Archive for June, 2010

Much Mochage

June 28, 2010

Free wifi cafés are wonderful places. Let us take a moment to appreciate their gracious offer of potentially limitless internet access (so long as you sip your iced mocha really, really slowly).

I think I wrote my best piece of poetic writing ever yesterday, while on the train to Leicester (successfully managing to get the connecting train from Derby, natch).  The tale of a forbidden love between one man and his zombie sweetheart, entitled ‘There’s Plenty of Room in my Heart’ (in reference to the Dawn of the Dead line, “When there is no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the earth”), it’s a deadly serious piece…

Other than that, a T-shirt that I’d ordered online arrived, which was good… However, over the  duration of the day I had to fend off two people who wanted to buy it off me, and one who wanted to do a straight shirt-swap, right in the middle of the train. Hands off!

For those curious, the T-shirt says this:

*Chuckles*

Anyhow, this is the beginning of my last week here in Leicester, and it feels very strange. After six years, the time to move on seems to be approaching with all the serene patience of a speeding freight train, so I’d better stop writing, drain the 1cm of mocha I’ve been carefully maintaining for the last half-hour, and start packing!

Hm, lots of train-centric things seem to happen to me. Wow. To paraphrase Kim Pine, right now, if my life had a face, I would punch it. I would punch my life in the face.

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Blogging on the Razor’s Edge

June 23, 2010

Internetless (adjective; describing a lack of access to internet) ~ A state of being which first manifested in the late 20th Century, regular web users suffering from this condition may experience restlessness, erratic twitching of the index finger, fresh air, human contact, and other similarly confusing and unfamiliar symptoms .

I am, for the next couple of weeks, a victim of this unspeakable curse. The last entry was posted with two security guards looming over me, because I was stealing internet from the University library after it had closed. My life gets more extreme with each passing day, truly.

Now, with it being the end of the academic year, I have to hand my university card back in which means no library access at all (excuse me while I fetch a damp towel) so… for the next few days, I hope to get my internet fix by masquerading as a Modern Foreign Languages student, sneaking into my old Uni department building, and hoping that locks haven’t been put on the computer room doors during the last two years. These are dark times indeed 😉

Something to think on while I go about tracking down a reliable internet source – do geese see god?

Signing off,

Your friendly neighbourhood internet thief

One Night in Derby – Part 2

June 20, 2010
.
I wandered lonely as a cloud, along the Derby streets
As if I’d fallen from the sky, shaken free by techno beats
(If you will remember, I had left the warmth of Fusion,
With three hours still to go before the night reached its conclusion…)
 
 ————————-
 
Salvation came in the shape of a bar which was named the Flaming Fox
Referring, I supposed, to the barmaid, whose smile could have melted rocks
I settled myself at the edge of the room, and got out my notebook
Figuring I would do some work, make the most of my bad luck
 
But it wasn’t long before I was approached by one of the in-house bouncers
Who’d seen me writing in a book, and had come looking for some answers
“Are you an inspector or something?” He asked me, to my surprise
“No,” I responded, then instantly thought of many better replies
 
About ten minutes later, it was the barmaid who ambled over
And we chatted nonsense for a while, me glad that I was sober
She went away for a few minutes more, and then, upon returning
She turned my head and kissed me, leaving my cheeks fairly burning
 
“Keep up the good work,” she said with a grin, and slinked back to the bar
While I smiled like a lunatic – best moment of the night by far!
‘On par with Zeppelin Dude at the least’, I thought, and began to wonder
If any other strangeness would emerge from out of the thunder
 
Lo and behold, the night indeed had one more thing in store
Blasts of cold wind filled the room, and a midget walked through the door
He wandered round the room a bit, and passed me once or twice
So on his third pass I said “Hello”, trying to be nice
 
He said hello back and so I made polite conversation
Feeling rather sorry for his slight air of desperation
However this backfired when he asked me “So… wanna come back to mine?”
I managed to say, with contained shock, that I’d have to decline
 
After that he turned away and left without a word
Just as the dreaded call ‘It’s closing time!’ was heard
Thusly did I head out again into the Derby night
And trudged back to the station, which was a very gloomy sight
 
The only passenger was I, on a train so quiet and dead
That never so eager have I been, to see my single bed
And when finally I did get home, at around half-past seven
The cloudy grey of Leicester dawn looked like the plains of heaven
.
—————–
.
So that, then, is the story, of what happened on that night
Of shocks and laughs and oddities, and the occasional fright
But should I ever find myself once more stranded in that hell?
.
I think I’ll do the sensible thing, and find a good hotel.

One Night in Derby – Part 1

June 17, 2010

A few entries back, I mentioned that there was a tale-in-waiting which deserved to have an entry dedicated to it. As it turns out, it needs more like two, so here’s part one of that story, dragged out of the dungeons of my memory, 100% true. To set the scene: I was travelling back to Leicester from York by train in horrendous weather, and arrived at the station of a small, grimy town called Derby, where I was to change trains to continue my journey…

.

It was a dark and stormy night; I think you know the kind
I watched my connecting train depart… while I’d been left behind
And the story of what happened next I wrote out for you all
But the tale came out so long it would’ve filled the entire wall
So here instead are the events, rewritten in poetry form,
Of what can happen stranded in Derby, in the middle of a storm
Oh, and just one crucial point – to add to my bad luck –
My phone battery had up ‘n died (Yeah I know; I suck 😉 )
.
———-
Time: 9:00 pm

At nine o clock I missed my train, the connection had been late
The next one? Half-past five AM; so now, I’m thinking ‘Great...”
Then I saw a pub nearby, and headed towards the lights
To be told: “Closing early, love. Sorry, it’s one of those nights!
You’d best head into town by foot – it’s only half an hour.”
Which was fine, ‘til five minutes in, the sky began to shower
So watch me leg it down Main Street, while folk in taxis gloat
(I’ll leave it up to you to guess, whether I had brought a coat.)
.
10:00 pm
.
Thankfully I soon found a bar, sporting a sign which said:
“SUNDAY NIGHT IS BAND NIGHT, SO COME IN AND ROCK YOUR HEAD!”
“Band night eh, that doesn’t sound bad,” I thought, with optimism
Then discovered that ignorance is bliss, faced with Nu Metal rhythm.
However there was entertainment to find, in braving these aural assaults
By talking snobbily with some guy, about each band’s musical faults.
He’d been a friend of Robert Plant; so I ensured that we shook hands
While he reminisced about Zeppelin – “So much better than these shitty bands…”
.
12:00 am
.
That place closed around midnight, so time for some more bar-hopping
But now I had to hurry it up, with the temperature rapidly dropping
And it seemed that a club called ‘Fusion’ was the only available place
So I lingered in its doorway, spine shaking along with the bass.
I was just minding my own business there, when one of the bouncers asked
If I was coming in or not, and I had to convince him fast;
I didn’t have much money left by now, and less desire to spend it here
So I explained myself and pointed out that the weather was quite severe
The doorman laughed at this and then, after talking to his mate,
Suggested I help out on the door – “Beats freezing, at any rate!”
.
2:00 am
.
So I became a Fusion bouncer – well, at least for a while
Until the nightclub had to close, and I continued on my trial.
Through rain and wind and metal and bass, so far I had survived
I could only hope to hold my ground, until the train arrived.
But there were strange things waiting to happen in the intermittant time
And they my friends, will be the subject, of the next entry’s rhyme…
.

Seasonal Signs

June 13, 2010

You know it’s summer in England, because the rain gets warmer.

The Fall of Mr. M

June 11, 2010


This artist’s impression of the former French teacher known as ‘Mr. M’ was drawn at the peak of his career by some of his year 9 students. (Bless ’em)


The PGCE teacher training course I was on… Didn’t Work Out™ .

And so here I am: a half-digested excretion of the further education system, with time on my hands. I’ve tried washing the stuff off but  it seems to be sticking, so this is a good opportunity to bust out the old writin’ fingers once again; fragile, atrophied twiglets that they are after half a year of no use… Not to worry though – plenty of opportunity to practice, and this blog is getting back up and running!

If I had knocked out an entry over the past six months it would have been eye-strainingly awful. The PGCE course is a ravenous beast and time is its very favourite chow, as a result any entry would have been dull, rushed and full of me bitching about not getting any sleep.  However, I wouldn’t want you to think you’ve missed out on anything, so here’s a quick summary of my life since December:

December – Avatar rocks me ’till I’m blue in the face, then I go on my own journey to exotic climes: Thailand. I wage war upon the native curry and beer populations, prevent my cousin from stealing Thai babies as part of her nefarious scheme to gain citizenship, and, less entertainingly, witness a murder at a beach rave.

January – At university, learning new and exciting teaching super powers.

February – Teaching in a new school. Powers begin to wane. Kryptonite clearly present in the canteen meals.

March/April/May – Realise problem might not be Kryptonite. Failing to eat; to sleep; the course.

June – End of the line. Punctuate, and press life’s Enter key. Start new paragraph.

Total number of creative writing ideas : 0

Students who have learned French: 110

———

The last little thing I can be proud of, at least. And now we’re up to date. To expand just a little, I was struggling to keep up with paperwork, and students weren’t getting enough learning out of the material I was presenting. Hard as I might try, I couldn’t seem to rectify these issues satisfactorily enough for the course supervisors, and with this being a 66% timetable, it was decided that with only 3 weeks to go of the course, a) I would not be able to make the necassary progress and b) even if I scraped through, it wouldn’t be beneficial for my health in the long run, and I’d probably not pass the NQT year anyway.  Joyous, right? If I can’t be a good teacher, then I don’t think I should be a teacher at all, so for better or worse, Mr. M the French Teacher is no more. Rising from the ashes… who knows?

Let’s find out, shall we?  😉

Writing Wrongs

June 9, 2010

What do you do?!

a) Panicked and confused, dive headlong into the nearby virtual undergrowth and wait for the nasty thing to go away…

b) Thinking resourcefully, remember about the Wild Blog Lure (you know, that one) that you were gifted by the Tribe of the Five Winds for fending off the wild Snargle beast of Fuzzwogga, and use it as a distraction.

c) Approach and take a closer look. You suppose there’s no harm in scoping it out, although you’ve had quite a nice day up to this point, and if something unpleasant were to happen now it would put a bit of a dampener on things.

d) You see this as a challenge. And luckily, you’re always well prepared. You rummage around in your backpack until…  aha, there it is! Time to settle this in the way writers have battled each other for centuries. You pull out your own Blog Entry! It’s ON!

——————-

a) You bury yourself deep amongst the familiar comfort of Facebook ferns, Hotmail hedges, and Google grasses, and the blog entry shuffles closer. As it approaches, you catch its scent; it is the smell of something musty and untended; a paperback novel abandoned on a park bench; a half-empty bottle of wine on the living room table, surrounded by two sets of discarded clothing…

Unaware of your presence, the blog entry makes its way past your hiding place and disappears into the jungle to continue its directionless wandering. It will eventually get caught in a territorial scuffle between an idea for a comedy script and a short story about Dream Viruses. Unfamiliar with the primal laws of the jungle, the blog entry will be no match for these two older, wilier creatures. Its words will be scattered unceremoniously, filling the jungle – only for the briefest of moments – with the bitter pang of lost potential.

b) The Wild Blog Lure works every bit as effectively as Ol’ Mama Goodie (Oh, the times you two had!) had assured you it would, from atop her crooked throne of debts and dreams. Upon glimpsing the package – which is crammed to bursting with comments, page views, and Exhibitionist Garbage Online massage kits – the blog entry gives a delighted snort and buries its head amongst the contents. You watch as it rolls around on the ground, chortling happily to itself, and feel slightly awkward.

c) Your curiosity is rewarded. As you approach, nothing unpleasant happens. Nor even anything slightly uncomfortable, like, say, getting your foot stuck between some paragraphs, or stumbling over a comma. It’s almost disappointing.

You do notice, however, that the blog entry itself has something written on it. Trying to pull your mind away from the brain-melting task of figuring out exactly how that metaparadoxical mess could even exist, you decide it’s really not worth the bother, and get on with reading. The text is as follows:

“Blimey, is that the time?”

d) You know that climactic scene in Heat where Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro finally throw down? The battle that follows is the textual equivalent of that. Or how about Arnie versus the Predator? You’re starting getting the picture. Remember the final battle between Anakin and Obi Wan Kenobi at the end of the last Star Wars film? …  Yeah, me neither, don’t worry about that one.

So get ready! Electric adjectives and propane-fuelled prose will arc through the paragraphs into your very soul! Turn to page 125 for the written battle of the decade!