As my dissertation draws into a close (at this point, the thing is printed, bound and submitted), I realized that my odyssey can be recounted in five songs. It’s more the feeling (and title) of the song than the lyrics, but enjoy away.
No class! I can do whatever I want! It’s sunny, I can research outside! Mum and sister are in town, I can take some time off!
Things aren’t going quite as I anticipated…
As the deadlines draw nearer…
16 August 2012
The thing is in…and I am so tired…it’s a cold and its a broken hallelujah…now to recovery and celebrate with the friends I’ve been ignoring for the last few weeks.
And as it finally sets in…
FREEEDOM! Now I’m off to enjoy the sunny weather, the Fringe, and time with friends before I become a responsible adult.
Whilst queuing for Morrissey’s Manchester gig yesterday, I couldn’t help but notice that there was an open McDonald’s on the premises of the Manchester Evening News Arena. A bit strange, given that we were waiting to see Manchester’s most famous vegetarian.
“I’m not a veggie,” I said to my fellow adventurer/Morrissey fan Amy. “But I haven’t eaten meat in over 24 hours in preparation for my pilgrimage.”
Though I flippantly termed our trip to Manchester as a pilgrimage, in a sense, it was. Though Amy had been to Manchester before, it hadn’t been with a Smiths fan. We didn’t have much time in Manchester, arriving yesterday late morning and leaving first thing today. We did, however, have enough time to make a couple of important stops.
First on the list was the Salford Lads Club. The Lads Club is not, as I originally assumed, a strip club. Instead, it is a rec center, like the Boys and Girls Club.
The Salford Lads Club is about a 30 minute walk from the city centre, located in Salford. It’s down this row of little brick houses. Tucked just off of a main road, it’s one of those places you wouldn’t know was there if you weren’t looking for it.
Salford Lads Club has since cleaned up a bit since the famous photograph was taken. Throngs of fans go there each year, to take their photo like The Smiths, Amy and myself included.
(C) Bethany Wolfe 2012
Inside the Lads Club, there is a room dedicated to The Smiths. This could potentially be a bit overkill, but working in its favour was the small size of the room. It was a squash court, now a shrine to The Smiths. The entire room is covered with images of The Smiths, of fans standing outside the Club (I’m going to be sending the photograph of Amy and myself), of articles pertaining to the Smiths, paintings of Morrissey, and notes from devoted fans.
(C) Bethany Wolfe 2012
(C) Bethany Wolfe 2012
Being of an artsy bent, I left a note of my own–complete with a picture of Morrissey. My note is the yellow one with the drawing in the above picture. By no means my best picture of him, but pretty good for five minutes with a ballpoint pen! I would love to return in a few years and see if the note has been glued to the wall.
After leaving the Salford Lads Club, we wandered to the arena. Amy and I had floor tickets, so we wanted to make sure we were there early.
We weren’t in the first thirty, but were definitely in the first 100 people at the arena. We watched as more and more people piled in, complete with quiffed hair, Smiths or Morrissey shirts, big glasses. I looked rather out of place in my teal top and black cardigan, decidedly unhipster (or, at least, unlike the rest of the fans my age). Whilst waiting, the BBC interviewed a few people. I wasn’t, but I think I ended up in a few shots–I was drawing pictures of Morrissey to pass the time.
Finally, it was time to enter the arena, still a good hour and a half before the show was due to start. The excitement was palpable. I couldn’t help but jump up and down, shaking with enthusiasm.
When Morrissey arrived on stage, there was a great ‘rush and a push’ as what felt like the entire floor lunged to the stage. Everything I said about Balkanarama being the most insane concert situation I’ve been in has been taken back. Morrissey, playing in his home town, wins.
The floor was a hot, sweaty, undulating mass of bodies, of arms, of getting far too close to absolute strangers. Yet it was incredible. Everyone was there for Morrissey, everyone was (mostly) respectful, and it was mad. Though, as a very tiny girl, the second row probably wasn’t the best place for me to be, I’m rather bruised and battered and very thankful to still have some of my painkillers from my back injury!
Morrissey himself was on top form, physically a bit out of shape (the man’s 53 years old, we can cut him some slack), but his voice was just as powerful as when he was in The Smiths. Whilst he doesn’t bound around the stage anymore, his stage presence is dignified and commanding. There’s such passion in his singing.
I’m to see him again tomorrow night in Edinburgh. Am hoping to get front row this time. I do imagine that the crowd may be a bit more subdued than Manchester.
And as a final note…Morrissey biscuits at Salford Lads Club.
The last few weeks haven’t been all fun and games. I haven’t been out enjoying the sun as frequently as I should. No, instead I’ve been working on my dissertation.
What am I doing? I’m writing an essay on the construction of narrative through surveillance and making a short film based on Nineteen Eighty-Four. Which reminds me, I need to think of a good title for it. At the moment, it’s “She Loved Big Brother” but I’m not particularly fond of it.
So, I’m editing the footage that I’ve filmed. I’m sure I’ll get a lot more over the next day. Film’s got to be complete by 31 July, that’s when I’m premiering it!
I’ve made it through my first six weeks as a postgrad. Or grad student. Take the phrase as you will. It strikes me as strange that in the US ‘postgrad’ is someone who’s finished undergrad, but in the UK its a student beyond the undergrad level. But, living in the UK, I’ve embraced this terminology.
Six weeks done, another seven and term is over. So far, these six weeks have been the craziest, hectic, most sleep deprived six weeks of my life, but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I’m learning so much. I’ve had my frustrations with the computer programmes I’m using, but they only make me more determined to do well. 3D Modelling class provides the most challenges, but I will work through them. I’m already thinking of making a short animated film for my dissertation, perhaps an adaption of Roald Dahl’s “Beware of the Dog.”
I absolutely love what I’m doing. I’ve had no doubts. This is what I’m supposed to be doing, and where I’m supposed to be. Now to get a job and a work visa for when I finish…
Also been listening to a lot of music I hadn’t paid much attention to before. Swing dancing music, bands such as The Jam and The Smiths, blues, jazz…makes me smile.
Far too optimistic and happy for my own good. Or it could just be the three cups of tea and slice of pumpkin cake talking. That would explain the rambling. 🙂
I’m not participating in NaNo this year. Well, not writing a story for NaNo. I like looking through the forums and putting in my two-cents. But I’m not writing a novel.
My muse is on vacation, and I am soaking in all that Edinburgh has to offer. Coursework, swing dancing, hwal moo hapkido, just sightseeing in general. I’m enjoying my experiences, tucking them away, to be explored at a later date.
I’m being absorbed by my world. With hope, the City of Literature will rub off on me. But I don’t foresee it rubbing off in time for NaNo. And where writing fiction and I are spending some time apart, I don’t think it would be wise to attempt NaNo. It just wouldn’t be fun. There is no point in forcing something creative–it just will not work.