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.


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!


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



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.


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.


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.


Friday, 9 April 2010


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.


Tuesday, 6 April 2010

España, nos veremos pronto

As you may or may not be aware, I am a languages student. I have been studying my primary foreign language, Spanish, for seven years yet I still haven't graced its shores.

This summer that must change. My course mates are always shocked to hear I haven't been there. They say the passion I display for the country when I speak about it leads them to assume that I must have at least been to the country once to garner such a love for it.

I have been saving as much as possible over the last few months to go travelling around Spain this summer with my friend Chris who's currently in Mexico. However his financial situation has taken a turn for the worst and he is unable to come. Looks like I could be going it alone. Mission statement: find somebody to come with me.

Recently I have had many people, be it friends or flatmates, telling me that my taste in music is very weird and eclectic. I prefer the term 'good' but who am I to change the words of others? My friend Chris, upon me moaning to him about British nightclubs in a fashion similar to that in my previous post, told me that I should start my own nightclub. If only I could. It would quite possibly be the best place ever.

The Easter break is nearly over. I have a 3000 word essay to write over the next month and lots of work and exams that lie between me and summer.

I long for Spanish shores to save me from this monotony.


Sunday, 4 April 2010

Knives Out

I watched football in 3D today. Manchester United vs. Chelsea. My team (Man. U) lost 2-1. I wasn't too impressed with the technology. We were sat at the front row and whenever there was a close-up, it would just be blurry. What a load of bollocks. Hardly the 'future' of television if it's dependent on distance from the screen. But whatever. Let the big boys play with their toys. I'm happy as I am.

I've just been on a night out.
I don't know what's wrong with me.
It's fair to say that I've been single for a while and, well, I just don't feel like I'm into whole pulling-girls-on-random-nights-out-in-clubs-where-the-music-is-so-shit-and-loud-that-you-can't-even-speak-to-each-other thing. I don't want the criteria of whether or not I am selected by a girl to be how well I can rub myself against her sweaty body to the UK's latest number one without saying a word to her. Fuck that. It just feels so damn degrading. Call me an old man but I'd like my personality and the impact I have on the girl through what I say to her to have some kind of effect. Something tells me I'm not the one night stand type of guy anyway.

Why am I even blogging this?

I have to do this night out thing all over again tonight. Maybe I'll go in with more of an open mind? Who knows..

I think Italy has really woken me up to Britain's abhorrent drinking 'culture'. See, the drunken rant just became a cultural observation. You get all kinds of gems from me.

It's not that I don't enjoy nights out here. It's just, contrary to most of those around me, I just don't see them as ideal places to meet girls.. unless it's a totally meaningless one night stand, which I don't think is my kind of thing anyway.

Fuck it. Just watch this.



Friday, 2 April 2010

Get your music, piping hot

As a young man with his finger pressed firmly to the pulse of the music industry, some new videos have come to my attention. So without further ado I present you three musical treats.

Band of Horses - Compliments
Fresh new material from one of my favourite bands.
Taken from the upcoming album, Infinite Arms, out May 18th.


Foals - This Orient
Here is another new Foals tune to go with my Spanish Sahara post. This one's also from the upcoming album, Total Life Forever, out May 10th.

If you don't know who Jónsi is, then see this post. His debut solo album, Go, is out on April 5th however this video I'm showing you is a sneak peak of a DVD that will ship with the deluxe version of the album. Entitled Go Quiet, the DVD is a film of Jónsi playing the album in its entirety acoustically. From this sneak peak trailer, it looks beautiful. Buy the deluxe version with Go Quiet at


I'm back from Italy, and thus breaking my brief hiatus from blogging. I was planning on keeping a diary of what I was doing every day and giving each day its own post here once I got home. This just wasn't possible however due to the fact that sleep was a very valuable resource to fuel my hectic days, plus I didn't want to spend time sat with a notepad where I could be seeing more of Italy. So I thought I would sum up the whole week as concisely as possible in this blog post. Let's see how it goes..

All in all, the week was brilliant. Prior to this trip I had only visited Italy once when I was 15, where I only visited Venice and a vineyard in the countryside surrounding Verona. On this original trip, I had little interest in Italian culture, had never studied the history and didn't speak a word of the language. I was just a young lad who took everything I saw at face value. Oh how times change.

This time in Italy, I went over with much more passion about the country, much more historical knowledge with which to put everything I saw into context, allowing me to make much more sense of it all, seeing the country on a much more intellectual level. Being a university trip, it was probably the most academic and cultured holiday I had been on. It helped that the guy who took us over, our Italian teacher Giuseppe, was from Italy which allowed him to recommend us all the right 'proper Italian' food and places to go.

The trip was very mind broadening and really opened my eyes to the world of art, giving me much more of an appreciation of art and architecture than I originally had, and allowing me to get a feel for what kind of art and architecture styles came from what eras. Additionally, the trip really put everything we had learned in Italian history into perspective and context. It's one thing reading a book about Victor Emmanuel II, but actually seeing his tomb really makes the words in the dusty old textbooks into a reality.

That isn't to say it was all art and cathedrals, however. We got time to go shopping, roam around on our own and see the towns for ourselves and, of course, drink lots of wine. Wine and coffee are another cultural element of Italy that are so much better than over here. There's nothing quite like an espresso machiato to give you that energy boost to keep you going on your cultural jaunts through Rome.

I spoke so much Italian over there as well and really feel that my Italian has improved over the mere week that I was there, which poses the question of how it will improve if I go there for longer. Not everybody in the group spoke Italian however, which was a bit disappointing. Their choice I guess.

I won't bore you with the details on every single place I visited, for which the reasons are two-fold. One, I can't remember all the places I visited and two, it would take a lot more than this one post to explain it all. I've tried to be concise, after all.

Now, I include some photos to give a brief overview of some of the things I saw. I took A LOT of photos of things rather than people because there was just so much interesting stuff around. I found photography a bit of a problem on the trip due to the sheer scale and immensity of the things I was trying to capture on camera. It was difficult to really do a lot of it justice with a photo. The rest will be uploaded on my facebook but these will just give a bit of a flavour of what I did. Call it the highlights if you will.


By the Trevi Fountain

St. Peter's square, Vatican City

 Vatican Museums, Vatican City

 Victor Emmanuel II monument


The tower that needs no introduction

Basilica and Tower

Florence Basilica

Me and my mate David

 Our gorgeous Villa in the Tuscany countryside

 One of the many bridges in Venice

 The camera was in a very dangerous place at this point on self-timer

 Saint Mark's Cathedral

 The kind of beautiful canal that is round every corner in this wonderful city

 Chiesa di San Rocco

In all these cities, I found the small little side streets in areas unspoiled by tourists to be particularly charming in so much as they were perfectly flawed in their rustic beauty. Fair enough the paintwork might be a bit chipped on the houses but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Wishing you all a happy Easter,