Back to uni, back to reality week 2

A long blog this week but quite a lot has happened. Most of it is not about life at uni but that is the reality part!

And so to week 2 back at uni and it started off with a typical dark, wet drive to Huddersfield on Monday morning. The mornings are getting darker and for some strange reason that also brings with it rain! Mind you it wasn’t too bad. A light drizzle that necessitated the use of headlights on the car but nothing too bad. I don’t mind a morning drizzle to be honest and once I’d got to Huddersfield it added a bit of atmosphere to the morning and made the stroll through the town centre to uni more enjoyable. Everybody else seemed to have an extra step in their stride too as they didn’t want to get wet but I enjoyed taking my time and watching other people rush about.

My first lecture on a Monday morning is Film and Cinema and this is fast becoming my favourite lecture. I’m not usually one to watch films but studying classic British social realism films is reigniting my interest in films. The seminar was very interesting for one particular reason for me. It highlighted a gulf in opinion between those students like me who look for the minute detail in the films such as the mention of a car which was a luxury for most people in the 60s and those students who found the films boring, lacking action and seemed surprised that they were made in black and white! It’s a shame because I feel they are missing out seeing the creation of a new genre of films that helped show Britain in a different light and shape working class culture as we know it today. A documentary about the dramatist Shelagh Delaney and her home town of Salford really rammed the point home. When showing the back streets of Salford and the people the film was in black and white and some of the cinematography was beautiful with the rain seemingly making a hole in the roofs of the houses so sharp was the image quality. In complete contrast was Shelagh herself talking about her life but filmed in colour. You got a real sense of Shelagh being the future of Salford against the grit and grime of old working class Salford.

Monday evening brought another Puzzle Hall Poets event and this one was amazing. Everybody was on top form and the delivery of the readings was so good. It was a real pleasure to not only by there but to read some of my own poems and be a part of it. Although I’m still not entirely convinced by the quality of my own work and my reading ability everybody else seems to enjoy it so who am I to argue! I enjoy writing and performing and this has given me an opportunity to discover my own creative talents which I never knew I had! If you want to do, something just do it. You may surprise yourself!

Which nicely leads me into a discussion I had this week with a writing friend about how to write contemporary poetry? As with any art form it is a highly contested view as to what does and does not constitute contemporary poetry but one of the standards is economy of words. This is difficult for me as I am a very wordy person but it is also something that I could do well to learn, saying what I want to say in as few words as possible. But again I found myself asking the question is a poem good because it conforms to an acceptable standard or because it gets across the message you want it to? Can reducing the words take away from the meaning or does it add clarity and focus to it? It’s something I’m going to look into and see if I can improve my poetry by reducing my word count and hopefully adding more focus to my poetry.

Tuesday brought nothing more exciting than having to listen to a lecturer laugh after every single sentence they uttered. You’re not a comedian dear no need to add the laughter.

Wednesday was a strange day. Firstly an early morning visit to my physiotherapist for treatment on my left Achilles which has been giving me pain for quite a few weeks now. If anybody goes for a sports massage be prepared for pain! I was almost in tears as she rammed her fingers into the back of my leg. I wasn’t prepared for it and thought it would be nice and gentle but no, pain is the way with a sports massage and I will be prepared next time! It does work by the way so it is worth the money and the pain.

Next was what I assumed to be a routine visit to the opticians for an eye test but turned out to be anything but. Unfortunately it turns out that I have a build-up of fluid behind my right eye which is affecting my vision. I’ve now got an appointment at the eye hospital for more tests so until they are done I don’t know anything more. I can still see out of my right eye and it has been caught quite early so fingers crossed it won’t be too bad.

Thursday brought a welcome return of one of my favourite lecturers mainly because her voice is so……………….distinctive? Always a pleasure to be in one of her lectures because she is also quite funny too but still gets the message across effectively.

Thursday night was another poetry reading event this time a new one at the Square Chapel, Halifax. Again some amazing performances but the standout for me was a poem written about two English girls of Yemeni descent who were taken back to the Yemen and sold by their father into slavery to two very distant relatives. A very touching and moving poem. Once again I got favourable comments about my voice and my delivery even though I felt that I’d made a mess of my poem.

Friday and two of my favourite lectures that really make you think about your own and others identity and how it is created. How much influence do we have over the creation of our own individual identity? Do others create it for us without us realising it?

And so to Sunday after a busy Saturday. I’ve been quite productive today and will be in bed soon ready for another busy Monday. Take care everybody.

2 thoughts on “Back to uni, back to reality week 2

  1. I am jealous! You sound to have some lectures that are right up my street. Interesting that you ed on identity theory. Perhaps your late diagnosis has given permission to carve out a new identity for yourself as you learn and work on aspects of your condition? I also find it fascinating that we are an older generation still finding our way in the world and then to contrast that with 18 year old Joel who is rushing headlong to find his own identity.
    I also like what you have written about challenging your word count. It is one of my constant battles and I don’t think we are the only ones. I am just reading Gaia’s book and her poems have real economy about them but it only heightens or deepens where appropriate. My old Professor used to make me take every 4th word out regardless and it is really worthwhile exercise! You can be amazed with how much meaning you retain.
    Another insightful blog entry Andy.


    1. Thanks Louella. I’m very interested in how people’s social identity is shaped and maintained by different factors many of which we aren’t even aware of. The lectures are very insightful and give a glimpse into how society is formed and nurtured by factors beyond our control. I’m creating a new identity for myself daily at the moment which is exciting but draining as well. I think we all do it regardless but it’s the pace of change that differs.
      I mentioned the word count because I only thought is was fair to do so and not have people scrolling down for ages thinking when will it end!


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