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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…



January 22, 2006

Arctic Monkeys: Band of the Moment

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.

December 29, 2005

I Get To Be Myself And I Get to Sing

I would have waited until February 6th but if I'm going to sing along at Brum Academy I need it now, surely?

(It's brilliant by the way)

Chocolate on the boil, steamy windows when we met

December 19, 2005

Building a Better Tomorrow (Or 3 weeks in the Union)

Week 1:

Week 2:

Week 3:

Also check out this exciting video diary

Edit: I somehow managed to delete this entry when writing a new entry (someones a numskull). In order to make the comments below make sense I should point out that after the photos n stuff it said something like this:

On a side note true democracies require a state intervention in order to function correctly. This is why the Union has the power to veto impractical proposals like the smoking ban. RaW would have immediately ceased to be at the forefront of UK student radio next year had the smoking ban been implicated, and no longer been able to fund innovative projects like building new broadcast studios from scratch, because the money would not have been available to continue giving our members the quality of experience of which we are so proud.

November 23, 2005

Single of the Year?

Writing about web page http://www.radio.warwick.ac.uk/singleoftheyear

RaW's Single of the Year is upon us once more, begging the question what are the best 5 singles of 2005. If you haven't voted yet I heartily recommend you do so, since you'll be contributing to a rather formidably rigorous and utterly marvellous poll to be run down in a special broadcast in Cholo on Wednesday Week 10.

Of course what you'll all no doubt be anxious to know is the identity of my choice for Single of the Year 2005.

Franz Ferdinand?


Nope, I picked a funky shuffling number about a night of alcohol induced carnage and drinking to forget…

The grievously unfashionable Elbow. So, what track has most made your year?

October 07, 2005

RaW is 35

If this week's slightly dull speech from David Davis has destroyed his chances of becoming the next Tory leader and perhaps PM, the greatest victory for his leadership skills will remain having co-founded your very own RaW 1251am. Well this week we're celebrating the fact that 35 successful years have passed since then, and we're not at all bitter about that fact that he cancelled a visit to the station last month, which would have been televised on BBC Newsnight a few nights ago. Instead it fell to another former RaW member to give national exposure to our 35th anniversary when Radio 1's James King told Jo Whiley (with only the slightest hint of irony) how excited he was about DJ-ing at our birthday party this Saturday in Time Tunnel, live on Radio 1 this afternoon. The day promises to be a lot of fun, and I for one suspect I'll be glad I organised it, even if it meant a mountain of work right when we had all the Freshers stuff to organise…

October 02, 2005

Top of the Pots

Muchos mirth in the Buckland clan this week as that Leviathian tome of the newspaper world, the mighty Bracknell News, decided to do a piece on my sister's A-Level art project, under surely one the worst headlines ever conceived by man or beast:

Needless to say we're all very proud…

September 15, 2005

Imagine my delight…

I get a new car (hurrah!)

But oh, what's this? 3 weeks in and already I need one of these

I've been back in Leamington 3 days AND I FIND MYSELF HERE AGAIN!

OK I can tell that most of you have no sympathy for my spoilt pampered ways…

If there's a moral, and I'm not sure there is, it's that from small acorns, oak trees doth grow…

September 13, 2005

Help: A Day in the Life

4 out of 5 stars

I was surprised that considering the number of hits the website had received on Friday, only 4000 had downloaded this by Monday lunchtime – is everyone waiting for the CD copy? Like the previous Help album ten years ago it serves not only as a great way of making money but also an interesting snapshot of the state of British music.

Despite all the trendy 2005 bands here it is Radiohead that open Help: A Day in the Life with their first new song since the Go To Sleep b-sides 2 years ago - providing a reason for me to download straight away rather than wait for the CD. I Want None of This is a Radiohead ballad - ie very nice. The 3/4 time signature and We Suck Young Blood style 'ooh ooh's give it something a little different.

At the other end of the quality scale Keane's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Kaiser Chiefs' Heard it Through the Grapevine should be saved from too many disparaging comments by that fact that both bands participated in order to help young victims of conflict across the globe. That I've lost patience with Kaiser Chiefs is nothing to do with their involvement here.

Better is the Magic Numbers' Gone Are the Days or Baby Shambles From Bollywood to Battersea which displays Doherty's penchant for indie-boy skiffle-pop (recently showcased on excellent b-side East of Eden). Coldplay's How You See the World No 2 is nice in an unmemorable kind of way whilst The Coral's It Was Nothing is one of the more immediate songs on this collection, and better than much of The Invisble Invasion. Bloc Party and Maximo Park's contributions meanwhile don't exactly give much away as regards their second albums - neither track heralds a new direction but neither is terrible. Mylo's Mars Needs Women and the Go Team!'s Phantom Broadcast are the kind of excellently-put together stuff they've become recognised for this year and Hard-Fi's Help Me Please does them no harm in their gradual campaign to win me round.

Six bands join Radiohead in offering something that jumps out and sounds like it's more than just an album track or b-side. Use of backing singers on Razorlight's Kirby's House make it an unexpected treat. And the compilers haven't shied away from the usual comparisons between the two Scouser bands by putting The Zutons after The Coral in the tracklisting, and the former do better out of the arrangement. Hello Conscience is a gem - the saxophone is let loose and you get the impression that they had a ball recording it. And I didn't expect to say this but the Manics' Leviathian proves there's life in the old dog yet. The quality of Elbow's contribution is less of a surpise. Snowball can be filed in the 'understated song that , er, snowballs (sorry!) to tumultious ace-ness' folder next to past singles Grace Under Pressure and Newborn. Less catchy than Fix You's current use of the same formula, but certainly more subtle. Its origins as a letter to Tony Blair in the build-up to the Iraq War also gains the band brownie points for thematic relevence. And Hong Kong sees Damon Albarn follow I Am Kloot in discovering that playing the black notes on a piano creates a generic kind of oriental melody to justify being named after the now-Chinese city. He does it far more intelligently though, but then that's why he has been successful in whatever he's turned his hand to whilst Kloot remain perennial gig circuit journeymen. And who else would come up with a title like The Eighth Station of the Cross Kebab House than Belle and Sebastian? Great band and a great little fable in song-form from officially the 'Best Scottish band of All Time' (in a poll that obviously came a bit to early for Franz Ferdinand who would presumably were they to re-run it now).

Joining Gorillaz in offering some depth and variety are Tinariwen and Emmanuel Jal. Both have treated this album with respect by contributing two of the best tracks to what would be something of an indie fest without them. Meanwhile George and Antony's War Is Over is unseasonal but fits the cause so we can perhaps brush over any flaws, and it's nice to see the Mercury Prize winner alongside the other usual suspects here.

It would be lazy to be cynical about the artists' involvement because this collection deserves more than the rather obvious moral judgements you could make. It's a decent if unspectacular bunch of songs, with only a few unwelcome inclusions (one of which I haven't discussed – I'll leave that to people who don't think the world would be a better place without Damien Rice's music). It's only £9.99, and I don't think it's overly idealistic to suggest that that £9.99 might just help Warchild to make a bit of difference to someone's life. Individual tracks are available for 99p, but why not get all 22?

July 25, 2005

Are there any bands…

… that you like but you suspect that no one else likes?

Because I love Manchester's finest, I am Kloot!

Any takers?

June 10, 2005

Take THIS Wordsworth!


June 04, 2005

A Rather Presumptious Birthday

Assuming I don't die before the 30th July I'll be turning 21 in the summer. I'm not sufficiently confident in the sparkling magnetism of my personality to expect anyone to turn up to any 21st bash I might have back home in rural Berkshire… so if I was to say I'm planning a tasteful and civilised early evening Barbeque affair on Saturday 18th June round my place (subject to last minute rain-induced cancellations) would you lovely people be able to come? Our landlord mowed the lawn the other day and it's just itcccching for some kind of ridiculously polite garden party. Who knows, we could even hit Leamington afterwards. Or you could leave… if you've got something better to do…