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Le Retour   
10:15pm 22/01/2006
mood: fatigué
...I'm back. Hard to believe I've been living in France for five months. I'm exhausted, much better at French, very sad to have to leave but just as equally happy to be home, plus much more besides. There really is far too much to write about. I've made some great friends and picked up some great memories along the way, and I've already bitched about the coffee not being as nice despite only being back for half a day. Those of you still stationed in Lancaster I endeavour to see very soon and I'd also very much like to see you guys in Burnley.

I'm shattered from my ferry crossing home so I think I'm going to call it a day now. I'd just like to share this photo which probably my favourite from my time away. It was taken sometime in December, I think, and features pretty much all of the English/Irish gang that I've become so close to over the last few months. I just made the image a wee bit small but I can't be arsed uploading it again.

Roll on Germany, then. After a prolonged period of procrastination, of course.
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Au revoir!   
01:15pm 29/08/2005
  Hello all,

Well, the time has come. It's much sooner than I would have liked, but I'm heading off to France tomorrow to enrol at Rennes University. It's all rather frightening, but I plan to approach with a cautious excitement.

I've no idea how freely available internet access is over there, but hopefully once I get my bearings I'll find a seat in an internet cafe that I can make my own. I'll try and update as often as possible, read everyone's updates, use MSN etc. but I can't guarantee anything. I'm certainly going to be extremely busy for the first month or so, what with the culture shock and the challenges of the woeful French bureaucracy.

I shall endeavour to stay in touch in the hope that you do too. I'll be back at Christmas, if only for a short while, so I'll let everyone know what my plans are in due course.

Bonne chance et bonne santé.


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11:47am 07/07/2005
  I got 2:1s in all 5 of my culture modules! Hooray! Now I've just got to get my language marks up over the next two years and I'm set for a decent degree. Good 'oh.


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Onion Rock   
12:54pm 24/06/2005
  GZfest was amazing; the best gig I've ever played. We rocked out like never before and threw onions into the crowd at the end. The whole night was a massive success and the event actually sold out with a few hours to go. Even if we hadn't have played, it would still stand as one of the best nights out I've had in ages.

Lonsdale Resurrection wasn't so great. We played at 8-ish to no more than 50 people. Technically, we played as good a set as GZfest, but the audience and the atmosphere just wasn't there. Still, we got paid in beer and made a decent enough night out of it.

The end of the night was quite sad, really. We all said our goodbyes and made plans to meet up and gig and/or record over the summer, but I couldn't help but think of it as the end of the Ampersands. The guys will carry on gigging next year and they'll probably find someone who is more than capable of replacing me, but I'm sure they'll agree that it won't quite be the same. In 18 months we've gone from acoustic jams in Ste's room to a good degree of critical success, if only on the local and university scenes. It's been bloody brilliant.
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11:25am 22/06/2005
  Dear Livejournal,

Since my last entry I have-

- been to Northern Ireland and walked along the Giant's Causeway
- bought some green Converse hightops
- been to Manchester to see REM (awesome)
- had a haircut
- played in a college football tournament (won a few, drew a few, lost a few- distinctly average)
- made four red cravats

Last night I partied at County extrav and spent the night on campus. Ampersands are playing GZfest tonight and I'm absolutely bricking it. We're well rehearsed and everything, but for Si and myself it'll be our biggest gig yet. Ticket sales were just short of 1000 last night. Eep. Still, we're dressing up as Frenchmen (hence the cravats) for reasons undefined, but it should be a laugh anyway.

Tomorrow we play Lonsdale extrav in support of the ultimate Darkness tribute band, The Likeness. Should be fun.
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Fucking Jaffa Cakes   
05:35pm 13/06/2005
  Well, I'm off to Ireland with Elaine for a couple of days. I've never been before, and she lives a couple of minutes away from the Giant's Causeway, a landmark I've always wanted to see. Should be good. Toodles!  
Stuff and Junk   
08:02pm 07/06/2005
mood: tired
I've got a Year Abroad preparation course these week. It's insightful, hectic and extremely scary. I've got so much to do between now and September it's barmy. I suppose it would help if my prospective universities' websites weren't so bloody awful to navigate...

...speaking of which (real smooth) I've made a few more changes to the Ampersands website. We have pictures now, although no live ones. Si is back from his pilgramage today though, and I'm told he has plenty of pics for me to stick on the site.

In other news- my flatmates are fucking animals.
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Doctor Dictor Don Doom   
08:47pm 01/06/2005
mood: hot
I've updated the Ampersands website. I think it's a decent effort for someone who knows buggerall about web design. There's next to no content on it at the moment, but hopefully that'll change in the near future.


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06:59pm 19/05/2005
  Haven't posted in an age, but just wanted to say one thing.

Revenge of the Sith is bloody brilliant.

That is all.
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03:40pm 07/11/2004
  Last night I went to see the Beach Boys in at Blackpool Opera House. I say the Beach Boys, but I actually mean I went to see Mike Love and Bruce Johnstone perform with a very talented and well-rehearsed backing band. I say backing band, but I actually mean that each of the band members was allowed to take centre stage at at least one point in the gig. I liked that very much. Much more democratic than I anticipated.

As one would imagine, they mainly played the hits (of which there are too many to count) but a few other surprises were thrown in along the way- several lovely covers including a rather wonderful a cappella version of an old Four Freshmen song. God Only Knows leading straight into Sloop John B would have to be the highlight.

The harmonies were fantastic and it was good to see Mike Love in such sprightly form (amazingly, he's still got the voice he had 40 years ago)

It took a while for the audience to warm up, probably because so many of them were oldies, but by the end of the night people were dancing in the isles. A very good night. Just got to hope I can catch Brian Wilson performing sometime in the near future.
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"Lord Vader?"   
10:09am 05/11/2004
  "Yes, master?"



Okay, so half of it is a montage of old clips, but still...it's fucking Star Wars! Get in!
05:34pm 04/11/2004
  ...why not listen to Lancaster Uni radio tomorrow between 7-9pm? Stephen and I are taking charge of the alternative slot- acoustic set, Ampersands interview and we can play the songs of our choice. Any requests?

Live feed- http://www.bailriggfm.co.uk
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Long time, no post...   
11:01am 04/11/2004
mood: rushed
...as I've been very busy indeed. Trying to keep up with my work is proving difficult, as it is coming from all directions at the moment. Hopefully things will settle down a little next week.

I was at home this weekend. On Friday night I went to see my old Gilbert and Sullivan society perform 'Tarantara! Tarantara!' and very good it was too. I couldn't help but sing along on many numbers, and it was good to see some old friends who I haven't seen in ages.

Saturday was great. A.L.F.I.E. Band Night at the Keirby Hotel, Burnley. A cancer charity set up in honour of our friend Phil who died earlier in the year, we were hoping to raise a little bit of money with entrance fees and a (rather good) raffle. At the end of the night, we reckoned we'd raised about £700, but the actual sum is near £1000, which I'm very happy about. Ampersands played in what was a very successful night. A couple of whiney emo bands had slots (the old folk didn't like the screaming), a 'punk' band with a girl on vocals and an old school band made up of...kids. Seriously, the 13 year old on guitar was sensational. I was in awe.

Anyway, I've got to go on campus now to get an MMR jab. Mumps outbreak and all that.
The Great Journey.   
04:59pm 15/10/2004
  As a self-proclaimed mummy's boy, I've always found the concept of independence rather unnerving, so when the idea that I have to spend the best part of a year in a foreign land finally hit me the other day, I felt absolutely awful. In a month's time everything will have been finalised, and up until today I honestly didn't have a clue what I wanted to do. I've been to a meeting today regarding the prospects of being an English language assistant in a foreign school, and a tutor has presented me with my options. I'm hoping that it all goes to plan, because I now have a very good idea of what I want to do. So, fingers crossed, my year abroad will read thusly-

1. October-March 05/06- Teaching assistant in French school/college/whatever- I'm applying to the British Council tomorrow, so I won't know whereabouts in France for a while, although I can make preferences regarding regions.

2. April-end of July 06- Enrolling at a German University- I've been recommended two univerities that have semesters which fit my plan- Trier and Heidelberg. I've been to Trier before and it's a beautiful town. I've also done some research into Heidelberg and it looks rather lovely too. I'll try and get to see some World Cup matches, too.

3. August 06- strictly extra-curricular, but I plan to travel Germany for several weeks and see Hamburg, Berlin etc. This is all dependent on such factors as money etc.

I'm literally shaking with excitement, which is a feeling I never expected. The nerves are there of course, but I really expected to meet this with more trepidation. Hope it all goes to plan. One more tutor to see tomorrow then I can apply.
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04:46pm 03/10/2004
  I saw Kenny Baker and Dave Prowse today! I also bought models of an X-Wing and a Tie Advanced. Yep yep.  
Dear Livejournal...   
05:31pm 02/10/2004
  Today I was visited by my parents. We had a lovely lunch in Fibber McGees and I bought SMiLE, an album which I am listening to right now. It's very chilled out.

Elaine and I are also now an item. I think I mentioned her in an earlier post, but anyway she stayed here last night and things are great at the moment.

I start learning on Monday!

Also, I'm dressing up as a Jedi to meet Kenny Baker and Dave Prowse tomorrow. Should be fun...
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04:43pm 26/09/2004
  Kenji is heading down here tomorrow. He's staying for a few days which I' really looking forward to. I'm also looking forward to seeing John, Ryan and the rest of my friends that I haven't seen for ages.  
04:35pm 26/09/2004
mood: hungry
I'm going to see Mike Love and Bruce Johnston perform with the latest Beach Boys lineup in November!

I'm going to see R.E.M. peform at Old Trafford next June!

It's all very exciting. Ideally, I'd like to see Brian Wilson perform, but seeing Mike Love in the flesh is going to be brilliant. Incidentally, Brian Wilson is finally releasing SMiLE nest week, and I'd recommend checking it out. I've already heard most of it, but this contains news recordings of Good Vibrations, Heroes and Villains etc. Check it owwwwt.

I'm having a great time in Lancaster and Fresher's Week began yesterday. Met plenty of people, but I was floored by the end of the day. I was working pretty much from 7am to 5pm showing people to their rooms and such. However, I met a girl a few days ago and I spent the night at hers. Before you judge me and my philandering ways, I must say that I'm completely bowled over by her and I hope it develops much further.

In other news, it's back onto campus tonight for Karaoke. Any suggestions for something for me to sing?
The Downside   
02:20pm 16/09/2004
  Up until yesterday, say...ooh...about 2pm, I was positively lactating with excitement at the prospect of moving into a cool new flat with four great friends. To be honest, I still am a little excited. However, a great deal of consternation has to come with it, as, as of yesterday. Kenji won't be joining us in the flat.

He took a resit in one of his modules this summer and has failed it for the second time. He's not allowed to continue until he passes this exam...next summer. In theory, he could resit his first year, but I've spoken to him and thats not an idea he seems keen on. This means I'm practically losing a great friend, and it's going to totally change the atmosphere of the flat.

We've got to look for a new flatmate asap, and it's not likely to be someone we know. Most second and third years are already tied up with properties, so we're probably going to have to find a foreign student or a post-grad. It may turn out to be just rosy, but for the moment it's rather disheartening.
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To quote little-known beat combo the Spice Girls...   
05:44pm 11/09/2004
  ..."Tonight is the nigh-eeet, when two become woh-hon."

Yes, I'm heading over to Great Harwood in a short while to begin preparations for the mother of all Stephen Hudson-related gig lineups. Uncle Jeff/Ampersands, featuring T of seventysixseconds as guest drummer for Ampersands! Christ on a bike! It'll be fun. Come along to the Royal Hotel 8pm onwards! You won't regret it! Well, you might, but you probably won't!*

*I hate exclamation marks. I'm just trying to drum up interest.**

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