Endless Miles

I’m writing this sat alone in the Learning Cafe, having just finished tinkering with one of my essays, due on Friday. There is almost total silence, save for the background hum of a generator an annoying high-pitched whine I can’t quite trace the source of. Despite my solitude, I am happy, since I have a Christmas meal at Lara’s flat with all of the gang to look forward to tomorrow, and I’ve just listened to the new Coldplay album, Everyday Life, which is simply brilliant. Once I’d taken my headphones off at the end, I started thinking about my own adapted set of Coldplay lyrics, which I’m working on for Composing Song Lyrics.  I had to take them into class earlier this week so they could be critiqued by everyone, which is always a nerve-wracking experience. Even though I know it’s highly unlikely, I always expect everything I write to be completely torn to shreds, so you can imagine my relief when the lyrics came back with only a few notes for improvement at this stage.

My version of ‘In My Place’, entitled ‘Endless Miles’, is an intentionally cliched love song. Since I greatly admire the original, I was worried about accidentally making a mockery of it with my own words, but I knew I wanted to include it in my portfolio – and that any other lyrics I wrote for it would probably be no better. We are, of course, discouraged from including cliches unintentionally, but as long as you can justify your use of them, anything goes. Cliches can help to make a song more relatable or accessible to a listener, and as you might expect, they can be beneficial when you want to parody something. I wasn’t trying to do that, but I still found some of my lyrical choices laughably cringeworthy! I include ‘Endless Miles’ here for what I hope will be your enjoyment – although I haven’t made any of the changes that have been suggested just yet. Listen to the original track as you read these lyrics, and decide for yourself how well they fit:

(Verse 1)

Endless miles, endless miles

I’ve driven looking for you

Following your trail

But in the end, in the end

I rounded the final bend

And I saw no more

 

(Chorus 1)

There, the last call to let you go

There, no footprints left in the snow

There, the curtain to end the show

I go

 

(Verse 2)

Coming home, coming home

No-one and nowhere to roam

No-one on the phone

Is this love? Is this love?

You’re dropping me down from above

Down into the rain

 

(Chorus 2)

Here, the next chapter of my life

Here, when will I be free of strife?

Here, you cut me just like a knife

A knife

 

Darling

Why? Why? Why?

Why did you have to go?

No, no

Why don’t you say you’ll stay?

Now, now

Come on and talk to me

Please, please

I’m here at home

 

(Verse 3)

Endless miles, endless miles

I’ve driven looking for you

Now we’ve reached the end

The end.

 

Mason

 

Bargains and Beyond

​Whilst my guest posts are usually covering bigger topics, I thought today I would try something different.

I have been living by myself now for around two months, and whilst actually getting homeware has been stressful and taken all of my savings (although to be fair, that wasn’t much), it has allowed me to be resourceful, and I now know what is worth splashing out on and what’s best being cheap and cheerful.

So whether you’re like me, about to move out, a student off to uni halls, or even just a bargain lover, strap yourselves in for the wild ride that is my top 5 places, in store and online, to get cheap but decent quality homeware.

1. Wilkos. This was my absolute saving grace. Where else can you get a bowl for 75p? Wilkos sell everything you could possibly want for kitchens, bathrooms and more. About 75% of the stuff in my home is from here.

2. Primark. If you’re looking for bed sheets, I highly recommend Primark. They’re cheap, and often offer fairly decent quality. I own two sets of bedsheets (one is Christmas themed and I use it all year round, but we don’t need to talk about that) and they’re both from Primark. They also do towels and general home trinkets.

3. eBay. This site isn’t only about second hand things as some people think; it can quite often be home to some hidden gems too. I have an Aztec blanket from here, which was lovely and cheap, but is also thick and warm!

4. TK Maxx. Whilst the store is quite messy, and can sometimes be a bit of a headache to walk round, they do a lot of homeware cheaply. I find they’re best for kitchen utensils, but they do plenty of other home bits too. Definitely worth a look round (if your head can manage it!)

5. Last but by no means least, Amazon, an obvious but often overlooked choice. Amazon has literally anything you could ever need. Mixing bowls? Check. Microwaves? Check. Nicolas Cage pillowcase? Check. Don’t ask how I found that last one out.

Hopefully this short list will help you in not completely breaking your bank when you inevitably have to flee the nest.

Emily

Later…

So, Third Year. The year where everything gets serious. Where your work suddenly becomes important and should be given a lot of attention. I should probably get to it then. Yeah…

My work ethic is terrible. This is evident as Mason asked me to write this post weeks ago. For some reason, even if it’s doing something I love, I can never build up the energy to do it. I have a feature length script, a dissertation, a monologue and a script report to write. And yet I can’t bring myself to get started. I can sit down in front of my laptop to start writing, and yet my mind will wander away from the task at hand. This is all well and good until you spend 15+ hours in the library to write the end of a script. That’s an example I made up. It didn’t actually happen. Honest.

When it comes to writing, nothing makes me happier. Except when it doesn’t. My low self-esteem and sometimes crippling doubt often lead to me questioning myself. Am I a good writer? Have I wasted my life? Am I a failure? This doesn’t help my motivation. I can be in these slumps for a couple of days. And then I’ll watch a brilliant film\TV show, or I’ll think of an idea that I just can’t wait to put down on paper, and my passion will return. And then I’ll sit down in front of my laptop and the cycle will begin anew.

This blog post isn’t a ‘how to avoid procrastination’ guide. If I knew how to be more productive, I wouldn’t have to write this, and I could go back to calling giraffes bastards. Hopefully, over this next year, my resolve and motivation will increase, and I can write a more cheerful post. I’ll get back to you on that.

Will

“Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.” – Christopher Parker

He Could Be So Good For Me

The central character that I created for Excludable was one Jim Rossiter, originally named Jake. He was “born” on 30 March 2013, the day I started writing, and from the outset he was intended to be an alter ego in the truest sense of the word. Like me, he used a wheelchair (although I never specified his disability) and tended not to be very forthcoming towards those around him, because he was always afraid of being a nuisance. He could be dishevelled at times, and was prone to overthinking and the occasional social faux pas. Despite these shared qualities, however, I was very careful not to make Excludable a script all about me. When somebody once asked me if it was, I quickly clarified that it was only about someone like me – a relatable character in whom I could place some of my most closely-held thoughts and feelings without it being obvious they were mine.

It seemed to work pretty well. Jim became not only a reliable fictional confidant, but also a decent testing ground for new ideas I considered putting into his story. I spent so much time thinking about Jim and his progression through Excludable that he became almost like an imaginary friend, albeit a more useful one. If something particularly thought-provoking happened in my real life, I might find myself thinking of my new project: “Jim could do that”, I would say to myself. It took a while to piece something together, as you all know, but I knew the waiting and endless thought would pay off in the end, and indeed it did. I am the biggest critic of my own writing, and especially of this, but at least I’d finished it. Some of my rawest and most personal emotions had manifested themselves creatively onto paper, which I would now have to hand whenever I wanted to develop it. And it might never have seen the light of day if I didn’t have Jim at the centre of it – a character perfectly placed to finally show me, after so much time spent thinking rather than doing, what I was actually capable of completing. All that’s left now is for you all to meet him one day.

Mason

The Sixpence Test

Yesterday marked Mum’s birthday (I’m far too chivalrous to reveal a lady’s age), and to celebrate it we went out for a meal. Yes, my main was fantastic, yes, the slice of chocolate fudge cake I had afterwards was very generous, and yes, I laughed a lot as well – but I’m going to cut to the chase here. The evening’s crowning glory lay not in the food, drink or company, but in the disabled toilet facilities, which stood head and shoulders above many others I’ve used recently. When the able-bodied amongst you are out and looking to spend a penny or more, you are probably able to take the environment in which you do so for granted and without a second thought. It is unlikely to prove impractical to you in any way, shape or form, and as such you can breeze in and out leaving only the commanding hum of the hand dryer – and no trail of devastation – behind you.

I and my fellow disabled loo patrons are not always so lucky. The history of the disabled toilet is littered with major blunders that make these cubicles, which can be designed with a foolish lack of foresight by people who will never have even the slightest reason to venture into them, completely inaccessible to people with handicaps of all shapes and sizes. Over the years I’ve visited disabled facilities so small that even the most compact wheelchair user could not close the door behind them, let alone have enough space to transfer safely between toilet and chair so they can do their business. Those who dare to provide rooms so inadequate are showing blatant ignorance towards the needs of the disabled, and their disrespect is therefore equally as clear and insulting. When I find myself with so little room to manoeuvre and do what is necessary, it becomes apparent that perhaps the only reason some business owners install disabled toilets at all is to tick a box and satisfy legislation. I can only assume that said people still have more reading to do on what equality means.

There are, of course, people who get everything right with regards to disabled provision. The toilet I used last night was clear evidence of this. You could definitely swing a cat or two in there, and upon entering my wheelchair was able to turn perfectly on the spot – or “on a sixpence”, as some like to say – without either end activating the hand dryer or scraping paint off the wall. I could park up and move between gel cushion and toilet seat with room to spare, and without having to worry about getting tangled up in the emergency cord and pulling it by accident. The whole process was a breeze, just as it should be, and this was thanks to a great deal of careful consideration from a proprietor who realised their duty to make every disabled customer’s experience a comfortable one. When it was suggested that I write a post about this, I was encouraged to name and shame those who show neglect and disregard for disabled comfort breaks. I cannot do this, as I fear it would be a hot-headed affair, but I can live in hope that they realise the error of their ways and do their bit to make our everyday lives that little bit simpler.

Mason