The other day, I think it was a teacher, mentioned that they've 'read my blog'. My heart sank. That self-indulgent, aimless, embarrassing piece of shite? I don't know why I haven't deleted it off the face off the internet.
So what have I written about on this blog? Some strangely dark whingings about Christmas ending (looking back I sound nearly suicidal; I promise I wasn't planning to hang myself with some tinsel). A couple of half assed TV reviews, one of which, for 'Derek', I actually bothered sending to Gervais through Twitter. As if he'd actually have read it, and go 'Yes Elliott, I agree with all the points you made, both the positive and constructive, and plan to take them on board for the second series. By the way God doesn't exist and here's a photo of me in the bath.' What else? Moaning about my Cambridge essay not getting anywhere. Looking back on it, I'm not surprised. It wasn't that bad, albeit quite convoluted, poorly researched and referenced. I've written one since (ironically for a lower-ranked insitution, not that I'm too bothered about that sort of thing. I refuse to step foot inside an ex-poly, though) and it was much better; that is, it actually made sense.
What else? Some crappy poetry, some more moaning. The only thing I'm slightly proud of is that short film I did, which currently stands at 9 likes to 14 dislikes, and NEARLY 500 VIEWS. At first I was appalled at the fact that 14 people would actually go out of their way to express their dislike for me, but upon reflection, they say that great art splits opinion. And it's surprising really that that many people actually got it, or at least realised I wasn't actually like that. I highly doubt anyone grasped the true meaning of it, but then again, I don't think I did either. I'm willing to bet those 14 people also think Keith Lemon is a real person, or think that The Big Bang Theory* is funny.
So where the hell was I? Right, that really this little corner of the internet has gone to complete ruin, and was probably never good in the first place. So instead of hoping people forget about it, I've decided to redeem the blog, and consequently myself, if we're being dramatic about it. And by redeem I basically just mean post on it a bit more and try to make it slightly less shit. After all, as much as I love twitter, sometimes I do want to go on a tangent. And that's it really.
What's been happening with me? Got me results. AABB. Ignore what I prattled on about in my last post, I'm actually really proud of them. And why this sudden change of heart? Partly because since I've realised that your AS-levels don't exactly have to match your final A level grades (I could still even get A*A*A , so I can still apply with a decent chance at all my chosen universities. Secondly, I remember searching for 'AABB' on Twitter out of boredom on results day, only to discover a good few people moaning about the fact that they 'only' got AABB; I believe one twat said 'meh'. Meh? What the fuck is wrong with you? Those are great grades which will allow you to apply anywhere, with the possible exception of Oxbridge (my overall UMS average was actually higher than what those grades suggests, you see, so I'm still applying to Cambridge), and you're whinging that you didn't get four As? You're worse than me!
Hence, I made a conscious effort to be satisfied with my grades, just to distance myself from these people. And I haven't even covered the fact that grades have no bearing on your self-worth, nor do they really have much of your bearing on your actual intelligence. As much as I like doing fairly well academically, I think it's far more important to demonstrate your intelligence, which is impossible to objectify through marks or grades anyway, to express an opinion, or make someone laugh, or make someone consider different possibilities. I can't abide these arseholes who I see on The Student Room messageboards (a website I only frequent to check a few facts and ask the occasional question, I promise) who get four As at AS level and then ask incessantly whether they're good enough to get into Oxbridge because their UMS average is only 98%, wah wah wah. All these people need to do is check the website, see if they exceed the minimum entry requirements, apply and just hope for an interview; and if they get it, just give it their best, because that's the most anyone can ever ask of you. It's times like this where I think the rise of the phrase '110%' has really damaged our perceptions; it intrinsically implies that we must attain impossibly (and literally impossibly) high expectations for ourselves, exceeding the maximum we're capable of. Of course that maximum can change with experience and confidence, but to exceed your maximum is illogical; and with all illogical things, such as religion and celebrating armed force, it really isn't healthy for anyone.
So that's me done. What else? Obligatory references to the Miley Cyrus incident? Hur hur twerking hur hur. Idiots.
*Interestingly I have watched pretty much every episode of this. Why? A kind of morbid, self-turtuous fascination, in addition to familial obligation. It kind of annoys me when people say TV shows are shit when they haven't even watched one episode. Well, I've watched every episode, and I can safely say it is shit.
Yeah, me again. If you weren't already aware I haven't really been using this blog for quite a while now. Purely because Twitter has fulfilled my need to spout shite quite satisfactorily. In fact, you were probably directed to this blog from a tweet of mine. Instead of abandoning the blog entirely, I have concluded to use it as a platform for any ideas of mine that exceed 140 characters. Frankly, that isn't very often, so savour this.
In two days time the A-level, or in my case AS-level results are revealed. Not only will they decide whether I ever have to do any RS work ever again (it's quite catch-22; do too badly and I may have to retake, do better in it than another subject and I would be inclined to carry it on), but will also (less importantly) dictate which universities I can and can't apply to. As I've always said, I don't really see the point of going to university if it isn't a good one. I've already got a rough idea of the outcomes of each possible grade combination. AAAA; this. AAAB; not going to argue with that. AABB; no Cambridge for me, but who cares, they're all probably posh sods anyway. Interestingly I won't think that if I do get the required grades. ABBB or BBBB; off to Southampton for me then. Anything lower and I'll go and do BTEC Bricklaying; i.e, it's not going to happen. So essentially, it's all kind of a big deal.
Yet despite this, in the days leading up the big reveal, an odd calmness has descended upon me. Transcending the potential severity of the situation in its influence on my future fortunes, I've reached a point in my catastrophising where I can't physically comprehend the fact that the grades will actually appear on the paper. To put it in a way less mental, I don't see myself getting what I want, nor do I see myself getting a nasty shock. In the cerebral process the two cancel each other out. Put simply, I have no preconception of how it's going to go, nor is it apparent that a preconception need be necessary, useful or possible. To further simplify, I have no idea what to expect. Thus, in the preceding days I've begun not to worry (which has come about largely naturally, notably), instead becoming inclined to revel in this aforementioned vacuum of expectation. I'm considerably better prepared for if my results are what I expect (I haven't really looked at any Universities outside of the Russell Group, the twattish snob I am), but even if I do succeed, further challenges will arise in maintaining those grades over the next year and applying to these ruddy University things. Before I get my results I am free of obligation; I can't exactly do a lot in terms of research and preparation when it may soon transpire that a major rethink would be necessary.
So I've basically just been getting up late, playing a bit of Pikmin 3 (great game), reading a bit of Madame Bovary (great book), listening to some classic Hip-Hop albums (great musical genre) and watching Coronation Street (excellent television programme). It's the most chilled I've ever been. I'm practically horizontal. I look in the mirror and think, 'who's that chilled out cat?'. Well, I don't really, but I felt the point deserved embellishing. So what is my point in all this? I don't know, I suppose I just felt the need to document this rather tranquil little point in my life. Usually I'm pretty anti-anything remotely relaxing, with a tendency to label such things boring or unproductive, and up until recently I've felt a bit frustrated by the lack of structure a summer holiday brings. But right now, a rare moment indeed, I feel perfectly at ease with the concept of wallowing in my own crapulence. I don't even care that this is a pretty averagely written blog that only a few would read, and even fewer care about. Thursday, in all truthfulness, seems years away.
A few months ago I mentioned how I entered an essay prize competition organised by the University of Cambridge. Sadly, but to no great surprise, I didn't get anywhere with it. Dissapointing though I found this, I completely understand that I'm probably not as good a writer as my ego ocassionally tricks me into believing. Suspiciously however, all of the winners (I shan't name them; there's already a big enough witch hunt occuring in this country at the moment) come from (I know this, I checked each one) highly selective, fee-paying, altogether priveleged 'schools', meaning I have no doubt that each and every one of the fuckers had specialist help*. Now I'm not bitter, clearly, but I'm quite adamant about the fact that I had no help whatsoever. I approached no teacher at my modestly funded, local comprehensive sixth form college, and as for my parents; well, they're morons, which rules that out. Am I a victim of inherent class prejudice? Or was my essay just not that good?
*I should probably point out I'm (probably) joking.
For you to come to your own conclusion, have a read;
one hears a young man with no talent say when asked what he intends to do, “I
want to write”. What he really means is, “I don’t want to work”.’ (W.H. Auden)
Discuss the ways in which two or more literary works have reflected on the
labour and/or playfulness of writing.
While the composition of literature has remained a revered artistic
institution, the nature of its creation is still a cause of dispute and mystery.
Though divides over many aspects of literature can be attributed to difference
of interpretation, that is regarding the connection between the text and
audience, establishing the connection between the author and text proves to be
a far more challenging task; one, it seems, that cannot be fully explained by purely
examining contextual evidence or autobiographical account. The two texts
explored for this essay, Oscar Wilde’s epistle De Profundis, and George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, are both surrounded
in infamy pertaining to the life of the author at the time of writing and are,
to varying extents, textually reflective of their own creation.
Conversely, to answer a question stemming from a perceived youthful
attitude, both examples were written towards the end of each author’s life, yet
their respective personal circumstances reflect great relevancy particularly in
the question of labour; De Profundis
was composed during Wilde’s imprisonment at Reading Gaol, where he suffered
from harsh conditions, an incompatibly regimental lifestyle and dwindling
health, while Nineteen Eighty-Four was
written by Orwell while he was experiencing grief for the death of his wife in
addition to the debilitating effects of tuberculosis, the disease which would
result in his death; effects so profound that the novel has been dubbed ‘the
masterpiece that killed George Orwell’ (McCrum, 2009). Both
examples succeed in challenging Auden’s sentiment, yet through them writing can
also, perhaps equally, be perceived as some form of release, pleasure or simply
question of artistry in De Profundis;
duty or pleasure?
his portraiture of Jesus Christ as an artist, while drawing comparisons to his
own artistic identity, Wilde perhaps inadvertently examines the creation of art
in itself, thus providing potential insight into the nature of writing. He
describes Christ as ‘one with the artist who knows that by the inevitable law
of self-perfection, the poet must sing, and the sculptor think in bronze…’
Through these analogies Wilde alludes to a sense of duty within an artist, and
by extension writer, to achieve ‘self-perfection’, which entails some extent of
dedication. Whether such dedication, or indeed vocation, is of toil or of
pleasure is further questioned by his view that ‘to the artist, expression is
the only mode under which he can conceive life at all’. Though this introduces
an element of necessity to this artistic duty, it is still unclear whether
writing merely satisfies this requirement, devoid of surplus attachments, or
carries with it additional pleasures; a pleasure reliant on knowing one has
conceived such life, perhaps.
confusion may be solved by assessing the description of art Wilde proposes in De Profundis; ‘the conversion of an idea
into an image’. The act of conversion denotes labour, or at the very least a
process that requires an external or indeed internal catalyst for it to occur.
Regardless of the nature of this catalyst, this remains a prominent allusion to
the notion that the creation and act of writing, or at least writing that can
be considered art, does not come without burden or the requirement of an effort
of some kind. The status of writing and art continues to be explored in De Profundis as Wilde, intentionally or
otherwise, initiates a reflection of the relationship between the two. ‘If I
ever write again, in the sense of producing artistic work…’ he begins, implying
a distinction between the creation of ‘artistic work’, previously defined by
Wilde as the conversion of ideas into images, and a form of writing that it is
not artistic; therefore, one that does not follow this process.
‘ideas’ and ‘images’ were to be taken in a broad sense, disregarding
qualitative merit, then this sentiment seems unfathomable. As this supposed
non-artistic alternative contradicts the very act of writing, extending to the
most rudimentary of text, it is safer to assume that Wilde has, quite contradictorily,
altered his aforementioned definition of art, elevating it to ambiguous heights
beyond the conversion. Otherwise, all writing would be art, conflicting with
the common perception that the production of art requires a degree of cerebral
labour; far surpassing, it should be stressed, the basic capacity to formulate
written communication. It could be said, then, that Wilde acknowledges the
fluidity of the nature of art and the artist in relation to writing;
maintaining that while art in its
purest definition is the formulation of images derived from ideas, to be an artist requires a demonstration of
endeavour to achieve self-perfection through art; clearly, a labourious task.
Nineteen Eighty-Four: self and circumstance
Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four does
not address the concept of art or its creation per se, the nature of writing is implicitly referenced through the
device of protagonist Winston’s secret diary. The creation of the diary is highly
forbidden under the heightened ideological suppression citizens of the
fictional continent Oceania are subjected to, as administered by the fearful
‘Thought Police’; which in itself predisposes Winston’s writing as dangerous,
thus unavoidably necessary and unlikely to hold the potential of playfulness. Winston’s
attempts are indeed tumultuous, yet on one occasion begin with startling
finesse and sensitivity as ‘his pen had slid voluptuously over the smooth
paper’, a distinctly romantic description with lavish, arguably sexual
connotations; both pen and paper are given archetypal feminine qualities of
voluptuousness and smoothness, indicative that the act of writing is of an
intimate and pleasurable nature.
this act of writing proves to be, initially at least, unaffectedly exuberant
even when its occurrence is surrounded by circumstantial hostility and is itself
ultimately futile; critically so as Winston realizes ‘whether he went on with
the diary, or whether he did not go on with it, made no difference. The Thought
Police would get him just the same.’ Reality takes hold over Winston’s
emotions, and he experiences a ‘twinge of panic’, one that is ‘absurd, since
the writing… was not more dangerous than the initial act of opening the diary’,
which momentarily suggests a detachment between the act of writing and intent
behind it, whilst also affirming the gravity of the former’s potentiality; so
much so, that merely opening the diary is a cause for alarm. At this, Winston
‘began writing in a hurried untidy scrawl’, a description containing a semantic
field of agitation noticeably contrasting with the romanticism previously
drastic change reflects a notional strong influence of the author’s current
mood upon his writing; it is apparent Winston’s mood affects not only the quite
extraneous fact of the quality of his handwriting but the content and style of
his work. While calm, Winston ably prints the capitalized words ‘DOWN WITH BIG
BROTHER’, ‘over and over again, filling half a page’; the meaning behind his
words are clear and encompassing. Whilst ‘seized by a kind of hysteria’, he
writes ‘theyll shoot me i don’t care theyll shoot me in the back of the head i
don’t care down with big brother’ and so on. The punctuation suffers and he
fails to make necessary capitalizations, and the words used are considerably
more emotive, stark, and reflective of Winston’s paranoid mentality. If this
link between the author’s temperament and constitution of their writing is to
be accepted and believed to possess the strength exemplified here, then writing
appears an extension of the author; neither a chore nor a pleasure, but a necessary
manifestation of their disposition amalgamated from both the conscious and
subconscious recesses of their psyche, it would seem. Such a proposition is
encapsulated by the moment when Winston ‘discovered that while he sat
helplessly musing he had also been writing, as though by automatic action’.
not always obviously, both of these literary works evidently reflect on the
labour and playfulness of writing to an insightful degree. Wilde’s
contemplative epistle De Profundis
suggests the writer must oblige to a certain duty; a distinctly laborious duty of
dedication which, if followed, should grant the writer artistic capacity. Wilde
does not appear to prohibit enjoyment gained from writing; though according to
this deontic proposition it would seem that doing so, to jeopardize said duty
by compromising attempts of self-perfection in any way, may never result in
work that can be considered truly artistic. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell explores the relationship between writer
and text in a particularly intimate sense; not necessarily defining the purpose
of writing, but by dwelling on how writing reflects its author’s emotions,
circumstances or even existential state, and consequently whether this
manifestation can be regarded as labour or playfulness; it would seem, perhaps
both, or something else entirely.
the concepts of labour and playfulness are not assumed to be mutually
exclusive, then perhaps these texts support the view that writing may be simultaneously
both a pleasure and a chore. However, such a premise would raise the question of
which may outweigh the other; a question which can only be answered by close analysis
of a text itself coupled with a knowledge of the text’s creation, and clearly,
this does not agree upon a universal nature of writing. What can be concluded,
however, is that these examples have shown that writing is a truly unique human
experience, its complex nature resultant of numerous factors thus not easily
divisible into ‘labour’ or ‘play’. There is only so much that can be deduced
from the product of writing, this being the writing itself; the process behind
it, though indeed reflected copiously, is ultimately only ever experienced by
the author, thus understanding of it is unique to them and indeed differing for
each authorial individual. As for Wilde and Orwell, their long-deceased state
renders such a mystery all the more elusive.
Day number three,
unless you're one of those pricks who insists Sunday is the first day.
Regardless of how the ordering of days would transpire
it would remain dire
Wed with sadness
much like this rhyme, riddled with badness
neither an end nor a beginning
nor an adequate medium
betwixt our madness
it stands with tedium.