I recieved a private letter concerning this blog post. If the author of this letter consents, I will happily publish the letter in full combined with my response.
October 24, 2008
Well, there I was at the Warwick Politics Society Question Time style 'debate'. A tory, a green, a labourista, a libdem, and a token floppy haired socialist. On matters such as economics and immigration, there was the usual lively debate - and each party put their cases forward reasonably well. I sat there nodding with the things I agreed with, shaking my head or murmuring "uuuuuguh" at things of which I disapproved, and laughed along every time one party slagged off the other, as is the convention at such discussions. A matter on which there was essentially no debate, not surprisingly, was the fate of Senator Obama, who everybody took the opportunity to suck up to, including, disappointingly enough, the Conservative representative. You know, they said the usual bag o' tricks - "inspirational", "potentially a good administrator", bringing in "fresh vitality" etc... although to me those three things are merely euphemisms for 'populist', 'inexperienced' and... 'inexperienced'. I can kinda sorta appreciate why people would be fond of Obama, though I do hope they have made their choices independently rather than through gross bandwagonism (which may be the case, as most of them showed off about how they hadn't supported the Iraq war).
But what bothered me in particular was not the character of endorsement, rather, their almost unthinking dismissal of John McCain. It seems clear to me that the main criticisms of John McCain seem to be not directly levelled at him, rather, those around him. I can appreciate the fact that people find the Palin ‘woman’ frightening – to me she represents everything I dislike about the U.S. However, that her selection as running mate* represents ‘bad judgement’ on McCain’s part seems to me to be judging American politics by a British, or indeed, a European mindset. Sure, many of us may not like her type of politics… but then again, we can’t VOTE, can we? I do not think McCain’s primary concern would be with the moist, fleeting allegiances of foppish metrosexuals (if one can combine the two) in England or the ‘let’s avoid controversy at any cost’ brigade. Nor should it be – we are no more relevant to their electoral process as the average American mid-western suburban Caucasian two-kids-and-a-dog family unit are to our electoral system.
Another common self-deception of the 'let's suck up to Obama at any cost' party is that McCain and Bush are one and the same thing, and that such a thing is UNFORGIVABLE. Well, to be fair it isn't easy to find many holes in Obama's voting record, partly because he doesn't really have one.
But the universal point here is that the 'let's support Obama just in case he does win - we wouldn’t want to look racist amirite?' squad fail to recognise the fact that McCain is a great candidate. Or maybe they have, and it is this realisation that has forced the anti-McCain scoffing which the Obamaites over here have perfected to an art. Most Warwick students are conservative at heart – why they feel the need to wear their ‘liberal credentials’ on their sleeves is beyond me.
It was a fun evening though. I felt a little out of place – sandwiched between a Young Conservative and what can only be described as an anarchist atheist with socialist tendencies I realised just how little about modern politics I really knew, though I feel my understanding of human nature is up to scratch (hence the confidence with which I write about my opinions on the US debacle).
I am currently typing from the grid, it’s ten minutes to ten. I got in at nine… which probably makes me one of the first of the morning batch to get in here… I suspect some of the people have been here all night. Well, not me – those days of decadence are long behind me: these days I do my work on time, I do it well and most importantly I do it during the day time, not the midnight hours. Will I be working today? Well, probably not – the book I need for my main project won’t come through till 4pm, so I guess I’ll just sit here typing, browsing, and drinking from those paper cones which are part and parcel of the University of Warwick Learning Grid experience.
Also, in case you are wondering why I haven't posted for so long, basically I've been busy but... nothing exciting has happened in spite of this. This term has already been more of an adventure than the previous two years, and I hope it stays that way.
* I don't know what the convention is - I'm not of the school of thought who like calling females by the term 'mate' - though I don't think 'matrix' would be appropriate
November 02, 2007
The last three entries were composed when I was in Brighton, so it is only fitting that my fourth be published here too. I write from my room in Hove. A lady bird is crawling round the rim of a roll of toilet roll which sits on the near left corner of my desk. Behind me is the TV, Spartacus is on in the background. I just had a nice supper of sausage casserole and stollen. The nastiest tyrants are invariably thin... and taste is not the same as appetite.
Enough of that
Reminds me of the time I had four pizzas in three days.
Some Saturday back in October 2003 (possibly the 15th)
Aidan and I were at Sago's house, and after playing a game of Monopoly (on an American board) and his mother came back from Sainsburys with three, count'em, three pizzas. These were subsequently ovened and eaten. Each pizza was cut into six slices, and we each took two of each flavour. It was thus convenient that there were three of us, though unfortunate, as Botto's absence was due to the fact that he was in hospital recovering from appendicitis (which he caught the last time we had been playing monopoly and eating pizza).
When I got back home that evening, my parents were out. My brother wanted to order pizza. Naturally I acquiesed, and pizza was thus ordered.
The next day I (with the family) went off to Lewes. We stopped off at one of our favourite, you guessed it, pizza restaurants - Ask. It was my parents' idea. They were unaware that I had had any pizza the previous day (though I doubt it would have affected their decision in anyway).
That Monday was a FIELD DAY at school. Being a member of the dossified 'Creative Writing Group', having quit the Army Section the previous term, we all walked down to the marina for 'inspiration'. It wasn't too long before we were 'inspired' to go to Pizza Hut, exploiting the weekday buffet. Indeed, two of my acquaintances had about seventeen slices each, noneofwhich stayed in their stomach for too long (much to the amusement of the rest of us).
AND SO THESE WERE THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH I ATE FOUR PIZZAS IN THREE DAYS, A FEAT WHICH I SUSPECT SHALL NEVER BE REPEATED, AS IT IS UNLIKELY A SERIES OF COINCIDENCES SO GREAT AS WHICH OCCURED THOSE THREE DAYS WILL EVER MEET ME IN THE FUTURE.
As for the future? I don't know. It seems treacharous to write about that which has yet to occur, so I won't.
September 14, 2007
CHUG CHUG CHUG
shouted the madding crowd, as Ben reached for the last pot of duck sauce left in the restaurant. The duck itself had been wolfed down only a few minutes earlier. The kitchen staff looked on amazed, too bewildered to even contemplate the sheer foolhardiness of their 'all you can eat' offer. Meanwhile the management were plagued by other concerns. "What if he chokes?" asked one, "This has gone too far!" shouted another. Meanwhile, a wise old Chinaman stands in a silent despair as his life's work is ruined. The cooks bring in a new steaming vat of emergency egg fried rice, hoping this will somehow temper the greedy appetite of the infamous Group of '03, but to no avail. They just keep shovelling it down so quickly that the cooks could barely keep up. Suddenly, a silence falls as Aidan discontinues his eating and stands up. His palms, still basted in hoi sin sauce, thrust open the icecream freezer, whereafter he and the others proceeded to mercilessly scoff the lot. In the end, the group was undone by its own excesses, and, after a few more Heffeweissbier, the final wafer-thin mint proved too much.
We are all now recovered from our meat hangovers, and I for one am glad of it. Mother says I am getting fatter. I'm glad she did not feel the need to sugar coat her assessment, because sugar has a lot of calories. Tomorrow I go up to Warwick again as happy as any man with spare time and £200 in his pocket. If you want to rob me on the way to the station don't bother, because I'm actually travelling by car.
wp, gg, &c
September 11, 2007
Just watched 'Last Night of the Proms' as recorded by a friend on DVD during my absence in Coventry, where I had neither television nor internet nor running hot water. All I had was the company of good friends, food, a pack of playing cards and a stack of poker chips, which of course, is far more important. Nevertheless, Last Night of the Proms has always represented, for me, the start of a new year, as it of course naturally used to coincide with the start of the new academic year, and the associated music, as well as other chapel classics (to which I was subjected to 10 years of in my school) such as 'Crimond' and 'Come Ye Thaknful People Come', whose organ melodies still make the hairs on the back of my neck stand, inspite of my rational, atheistic pretenses.
As for the Prom itself, I am still agrieved by the following:
i) It still has the 'devolution' scheduele, i.e. interupping Wood's magnificent Fantasia on British Sea Songs (along with the atmosphere developed) by switching cameras over to Swansea/Middlesborough/Glasgow etc for a sample of native songs/uninspiring modern choral work. This might bring the provinces closer to the capital, but I believe it is natural and just for a healthy deference to exist between the two.
ii) It is still hosted by 'Alan Titchmarsh'. I have great respect for his gardening skills, but feel that the Last Night of the Proms should be hosted by someone with a 'BBC Accent', rather than all this 'Aye up t'mill' nonsense which might do for Brass Band Spectacular, but certainly will not do for the Last Night, which I believe should be entirely based in the Albert Hall.
Other than that the orchestra and jingoism were at a high standard as usual. Rack out the timpani!
HORSE is going alirght too, though I did classically lose a crucial 50-50 in the pre-bubble stages of a $4 NLHE tournament on Ladjokes. (46th, 30 paid) - Might try a HORSE tournament one day.
Wp though, my roll is back up to £0!
September 10, 2007
On returning home I was surprised to find that we now had 'Coconut Actimel' in our fridge. Obviously a lot of things have changed after my brief stay in Canley (6th-9th). There was some fairly high stakes and extremely high quality poker during this break and I was veritably cleaned out, though I am glad to say that HORSE has become popular in DKSoP. At the time I of writing I am sitting on $46.20 at a 25/50 HORSE table on fulltilt, though admitedly I bought in for $44.30. I only had one belt of online play recently and that invovled standing up in the physics concourse at the University. The University itself is as quiet as... something really quiet (don't expect witty metaphors in this blog).
With the recent 10th anniversary of Diana Princess of Wales's death, and the upcoming 6th anniversary of the US Attacks, no doubt there will be a lot of people engaging in two minutes silence. Might I suggest recording a CD called 'Two Minutes Silence', in which two minutes of genuine chapel/auditorium silence are played on the 'loud'speakers. This CD can be played at any future displays of national grief.
Far from silent was my journey back. On the train my ears were given a run for their money by a party of Spaniards who got on at Oxford, and who had no difficulty in overwhelming the carraige with their noisy antics. Fortunately, on my arrival at Brighton station, the M&S was still open, where I bought a prawn sandwich. It wasn't just a prawn sandwich, it was an M&S Nutritionally balanced 'prawns with a creamy mayonnaise on low fat oatmeal bread'. After entering the HORSE freeroll after doubling up, I decided to tilt-sleep.
And I don't even care if you don't respond to this blog. The fun/therapeautic aspect is found in the writing as much as anything else, but feel free to comment!
Sebastian Evans, soontobe 2nd Year Warwick Historian