When Exams Attack

Studying will really really begin tomorrow. For real. Really.

Unfortunately, going by previously established patterns, dear Reader, this probably means you’re in for a rather slow 3 weeks. No more of my rapier wit and irresistable personality! No more visceral vignettes of my swinging rock and roll life! Indeed, my friends, you will have to get by with my usual exam output of unrestrained music geekery, pointless links collected during hours on end of study avoidance surfing, and most certainly nothing even remotely intellectual.

So, pretty much the same as what you’ve always got here, just with even less of a life than before. Sigh. Here’s a little taster:

Music Geekery
Newly arrived from Django, yay!

  • Bubba Sparxxx: Deliverance
  • Dirty Three: Whatever You Love You Are
  • Aereogramme: A Story In White
  • Lewis Parker: Masquerades And Silhouettes
  • Bedhead: What Fun Life Was
  • The Walkmen: Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone

Pointless Links
In honour of For Alec, who had his first actual bout in a boxing ring a few days ago and wisely decided not to tell me about it until after the fact: Mike Tyson Quotes.

Here’s one I’d like to highlight for you, you big dolt no one in particular, because of course I’m totally cool about the fact that my favourite nose in the world could quite possibly have been broken before I got the chance to see it again – “I try to catch him right on the tip of the nose, because I try to push the bone into the brain.”

Nothing Remotely Intellectual
I certainly never kept my Will Young mania a secret on this site during the original Pop Idol, and I see no reason to be shy about my commitment to its American franchise. This Ryan Seacrest fellow is a poor substitute for Ant and Dec, and I like Pete Waterman so much more than the painfully inarticulate Randy Jackson, but at least sexy Simon is still around, and getting sexier by the episode. Oh, and GO FANTASIA!

Debating And Pop Idol And Coffee Sugar Nazism

The tournament was great. Will won Pop Idol. A good weekend!

Before I say I think the tournament went pretty damn brilliantly the typical Michellian disclaimer is necessary – ideally, I’d have liked more teams and judges involved, and ideally the first proposition team in the final wouldn’t have turned a motion which had great potential for something interesting (This House Would Shaft The Axis Of Evil) into an incredibly boring debate about removing Oxbridge privileges. But apart from that, everything seemed to run almost disturbingly smoothly, which actually worried me quite a lot – I kept thinking I’d somehow overlooked some huge glaring problem and waiting for the anvil to drop, but it just never did, and I’m reasonably proud that in roughly four years of tournament debating (since ’98) mine was the first tournament I’ve ever been at which ran on time.

So thank you, Mark, for putting up with all my malaise and moodiness, for being lovely in so many ways, and lastly (and very importantly) for booking rooms that actually existed this time. We were both admittedly mightily pissed while exchanging affirmations of love and friendship and each other’s general wonderfulness on Saturday night, but I stand proudly by everything I said, even now in the sobering light of day. Been great working with you, dear.

I raced home from the tournament with a beatific smile on my face, headed straight to the TV room in search of Avril, who’d taped Pop Idol for me, and did a lot of girlie screaming. Realized later that this is the only British pop cultural whirlwind I’ve actually gotten sucked into in my two and a half years here, but this one really did manage to reel me in, hook, line and sinker. I’ve explained to Alec that I came upon it at a vulnerable time; that having not seen him for two weeks due to our respective ski trips and missing him dreadfully I was just there for Will’s taking (oof, perhaps a bad turn of phrase there) that fateful Saturday evening in December when I wandered into the TV room and was transfixed. He remains unconvinced. Oh well. Good luck and best wishes, Will. Your profile is distinctly primatial but from the front you’re lovely, cheesy grin and all.

Much like the Sunday after the last debating tournament I organized, yesterday was a whole lotta wonderful nothing. Woke up at noon. Lunched and coffee’d with Russ, whom I dearly wish hadn’t brought me that belated Christmas present of American Gods, because he inconsiderately went and bought himself the tripod I was going to give him, and now I’m stuck for ideas. Treated the congregation at mass to an unusually muted and reflective version of Shine Jesus Shine (the hymn Fr J disdainfully refers to as likening Jesus to Brasso). Lingered downstairs with soup, John, Tay and bizarre conversation that involved coffee sugar Nazism (Me: “Does it make me some sort of lesser person because I like two sugars in my coffee, goddamit?”) and awful puns about a strange guy called Terry who comes to our hall and makes trouble every now and then. (Tay: “Man, this is scary. I’m terrified, man. I’m developing terranoia…I really don’t like it when he comes over here. I get all territorial.” And so on.)

Seeking Xen Calm

You know you’ve reached a low point in stress management when you wish it was time to start studying for the exams just so you could start eking out that simple existence of 2 am nights and 8 am mornings, and deeply boring but satisfyingly routine and sedentary days.

I refer to “low point” because I hate that existence, but it’s a hell of a lot better than this week’s frenetic staggering between exponentially increasing numbers of To Do List items – write research project (yo, if anyone’s an expert on the public international law aspects of Internet regulation, please talk to me), decipher Jeremy Bentham for jurisprudence dissertation, magically produce completely organized intervarsity debating tournament (this Friday and Saturday) out of arse…

But enough whinging. After writing a similar diatribe last Thursday I then allowed Russ to persuade me that I really needed to be at Cargo that night for our monthlyish Xen worship session, and although I then managed to miss 3 hours of lectures the next day and generally descend into self-hatred, it was well worth it just for the half hour of mind-boggling virtuosity that was Killa Kela’s mouth. There was also the unique cultural experience of being in a room full of white Brits who seemed to know every word of Roots Manuva’s Witness and joined in especially enthusiastically for the “cheese on toast” line, the sweat-soaked live exuberance of New Flesh (new album Understanding, currently stickered all over London), and DJ Vadim, endearingly Russian and generally loved by all.

Other causes for joy: long overdue ejection of dishwater-dull Darius from Pop Idol, which I, er, accidentally stumbled upon on a lazy Saturday evening in late December and have been, er, accidentally watching ever since. Grin. Go on then, pour forth your ridicule. I’M NOT ASHAMED! VOTE FOR WILL!

But moving on swiftly… :)

More glimmerings in the gloom include recent arrivals from Django (Sparklehorse: It’s A Wonderful Life, Marine Research: Sounds From The Gulf Stream, Sonic Youth: Goodbye 20th Century, stuff by Pavement, 20 Minute Loop and Silver Jews also on the way), a rather lovely boyfriend carrying pancake batter in a plastic jug on the tube in order to come over and cook me dinner, and actually understanding the maths in Cryptonomicon, which reassures me that two and a half years of law hasn’t cottonwooled my brain yet. Yet.