Friday, 29 October 2010

Busy Bee!

I have had an incredibly hectic week and am completely exhausted.

On Monday I met the boy's parents for the first time. Nerve wracking, oh yes! I made an apple crumble and he made a lamb casserole (which was good, except I very rarely eat red meat). They're lovely, and I am apparently approved of!
Tuesday I went to the Lyric Hammersmith to see Blasted by Sarah Kane. It was incredible, graphic, violent, shocking and moving. I will attempt to write a proper review when I'm not too tired.
Wednesday was uni, and I handed in my first piece of work. So I'm a little worried about what might emerge. Then I went to the Science Museum Lates which was all about bioterrorism. Unfortunately I think I was a little too tired to fully appreciate it all.
Thursday I spent curled up on the couch with the boy, watching films and eating yummy food. The only benefit of still not having my CRB come through and started work is that I can spend a day doing virtually nothing and not feel guilty, there wasn't anywhere I was supposed to be.
Today I am tired. I've done chores all afternoon, I'm still trying to get my life sorted out. It's taking a while. I'm hoping for some sort of resolution about my CRB next week. It's really bugging me that it's taking so long, but I am trying my darndest to focus on the positive bits of my life.
I also volunteered myself to be the student rep for my MA course, which means I'll be invited to department meetings and things, which should be interesting, even if it's yet another thing in my over-crowded life. I seem to thrive on the pressure though.
This weekend I will be meeting up with a friend for lunch in Camden, one of my favourite weird bits of London. So that should be fun. And then I'm making dinner for the boy and hanging out with him. Sunday I'll probably require a full 24 hours of sleep or something so I can get up and make it through another week!!

Friday, 22 October 2010

It Gets Better (another installment!)

So I've raved about the It Gets Better Project a couple of times now, but, and I think this is rather awesome, that was before US President, Barack Obama, recorded a video for it. It would be amazing if all politicians felt the same, that no one should be bullied for being different and feel that the only thing they can do is take their own lives.
Unfortunately that isn't the case, being gay is still illegal all over the planet. And the situation isn't helped by people like the Pope saying it's wrong.
Wednesday was LGBTQ Spirit Day, when members of that community and their supporters were encouraged to wear purple in memory of those lost young people who couldn't see a way out. I wore a lot of purple, it's one of my favourite colours and there's a fair bit of it in my wardrobe. A purple top and scarf, and my bag just happens to be purple too!

Random political ramblings

This week the Coalition Government unveiled it's Strategic Spending Review, aka 'the cuts', it will be making to services, the public sector, welfare, jobs, the NHS, BBC and other organisations. Including the arts and higher education, which are the ones I'm most concerned about, from a personal standpoint. I'm an MA student, I attend a university where about 90% of the courses are arts and humanities based. If the funding to these are drastically affected, chances are Roehampton will have to close, or dramatically change itself. Our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul O'Prey has popped up on the news recently, protesting about this, he's an articulate man, and he got his points across well. People cannot afford to pay £7,000 in fees either, it will price people out of university all together. I was lucky, I started the year before the last increase in fees, to £3,000. But I still have absurd student loan debts waiting for me to be able to pay them back. Where does the Government expect anyone to find the money? My parents helped me out, again, I was very lucky, and they are helping me out with my MA fees. But a lot of families cannot afford to do this, especially if they have other university bound children. If my sister wanted or was able to go to uni, then I would have to find alternative funding for my MA, something which is incredibly hard to do. Education is important, and should be protected, so as many people as want to and are capable of doing so, can access it. I feel let down by the Lib Dems, who promised, when they formed the coalition with the Conservatives, that they would look out for students, and oppose fee rises.

I want to work in the arts. If museums, galleries, theatres, libraries etc are left unable to make ends meet due to the budget cuts being proposed, chances are that's not going to happen. I lost my last job due to pre-emptive cuts when I worked for the local council. I know exactly what it's like to be cast adrift with no idea what you're going to do. I have applied for dozens of jobs this year alone, my new one is also in the public sector. Will it still exist once the cuts start to take affect? Who knows.
Culture is the UK's biggest export. We aren't the industrial nation we once were, but the artists, actors, writers, musicians, performers etc, that bring people to the UK, that take their work around the world, keep us afloat. Walk around any museum or gallery in London (majority of which are free, please let that stay), and you will see people from all over the world, viewing world class exhibitions, and wonders both ancient and modern. I love walking through the V&A or the National Gallery and just drinking in the history and beauty housed there. The arts needs more investment, not less.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne, has a personal fortune of about £4million, according to one report I read in the papers, how does a man who has more money than he'll need, know what is enough for other people to survive on. He may not care about the people at the bottom, because he's never seen it, but others do. I do.
So now we will see, will the country suffer too badly? I honestly don't know, the report was published yesterday, I haven't read it in detail yet, I don't really know that I want to. And yet, I must. To be a citizen and to be engaged in the debates about these things, one must engage with them. So off I go, to be enraged.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Blogging at Uni!


I'm in the university cybercafe, blogging a greeting to all of you!

To be perfectly honest I don't have a lot to say, and my blog post notes are at home. So this is a bit scrappy, and pointless.
Hopefully soon I'll be posting a few bits of writing, I've got a few posts percolating away that will be ready to share with you, I just need more hours in the day! I've been up early, late to bed, trying to stretch the day so I can cram everything in, and it's tiring. So for now, please bear with me.

Here's a little something I wrote the other day while drinking a cup of my favourite peppermint tea in a cafe after a delicious lunch I didn't pay for!! People watching is one of my favourite things to do, and trying to guess people's stories is quite a lot of fun. Let me know what you think.

Amid the shattered remains of lunch
The bit you claimed too tough,
The piece I said wasn't right
A declaration hangs in the air
Words that can't be reclaimed
Once said, can't be taken back.
You fold the napkin neatly
Signal the waiter for the bill
I drain the glass, vermilion red
And try not to think about what was said.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Where have you been?

Firstly an apology for the sporadic posting recently. I just need to be less exhausted and more able to post, but if you do want to know what I'm up to, try Twitter, I post more frequently there right now.

Things are going ok in some respects and in others, not so much. Uni is fantastic, I'm really getting back into the swing of things, my first assignment's due in a couple of weeks, and I'm a little nervous, but it should be ok.

I've been seeing the boyfriend for about a month now, and it's nice. He's lovely, a perfect gentleman, and he makes me laugh. We have grown up conversations and debates, which is always good in my book. We've been spending a lot of time together, still getting to know each other, and cooking for each other which is rather fun. We curl up on the sofa and watch Dexter or a movie, and it's just, well, lovely really. Although I'm still struggling with all the compliments he pays me, I don't really know how to take one as they're so rare, but I'm trying not to go bright red every time he says something nice.

The work situation is still driving me a bit nuts. My CRB form is stuck at stage 4 of 5 and without it I can't start work, this nonsense has been ongoing for months now, but there's nothing I can do about it, so I'm stuck in a holding pattern, waiting for things to progress so I can start my job, and fill the empty hours.

Anyway, that's life right now. Some good, some bad. How's everyone else doing out there?

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Brain exercises for the disenchanted

It's really nice to be back at university, to be learning new things, talking about books again and feeling really excited about stuff. My brain gets a great workout, I really have to think, and it feels fantastic after doing nothing whatsoever for so long.
So far I've been back for 2 weeks, 4 classes down, several dozen to go!
I've read a couple of novels, some really complex literary theory, spent seminars struggling to work out exactly what it is I want to say about things, without sounding like I have no idea what's going on.
I'm slightly dreading having to start academic writing again, I'm sure my essay skills are completely rusty. However, part of me is looking forward to really getting into the material and exploring it, though the dissertation fills me with dread, but I'm not required to think about that for a while yet, so I'm trying to put it out of my mind and just focus on the weekly reading, and planning the essays that are coming up.
Looking forward to next week's class!!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Pause for Poetry

Today is National Poetry Day, and while I blogged about this over at ABADBW, I haven't mentioned it here. I love poetry, not just writing it, but also reading it. Some of my favourite poets include current Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Wendy Cope, T.S Eliot, Spike Milligan, Simon Armitage, William Shakespeare, Seamus Heaney, W.B Yeats, Pablo Neruda and Andrew Marvell, and that doesn't include my individual favourite poems which are sometimes by completely different poets.
These year's theme is Home. Over on Twitter, Poetry Day UK are asking people to tweet lines from poems about home. I chose "I must arise and go now, and go to Innisfree/And a small cabin build there" which is by Yeats.
So, what's your favourite poem/poet and what poem makes you think of home?

Monday, 4 October 2010

I'm getting on my soapbox

A lot of my friends are gay, including some of my best friends. I have been to Pride in London twice now, it's always fun, but it's important. It's important to celebrate our differences, to celebrate the struggles and triumphs that the gay community have had. I love my friends, they are so important to me. I get called a 'fag hag', mostly by Aleks, but my friend Holly coined the term 'fagulous' and I much prefer it.
I mentioned Kate Bornstein's contribution to the It Gets Better project on Youtube. I highly recommend checking it out, especially if you know anyone struggling with their sexuality. It was launched because of a spate to teen suicides in the US.
The world needs more beautiful, brilliant, talented, funny, smart and kind people in it, not less. If you take yourself out the world, the world suffers, we need more love, less hate. More acceptance and understanding, less ignorance and bigotry.
I don't want to hear stories of more lights going out, it's heart-breaking. You matter. Whoever you are.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Stay Alive

Kate Bornstein is my hero. She's incredible. Her book Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws helped me through an incredibly bad time, it's funny, wise and genuinely helpful. She's recorded a video for Dan Savage's youtube project, It Gets Better. If you know anyone who's struggling with their lives, struggling to hang on, I highly suggest they check out the project and Kate's book.