Writing without thinking

Posted in Personal with tags , on December 2, 2010 by oligibbons

Okay, so it has been almost four months since I published anything on here. Although, it’s not as if I haven’t been writing anything. I’ve started writing two pieces – One is simply titled, “Little things that annoy me”. It’s pretty much what it says on the tin. I doubt I will ever finish it, but it is interesting just writing things down to see what comes out. So far, I have realised that I pretty much hate everything…

The second piece that I have been working on is actually a piece of fiction titled, “Speedball”. Simply put, it is about a lawyer’s downfall after his girlfriend breaks up with him and he discovers drugs. I’m certain that will never be finished.

I decided about 10 minutes ago that I am going to write something. It would be good to see something published that I haven’t had to slave academically over. There is no pressure to make sure it conforms to any particular style guide or if it meets legal criteria – Just writing without thinking. Whoever reads this can probably see it seems quite disjointed.

One thing about me, is that I seem to over-analyse everything. I ponder into this random, whimsical, intricate stream of thought that I don’t really have too much control over. Something; one word, a phrase, an image or a concept might just grab my attention and my mind will run with it but before I can articulate it, I have completely lost my stream of thought. As you read this, you will undoubtedly see this in action..

For some reason, tonight, I have been thinking about how strange personalities are. You can get somebody who is completely confident and lights up a room when they enter it. However, at the other end of the spectrum, you can get people who are so nervous and awkward that you wouldn’t notice them in a crowd of people. Socially camouflaged and completely invisible to everyone.

However much impact these leave on the world, they are still people with complete lives. They’re not just names and faces – They have friends, families, hopes and dreams. They are all biologically identical. The hard, physical attributes that make them human are the same, yet, it is something completely different that makes them who they are.

Something inside forces them to make a joke every time they feel uncomfortable or makes them smile when someone says something horrible to them.

Every single action or choice someone will make in their entire life is dictated by their personality on one level or another.  How amazing is that?

Hypothetical: Three people, each is completely different, are in a bar and they see a girl/guy that they really like. How will they react?

Person #1 will just walk straight up to that person, introduce themselves and start talking to them. This is the person that is least likely to walk out of the bar alone. They’re confident enough to be able to do that – Something that I definitely can’t do.

Person #2 will probably indirectly try and gain the attention of the guy/girl. Perhaps through a friend or some stupid way like ‘accidentally’ walking into them as they go to get another drink (This is what most of my friends do). It’s relatively successful, but you end up looking like an idiot a fair amount of the time.

Finally, Person #3 won’t say anything because they’re too scared to get rejected or embarrass themselves. They’d sit in the bar quietly and then feel like an idiot for the rest of the night, regretting that they didn’t do anything.

Now, if you remove the context, there are three different personalities: The confident & direct person, the shy & cowardly person, finally, the mid-ground.

Everybody is all of these people in different situations and I find that really interesting. If I look at myself over the last few months, I have been all three of these on so many occasions. I can easily identify when I have been confident and arrogant. Equally, there have been so so many times where I have been this nervous wreck, even around some of my closest mates. For almost all of the other moments, I’m a mix between the both.

The complexity of a person is crazy. Especially when you take into consideration factors such as ethics, morals and decisions they have to make.

Anyway, going back to how I over-analyse everything, something tiny and insignificant could happen during the day but I might stay up for hours at night, reading into it. There’s something that has been on my mind a hell of a lot over the last few months. Last week, a friend mentioned something to me about this, and it really was a tiny thing – I laid awake until 4am thinking about it, looking at different scenarios that could play out because if this one tiny grain of information.

It’s almost as if my neurotic tendencies are creating this butterfly effect in my imagination.  It’s these little idiosyncrasies that people have that I find some interesting.

I can’t be direct with one of my good mates because I’m afraid of the consequences, yet, I am able to be completely honest with relative strangers. Equally, at the same time, I can be completely open with the same person whilst shutting myself off from strangers. It’s so confusing!

I’m getting so tired whilst writing this so I can’t keep my thoughts flowing onto the page. I’ve found this really interesting to do though. If you have actually read this, then give it a try. Just write. Don’t think about what you are writing or what you have written. Just write.

It might not make an exciting read but it’s not about that. It’s so great having nothing but new thoughts streaming through your mind. I’ve felt like I’m in some kind of bubble – Not really listening to anything around me. Although, you do remember things that you wanted to write that you forgot..

Oh well. If you have read this, then thanks for baring with it. I’m really not sure how it came out or if it was a worthy read. Hopefully it wasn’t just a page of words.

Cheers,

Oli

Student fee catastrophe

Posted in Personal with tags , , , on July 15, 2010 by oligibbons

Student Day of Action - Toronto, Feb 7 '07 by 'Jon'

So, today the Conservative/Lib Dem Government finally showed their cards regarding the future of fees for students at universities.

Currently, the average costs per year are £3,225. This pays the university for the teaching and resources that each student will receive. However, Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has proposed a rise in this fee to around £7,000 per year – Over double the previous costs. This doesn’t even account for the £3,500 that students have to borrow for maintenance loan.

So, with each student doing an average of three years at almost £11,000 of debt from each year, they will be leaving university with over £30,000 owed to their government. How can they be expected to get a mortgage with this looming over their heads?

Okay, fair enough, we are in a recession and every sector is going to be hit. It would be unfair and naive of me to expect universities not to be forced to make cuts, however I have a few problems with the extent in which they are being targeted.

Firstly, there must be a difference between ‘cuts’ and a raise in price? Most sectors are having their budgets reduced to cut spending where as universities are doing what? That’s right, spending more to reduce spending… It’s illogical! Where do student fees come from? The government. Therefore, by raising the amount which students have to borrow, the government are in turn spending more money. They won’t receive this money back for years.

Currently, when paying back student fees, you pay nothing back until you are earning more than £15,000 per year. Even then, you only pay a tiny amount back per month. Of course, the more you earn, the more you pay. Simple, right? Well, according to Mr Cable’s new proposal, he is planning on ”linking the graduate repayment mechanism to earnings”. In all honesty, this is a good idea. I won’t say that this is a bad idea when it clearly isn’t.

However, let’s look again at the amounts that governments are lending. Currently, students are borrowing around £7,000 in student fees and maintenance loans per year. With around 1 million students in universities, that is a total of £7billion being spent on student fees per year. Under the current system you repay 9% of everything you earn over the £15,000 mark. For example, if you earn £16,000 per year, you are earning £1,000 over the threshold. You will then pay 9% of that £1,000 – Meaning you pay £90 per year. However, if you earn £30,000 pear year you will repay £1,260 per year. I chose these figures as they are the two ends of the average wage scale for a graduate (according to http://www.thestudentroom.com). Therefore, the average graduate earns £23,000 – Paying back £720 per year. If 1 million people are paying £720 per year, the government are making £720million – A loss of over £6billion per year.

Now, Vince Cable’s plans to rise this price to around £10,500 per year means than the government is spending £10.5billion per year. With a repayment mechanism that brings in a fraction more profit than the old one, the government will be left with a yearly deficit of over £8billion. And this plan was meant to reduce spending?

Another reason that this proposal is a bad idea is that for decades, the government has been trying to bridge the gap between rich and poor in the country and trying to get more people into universities. Now, applications and admissions are at an all-time high, erasing the calls that university is an elitist structure that favours the rich. However, the new plans are going to widen this gap again. Leaving university with a staggering £30,000 of debt will no doubt scare many people from a poorer background from coming to university. Will these new proposals be seen as a step backwards?

As a student myself, I am undoubtedly biased on this topic but surely it is obvious that this isn’t the quick fix that the government are looking for? Also, it could bring fears that it could do more damage than good. I’m in favour of making cuts to each sector but these proposals aren’t the way to go about it, are they?

Uh Oh…

Posted in Personal, Uncategorized with tags , , on May 11, 2010 by oligibbons

So, today saw he inevitability that was David Cameron becoming Prime Minister. *Gulp!*

After agreeing what Cameron calls a ‘full and proper’ coalition with  the Lib Dems, the Tories have regained power for the first time in 13 years. Perhaps it was the best outcome in terms of a stable and functioning government – A strung together coalition involving Labour wouldn’t have worked as they never wanted it to work according to reports. However, I still stand by my words when I say that David Cameron and the Tories are not going to do this country any good. There is always hope that the Lib Dem flavour to the government will prevent student fees going up any further – After all, this is my main focus in all of this.

Now that the political situation has been cleared up, it is just a matter of the dust settling and Cameron to come out and state exactly what will happen over the next few years. I’m not entirely sure that it has been revealed what the deal with the Lib Dems brings to the table. Lets hope it works though.

My worst fear when I put my cross in that box on May 6th was that my vote would come to absolutely nothing. At least my vote has contributed to the forming of a new government – However unhappy I am with the capacity in which it is.

In the end, I would love nothing more than to be catastrophically wrong in my assumptions of the new Prime Minister. I would love for our country to fly out of this recession and for life to be better for everyone. Now that the Tories are in, we can only sit back and watch what happens. 

Mr Cameron, please, for the sake of the country, prove all of us doubters wrong.

Mystery Train Girl #2

Posted in Personal, Uncategorized with tags , , on May 10, 2010 by oligibbons

Hi everybody,

Just a quick one today to look back and reflect on Keir’s Facebook journey over the last few days. I would like to thank him actually for boosting my blog views to almost 600 over the last two days with a mention in his final video (a 6000% increase on normal!).

After a fleeting moment of expectation and promise which led most of us to think that Keir had found his lady friend, alas, this was not true. Unfortunately, this seemingly fruitless search has come to an end after Mr Moffatt posted a very dignified video this afternoon to draw a line under this exciting group.

Graciously, Keir has left this mysterious train girl to live her life. As he put it himself, ”She was bound to have heard of the group. She would have got in touch if she wanted to get in touch. I don’t want to focus any more unnecessary attention on this poor girl.”

Countless comments from countless young bachelorette have offered their services, including one lady’s comment that simply read, ”Marry Me”. This amount of female attention has left me wondering, is it worth doing something like this myself?

At the latest count, Keir and the kind people of the Mystery Train Girl Group have raised £629.50 for Marie Curie Cancer Care – £130 more than the initial target. With donations still expected to come in, can the £750 and £1000 marks be broken?

Anyway, good luck to Keir in his search for a new Mystery Train Girl. Thank you for an exciting few days. It has been fantastic to see so many people come together for the sake of a romantic in Bristol.

Lets hope that everyone out there can take something from this – Whether it is the courage to talk to that secret someone or just a story to tell your friends at the SU.

Take care everyone.

Oli

Mystery girl with the blue head band on train home to Bristol 06/05/2010

Posted in Personal with tags , , on May 9, 2010 by oligibbons

I think today I have found the single greatest Facebook group in the world! I urge you to follow this link and read all about how one brave man in Bristol realised that a ‘what if’ doesn’t need to be only that; a ‘what if’.

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=108534272523669#!

By the basic idea of the six degrees of seperation, Keir Moffatt set out to re-discover a girl he could not get out of his mind after an encounter on a train. This may sound like something out of a movie but almost 11,000 people have signed up to help Keir. Also, along the way, the kind people on Facebook have raised over £500 for the Marie Curie charity to turn the sweetest manhunt in history into a truely heart-warming cause.

I am positive that no matter what the outcome to this is, I am definitely going to think twice before letting a beautiful girl slip through my fingers. Men across the world, stand up and notice that medicore attempts at courting a lady are no longer acceptable. We need to take it upon ourselves to finish what one man in Bristol started – We need to prove that romance is not dead.

I think I speak for almost everyone when I say that Keir, you are a brave brave man. You deserve to find this girl and even if she says no to you; you can take solace in the knowledge that you refused to let this die.

Good luck Keir Moffatt!

Hung Like Parliament!

Posted in Personal, Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 9, 2010 by oligibbons

It’s been a while since I last wrote anything on here. I guess it was because I thought I was the only person who reads these posts but every now and again, someone will comment on my blog and call it ‘interesting’ or ‘insightful’.

What’s happened in the world since I last wrote on here? Well, the world was held hostage by a volcanic ash cloud, a man was murdered near my flat, David Dimbleby was 19 again as he pulled a spectacular all-nighter and parliament is hung like a donkey. To sum it up, life has been crazy!

Besides uni work, I have spent a great deal of my time over the last month or so frantically searching for a summer job. Unfortunately, however, the hunt still goes on. After applications being made on four continents and 17 countries (New Zealand, America, South Africa, Belgium, Norway and Iceland to name a few) I am still left handing out CVs all over the web. After failed attempts at jobs as an Au Pair, Fruit Picker and Administrator, my most current idea is to actually apply the knowledge I have gained over the last year and attempt to find a job as a writer for an online magazine. Only time will tell how that turns out.

Two days ago saw the first general election since I turned legal voting age. I thought I’d pop my democratic cherry with a vote for the apparently resurgent Liberal Democrats along with a great deal of my fellow student community. After staying up for the entirety of a overwhelmingly dissappointing night for the Lib Dems, the election resulted in a hung parliament. Everyone who voted for Clegg’s party acknowledged from the start that this was the best case scenario (the worst being a massive Tory majority). It was thought that a coalition could be formed between the Lib Dems and Labour, thus forming a majority government. Also, we believed that Gordon Brown would step down as leader of the Labour Party leaving a straight battle for leadership of the country between Nick Clegg and possibly Harriett Harman and David Miliband – Therefore meaning that despite a shoddy night for Clegg, he could still become Prime Minister… No. As it turns out now, currently, Nick Clegg is undergoing talks with David Cameron over a possible power-sharing deal that would see Nick Clegg and a few other top Lib Dem MPs help form a new cabinet.

These latest revelations mean that the entire Liberal Democrat vote was an absolute waste as it looks to be about to become a disguised vote for David Cameron. I actually feel a little bit sick now! Clegg suggests that he will only strike a deal if his parties four major issues are involved in any possible deal:

 1) Electoral reform – Cameron has gone on record saying that this won’t happen despite heavy Lib Dem protest for proportional representation. 2)Political reform – Every politician has claimed this anyway since the expenses scandal so that is hardly a suprise. 3) A look at taxation to make it fairer for the poor – Once again, every party has said this. 4) Educational reform – To make it easier for young children starting school. Nothing is mentioned about university fees which the previous Lib Dem manifesto promised to scrap. This actually led for the Lib Dems to gain the majority of the student vote.

Not only would this power sharing deal offer the Lib Dems nothing, it would go against almost all of their fundamental policies.  Before Clegg jumps into bed with the Tories, I hope with every part of me that he listens to Brown’s proposals first. A Lib/Lab coalition seems like the obvious and sane choice as their views are a million times closer than those of the Tories. Brown has already offered a referendum on the voting system (although obviously out of desperation). Also, Clegg and Co. would have much more power with this choice.

What ever happens, I’m sure there will be another chance to vote at the inevitable second general election within the next year.

What have I got planned now? Well, besides the manic job hunting, I am going for lunch with my lovely Aunt and Uncle tomorrow/later today. I also have a lot of revision to do for my law and public administration exams on the 26th May and 2nd June respectively. After which, I am officially no longer a fresher. I will also be keepping one eye keenly fixed on the ongoing talks between Clegg, Cameron and Brown. My other eye will be half focused on the Premier League title deciding matches this weekend. My beloved Manchester United are still in with an outside chance of winning an unprecedented fourth consecutive title. However, they need Chelsea to slip up against Wigan Athletic at Stamford Bridge… I’m not hopefull!

Hopefully I will have some more interesting things to write about over the next week. If you have been kind enough to read this very unorganised mish-mash of a blog then thanks a lot. Leave a message just so I know that I am not only writing this for myself.

Many Thanks,

Oli

Take me to the place where you go…

Posted in Personal with tags , on April 21, 2010 by oligibbons

I lay here in bed, 12:56am, almost an hour into the 21st day of April. Reading to take my mind off the thoughts that continue to hold my body prisoner from the sleep that I so desperately crave. The room is light enough to see faint outlines of my personal belongings: Dark enough to mask the picture of my brothers on the desk. The slow whirring of the bathroom’s extractor fan contributes the bass for tonight’s bed-time soundtrack. Percussion is provided by the sporadic clicks, ticks and taps of the laptop keyboard sitting on my lap, as well as the rattling of the all-to-menthol throat lozenge that I’m scraping around my mouth. My constant shifting and fidgeting under the duvet sets in motion the unorganised, chromatic sounds of bed springs providing this evening’s melody. This orchestra is becoming tiresomely boring.

Are we as humans not unfathomably curious? At least in the sense that we have this cruel and amazingly devilish madam, known only as our conscience. This impossibly brilliant space in our minds that can take even the smallest thought, no matter how mundane or small, and turn it into this whirlwind of a force that not only demands, but steals from you every single inch of your mind. You can fight it all you want but you will succumb to the inevitability of defeat. A defeat that can be measured by the rate in which your shoulders are sagging – being pushed down by the weight of the world that you are carrying.

The only way to escape this torturous hell is to preoccupy your mind with something more appealing than the day-to-day stories and tripe that float around beneath the surface of your imagination. Reading is, at least for me, the greatest release you can obtain. It doesn’t matter what sludge is flying around in that head of yours, a book can take you to places that you can only dream about. Books can turn you into someone else. Why be miserable in yourself when you can be a different person? A happy person? An interesting person?

Once you have entered your character’s vessel, cling on to it. Do not put that book down! If you do, that soaring feeling that you sense in every part of your body is replaced by a cocktail of disappointment, shame, anger and guilt. Run away from that. Be your favourite detective. Be a suave playboy. Be whoever. Visit lands far far away. Lands that only exist in writing. Explore anything and everything you can imagine before reality sets in and you realise that you are still the same person, living with the same mind that can turn on you in a second.