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May 4th 2005

Elections are just around the corner, and as a former LibDem party member, I had been pretty sure I was gonna vote for them - but now I've changed my mind. I'm not going to vote at all. Probably. I expect many of you are now spluttering into your whiskey, indignant that I'm not fufilling my obligation as a member of the Great British public (now there's an oxymoron of sorts) I can give several reasons. Firstly, my vote won't make a jot of difference ("If everybody said that...!" Yeah, shuddup) - if I go for a postal vote, I can reduce the local Tory majority by a tiny percentage. If I vote here, it won't swing it, I assure you. And nationally - well, Labour would win if I cast ten thousand votes. It's not just the complete lack of effect my vote would have that stops me voting - it's also that I actually discovered some LibDem policies (ta Becky). Apparently (and I'm not sure, so don't take this as fact) they want to legalise cannabis and make ecstasy Class B - if true, reason enough not to vote for them. Anyhow, the whole political thing bores me - our country wouldn't be any different if a Tory government was in charge, really... the policies of the three main parties are; Tory: "Look how bad Labour are!" Labour: "Remember how bad Tories were?" LibDems: "We can be second best! Er... council tax!" Politics is impossible to take seriously, so enough of that. Here's something I started to write before my computer went away for repair, and have just finished writing: [Don't read this if you don't want to know the storyline to Phantom of the Opera]. Last night I went to see Phantom of the Opera at the student cinema, having never seen the stage production. I had, however, heard (and played on the piano) most of the songs, and had vaguely pieced together the storyline from those songs and from hearing people talk about it. Well, first of all, my vague notions of the story are, to my mind, better than the real storyline (assuming that the storyline of the film is the same as that of the original musical) - I mean, I didn't really have a beginning or an end in mine, and it would last about five minutes... but it was dramatic. Anyhow, the film had several 'years later' sections, which proposed a slight problem - in order to differentiate between the two, they decided to make one period of time b&w, but didn't want to shoot the majority of the film in monochrome, so the later sections are b&w, whereas the earlier (chronologically, of course) are colour. Only a minor quibble, and I really can't see any other way of getting round the problem, so I don't hold it against them. Some problems I do have; (i) they showed too much of the Phantom's face - I know he had only half a mask, but I think he should be a shadowy figure for much longer than he was; (ii) the 'good guy' (can't remember his name... I think he was a Viscount) seemed obnoxious at first, and throughout much of the film I was unsure whose side we were on - his or the Phantom's. Maybe the subtlety was deliberate - probably - but I prefer my heroes and villains to be clear cut; (iii) there was a woman in the 'later' scenes at the beginning who I thought was Christine (the heroine), and from what happened, I thought that the Viscount hadn't seen her for years, leading me to believe that, when given the ultimatum, Christine chose the Phantom. I'm not sure whether they were deliberately confusing me (and me alone) so that the happy ending (or was it?) came as an unexpected surprise... or whether it was just badly done. (iv) the songs, although good, didn't always quite fit into the storyline - the title song, in particular, seemed to give the characters knowledge they wouldn't have had. Despite these problems, the film was enjoyable, and would have been just for the excellent music... All I Ask Of You, Music Of The Night, Phantom Of The Opera.... they're great. One thing that came to me as I was watching was the 'good guy' (Rauel may have been his name, now I come to think of it) - his face was almost always shot half in shadow, which I'm sure means something (Phantom's face...) and, if I had my English Lit hat on, I could come up with something, but I'd rather have a reason I believe. That brings me on to the motif of masks... this is going to be a slapdash, but obviously the mask is an important symbol in Phantom - there are many masks, some (most) more metaphorical than others. Firstly, there's the mask that the Phantom wears (it gets better). Then Christine sings "I am the mask you wear" - she is his front, through which he works his genius. Other potential masks are... I dunno... fear? You can fill in the rest of the list. That'll do.

I have a theory, from a cursory reading of the papers, that the Beatles are still mentioned in the Times every day. I see this a testament to the fact they surpass any other band... but talk is cheap, so, starting last Monday, I'm cutting out an article every day (except Saturday... paper costs more) that mentions the word 'Beatles' - and blue-tacking it to my wall. Since Monday, I've had a 100% success rate (in fact, I've already seen the word three times in today's Times... but I'm only counting the first one I saw). I'll let you know how it goes.

May 6th 2005

OK, I caved and voted. Lib Dem. Just to please Dad, actually... not because he's a LibDem, but because he's very much in favour of voting.

May 7th 2005

Did I ever mention that I don't like revision? I am actually taking the assignment sheets as a pleasant break. Other things that I currently don't like are the fact I have a cold, and... well, that seems about all that's going wrong right now. Things that are good are that it's my half-birthday today, and that the first five days of Beatle-searching in the Times have proved successful. I was seriously worried on Thursday, and was reading through every article in detail (even the radio listings)... and I can't say how glad I am that Johnnie Stewart's dead. Because it was in his obituary that the word Beatles featured three times, and there was even a picture of them (although I now think that they might be the Stones...). Even more excitingly, Mr. Stewart (the first producer of TOTP, in case you didn't know) was born on the 7th November. Like me, you fool. I'm not searching today cos the Saturday Times costs 1 as opposed to 20p (student price) every other day... maybe I'll pinch a copy from Iain...

May 14th 2005

I know, I know, I haven't been updating recently... but I have an excuse, and it's revision. I figure that if I live like I have no life for the next few weeks, I can emerge healthily and successfully. Here at Warwick, as I've mentioned before, I'm pretty much in the same boat as everyone else - comparative intelligence is never really talked about, because it would be pointless... we all come from being among the cleverest at our respective schools (I assume... not really asked) but now, none of us really stands out. And I like it like that. Except... I want to be the best. And not for the reasons you might think - my ideal situation would be for me to be the best, but no-one (except me) to know... well, perhaps not the best, but near the top, and I want it not to be really worth mentioning. Anyway, that ain't gonna happen unless I keep up the work, so let's get out of this kerfuffle and change the topic to Bob Dylan. As you will almost certainly know, I am a big fan of the Beatles (of which, more later), but am increasingly wondering whether Bob Dylan is better than either Paul or John individually. Lennon/McCartney, let alone the Beatles, beat anyone else out of the water, but they had each other to work with, as well as George and (cough) Ringo. Dylan worked alone, and changed the face of music perhaps as much as the Beatles did... he also was a great influence on them - actually, it might be more accurate to say that he was a catalyst for them, as he was for many. Anyhow, he's great. Next point about the Beatles - the great Times hunt is over, lasting Eight Days, aptly enough. Next point about the Beatles - I bought Anthology the other day, a set of 5 DVDs of interviews etc, for 20 - very cheap. Very cheap, it turns out, because the DVDs were copies... so I complained. Despite the obviousness of the copies, they denied it, but said I could have a refund if I returned them... feeling somewhat bullish, I told them that I wouldn't send the DVDs back just so they could pass them off to some other mug, and I gave them negative feedback. Next thing I know, they've given me negative feedback - not only that, but they accused me of sending 'THREATNING EMAILS' and claimed that they were underging legal proceedings against me. Talk about sour grapes. Anyhow, I'll end as I began, by saying goodbye.

May 23rd 2005

Yep, it's another 'updating because I feel I ought to rather than having any actual reason' kind of entry. Just like to point out: Doug's latest update was April 27th. Ben's latest update was April 6th. So I'm not the worst blogger out there! Exams start in a couple of days, and I'm much more confident about them then previously... I've just about got used to this new definition of 'confidence', cos at A-Level maths, I wasn't confident unless I was getting at least 95% on all the past papers, and sharpish. This time round, I might do shockingly, I might do well... I just don't know. I think I need to redefine 'success' as well... my last exam is, by the way, on Powly's birthday - the day before his first exam. Lovely. Till next time.

what was I listening to?
The Essential Collection - Bob Dylan
what was I reading?
The Times
what was I watching?
The Phantom of the Opera
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