wait

I have come across the new music video for Arcade Fire's We Used to Wait.
I use the term 'music video' very loosely because it is more of a unique experience; as in it will be different for every person.

It uses HTML 5 technology and Google Street Views to put the house where you grew up in the foray of things and, paired with Win Butler's wonderful lyrics, can really evoke some powerful memories, especially for me who, having just turned 20 yesterday, is starting to feel my youngest years coming to a close.

You need Google Crome to experience the video properly and it recommends you to close other running programs because it is quite demanding of your computer.

Some advice to truly enjoy it: lots of windows will open. Don't click anything or it will mess it up.

Also, towards the middle, it will tell you to write a postcard to a younger version of yourself. Make sure you do this as the next bit is brilliant.

Get involved here.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

What about the music?

Here's a first; a request.
Somebody has requested me to make a music-related post, because they value my music taste that much that they would like me to recommend some more music. Touching stuff.
I feel like some kind of online blog-based DJ.

In truth I haven't made a post of this kind in quite some time, and I do enjoy passing on what I think is good music to others.

This one's for you Tamsin.
It's going to be a whopper.

First up we have the return of Klaxons with their lovely new single, Echoes.

 

 Next, you must have been living under a rock to have not heard this one yet. Drunk Girls by LCD Soundsystem.

Next, filthy trashy garage sounding indie. Sleigh Bells - Infinity Guitars.

Now the seemingly Marmite-esque Antony and The Johnsons with Thank you for your Love.

Here we are with the brand new single from The Cribs, Housewife.

Here's Bombay Bicycle Club's Ivy & Gold, a soundtrack for the summer we should have had, taken from the result of Flaws, their new album; the result of an interesting change in sound for the boys.

A song I discovered recently while watching Scrubs. The Book of Love by Peter Gabriel. It's a cover. The original was by Magnetic Fields. I just thought I'd put that one out there.

Here's a song from the quite frankly amazing Arcade Fire album, The Suburbs. It was difficult to choose just one track from the album, so I thought why not the title track?

Finally, here's Iron & Wine's gorgeous cover of New Order's Love Vigilantes. Such a beautiful, smooth and comforting voice.

Well there you go.
I hope you enjoyed that musical journey of what's been gracing my iPod lately.

Any thoughts, leave a comment.

Ciao for now.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Enter the Ninja

This song is hilarious.
It has been the song of my holiday as it is always on Matt and Gordon's awful satellite TV.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Sun and Sangria

I have been a right jet-setter this summer. Visiting Alessio in Sicily with Lucy, my month with an Italian family and now this. Looking back over previous blogs from last year, it's nice to see that, in the end, some kind of plan fell into place.

I came here with my cousin Vicky because Matt, an old tutor from her theatre company, now lives here with his friend Gordon so it was very much doable due to the fact that staying with them has really cut the costs. I write of course from Fuerteventura, a beautiful island in the Canary Islands.

The first thing that struck me about this place was the interesting and unique landscape, unlike any which I have previously seen. Grass and soil are pretty much non-existent, in exchange for deserts, dry bushes and the odd camel thrown in for good measure.

We are living in Corralejo which, culturally, is rather diluted, with lots of the feeling of Spanish lost due to the sheer amount of tourists it has to cater for. There is a large contingent of British tourists here so there are many 'British bars', usually run by British people, in which they can drink to their heart's content and meet other British people. Not exactly why I, a language student, would come to Spain but there is plenty of Spanish conversation to be had elsewhere in the town, and Matt has even offered to take us to a rural Spanish village off the beaten tourist track.

One such 'British Bar' in town is Golden Days, a bar in which Gordon entertains some nights. These events are your typical singing, quizzes and karaoke but are rather fun, with plenty of free shots to be had.

So far my language skills have come in handy and I think I've somehow been roped into organising Go Karting for all of us by the owner of Golden Days.

The weather here has been gorgeous and it's nice to be back in the sun after my five day plunge into the English rain between arriving from Italy and coming here. We have had a good look around the town, caught some sun by the pool, been down to the beach and had plenty of alcohol. The beach is wonderful. There is a very high topless to non-topless ratio with the women, which is always a bonus. It seems reservations about getting the baps out have been left at home. And I'm not complaining. The alcohol is gloriously cheap, with 22 cent cans of the aptly titled 'Cerveza' and €2.50 bottles of Rosé being among the highlights.

Last night was our biggest night out so far. After Matt's TV quiz finished at Golden Days, the four of us decided to head to a bar called Flicks, venturing out of the British bar zone and into a much more culturally mixed atmosphere. Within ten minutes of arriving, Vicky had already chosen her karaoke song and promptly informed the DJ. Ironically, the language I spoke the most last night was Italian. This came about when Vicky came rushing over to me saying she'd met an Italian bloke, Francesco, and so we went over and got chatting to them; me playing the part of interpreter and impressing them with what to them was a surprisingly good grasp of the language for an English person.

Soon enough, an Italian group of girls joined our little group. I like. I was very much enjoying the conversation but soon Francesco's plan became apparent. From the start of the proceedings I had taken a protective stance over Vicky, her being my cousin and all. So when Francesco asked if he could go and talk with her in private, I abruptly delivered the response of 'no'. But Francesco was a crafty devil, exploiting one of my weaknesses: Italian women. He attempted to set me up with one of the Italian girls in the group, a lovely young woman called Rossana. Now that my full attention was on her, he seized the opportunity to advance.

I soon realised that Rossana and I were not to be. She has a boyfriend and is a bit old for me at 25. Although there is still time to get to know a friend of hers, and as Francesco said "The boyfriend is in Italy. What he doesn't know won't hurt him". I did get her number so there's a small victory there. As it became apparent that there would be nothing going on between me and Rossana, it was already too late. I looked up to find Francesco holding my cousin's face and telling her to 'look into his eyes'. I pulled her aside and asked if she wanted to get away from him. Her answer was yes so we then entered into escape mode.

We decided to leave, opting to have a last drink in Waikiki; more of a nightclub affair this time. Again, this place was another melting pot of ethnicities, which I welcomed with enthusiasm. However, soon after we'd got our first round, shock horror, Francesco was there. He came over just before we left and gave me his number, asking my permission to see Vicky again. He did that thing people do when they make you ring them so they have your number, which is awkward when you don't want the person's number.

Needless to say, I received a text from Francesco at 6 AM saying he would very much like to see Vicky again. I hope we don't see him. I have however invited Rossana and her friends to come to an event at Golden Days to test their English karaoke. I am doubtful that they'll come.

So far I'm having a wonderful time.
Maybe I'll meet a Spanish girl tonight.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Dear Simon Cowell:

At least 1,500 dead and 12 million displaced/affected from the floods in Pakistan.

Where the fuck is Pakistan's charity single?

Monday, 26 July 2010

Message in a bottle (of milk)

When a date appears as the expiry date for dairy products you know it's getting close.

That's how I came to realise that my time in Italy is drawing to a close as we walked around the supermarket the day before yesterday.

I had wanted to keep some kind of regular blog of this trip but it just hasn't been possible due to me having scarce opportunities to access the internet, and these rare opportunities I have used to contact friends and family.

In fact, as I type, I am using the public Wi-Fi connection of Pietrasanta, which can only be accessed from the piazza (town square) where I am sat, as I do every night, keeping an eye on Umberto while he plays. I have been in this town permanently from the middle of the month, before which we were only here on weekends; spending weekdays in Rovigo, where Umberto's parents work.

While I write this, I am sat on the church steps on yet another beautiful, mild evening. A woman prepares herself next to me with face paint, ready to perform her bubble-blowing spectacolo to the people in the piazza; a performance which, as a regular to the town over the last month, I have already seen.

The piazza from which I type.


The beach at Forte dei Marmi is absolutely beautiful. Aside from rubbing shoulders with professional footballers and other Italian elites, tranquillity and relaxation can also be found here. For example, today while Umberto was off playing with a friend, I put down my copy of The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón and closed my eyes. The sun blazed down, warming my face and body while the sound of endless frothy turquoise waves massaging the dusting of fine golden sand on the coast lulled me into a blissful trance where it felt wonderful to be alive.

So this trip hasn't all been struggling to look after a kid. My Italian has really come on too I feel.

However I find myself now, in these final days, nostalgically longing for home, for my friends, my family; for unequivocally English things such as trips to the pub and cups of tea.

This makes it tempting to try and make this last week go as quickly as possible however I am doing my best to savour my remaining time here, before I am thrust back under a veil of rain in a land who's hidden treasures I have long known and lived with; far from this land of which I have barely scratched the surface.

But that's all for now,
I'm a busy bee.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

My Month In Italy - The Basics

Right. I've been staying with this Italian family for five days now. My original intention to keep a travel blog of my stay here has proved difficult as I am only able to access the internet at the place where I am currently sat: the legal offices of the couple with whom I am staying (they are lawyers).

The wireless has decided to be a prick and hate my laptop, meaning I have been unable to upload any of my photos or get on to Skype due to the fact that this is Alessia's computer. I may add pictures to this post later or feature them in subsequent blogs if I have any success with my laptop. If there are any grammatical errors, I blame the Italian keyboard.

Right so I'll keep it concise because, frankly, to mention everything I have done over the last 5 days would waste a lot of time which I should be making the most of.

The Family


Alessia and Michele - The adults of the family; both Lawyers. They have a passion for art, especially the modern and interesting sort, and their houses are decorated accordingly.
Umberto - Their 6 year old son.

Locations


Rovigo
This is the town where the family have their permanent house in which they live all year round. Rovigo is a modest little town in the Veneto province of North East Italy; the same province in which the city of Venize is found. Their house is quite simply amazing, with art everywhere and interesting furniture. I wish I could upload pictures of it but hopefully I will get my laptop working soon. If not, I'm sure you can wait a month.
During the day here, Umberto is at Animazione, a kind of summer school for kids of his age. While he is there and the parents are at work I have the day to myself, giving me lots of time to explore; such as yesterday when I went to visit Bologna, in the Emilia-Romagna region of the country. I collect Umberto at around 5.30 PM and we then go home where I look after him until his parents get home at around 7.00 PM. His parents want me to teach him a bit of English when it's just me and him together.

Pietrasanta/Forte dei Marmi
Pietrasanta is the small town in Tuscany where we go to stay on the weekends. It is a city known for its art and due to being located near abundant sources of marble, features lots of the gorgeous white rock in its architecture. In fact, Michelangelo even stayed in the town at one point, in a building which is now a bar; fittingly named Bar di Michelangelo.
During the day we head to the beach at Forte dei Marmi. On the beach there is a swimming pool resort with a bar where we often sit and swim when we are not on the beach itself. This place is for the elite sectors of Italian society and some of the people I have had pointed out to me there are the president of Inter Milan and the Italian national footballer, Andrea Pirlo; who I have so far seen everyday I have been there. When we get back from the beach, some time after 7.00 PM, if Alessia and Michele want to go out, their Italian babysitter Patrizia comes over. Me, Umberto and Patrizia then have some dinner, either in the apartment or at a restaurant, and then me and Patrizia sit in the Piazza keeping an eye on Umberto while he plays with the other kids. On Saturday nights there are performances in the piazza, the only act I have seen so far being a man juggling fire on a giant unicycle.



Well that's all I really have time to write now. As I've said, I don't want to be wasting my days stuck in on the computer. Tonight, in Rovigo, there is the weekly event of Notte Rosa (Pink Night) where the shops stay open until late and there are shows in the piazzas.

Next time I blog, I will write up the positives and negatives so far of being here, trying to keep it to a concise and general nature like this, rather than rambling on about specific stories which will take ages to tell. If I get my laptop up and running then I'll be able blog in a bit more detail, WITH PICTURES!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Sicily 2010 - The rest

Due to the fact that I am jetting off to Italy again tomorrow to spend a month with an Italian family, I feel that I am unable to blog the rest of my recent trip to Sicily in the day by day fashion that I set out in the last post. Instead I will skilfully condense the rest of the trip into this one post. So here are the highlights of our stay with Alessio in Catania.

So I last left off where me and Lucy were shattered after our day in Palermo. The morning after our well-earned sleep, me, her and Alessio went to San Giovanni beach, formed from cooled lava from nearby Mt. Etna. As a result of its volcanic geological formation, the sand on the beach is black, as are the rocks.






That afternoon, we went to watch England beat Slovenia in a betting shop. Then later than night we went on our first Catania night out, starting off drinking in Piazza Teatro, a big square full of bars. Alessio and his friends were introducing us to Sicilian drinks such as Rum e Pera, a drink made up of two shots, one of rum which is drank first and one of pear juice which is drank to wash down the rum. Another awesome shot was the torcia which is a strong shot with a slice of orange on top of it. Sugar is then poured onto this orange with a flammable liquid. Torcia means torch, a name for which the reason quickly became apparent when the barmaid then set fire to the sugar on the orange causing it to caramelise. You then bite the orange and down the shot.

After this Sicilian drinking lesson we headed to Moon Beach, an awesome nightclub on a beach.




Another day, we watched the Italian world cup match where they were eliminated by Slovakia at Alessio's university in the auditorium. I found it very atmospheric being surrounded by Italians with their hand gestures out in full force, accompanied by yells of "Dai cazzo!" as they watched their team lose.


For our last night in Catania, we partook in the Italian tradition of passeggiata, a late night stroll. However, our passeggiata took us back to Piazza Teatro (below) for a second schooling in the wonders of Sicilian drinking.

 

Alessio's friends were all so generous, buying me drinks, and none of them spoke any English so it gave me and Lucy lots of opportunities to practice our Italian. Among Alessio's group of friends was a guy called Fabio. From the day Alessio's friends saw me and Fabio together, the fact that we bear a striking physical esemblance to each other became a running joke among the whole group, so much to the point that, by the end of the trip, I was addressing him as fratello (brother).


In all, my five days in Sicily gave me a real taste of the island, its people and the way it feels inexplicably different to mainland Italy. I met some wonderful people there through Alessio and can't wait to return there one day and see them again.

As of tomorrow I'm back in Italy to stay with a family there. I'm really not sure what to expect and am currently feeling a cocktail of excitement and nerves due to the whole stepping into the unknown. No doubt my next blog will be while I'm there.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Sicily 2010 - Day 1

After a long, long journey broken up with a couple of - sporadic at best - hours of sleep, mine and Lucy's plane finally touched down at Trapani airport. In our tired haze we went and sat at the baggage claim and started chatting. A couple of minutes passed until it suddenly hit us that we hadn't in fact checked in any baggage and the only luggage we had taken was already in our hands, rendering our being at the baggage claim absolutely pointless.
So first thing was first, we needed to cure our tiredness; with the time being 10.30 AM, the day had barely begun and we had a lot ahead of us. So what better way than a good Italian caffè to wake us up? The second I had swallowed the espresso my tiredness began to subside.



From the airport we got on our pre-booked coach to Palermo. We were due to meet Alessio that night in Catania which is about 2 hours 40 minutes by coach from Palermo. However we weren't meeting him until around 9.40 PM so by the time we reached Palermo at around mid-day we had a good few hours to kill.
The night before while tossing and turning on the floor of Stansted airport with nothing more than a lumpy suitcase for a pillow, I had gone and bought a Sicily travel guide to give me something to do. This proved useful for our time in Palermo, with the map allowing us to find our way back to the Central Station (above) when we needed to get our coach that night in Catania.


The first real thing we saw was this giant tree at Villa Garibaldi. There were a few giant trees like this; this one being far from the largest although the biggest one was cordoned off. We had an amazing sandwich for lunch at a little Panino bar called The Navy, which I would love to return to next time I'm in Palermo.



Next we found our way to a beautiful view of the Mediterranean sea.


Later, we captured this photo of a Vespa, an Italian icon.



We strolled through the beautiful Villa Giulia, where we saw this statue of Poseidon.
 
This is a stall at a street market we visited. It was a long street that snaked along among the buildings, lined with stalls. I got a real sense of Italian-ness from the market, with people all around me yelling about how their fruit was the best in Sicily or how their fish was caught today. Another scene that greeted me here was a group of vendors taking a break and playing some cards. It was a very cultural experience.

 
Then it was off to the Palermo Cathedral which we went inside and saw the beautiful art it had to offer.

 
This picture was taken at Quattro Canti, a piazza at the intersection of Via Maqueda and Corso Vittorio Emmanuele; essentially a giant beautiful crossroads smack-bang in the middle of the city. We passed through Quattro Canti on the way back to the station where we then set off to Catania.

Two hours and forty minutes later we had arrived. Alessio greeted us with open arms and took us home on the bus where we then got off at the stop nearest to his house and walked the rest of the way, catching a glimpse of the Cathedral at night.

Once back in his flat we could relax. Our travels were complete. We had reached our destination. We had gorgeous home-cooked Italian food in our stomachs and I was finally able to change my clothes after the 24 hours since I had last been able to before leaving my house.

Some of Alessio's friends came over and we sat eating pasta and watching Italian TV. After the large amount of travelling, walking and heat we had endured, we were pretty exhausted and no matter how hard I tried to listen to the Italian conversation between Alessio's friends to get involved, the words were just blending into incomprehensible sounds as my tired mind failed to process them quickly enough.

It was time for sleep.



Monday, 21 June 2010

Sicily, here I come

Well, despite the fact that only me and Lucy are going to Sicily, we have sorted out what we are going to do.

This is my last blog before I jet off to sunny Sicily.

I fly tomorrow but get a train to Stansted tonight, where I have to kill 7 hours at the airport.

The plan is that we will head to Palermo from Trapani airport via bus, see Palermo for a few hours then get another bus to Catania where we will meet Alessio and stay at his place. I'm really looking forward to it.

Hopefully everything goes to plan.

In other news, I got a call from the university the other day informing me that, contrasting to what I previously believed, in fact I can go to Italy to stay with an Italian family! I'm going for the whole of July and the flights are already booked! I'm very nervous.

However I have a busy day of packing and Euro-getting ahead of me so more on that and my Sicily trip when I return!

Arrivederci!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Crisis in the slow lane

A bit of an unpleasant surprise has surfaced regarding my trip to Sicily.

I was talking to Giovanna, asking if she had sorted out where we are going to stay. She was sorting it out with Alessio, due to them both being Sicilian. I stressed that it was only a week until we are due to come over to Sicily. She then said it was more like a month. This provoked a confused reaction in me due to my flight being on the 22nd June. She then went on to inform me that all our other friends have booked flights for the 22nd JULY and that she won't even be in Sicily on the dates I'll be there.

I don't recall ever facepalming harder than in this moment.

Due to the fact that we booked the flights together, thankfully Lucy is on the same flight as me on the 22nd June. When we booked the flights we checked and double checked that the 22nd June was the right date. I really don't know how this misunderstanding came about.

By the grace of the gods, Alessio will be in Sicily when me and Lucy are there. So, although we won't get to see all of our other friends for the last time in quite some time, at least he may be able to find us somewhere to stay. If there's no room at his inn then we will probably have to seek out a hostel.. or something.

Had I foreseen this mistake, I would have said my goodbyes to them all properly the last time I saw them in Cardiff. I merely said goodbye to them all like it was just another day, thinking I would see them all in Sicily.

Oh well. I'm sure I'll see them again.

I hope.

And at least I still get to go.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Open all the boxes

The boxes are at it like rabbits. Floor space is getting smaller than smaller. And it's only going to get worse until I move on Thursday.

The World Cup is well and truly underway and I'm enjoying it accordingly, trying to catch as many matches as possible in all its HD glory. I'm involved in so many sweepstakes and fantasy football things I've lost count, the most recent of which is a sweepstake between my friends where the prize is around £50. To win that, I need Italy to win. I don't particularly like my odds however I might feel better after I've better assessed them in tonight's match against Paraguay.

An Englishman cannot mention the World Cup without mention of the quite frankly disappointing result against the USA from Saturday night. Seeing Rob Green clumsily fumble that ball across the line from Dempsey's average long-shot was painful to say the least. I felt the hearts of the patrons of The George unanimously sink, which contrasted against the elation following Gerrard's goal earlier on in the match. It still fills me with disappointment and embarrassment to think of it now. Beckham's reaction says it all.


Following the match we hit town hard for a night of fun-filled frolicking; my first night out in Plymouth since my glorious return from Cardiff. There was a lot of dancing, England flags out of the window of Liam's Fiat Uno, singing Nathan's x-rated re-working of the alphabet at the top of our voices and acts of piracy in the form of boarding docked vessels.

I'm really in the mood for going to play football at Jennycliff. Chris Allin, if you're reading this, do you fancy rounding up the boys some time soon for a kick around?

I've made my decision as to what to do about the whole broken laptop thing. I'm going to get a new laptop for an early birthday present and go to Spain for a week with the money I have saved. The electric drum kit was too expensive anyway. It's no big deal though because I can just play my real drums whenever I'm home, due to the fact that there will actually be room for them in the new house. I will probably spend a week in a hostel but am a bit worried about going alone because I would rather have some company to make the week pass better and so that I don't have to take photos of myself. If anyone's interested in a week in Barcelona (or maybe another city if you present a valid argument) give me a shout. The ability to speak Spanish is preferred but not essential.

Oh and Sicily is now ridiculously soon. 8 days. The sun is shining and life is good.

Friday, 11 June 2010

What would you do?

I am struggling to make a decision.

Basically my laptop had been overheating and turning itself off a lot lately. So, having worked in a computer shop, I thought I'd open her up and have a look at the fan. BIG MISTAKE. I took it apart, cleaned the fan, rebuilt it and now it is 100% dead. Windows doesn't load. Nothing.

So it has now become apparent to me that, one way or another, I am going to need a new laptop some time soon; at the latest by late September when I return to uni. 

So here is my dilemma:

I have £500 put away which I intended on spending on a holiday in Spain this summer.  Also, my parents (in their undying generosity) have offered to get me a laptop as an early birthday present, three months early. Before this little mishap I was planning on getting an electric drum kit for my birthday to take up with me to Cardiff so that I can keep up my drumming. So here are the choices:

1) I get the laptop as an early birthday present and buy myself a trip to Spain, probably Barcelona, for a week or so.

+




2) I get the laptop with my own money and an electric drum kit for my birthday.
 +
So I either miss out on a trip to Spain or an electric drum kit. Tough decision.


What would you do?



Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Back to the gym

Due to the fact that I have 4 months of not having to do anything ahead of me, I thought I would re-join my old gym. It had been about 9 months since I had last been and my God was it a wake up call. I'm not aching as badly as I thought I would be which, touchwood, will carry through until tomorrow morning.

I didn't work myself too hard as I thought I'd ease myself in gently. So, metaphorically, today was the dipping of the toe into the proverbial exercise pool. The pool metaphor is doubly significant because the gym has a pool, as well as a jacuzzi and sauna; the latter two being excellent allies to soothe aching muscles after a long session. I'm thinking of making some more use of the pool than I did last time I was a member, to work on my cardio a little more.

The membership was a lot more expensive than I thought it would be, due to the fact that I'm joining on a short term basis at £28.99 a month. I was expecting something more in the regions of £17 so when she gave me that figure my wallet groaned a little. Who'd've thought you'd have to pay so much to put yourself in such excrutiating pain?

Also today, me and Luke got hair cuts and I now feel like my ruffian exterior I have had as of late has been peeled away by the groomed and tidy young man within. Life back home is good. And I haven't even been for a beach BBQ with my friends yet, or had a night out.

My first night out is this Saturday. We're going to The George to watch England, then straight into town from the match. I hope they let me in clubs in my England shirt.

I've delved back into reading. The book I have on the go currently is Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol; sequel to The Da Vinci Code. I needed a break from Spanish/Italian literature, of which I have set myself a stack to read for the summer.

I can't wait to move house. I'm sick of living out of boxes. It's a peculiar feeling seeing your whole life up until now packed into a few cardboard boxes, unearthing memories as you dig into the darkest corners of the past; some of which were better left undiscovered.

Well, that's all for now.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Reflections

So the first year of university is well and truly over. It doesn't seem at all long ago that I started this year a month or so into my freshman year. Now it's gone already.
During the exams my mind had been hell-bent on getting the exams finished and getting home to Plymouth. But now that exams are done the parts of Cardiff I will miss are starting to come back to me after a month of being locked into a mundane revision routine. Mainly I will miss my friends and the city itself. But I can't wait to be reunited with Plymouth, its glorious coastline and countryside and my lovely friends.

The au-pair trip to Italy I mentioned a couple posts back? Well.. that's not happening any more. Che peccato! The only families left for the trip all wanted females students only. Sexism in force.
I am not a paedophile. I have had a CRB check for when I worked in a school as a cleaner. That is probably more than the girl who ends up replacing me will have, you sexist bastards.

Oh well. As is my style, there is an (albeit obscure) Plan B. Me and Lucy will probably go to Italy for a month staying with various friends of hers. She just happens to have friends dotted around Europe like that.

And I still want to get to Barcelona for a week. Afterall, seven years studying Spanish without having been to the country is rather ridiculous!

I had my last night out as a fresher in Cardiff tonight. Hit the pre-lash hard with Nick, Ben and Nick's lads. They are true lads. As I haven't drank at all over exam period, it was a rude awakening having them shouting 'See it off fresher!' at me. It probably contributed heavily to the drunk state I am in now. After the pre-drinks we headed to the Union for Boombox. It was a right laugh although I was pretty hammered. Then we head to town for a well earned Burger King. Nothing sobers you up like an XL Bacon Double Cheeseburger.

Then me, Nick and Ben headed back to the flat, played a bit of COD with the speakers up really loud as a bit of revenge for all the times pricks have kept us up. Then we played a bit of FIFA. I beat Ben 7-1 so he had to go around the building twice. A good ending to the year really.

I'm going to miss my friends and the new life I have founded for myself up here.

However, my parents are picking me up tomorrow so I simultaneously cannot wait to get home!

Bring on the summer.

Friday, 4 June 2010

The spoken word

I've just stumbled upon a wonderful little spoken word song by Sage Francis.
It gives the impression of a guy looking back on episodes of life, some of which melancholic.
These episodes are narrated with an air of wisdom our protagonist has acquired over time.
Got 5 minutes to kill? Give it a listen with your fullest attention to take in the words.

I particularly like the line: the television went from being a babysitter to a mistress.

Leave comments with what you think if you have a listen.

If you like it, it's available as a free download on his blog, along with another of his songs entitled 'Slow Man'.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

L'estate

I am excited.

I could have yet another thing planned to ensure that this summer will not be a boring one.

Giuseppe (Italian lecturer) is offering places for an au-pairing trip to Italy. I have been put on the reserve list in case anybody drops out - because I was late in replying to the email- and when I saw him the other day he said I'll probably be able to go and that he'll email me soon.

The trip would entail going and staying in Italy with an Italian family for a month. He mentioned that it would be by the sea and that during the day I would be going to the beach with the kids and speaking English to help them. Then in the evenings and when I'm with the parents I would speak to them in Italian to help me improve. There would also be time to look around and stuff.

Just the prospect of more time on Italian soil is exciting enough, but getting to stay with an Italian family would be a wonderful experience. One whole month eating homemade food dalla Mamma italiana would be pretty sweet to be honest.

If this whole au-pairing thing doesn't go ahead, I'm sure I'll book something else. Lucy's already throwing the idea around of going around Italy and staying with her Italian friends, one of whom lives near the beautiful Florence which I would love to visit again.

I hope I do get a place on the au-pair trip though, but I won't get my hopes up just yet.

Either way this summer is going to be awesome.

I made it

Finally. My last exam finished.

I think it went OK and hopefully I've done enough to pass.

It took a while for the feeling of freedom to truly sink in yesterday. I think it well and truly sunk in once I got back to my flat, sat down and thought, 'For the next four months I literally have no commitments; nothing that needs to be done, no deadlines, nothing'. The feeling was good.

Before I got back to the flat where I was greeted with this wonderful epiphany, I had some errands to run; books to return to the library; that kind of thing. So on the way down to the library from the exam hall, me and Luce explored the area we'll be living in next year a little. We had a gorgeous lunch at this little Mediterranean place. Cathays is brilliants for little cultural places like that. It has so many non-chain restaurants with food from all over the world, all of which will be at my fingertips next year.

When we got back to the flat, after the epiphany, I beat Ben's ass 7-1 on Fifa, meaning he had to run around the building twice. It was brilliant. Everything that could have went right yesterday did. Me, Luce and Dan went to the Blackweir and I had a few cheeky pints of cider in the glorious sunshine. While we were sat there Luce's friend from school came and sat with us and I called Momin to come and join us. I ended up going to town with Momin and Luce where we met Darsh and Luce's flatmates for a meal at Las Iguanas, a gorgeous Latin American restaurant. For starter I had empanadas which are a gorgeous, I believe Argentinian, pastry and look exactly like the food of my homeland, the good old Cornish pasty.


Then me, Luce and Darsh went out to Oceana which was awesome. It was brilliant to be out and not have to worry about any work that's still to be done. We met some friends from our course, including my flatmate Hannah. We then hit Live Lounge after Oceana and partied on down; me, Luce, Luce's greek friend Alex, Giovanna and Momin. Needless to say, it was a late one. It always is when Live Lounge is involved. It's the club where people go when all the other clubs start closing, spitting their hammered patrons out on to the streets. Everyone there is wasted and the music, which includes songs such as Tenacious D's Tribute really provides one of the funniest and best ends to a night out that I've had in Cardiff.

So now there's one night out remaining on Friday and then on Saturday I'm off home to the hopefully sunny Plymouth.

It's so good to be free.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Vanderlyle crybaby geeks


This song is perfect. The National.

Good Morning Mr. President



With Arnold Schwarzenegger as senator of California, it seems that Brad Pitt is jumping on the celebrity political bandwagon; with reports surfacing that he is looking to make a bid for US presidency in 2016.

What has the world come to?
Could he really be America's next president? I hope not.

How can one of the world's biggest superpowers, if the the biggest power, be entrusted to an actor?

They've already this idiot. Do they really need, presumably, another?

Although I suppose, as Team America taught me, actors are the best liars. Their job is essentially lying. And if there's anything a politician should know how to do, it's lie.


(Source)

 

Monday, 24 May 2010

Maps; a mountain range; a piggy bank

I haven't seen a cloud in three whole days. This weather is bliss.
Struggling through this Spanish 19th Century literature for tomorrow's exam; not so much.
I bought a big dairy milk bar to get me through this revision about a week ago. It has been in my cupboard in that time and due to the recent sun is rather melted. So as I effortlessly chew through it, chunk by malleable chunk, I'm starting to feel rather sick.
I went to the park yesterday with Darsh, Dan and Iona. We had a right laugh with some Frisbee, a football and splashing about in the river.

Yet another plan for the summer has appeared out of nowhere. I got a call from Lucy today inviting me to Sicily with our Erasmus friends, most of whom are Sicilian so it seems the logical place. I had just been thinking this morning that I want to go back to Italy and, having never been to Sicily, I thought why not? It would be so wonderful to see this island which I have only ever imagined through the lines of books, albeit it mostly Mario Puzo books.

Thankfully I got a bit of a kick up the ass from Lucy and the flights are already booked, the day I've been told about the trip. Spontaneity is the best; especially when it involves culturally rich Mediterranean islands. So now my summer is shaping up to go roughly as follows:

  • 11th June - 11th July - FIFA World Cup
  • Some time between 4th and 20th June - Move into our new house in Plymouth
  • 15th, 16th or 17th June - Italian Renaissance Drawings Exhibition with Sam in London
  • 22nd - 25th June - Sicily
  • All summer - Lots of beaching and barbecuing with friends
  • All summer - get back to the gym
  • July - Lose my Newquay virginity
  • Unknown - Possible trip to Egypt with Lucy
  • Late August - Possible trip to Barcelona

    It looks like it's going to be a good summer, providing this weather stays as it is.

    Just need to get through these last two exams, then ¡Libertad!

    As a passing gift, enjoy this trippy song and let it provide a soundtrack to your soothing summer day.

    Sunday, 23 May 2010

    Some World Cup themed happenings

    I entered a World Cup sweepstake on The Student Room, an online forum I frequent. The prize is pretty lame, with the winner receiving positive 'rep' from all the other players. Nevertheless, I got involved because it would make the World Cup even more exciting. Each player is assigned a randomly generated team out of the 32 teams in the competition and the player whose team wins the World Cup wins the sweepstake and gets the rep, which is like crack to TSR members. In addition to this, a footballer was randomly generated for each player involved. So again, 32 players were generated. The footballers are generated randomly out of all the strikers involved in the World Cup and the highest goal scorer wins more rep.

    It's fair to say my team (Cameroon) won't win but it will at least give me a second team (other than England) to support. However, I struck gold with the football player I got: Spain's one-and-only David Villa. This gives me a fairly good chance of winning.

    While on the subject of the World Cup, I am in love with the song for this year's World Cup. It's such a brilliant and cheerful song and really reflects the coming together of nations. I think it's going to be a summer tune.

    Hello again old friend, alcohol

    So here I am, three out of five exams down. My education exam yesterday was the peak of my worries and now that it's out of the way, I feel like I'm on the home stretch, the final descent to the joys of summer. The current chaos of books, paper and notes that I find myself submerged in will only last another 11 days as of today. As the exam period has been rather dull with regards to providing me with material to blog about, I'll allow this post to give a summary of anything worth mentioning that has happened.

    My plans for this summer seem to have changed a lot. Mine and Lucy's hitch-hiking plan for Spain and Italy has now gone out of the window due to exams causing a lack of time for the meticulous planning it would require. Instead, she has invited me to go on a free week's trip to Egypt which she won on a scratch-card. Providing it's all valid and there's no catch, she said I could go with her. Egypt's not even a place I would have thought of visiting, but you can't really turn down a free holiday. Also, with the money I have saved for the summer, I'm thinking of going to Barcelona for a week.

    It was Nick's birthday yesterday so our flat went to The Bay for a gorgeous Italian meal and some drinks to celebrate.

    It quickly became clear how much of a lightweight I have become as the drink went straight to my head. I hadn't been drunk in quite some time due to exams so by the time we got in the taxi to leave I felt pretty sozzled.

    The taxi was by no means the end of the night, however. Instead of going home, me and Ben got the taxi to drop us to a restaurant to meet Lucy and the Erasmus lot. Gael is back over from Spain this weekend so I had to see him while he was in Cardiff.

    When we arrived at the restaurant they were just paying the bill, after which we headed to Vagelis' house where he generously laced us with vodka orange. By the time we all left Vagelis' to head to Buffalo, me and Ben were well and truly fucked due to foolishly drinking at the same pace as everyone else who had just started drinking, despite the fact that the two of us had been drinking for hours.
    We ended up staggering home at 5:00 under a pure blue sky. It was the most surreal experience because it was so light. It felt like mid day. Ben stubbornly decided to walk a different way from me, Lucy and Giovanna, with his reasoning being that his way was 'quicker'. His plan backfired, however, seeing him getting lost for over two hours and ending up on the total wrong side of Cardiff, meaning he didn't get home until gone 7:00. 'Quicker'? Really, Ben?

    I had to suffer Ben's new Fifa punishment again yesterday afternoon, doing a total of three underwear laps around our building. This time it was in the middle of the day, with loads of students outside sunbathing. A rather sizeable group was sat right outside our building so, as it turned out, I had quite the audience.



    Sam

    Wednesday, 12 May 2010

    Broken Embraces

    I like the idea of exam period being the last thing before the summer. It's a kind of poetic idea of that last final push where you consolidate all your efforts to reach the reward on the other side.

    My days have been kind of blending into one, like watercolours on a spoiled canvas making a dark mess. The concept of time has gone out of the window recently.

    I've never been the type to stick to revision timetables which would have provided some reference point as to what time it is (i.e. when I'm revising a certain topic I know what time it is due to the timetable). Instead I just tumble out of bed too late and end up with my head in a book an hour or so later. This revision is interspersed with eating, a few brief chats with flatmates and, at the end of the day, perhaps some Xbox with Nick and Ben (my male flatmates for readers who don't know me) or a film, followed by sleep.

    This has been my 'routine', one big continuous week where every day has felt the same. The furthest I have been in the last week is the Tesco superstore across the road.

    Ben came up with a new rule recently to make FIFA more entertaining when we play it. If one of us loses by five goals or more they have to run around the building once in their underwear, doing an extra lap for every goal more than five scored. Needless to say, I lost.


    So it was off with the kegs and round the building I went. Ben went round with me doing his three laps he owed us from back when he lost 8-0 before we made the rule where we add a goal for each lap.

    Tonight I watched Los Abrazos Rotos, or Broken Embraces to you folk. It's Almodóvar's most recent film that I'd been wanting to see for ages. It's pretty good. Penelope Cruz's tits are in it so I was in.






    Sam

    "Call me Dave" enters Number 10

    Great Britain has a new Prime Minister. David Cameron now heads the first coalition government in over 60 years, between his Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, led by Nick Clegg; who is to become the new deputy Prime Minister.


    Now I make it no secret that the Conservative party are not exactly my favourite. I did, however, vote Liberal Democrats. Before I jump on the Cameron hating bandwagon that has popped up, I think I'll give his and Nick's coalition government a chance to prove themselves before I judge them. I have never lived through a coalition government, but I believe it to be an exciting and interesting conclusion to an election which seems to have re-engaged the public with politics. As a Liberal Democrat voter I look forward to the prospect of some of their policies being implemented and I see this government as a way to (hopefully) allow the best policies both of Conservative and Liberal Democrats to be put into place, decided upon through debate and discussion. This is how it would work theoretically in my head. Let's hope that's how it happens.

    There is already talk of the hard times that this government faces and how we, as a nation, are really going to need to tighten our belts while the economy gets sorted out. Public spending cuts and other measures to try and stabilise the economy are likely to make this government very unpopular meaning by the next general election we are likely to see a very different outcome.

    It's easy to say that Cameron is going to be shit and only look out for the rich but with the Lib-Dems involved as well things could be interesting. I'll keep an open mind until I see some action to base a judgement on, as others should do.


     Let's wait and see what happens.


    Sam

    Tuesday, 11 May 2010

    Take a photo every day

    I've stumbled upon something online that moved me quite a bit. Basically, on March 31st 1979, a man named Jamie Livingston decided to take a Polaroid picture every day for the rest of his life. The photos aren't all of him and many are of significant objects of that date, such as a newspaper front page telling of Princess Diana's death.

    Throughout the pictures more is learnt about this mysterious man as his story unfolds. The final pictures depict him following a cancer diagnosis and lead right up to his death, showing that he carried on with the project until the very last. These photos go from 1979 to 1997 and are fascinating to look at, allowing you to piece them together to give some kind of narrative about our protagonist.

    I thought it was an interesting idea for a project and it touched me. It got me thinking a little about how every day is important and, for want of a less cheesy phrase, to live every day as if it were your last.

    I read about it here and the original site with all the photos, set up by one of the man's friends, can be found by clicking here.

    I'm thinking of one day doing something similar, although taking all the photos of myself instead, such as in the video below, for a few years to see how I have aged and changed. I'm not sure if I have the commitment though.




    Sam

    Saturday, 8 May 2010

    I'll form your spring

    Yeah so back along I succumbed to yet another trend. I've already mentioned it once but wasn't getting a satisfactory amount of questions.
    Basically how it works is you ask me things anonymously and I answer them, and surely somebody somewhere gets some kind of gratification, right? It makes me a little less bored for one and, hopefully, you a little more informed as a person.
    So ask me whatever and I'll answer it.

    http://formspring.me/respectablename

    Sam

    Thursday, 6 May 2010

    Thoughts on the election

    I returned back to Cardiff yesterday. Today, being the day of the General Election, I have gone and voted. This has been a rather interesting election, seeming to be much more unpredictable than any others I have lived through. A lot of people seem to have been discussing politics in the lead up to this election, which is good due to the public's general feeling of detachment from politics as of late.

    I feel that the TV debates, whether they were good or bad I'm not sure, played a big part in bringing the public back in touch with politics a little more. In a world where reality TV and soap operas keep the people stupid, it seems to have got to the point where the only real way of getting in touch with the masses is through the idiot box.

    I suppose the debates did provide a good vessel for policies to be presented in a concise way for the masses, and it's always nice to see politicians put on the spot to answer difficult questions, even if 99% of the time they merely bullshit themselves out of answering directly, delivering a cryptic piece of rhetoric which 'sounds nice'.

    The flip-side of these debates for me is that they put too much focus on charisma. For example Labour will probably have lost a lot of seats this year due to the blithering idiot, charisma wise, that is Brown.

    I'm anticipating a Tory victory although I voted Liberal Democrats. It's interesting to see front pages of newspapers on election day because it's the day where the papers really wear their political affiliations on their sleeves.

    The Sun's is particularly unsubtle:

    Fuck you Rupert Murdoch. Fuck you.

    The thing is, the masses will lap this shit up.

    If the tories do win, I hope they prove me wrong in thinking they will be just the same as the tories of old, by the rich and for the rich.

    Whoever wins, I want to see exciting new changes. But alas, this is British politics, the realm of empty promises.

    I remain apathetic.

    Sam.

    Friday, 30 April 2010

    A small update from behind an Italian history book

    Revision is bogging me down. Fascism was not a good idea.

    I popped my sushi cherry the other night. I enjoyed it very much. I haven't quite acquired the art of picking it up from the conveyor belt. One dish nearly ended up in a friend's lap as my clumsy butter-fingered club hands fumbled at it. However, I liked the simple pick-up-what-you-want style. It was quick and efficient, just what the modern man wants. Although eating chocolate cake with chopsticks was far from efficient. Or quick.

    I'm back home in Plymouth at the moment. I corrected my Spanish tandem exchange partner's English essay today. It's interesting to see what parts of the English language foreign people find difficult. It probably isn't for you though.

    I should be going hitch-hiking through Spain and Italy this summer with Lucy. I hope we don't get raped. I don't know if I had mentioned that plan before. I think I have.

    Now here's a music video. At least if I talk about something that isn't my life, then you may not be bored. If my life's dull, the blog's dull. So problem=solved if I don't talk about the revision and exams that will be no doubt dominating my life for the next four weeks. But this blog was made to talk about my life. So I just won't talk. There's no way Italian history revision can be made into something fun for my readers. Unless I had some kind of kill-the-Mussolini game. That would just be rotten and obscene. Maybe I'll talk a little, about the little things, with little musical treats and such-like to make the tiny (and I mean tiny) gems of interest in my life over the next month of exams seem more rewarding.

    So without further ado, here's the video. Darwin Deez - Radar Detector. Have a cheeky little dance to it. He's like a skinny Jesus.




    Thanks for sticking with me through this boring patch.

    Sam

    Monday, 26 April 2010

    One less plate in the circus act

    I've finally vanquished that bastard of an essay, and therefore Psychology of Development and Learning, from my life for good. It weighs in 2,914 words and comprises of a substantial amount of waffle, but hey; Psychology isn't my forte. I'm a languages student!
    This has now wiped a lot from my plate, meaning I can now concentrate on Tuesday's Italian oral exam, which I should have no problems with.
    Then Wednesday I should be going out for Sushi and hitting the bars with friends. I've never had sushi before, so it should be interesting.
    Thursday brings with it a much needed trip home to Plymouth until the following Wednesday due to the fact that lectures will be over. I should get to view the new house then too. It'll be nice to see the family and friends again. It has been quite a stressful week, and I will be grateful for this brief trip home before everything goes into mega busy revision/exam mode.

    Once I'm back here in Cardiff, I imagine I'll be taking a bit of time out of blogging. Nobody wants to read about me revising and struggling through exams. I'll literally be coming back on the 5th May, voting Lib Dem on the 6th, then just hitting the books. If anything interesting pops up in my life, it'll be put up here no doubt. If not, it means I'm miserable and probably drowning under a weight of books and distractions.

    I've got a formspring, ever the slave for trends. Ask me a question on there if you want. Nothing too philosophical, or dirty. That might keep me sane. I'm gonna have lots of free time due to having no lectures, so keep me busy in my revision breaks!

    Sam

    Wednesday, 21 April 2010

    An update of sorts


    I haven't been blogging much lately due to the fact that my life over the last few days has consisted of:

    1) Wake up
    2) Work
    3) Buy food
    4) Work
    5) Eat Food
    6) Work
    7) Sleep
    8) Rinse, Repeat.

    And in between all these steps there's been a lot of procrastinating thrown in.
    However, I have set myself a new goal. I have a 3,000 word essay to complete by May 4th. I have set myself the target of finishing it before next Thursday when I return home to Plymouth for my brother's birthday party. I will do it. This new target has given me some va-va-voom, some drive to complete the essay, tending to make me less vulnerable to distraction. It feels like an age since I've been out in Cardiff for a proper night out. Further incentive to finish this damn essay.

    I feel like I've forgotten all my Spanish. Since my week in Italy, my Italian has improved and I am always speaking it in lessons. However we hardly get any opportunity to speak Spanish, except for in our conversation lessons but even in those classes you are in a room with about ten other people so with a group discussion between ten people in 50 minutes we get very little time each to make our voices heard. Luckily we are assigned a Spanish ERASMUS student with which to speak. I haven't met up with mine at all this semester due to my ridiculous amount of work making me lose track of time so I am going to have a day with her this Friday in the sun and hopefully have my Spanish speaking powers rejuvenated.

    As there haven't been any real blog-worthy developments on the Cardiff end of the scale, I'll divulge into a little of my family life. My parents have been house hunting for a while now and have made an offer today which was accepted.


    I'm yet to see it in person but my parents and brother assure me it's wonderful. Either way, from the pictures I've seen it looks like an improvement on our current house. Plus anything is better than my cell up here in Cardiff and my modest house I'll have here next year. So friends who know me in real life, you could (and most probably will) end up partying and sleeping with me (not in a gay way, unless you're a girl, but still not gay) in this house. It has quite a sizeable drive if I say so myself. Hopefully there's a permanent home in there for my drum kit. Not the drive, the house.

    I can't wait to see it properly. I hope my brother hasn't shotgunned the best bedroom.

    Now I bid thee farewell with a parting gift for those of you with spotify which is probably a very small minority, if anybody. It is my super-awesome summer playlist, packed with tunes for grilling slabs of beef on a griddle heated by pure fire in the great outdoors, for driving down long dusty country lanes, shades on, wind in your hair; songs for looking out at the infinity of the ocean, or at the stars sat by a fire and just feeling a general sense of contentment. Yeah you get the idea. Spotify is really useful for making playlists to easily show to others. I find it really gratifying bringing music into people's lives. So if you have spotify, give this a listen while getting ready for a lovely day in the sun.

    My Super Awesome Summer 2010 Playlist


    Saludos,

    Sam

    Friday, 16 April 2010

    A slice of home

    In honour of the recent string of sunny days we've been having, we had a barbecue today. We went to Bute Park, this lovely great park a stone's throw from our halls. It was me, Lucy, Darshni, Darshni's boyfriend Dan and a handful of their friends. We were sat there in a circle with our instant barbecue's and our burgers and buns. It served as both a precursor of what I have to look forward to this summer and also brought memories of last summer rushing back. We were all so independent back home in Plymouth last summer; with our cars, on the beach every other day and night. And tonight reminded me of those summers back home. Especially the next part.

    When the sun had gone down and the flames on the barbecue had done the same, the coals slowly smouldering away, embers gently twinkling as the breeze caught them in the dark twilight air, we decided to fill the barbecues with some little twigs, working our way up to bigger sticks until we had built ourselves an ever-growing fire as we took trip after trip to get more sticks. Everyone had left the park by this point and a few members of our group had peeled off and gone home, leaving the eight of us there, in a circle, snuggled in blankets, my speakers blasting out music, providing a soundtrack to the conversation and crackling of firewood. It was absolute bliss.

    I had pangs of nostalgia of those summer nights on the beach back home, this feeling an all too familiar scene to me. I sat there in my element, warming my hands on the fire, drinking cheap rum, a simple coastal town boy in his comfort zone, surrounded by big city-folk to whom this was a rarity. I felt miles away from everything; a safe and secure isolation from everyone outside of our paradise. For those few hours we were the only people in the world, sat around those comforting flames under a sky speckled with stars, a moment so perfect in its simplicity and intimacy. The kind of moment that brings friends closer. Moth's Wings by Passion Pit came on at one stage on the speakers while we were all laid there around the fire. It was the perfect song for a perfect night. Have a listen and imagine you're laying there. We're definitely going to do it again soon.



    Of course, we then had to return back to the real world and burst our relaxing little bubble of carelessness; back to the lights of civilisation and the noises of the city. But now here I sit typing this in my humble, cosy little box room, where a night of slumber awaits me.

    The only thing tonight was missing was the sand and sea, something which I will be able indulge myself in when I finally reach this well-earned and fast approaching summer. On the topic of summer, after discovering that I won't be going to Spain with Allin any more, I have discussed travel plans for the summer with Lucy. We might be going hitch-hiking around Spain and..... Italy! Her having lived in Spain before helps because she will be able to show me all the best places and secure us places to stay with friends in Spain and Italy. So, whatever happens, it should be a good summer. Provided I get through these exams.


    Sam

    Wednesday, 14 April 2010

    Horse #2

    Just a short one tonight folks. Recently I posted a new song from the new Band of Horses album, Infinite Arms, entitled Compliments. It's a wonderful song.
    Since then, a second song from the same upcoming album has been released. So, without further ado, I present you Laredo, taken from the forthcoming album, Infinite Arms by the almighty Band of Horses.


                               

    I'm really liking the developments that this band (of horses) have made to their sound. Ben's vocals have always been, and still are, pleasant to listen to. Nice, light and easygoing rock music.

    In other news, I bought some new headphones from Amazon today due to the fact that my old ones had broken.
    I've just got back from my friend Darshni's flat. Me, her, Dan and Lucy watched an Italian film, La vita è bella (Life's beautiful). It was a wonderful film. It almost reminded me of the old Carry On... films with the first half being very much a slapstick comedy affair with a charming sense of innocence commonplace in many films from the Carry On era, despite this film being made in 1997.
    I'd recommend the film to anybody and suggest that you watch it.


    Well now I must sleep, for the next day awaits me.
    I hate not getting my 8 hours.


    Sam

    Monday, 12 April 2010

    The last push

    Well here it is. I'm back in Cardiff and uni starts up again tomorrow. We're the only uni that seems to have gone back this early (I think because we finished for Easter a week before everybody else) so everyone I know at home is still there enjoying their Easter.

    My light at the end of the tunnel is the glorious, almost 4 month long summer that awaits me. But between me and that summer lies a 2 month minefield of deadlines, essays, books and exams. My last exam is June 2nd. I just need to make it to that date and then everything will be carefree and wonderful.

    I was looking forward to coming back here to my friends and the awesome Cardiff night life but something tells me that there isn't going to be all too much socialising between now and summer, especially when we're into May and exams are well and truly on.

    One of my flatmates, Emma, recently decided to drop out of uni. I have no idea why. I just heard through another of my flatmates, Hannah. Emma was due to live with us next year so now we have a spare bedroom in our house next year. Thankfully we haven't lost the house and if we can't fill the room then she still has to pay; or so we believe. We will need to check that..
    We are thinking if we can't find somebody to fill the room we'll put an advert up for a Spanish or Italian ERASMUS student. That would be awesome. If we still can't fill the room, we'll turn it into something cool I guess, like a zero-gravity chamber.
    My flatmate Cathie's friend, Lou, is going to be taking the empty room Emma has now left behind in our flat due to her current nightmarish flatmates. So we'll be having a new roomie soon. I have only met her once and I think I tried to get with her. I'll try and be a normal human being this time.

    We've been getting a fair bit of sun and blue skies recently in Plymouth. I hope it carries on here in Cardiff as the weather has really been boosting my mood. There's nothing like opening the blinds to a pure blue sky.


    Well, that's all for now really. Just giving a prelude to this final stretch of my first year at uni.
    Let's get to it.




    Sam

    Friday, 9 April 2010

    Spring

    Spring is a time of rebirth, regrowth if you will, where everything starts to brighten up.
    I walked under a sea blue sky looking to the horizon at the verdant green meadows, radiant under the sun's loving and nurturing gaze and I thought, 'Everything is starting look up'.

    Prior to today I had always thought of my impending return to Cardiff as nothing more than an inevitable return to work and having to face exams but then I remembered; I have some truly amazing friends to be returning to who will support me all the way. I may be leaving friends behind but I will be heading towards other friends. Everything is good. As long as you have people who have your back, you can get through anything. Life is good.

    Also, this picture got me thinking.

    There's more to a person than what's on the surface.




    Sam