I Know I Said No More Uni Talk…

And, I really won’t bring it up any further now, BUT….I made this…because I feel a bit giddy. I got my latest assignment result. And, seriously….I’m much more happy about the feedback that has come with it. It’s just wonderful. I cried. But, the mark is reflective of how wonderful the feedback is. So, I made a silly jokey thing. I love these screenshots of Jim from that short Canadian TV interview in 1981. Jesus Christ, what a beautiful man! So I allowed myself some fun with one. Taking the piss out of myself, ostensibly.

Anyway…the assignment result!

I am genuinely stunned. And you’ll know from previous posts just how much I was dreading having to reflect on my own work and how I feel I am doing so far as a student.

The lesson I take from it? To REALLY SEE my worth! And to SEE that I am doing very well with my study and I will only do better if I continue to apply diligence and persistence and stay the course! Finally, to know when to be hard on myself, and to truly know when I am being TOO hard on myself.

Thanks, Jim! Lol

Love you! ❤️

(As if he’d give two shits to whether I’m doing well or not. Never mind. It’s whether *I* care is the point that matters.)

Time To *REALLY* Knuckle Down, Kid!

I won’t be doing any more of these posts. Not for a while anyway. And by “these posts” – I mean discussing my study – here. What I *will* be posting here, I don’t know. I’ll ponder further in a moment.

Yesterday I submitted assignment number five for the year. The dreaded ‘reflective student progress’ essay. Thank fuck it was only needing to be up to 800 words long. I think I managed to write something objective and positive, with an optimistic outlook – but it really didn’t come easy.

These past few weeks – Covid, recovering from it, working on assignment number four, feeling like I had a real breakthrough with it, being really happy with what I submitted and then the result I got and the HUGE knock that gave me…it was tough!

Then to top that all off and follow it with having to objectively review my own academic progress? It wasn’t easy. My tutor was incredibly encouraging. She commended me on my diligence and told me the fact that I am even still committed to the module and actively studying is more than what most do at this point in this module. That the module has a high dropout rate and the fact that I am still studying speaks volumes (words not verbatim, but general gist).

I don’t want to be another dropout statistic!

The assignment is worth the lowest of all the percentage marks of the module at only 10% – it was important to do in a self-analysis sense, but I am not at all concerned with what kind of mark I got for it. Genuinely.

There is one assignment left, and its submission on September 6th wraps up this module. My study might continue from October, depending on the next module I take and whether I am eligible for student funding again.

In the meantime, I am three weeks behind with study! When I left for the gig at Blenheim Palace, I was a week ahead – just to highlight how far I have fallen behind. From this weekend (30 July), it should be summer break – one week off – but NOT for me! I will have only two weekends off until the final assignment is submitted. The weekend of the SM Edinburgh gigs, and the weekend of Strathaven Balloon Festival (26-28 August). That’s it!

Today begins the “knuckle down” and the final slog! I have a LOT to cram in within the next six weeks – but I am up for the challenge! There’ll be plenty of crises of confidence (can someone with NO confidence HAVE crises of confidence?) but I will spare you any of that talk here.

As a result of how much study I do need to catch up with, I can’t promise much content here on the blog, but I will try and keep things going to some degree.

Anyway, best crack on! Time waits for no man.

Images shared are of my ‘learning journal’. Something it was recommended we keep but I had as yet been keeping. I have started now and can truly see its benefits.

See you around September 7th!

The shadow of my arm when taking the photo of the cover adds to the art, don’t you think?
My handwriting NEVER improves…

Assignment Result…

Well, it was a great year in music… ‘72. I wanted it to be something that took away some of the sting from missing the Tao gig, but it’s just added to it.

I was ssooo proud if this piece. But there we go. “Pride comes before a fall” – that’s what they say, right?

A normal person…who had to get an extension from having gone through Covid, would be more than happy with a 72 given the circumstances that they had around the assignment. Not me! I am hard on myself. Very hard. And a 72 does NOT feel good enough.

I know I am always bad with getting my results, but this feels worst yet. The critique makes sense and I understand what elements I have missed out on and feel angry at myself for missing them or just…not getting it.

So…what do I do next? Tackle philosophy AGAIN? Shit…I dunno!

Am I learning? Am I growing? I genuinely have no idea today…

Eureka Day! The Assignment Breakthrough

I’ve had a breakthrough today. A ‘Eureka’ moment, so I’m thinking about this (pic below) right now….just for now. I’ll have to erase it from my mind shortly and get on with the task at hand. I feel ssoooo driven today now. And soooo capable! I can actually feel it. Almost a CONFIDENCE that I can do this assignment now. It’s only taken SIX WEEKS! Jeez-o!

EUREKA!

Water And Courage….

So much to tell, so little time. Back safe and sound in Glasgow but now assignment number four looms large. I have a week to get to grips with Plato, Socrates, Laches and Nicias – but just for tonight, I’ll think about “ArKERRmedes” and baths and being dripping wet.

I’ll try and make time for a review of the gig tomorrow but I have much study to do. No promises. Until then….a tantalising glimpse of the latest Mojo magazine. EUREKA!

A Friend Of Frank

What a difference a week can make, eh?

I tried to shield the blog from it as much as possible, although it didn’t escape unscathed as my mood last weekend was probably at the worst it had been all year – culminating in a complete anxiety attack and me considering chucking in the whole uni thing.

A combination of things, really. My appalling low self-opinion of myself, and my capabilities and the massive comedown from Paris… just all the things I do to myself combined with the PGD (Post Gig Depression). Just how ‘anti’ ME I am. If there happens to be any haters out there visiting this blog right now and are reading these words – TRUST ME – you could not hate me any more than I hate myself. Rest assured!

But this time I battled through it. Sunday and Monday were the worst days. Sunday I was feeling the worst anxiety I have had when approaching an assignment. I looked over the two options I felt I had for my assignment – The Blues or Writing Stories (ie: Creative Writing). I kept dismissing the writing stories topic because I am petrified of it. It was a hard week of study and only towards the end of it did I begin to enjoy it. I really enjoyed the blues week so it had always been the much stronger contender.

Anyway, I can’t go into too much more detail about it but suffice it to say that I was wracked with indecision and felt frozen with anxiety to even begin the assignment.

Things didn’t improve on Monday. I emailed my tutor in a cry for help. I explained all that was going on. A prompt reply with reassurance was the first step. A phone call followed the next day. That helped further.

I made a start on Tuesday. It all still felt so overwhelming but I was tackling it head on. Trying to look at it positively. Reassured by words from good friends. A good day of progress on Wednesday. A tutor session on Wednesday evening. More headway on Thursday. Inspiration from Graeme Thomson at the Mitchell Library on Thursday night. A lot more headway on Friday – all of this, slowly but surely lifted the weight and the clouds to now where I can clearly see and breathe, more relaxed yet still focused. Still apprehensive about the assignment – but at a point where if I really DO get a crap mark from it, it wasn’t through lack of trying!

ANYWAY! Short story is, as the week has progressed well and my mood has lifted day by day. We are halfway through the course, so I guess that was the time to have that massive ‘crisis of (no) confidence’ point nearly every student goes through.

I was smart enough to cry for help. To contact my tutor, instead of just trying to be this person who lets the blackness, anxiety and pressure overwhelm them.

Last night I had some fun. I won TWO Scrabble games – one pretty resoundingly – and just allowed myself to properly relax for the first time in … more than two weeks.

Frank’s hot pal.

Frank Gallagher posted this photo of Jim with the words “Sent ma pal some swag. He seems to be enjoying it.” It’s a nice pic. In an exercise in fun and frivolity and letting my hair down, I left a comment…

“Hey, your pal is hot – can I have his number?” with a couple of cheeky grinning winking emojis. Ah, why not? It’s not as if I am confessing anything new that NOBODY knows! Lol. I’m sure even that hermit guy they made that film about knows that I am a bit ‘gone’ on His Kerrness.

Frank is always up for a fun response anyway…and he didn’t disappoint… “Aye. How much you got $$$$”

Serious note…don’t I wish I could actually TALK to this man for longer than a constrained two minute window in the middle of a meet and greet? I guess I can just keep on wishing with that one…oh, well.

And…that smile! I wish that was for me too. I’ll pretend it is. “Good job on getting that assignment done, Larrrrrelllllle – you can do anything you put your mind to. Nae danger. Dinnae fash yersel!”

Fake it til you make it…

Temporary Hiatus – Minds Music Monday – Big Sleep

Not much will be happening here on the blog for the next week as I have to knuckle down for my next uni assignment. Demotivation is starting to rear its ugly head and I need to try and deal with that.

So here’s an apt Minds Music Monday choice. I chose this clip because Jim smiles a lot.

Ah, today’s post…seeing a lady share a photo of this beautiful smiling face she got from Jim. Jealous much? You bet I was! Nothing would make me happier than to see that smile and know that I had produced it…rather than…that look that says “Why are you still here? Please go home, go away. Tiresome woman.”

Wish I could put the ‘Big Sleep’ on my feelings…

When Words Feel Apt

Today’s study involved familiarising ourselves in using the OED as an online reference source (student access to it opens up more than you get by going to the site without student/teacher access).

We were asked to look up certain words that had been used in poems we’ve been studying this week. One of the poems was ‘The Captiv’d Bee: or, The Little Filcher’ by Robert Herrick. Herrick used several archaic and obsolete words, including the word ‘scrip’. His use of it was as its first definition (a small pouch or bag carried by a pilgrim) which he used in metaphor.

The word has/had other meanings, including this one (primarily a Scottish term, as you can see from the screengrab I took of the OED definition).

It struck a chord…

‘Oh, Jim
Am I destined to
Forever sufferance thy scrip?’

Cannoli Get Better?

Good news from His Nibs today in his latest post. A number of good news pieces, for him – Villa Angela has once again opened its doors (just in case that whole “being the frontman for the best live band in the world” suddenly starts to go all pear-shaped after 40+ years, like). Whilst it remained closed to the public during lockdown(s), the space didn’t lay dormant, as he went on to explain. The fruits of it in summary – new SM music making its way to the general public imminently. 

If the things I have been seeing bandied about in the fandom are to be believed, somewhere around October is the projected ETA. (Or should that be ETR – estimated time [of] release?) Just in time for my birthday…the final Friday of the month falling on October 28th. That’ll do me just fine, thank you very much! 

With that I am assuming there will be a plan for a tour next year to properly unleash it to the world in a similar vein to how Walk Between Worlds was thrust upon the world? Usually with new music comes a new tour, so I am very much hoping this will be the case. I already have targets in sight for where I’d like to see them play – somewhat dependent upon the venues chosen and my state of health and availability next year. As well as the old financial impact with such things! 

I’m already bringing my mindset back to being of the feeling of ‘less is more’ and ‘quality over quantity’ – so, all being good I’d like to do Amsterdam (must be the Paradiso venue though, otherwise…meh) and Berlin. At the moment I am seeing that, from Paris, the tour’s schedule takes them on to Berlin and it’s killing me! Berlin has been my ‘bucket list’ destination for more years than I care to remember now. So, Amsterdam would be nice, but Berlin is a must! And I’m not even fussed by the venue.

Pre-Covid, I could have just thrown caution to the wind and at this late stage had tagged on going to Berlin straight after Paris, but I can’t do that now. After Paris all I have left is Blenheim Palace and the two Edinburgh Summer Sessions shows and they’ll have to suffice this year. I’ve gone to fewer gigs this year than on previous tours, but only by ONE GIG – it just feels so much less this time. In real terms, and if I factor in that I had at least gone to Copenhagen before the tour halted in 2020, I haven’t gone to any less shows on this tour. Actually, with Copenhagen being my own personal SAF/SFC accumulative tally dilemma (ie: do I count it as two gigs or one? Two distinct and separately billed gigs, just on the one night – and a largely separate audience at both gigs, etc, etc – I count it as two) it could be argued that I will have been to TEN gigs on this tour and therefore it will have been my biggest tour yet!

I’ll have to be more concise and restrained next time. A few shows here in the UK, Berlin as my main overseas jaunt – possibly Amsterdam if it’s at the Paradiso…if not then maybe somewhere else in Germany…Hamburg or Cologne? We’ll see. I’m getting ahead of myself. Before moving away from the topic though, I need to factor in where I will be study wise as well and try and work around that also. I’ll have another module of my course to complete next year before I actually DO get my DipHE in English. Then I will be thinking about moving forward to getting an actual undergraduate degree. 

Briefly on that note – I had a ‘school day’ yesterday. Online tutorials taken as one long block like this, instead of the broken up evening options are referred to as a ‘school day’ as it is a day long set of tutorials starting at 10am and finishing at 3.15pm. I have really enjoyed the previous two school days I had attended and was highly anticipating this one but it left me a little … deflated and unmotivated, sadly. The first tutorial was good. The tutor is very engaging and likes to be very interactive with the students and that’s great. I personally found the topic of this block of four the least ‘interesting’ for me. I don’t know why? Perhaps because I studied the week prior to the block of SM gigs I had coming up, maybe? I should have found it quite interesting as I do love the visual arts, but of the visual arts, sculpture is something that I love most in its modern form and we were looking at Greek and Roman sculpture – from the Archaic Greek (used in its purely academic context), through to the Classical Greek, to the Roman style and only just coming into the time of CE (after the birth of Christ) – to the first and second centuries CE. So…very much NOT modern sculpture. It was enjoyable enough though. 

The next was ‘The Blues’ and this was where my interest lies the most especially for working on my next assessment. I am still weighing up whether to work on my assignment topic as being this, or whether I take a flying leap of faith in myself and take the ‘Writing Stories’ topic and hope for the best? The tutor was engaging but … I didn’t feel like I was getting good guidance or being instructed with much clarity and there were some technical issues that were hindering the tutorial so I came away from it feeling somewhat disappointed. 

We took a break for lunch. The creative writing (ie: Writing Stories) tutorial was next. It was a really tough study week for me, this topic. I didn’t feel any more confident about it being the next tutorial as I took my lunch break. I was dreading it in actual fact. The reality was ssooo different! The tutor scared the crap out of me at the beginning of the tutorial by saying “I am going to give you all time to write something out today”. I had flashbacks of the rare days I’d be in school and we would be given writing tasks and there’s me, staring at a blank page as the minutes tick by and I am paralysed with indecision and inability to put pen to paper on command. 

I embraced it when it came time. We were at least given a starting point. I ran with my starting point and wrote out nearly 200 words in the 10 minutes we were allotted to continue on with one of the story arc options we could choose from. When the tutor returned, we were given another 5 minutes to develop the story from a different perspective. I then wrote out another 80 odd words in the 5 minute allotted block. Both pieces were fluent, linear pieces of imagery and dialogue. Proper scenes. I was really pleased with that. Whether I do anything with it? Whether it becomes part of what I produce for my assignment? At this stage I am unsure. The next assignment is just over three weeks away and although I have done some minor planning (producing a plan is part of the mark for the next assignment), I am still weighing up on deciding my topic.

I seem to have to keep reminding myself who I am. A psychiatrist would have a field day with me, I’m sure! Also…nothing REMOTELY embarrassing revealed in some of the scribble, eh?

Finally, the last tutorial was on reading poetry. I have not studied the unit yet. I will be doing that this week (before Paris!). The tutor was not very engaging and got bogged down on the details of what was required and expected of students if they choose to take the reading poetry unit as their assignment topic. About halfway through I was losing the will to live! I was not engaged with this tutorial at all and I started doodling on this large brown cardboard backed envelope I have on my desk. (See the photo above for all the gory details.) We finished a little early – just after 3pm. I was ssoooo grateful!

Anyway, this was meant to be BRIEF! I’ve taken up half the post with my uni crap! Sorry! It’s the current grapple I have with this blog! I keep wanting to keep this current and fresh with Simple Minds news – but my own personal stuff is occupying my time.

In summary – THERE IS A NEW SIMPLE MINDS ALBUM(s?) TO LOOK FORWARD TO! And…with a new album comes a new tour (one would pretty much guarantee to assume).

YAY!!!

Learning The Craft And Not Chasing High Marks

More on what I shared yesterday – re: Summer Punch and taking the first steps into truly creative writing. The following was written out in my writer’s notebook on Sunday…


I have nothing to prove to anybody but myself. The learning is the most important aspect of my study. The acquisition of knowledge. The reflection of improvement through applied ‘trial and error’. Lessons learned from making mistakes. Not being scared to ‘slip up’ or ‘fail’. Knowledge is gained from trying and accepting failure – not by chasing ‘rewards’ or good grades. This I must remember and remind myself.

I have been so fearful of this creative writing unit this week that I haven’t been enjoying it. This is the reason I am doing this module! So I can learn to improve my writing skills. I think it has already started to do so and I am already putting much more thought into sentence structure and how I organise my words and express my thoughts.

To really improve my writing and become a better writer I need to step out of my comfort zone and I need to stop placing so much emphasis on grades. Of the grades I get on my assignments. Of course, I don’t want to fail my module! But if I do, I may learn more from the experience as a result.

‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself’ (Roosevelt, 1933). I have to stop fearing failure. I need to remind myself that to fear failure is to already fail. Apply myself to the right things for the right reasons.

References:
The White House (2022) Presidents: Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States.
Available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/presidents/franklin-d-roosevelt/
(Accessed: 26 April 2022).