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Lame Fresher Diaries: 10 things to do now first year is over

Alas, this is my final post exploring my life as a particularly boring student. As always, the year’s gone by faster than we could have imagined, but what a year it’s been! The year of Ocean Fridays, of the £5.10 mealcard, of glandular fever, of the £1 bus fare, of short term book loans, of never using the tram. This year I have established an open relationship with Hallward Library, paraded around campus with blue hair then shrivelled with despair as each new day brought a more minging shade of green, looked on in horror as six hours of work per day in the first term dwindled to six minutes in the third, and managed to attend classical concerts more times than I have attended Rock City. Needless to say, we’ve definitely all earned a break before shit gets absolutely real next year, so here are ten things to do to unwind and prepare for second year.

1) Go to a festival. This is a definitive essential for every student summer. Fake flower headbands and tie dye tees you’ll never wear again are strictly non optional

2) Start writing your novel. It is a truth universally acknowledged that everyone has a story in there somewhere. Plus, this’ll definitely keep you occupied when the annual British monsoon puts all outdoor activities on hold for about a month.

3) Learn 5 basic recipes. This will guarantee you and your housemates gourmet cuisine until you all give up on cooking after about a week.

4) Take up a musical instrument with plans to start a douchey band on returning to uni. Nail about six chords on guitar and you can literally play any song in the known universe. Especially Wonderwall. 

5) Interrail. It’s always more expensive than you think it’s going to be but at least you can say you’ve been to a lot of countries.

6) Send a mass email to every family member/family friend who is likely to ask you how you found first year – it’ll save you a lot of time at family barbecues.

7) Get to know Aldi; unspecified German delicacies may be all we can afford next year.

8) Read a really really long book – I’m going for Clarissa. At 1,534 pages, it’s a great excuse to lay in the sun all day while you take on one of the heftiest classics.

9) Invest in some suncream because sometimes the sun comes out in Britain and when it does you should enjoy it responsibly

10) Work out what your ‘summer jam’ is going to be – useful for da club and car journeys.

Thanks to everyone who’s been reading this year and have a great summer!

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Personal

Lame Fresher Diaries: three equally lamish outings

Try not to be too taken aback, but I actually left campus thrice of an evening during this last week. As a result I have felt totally irresponsible and am terribly nervous for the fate of next week’s seminars. Needless to say, my newly invigorated free-ranging spirit has played ABSOLUTE HAVOC with my hectic Hallward schedule (coincidentally, a lame yet disturbing thing happened Tuesday eve: I was comfortably housed in my beloved booth 108 when I heard a mysterious, fleshy slapping sound sourced somewhere behind me; sure enough I spotted the chap in 109’s legs jiffling around something fierce in time to the gentle thwacking. Could have been perfectly innocent, yet I am marginally confident that I may have discovered the phantom fapper of the UL…)

Monday night saw my first moonlit escapade to Rescue Rooms, an adorably teeny tiny venue perfect for an intimate gig with acoustic sets. This is precisely what Jake “Music Man” Parnian and I were hoping for in going along to see folk band Stornoway… from Cowley, Oxford. After listening to their album on repeat for about three days in a desperate lyric learning frenzy, we mumbled along to songs about the sea, gulls, boats and beaches which were all very pleasing to the ear. Highlight was definitely an acoustic set of some of their new stuff – those harmonies were poetic and downright gorgeous.

To the keen indie music fan with a taste for reasonably priced alcoholic beverages, perhaps not the lamest of nights. Then BAM, a strict chuck out time of 10pm. Hence, an early Maccers and the 36 home for Jake and me it was.

For Wednesday’s top night in Notts I had Steve, the gargantuan-6’1”-red-Audi-driving-top chap up from Lincolnshire for a night of bants with tickets reserved weeks in advance in anticipation of what promised to be a memorable night in a cracking venue. Stevo, being a courteous gent, treated me to dinner before the two of us (having cunningly collected our tickets before the perilous queueing for this wildly popular night out ensued) ambled over to The Royal Concert Hall for two and a half hours of The Hallé orchestra playing wonderful works of Beethoven, Mozart and Strauss. (NB, Steve is my father.) Another deliciously early curfew for me, meaning being deposited back outside Lenton and Wortley before eleven with the extra bits of food and washing that parents decree so necessary to have bought/done for you. Alas, so enamoured was I by the concert that I reviewed it before retiring, meaning my bedtime was post midnight. Horror of horrors.

Thursday night is best retold in brief. This time, I thought it wise to partake of something a little more contemporary/with people of my actual generation and go to Market Bar for a soiree with the gals. It was all going jolly well until I found double G&Ts to be a true steal at £4.00 and after spending in the region of £30 at the bar I reached the point at which it was necessary to drag myself to the ladies’, watch the room spin for a while before sliding elegantly to the floor to deposit my money’s worth in the loo. What a waste of thirty quid. And how out of character.

It’s good to remember that the first year of Uni, while requiring diligence and enthusiasm in equal measure, also entitles us to a social life, time to find our feet in the city, adjust to being an autonomous human and (in my case in particular) to get the hang of going places, having sufficient amounts of “good times”, and coming home in one piece. So it’s deffo 100% fine to sack off every once in a while to go to a classical concert, to bop along to a visiting band or even for a tactical chunder in Market Bar; it’s all a healthy part of the valuable student experience.

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Reviews

Back to Oblivion at the New Theatre, Nottingham

Matthew Miller’s Back to Oblivion is a highly domestic piece of theatre which charmingly epitomised the ethos of low budget, quality studio theatre. Set entirely in the living room of a young unmarried couple, Back to Oblivion explores the renewed relationship between two old schoolmates, Andy (Omid Faramazi) and Gary (Gary Berezin) who, after roughly a year apart following a dispute, have decided to settle their differences now that Gary and his partner of fifteen months have separated. Meanwhile, Andy claims to have “never been happier” since returning to his girlfriend Debbie (Amelia Gann), though as the drama unfolds, Andy’s joblessness and strong reluctance to prise himself from the comfort of his sofa (with the exception of popping to the kitchen for a can of larger) begin to suggest weaknesses and insecurities he has striven to conceal…

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Back to Oblivion was performed in one of the New Theatre’s smaller studio spaces, which was apt since the entire production was staged in a living room; presenting the piece in a more compact environment maximised the intimacy of action, plus the actors proximity to the audience meant that our attention was theirs for the entire performance of roughly an hour. The set, designed and built collaboratively by Miller, director Lilly Dawson, producer Ginny Lee and designer Tom Selves, had all the charisma and allure of a family home – until you spot the coffee table littered with larger cans, pizza boxes and tabbacco packets. Its dishevelled and squalid focal point offered a brutal contrast to the its homely features such as the ornament depicting the word “love” and the sofa in the centre – it suggested a kind if discordance that we see bled into the characters’ relationships and personalities, an indication of things not quite being what they seem.

The audience is welcomed in the moments preceding the opening lines of the piece by Faramazi, already in character, slumped down on the sofa watching TV, a number of gormless expressions at his disposal and a hand down his joggers with Amy Winehouse’s I’m No Good on as background. The resounding message is: Andy is your typical ne’er do well. Gary’s arrival onstage totally brings Andy to life; all of a sudden he’s animated, desperate to interact and monopolising the conversation as well as the movement and gesture. It becomes very clear that in the pair’s school relationship Andy was the outspoken, popular and manipulative party, while Gary was perhaps more the adoring fan who just felt lucky to be friends with the big shot.

Of all the three performances, for me, Faramazi’s was perhaps the strongest in the projection of his voice, his captivating and natural stage presence and truly authentic way moving around in his performance space. That is not to say that the other two actors didn’t show exceptional class and ability; first time actor Gary Berezin really grew into his role as the play went on and his characterisation was absolutely spot on as years of frustration slowly bubbled to the surface. I felt I didn’t get to see enough of Amelia Gann’s Debbie since her time on stage was relatively short, yet she portrayed a multifaceted character most effectively in the time she was given meaning her’s was the character I was able to empathise with most easily, and I was set ill at ease by how convincingly powerless she was to Andy’s manipulations.

All in all, a fascinating, resonating and captivating production which was just the right length to tell a highly relatable story and to sustain the audience’s interest throughout. It’s certainly one I won’t be forgetting in a hurry for its effortless everyday comedy and haunting final moments…

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Personal

I am the world’s most uncool fresher.

It’s no excuse, but I really have been a little rushed off my feet of late, resulting in the, albeit temporary, abandonment of my shitty blog . I made the stupid mistake of signing up to an impossible number of societies and now am faced with the heart breaking decision as to which I should commit to, which not.

It’s amazing how quickly we’ve all adapted to brand new situations; we’ve all taken to lightheartedly joking that it feels like we were born here in Nottingham and, rather prematurely, planning the washing up rota for next year when we all move in together.

I myself have a very active and fulfilling study life. The library has become a sort of second home. For me the appeal is studying at night when all’s quiet, save the hypnotic, mechanical whirring of the multitude of printers, computers, coffee machines. It’s literally the most perfect environment for total focus almost effortless productivity, as long as you don’t succumb to the the typical flagship procrastination sites: Tickld, Facebook, YouTube to name but an obvious few.

The hues and undulations of the campus downs are the new focal point of my existence, and I find myself totally and seamlessly absorbed into Nottingham life. And it’s fucking fab.

Greatest achievements so far: joining the women’s network, making a failed doorstop owl, discovering chocomilk is in fact better than hot chocolate and not missing a single breakfast time.

#safe

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