Monthly Archives: October 2014

Loved Before the Dawn of Time


So, it’s been a while but this weekend it was down to Aldershot with Onesound. Possibly the first time I’ve had to travel South to a gig and although, like many, it was a long journey, for once I don’t actually have much to say about my travelling; I had a door to door lift service both ways. It was very much appreciated, to save overnight trains, chasing buses down motorways, getting lost in large cities and all that kind of fun. In fact all I had to do was play my part as cup-holder, air conditioning-kicker, music-picker and all the other perks of passenging. I did however subject my friend to listening to and singing along to two hours of Disney songs on each journey, but I like to think this was quite happily welcomed. Although there was some discrepancy over the volume of ‘High School Musical’ and after CD 3 I think the comment was “erm, I think we’ll see what’s on the radio now”.

As it has been quite a long time since we last met, quite a lot of things have changed since we last all saw each other; two friends have gotten engaged, one has gotten married, a few friends have graduated and I have finally reached the grand old age of adulthood. In fact, in the first half an hour of being there, I had been to the pub, been invited to an actual meeting and signed my own health form due to printing problems at home (that’s a lie, I’m just yet to find the library). Either way, it’s not uncommon that I forget my health form, it is however the first time that this hasn’t been a problem.

Anyway, with that all sorted out, we did actually get down to rehearsals and I feel that when working with such gifted, musical people, it’s often helpful to decipher some of the musical terms and phrases used in rehearsal. Here are a few I’ve picked up over the years…
“Let’s add in some harmony here” – Don’t worry if you get the wrong note, we’ll call it harmony

“I’d like a slightly warmer tone” – It would be nice if people actually sung when I conducted

“Let’s all change key for this particular instrument” – It would help if this particular instrument played their sharps and flats

“We’ve got quite a few ideas going on here” – Let’s all try and sing the same thing at the same time please

“Up a tone!” – Let’s see the sopranos get that note! 

“I like the added harmony you put in there” – Well that’s clearly not what’s written

“Shall we all do some personal practice?’ – The upper wind section can’t play their semiquavers

So, it was so incredible to meet up with everyone again, immersed in such inspiration and encouragement at a time that it was really needed, from music to testimony, from late night takeaways to leading two services and a concert the following day. And, although I love going out with friends, singing ‘Stacy’s Mom’ as loudly as we can, nothing can quite make me feel the way I do when singing ‘In Christ Alone’ surrounded by people I love, because at that point, you’re no longer just singing for the sake of singing. Suddenly, all it takes is a chorus of voices or a hair raising violin solo to remind you that you really were loved before the dawn of time. Such a powerful and moving weekend.

It has been a time of change for many and it struck me that as I move from bubble to bubble of new things, university has slowly now just become the norm. I thought finally, having moved somewhere new and exciting, I might just be able to escape the Onesound blues on return, however sitting through my lecture on ‘Metaphysical Poetry’ today I realised this was simply not the case. No one can escape the post Onesound blues. And, although I felt finally grown up going on my first Onesound pub trip and signing my own health form, I still found myself sitting in a different section of the choir throughout rehearsals and the concert because I was too short to sit with my own section. But I think that’s what I love about Onesound; it’s somewhere you can grow up, but at the same time, somewhere you don’t have to. Thanks to everyone that made it great. 🙂


Getting to know you…


…Getting to know all about you. One of the amazing things about being in a situation like university is that everyone is so wonderfully different. Coming from different places, liking different things, having different traditions, bringing different pasts. I’ve actually been called posh by someone who spent fourteen grand a year to have a three course meal each day at a school where Latin was a compulsory subject. And yet, at the same time, before you come to university, it’s often hard to find people that share the same dreams and goals as you, but now, you can sit in a lecture theatre thinking, these people are just like me. So yes, the first few weeks of university are about getting know new people, and I’ve found there are many ways to do this.

For example, the easiest way is simply talking to people, whether it be deep political discussions over the dinner table or nonsense into the early hours of the day, it’s important to find out more about the people you’re with. Some conversational gems I’ve found over the week include; “I’d die if I had to pay every time I went to the doctor, I need an X-ray like every year, I keep falling over.” “I’m a meat-eating vegetarian.” “You brought a toaster?”…”I didn’t mean to”. “We’re all going to buy you odd socks and turn them inside out so you have a melt down on Christmas day.” And the ever helpful “Do you need one of these big anthologies we need to get, I accidentally bought two.” So that’s one way I’ve found out about my flat and course mates.

You’ve also just got to spend time with people. Sometimes it’s hard to find time when you’re all in the same place at the same time, particularly when everyone’s in the flat and you’re outside because once again, you don’t have your keys. However, I have found that a good old fire alarm seems to do the trick of bringing people together, even if it is unbelievably cold stood  outside in your pyjamas with a large group of people who, without exception, would rather be in bed.

Talking about spending time with each other, sleepovers are always fun. This week I hosted my first (and possibly the world’s shortest) uni sleepover. Well if that’s what you call it when a friend crashes on your floor at 5am from an excess of alcohol and a subsequent inability to get back to their own flat.

Bake a cake. Regardless of what people say, everyone can bond over cake. Although, I might add, if you’re planning on following up a friendly invitation to someone’s flat, it might be a good idea to check they were sober at the time of giving the invitation or at least remember inviting you before you turn up. Alternatively, you could not, turn up anyway, have fun baking a great cake and finish off by watching the Great British Bake Off together. What can I say, you can’t get to know people without making the effort.

Societies and socials are also a great way of getting to know people. This week I witnessed the football team in the bar not only all gaffa taped to each other but also to various drinking implements. When I say drinking implements, I mean anything capable of containing liquid, for example a carved out melon. That’s when we were greeted by our fresher’s rep attached to a fire extinguisher. Well, I guess you can’t really get closer to people than being physically attached to them.

But, in all seriousness, we are clearly (partly) here to learn as well and this week was the first week of actual lectures and learning. So, in, between and on the way to lectures, here’s a few things I’ve learnt:

It is physically impossible to be in two lectures at once. It’s a good idea to check you can actually do the course before sitting through three hours of lectures. If you buy a full loaf of bread, put half of it in the freezer to stop it going mouldy. Check the lecture seats are fully functional before sitting down. No one wants to be the first to kick off the chunder chart. Although we’ve probably all tried it at some point in our lives, building towers out of spaghetti and marshmallows is actually an important life skill. No matter how determined you are, sooner or later, everyone will resort to super noodles. Contrary to my initial belief in fresher’s week, it does indeed rain all the time up North. I absolutely love literature.

Well, I guess that’s my first week of learning, here’s to meeting many more fantastic people soon. 🙂


Student Living


So, before I came to university, I made a list of what I had gathered to be the ‘student essentials’ or goals to aim for, and it seems, as expected, after just one week, I’ve learnt a lot about student life. For example, moving into student life is like moving into a different time zone; pretty much everything happens later. Nine thirty in the morning becomes an unthinkable time, ‘bed time’ has altered by approximately seven hours and if you ever have a meal at four o’clock in the morning, it’s certainly not going to be breakfast.

Also, you get to meet people from literally everywhere. For example, who even knew it was possible to travel South to Lancaster? And yet by someone, I actually got called a Northener for coming from Southampton. Again, I didn’t think there were many places more Southern.

So, What is student life about? After one week, here’s a slightly revised list of what I now gather student life to be about…
It’s about permanently wedging your door open to talk to strangers. It’s about going to parties of people you don’t know. It’s about standing outside your flat dodging beer from the balcony. It means showering at half pat three in the morning because you are 100% glow in the dark. It means showering at half past three in the morning because you are 100% covered in glitter.

It’s about acquiring new skills and learning new things. For example, suddenly gaining the ability to function on significantly less sleep or the ability to turn any card game, or even just any game into a drinking game. Being a student means it’s appropriate to eat chips at literally any hour. It means having to be careful which water bottles you drink from in the kitchen in case you take a swig of pure Vodka at ten o’clock in the morning.

It’s also about trying new things, being whoever you want to be. It’s about having spaghetti on toast for breakfast or being surprisingly proud to shout “I’m ghetto ’till I die” to strangers. It’s about running all around campus with the president of the running club taking selfies with ducks.

It’s about making the odd mistake. It’s about standing outside your flat in the rain because you forgot your keys. It’s about joining random societies because you end up in the wrong departmental talk about a subject you had no intention of taking. It means going up to your fresher’s rep and saying ‘If I could live anywhere in the world, I would live in IKEA’ simply because when you thought you were drinking cranberry cocktails, you were actually drinking tequila. Which subsequently means it’s about never trusting someone else to get you a shot. It’s about queueing for an hour for buses and clubs, then calling a taxi straight home because you forgot your ID.

Being at university, particularly a Collegiate one, is also about having serious rivalry about anything and everything. University rivalry, college rivalry, block rivalry. Rivalry about where you’re from; North and South rivalry, Americans v Canadians, Guernsey boys against Jersey boys. There’s rivalry over fresher’s reps, rivalry between keys and key fobs, literally anything you can find to shout about.

And yes, even though everyone seems to hate everyone else for some reason or another, whether it be key fobs or accents, it’s most definitely about making good friends and having a great time. The main thing I’ve learnt about student living is that it is about living. It’s about only living today where the time you have to get up tomorrow has no bearing on how late you stay out tonight and where you’re having too much fun today to have time to worry about tomorrow. Even though I’m running on approximately one night’s sleep for the week, it’s been a fantastic week and I know there are so many more good times to be had and mistakes to be made and frankly, I can’t wait for them all over the next three years. 🙂