All entries for October 2007

October 29, 2007

Monday, Around Lunchtime.

Flayed Stone III by Peter Randall-PageAlarm clock, brush my teeth. Shower, getting dressed. Breakfast, leave the house. Bank. Post office.

Library, book renewed. Up the stairs, down the stairs. To a seminar. More flights of stairs. Seminar: sit, sit, sit.

Library, to get reading out for next seminar. Towards home.

And then I pass the little garden in front of the Modern Records Centre, you know, that place where BP left their papers. A little triangular piece of field, hardly noticed. Three or four benches are placed in the grass, only metres from the path. A sculpture (see image) in the middle. One large, friendly looking oak tree across the path, roofing a few metres of the way as I walk along. A tree you would want to hug, or climb into (you know it would welcome you), either way, a tree that makes you feel a safe child as you walk past it.

Then I see a person sitting there in the sun, on the bench I mean. In itself that’s nothing special, and the person also doesn’t look particularly noteworthy. Warwick society hoody, jeans that are not exactly his size. And yet there’s something about his colourlessness, that captivates me for just an instance. It’s peaceful. He sits still, unmoving, hands loosely on his lap, just staring around a bit. Probably not thinking anything grandiose nor anything troubling, just sitting there.

So I wonder to myself: when would I just sit on a bench, in the sun, alone? No mobile phone to pester me, no book I should have read by yesterday. Not even a sandwich to munch, just sitting. And I don’t know. I walk on to go have lunch at home, read and send text messages.

October 26, 2007

Ten Albums That Shook the 1990s

Lo and behold! After due deliberation, I have finally decided upon the ten that will make it till the very end of times. Considering that: more than seven years have passed since the end of last century’s last decade, and it’s about time that we start canonising what’s Eternal & Unwithering; that I love top-ten lists; that music helps us to have a grip on time; that certain tunes make you melancholic since they formed the soundtrack of a particular period; that the nineties as a decade could represent just that interesting fin-de-siècle and fin-du-communisme dynamic…

I have resolved to act as the final arbiter on this matter and to choose the Ten Albums That Shook the 1990s, the Golden Ten, the Final and Authoritative Top Ten List of the 1990s. I shall no longer keep you anticipating.

1. Radiohead – OK Computer (1997)
2. R.E.M. – Out Of Time (1991)
3. dEUS – The Ideal Crash (1999)
4. Air – Moon Safari (1998)
5. Nirvana – Nevermind (1991)
6. Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill (1995)
7. The Cranberries – No Need To Argue (1994)
8. Bush – Sixteen Stone (1994)
9. Radiohead – The Bends (1995)
10. K’s Choice – Paradise In Me (1996)

With a few sidenotes
All albums selected were to have been released and somewhat successful in at least two countries. This, of course, gives more than a slight bias for English-sung music.
Obviously a top ten of occidental, or better said, Western European and Northern American, music.
Despite the presence of American, Belgian, British, Canadian, French and Irish albums, Germany remains notably absent.

Interested to hear your comments, though they shall clearly not tear down the Authority with which these ten albums were carefully selected.

October 21, 2007

Blame It On A Sunny Afternoon

Violins breed violins.

October 20, 2007

Leaving Campus

Today I went off campus for the first time in nearly two weeks. Sitting on the bus on the way to Leamington Spa, a thing of every day in the second year of studies, suddenly becomes quite something. An afternoon trip to town. As soon as I leave campus and the bus driver hits the country road through the fields towards Kenilworth I become aware of something that’s with me all the day which is probably the reason why I normally don’t think about it: I really, seriously, don’t generally move out of an area with a radius of not more than at the most a few hundred meters, for days, even weeks.

People tend to speak of Warwick as “the bubble”, romanticising it into some mysterious fairytale-like place with other-worldly characteristics. As if something special is in the making here, an act performed by a hybrid coming together of a few thousand highly sensitive minds. That’s the boring, common version. Why not see it as a muddy, grassy hill on the outskirts of a medium-sized English city that most students feel too good for to visit it?

To go short and straight to the moral of this blog-story. Campuses are great stuff. But don’t become stagnant, and realise it takes extra energies to reach out and be a student in a wider context, rather than a student in bubble.

October 16, 2007

The Summer Of 2005

A dyke in the Eemnes polder
A friend checks his camera on top of a dyke in the Eemnes polder. Summer of 2005.

October 15, 2007

Environmental Concerns Down To Real Proportions

Writing about web page

Please sit down in Seat 62.In this world so preocuppied by the environment and pollution, it’s quite nice and useful to bring things down to real and personal proportions.

What does global warming mean these days? It is obviously something nobody wants and it’s a trendy item of discussion in international politics. It scores points to declare yourself against it. But when we hear the white polar bear is to die out within a few decades, or that the sea level might rise, we may feel powerless to the point of apathy.

But are we really powerless? I would like to suggest that we look at elements in our own direct environment. This means not just regulating the heater and only boiling the water that you need for your cup of tea. True as it may be, that sounds just a bit dusty and a small drop in a big ocean. But what about flying? Continental flights are these days so cheap that many of us hardly ponder the decision to take a plane. I dare guess that today we use more flights under 3 hours than anytime ever before.

And what are the consequences? Well, have a look at the link attached above. I distilled a few examples for you here. Flying to Paris from London pollutes by 244kg of CO2. Whereas a train to Paris cuts this figure by 90%, and is actually faster too! Flying to Barcelona can be replaced by a night train cutting emission by some 85%.

In short: for the sake of pollutionary moderation, try to take a train instead of a plane when you can. The same website points at some decently prices deals, and if that’s still too much for you, there’s always the National Express and Eurolines.

Hope this points some people at the facts and the possibilities. The waiting is now for someone to come and disprove the figures. Reactions are welcome.

October 14, 2007

Straight From Warwick Campus

Equal opps officer of a sports club: “We have an equal opportunities problem. Too many people want to play.”

October 10, 2007

Back On Track

IT HAS REALLY been a while since I posted my last entry on the Scribbles blog. It was some weeks ago, when I was still celebrating holidays at home in the Netherlands, in many ways and somewhat paradoxically unsure of what to expect of Warwick campus when I would come back. I wanted to get over and done with it, do well in my modules and generally try to take it easy.

Into the second week of term, these objectives are still with me. With just the difference of the life factor intervening, the “gracia ex machina” as I once wrote it up in a poem. There’s objectives and there’s Warwick life anno autumn 2007. Not that they’re incompatible but I guess you can’t plan everything.

So now there’s my campus flat and new flatmates which I’m really happy with. There’s meals we cook and eat together every day. There’s the 120 pages of reading for just one module which I should read within a week. There’s dissertation obligations of reading and independent thinking and planning your own day. There’s climbing and others sports that I recently picked up. There’s my so far positively successful attempt at staying relaxed.

And there’s another 28,5 weeks of term time to tie a few knots together. Nothing new really.

October 2007

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