Reach For The Sun (People Are Great)

There should be more people who believe in unbridled optimism and make wide-eyed, starry statements. There's so much cynicism about these days.

Which, in a fortunate coincidence, brings me to my current musical obsession:

You can mock all you like. This record is fabulous. It's just so earnest, so musically pure and heartfelt, yet maintains a sense of humour about itself, so it doesn't feel like the group is trying hard to "keep it real" (unlike, say, refusing to use any sonic equipment made after 1963, which is just stupid). Instead, they acknowledge their sentimentality, embrace it, and refuse to apologise for their actions:

But if you see a man crying, hold his hand, he's my friend.
If these words sound corny, switch this off, I don't care.

The album is filled with wonderful tracks: "The Celtic Soul Brothers" is as good as an opening song as you'll ever going to hear, delineating the record's intent with broad strokes; "Jackie Wilson Said" (a Van Morrison cover) is transformed into a majestic love song, full of bombast and swing; "I'll Show You" contains the quote mentioned above, and is a lament on all the people left behind in today's world (or Thatcher's world, if we're considering the time period, but anyway).

And, rounding off the album, there's "Come On Eileen". Taken in context, the song is altered beyond all recognition; it transcends the "song played at weddings after Wham!" label it has been afflicted with, and becomes an affirmation of the album's principles; a joy-filled celebration of soul, pure and true.

I'm off to enjoy the sunshine.

currently playing: Dexy's Midnight Runners - This Is What She's Like

Spanish Chilled Apples

If you thought that my going to a frat party was amusing, I have just two words: salsa club. I know I'm not supposed to be putting myself down, but come on.

Enough of this negativity. Instead of remembering the bits where I wanted to run out the door, let's remember the parts where I was having fun, shall we? Good. Let's move on.

Apparently, every year, Chapel Hill holds an Apple Chill fair. The main section of Franklin Street is cordoned off and filled with stalls selling pots, jewelry, and food. And more food. But no apples in fridges, so the name remains a mystery. In further attempts at cultural exchange, I had my first funnel cake (a huge plate of fried dough covered in powdered sugar — one serving is enough to double your cholesterol level instantly), and I explained that cotton candy is known as candy floss back in Britain. They didn't like the imagery that the different name conjured up; I'd never thought about it before, but they do seem to have a point there.

The weirdest food choice would have to be the corn. Yes, corn-on-the-cob. On a stick. Not something that I expected to see. Or that there would be a queue for that sort of thing.

We arrived fairly late, so when we got to the merry-go-round, it had just closed. But it wasn't playing any carousel music, so we convinced ourselves that it wasn't all that good anyway, and we didn't mind missing out. Denial is such a great thing.

Hurrah! Another fire alarm. I suppose I should leave, before the flames consume the building. Or, more likely, when the firemen turn off the over-boiling pan...

currently playing: Manic Street Preachers - Enola / Alone

Do You Want To Know Something Else That's True?

Okay, so I've been staring at a blank screen for close to an hour now. Maybe I should think about writing something.

Last night, then. It began with a comical UNITAS dinner in a fairly small Chinese restaurant. The expression on the proprietor's face when we casually requested a table for fifteen was priceless. They eventually managed to squeeze us onto two tables. If nothing else happened this past year in America, i have discovered the joy of sesame chicken, so it hasn't been a total loss.

As far as I was concerned, that was probably going to be it for Friday; Rishi was on duty, and so couldn't leave the hall at all (he wasn't best pleased about missing the final Friday of the term). He's the one who normally organises these things, so I wasn't expecting anything to happen. Not that I minded too much, either, as Thursday's outing had turned out to be more depressing than enjoyable.

Having said all that, when Laura asked me if I wanted to go to the Carolina Coffee Shop with her, I didn't hesitate in saying yes. She was writing a feature on somebody for one of her courses, and he was performing at the Coffee Shop that night. I'm not exactly sure why she asked me, of all people, to go along with her, but I'm happy she did.

We spent an hour or two at the coffee shop (which, incidentally, doesn't sell coffee. It's all very confusing), talking about music, stalking, politics and other weird and wonderful subjects, before going on to her friends' doom room. They live in a triple-bed room, but there's only two of them there, so they turned the third bed into a bar. Seriously.

I'd just like to pause here and point out that I've now spent five hours writing this entry. It doesn't show, does it?

Anyway, it seems that there's a competition between Laura and her friend (I'm fairly sure her name was Nicky, but I'm so hopeless with names I can't say that with any certainty) about who is the most English. Even I was beaten into second place behind Laura, as both her parents are English, but I was given bonus points for having an authentic accent. It's good for something, i suppose.

After roughly an hour there, we all decamped to go to the "Moat Party" in the Greek area of the university. Yes, that's right, a frat party. You can pause for giggles as you try to imagine me at one of those things, if you like. I'll be over here. The idea behind the party is that they create a moat around several of the Greek houses and… actually I'm not sure if the reasoning gets more involved than that. I presume that they imagine that the combination of water and alcohol needs little explanation. Of course, as the weather had been rather miserable all day, the moat was sparsely populated, and looked more like a large children's paddling pool, but these things never quite work out in reality.

We didn't hang around too long (did I mention that it was a frat party?), instead choosing to go back to the hall and watch Office Space with Rishi and Shafaq. At 2am, naturally.

I'm going to miss this place, and the people. My main regret is that it took me so long to come out of my shell, and by then, it was already too late. Oh well.

currently playing: KLF - What Time Is Love?

End of Term

That was quick.

currently playing: R.E.M. - I Believe

Less Hyperbole, More Feeling

All I'll say is that I knew that my knowledge of fairly obscure British bands would get me in trouble eventually.

Something I tend to forget is that, although the site has a regular audience of under ten, people who you'd least expect also come through here every now and then. So I shouldn't have been too surprised when Allison mentioned that she'd been reading the site. I apologise for not having been to the cinema for over two months; there just hasn't been anything I've considered worth watching. Hopefully that should change this weekend, as I'm going to try and see All the Real Girls and Better Luck Tomorrow (recommended by the normally-reliable Charlie Chu).

Re: the last entry: still have Michael Collins quotes lodged in my brain after ten years…

currently playing: The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic

For I Have Signed My Own Death Warrant

Oh dear.

currently playing: The Smiths - Bigmouth Strikes Again

The Resistance Grows

Kavita has joined me in the never-ending fight against the coming squirrel tyranny. We shall overcome!

currently playing: Nothing at the moment, because it's almost 1am, and I don't want to keep people awake by having my music on. I suppose I could have used my headphones, but that would be far too obvious. While I'm here — who decided to do tonight's stunt casting in The West Wing? That was someone you didn't expect to see...

Wrapped In The Flag

Stupid thoughts that cross my mind, number #134 in a series of ∞: isn't it strange that the Patron Saint of England is famed, for, well, killing things? Not exactly saintly, is it?

I had a whole theme ready for today's entry, but I'm feeling a bit unwell, so you'll just have to go without. Sorry about that.

Against all expectations, I did have a good time last night, so things aren't all bad.

Okay, according to the BBC, he didn't actually kill a dragon. Somebody lied to us when we were growing up, you know...

currently playing: The Clash - One Emotion

Hating Computers

Today's entry was quite long. It had a reasonably amusing fictitious conversation with a supermarket clerk, various shots at how I seem to be slipping into American far too much, ending with a shouting match between myself and the iBook's dictionary over the spelling of 'centre', a filler paragraph about 24, and some more gubbins about how the day went. That was followed by some links to the current situation, with a wisecrack about the US military's plan to get Seoul razed to the ground, and the news that there's children in Camp X-Ray. I finished by mentioning that I was going out tonight, which could be fun, or could leave me wanting to jump out of the window again. The track playing was a fine tune by Charlie's Angels by the name of "It's Never Gonna Happen To Me", in the pleasing faded gray Verdana font.

And then of course, the Internet swallowed the entry. NetNewsWire didn't like that, and so crashed, obliterating my entry (which yes, I had saved as a draft, but NNW seemed to forget about that bit). Did I mention that I hate computers? I did? Excellent. Keep it in mind.

Apologies, then, for this shoddy entry. The original was far better, I promise you. Perhaps it's better this way; now that you know that another copy of today's entry existed in this universe for a brief period of time, you can imagine that to be the perfect web post, full of erudite charm and wit. And there's no chance of you seeing the real thing and having your hopes dashed, either. Dream on, my young heroes, and (At this point, the writer been sedated for his own good. We would like to apologise for his behaviour. And believe us, having seen the original version, we can safely say you're not missing much — Ed.)

currently playing: PJ Harvey - Good Fortune

Where's The Bald German?

I think my favourite part has to be on page 7:
"That's the way everything in life happens. If you're a person known to be around Jesus, you can go and do anything. And that's who you guys are. When you leave here, you're not only going to know the value of Jesus, you're going to know the people who rule the world. It's about vision. 'Get your vision straight, then relate.' Talk to the people who rule the world, and help them obey. Obey Him. If I obey Him myself, I help others do the same. You know why? Because I become a warning. We become a warning. We warn everybody that the future king is coming. Not just of this country or that, but of the world." Then he pointed at the map, toward the Khan's vast, reclaimable empire.
It'd be funny if they weren't serious...

currently playing: The Flaming Lips - Raining Babies