Thursday, December 15, 2005

Christmas and Culture Wars

An issue which has been coming up in a major way in the USA but much less over here is the "Happy Holidays" question, and I'd like to explain my thoughts on the matter. The question is, to oversimplify wildly, whether it is better to wish "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays." It may sound like a very small matter, but it is a raging debate across the pond.

The problem in America is that a number of big retail chains have put up posters with the latter on rather than the former. A section of the public there, mainly the religious right, have taken this as the latest assault in the "War on Christmas" (I seriously get the impression that Americans simply love to call campaigns wars).

The reason that the stores are doing this is because not only Christmas is celebrated at this time of year. Hannukah and the Winter Solstice are also celebrated in what is known as the holiday season, often instead of the Christian Christmas. "Happy Holidays" is seen as more inclusive, including all of these as well as non-believers and others (like Jehovah's Witnesses) who do not celebrate Christmas. It is seen as extending the message out to as many people as possible.

The religious right, predictably, sees this as an assault on Christmas, watering down the Christian-ness of the season. It is part of an intense dissatisfaction with the way that the season has become more popular and less religious. I am going to explain why I think the controversy has not spread to the UK, and why the secularisation of the season is a good thing.

As an atheist, it is hardly surprising to find me on this side. Nevertheless, it is worth me explaining something. I have no problem with religious people of whatever persuasion celebrating their holy days (within legal and ethical limits of course - no blood soaked sacrifices if can be avoided!). I do however see a certain spoilt attitude in the way certain people want to have their cake and eat it - enjoying the season in their own way while preventing others from doing so in their own. Unsurprisingly, I'm in the "live and let live" category.

Why is the controversy miniscule here? The first answer may be that we simply seem less enthusiastic about religion-based culture wars here. People are more likely to face controversies like abortion based on facts and realities, rather than resorting to holy edicts. Perhaps that is because despite the historic ties between the state and the Church of England, far more people here (religious or non) prefer the law to be secular. Therefore, even when it comes to non-legal issues like this, there is much less enthusiasm for turning an issue into a religious conflict.

Secondly though, I believe that we think of Christmas in a different way here too. In the USA, Christmas generally seems to refer to the Christian holiday. Here, I think people are much more inclined to think of it as the season as a whole. "Merry Christmas" evokes warm feelings of family, togetherness, decorations and presents. (On a side note, people often criticise the last of these as materialistic, but I think this misses the social role that giving presents has. It bonds people together. I certainly feel that even a worthless or uninteresting present from a friend can be worth a lot more than no present at all.)

What do I mean by this different way of seeing Christmas? Well, in one US report I read, one non-Christian said that while not in any way being offended by a sign saying "Merry Christmas," it felt somewhat like being wished "Happy Birthday" when it was the wisher's, and not the listener's, birthday. While the listener appreciates that there is a celebration, they do not see its relevance to them. This makes a lot of sense, but I do not think it applies here. More likely, someone here will just see the phrasing as a generic expression of goodwill.

The thing is that *both* sides in the US see it as refering to the specifically Christian holiday. Clearly those who prefer "Happy Holidays" see it as more inclusive (and let's get real, the retail chains in question are going to want no part in any "War on Christmas" - they just want to appeal to more people). Those against it also must feel that "Merry Christmas" refers specifically to the Christian holiday, otherwise they would not bother fighting the new wording. They are determined to keep the general greeting refering to the Christian tradition, and that just shows that their motivation is to keep that as the primary (perhaps only) message heard over the holiday season. Refusing to accept "Happy Holidays" is, in a way, trying to hide the existence of other traditions which might want to celebrate.

In the UK on the other hand, I think people are perfectly aware that Christmas time is far more than the celebration of a Christian holiday.

And I think it is perfectly right that it should be. Christmas essentially originated as a Christian holiday pasted on top of the pagan holiday of Saturnalia, from which we get such traditions as present giving. I can honestly say that I have never heard a pagan (and I have known one or two) angrily demanding that the season be kept pagan. Since aspects like present giving were not even Christian in origin, it would be absurd to restrict them to Christians only. The season was special long before Christmas arose.

Even if this had not been true, other religious holidays take place at the same time (and non-religious holidays like Kwanzaa). There is no reason Christmas should hold the season captive beyond the fact that there are more Christians than members of other religions.

And what of us non-religious folk? One might argue that even if Christians get their Christmas, Jews their Hannukah etc, then there is no place for celebration for those without a religion. I think this is misguided. Even within one religion, there might be a thousand different ways to celebrate the season, including taking the best elements from other traditions (like the present-giving, all those centuries ago). There is no reason why the non-religious should not be allowed to celebrate the season as they see fit, equally borrowing those bits of other traditions as they see fit. I see no reason why every family and community should not have a time of the year to celebrate, in whatever way they see fit. It is the very best of multiculturalism, and it is a celebration of being human.

So let those who desire celebrate Christmas time religiously, others celebrate it secularly, and let's not squabble about who 'owns' the season. And if retailers in the USA wish to encompass all these diverse celebrations, then that is good sense. Over here, I think we may already have gone a step further. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays folks, and have a jolly good New Year.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Term Timetable Summary

Because I haven't beaten this to death already...

Trusts Week 1 - 20h
Tort Week 5 - 22h 5mins (+1h 10mins Essay)
Trusts Week 2 - 20h 55mins (+2h 30mins Essay)
Trusts Week 3 - 20h 15mins (+2h 40mins Essay)
Tort Week 6 - 21h 35mins (+1h 5mins Presentation)
Trusts Week 4 - 18h 40mins (+3h Essay)
Trusts Week 5 - 20h 40mins (+1h 30mins Presentation)
Tort Week 7 - 16h 40mins (+5 to 10h over Summer)
Trusts Week 6 - 16h (+2h 20mins Essay)
Trusts Week 7 - 15h 5mins (+2h 20mins Essay)
Tort Week 8 - 18h 45mins (+1h 25mins Essay)
Trusts Week 8 - 25h 20mins

Week 1 Total - 34h 55mins
Week 2 Total - 41h 20mins
Week 3 Total - 47h 15mins
Week 4 Total - 46h 45mins
Week 5 Total - 35h 15mins
Week 6 Total - 40h 55mins
Week 7 Total - 39h 50mins
Week 8 Total - 36h 10mins

Term Total - 322h 25mins

Work Timetable - Week 8

Term is over, and I am somewhat exhausted. Twelve reading lists and many, many lectures. I feel I've done well this term, but I will be using the holiday to very much consolidate what I know and fill in gaps!

Week 8

Day - Subject - Type - Time

Sun - Tort - Cases / Articles - 1h 25mins
- Tort - Essay - 1h 25mins
Sun Total - 2h 50mins

Mon - Tort - Lecture - 1h
- Tort - Class - 2h
- Trusts - Introductory Textbook - 1h 10mins
- Trusts - Textbook - 2h
Mon Total - 6h 10mins

Tue - Trusts - Textbook - 6h 10mins
Tue Total - 6h 10mins

Wed - Trusts - Textbook - 7h
- Trusts - Cases - 1h
Wed Total - 8h

Thur - Contract - Lecture - 1h
- Tort - Lecture - 1h
- Trusts - Cases - 7h 30mins
- Trusts - Revision - 30mins
Thur Total - 10h

Fri - Land - Lecture - 1h
- Trusts - Tutorial - 1h
- Trusts - Lecture - 1h
Fri Total - 3h

Sat - Finished


Tort Week 8 - 18h 45mins (+1h 25mins Essay)
Trusts Week 8 - 25h 20mins
Week Total - 36h 10mins

Friday, December 02, 2005

Work Timetable - Week 7

A bit late.

Week 7

Day - Subject - Type - Time

Sun - Trusts - Cases / Articles - 4h 20mins
Sun Total - 4h 20mins

Mon - Tort - Lecture - 1h
- Trusts - Articles - 6h 20mins
Mon Total - 7h 20mins

Tue - Trusts - Article - 1h 50mins
- Trusts - Essay - 2h 20mins
Tue Total - 4h 10mins

Wed - Tort - Textbook - 3h
Wed Total - 3h

Thur - Contract - Lecture - 1h
- Tort - Lecture - 1h 15mins
- Tort - Textbook - 2h 45mins
- Tort - Cases - 2h 5mins
- Trusts - Revision - 25mins
Thur Total - 7h 30mins

Fri - Contract - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Lecture - 1h
- Trusts - Tutorial - 1h
- Trusts - Lecture - 1h
Fri Total - 4h

Sat - Tort - Cases / Articles - 9h 30mins
Sat Total - 9h 30mins


Trusts Week 7 - 15h 5mins (+2h 20mins Essay)
Week Total - 39h 50mins

Monday, November 21, 2005

Journalistic Exposure

As part of the ongoing saga of the OUSU referendum campaign, I was asked to give a comment to the Oxford Student, one of the student newspapers. The picture (one of Abi's favourites) hasn't turned out badly, but the editor did somewhat hack away at the piece I originally wrote ("It took five motions..." doesn't even make sense in the context! It was supposed to be "I took five motions..."). Still, slight annoyance at that aside it is my first real piece of journalistic exposure for something I've said, so here's a link for all to see:

OUSU Under Fire

Don't worry, I will try to give some idea of the context later (hopefully without boring readers to tears).

Work Timetable - Week 6

Week 6

Day - Subject - Type - Time

Sun - Tort - Cases / Articles - 5h
Sun Total - 5h

Mon - Tort - Lecture - 1h
- Tort - Cases - 4h 30mins
- Trusts - Introductory Textbook - 35mins
Mon Total - 6h 5mins

Tue - Trusts - Introductory Textbook - 1h
- Tort - Revision - 1h 10mins
- Tort - Class - 1h 45mins
- Trusts - Cases / Articles - 5h 35mins
Tue Total - 9h 30mins

Wed - Trusts - Cases / Articles - 7h 40mins
- Trusts - Essay - 2h 20mins
Wed Total - 10h

Thur - Contract - Lecture - 1h
- Tort - Lecture - 1h
- Juris - Lecture - 1h
- Trusts - Textbook - 1h 10mins
Thur Total - 4h 10mins

Fri - Contract - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Lecture - 1h
- Trusts - Tutorial - 1h
- Trusts - Lecture - 1h
Fri Total - 4h

Sat - Trusts - Cases - 2h 10mins


Tort Week 7 - 16h 40mins (+5 to 10h over Summer)
Trusts Week 6 - 16h (+2h 20mins Essay)
Week Total - 40h 55mins

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Work Timetable - Week 5

I got less done this week. Basically after a stressful time I took most of the weekend off, going to fireworks with Abi Sat evening and staying over my house before coming back on Sun. Then there was a JCR meeting that night...
The other main reason is the massive campaign to change OUSU which I became a member of (and which I will detail here in a few days time when I have met deadlines). It has taken up a lot of my time this past week in particular. OUSU Council on Friday for example lasted 4h 30mins, and so meant that when I got back to Ab I was far beyond any work. So I watched Minority Report with Abi instead. :-)

Week 5

Day - Subject - Type - Time

Sun - Trusts - Introductory Textbook - 50mins
- Trusts - Textbook - 50mins
Sun Total - 1h 40mins

Mon - Tort - Lecture - 1h
- Trusts - Textbook - 3h 15mins
Mon Total - 4h 15mins

Tue - Trusts - Textbook - 2h
- Trusts - Cases / Articles - 4h 5mins
Tue Total - 6h 5mins

Wed - Trusts - Cases / Articles - 2h 40mins
Wed Total - 2h 40mins

Thur - Contract - Lecture - 1h
- Tort - Lectures - 2h
- Juris - Lecture - 1h
- Trusts - Cases / Articles - 4h 35mins
- Trusts - Presentation - 1h 30mins
Thur Total - 10h 5mins

Fri - Contract - Lecture - 1h
- Trusts - Class - 2h 30mins
- Trusts - Lecture - 1h
Fri Total - 4h 30mins

Sat - Tort - Cases / Articles - 6h
Sat Total - 6h


Trusts Week 5 - 20h 40mins (+1h 30mins Presentation)
Week Total - 35h 15mins

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Tory Rich

I submitted this to Hertford's gossip magazine, Simpkins ( They put it on the back cover. Hee hee!

It's an actual quote, or close enough! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Work Timetable - Week 4

Yeah, I know I haven't posted since the last timetable. Again, I'm working too many hours. Will update soon.

Week 4

Day - Subject - Type - Time

Sun - Tort - Textbook - 6h
Sun Total - 6h

Mon - Tort - Cases - 5h 50mins
- Trusts - Introductory Textbook - 45mins
- Trusts - Textbook - 1h 15mins
Mon Total - 7h 50mins

Tue - Tort - Presentation - 1h 5mins
- Tort - Textbook - 1h 15mins
- Tort - Tutorial - 1h 30mins
- Trusts - Textbook - 5h 35mins
Tue Total - 9h 25mins

Wed - Trusts - Cases - 5h 20mins
- Trusts - Essay - 3h
Wed Total - 8h 20mins

Thur - Contract - Lecture - 1h
- Tort - Lectures - 2h
- Trusts - Articles - 4h 45mins
Thur Total - 7h 45mins

Fri - Contract - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Lecture - 1h
- Trusts - Tutorial - 1h
- Trusts - Lecture - 1h
- Tort - Lecture - 1h
- Trusts - Textbook - 2h 10mins
Fri Total - 7h 10mins

Sat - Trusts - Introductory Textbook - 15mins


Tort Week 6 - 21h 35mins (+1h 5mins Presentation)
Trusts Week 4 - 18h 40mins (+3h Essay)
Week Total - 46h 45mins

Monday, October 31, 2005

Work Timetable - Week 3

This might help to explain the lack of posts this week...

Week 3

Day - Subject - Type - Time

Sun - Trusts - Articles - 2h 40mins
- Trusts - Essay - 2h 30mins
- Trusts - Introductory Textbook - 30mins
- Trusts - Textbook - 2h 20mins
Sun Total - 8h

Mon - Trusts - Textbook - 5h 40mins
Mon Total - 5h 40mins

Tue - Trusts - Revision - 30mins
- Trusts - Tutorial - 1h 10mins
- Trusts - Textbook - 3h 20mins
- Trusts - Cases / Articles - 3h 40mins
Tue Total - 8h 40mins

Wed - Trusts - Cases / Articles - 4h 25mins
- Trusts - Essay - 2h 40mins
Wed Total - 7h 5mins

Thur - Contract - Lecture - 1h
- Tort - Lectures - 2h
- Trusts - Article - 2h
- Tort - Textbook - 2h 30mins
Thur Total - 7h 30mins

Fri - Contract - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Lecture - 1h
- Trusts - Revision - 20mins
- Trusts - Tutorial - 1h
- Trusts - Lecture - 1h
- Tort - Textbook - 15mins
Fri Total - 4h 35mins

Sat - Tort - Textbook - 2h 15mins
- Tort - Cases - 1h 40mins
- Tort - Textbook - 1h 50mins
Sat Total - 5h 45mins


Trusts Reading List 2 - 20h 55mins (+2h 30mins Essay)
Trusts Reading List 3 - 20h 15mins (+2h 40mins Essay)
Week Total - 47h 15mins

Monday, October 24, 2005

Intellectual Honesty: Lord Denning

(With apologies to my non-lawyer friends)

If Lord Denning had any intellectual honesty:

Scene: The Court of Appeal

Judge: ...And for those reasons this action must fail. I dismiss the appeal of Lord Denning.

Denning's Lawyer: What?! You can't be serious!

Judge: [Annoyed] And for that display of bad faith, I order him to pay costs to the court.

Denning's Lawyer: But what you said doesn't bear any relation to the established law!

Denning: [Impressed] No no, fair's fair. After all, he mentioned equity a bunch of times *and* he told a nicely obscure story to go with it!

Denning's Lawyer: [Shaking his head] Oh well, at least there's always the House of Lords...

Denning: [Baffled] The Lords? Why would we want to pay any heed to them?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Work Timetable - Week 2

Week 2

Day - Subject - Type - Time

Sun - Tort - Textbook - 4h 30mins
- Tort - Cases - 3h 30mins
Sun Total - 8h

Mon - Tort - Cases - 1h 15mins
- Tort - Essay - 1h 10mins
- Tort - Cases / Articles - 1h 10mins
Mon Total - 3h 35mins

Tue - Tort - Articles - 3h 45mins
- Tort - Tutorial - 1h 15mins
Tue Total - 5h

Wed - Trusts - Introductory Textbook - 45mins
- Trusts - Textbook - 1h
- Trusts - Cases - 2h 45mins
Wed Total - 4h 30mins

Thur - Contract - Lecture - 1h
- Tort - Lectures - 2h
- Trusts - Textbook - 2h
Thur Total - 5h

Fri - Contract - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Lecture - 1h
- Trusts - Lecture - 1h
- Tort - Lecture - 1h
- Trusts - Textbook - 3h 20mins
- Trusts - Cases - 45mins
Fri Total - 8h 5mins

Sat - Trusts - Cases / Articles - 7h 10mins
Sat Total - 7h 10mins


Tort Reading List 5 - 22h 5mins (+1h 10mins Essay)
Week Total - 41h 20mins

Smo Tells It Like It Is

This took place in Rich's room Thursday night, when a number of us randomly met up:

[Introducing friends]

Abi: Smo, this is Neil. Neil, Smo. [Explaining] Smo is Sarah's boyfriend, and Pete's old friend from school.

Neil: Oh, really? Small world, huh?

Abi: Not really, she met him through Pete.

Neil: Oh, right.

Abi: It's quite sweet, really.

Smo: Sweet? I stole Pete's girlfriend from him on his birthday, and it was sweet?

Abi: Well I'm rather glad you did...

[Neil looks on, baffled]

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Sick Days

Bah. I'm ill. I've had this damn cold for a week now and although it has got better, it has seemed to level off into a perpetual state. This is annoying.

I first remember feeling it over a week ago, on Wednesday 12th. Its peak was Thursday, when I woke feeling dead. I still managed to drag my way through a respectable amount of work though, and attended the (surprisingly poor this year) "No Confidence in Her Majesty's Government" debate at the Union. The motion failed, so apparently the Union favours the Government now... I didn't get nearly enough sleep, so felt bad the next day. Events did not help. I ended up looking through my notes for my first week of Trusts in Burger King (Mmm...) and fighting against the wooziness in my head when trying to argue against my new tutor. Was Hunter v Moss correctly decided? I thought yes, but my tutor has come close to persuading me otherwise. I realise this probably means nothing to anyone likely to read my blog. Oh well.

Unfortunately, despite my request that I leave a bit early to get to the lecture (Trusts, no less - the very one she had strongly recommended we attend!) it didn't happen, so I had to dash across town. And feel ill once in said lecture. Bugger. Once I got home it was soon time to go out to the Socrates Society drinks with Abi. It's a philosophy society, and we have both now joined. There is a SocSoc meal on Sunday discussing ethics and hedonism, so I'm looking forward to that... We had to stay beyond the end waiting for Michelle (from Exeter college) because as Treasurer of the Society she had to stay to clear away.

The three of us then headed back down Abingdon Road, but beyond Ab House to Edith Road, home of the Exeter Massive, including Steve and Blath who were having a joint par-tay. Woo! It was a fun one as well. There had already been quite a bit of revelry before we arrived, evidence by people complaining about food having been smeared in strange places, and the fact that Sarah was drunk. She of course denied this at the time. But the fact that she was going around trying to trick people into drinking her vodka and orange (mixed in a 1:1 ratio, no less,) did give it away slightly.

Rich and Steve were also getting there drink-wise. Steve kept apologising for spiking my drink the previous weekend, appearing quite guilty about it. Rich still found it amusing of course, and I found out that Sarah had had a hand in it too! In any case a number of us ended up in Steve's room, drinking and chatting. Sarah had a beer, even though she still said it was horrible. At one point Steve and I hugged and Sarah decided to join in but managed to unbalance us onto the floor! Steve and Rich seemed...very close. Some of Abi's pictures towards the end of this post on her blog are the best evidence available.

It was a fun night indeed. As well as having a great time with a number of friends from both Hertford and Exeter, I got to play Twister (which, with so many drunk people, is hilarious!). Sarah 'won'. She also was sitting on it almost the whole time. Eventually Rich and Em took her home and Rich returned. I chatted to fellow lawyers Neil and Hannah. Hertford lawyers are often quite reluctant to talk about Law, so it was good to swap a few opinions. Eg. I like Tort but hate Contract with a passion, but most other people have it the other way around. Odd. At the end of the night it looked like Rich might just lay down and refuse to come with us, but he was as good as gold in the end. :-)

As for me, a good night's sleep was well needed, and came as blessed relief. It also was one reason that I didn't show up to the Freshers' post-matriculation drinks the next day, like I was supposed to. The other reason was that I had been confused, thinking I was needed for the Ball in the evening. To make up for the slip I helped set up the Hall from 2:30pm until about 3:15pm, and then from 6:00pm until the Ball started at 8:00pm. As an Exec member I was one of the few non-first years invited, and I got to have Abi along too. It was a lot of fun - the food was excellent, including ice cream, cookies and chocolate cake! Grand.

Once it finished, it was time for tidying away. That took from about 12:00am to 1:30am, with a load of us (including Abi) joining in. She was very amused by me following instructions to push a tablecover across the recently mopped floor with my feet, sliding along. A job well done. Unfortunately with all that, I had done almost no work that day, and it was imperative that I do so. Therefore once I got back, at about 2:00am, I started working. And I went on until about 6:00am. Ouch. Abi had fallen asleep in my room for most of that time. I managed to keep my concentration, but once I stopped I just had to crash into bed.

The next day I basically did as much work as was reasonably possible while still making it to the JCR meeting in the evening. And on Monday morning I was impressed with my ability to do a 1300 word essay in 70 minutes. Having met the deadline I felt okay about going with Abi to the "This House would design a baby" debate at the Union and seeing our local MP, Dr. Evan Harris, speak in proposition. Despite a good speech and the fact that I have a lot of respect for him, I voted against.

The next night Abi, Neil and I (in a very ad hoc arrangement) went to the cinema to see Serenity. It's a rather crazy film to get your head around if you haven't seen the preceding series, Firefly, but I just about managed. It haunted me for the rest fo the evening. Then on Tuesday we went to see Wallace & Gromit which was slightly more straightforward! Funny, but perhaps my sense of humour has moved on somewhat in 10 years...

And so the sick days continue as I hope to get better while (despite all the distractions mentioned above) doing a rather respectable amount of work. I believe I have tonight to properly stick at my work while tomorrow evening is Steve's bithday meal...

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Intellectual Honesty: Tony Blair

If Tony Blair had any intellectual honesty:

Scene: Downing Street

[Blair is walking up to the door to Number 10 when the police walk up to him]

Police Officer: I'm sorry sir, if you'd like to come with us...

Blair: There must be some kind of terrible mistake. I'm the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom!

[Author's note: That does indeed prove that there has been a terrible mistake, but not like he is thinking!]

P.O.: No sir, I have a warrant here to detain you under the Terrorism Act.

Blair: Detain me? Why? For how long?

P.O.: Um sir, you should well know that I am not required to give any explanation for your detention. [Looks at warrant] And according to this, I am to hold you for the full three months if possible.

Blair: The full three months! [Sighs] Well, I suppose it is for the security of the nation. [Holds up hands for handcuffs] Alright, let's get going.

P.O.: Very good, sir.

Blair: Will I be allowed to see my wife?

P.O.: Probably not, I'm afraid.

Blair: But what about in her capacity as a lawyer?

P.O.: [Laughs] Mr Blair, you did help draft the Act, remember! Now come on...

Blair: Oh well, I suppose. Oh dear, I wonder who will run the country while I'm away... [A moment's pause, then his eyes widen] Wait a minute, who signed that warrant?!

Scene: Press Conference at Number 10

Reporter: Mr Brown, while you seem to be settling into your new role comfortably, the public is still desperate to know - just where is Mr Blair?

Brown: [Pause, then a hint of a smile] Oh, I couldn't possibly say...

Work Timetable - Week 1

Don't feel that any of you have to take an interest in this - I'm putting this up mostly for my benefit (in case I lose the piece of paper):

Week 1

Day - Subject - Type - Time

Sun - Tort - Textbook - 40mins
Sun Total - 40mins

Mon - Tort - Textbook - 2h 45mins
- Trusts - Introductory Textbook - 1h
- Trusts - Textbook - 3h 45mins
Mon Total - 7h 30mins

Tue - Trusts - Cases / Articles - 6h 30mins
Tue Total - 6h 30mins

Wed - Trusts - Cases / Articles - 4h
Wed Total - 4h

Thur - Contract - Lecture - 1h
- Tort - Lectures - 2h
- Trusts - Articles - 4h 15mins
Thur Total - 7h 15mins

Fri - Contract - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Lecture - 1h
- Trusts - Revision - 30mins
- Trusts - Tutorial - 1h
- Trusts - Lecture - 1h
Fri Total - 4h 30mins

Sat - Tort - Cases / Articles - 4h 30mins
Sat Total - 4h 30mins


Trusts Reading List 1 - 20h
Week Total - 34h 55mins

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Intellectual Honesty: George W. Bush

If George W. Bush had any intellectual honesty:

Scene: The Oval Office

[Bush watches the statue of Saddam topple on TV]

Bush: Yeah! Take that Saddam! How's that for regime change?

Aide: Well done, Mr. President.

Bush: Now, who's next on the Axis of Evil? [Takes out crumpled piece of paper and squints at it] Uh, Zimbooble? Zimbawibble?

Aide: I think that's Zimbabwe, sir.

Bush: Excellent! Says here they have a repressive regime and sham elections. [Picks up phone] Rummy, now it's time to invade Zimba- Uh, that African place. [Puts down phone] Take that, President Moogabooga! [Takes out piece of paper]. Now, who's next?

Aide: Uh sir, shouldn't you concentrate on one country at a time? We don't have infinite resources...

Bush: Phooey! We're America, and we're here to bring freedom wherever it's not! [Looks at paper] Next, we'll go for...Saudi Arabia! Says here the regime is always abuserizing human rights.

Aide: But sir, the USA gains much from good relations with the Saudi Government...

Bush: That doesn't matter! We get into these wars in the name of freedom, not for our own benefit! There's no 'I' in America!

Aide: Uh...

Bush: Well, not the way I pronounce it.

Aide: Right. But, but, Saudi Arabia provides us with lots of oil.

Bush: Well, sucks to their oil! It's a nasty colour and, and it smells funny. [Looks proud of self. Picks up phone] Rummy, bomb Saudi Arabia!

Aide: Oh dear, dear me...

Bush: [Looks at paper] Next, we'll go for...The United Kingdom! Says here they're languishing under an unelected monarchy! [Picks up phone] Rummy, prepare to attack the UK- Oh, hehehe! Silly me, I like the UK! My Blair-bear lives there. [Looks around] Okay, which one of you pranksters put the UK on the Axis of Evil? Hehehe.

Aide: Oh dear... Uh, maybe that's enough for one day.

Bush: Maybe you're right.

[Phone rings, Bush picks it up]

Bush: Hello? NASA? Ooh, you're the space guys! What's that? Oh, really? Right... [Puts down phone]

Aide: What was that?

Bush: [Picks up helmet and starts pushing it onto his head] NASA have discovered life on another planet! A whole civilisation of beings we can't hope to understanderize!

Aide: Well that's wonderful news...

Bush: [Finishes putting on helmet. It's an astronaut's helmet] Yeah, they're apparently controlled by some kind of space dictator! And you know what that means...

Aide: Oh God no.

Bush: Yeah! [Picks up a light sabre which hums into life] It's time to use...the forces! The armed forces, that is. Hehehe.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Down The Bop

For Saturday night, I planned what we should do. We were to meet in my room at 9:00pm, head to college and to the bar (which I had not yet visited this term), then when it closed, to the bop which was to take place also in Hertford. Basically, the plan succeeded. It was a fun night.

The group ended up as me, Abi, Rich, Steve, Emma, Dan (Emma's boyfriend), Sarah and Dave. We got to the bar about 10 and set up camp at one of the tables with our drinks. I had a coke and Steve had a vodka and coke, which presented Rich with his opportunity. As soon as I was distracted he swapped them round, but I easily caught him in the act. The problem was telling which was which. I sniffed them but of course vodka is odourless, so it was up to Steve to work it out. He took a sip of one and told me it was his, so I happily took a gulp of the other one. Bastard. Should have known he and Rich would have been in cahoots somehow! Man, vodka burns the throat. It also makes the coke taste like it's gone off...

I decided right then to get back at Rich. I don't think Steve had realised that I really don't drink, and anyway he was just following Rich in it. Rich is the brains of the couple, affectionately known as 'Dickie' by his other half. My revenge was quick and simple: I pennied him. For those who have not come across this concept, it is where one puts a penny in the other's drink, thus forcing said person to down it. Rich had a good three quarters of a pint left when I pennied him. And just to give it a sweet taste of irony, the reason he had left his pint unguarded was to get a penny from his wallet to do the same to Dave!

I assume that it must have been downing the pint which got Rich pretty trashed last night, as he didn't seem to drink much else. However, he was drunk enough that when we arm wrestled not long afterwards, and I was blatently winning, he quickly resorted to digging his finger nails in! For shame, Rich. Abi has photographic proof of the result, as well. And I still won :-P.

Soon afterwards the bar closed and we went outside ready to enter the Bop Cellar (yes, it's really called that). Dave, Em and Dan headed off, and I found I had a missed call from Smo. I rang him back and he explained that he was trying to get hold of Sarah (there's no reception down the bar). I told him I'd tell her to ring him, but he asked why I couldn't just hand the phone to her. Uh, because I'm paying for the phonecall, Smo.

So the (not unexpected) result of their chat was that we hung around outside waiting for him to arrive. We met the (I think only) Computer Scientist of the new freshers and chatted to him. He had clearly earned Beast's respect, as the big man himself had given him a beer. We had all seen Beast down the bar earlier as he, Dickie Oldroyd and others are still in Oxford and see the Hertford bar as home (and the cheapest pint available in the city, no doubt).

So Smo arrived and we entered the Bop Cellar. It was not so grand at first, as the music was not the ordinary cheese that Hertfordians (particularly drunk ones) know and love, and it kept stopping at random times. Smo and Sarah soon left, and didn't come back. There's a shocker. The remaining four of us (me, Abi, Rich and Steve) stuck it out to the end and were rewarded with some proper tunes like 'The One and Only' and 'Scatman'. We headed out at the end and to Hassan's for our first kebabs of the term. As a veggie, I of course got lovely cheesy chips, and Abi as usual helped herself to a few. We got to the Exeter college (Steve's college) JCR to eat and drink. Finally with an incredible effort we got a very tired Abi and Rich (tired for different reasons!) to get up and come back to Ab House.

And after talking to Gwen on MSN late at night, I fell soundly asleep.

BTW, I have no idea what happened to Rich and Steve after they staggered back to the former's room. However, I was assured by Blath over MSN that Steve did get back eventually, which is something. As to the rest, we can but specualate... Don't worry Rich, I still love you. Just not as much as Steve, it seems... :-0

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The Collection And Beyond

Well, the Collection was a 'mare. I hate Contract Law with a passion. It was the cause of much stress last term, and now I had to sit a three hour paper on it. I had got down to revision about a week and a half before coming up, but rather than focussing on Contract I had gone through Tort instead, partly because the tutor had suggested starting the work on Pure Economic Loss (which I did), partly because we will still be studying it this term (unlike Contract, thankfully!) and partly because I vastly prefer Tort. It was only a few days before coming up that I started revising Contract, and realised just how much I had forgotten about it. Once I got back I revised as much as was possible, but none of it was really going in. Worse, with one day to go I had a full half of the syllabus to revise.

So, in between meetings on Thursday (one with my new Trusts tutor at Merton College, one with my Hertford tutors, lawyers' drinks where we met the freshers and a pseudo-Exec meeting with four of us), I desperately studied Misrepresentation to a decent degree, and attempted to understand Mistake. The last two weeks on Remedies were skimmed through at high speed. Late into the night I tried to remember cases until my brain automatically switched off at 1:15am, and I collapsed, defeated.

The Collection went about as well as it could have. I found myself unable to remember any but the most important and best-named cases, but most of the principles were still floating around in my head. I took the unusual step of doing one essay and three problem questions, rather than two of each, because it was hard to find essays on subjects I knew sufficient about! Still I just about managed to get through it.

Now I'm on tenterhooks for the results. If I get less than 50% (baring in mind that the practical maximum is 70%) then I have to retake, and if less than 40% I get put on probation, which is far closer to the possibility of being sent down (chucked out) than I want to consider. My fellow lawyers were all panicked up to the exam, but responses to the paper have been varied. In all honesty I'm really hoping not to be much below the other lawyers...

That night we went to Dave's place at Warnock House (the rest of us live nearby at Abingdon House) to watch my Team America DVD and finish off the chocolate cake my grandma generously made. Tonight we are going DTB (down the bar) and to the '007' themed bop. Should make for a good weekend before the inevitable hard work from Monday...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Last Night at Home

Well, I'm back at university now. It was a good summer while it lasted. I haven't finished the second book yet, but I got a good way through it at least. I did finish the Matriculatrix though (as previously mentioned) which was gratifying. I also saw plenty of Abi, including a trip to Centre Parcs and the sailing trip. I worked enough to get some money, and went from my first ever driving lesson to reasonable competence. Finally, I also got to see most of my friends from home, some many times (sorry to those I didn't see, I will try at Christmas!).

So it came down to the last night before returning to my alma mater, good old Oxford U. I had take-away Indian food with my parents, which was satisfying but a challenge to my stomach! Then I went out with Claire, to meet Dav in The Eagle Vaults in town for a last night out.

During the night out, I managed to spend a grand total of 50p. This is how:

As Claire and I entered I went up to get us drinks and met Matt at the bar. I stood behind him talking to him, ready to take his place when he moved. While he was being served another man slipped in next to him, looking to order. I took Matt's position and tried to catch the eye of the barman. However, the man now behind me, realising that I was looking to get served, started mouthing off at me, accusing me of pushing into the queue when he had been there '10 minutes'. I tried to ignore it but the guy was large and threatening, even when someone behind the bar told him to calm down. To prevent trouble I let him order first, thinking perhaps he had done it just to make sure he got his drinks in first.

Then something strange happened. Once he had ordered he apologised to me, apparently genuinely sorry for his behaviour. I told him it was alright but once he got his drinks, before moving off he handed me a £5, telling me that it was his apology. I cautiously accepted it and he went off. Bizarre. So, I got the round with the note, which came to £3.50 for the two of us. Claire reckoned he must have been on something. I don't know. If anything, I reckon he was just on alcohol and had a short fuse.

The upshot was that I spent much of the night in possession of an extra £1.50. Dav arrived and got himself a whisky. Later Claire drove home and Dav and I went to the Palace, Witney's temple to all that is cheesy. When there I met Emma Pilchard, who I hadn't seen since Year 11 Latin! Anyway, I ended up getting another ridiculously cheap round for me and Dav which cost £2, and we went home not long after. Therefore overall I was only down 50p, a good way to end a reasonably expensive holiday.

Now I'm back at uni, and I really need to study if I want to get a half-decent mark on my Collection (mock exam)...

Saturday, October 01, 2005


Well the Henry Box Forum's second photo competition has finished, and it is time to vote. So everyone who's registered, please do! The subject was lovable rogue Smo, and here is the thread with all the entries: Smo Photo Competition. Here is the voting page: Smo Photo Poll. Here are my entries to it:

The Passion of the Smo Posted by Picasa

Jon Bon Smovi Posted by Picasa

ConSMOvative Posted by Picasa

Also, for those interested, here is the previous photo competition, with me as the subject: Peter Photo Competition. 'Rock Your Body' by Dav won most creative, and 'Hedgehog Pete' by Gwen won most visually impressive.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Dav's Party

Well Thursday was quite a day...

Firstly there was the punting where Dav managed to climb over a bridge as the punt went under. The first time it was fine, but the second time there were...complications.
(I hope to link to the video if it goes up!)

Then there was the par-tay, billed as the event of the Summer (which was probably true!). It was Dav's 21st, and he had mates from my year and the year above at school, from the leisure centre where he sometimes works, from Nottingham University and from other sources no doubt. He had booked out Baby Love Bar at Oxford (nice place, but somewhat 'spensive, people!) from 7:00pm to 2:00am, on the condition that £1000 cross the bar that night. Now come on, do they really get close to that on a normal night?? Anyway, to get us started Dav had put £200 on a tab for us to take advantage of. Personally I would have put it as the *last* £200, not the first, so people had to pay in order to get to the free stuff. But whatever.

Well not all the events which took place that night are reportable, like admissions of illegality which might get people in trouble (and no Grum, for once I'm not talking about you :-P ). Still, there was more than enough to comment on:

* Shafter (Andy) had his hair in a pony tail. OMG. The Art Student side of him is taking over. I worry terribly for what will happen to him at university, without the relative normality of people here like me, Abi, Ming, Dav, Smo, Matt... Uh, relative normality? Actually forget it, if the pony tail is the strangest thing that happens to him, he will have got out lightly!

* The pole dancing. This started quite early, and for a long time was sadly male-only. Even your resident blogger himself had a turn. Dav certainly did, as did Ming, Matt, and plenty of others. Dav and Matt did male-male pole dancing, as did Dav and his mate Rich, apparently. Oh, and as the night went on and the alcohol flowed, more women took to the pole. What that says about the genders, I don't quite know...

* Dav got drunk. Not really a shocker, but definitely one to be mentioned. It was kind of the theme of the evening, especially as he told us going in that he fully aimed to end up smashed. Oh, did he succeed... I reckon he was properly gone by 11. He managed to get outside to throw up, and then was kept upright by a number of us, and prevented (for at least some time) from re-entering. That was how the following dialogue arose:

Dav: Let me back in to my club!

Ian: It's not your club, Dav. You just hired it.

Dav: I...paid for it! I even paid for...the bouncers!

Ian: There's only one bouncer, Dav.

Pete: It probably looks to him like there's two by now.

Ian: He can probably see eight, I'll bet.

Dav: Yeah, I've got an army of bouncers! (Weakly attempts to sing the Imperial March from Star Wars)

He needed two people to carry him about most of the time. I bet he wished his mum and gran weren't there, although his mum at least told me that she was going to turn a blind eye to his antics of that night - definitely a good thing. He still managed to get back into the bar occasionally, apparently on the promise that he would not drink more. Yes, because that will happen. Anyway, at least Vish made sure he had water, and I got him an orange juice which I allowed him to assume had alcohol in.

* Matt blew two party blowers with his nostrils. Word.

* Smo arrived and got them doing tequila stuntmen. This is where you snort up some salt, take a shot of tequila then squeeze a lemon into your eye. He did two, and Dav and others did one. The only really worrying thing about this was that Smo then drove people home at the end. To be fair it was about three hours later and to his credit they were all fine. Still, it did get me slightly worried.

*Foxy smoked. I know Abi's sick of hearing this, but it really was a shocker. He apparently smokes when drunk. Well, I knew that Smo smokes when he wants to get drunk as it thins the blood and so makes it quicker and cheaper. Still, this was something quite different. He also offered it around. Jimmy took a few puffs, but it was refused by me, Ming, Andy and Matt.

* The dancing was wonderfully cheesy after 10, when the DJ arrived. All the classics were pumped out, and I was happy to join Dav and others in appreciating them. When Ghostbusters came on, Dav, Jimmy and I celebrated, (recalling how the three of us came into school on the last day dressed as Ghostbusters, in Dav's mum's car which had been fitted out as the Ghostbustermobile). Dav and Andy attempted to remember the Men In Black dance routine Dav had created for the school variety show (and Dav still did better, despite being significantly drunker). The Macarena made an appearance, along with the approriate dance, as did The Timewarp. Classic.

* A rather drunken Jimmy talked to Abi. After mistaking her for Sarah (my ex-girlfriend) he then randomly started telling her about Shelley and other things. On the positive side, he seems to like Abi, although there may have been more drink talking than Jim!

* I only heard about this later, thanks to the school forum, but we did get this gem from Smo, talking to Grum about sex (what else?):

Smo: Does she take it up the wrong-un?

Grum: It's not something I would wanna do; it seems a bit gay.

Smo: No her putting on a strap-on and giving YOU one up the gary would be too gay.

For added effect, the music cut out for just the last few words of Smo's line, leaving people staring at him, confused and a little worried.

* Andy and I managed to get into a mock fight about something. It had something to do with him jabbing Abi for something (probably camera-related). I jumped on his back and he swung me about quite a bit.

* By the end, the only ones I noticed as really drunk were Dav (getting the prize for drunkest, by far), Jimmy (who had trouble with words) and Foxy (who by contrast turned into Mr. Suave). Grum and Ming were surprisingly sober, given the amount they had drunk. Smo was sober by necessity. All the girls managed to stay pretty sensible (although given the male : female ratio, this was less surprising!).

* When I changed from punting, I left my casual shirt, shoes and fleece in a plastic bag which ended up in Dav's mum's car. Unfortunately the food was then packed into it at the end of the night so I couldn't get to it when it was time to go home. Result: I went to Abi's house in London from Fri - Sun wearing for the most part an old pair of white trainers!

* And as far as I can tell, we were still £300 short by the end of the night...

Well, it was quite a party. If there's anything I have forgotten, please remind me and I will probably add it in at an appropriate point. Cheers all!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Crazy Pete

When preparing to go to uni, the Freshers' Week team asked for unusual photos of us, to stick in the freshers' booklet. I sent in this, taken in a photo booth, but sadly they must not have received them as none ever showed up in the booklet. Indeed, the set seemed to have been lost...until now.

By the way, I'm pretty sure it was Smo trying and failing to do bunny ears on me in the third pic.

Me, me, me, me. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Friday, September 16, 2005

My Thoughts On Abortion

Over the past few days I have made three posts on my other, essay-based, blog giving some of my thoughts on abortion. If anyone is interested I would love to have feedback on them in their comments sections, particularly on the second one.

[Click 'Show Original Post' after clicking the link if necessary]

Abortion And Sex
Abortion And Autonomy
Abortion And Rape


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Yaaaargh! Ahoy Mateys!

Yes, I've been sailing for the past few days with Abi, Andy, Gwen and Gwen's grandad. And yes, I did on occasion utter somewhat piratical phrases. That was me getting into the spirit. Ahem.

Of course, we were not engaged in actual piracy. Nor, for the most part, actual sailing. Due to an unfortunate lack of wind we only really managed to use the sails once, and on that day the weather was so extreme that we only stayed out for a relatively short while before heading back to our berth.

While we didn't *crash* the boat per se, there was an incident with a lock. We entered while there was still a great deal of turbulence and ended up at the mercy of the swirling waters. That meant that the back of the boat smashed (see, not crashed...) into the side of the lock, snapping a wooden board holding a motor (for the dinghy) in place. Nothing too drastic, although it was rather embarrassing hopelessly swirling around with the lock master shouting at us to get tied up!

So I'm back, and ready to start updating again. Yaaaargh!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Bloggers On Katrina

Okay, I have to note this down, having found the outrageous symmetry too much to pass by (note that liberal and conservative are used purely in their US contexts):

1. A liberal blog entry.

2. A conservative blog entry.

I am pretty much equally disgusted by both of these, and rather surprised at the dark side of human nature which has been revealed in these two blogs.

Let's have a look at 1.

"So why was I thinking of starting a movement against giving aid to the stricken areas?

Because these are red states. They voted for Bush. These ninnies obviously wanted these policies, and they deserve to live with the consequences of their votes."

So, his first reaction would have been to deny aid to victims of the hurricane, because they voted for Bush? He is very clear about this. For the record, I don't really dispute his attack on Bush's policies. What I oppose completely is the conclusion.

Even if we imagine that all the people affected were Bush supporters, and even if we were to conclude that they knew what they were letting themselves in for when they gave him their votes, that would still be absolutely no excuse to deny them aid! Come on, one of the key points of liberalism is compassion - leave the judgementalism to the conservatives. It is completely unforgivable to say that because of such poor choices, these people should be left to die horribly. If you can't see that, I don't think that much hope is left really.

His final conclusion to reject this does not excuse him because he does it only because he worries that Democrats will also be killed. This whole thing is, to me, completely immoral and disgusting. As a liberal myself, I feel sick that such a piece could come on a liberal blog.

On to 2.

"It's nice, it's charitable to help people out in either situation, but in neither case does the fact that a person is hungry give them the right to just take whatever they want."

The above is applied to essentials like food and clean water just as anything else. More arguments are given for this position than in the above, but the conclusion is equally vile. He is defending the starving and dehydrating people of New Orleans being denied the chance to retrieve essential supplies from deserted property.

There are four arguments here. The first is that the people to whom the property belongs would not feel it right to allow their property to be taken. To which I reply: You must balance interests. The right to property is important, but surely superceded by a genuine and desperate need for such things to survive. Surely this is common sense? It is like the old stealing bread to feed starving family problem, in its purest form. There really is no alternative.

Secondly, and most horribly, it is argued that these people deserve no better:

"Besides, what's the difference between: "Gee, I decided to stay in town after I was told to evacuate and I'm hungry," and "Gee, I didn't want to get a job and I'm hungry?" In either case, it's hunger caused by your own irresponsibility."

I will not go into socio-economics about how ignorant it is to assume that all people in poverty are their due to there own choices / laziness. Most sane people already know this. But even if we assumed he was right, just as in link 1, that does not justify depriving these people of their lives in horrible ways, for having made mistakes in the past. If nothing else, what about all the children suffering for their parents' 'fault' of poverty?

Thirdly, it is argued that accepting essential looting opens the door to non-essential looting. And fourthly, he argues that the distinction is impractical. Both of these are reasonable points, but do nothing to suggest that preventing all looting, even for essentials, is the answer. Most likely he is the type to desperately need black and white rules of what is right and wrong. Sorry mate, welcome to the real world.

Both of these are despicable conclusions based, I would argue, on a complete lack of empathy and compassion. I for one find them detestable and would hope that I am not alone.

NOTES: I would like to stress that neither of these opinions represent the mainstream of thought on hurricane relief / looting in either school of politics. Neither are, as far as I can tell, particularly prominent. However, I would argue that 2 is more closely based on US conservatism (neo-conservatism) than 1 is on US liberalism. This is because 2 relies on some good old mainstays of neo-conservatism: Blaming poverty on the poor, rough justice, and valuing property above lives (or, in a more class-war sense, the propertied above the lower classes).

I would also like to note the irony that I found 1 on a link from 2's blog. He had the gall to criticise it! Pot, meet kettle.

Also, scroll down from 2 to see more posts on the issue.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Temporary Work

Well, I didn't guarantee the satire would be brilliant, did I? Meh, if people liked it, feel free to comment. In fact, always feel free to comment.

Just wanted to put down my thoughts about the jobs I have done so far. It is not an incredible list. I have been unable to find proper jobs, and prefer flexibility anyway. Therefore, I do temp work. I've just finished it for this Summer, so here is my CV so far:

Last Summer:
Helped a cartographer map out levels in an old car park - 1 day.
Making / sorting packaging for computer games - 1 day.
Washed up and served in a company canteen - 4 days.

This Summer:
Picked out bad eggs and packed boxes at egg factory - 3 days.
Removed labels from plastic safety devices - 4 days.

So what's to learn from this? Well, firstly, that manual labour can be the pits. The absolute worst was the packaging computer games. Like a fool, I heard "You will be working with computer games" and thought "Ooh, I like them! It'll be fun!" Rookie mistake. After that, it was the egg factory. The stress of preventing the conveyor belts from building up a backlog, spewing eggs all over the floor was actually pretty acute.

But do you know the big difference which made these bad and made the de-labelling reasonably pleasant? In the latter I got a chair. I got to sit down rather than stand up all day. That's definitely worth something. Sitting down to work is wonderful. It gives me another reason to get my degree and get lawyering. Yes I'll be standing up in court, but for a lot of the time I'll be *sitting at my desk*! Excellent!

The other thing that caught my imagination was the job title I got for this latest job. Labelling Assistant. Hmm. Got me wondering whether it would look good on my actual CV. I mean, think about it. I get to put on my CV "Temporary Work:" and then describe the jobs I did. Nice titles like that aren't such a bad way to go. So, let's think about the others, shall we?

Temporary Work:
Cartographer's Assistant [Nice and simple.]
Packing Assistant
Kitchen Assistant
Quality Control Assistant [Bling! Just for removing bad eggs...]
Labelling Assistant

You see? Of course I'm an assistant in each, since it's temp work, but it looks much better than the original list I made, doesn't it? That's using your head...

Somewhat Random Satire

How Charlie Joined Fightstar

Fightstar: Well your resume is certainly impressive given the number of Top 10 hits your first band had in a rather short space of time. However, we’re just not sure you’re right for Fightstar. You see, we’re proper metal, and you were…well practically a boyband.

Charlie: Uh, that’s just not true! We spoke from the heart.

Fightstar: About attractive air hostesses and time travel?

Charlie: Don’t forget the Thunderbirds.

Fightstar: We’re really not sure this is a good idea… After all, why would you want to leave a band with such international success as Busted?

Charlie: Funny you should ask, cause I’ve prepared a song that should explain all that and persuade you to let me join!

Fighstar: Did you write it?

Charlie: Uh, I co-wrote it, like most of Busted’s songs…

Fightstar: Figures. Fine, go ahead.

Charlie: Ahem.

[To the same tune as the hit from ‘Grease’]

We’ve had hits, they're multiplyin', but my future’s looking bleak
Cause I’ve been to the year 3000, and Busted’s looking kinda weak.

You better shape up, cause I need a band,
and my heart is set on you
You better shape up, you better understand,
to my roots I must be true
Cause I’m a rocker through and through!

You're the one that I want (you are the one I want),
ooh ooh ooh, money!
The one that I want (you are the one I want),
ooh ooh ooh, money!
The one that I want (you are the one I want),
ooh ooh ooh,
I won’t settle
Until I’m singing Nu Metal!

If you're faced with dejection,
Not enough fame comes your way
Bag a singer from a pop group, get more pay.

I better shape up, cause you need a singer
To keep the fans satisfied
I better shape up, prove I’m not a minger
In my dulcet tones you should take pride
Hiring me’s not suicide!

You're the one that I want (you are the one I want),
ooh ooh ooh, money!
The one that I want (you are the one I want),
ooh ooh ooh, money!
The one that I want (you are the one I want),
ooh ooh ooh,
We’ll go far
If I can join Fightstar!

You're the one that I want (you are the one I want),
ooh ooh ooh, money!
The one that I want (you are the one I want),
ooh ooh ooh, money!
The one that I want (you are the one I want),
ooh ooh ooh,
With my looks and voice
Do you have a choice?


Fightstar: Wow. You’re so right. With you in the band we’ll have no trouble making it into the mainstream. How can we lose?

Charlie: Excellent! So I’ll be lead singer?

Fightstar: No, I think you’d be better suited to backing vocals.

Charlie: Okay. Buy I’ll get to write lyrics, right?

Fightstar: Um, we’ll get back to you on that one.

And so the next stage of Charlie’s epic music journey began…

A Little About Me

So here's about me, which is pretty pointless since I doubt many people will come here who don't know me already...

Okay, so my profile says I am a cynical idealist. I swing between cynical and naive. I belive that no matter an action, if at all possible someone somewhere would do it, for the right price. Or because they enjoy it. That's cynical. On the other hand I tend to be quite trusting of my friends, and I often defend the actions of public figures, putting the best possible light on it. Go figure.

I'm idealistic in that I believe that there is hope, and that while I might not be the one to make a difference in this flawed world, if enough people try then someone will manage.

I'm also an atheist, a secularist, a liberal, a Liberal Democrat, a republican (anti-monarchist, not in any way a fan of Bush) and a Law student. I could go on about any of them, and I probably will at some point. Suffice to say that that's a reasonable textbook summary of me.

I don't have many hobbies. At the moment writing is my primary hobby. I am busy writing my second novel, the second in a series of fantasy books. I wrote the first one last summer. That means that my mind has been working over the world of the stories for over a year now. I love stories. That's why I make them up. I can participate in them more wholly than when reading them or even watching them on TV or at the cinema. I can craft them and make them mine...while trying to make them interesting for others. I love it.

Another hobby I enjoy is writing satire. This was first really engaged about a year and a half ago. I was in my last year of Sixth Form, heading for my A Levels. I was taught History by the Head of History, Mr. South. He was a very unique character, and we had a strange relationship. He could irritate me incredibly, yet often kept me incredibly amused with his bizarre stories and way of being.

I was sitting around chatting with my chums when I came up with a rather random yet humorous idea - that Mr. South, or 'Southy', could secretly be a superhero saving the world from the forces of evil. And so Southman was born. My style was soon set: Scripts written as if for a play, satirising numerous and sometimes random targets. I ended up writing seven episodes of Southman, warmly received by the friends to whom I showed them.

The next big project after that took many many months. Having started university that summer, I began to work on a satire of my college, Hertford, and some of the legendary characters in its ranks. I made it as a parody of The Matrix, using a script of the film to get the dialogue right. It was called...The Matriculatrix. However, due somewhat to laziness and other factors, I didn't finish it at Christmas, nor at Easter. Nope, it was only this Summer that I finished it, and I'm awaiting more feedback...

Yeah, it's not particularly interesting to read about the satire I've done. So just for you, I'm going to put one of my smaller (and more random) works in the next post. You lucky things...

First Post

So, I started off blogging in an enthusiasm to get down all my exciting philosophical ideas. I managed to bemuse some people and completely failed to keep it going. But I like having some kind of public forum to say random things. Hence starting a new blog. Rather than attempting to be profound, its purpose will just change with what I want to say. Sometimes I want to be funny. Humour me. Other times I will want to be random or just reflective.

Ah well, let's go with it and see if this blog fades into the background like my last one!