All entries for Wednesday 22 December 2004

December 22, 2004

The top 10 albums of 2004

It's that time of year again. On television, magazines, websites and blogs worldwide, writers and presenters reflect on the best of the year's books, music, and films. It would be rude not to include my own opinions.

Sufjan Stevens - Seven Swans
– Lush vocals and guitar playing from this multi-instrumentalist.

The Arcade Fire Funeral
– A grandiose release from a band Im struggling to categorise.

Interpol - Antics
– A solid second album, though not as good as TOTBL which was an incredibly hard act to follow.

Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
– Catchy pop/rock songs. One can't ask for much more.

Sonic Youth - Sonic Nurse
– They continue to create great music despite their age.

The Go! Team - Thunder, Lightning, Strike
– Great instrumental tracks with interesting samples.

65 Days of Static - The Fall of Math
– Original fusion of post rock and IDM.

Blonde Redhead - Misery Is a Butterfly
– Haunting female vocals, dark melodies.

Aberfeldy Young Forever
– Upbeat debut album from this highly promising Scottish indie pop ensemble.

The Dears No Cities Left
– The Smiths reincarnated have released a brilliant albeit slightly long album.

I don't find it easy to rank albums on a scale of one to ten, nor do I think its a particularly useful undertaking. The appeal of a given album changes day by day, hour by hour. Dont be put off by my less than eloquent descriptions; the above albums are essential listening for indie rock/pop and electronic music enthusiasts.


Today, I took a trip for the third time down to Birmingham for another interview in the tiresome quest to get a work placement for the summer holidays. In the past, holidays have been generally spent sleeping, eating and sitting in front of the computer. Given that next year, job hunting begins in earnest it doesn't hurt to get some practice in beforehand.

The interview revolved around skills the company desires in employees; client responsiveness, task management, effective communication, etc, etc. One wonders whether interviewers actually care about the responses to questions such as, 'Tell me a time when you were able to influence others'. After all, it's possible to take even the most mundane of life experiences and to craft answers which would make one appear to be God's gift to the sector in question.

The process of talking about oneself continuously brings back memories of personal statements back when I was applying for university. People who had made one appearance for the football team suddenly became keen sportsmen who had made valuable contributions to the school over many years, and so on. According to their personal statement that is. Exaggeration is rife when future opportunities are on the line.

Interviews are probably more an opportunity for interviewers to make intuitive judgements about whether you'd be a good person to work with on a day to day basis; whether you'd be someone who'd get along with other members of the team; whether you know how to talk without stuttering; whether you know how to dress correctly, etc. They know as well as the interviewee the artificial nature of the responses given to common interview questions.

Overall, there isn't much of a problem with these interviews nor should anyone neglect preparation for them. The more information recruiters have about you, the better able they are to make a sensible decision. One just hopes that inevitable subjective judgements work out in your favour in the long run.

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