Thursday, January 15
Speaking of essays in the last post, I should mention that I got back an essay and an exam result this week. Good news or Indifferent news first?
I'll go with the indifferent news. Earlier today I got my Advanced Criminal Law essay back from my tutor. This was a 3000+ word essay that I wrote before Christmas on the subject of intention within the criminal law. I was very pleased with it when I handed it in, and it seems that I was somewhat justified in feeling that way. I got a 58 for it, which is a high 2:2. I should mention here that it is nigh-on impossible to score over 75 at my uni, even though it is marked out of 100. From what I've heard, a mark of 80 or more has to be accompanied by a letter to the overall Governing Board from the marker explaining the reasons why such a high score has been given. Stupid bloody system.
I was pretty pleased with the 58, especially when the tutor told me that I had got the method and structure of writing an essay down to a tee, and that it was a few errors / problems in the arguments themselves which cost me a few marks. That's good news because it means I don't really have to revise essay technique itself too much, and can concentrate on the matter of the subject itself. Very good news, because I really, really enjoy Advanced Criminal. It gets you thinking in a way that my other subjects don't seem to.
The second bit of news is the result of a "Progress Test" that I did for my German class just before Christmas. You know, the German class that I'm paying ?310 for the pleasure of doing. This Progress Test was kinda thrown upon us all when we sat it, and we were unaware until 5 minutes before it began that it was in fact counting for 25% of our final mark for the year. Oh joy.
I remember walking out of the exam thinking that I'd really, really fucked it up. The written section at the end of the paper was a bastard, because it was such a random subject to write about, and I didn't have an opinion on it anyway. I was running out of time, and I thought that it was the worst piece of German that I'd written in the last 3 years.
Turns out it wasn't. It was actually pretty good, if a little short. The whole exam was pretty good, to be honest. A 64, which I was / am well happy with. I'm not even taking the course to get a grade, I'm just doing it in order to better my German overall before I go over there to live in September. And it was my grammar that let me down overall in the exam, which is odd because grammar has always been my strong point. Meh.
And that about sums up the highlights for this week. Boring, I know. But don't say that I've never warned you about that!!!
I know I haven't posted in a while, been, well, not posting. Oh, and not writing essays. Yay.
I thought I'd share with you all a little perfect moment that I had this morning on my way to uni. I was in Westminster tube station, changing lines from the Jubilee to District line to get to my uni. I had my CD player on, and the Fugees' The Score album on. Just before I stepped onto the tube, Killing Me Softly came on. It's not my favourite tune from the album (that would be Fugee-La), but I like the song.
Anyway, it has this little intro thing, then goes silent for a split-second before Lauryn Hill sings the opening line acapella: "Strumming my pain with his finger..."
I got onto the tube, and it was all noisy with people moving about. The door made a big noise as it shit too behind me, but then it suddenly went completely silent in the carriage. The great thing was that it was at the exact same moment as the split-second silence before the first line of the song. So, I had this moment of complete background silence, and all I could hear was Lauryn Hill's voice singing that first line. It carried so much more weight than usual, and was absolutely perfect for the moment. I can't describe fully just how amazing that 1 or 2 second period was, but I know that it was perfect.
It is these moments that we all live for. The moments where everything is right in the world, and everything is tranquil. We live in these moments, the rest of the time is just travelling to the next one. Islands in a sea of monotony and disruption, if those two concepts can be reconciled in such a manner. And yes, I'm waxing lyrical. And yes, I'm enjoying it.
Football? We got whipped, something around 23-6. Not bad, considering our opponents are top of the league, and we'd never played together. Oh, and we're all hideously unfit, which isn't a good thing. Which brings me to my first point.
There have been three things said to me by my housemates over the past couple of days which have made me feel really, really good about myself. The first was shortly after we played football, when Pete asked me if I'd been exercising over Christmas. He asked because he said he saw me running around for the whole game like I had loads of energy. This made me feel wicked because:
a) I haven't exercised over Christmas. Or at all since last Christmas, come to think of it.
b) I thought I was quite unfit, but it seems that I am one of the fitter in my household. Hurrah!
The second thing was also said to me that night, on our way back to our flat. Quite a few of my housemates use racist remarks all the time, although they claim that they are only said in jest and are not vitriolic or sincere. There's always the words "Pak-Pak" and "Yids" and "Sand Niggers" flying around our living room, but I tend not to join in. It's not that I'm completely offended by those words, more that I don't feel the need to use them at all.
Anyway, what was said to me by Phil was that he's never heard me say any of those things, and that he doesn't think that I'm at all racist. I'm so glad that that has been recognised. I try very very hard not to be racist. Actually, fuck that. I don't try at all. I'm just not at all racist.
I'm not going to come up with the argument that runs along the lines of "I've got loads of ethnic minority friends, so how can I be racist?", because that doesn't mean anything. I'm quite comfortable admitting that my group of friends is almost exclusively white. I also have a (perhaps shaky) reason why this is so. It always seems to me when I'm at uni that there is a definite divide between the various groups by ethnic origin.
King's is definitely the most diverse place that I've ever known or come across, but it always seems that the Asian sub-continent group all stay together, as do the Oriental students, and most of the black people that I've seen. It thus becomes quite difficult for a white person to penetrate these groups and become friends with them. We are now the outcasted and frowned upon.
And people wonder why there are sometimes those white people who are racist and bigoted? I'm not condoning or advocating that that is the correct response, certainly not, but I can to some extent understand why there is this backlash. It seems that the equal rights accorded to everyone have gone too far in that non-whites are now in a much stronger position than whites. Of course, it may be argued that this is payback for the decades of oppression by the white man, but I would say that the call from the mid-20th century onwards was for equality, not for payback. This applies not only to issues of race, but also of gender and sexuality.
Getting back to the main point of this post, the three things that really cheered me up towards the end of last week, the third occurred on Friday evening. To give yet another piece of background, between us in our house, we are terrible at getting washing-up done. We all seem to hate it, and it just builds up over the course of a few days into an enormous pile on the kitchen table. Then, someone (or a pair of people) just give in and do the whole lot. I am generally one of those people, because I am somewhat conscientious and a bit house-proud (I get it from my Mum).
This particular Friday, I just got annoyed with the entire mess and started doing the whole lot. I put a stereo in the kitchen, turned up the tunes and shut the door. The rest of my housemates were in the living room, doing whatever it is they get up to in there, and I was in the kitchen, alone, doing this fucking huge pile of washing-up. It took me the best part of 4 hours to get it all done, but get it all done I did. I even cleaned the grill tray of all the congealed fat that had taken residence there.
Did you know that fat can get mould on it? I didn't until that night. It can. That's how long this grill tray had gone without being cleaned. Disgusting stuff. I'd never even used the grill tray, and yet hear I was cleaning it.
Like I said, it took fucking ages to get it all finished, but I eventually got it all done. Alex came into the kitchen just as I was finishing off (convenient, I know), and he stopped to say "I don't think the others are going to say this, Rob, but thankyou for doing all of this."
That was it. That was all I wanted. A little bit of acknowledgement and appreciation for the hard work I'd put in. I didn't expect to be revered and loved for doing it, just slightly appreciated. It really made it all worthwhile when he said that.
I'm still waiting on thankyous from the others, by the way.
Oh, and how long before the kitchen got into a similar state? I'd say around two and a half days. We rule.