Several of my peers and contemporaries in recent weeks have reached that magic age that is the new 50, and my son played and sang for some of them at various venues around and about. It's a demonstration of how word gets around; he is pretty good at what he does and it has had a knock on effect, as more and more people have asked him to play.
This has encouraged him to try open mic sessions a bit further afield, spurred on by a friend who has an entrepreneurial eye and ear for what's out there. It's all very well his mummy saying he's good, but I doubt that carries much weight as I might be considered just a touch biased!
I was asked if I would write a piece about my student experience at Warwick, and this has been posted, accompanied by a photo where I am obviously giving it large and waving my hands about not realising I was being photographed. I was initially asked to submit my own photograph but it was deemed inappropriate, since it was of me on the Berlin trip with a stein of beer in my hand, and didn't quite create the image they were after. An alleged friend asked of the Warwick approved photo if they had airbrushed the photo and put a pen in my hand instead of a glass. Honestly, some people!
When not being abused by my friends, I was busy revising. Following the submission of assessed essays, we then had until 5th June to cram our heads with facts and figures, whereupon we sat 4 exams. Not all on the same day I hasten to add. Quite why exams have to be taken in a sports hall I will never quite fathom, since they are a windowless, airless, sterile environment conducive to panic and hysteria as far as Iâm concerned.
In between finishing essays and revising, we have also had to choose our module options for next year and attend taster sessions to help us make a decision. A difficult choice, so many exciting and varied subjects are available. If you have a leaning towards a specialism then it makes sense to choose subjects related to it, but since I will simply be glad just to pass the first year, I have given no thought to specialisms. However all is not lost and if I do want to specialise then I can do so in January apparently.
As a break from revision and to escape the four walls of my dining room, I went to an event hosted at uni about trans* people. One of my seminar tutors is trans* and she, along with some colleagues, were involved with the organising of a day of talks and discussion regarding the emergence of trans* social networks, social movements and citizenship struggles.
A friend asked of the approved photo if they'd airbrushed the photo to put a pen in my hand instead of a glass.
It was not a day for sitting back and listening, participation was expected. I'm glad I didn't know this before booking a place, or I may not have gone and then I would have missed out on so much. Above all I was captivated by the fact that the people in the room felt safe and comfortable in their own skin, or knew without question that they would do so once they had transitioned to a level that they were happy with. Being trans* doesn't automatically mean surgery, but it does mean being sure of what you want, which then provides the courage to face the rigours of transition, of which there are many. One person I spoke to said they received the most abuse ever at Pride in Brighton which threw me totally.
I have been getting to grips with the wonders of dropbox in recent weeks. Whilst I have yet to work out how to drop anything into the wretched thing, my fellow students have dropped loads for the benefit of all, but often for the benefit of me in particular, which helped me no end with exam revision. Next year there is a certain amount of leeway and we are able to choose how we wish to be assessed, with the option of a 50/50 essay exam mix and in some cases no exam at all. The disadvantage of this, so I am told, is that invariably the coursework assessment is a lot harder to compensate for the lack of an exam. Whoever thinks sociology is a soft option, has not studied sociology! My poor head is now fried and we have to wait until at least week 10 for results.
My fellow students celebrated by going to Smack or Casbah and there are facebook photos to prove the debauched state they were in as a consequence, whereas I came home after my last exam, to discover cat poo in the front garden courtesy of next door's ginger tom! Not quite the celebration I had envisaged to be honest.
I am flying Ryanair again but am only taking hand luggage and have bought a case which purports to fit their cabin dimension restrictions. However it is of a non rigid construction and the way I have packed it so far is such that its bulging worryingly in all the wrong places, so I am going to have to rethink that one. Perhaps I should take a leaf out of a fellow student's book - her mother always does her packing because she has been told she has no spatial awareness. That did make me chuckle.
Because I have been so wrapped up in my course, I hardly get to see my neighbours. This has been exacerbated by the continuing inclement weather and where normally we would be gassing in the close during the summer months, my natural reaction has been to make a dash for the safety of my porch because I didn't want to get wet or embroiled in a conversation which would use up valuable revision time.
Imagine my horror then to discover that my immediate neighbour had been very ill since Christmas, diagnosed with bowel cancer, and had undergone surgery for removal of a tumour. I felt so ashamed. We have lived next door to these people for over 20 years for goodness sake. I was so shocked to find out, the poor woman. She is now undergoing chemo and I have at last been able to make amends and offer some support.
I was going to be a real spof and get some second year reading done whilst on my jollies, but my plans have been thwarted because, ok so I don't know if I have made it through to phase two, but where's the harm in assuming and making a start I asked myself. So I tried to access next years online readings only to be told that access is denied and I donât have clearance for them. Well you canât say I didn't try and so now I can lie around the pool with impunity, patiently waiting, reading trash, not having a guilty conscience.