Saturday, 23 August 2014

Week three over: 4 days to go

Thanks to a bank holiday in England (but not in Scotland; looks like Beastie's working on Monday then) I'm well on my way to the end of my internship.

I'm also watching "8 Out of 10 Cats does Countdown" and I worked out the numbers game, so I'm pretty smug at the moment. I hope it doesn't bleed through too much.

I should have been writing my dissertation today, but for some reason when I woke up my eyeball felt like someone was trying to inflate a balloon behind it. It's an oddly recurrent sensation, but here's hoping if I do nothing it'll just go away by itself.

What...what are you doing back here?

In any case, its been an incredible month and while I won't miss getting up at half five - especially heading back to braw Aberdeen, where it's already distinctly colder than it was when I left - it has told me loads about the industry, all of which I'm going to apply with vigour once I get back.

Speaking of getting back - French courses are up for next year, and by the looks of things there are some exciting courses next year. I need 75 credit points, and my choices are:
  • History and structure of the French language
  • Contemporary French thought
  • New Wave Paris
  • The politics of difference in contemporary France
  • Modernity and change in postwar France
  • Literature and science in nineteenth century France
  • French theatre (oooh!)
  • The Renaissance in France
  • The 21st century novel in French
  • Post independence to Diaspora: the postcolonial African Novel in French
Nothing like a long title to give one faith in the course. 

They're all 15 credit points, so I need to pick five. Only five! Of course, I could pick them all, but then I'd probably fail them all, and that would be a disaster. Besides, I'm planning on sneaking into lectures on the International Relations/Politics side of things. Fingers crossed they won't notice the Arts student. 

Professor: "So how should Russia, considering the international economic situation with reference to the EU, react to the US presence in Iraq?"
Me: "Je m'appelle Jonathan."

 It'll be fine. In any case, let's say a minimum of five - I really like the sound of contemporary French thought, which has a gorgeous reading list: Sartre, Beauvoir, Foucault...and then I think theatre, difference, structure, science and one other, to be decided.

I'm rather glad I've worked that out. It certainly makes it easier going into what will likely be a chaotic first couple of weeks, as everyone gets used to the earlier start to term and the annual source of corridor jams that is Freshers Week - a part of which I'll be orchestrating as PR for the P&IR society and as SM manager for the Tab. Oh, and VP Employability, so I need to get some projects on the go for that. And the other job for which I still need to email the finished paperwork. Oh, and a woman who's several thousand times smarter than me has asked me to get involved in a really exciting project - and you can't say no to that.


I can't.

Am I still in the unfortunate universe where there are only 24 hours in a day?



I've also just eaten a meal which could easily have two people, and so I am now sitting/deflating slowly and trying to breathe. I think my stomach is squashing my lungs. It is not a happy feeling. If this is even slightly what it's like to be pregnant then quite frankly you can keep it. Tomorrow will be a day of studying. I hope.

Otherwise I'll have to fall back on writing, and we both know that will end in tears.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Week two: over

Never have I ever needed to sleep so badly as I did this morning. It's been an amazingly busy week, but unfortunately I have limits - I've talked about my frustrations with the flesh-sack that keeps my brain operational - and so I slept for a good 10 hours and woke up with a blinding headache. This is clearly my meat-sack's way of telling me it doesn't approve of the way I talk about it.

I'm just saying. I bet he doesn't get headaches.
It could also hypothetically be caffeine withdrawal, as the wonderful barista at work reckons a double espresso is for weaklings and what I really need is a quadruple espresso. A quadruple espresso is about 100ml of coffee, which I am reliably informed by Google is approximately 212mg of caffeine. So two of those a day - one in the morning, one after lunch - is only about 424mg of caffeine. How much caffeine will it take to kill me?

See? I can have 135 more and be fine.
I'm halfway through my internship and it's getting even better, if that were at all possible. More research, more responsibility, and a lot of pitching. Journalists are naturally friendly people, and it's really exciting to try and write the perfect story.

Alright, it's exciting to me. 

I'm not exploring the capital as much as I should be; after the days at the office I'm absolutely shattered - especially because getting up at 5.30 means getting to bed by 22.30, and that doesn't leave a whole lot of time for exploration. I was planning on doing it this weekend but by the time I'd had a headache and mooched and read up on the ongoing clusterfuck occurring in Ferguson, Missouri I wasn't really ready to do anything except not do anything at all.

However, my dog (being a dog) has absolutely no concern for international global politics, and has therefore been a very restless puppy all day. I should probably take him for a walk but after last week's flaking out I'm a little unsure. I can't deal with rejection two weeks in a row. It would break my cold little heart.

In the grips of today's headache I found myself doing odd bits of research, as is my wont, so now I've rooted my phone, filled out the basis of my application to the European Commission, and finally emailed the paperwork I should have done weeks ago. Oops.

Anyway: I'm going to try this dog walking thing, at a slightly slower pace. There'll be more next week.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

The end of the first week

I am so knackered someone needs to invent a new word for it.

This week, my first at the internship, has been tough. I get up at half past five in the morning, to make sure I have time for lunch and to watch the morning news, and then it's fantastically tough days of research and writing. There's not much else I can say about my work, except it's fun and the people are great.

So what else is there to say?

Days are long. Commuting is hard, but the company is good - a very old friend who's also interning in the city catches the same train, so it's a good opportunity to talk about current affairs/talk about the horrifying way our peers are getting married and producing spawn like frogs in the springtime.

The weather in London has been horribly hot all week, so the women of the City have broken out smart dresses and skirts. Meanwhile, the men are sweating enough to fill a swimming pool the size of Hyde Park, because we're all essentially constrained by the same structure and it's dumb. I am tempted to get a kilt and just wear it to work every day, because this is becoming untenable. It'll also make sure everyone remembers me, so - win?

I met up with old friend and excellent feminist blogger +Monique Bouffe a couple of times too; the first for a pint, a burger and a game of Scrabble; (which I lost at the last moment because of an excellent placement of "quint," a run of five cards in piquet) and the second for the Battle of the Bands, Prom number 30. The conceit was essentially a bit silly - Count Basie's band against Duke Ellington's - but the songs they played were fantastic and done with huge amounts of passion. I was struck, however, by the fact that for Big Band music, the players were almost entirely white.

Pictured: more black people than were playing in both bands last night.
It's a bit odd.

It was also frustrating that, since it was the BBC, "Battle of the Bands" became "Gentle Competition between the Bands" where everybody won. It's a competition. These are grown men (and a couple of women). They can deal with it.

In any case, it was amazing. There's nothing quite like seeing a Big Band play Cottontail live.

So now it's time for the weekend, and a run that was cut distinctly short by the fact that my running partner decided halfway through that he'd had quite enough and was going home after a measly 2.5km. This is my running partner, by the way:

Getting a phone call saying your dog has found its way home by itself is more than a little worrying, especially when there are roads between there and the woods where we were running. On the other hand, he got home okay, so I suppose that's the most important thing. He's limping around now because he overdid it. 

Silly dog.

And now it's time for dinner and it looks like steak and chips, so I'll write some more next week but in the meantime, here's my friend John on the news.