May 30, 2006

Attention Finalists

I've been asked to get together a group of finalists to go on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire on Friday morning to talk about graduating (or not).

You get free breakfast and the chance to moan about the action short of a strike to a large audience of radio listeners. The flipside is you'll need to be in Coventry by 8.45am – which for Leam–dwellers like myself means being at Leam station shortly after 8am.

Drop me an email if you're interested!


May 29, 2006

RaW's latest sensation

Last week's edition was the biggest show on RaW all week, nay all term, and this week James and Adam's Adventures in Radiophonic Wonderland will be even better…

– Our search for Ken Ilworth turns ugly

– An interview with Britain's least predictable new band, Guillemots

– A debut of Homeless Al's Campus Campout

– More Pester Power and Cola Shaker

– Liz from Ofcom

– Voiceover Man

– And something intriguing involving the Da Vinci Code and Kat Stark

Plus much more, live on RaW from 5–7pm (you can listen on 1251am or anywhere with a computer at radio.warwick.ac.uk). And if you miss it or want to catch up on last week's podcast sensation on you PC or mp3 player head over to James and Adam's After Show Pod Party


May 20, 2006

Coming to a Campus Near You


May 12, 2006

Strike latest: end is in sight!

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/insite/

In a move certain to repair relations between staff and the powers that be, and end the current strike, I read that the University is offering staff two tickets to the opera for the price of one.

The move represents a continuation of VC Dave's decision to confront the industrial action in the manner that one would discipline a difficult child – witholding privileges and dangling treats (or in this case Puccini) in return for good behaviour.

My sources tell me that the AUT are discussing calling off the action short of a strike as we speak.


April 25, 2006

Student / Staff Lovin'

So in an attempt to spread the love between lecturers and students after recent disputes VC Dave V-L decides to form a student / staff bowling league. Its the night of the big final and a bunch of Chemistry students (and lecturers) are up against English for the big prize. The grandstands are going mental as the action builds towards its climax. Dave V-L's entertaining a group of Singaporean businessmen with Budweiser, hotdogs and sexy dancing girls. Kat Stark's there too (cheering for the lecturers). Everywhere lecturers and students are getting on and putting recent disagreements behind him. Brian Duggan's almost in tears.

With one shot to play the English students and lecturers are trailing by 22 points, but they can snatch victory by clearing all the pins on the last shot. A lecturer puts down his Yeats Collected Poetry, steps up and adjusts his spectacles. He seizes a 14lb bowling ball and moves towards the end of the lane. The auditorium falls silent. Dave V-L grabs one of the Singaporean businessmen by the arm to shut him up. Brian manages to stifle a sob.

The ball starts to lumber down the lane, agonisingly slowly. But the chemistry crew are concerned. The shot looks good – slow, but good. The English students start to search for erudite metaphors to encapsulate what might just about to be the most transcendent moment for staff / student relations in the history of Warwick University. But suddenly the lecturer grabs a football from a nearby member of the First XI and hurls it down the lane. It collides with the bowling ball just as it's about to hit the pins. In the melee of balls and skittles, audience members crane their heads to see what's going on. The dust settles. Every pin is down, except one. It rocks and teeters for a moment but doesn't fall. The aghast students stare at the lecturer in disbelief. He turns to them, and shrugs.

"Sorry guys – I'm on action short of a strike."


April 14, 2006

Woah cultural reference! Check me out!

'I don't want them to find out they can do without me'


April 08, 2006

Warwick Blogs are Besieged!

Follow-up to Word count msn usernames from Such a Good Lad

A sizeable proportion of the emails I receive to my Warwick account continue to be in response to this blog entry. This then, is my second compilation (following this) of some of the more wonderful comments which continue to be made to a rather throwaway tirade I made over a year ago about Word count msn usernames, testifying indeed to the power of google to lead the loathsome common internet user to Warwick blogs…

  • Matt, risking the wrath of women the world over, says, amongst other pertinent observations, "THE WORST MSN NAMES ARE THE DEPRESSING ONES - THEY HAVE TO STOP, AND I MUST SAY, WITHOUT ANY SEXIST VIEW, THAT IT IS THE FEMALES."

  • On November 30th, someone called 'me' (but not me, you understand) said "my user mane is I WALKED UP 2 MY BROTHERS BEST MATE AND SAID U R GAY!! he slapped me with his handbag!"

  • On March 11th, 'ninja' proved that it is not only Warwick students with tongues firmly in cheek who may run the risk of appearing snobbish. He displays his superior grasp of msn terminology when pointing out that "i think you'll find that the 'user message' is for writing about pointless cr@p and how you are feeling ;) a 'username' is primarily to distinguish between contacts. ;)"

  • 'Charlotte' takes a different approach but similarly attempts to clarify procedings by saying of her own username "I dont know why people can get so offended, its just a small joke."

  • Alas her comments are subsequently sullied by 'JORDAN''s "U GUYS R SCREWED I DONT GET IT", and the missive which arrived in my inbox this morning, prompting this entry: "u r gay ALL OF U!!!".

Incidentally this correspondant left the email address 'frankenstein@hotmail.com', which made me wonder whether I should add Mr. Frankenstein to my msn contacts and inflict some monstrous word count usernames of my own devising upon him…

And lest it appear that I am in anyway the snob, I shall conclude with the words of Phillippa Daykin, who was moved to leave the following comment by my previous trackback: "Dear Lord, cretins appear to be taking over the world."

If even Warwick Blogs, my dear fellow Warwickians, can no longer afford us a refuge against assaults on our liberal middle-class sensibilities, then surely we're DOOMED!


March 24, 2006

Don't You Dare Point That Guitar At Me!

Writing about web page http://www.myspace.com/jimmybuckland

Some cynics might suggest that what the world needs right now isn't songs about whirlwind romances starting in Warwick University Library. And indeed without cynics to balance the rest of us out, the world would be a most foolish place.

The cynics wouldn't be well advised to go to www.myspace.com/jimmybuckland.

Oh yes – did I mention that it's a guitar free zone?


March 10, 2006

It's the Double!

Time for a belated reflection on RaW's double award-winning success…

Hurrah!

www.radio.warwick.ac.uk


January 22, 2006

Arctic Monkeys: Band of the Moment

Music front cover
Title:
Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Artist:
Arctic Monkeys
ASIN:
B000BTDMDC
Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

In amongst one hundred other observations, experiences and sensations charted in the Arctic Monkeys' debut Alex Turner gasps "oh how the feeling races". They may be the trendy band of the moment, but for the Arctic Monkeys the intensity of the moment is the only thing worth writing about. 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' is an album borne out of the heightened emotional instances of youth, in a way that parts of Maximo Park's debut were last year ("the night has reached that stage again where I never want to see my home").

Confidence is written large across many of the songs, not only in the energy and eye for melody bursting from every riff and chorus. Defiance bursts from several lines ("I'm sorry officer, is there a certain age you're supposed to be?") but this is also an album about hope ("tonight there'll be some love…"), confusion (""now the haze is descending it don't make no sense any more"), self-righteous indignation ("how come its already £2.50 – we've only gone about a yard") and falling for someone ("its up, up and away").

More precisely the Arctic Monkeys' songs chronicle what its like to be old enough to know better but young enough not to care. 'Riot Van' starts with "Up rolls the riot van, and sparks confusion in the boys". Its a knowing glance at the likely course of action which anticipates the nature of "the boys"' response. We're in the territory gloriously romanticised in The Libertines' Time for Heroes ("wombles bleed, truncheons and shields – you know I cherish you my love"). But as the song goes on, Turner's lyrics reveal an empathy and captivation with the scenes of late-night town centre anarchy, until eventually we sense that rather than watching he was actually one of the group who "Got the chase last night from men with truncheons dressed in hats".

'Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured' tells a similar story from the back of a Sheffield taxi. Turner's response to a drunken fight is to find it "funny". Its the fact that he is not a jaded world-weary bystander (like say Morrissey or increasingly, Doherty) that is so refreshing and which changes the tone of his insights into the difficulty of making the step from youth to adulthood: "you're acting like silly little boys – I know you wanted to be men and do some fighting in the street"

Turner's observational stance is astonishingly precocious at times but if he demonstrates an astute insight into the world he inhabits it is clear that he has no desire to leave any time soon. On 'Still Take You Home' he acknowledges to a girl in a girl "I can't see through your fake tan", happy to give into the power of the moment. A Certain Romance's dissection of chav culture again shows Turner with his older and wiser hat on, but in this album closer loyalty to longstanding friends is more important ("though they might overstep the mark you just cannot get angry in the same way"). A glorious climax of guitars then cuts in and concludes a wonderful album with its only significant instrumental section.

Sense tells us that they cannot keep this up for ever. Songs that stand both inside and outside the spaces in which youth plays out its frenetic race towards sedentary maturity will give way to sedentary maturity. For now that doesn't matter. We've grown so used to being told that bands are for the future that it's marvellous to have one that is so powerfully about, from and of the moment.


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