One in the morning, I can’t sleep. After several weeks of violently irregular sleep patterns, eating patterns and mood swings (I wouldn’t hesitate to attribute them to my final coursework submission of the year) I am yet to feel any relief. As a matter of fact, I’m more pensive than ever: Now that I have officially finished my second year’s studies, I have a limited window in which I must fulfill a number of personal objectives, crucial ‘to-dos’ that cannot be left before I finally close the book on Coventry for a year.
Cyclone, obviously, will be taking the bulk of my attention now. I need to make sure it continues to operate in my absence, when I move to Sweden I’ll be leaving it in the hands of my friends and colleagues, should they choose to accept. And of course, I have to book my flights, make sure I have everything I need, etc. When I think about it, I really don’t have a lot of time left: I just hope I can get the closure I need before moving on, I’m going to miss people.
Melodrama aside, it’s going to be a bloody exciting couple of weeks.
I really don’t see myself a student any more. The big media moguls (in all of their infinite wisdom) have destroyed the reputation of the student with countless smear campaigns and false representations. Granted, some of it is true, but the fact remains that the surprisingly large portion of us who are left wearing a stigma can’t help but feel a little at odds with the world. 201MC was this year’s unofficial work experience period, a time when we are left to our own devices for, well a very long time. It’s over now, we’re finishing the year with a wonderfully vague group assignment, whilst I continue to push with my ‘self guided placement’, Cyclone. I don’t see the point in waiting until I graduate to start looking for work in the media, as a matter of fact that would be idiotic. I hope to have a substantial portfolio of connections and work history compiled before I throw the silly square hat in the air (do they even do that or is it urban myth?), so it’s nothing more than a continuation of what I’m already doing, bar the lectures.
It makes sense in my mind to treat everything I do outside of studies as my career now. Whether I’m producing video content for a record label’s promotion or writing an article for a friend’s project, if I call myself a student, I’m dooming myself to the realm of public ignorance. I’ve found that the people I’ve been producing for turn people down on the basis that they are a student, without so much as a second thought. I’ve been lucky so far, swiping work and connections, and proving my worth in the process, but it’s an uphill battle, one which I have to live as both a student and a self-employed producer.
God forbid the two ever meet.
You could say this makes life a little bit more complicated, but I guess it’s character building, I’m learning the tricks of the trade whilst I embark on my career a little earlier than expected. I’m doing things whilst I still don’t have to worry so much about money, and things of that nature. Of course I still worry about nature, I don’t have a lot of it, but at least as a student I get support. This isn’t a sympathy post, I’m just trying to highlight the difficulties of media work from my recent experiences: Not only do you have to ‘be in the know’ to be in the know, you can’t be a student, but if you aren’t a student you have to charge for what you do to support yourself, and no-one wants to know about you either way, unless of course you’ve got a portfolio the size of Jamaica and the funds to back it. It always comes down to money. I think 201MC has taught me that fate smiles upon the rich, not the talented, and without trying to sound like a pessimist, I see why people are so eager to jump onto the corporate band wagon, it’s so safe and comfortable.
Except it isn’t.
Cyclone is showing me what can be done when like-minded individuals put their heads together and decide to stand by fair trade ethics and community spirit. I’m amazed at the response I’ve been getting since it all kicked off a couple of months ago, I know there’s still a long way to go, but I like to think this is a career in the making. I still haven’t learned from all of my mistakes, I’m still my own worse enemy. Having sacrificed the entire of my Easter break to keep working on my project, and not remembering the last time I took a break, my body is at its absolute limit. The stress has made me weak at times, with the emotional continuity of a flickering light-bulb, I think people around me have noticed the cracks a little, I’m definitely not as healthy as I was before this period of ‘professional experience’. I was talking to one of my newly gained contacts, and after a very helpful feedback session about the work we’d done together I explained that I had been doing it (recently anyway) independently, running the business side as well as the production, and I’ve had to learn both trades in a couple of months. She sympathised, having embarked upon a similar path. She advised me to be careful about who I trust, but more importantly to listen to myself. When you need to take a break, you have to take a break, if the people you work with don’t understand that then you shouldn’t be working with them in the first place.
I guess I’ll take a break soon, I’ll ‘reward myself’ with more hours in the morning and a little more social time. I’ll be worse off without it. That being said, I’ve got a lot to sort out before the semester is out. With my exchange coming around pretty quickly I need to think about planning some contingencies for those who will be working on Cyclone whilst I’m in Sweden. I’m telling myself I’ll take a break, but I know I’ll be bringing my work with me.
Folks, take a good look: This isn’t some photographic representation of a pensive mentality, this isn’t an aesthetic reflection of one’s colourless apathetic condition, this isn’t a nod to the monotonous modernist conundrum and the clashes of minimalism either. This is boredom.
I shouldn’t be bored, god forbid if any of my peers read this. It’s as though all of a sudden I feel too relaxed, as though there was never a burden in the first place. Where’s the pressure gone? Even if it’s a temporary break in an otherwise busy mind-set, I don’t like. It’s too quiet.
Having my schedule clear up today has done nothing but given me more time to sit and do nothing, obviously there’s plenty of things I could be doing right now other than typing this pointless post, but why should I?
The passing week has been a violent blur of activity, jumping from one task to the other, whilst the world around me doesn’t seem to be moving very much at all. Am I going too fast? Should I slow down? I don’t think so, I don’t think I know how.
And just to prove that I am actually doing stuff, I’ll mention it for the millionth time, Cyclone. I’m tempted to put our current logo on my blog, as a sort of permalink to the dedicated blog. I’ve just released a video I spent last night cutting up and putting back together, much like a jig-saw. ‘CIA’, an apparently famous Romanian hip-hop group, played at Platinum as a part of their UK tour, I was there with a couple of others to film it, and after that I had the joy of post-production duty. It’s not a problem though, I find editing to be a very cathartic process, sitting and watching the picture come together, it’s no different to a painter who fills their canvas, or a bricklayer as he builds a house from the ground up. At least in my mind it is…
The finished product looked rather professional I must say, maybe I should start charging for this kind of thing? You know what they say, don’t ever do something you’re good at for free. What a cruel world.
Why is it so quiet today? Is Coventry playing with my mind? Where has the traffic gone?
I wish it was raining.
Time is running out, it always is. There’s never enough of it when you really need it, and a surplus when you don’t. It seems the world is not without a sense of irony. The deadline for a very important course module looms with but a week or so standing between me and the end, perhaps I sound melodramatic, but after more than a month of independently organised professional work I can’t help but feel apprehensive. I’ve been withdrawn from the world, wholly devoted to a creation that has snowballed itself into existence with the support of my peers, Cyclone. I mention the name here and there, this will be to you (as much as it still is to me), an enigma. A concept or notion that I felt fitting for a social enterprise gained mutual interest, and before I knew it became what it is today. I insist on keeping you fine readers in the dark about it, until now. Why keep things a secret? Who knows, you might be interested in it too.
For now we are a media production group, a coalition of writers, photographers, film-makers and thinkers; we are focussing on promoting and investigating the world of unsigned music, however we have plans to go above and beyond in the near future.
Here’s a sneak preview of our documentary, ‘Window Shopping’. A recent interview with an acoustic punk, Huffy, who will feature in the full release.
But enough Cyclone talk for now, on to the title. Despite having very little free time these days, I found myself joining a focus group in the heat of the moment. The gathering was to discuss a new product for students, called the ‘Gecko Pad’. Due to the nature of the product (and its delicate pre-production state) I cannot reveal too much information about it, however I will say that it is an interesting premise, one that could find its way into many institutions if pushed in the right direction.
I sat for some time, listening to the discussion of the product, not to mention the thoughts and opinions of others in the room, before opening up too. I think they were surprised by my responses, they were a little ‘different’ to those that had been heard already. I chose to not reveal my experience as a student with experience in entrepreneurial ventures, and instead played the situation. By the end of the three-hour discussion I had turned the conversational dynamics around to my favour, leaving the product developers hanging on my every word. It felt good, it reminded me of my professional confidence, something that had taken a few bruises over the past month or so. A refreshing change of pace, one that I am thankful for experiencing.
It’s the day after my spur of the moment participation, and that revived confidence is yet to leave my side. I sit outside Costa’s typing this in the sunshine as I wait for my day to truly begin. It’s another big job for Cyclone, I’ll be leading a crew of photographers and videographers at a night-club shoot, as part of our efforts to spread our professional reputation. The equipment is almost ready to collect, won’t be long now.
It will be interesting to find out if I’m living under a placebo effect, or if I’m back up to full speed.
It’s quarter past five in the afternoon, a rainy Sunday. For the first time in weeks the harsh biting climate that we have grown accustomed to is replaced with a disorientating humidity, an uncommon warmth that has the city-folk caught off guard. They brandish shorts and summery tees, oblivious to the impending downpour that is to come some moments later. I can smell it – it’s wonderful…
I’ve been searching for some inspiration for months now, confounded upon inert plains of vicious lethargy. Time is becoming more of an enigma in this place, I’m losing my ability to utilise it, let alone track it.
This Easter break has been a tough one, I have remained in Coventry, set to devote all of my time and attention to my fledgling social enterprise, Cyclone. I am currently in the process of putting together a timeline, and create a blog dedicated to my professional experience. It’s been a heck of a ride already, a strenuous, time-consuming ride with a tendency to erupt in stressful setbacks and human failure. I’ll be the first to put my hand up and admit my own failures as a leader so far, but I’m hoping this is where I turn it around. Time will tell for my project, I certainly couldn’t say where its fate lies, only that I and a few others will be there together when it becomes apparent. Shortly in the future I plan to reveal to you my project in more detail, including an insight into the things we’ve done. It’s been a busy Easter with Cyclone.
But I should have balanced my time better, I let my concentration slip for too long, I would even go as far as call it the worst period of laziness since before my time at university. Things just keep happening, but I have done nothing in the way of documenting them. From the masses of ‘should haves’ with university life, to the ongoing world around me. I’ve been apathetic to it all, which is terrible. From Thatcher’s death to the latest conflict flare-up on Korean soil… Where has my time gone?
I think I need some inspiration, some nugget of enlightenment to push me back up to full steam. There is so much to gain, but also so much to lose. My enthusiasm is more crucial than ever, but I can’t help myself: It’s too easy to sit back and let the passivity of television re-runs and internet phenomenon wash over you. So if this is the case, let it be something enticing and stimulating that takes your time away from you. At least I will walk out of it feeling more engaged, hopefully.
Tea will help too.
I think I’ll start with The Human Project. I’ve put off reading their book for a while now, but no more. If you’re a ponderer, a star-gazer, or take an interest in the science of ‘us’, then start reading it with me. It’s freely available.
How about this? Eh? How about it? 201MC, that little bane of our lives is suddenly become a new leash of life, a hobby, a love-child. I’m not exaggerating when I say that, this is the chance I need for all my side projects and ideas (that have built up over the years) to see the open world, I’m excited, because I know (for the first time) that my dreams are becoming possible.
No doubt that there is still much work to be done, free time is still a precious recourse, but progress is slowly being made. I can’t (don’t want to) say too much about ‘project 201′ because, to be quite frank, it’s complicated, and I’d like to think it’s relatively innovative. But I will keep a photographic/video/text journal of the process.
Oh, and whatever you think this is (especially at this stage) I can guarantee you’re wrong. But that’s okay, you’ll know soon enough.
Back with a vengeance,
2013, Once more unto the breach.
Allow me to interject amongst the silence. My goodness, the dust sure has collected since November. I’m afraid I must confess my late departure from cyberspace; indeed it was untimely, unwarranted and above all, lazy. The opportunities, the food for thought… So many events and inspirations that I missed. I have denied whatever you wish to call the magical array of wiring and chemicals (that resides within my cranium) a banquet. I have starved it of any real interaction with the world, not to mention the regular stimuli it so ravenously devours, it has been condemned to fester, observing the world through my eyes, but at a loss for words.
Perhaps the damage is already done, perhaps this was a sign that the blog is a redundant notion, and I will never truly regain the sharp edge that my mind once had. It can happen, you know: I was once in a state of invigoration, analysing and translating the issues of the world with relative ease, now I stumble over myself as I try to find the words that convey my emotions. To imagine myself never recovering from this sluggishness is nothing short of terrifying.
However, I know the thing that resides behind my eyelids is a remarkable creature, I can feel it growing bolder with attentiveness as I type these words. The dots are connecting again, I’m stretching my legs. I kicked the door back open and I’m blinking in the light, it’s so refreshing. I like to think that my mind ‘rebels at stagnation’, and whilst I’m not Sherlock Holmes (I sometimes find the ‘dull routine of existence’ to be rather charming), I do ‘crave for mental exaltation’.
Was that pretentious? Oh, no matter.
I shall have to run a few system checks before I can safely say I have recovered from hibernation. This is a crucial process, you see. To skip past the ritual would be a fool’s errand, causing more harm than good. I have made landfall with this returning post, but before I am back to ‘me’ I need to do the following:
- Grab the feather duster, and do a quick once over with my plans.
- Consider today’s issues. Analysing and reflecting as I go.
- Take in something truly marvellous, and, in a show and tell fashion, share it with you wonderful people.
- In a final exercise of colourful thinking, create something totally new, perhaps a piece of writing, a short story, a video? Who knows.
- Reflect, how did I feel during the process, do I feel better for it? Consider my findings and consolidate the agenda.
Now, it is absolutely vital that I follow this set of mini tasks to the letter. They must be in order, and they must be completed to an acceptable standard. So keep an eye out for me, watch the space.
I hope you are all well rested and ready to face another year. Did you make any plans for change, or ‘resolutions’? Do you know where that practice comes from? Well it’s an ancient tradition, traced back to the Romans and Babylonians. They used to make promises to return or ‘reimburse’ their gods. Janus in particular, the two-headed god who looked to the past and the future. Hence the first month of the year… January.
My New Year’s resolutions? In all honesty I haven’t thought about them too much. I’ll let you know how I feel when I’m out of hibernation (and on top of my work again).