Sunday, April 15, 2012

Stroke of Luck

Recession be damned, I finally have a job interview.

I have been searching for a few weeks and throughout this time have seen various friends have better luck with their endeavours, from funding to job interviews to just plain luck.

I felt a bit resentful of their good fortune while I continued to flounder about. This job interview is an opportunity to reverse that trend.

That said, my relative luck in life has been quite high and if anything this interview has just given me more realisation of how fortunate I really am.

Hopefully I can push for a little more and make this an issue of skill rather than luck.

-The English Student

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Return of Mad Men

The hit television series Mad Man returns for a fifth series.

I cannot say that I am enthused. I watched most of the first four series of the show and found my interest in it steadily dropping. My friends enjoyed it and I enjoyed discussing the show with them. I felt that from the beginning the style and aesthetic held the show up as an exemplary piece of television.

The more I watched it the less convinced I was. The problem for me is that the whole affair is inescapably shallow. The characters are all shallow and unlikeable, the references to historical events are laughable tangents and the plot-lines utterly contrived. All of this, you could say, is the theme of the advertisement industry. Of course a show about Madison Avenue men would be of this ilk.

Not for, say, Hitchcock's North by Northwest, a striking film from the 50s about a case of mistaken identity, implicating a Madison Avenue man in a plot of murder, intrigue and espionage. This character had depth, had something we could cling to, while the plot was engaging and unpredictable.

Mad Men might be more post-modern but it is certainly not as fun and certainly not as provocative.

-The English Student

Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Radio

I gave up listening to the radio a few years ago.

As a child it was fantastic. I got to hear all sorts of different music, listen to people's opinions and join a larger conversation that my peers were having, all for free. As I developed my own interest in music this dependency began to fall away.

To be honest, I feel like most radio channels are pretty awful. They have obnoxious DJs, obnoxious advertisements and exclusively play music from obnoxious pop stars. Why would I listen to something like this when I can turn to my increasingly large music collection for satisfaction.

I have had to find new music in new ways and blogs are the most obvious source. I can find blogs that align with my interests and will inevitably find some music that appeals. Informational podcasts like RadioLab are far more likely to gain my attention when it comes to 'talk show' type programs and again, I can choose things that specialise in my own areas.

So the internet is really what killed the radio star and I cannot mourn them too deeply.

-The English Student

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I spend little time in any one country these days.

Today I opted for a ferry journey rather than the usual flight. It was quite inexpensive yet, of course, the trip was over twice the length it would have been otherwise.

It was certainly a unique trip. I was surrounded by obvious smugglers, adventurous students and travel-hardened business people. We were bound together by our mutual seclusion and exhaustion.

In some ways it showed how far distances really are and how used to extremely fast flight we have become. I experienced every minute of this journey in a more tangible manner than usual.

That does not mean that I would like to repeat the experience however!

-The English Student

Monday, March 5, 2012


I jumped the waiting-gun yesterday.

I went overboard, and my imagination got away from me.

I have told myself not to be so stupid in the past.

I have failed.

I will try again.

-The English Student

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Resisting Complacency

Unfortunately, we naturally take a lot of things for granted.

Often it takes a big event to show us the error of our ways. This is especially true with relationships of all kinds. We assume that people understand how we feel about them without needing reminders. When relationships change or become strained we realise that this is not the case.

Realising this before an event like this happens is important. We should not require a shock to push us back to a point where we express how we feel. I have been guilty of it recently but not much longer I hope.

After all, we take life itself for granted. If we become complacent with the very thought of living then we risk falling into despondency and forgetting that there is so much to enjoy around us.

So I will stay on my toes in the future!

-The English Student

Friday, February 17, 2012

23, the Number of Mediocrity

The Simpsons are running their 23rd series.

Of course and predictably, it is terrible. The Guardian recently ran an article with the ten most popular episodes and none are from the past decade. It is difficult to watch a new episode of the show and the ratings are the worst in its long history.

I had forgotten about the old gems in the canon of Simpsons episodes and the classics that made the show so popular in the first place. There are some fantastic stories and cracking writing in the first eight or so series.

The danger here is that kids growing up will never get to see these classic episodes and will eventually realise that they are watching a hollow version of what we knew and loved. Either that, or their own taste will be warped by a show that is "supposed" to be good.

At any rate, the answer here is to finally nail down the coffin. It's not getting any more lively.

-The English Student