Center, No, I mean Centre

The one problem I’ve realized (I mean realised) about using WordPress.com in the UK is that some words get signaled (I mean signalled) as being misspelt (I mean misspelled), when I know that the spelling I have given is correct.

Like when I tried putting an article on the other day talking about my favorite (I mean favourite) forms of procrastination, I found myself getting extremely annoyed by the site’s spellchecker. I knew with every fiber (I mean fibre) of my being that I was spelling favorite (I mean favourite) correctly.

I was beginning to take personal offense (I mean offence) to the patronizing (I mean patronising) red squiggly line under my words. I theorized (I mean theorised) that i was being victimized (I mean victimised) by an automated system. I could visualize (I mean visualise) the correct spelling of all the words it was deeming unrecognizable (I mean unrecognisable).

At this point I was quickly spiraling (I mean spiralling) into an uncivilized (I mean uncivilised) rage. The only way for me to stabilize (I mean stabilise) my mood into one of tranquility (I mean tranquillity) was to utilize (I mean utilise) Google and find out what I was doing wrong.

I cannot even begin to verbalize (I mean verbalise) my surprise at what i found out. Turns out our American neighbors (I mean neighbours) spell certain words differently to us. Obviously with WordPress being a American website it only recognizes the American spelling.

So I backpedaled (I mean backpeddaled) through my entire post, returning the American words to their UK counterparts. I apologized (I mean apologised) to the spellchecker, for my behavior (I mean behaviour) seeing as I had accused it repeatedly of bastardizing (I mean bastardising) the English language. Before trying to forget this traumatizing (I mean traumatising) experience.

Then I decided to try today’s daily prompt … It was Center …

NO, WORDPRESS I FUCKING MEAN CENTRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

via Daily Prompt: Center

Creating Zero – The Intertexts of the Forgotten Child of Eden

One of my least favourite subjects in University is Intertexts. Intertexts is difficult to even explain, but I will give it a go.

Intertextual theories suggest that you can never truly understand a piece of literature until you look at what texts have helped to create it. A text never stands alone, Intertextuality (Yes I know it sounds like a dirty word) believes that an author is consciously or sub-consciously affected by everything that they have either read, seen or heard.

When I began my English and Creative Writing Course I didn’t really understand this concept, nor did I believe the theory held any truth behind it. But, as I began to create my own characters, stories and universes, i realised that writers are indeed a product of what they have already digested.

So today’s post is going to look at one of these characters that I have created, Zero, the immortal forgotten child of Eden, and I am going to attempt to look at what influenced me to come up with this character.

The Bible

Firstly, lets get the most obvious one out of the way. Zero is the forgotten Child of Eden. He is a child of the garden of Eden, the biblical garden of the Christian faith. The garden was envisioned as a Paradise and my version of Eden has been influenced by not only the version from the bible stories, but also from artists interpretations of Eden. We have God, we have Adam, we have Eve. There is also the forbidden fruit of knowledge, but my version of the serpent is a little different. In my Eden the serpent is God, testing his children, in fear that one day they would rise up against him and take Eden by force. When Adam and Eve fail the test, he banishes them as in the bible story, but the difference being that rather than gaining self knowledge, they have instead been stripped of their immortality.

Assassins’ Creed

My idea for a slightly altered genesis story came from the Assassins’ Creed franchise. In this franchise, the ones that came before (God) use humans as slaves and control them through the pieces of Eden (Powerful artifacts imbued with the powers of the Gods). The Adam and Eve of Assassins’ Creed rise up against their masters and steal a piece of Eden. Which leads to a war between humans and the gods, this only comes to an end once an apocalyptic disaster causes both sides to go into hiding. My version of God goes into hiding after the loss of Adam and Eve. Only returning when the Earth has been so badly damaged that he comes to save some of his creations from the planet’s destruction. Later in my story I plan for Zero to lead a group against God, in a war to break the celestial being’s power over his creations.

Doctor Who

The Doctor is (or at least was) the last time lord, who survived the time war. Zero is the last true child of Eden, who survived the fall of Eden. The Doctor travels through time and space, often getting involved in major points of Earth’s history. Zero is immortal, therefore he will be present for all of Earth’s history. I plan for Zero to interact with famous historic figures, and also get involved in history directly. Plans I already have include: him being kidnapped by the Nazi’s and experimented on in order to work out what makes him immortal, and him being present at the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Zero is also influenced by the Doctor’s aversion to killing, when Eden falls apart Zero lives on berries and seeds. He will not kill the animals and eat their flesh, which unbeknownst to him is why he retains his immortality. When he comes to Earth, the only time he will kill is if someone he cares about is in danger. Zero also shares the Doctor’s curse that he will outlive all of his companions, due to his immortality.

These are just three of the big influences that I can think of, others include Greek Mythology (talking statues), Paradise Lost (The Fall), Interview With A Vampire (A tragic immortal, who just wants to die) as well as many more that I am consciously aware of. I’m sure there are even more that I am unconsciously aware of. But I’m sure someone else will pick up on those if I ever make it as a writer.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read this, leave me a like, drop me a comment, and if you want to see the draft script of Zero’s beginnings. Please follow the link below…

ZERO:The Forgotten Child Of Eden (Script-writing Draft)

 

Aspie Brain Fog

Okay … today i got nothing … except for an explanation of why I got nothing …

I am an Aspie (person diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome).

Now before I carry on, let me just say that i do not class myself as disabled, i prefer the term differently abled. Sometimes my Aspergers works in my favor, sometimes like today it doesn’t.

Today I feel stuck, the weather sucks, I can’t concentrate on coursework or housework long enough to do anything of importance, and my brain is buzzing continuously like I got a god damn bee hive stuck in there.

These days are very few and far between. But when they descend they can put me in a really irritable mood. Normally I would go for a walk, but the weather is not cooperating today.

Instead I’m stuck in the house, thinking of the coursework and housework I could do (there is plenty of it). So I came to my computer and rather than try and think of something witty or interesting to post today, I decided to start writing about how I feel.

I may post something better later, I don’t think the brain mist is going to fuck off anytime soon … But we can hope.

 

ZERO:The Forgotten Child Of Eden (Script-writing Draft)

Just some draft work of my script-writing work for university …

The FORGOTTEN CHILD OF EDEN

By

Stephen Jones

 

int. TEMPLE. NIGHT

A Temple in greece. The temple is in a state of ruin. Outside a storm rages, thunder, lightening, hurricanes, lava and snow. It is the end of days. The temple’s walls are shaking and tiles fall from the ceiling. in the middle of the giant temple, on a throne sits a solitary figure. A man who appears to be in his late twenty’s. He has ragged clothes, long overgrown hair, and a bushy beard. this man’s name is ZERO, he is immortal. He is not scared of the apocalypse outside, in fact he seems quite glad of it. Behind him is a twenty-five-foot-tall statue of some ancient god. He stands up and turns to address the statue.

ZERO

So … here we are … me and you, at the end … just like we were at the beginning.

The statue smiles at him. Looks at him with sadness in his eyes. THE CREATOR is possessing the statue as a means of communicating with Zero

THE CREATOR

Yes, it has come full circle my son.

At the words my son, Zero laughed manically, and flashed a vulgar hand gesture towards The Creator.

ZERO

Don’t you dare call me that! ‘my son!’ ha! Oh heavenly father, the only son you cared about you let die on that damned cross!

The Creator’s face was now full of rage. Zero smiled at the anger upon the statue’s face.

ZERO

There he is. There’s the true you. The one that banished my friends, over a fucking apple!

THE CREATOR

Insolent child! You don’t underst…

Zero picked up the stone throne and launched it across the room it landed with a crash.

ZERO

I don’t understand? Really? I think I understand quite well. You were scared of your own children, you thought we were gonna rise up. Take your crown. So you tested us, with that stupid apple. She was innocent. She didn’t have a fucking clue what you had planned for her.

THE CREATOR

Maybe I acted rashly, but it was for the benefit of the garden. I had to protect Eden. Protect you.

ZERO

Protect me? You left me there! Do you have any idea what I’ve been through? No because you chucked them out! Then followed them and forgot about me

THE CREATOR

I could not find it again. Once I left, it was impossible for me to get back. I thought you would be safe. I had no idea you had even left.

ZERO

You thought I would be safe? Let me tell you how safe I was.

EXT. Garden of Eden. Night.

The Garden seems peaceful, nestled between some palm trees is the entrance to a small cave. The orange glow of a fire is seen coming from the cave. The sounds of animals and birds can be heard, as we zoom into the cave entrance.

INT. Cave. Night

Zero, now with shorter hair and a smaller beard. Is clothed in a loin cloth, sitting cross legged next to a small fire. On the floor beside him is an assortment of leaves, berries and shoots. He has been living in this cave for quite some time. He is unclean but seems unharmed. A small lion cub, that he has named ADAM is laid on some hay opposite him, sleeping. Around Adam lays a pile of small bones. Zero lets out a sigh, runs his hands through his hair, and begins talking very quietly to Adam.

Zero

I don’t know how much longer we can survive like this Adam. Tomorrow we will have to make for the arch. Paradise is lost. Father, Brother and Sister are not coming back. We will have to go find them. The trees have been stripped bare and they don’t seem to be growing new fruits.

Adam continues to sleep. But yawns. Zero laughs at the animal.

ZERO

I wish I could sleep as easily as you my friend. Tomorrow at dawn we shall make our way to the arch. It is time to leave the garden.

EXT. Jungle. Day

Zero and Adam are walking through a dense jungle, being careful not to make too much noise out of fear of drawing unwanted attention. Zero has no weapon, Adam finds the corpse of a monkey. Begins to eat it.

ZERO

Okay, Okay, eat your fill. But then we really must move. I don’t want to be here when whatever creature killed that poor thing comes back.

Zero keeps an eye out whilst Adam feeds. The sounds of the jungle are all around him. Zero hears a branch break and turns to a bush. Its moving.

ZERO

Adam … We got to go …

Adam looks up at the sound of his name. Leaves the carcass and walks towards Zero, his face is covered in blood. Zero keeps his eyes on the bush. It has stopped moving.

ZERO

Good boy. Come on, lets …

Suddenly a massive adult tiger leaps out at Adam knocking him to the ground. The tiger rears up and launches himself at Zero, Zero dodges him and the tiger hits his head on a boulder. With the tiger stunned, Zero turns and runs, with Adam keeping pace with him.

ZERO

We just … got to get … to the river. Come on Adam … we … can … do it.

Zero and Adam continue to run full pelt, dodging branches, there is the sound of the tiger running behind them.

EXT. River. Day

Zero and Adam reach the raging river, there is no other way to cross it, they must swim. The tiger is getting closer. Zero attempts to scoop Adam into his arms. But Adam does not want to go into river and struggles, before jumping back to the floor. The tiger leaps out behind them.

ZERO

Adam … we got to go in the water now! … come on get in my arms …

The tiger leaps at Zero, Adam jumps to defend him, Zero loses his balance and falls into the river.

ZERO

ADAM!

Zero struggles against the current but is getting carried downstream. The tiger is on top of Adam, mouth open, teeth bared. Adam yelps as the tiger kills him. Zero continues to scream but gets pulled under the current and passes out.

7 Reasons I Recommend Resident Evil 7

Resident Evil VII: Bio-hazard was released worldwide on the 24th of January 2017. It marked Resident Evil’s main series debut on current-gen consoles.

Since being announced at E3 last year, fans were quick to dismiss the fact that it was first person, and seemed to be more of a reboot for the series rather than a canonical entry.

I strayed away from any leaks, early reviews and or debates until I could eventually play it and judge it for myself.

I picked it up on launch day and quickly realised that fans were wrong to doubt the direction that the series had gone in.

I know its early days of 2017, but so far this has been my game of the year and if you have not played the masterpiece that is RE7 yet, I’m going to give you seven reasons that I recommend you stop whatever you are doing right now and go play this amazing game.

 

1.That Main Theme Song

download

If a game has a killer song on the soundtrack I am usually sold. Kingdom Hearts’ “Simple & Clean” is one that still gets played on a daily basis, even though the first game was brought out in 2002.

Resi’s “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” is a haunting piece of music, which I am sure will still be in my playlist in 2027. The song is a cover of an old folk song, which was quite dark in itself, but the game’s version is positively twisted. Full of whispers, snarling lyrics, and holds even more meaning for anyone who has completed the game.

2.Jack

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Jack Baker, the patriarch of the Baker family is one serious bad motherfucker. He is the primary antagonist for the first two thirds of the game. Jumping out at just the right time to make sure your underwear is never fresh for too long.

The seemingly indestructible psychopath is responsible for some of the toughest boss encounters of the game. As no matter what you do to the old man, he just keeps coming, mocking you, and delivering excellent lines such as “Welcome to the family son” before he knocks you the fuck out.

Later in the game you finally get some back story on The Bakers and why they are the way they are, and I’m not going to spoil it here, but it will leave you with a completely different view of the murderous mad man.

3. The Environment

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The Baker’s plantation is an environment in which you never feel truly safe. Resident Evil began with a house and this is a brilliant callback to the series’ roots.

Whether its the dining table full of human body parts, the overgrown green house, or the basement full of horrors. Every inch of the Baker’s household makes you feel like an unwelcome intruder. You will be left both eager to explore and dreading each new room as you explore the complex corridors of the haunting homestead.

There are other places that the character visits towards the end of the game, but they do not compare to the sadistic dwelling of RE7’s starring baddies.

4. Jump Scares

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The entire game is available to be played in VR, two words, fuck that! I almost had a heart attack on more than twenty occasions during my play through of the game, and i was playing in quite a well-lit room in the daytime.

Some of these you could tell were made with VR in mind, but that doesn’t make it any less scary to the normal TV set player. My advice to anyone playing it, take regular breaks. I usually lasted about an hour each session, and then my nerves were shot.

5. Mia

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The whole reason for Ethan travelling to the god forsaken hellhole that is The Baker’s house, is due to a message he receives from his girlfriend that he suspected to be dead.

When he arrives at the Guest House he realises that Mia is definitely not dead. Which is good news, the bad news is she seems to be suffering from a split personality disorder. One minute she loves you, the next minute she’s coming at you with a kitchen knife.

Now, I’m sure anyone reading this has had psycho exes, but Mia takes it to the extreme.

6. You can fight back

download-2

Too many ‘Survival Horror’ games from the last few years have you playing as a character who cannot defend themselves at all. Usually you are armed with a camcorder, but when it came to engaging with enemies, your character had the combat experience of a paper towel.

Now I’m not saying that Ethan can fight and win all encounters, but he can fight. you actually assemble quite an impressive range of weaponry by the end of the game. But save for a small part in the final third, you never feel overpowered. This is due to a shortage of ammo and the fact that all enemies seem quite impervious to bullets.

So whilst it is possible to fight the monsters in this Survival Horror, I recommend that you learn when to fight and when to run away with your tail between your legs.

7. So Many Horror Tropes

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Whilst the game does have some interesting call backs to earlier titles in the series. The things that interested me more were the parts where you could tell RE7 had borrowed pieces of other horror series and plonked them in to their game.

Some that are included are Chainsaws (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Characters grudge-walking up the stairs (The Grudge), VHS tapes (The Ring), Invulnerable stalker characters that pop up outta nowhere (Halloween/Friday the 13th), Creepy little girls (Japanese horrors) and twisted killer traps (Saw).

All of these and more are pulled together to create a game that can scare you senseless in so many ways. Whilst making you keep your eyes out for the next horror reference.

So … Go and Enjoy the Fear

If you are a gamer and haven’t played this game yet. This game demands your attention. I’m just jealous that you get to play it and experience it for the first time. I wish I could go back in time and experience it anew all over again.

Thanks for taking the time to read this … As always leave a comment or a like … follow me and check out some of my other posts.

‘The School Dropout’

 

Drownload – Steward Diaries#1

Now I’d heard Download (the biggest rock music festival in Britain) being called Drownload a few times before I actually went there, but I never really took it too literally. Here is my warning to anyone thinking of attending, or working the festival. Its called Drownload because there is the chance you may literally drown.

Okay, maybe you won’t drown, but you may come back from the festival with a lot less stuff than you attended it with. I lost my place to sleep, my lift home, a pair of boots, most of my gear, and my festival virginity at Donington Park in 2016.

Yes, this was my first festival, and before the festival I was so excited. I’d wanted to go to Download for years, but my meager bank account had always stopped me being able to attend. So when the option came to go and actually get paid in return for it. I couldn’t wait to sign up.

The first few days were amazing, the sun was blazing, everyone was hyped, the public were all in good spirits. This is what I’d always dreamed that Download would be like. The biggest issue in that time was that the park is situated right by a motherfucking airport. Every 45 minutes the whole place seemed to shake as an airplane took off or landed just above our heads. This was hell for my Autistic, hypersensitive ears, but the atmosphere more than made up for it.

But when the music started something strange happened. Apparently rock music angers the god of weather. The rain began, now I’m not talking a drizzle of rain, I mean rains of biblical proportions. The end of days was nigh. It was like god had been on a week long bender, and needed to empty his bladder all over Donington Park.

The site I was working on, the campervan site, turned into a swamp. It was impossible to walk through, if you stopped moving you would get stuck in the ground which had become the equivalent of quick sand. There was a cabin that was safe from the torrential downpour but this was for the ticket salesmen, us meager stewards and security guards were not worthy of a dry place. (thank god, for water proofs).

After about 10 hours of the great floods, we began to hear rumors that things weren’t going great back at the staff campsite. But it wasn’t until we finished our shift that we realised the actual extent of the damage.

Now when we had arrived, we had chosen a lovely spot under the trees at the bottom of the hill. Right by the toilets (so we wouldn’t have to walk far for a piss). The shade from the trees had helped to keep us cool in the blistering heat. But now, our shaded sanctuary at the bottom of the hill had disappeared.

Now we had a swimming pool, made up of water from a burst pipe, and the piss and shit that had ran down from the portaloos. The problem with the swimming pool was that it was situated under and inside our tents!

When I got back to camp, my mate (who i was sharing a tent with) was packing up his stuff and loading it into the car. So were a few others from our team. I probably should have gone too, as all my stuff was soaked, and stinking, and some of my stuff was even destroyed. But I’d signed up to work the entire festival and one thing about me is that if I say I’m going to do it. I do it.

So, the guys who were going left. I had decided to stay, so rather than go in and enjoy the festival (which had been my plan when I finished my shift) I now had to sort somewhere for me to sleep, and some kit for work the next morning.

The dining hall had been transformed into a refugee camp, all the staff whose tents were ruined had assembled there. So I headed there and got told that the company we were working for was sorting out tumble driers for our gear, replacement tents, sleeping bags, and blow up mattresses.

I got a new tent, and moved to another campsite, this one wasn’t much better as the ground was red clay, i was soaked, the tent was stinking by the time it got set up. But I was tired and needed to sleep.

The next day the rains continued, we got soaked again, this time i gave up with the tent, instead i took my gear, sleeping bag and mattress and slept in the refugee camp with all the other homeless stewards.

This is how I spent the remainder of my time at Download. When it was time to go home, I still had the issue of no lift. Me and two others from our team jumped on the minibus of the company we were sub contracted to. It was a long drive home, helped by the fact that we had good company, good music, and it was dry. But I had never been so happy to see Cardiff.

Sadly I  soon got sick of Cardiff too, as we waited around for ages with our gear, outside the Motor-point Arena for our lift back to Penrhys.

When I got home, I thought to myself “the next one can’t be worse than that one”.

Little did i know, the next one was “T in the Park”. It would be worse …


Thanks for taking the time to read this, the next steward diary will be uploaded soon and will focus on the absolute fuck-up that was the friendly Scottish festival.

Leave a like or a comment, and check out some of my other posts in the meantime.

“The School Dropout”

 

 

 

 

Festiv-hell: From the Eyes of a Steward

(This is a piece that I wrote right at the beginning of term, meant to use it for my writing media assignment but never did. If people enjoy this i will share more personal accounts of my time as a steward last year. So let me know in the comments what you think and if you want to see more of these).

I’m shivering. I’m soaked right through, surrounded by people I don’t know and I can’t hear anything due to my perforated ear drums. I find myself wondering how people get any enjoyment out of this? Why do people pay obscene amounts to attend these events? At least I didn’t pay for the ‘privilege’ to be here. I’m getting paid to suffer through this ordeal.

The poor, paying public have paid anything between £90 and £400 to attend one of Britain’s amazing music festivals. Be it Download, V Fest, T in the Park or Creamfields – after spending this summer working as a steward, I can honestly say anyone who attends these events, and leaves as happy as they arrived, seriously needs to consider that they may be a masochist.

Most festival goers are usually are steaming drunk, or high on some form of illegal substance. They bounce around wild-eyed from venue to venue, not really taking in what’s happening around them. You may find one of them having a deep meaningful conversation with a lamp-post by the end of the night. These are the guys who come up to you belching, staggering, and asking for directions. After you’ve argued with them black and blue that where they want to go either doesn’t exist or is in a complete opposite direction. Eventually they stumble away, turning around only to tell you to “fuck off back to Wales!”, and to call you a “sheep-shagger!”. Seconds later, you see them fall to the floor face first and you laugh, before radioing in for first aiders.

These festivals have ‘strict underage drinking rules’, and are also ‘anti-drugs’. If these rules had been upheld, the venue would have probably been empty. I was watching groups of young’uns going to the bar and hoping that they were going to come away with a 50p mix up each. Instead they come away with two shots of some neon green liquid and three pints! Maybe its shots of limeade and the pints are for their parents? As this thought goes through my head, it is quickly dashed as they proceed to down the drinks like alcoholism has become an Olympic sport. I watched them go back and forth until they passed out in a nearby haystack. At least they can’t drink anymore there.

As for drugs, it was more shocking to find someone who wasn’t high at these festivals than find someone who was. Imagine spending 12 hours each day talking to people who are clearly not only on another planet to you, but are pretty much in a different solar system. Their pupils look like pin-pricks. Their jaw is trying to leave the rest of their face behind, and wants to break free as badly as Freddy Mercury. You get someone to search them, pat their pockets down, can’t find anything. You and your colleague know exactly where they have stashed their drugs. But which one of you fancies donning the latex glove? “Cough please sir”.

I understand why they feel the need to ‘get off it’ as the conditions at these festivals are inhumane. The floor starts off sturdy, but once rain hits and thousands of people stampede over it, it soon becomes a quicksand where people lose shoes, bags, and in some cases, even children. Every bit of food or drink is overpriced to the point that it would be cheaper to catch a bus to your local supermarket back home, buy it there and then travel back. One time I bought a burger – your normal run of the mill, single, no cheese, just 25% real beef, burger in a small dry bun. When they told me the price I contemplated just becoming indebted to them for my life instead.

Do you like to stay on top of your personal hygiene? Well if you do, you are better off using wet wipes and plenty of deodorant because the showers are uninhabitable. For some reason when a punter enters a shower they completely lose all traces of humanity. They smear dirt up the walls; leave their sweaty, stained clothes all around the cubicle and for reasons unknown to anyone but themselves, they defecate down the drain hole.

What about the music I hear you ask? The music would be good if it wasn’t so loud that it hurts to listen to and eventually just makes you deaf. Also most the time the artists are just miming so you’ve paid all that money to watch them lip sync your favourite CD’s at you.

But unlike the punters, I’m getting paid, so where will I be next year?

I’ll be freezing, soaked right through, surrounded by people I don’t know, with my newly perforated ear drums, wondering the exact same thing as this year.

Procrastination: Students’ best friend/worst enemy

It’s a tale as old as time, you got 101 things to do by yesterday but anytime you decide to make a start on anyone of these things, you go and find something that is infinitely more appealing. I am one of the worst people when it comes to procrastinating. But sometimes if I didn’t procrastinate I think I would probably go insane, or at least insaner (yes, I am fully aware that’s not a real word, but it should be). So today’s post is just a small list of some of my many forms of procrastination.

Gaming

The most common form of procrastination that I partake in.  Simply put I’m a gamer, I love gaming. There’s not much in this world that I love more than gaming, usually if it comes down to anything or gaming, anything can go fuck itself. This could even be something I really wanted to do, so when its gaming versus coursework, sorry coursework, I gotta go save the princess, kill some zombies, or become the god damn Dragon Born. Usually I only mean to disappear into a videogame world for a quick hour, but lo and behold, twelve hours later, I’ve caught 30 Pokémon, joined the Brotherhood of Steel, stopped Umbrella’s plans and died 100 hundred times in Dark Souls. In this time I could have read three plays, researched for essays, or wrote a short novel. Instead I now have cramp in my hand, and have only stopped gaming because the electric ran out.

Reading

I bet you’re thinking how is this procrastinating, aren’t you an English student Steve? You should be reading. Yes, I am an English student, I should be reading … the set texts. What I shouldn’t be doing is reading the Harry Potter novels for what is probably the twentieth time. I could choose to read Northanger Abbey, Shakespeare or any other text from my reading list. But no, where is the fun in doing something that could actually help my studies. Instead I’ll read The Chamber of Secrets once more time.  I’m sure at some point in my academic career knowing that Tom Riddle is the heir of Slytherin will be important. If not I may just have to invest in a time turner (what do you mean they’ve all been smashed?). Shit!

Internet

The internet is a vast resource of information that could be priceless to any student’s university studies. I could use it for good things, I could find the answer to those questions that are likely to come up in exams, I could find intelligent quotes that could support my essay arguments, they keep mentioning modernist writers, and I don’t understand what modernist means . Do I go searching through the web for these gems of knowledge? No, I go to YouTube, I go to Facebook to do a rant, or I end up on Amazon and order ten things that I don’t really need. Yes, I may have laughed at some funny videos of cats, I may have gained some Facebook likes, and I got a new shirt and pants. Am I more intelligent, is my essay finished? Nope, damn you Google Chrome.

Blogging

My newest form of procrastination, oh yes, believe me, I am procrastinating right now. But if I didn’t you wouldn’t be reading this right now and you wouldn’t be getting all these ideas for procrastinating … wait a moment that might not be a good thing … maybe I should wrap this up.

So my fellow procrastinators, I am off to do some work (ha-ha) … honestly …

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and feel free to follow my blog. if you got some expert tips for procrastinating, please leave them in a comment I’m always open to learn new bad ways to spend my time …

Shakespeare and I

“Today students, we are going to be studying one of William Shakespeare’s plays”.

This line is normally met by groans and sighs, or people threatening to jump out of windows.

I know because before i went to college I would have been groaning, sighing and halfway out the window at this point.

“But he doesn’t even speak proper English,”  used to be my default response to the mere mention of the playwright’s name. There couldn’t be a less true statement. Yes, his use of language is hard to grasp, but he invented sayings and words that are still regularly used to this day. He helped create proper English. But I am getting ahead of myself.

As is stated in the title of my blog page, I am The School Dropout. So whilst others studied his plays at school, due to me leaving school, I missed Shakespeare the first time around. To be honest I’m glad I did, because they must have really taught it horribly, if you mention Shakespeare around students who sat through GCSE’s and A-Levels they usually begin to cry and uncontrollably twitch.

Now my dislike of Shakespeare was fear of the unknown, I was pretty much suffering from Shakespearism (like racism, but for Shakespeare) see Will, I can make up words too. I had never actually seen one of his plays (unless you count the awful version of Romeo and Juliet, with Leo DiCaprio), neither had I ever tried to read one of his plays. I was literally basing my entire evaluation of Shakespeare on other people’s views and my own unfamiliarity with his works.

Then I enrolled on the Access to Humanities Course at Coleg Y Cymoedd. There on the reading list for English Literature was Shakespeare’s Othello. I’m not going to lie, originally I almost shit myself. Explaining to the tutor that the very thought of it made “my hair stand on end”. Ironically do you know where that phrase comes from? Shakespeare’s Hamlet!

After weeks of worrying, we finally came around to studying it. I’d bought a copy of the play from E bay, hadn’t opened it yet. The first lesson the tutor put on the DVD cinematic version of the play. I was expecting to be bored out of my skull for two hours. Instead this happened …

I looked around the room, my fellow students seemed lost, confused and bored. I on the other hand was engaged from the get go. Kenneth Branagh’s version of Iago was amazing. He dominated every scene, manipulating the events, and all the other characters in the play. The best part was, I understood what was happening. I could follow the language and the story. I’d been so afraid of Shakespeare, that I had been missing out on some of the most interesting works of drama that was ever created.

Other the next few weeks I ingested the terms associated with Shakespearean Drama. Iambic Pentameter, Soliloquies, Dramatic Irony, Asides, the Machiavel, the Malcontent, the Tragic Hero etc.  There was so much structure to these plays and so many rules to follow, so many secrets and hidden layers to unearth. I felt like Lara Croft, but instead of searching through tombs, I was searching through Othello trying to find all the little treasures i could get my hands on.

During my first time on the course I remember the tutor left the room, and I ended up explaining the play to the other students in my class (this is where I realised I wanted to be a teacher). This is what lead me to go for an English degree, before then I was going to Sociology to become a politician (yawn).

By the time the assignment came along, I was spoiled for choice on how to answer the questions, I’d memorised pretty much every inch of the play. Had to cut down my word count rather than the usual struggle to bulk it up.

Then during my second time on the course I took it one step further, this time I acted out the opening scenes with my fellow students Ketah and Barbara. I really got into character (Iago, of course), even to the point that when we got outside for break, Ketah, who was nervous about doing it in the first place wanted us to act out another (sadly, we didn’t get to).

Then when it came to University and I saw that Shakespeare was one of the optional modules of my course, I knew no matter what others there were, i was definitely choosing that one.

My love for Shakespearean works is still going strong, just this week I both watched and read The Tempest. It took me longer to watch the pretty naff cinematic version, than it did to read the play.

Sorry for the rant, but I suppose what I’m trying to say is. Never base your idea of something, on an unfamiliarity of it, or what others think of it.

By giving something a chance, you may find something that changes your life forever.

English vs Creative Writing

English and Creative Writing is a strange degree to take part in.

On the one hand you have your strictly academic English lessons … Which go something like this …

  • You attempt to read the set texts, usually the bulk of which goes completely over your head.
  • You sit through tedious lessons, going through PowerPoints which all start to blend together
  • The lessons are pretty much two hours of awkward silence where no one knows what to say
  • The tutor gets frustrated, you get frustrated
  • Then assignments come out of nowhere
  • You piece together an assignment, that may, by some accident answer the vague as fuck question
  • You sit around waiting for your mark, wondering if you have failed at the assignment, whilst also wondering if you’ve failed at life
  • You get back your mark, if you’ve passed with flying colours you don’t know how you did it, if you barely scrape a decent grade, you don’t know what you’ve done wrong
  • You get some pretty poor feedback, which surprise, surprise you don’t really understand
  • Then you return to the beginning of this list and the cycle continues

Then you have the Creative Writing Lessons … The layout of which is somewhat different …

  • There are no set texts, just examples or prompts to try and help stir the creative cogs into some semblance of life
  • You think about your ideas, throw down some plans about what could work and what wouldn’t
  • The tutors lead you in discussions, trying to reign you in, when you go a little off topic (this happens a lot, once students start talking, we can talk)
  • When assignments come around you have plenty of half finished pieces of creative writing to choose from (the hard part is choosing which ones to use)
  • Before the assignments, you get plenty of time to work shop your work. This is when you give out your work and allow people to give an honest critique of your work (sometimes maybe a bit too honest). This will pick out what’s bad about it or whats good about it before you begin
  • You submit your work, but chances are you don’t need to worry too much about grades, because you knew what sucked, and what was good before you submitted.If you submitted something that did suck, that’s a bad choice Carl
  • You get your grade back, feedback comes back too. You usually knew most the feedback before you submitted it, so no nasty surprises (unless you ignored what people said, another bad choice Johnny)
  • You get some new prompts, and new examples, then you start the Creative Process again

How two parts of the same course can be so vastly different I can never quite understand. But the fun Creative elements manage to alleviate the stressful Academic elements (at least to some extent).

The academic parts are like using LEGO and following the over complicated instruction manuals, with it still managing to go horribly wrong. Whilst the creative parts are like just playing with LEGO, sometimes it works, sometimes it don’t , but it doesn’t matter because you’re still having fun.