Wow, these really are flying by at an exponential rate. I’ve been so caught up in the moment that I’ve lost a part of my former self, if you will. The patient writer, the static thinker, the philosophical ranter, he has been left by the wayside and given way to a new individual. An impulsive tinkerer of sorts, who fraternizes with the present. I’ve seen the capital, I’ve seen the sunset on an ocean, and I’ve grown to treat my camera like my closest companion. I have to be careful not to lose sight of everything else that is in front of me, including my limits and time. I know I should be doing more than a post a month, but it feels like all I can handle right now. I reflect in different ways since I’ve been here.
It’s starting to get cold here, people are withdrawing a lot more, you can see it. Fall will soon be usurped by a blistering cold winter. The sun doesn’t show his face much anymore.
Flashing forward, four months unaccounted for…
By digital standards this gap would be easily considered as a crippling shift between then and now; a black smudge on the page of a writer’s collective works which has devalued the time leading up to the present. It’s not so much a case of ‘time well spent’ but more ‘time unrecognised’. Similar to a recovering amnesia patient, I must recall my past experiences in the hope that I find something worthwhile within it.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid of the readership, it’s been a long time. I’m scared I’m going to fuck things up: I’m scared I’ll realise something terrible, that my creativity and my ability to express a thought in words is gone, and all that’s left behind is a bitter notion of what could have been as opposed to what really is: I’m afraid that I’m going to bombard you with so much literary pretense that you’ll find me laughable. Perhaps upon a quick scan you’ll confirm my latent uncertainty, as you regret choosing an anonymous note over an extra minute with your coffee. It’s probably gone cold, my condolences.
Certain events have led to a change of circumstances in my life. For instance, I’m typing this post in a library located in Värmlands, Sweden. For the next nine months I will be a full-time student of Karlstad Universitet, as a part of the ERASMUS exchange programme.
But more about that later, I need to decide whether I backtrack or start fresh, the latter is somewhat appealing.
But seeing as I no longer reside in Coventry, this domain may be somewhat problematic. I’ll get back to you with a decision later.
It’s good to be back.
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.