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Travelling, Morocco


June 12th, 2007

I'm profoundly, profoundly sick of exams, but I'm getting through them and I don't think they've been too disastrous. I've done four out of five (one not-great-to-OK, one OK, two OK-to-good) and I finish in two days and 10 hours ... not that I'm counting ...

Aside from that, there's not much to report. Because I've only got the one paper left and (fingers crossed) it ought to be one of my better ones, I've been seeing people a bit and not just locking myself in my room, but nothing especially dramatic has been happening at all. Really looking forward to May Week, garden parties, balls, parties and so forth, though ...

Oh, and I can't resist any form of procrastination. See below. Given the fact that it's a US quiz, it mainly proves that I'm a European.

Your Political Profile:

Overall: 10% Conservative, 90% Liberal

Social Issues: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

June 4th, 2007

Exam time

Travelling, Morocco
It's never a good sign when I'm on this thing, is it? As ever, I'm posting to avoid all the work I should be doing ... finally after two years of studying and trying to work, I have Part I exams. I've done one already (not a particularly inspiring outcome, I suspect), have three more this week and the fifth is on 14 June. Almost as late as it gets, but not quite. Obviously I'm not bitter about this ...

Until the past couple of weeks, it hasn't actually been a bad term. I've spent a rather larger proportion of my time than usual with friends from outside of Peterhouse, which in its way has been nice (though I suspect that Quin is slowly pushing Phil over the edge ... comments, Phil?!). The only problem is that I'm now trying to remember what the hell I learned, wrote and argued over in October 2005. (Synopsis: I wrote things. No one hit me for them. Then I drank things and went to bed at 5am.) Fortunately, it is supposed to be quite difficult in History not to get a 2.1, and I have been trying quite hard to work, so we'll see.

Aside from exams, I'm intermittently keeping an eye on news and politics at home and abroad. Aside from the fact that European countries currently seem to have a real urge to produce legislatures which are really going to struggle to maintain governments, I was going to post rants about Scotland and Wales at some point, and as I'm procrastinating now ...

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Anyway, rant aside ... by Friday, I'll have done four out of five papers. The fifth is one of my stronger papers, I hope, so I can probably afford to have the weekend off and not kill myself with work over next week. Fingers crossed - and by God, I'm looking forward to 12pm on 14 June ...

Finally, Phil. Please note. Pimms and strawberries were promised for that time - England and Douglas both expect ... ! (Joking, panic not. Though I don't deny I'd probably declare undying love.)

March 13th, 2007

Why, pray tell ...

Travelling, Morocco
... is it that issues about which I could write reams in general terms suddenly become overwhelmingly difficult to cover properly the moment I have to deal with them for history essays? I'm normally quite capable of ranting about Britishness and its problems/implications/historical origins. Admittedly the fact that it's 3.30am or so probably doesn't help, but it's also a case of trying to write as a historian about issues I've usually treated as political questions. I suspect I'm going to try and throw in slightly random bits and pieces of things I already know to confirm pre-existing views, but there we go.

Anyway, it's not been a bad term - in fact, it's probably been my best overall. I've been a lot more settled in many ways and (unlike last term and leaving this stage in the cycle aside) I've generally felt a lot more committed to the paper I'm doing than I did in Michaelmas. I'm still sceptical about the structure of the degree course and I still have a nasty suspicion I'm mainly engaged in fiction-writing ... but hey, at least I'm enjoying reading about the issues raised this term and relating political knowledge to historical work. The Lib Dem side of things has been fairly large - I've had a lot of work passed my way on that front - but on the whole I've enjoyed it, and it's certainly good for my post-uni prospects (though I'm currently waiting in some trepidation for a couple of calls about the work I've sent off ...). I've managed to do quite a few social things this term, which is always nice, and particularly managed to see a lot of people outside of college - which I always enjoy; Peterhouse is great, but nonetheless it's small and has the potential to be claustrophobic if you don't escape it at all.

Things are going well with Luke, I think; slightly scarily in some ways (personal first by miles and all that), it's been three months now, which I suppose is something of a watershed. There's something which is very odd about the fact that being 'in a relationship' now feels more like my default status, in some ways, than being single. Still, we're getting on well and I feel as though we're settled down into a pattern - and I don't mean that in a negative way; I just mean that it feels, for the moment anyway, like a stable situation. I think I like that.

(Quite why I'm writing all of this here escapes me ... but at least it means that I make some use of LJ, I suppose!)

January 9th, 2007

There's something darkly entertaining about the idea of the far right creating a transnational grouping in the European Parliament. A multinational alliance of racist jackbooted thugs can't make for very friendly group meetings, surely?

January 8th, 2007

Following a reminder that I do have this journal, and the recognition that I have lots of work to do this week and so need a new procrastination tool, I'm going to try and return to LiveJournal. It's just the sort of thing I could see myself becoming obsessed with, so I'm actually quite surprised that I haven't done so!

One more step towards failing my degree ...

May 26th, 2006


Travelling, Morocco
I hate work. I don't know why Labour lost in 1951 (except they didn't, you can thank the electoral system) and had I been there I would have supported them. I don't care how this essay goes, I only want to bash out the minimum words needed to survive. My supervisor can die a horrible and painful death as far as I'm concerned if he objects to this approach, but frankly I think that when it comes to essays I don't want to write, economy is all. (Which in a weird kind of way tallies with the essay given that I think I'm probably supposed, somewhere, to talk about austerity policies.)

May 25th, 2006

I've had my last Themes and Sources class of the year, and (I think) my last ever. This means that no academic will talk to (or indeed at) me at any time except for 2pm-3pm on Friday. Apart from that ... in the eyes of the History Faculty, I don't exist. Could certainly be worse, I guess. This whole contact-free degree is slightly disconcerting in some ways though ... in most respects it would be difficult to devise a more unstructured week than my own, in that basically I have to deliver my weekly work once and that's it. They give me rope to hang myself; I invariably end up hanging from the gallows at around 4am on the due date.

Anyway, it was actually quite an interesting class on Caribbean and south Asian migration to the United Kingdom since 1945. Some interesting points about the way in which politicians exploit(ed) the migration issue and played on a lot of old stereotypes and fears (of which, I suspect, more in another entry another day). But also, lots of time spent listening to radical/political reggae and to some ska, partially to show how ethnic minority cultures and musical forms mingled with white British influences to produce new forms of music and change old ones. But some of it's also pretty chilling/harrowing - the one which hit me the most was Sonny's Lettah by Linton Kwesi Johnson. It's very, very, very dark, and that's compounded by the fact that things very like this did happen (often), and sometimes still do - but there's something darkly humourous somewhere in elements of the lyrics, which just makes it all the more chilling overall. Other songs talked about fighting back against fascists - the message being that the UK was their country too, whether the "indigenous" community had accepted that or not, and that they were prepared to stand up for their own rights. I did find one of Johnson's albums to listen to, after much innovative googling. You probably either like it or you don't, but it's definitely growing on me ...

After my class, I went with my friend Gianna (same college and same Themes and Sources option) to the CD shop, where I valiantly resisted temptation, and to a bookshop where I didn't. (Did have £16 to spend in book tokens, though, so I think I have something of a defence, even if none of the books actually relate to work.) Aside from that episode, I've been theoretically working this afternoon and in practice pratting around on facebook and acquiring political reggae, plus some ska. Pleased to realise that my classes teach me something ...

May 24th, 2006

First rant - human rights

Amnesty, human rights
OK, well, this is definitely a bad sign. Rather than working, I'm looking through the news and commenting on it on Live Journal. But my argument is that this minimises the risk of other people actually having to listen to me going on about this sort of thing in person, and news about the Human Rights Act panders perfectly to my own obsessions anyway, so here we go ...

The HRA's been in the news a fair bit lately - Labour (who as the party who enacted the damn thing might have known better) and the Conservatives have both decided to pick on this piece of legislation as the reason why we allegedly can't protect ourselves from foreign murderers/rapists/terrorists/evildoers [delete as appropriate].

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Posturing? Our government and our official opposition? Never ...

May 23rd, 2006

First post!

Travelling, Morocco
Well, now I've given in to Helen and actually acquired a Live Journal I'm far from sure what exactly I'm going to do with it ...

Given that I'm currently a History student with a colossal gift for procrastination, I suspect this will become a kind of supplement to facebook - a bit less interaction and a lot more ranting, but still. I'll probably end up inflicting a fair few political rants on my (three, if I'm lucky) readers and using LJ as a substitute for emails. Which will at least mean that some of my non-uni friends will have an idea of what I'm doing.

It's probably indicative that there are two books, sitting on my desk, which I need to read. Plus a huge pile of paper I need to have read by tomorrow. Plus an essay due on Thursday. So I'm doing this instead. This just might become a habit - and if so, Helen, I may have to speak very sternly to you ... if I can ever get round to it ...
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