Today this could be, the greatest day of our lives …

14 Jun

*CAUTION, THIS POST CONTAINS EXTREME EXCITEMENT AND FAN-GIRLING, WHICH THE AUTHOR CANNOT APOLOGISE FOR* (I.e. if you don’t like Take That, or don’t care, then don’t read on!)

Back in October, on one wintery day, there was a scrabble for credit cards, as thousands of women (and, let’s not be sexist, men) tried their luck for the golden ticket – i.e. a ticket to Take That’s Progress tour, and eternal happiness.

I was one of those women, who awoke at half past eight, opening several different ticket retail websites, ready and waiting to secure those beauties to be released at 9am. But, as people all over Facebook and Twitter celebrated getting their hands on some of the most sought after tickets of the year, I struggled on … and it was only after a TEN HOUR battle with various ticket sites, that I finally managed to join the thousands of people nationwide, who were part of history. Yes, it was a historical moment, the boys (men) sold out each and every one of their dates, with each additional date being added, selling out all over again – it was the day Take That took over the world. (Sort of)

What followed, was eight months of gradually building excitement, constant listening to the band’s many albums, and dedicated lyric rehearsal, just to make sure that I could be word perfect for my big day. And finally, the day came. Saturday 11th June. I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t have a clue what to wear, how to do my hair, or how much make up I should wear – I wanted to make a good impression on the boys. (Men) After much deliberation, an outfit and image was decided upon, and I was ready, armed with our tickets (I was sharing my big day with my Mother, who was equally excited.)

I’ll fast-forward through the boring car journey, and get straight to the main event.

Now, my heart sank when the Pet Shop Boys were announced as support for the tour, especially as there had been rumours of Cheryl Cole, and I saw them mostly as the one obstacle standing between me seeing the main spectacle, but, as they strolled on stage, one wearing a VERY fetching shiny jacket, I realised that I should just embrace the entertainment, and found myself ENJOYING them! Fancy that, eh!

It was only as they said thank you and left with one final song, that I realised – the moment I had been waiting for for all these months, building up to, getting excited for, was here. The timer counted down on the big screen, 3, 2, 1 … and there they were, standing right before my eyes, sharing the same air as me! Gary, Mark, Jason and Howard, finally there, ready to start what was to become one of the most incredible evenings of my life so far. Kicking off with Greatest Day, and some other recent hits, I was prepared to sing my heart out, whilst taking as many pictures as I possibly could with one hand, and waving like a maniac with the other.

Anthem after anthem were performed, to only the highest standard that you would expect from one of the country’s biggest boy (man) bands, and as much as I was enjoying it, I couldn’t help but think there was something missing. Before I had chance to work out what it could be, the answer was provided, in the form of a free-falling Robbie Williams, who launched from the top of the stage, before making the crowd go wild with as we let him entertain us (see what I did there?) Thanks to my inability to avoid spoilers, I already knew that Rob had his own section of the show, and which songs he would be performing, but this didn’t stop me being amazed at just how much of a showman he is, and how brilliant his performance was – it’s just disappointing that he probably won’t ever do a solo tour again.

Oh, and to the woman in front of me, who booed him and shouted for Take That, get a grip, Robbie’s back now, accept it.

Anyway, it wasn’t long before all five of the original Take That were reunited on the stage, to the excitement of the thousands of us packed into the City of Manchester stadium, and they performed a selection of tracks from their new album, Progress, as well as an incredible medley of songs from ‘the old days’ – but not Could it be magic, since Robbie declared a passionate hatred for it! You learn something new every day, eh?

Anyone who has seen the Circus tour will realise what a task the band faced, trying to out-do the giant mechanic elephant which walked out into the crowd, but they managed it, in the form of the operational man – which began crouched on the stage, but made its way out into the crowd, manoeuvring itself into standing for the finale. To be honest, it’s quite difficult to describe the scale of it and how incredible it looked, so have a gander at the picture below.

So that was that. They said their thank you’s, declared us the best date of the tour so far (and, let’s face it, it’ll probably stay that way, since the Manchester dates were their homecoming), performed the outstanding Never Forget, and they were gone. But, fortunately for those at the gig on the 11th, never to be forgotten, since the tour DVD was filmed that night, so we have a permanent reminder of the greatest day of our lives! Other than the 432 photographs I took. Obviously.

Whilst I wait for the DVD to be released, I’ll just have to make do with a daily browse of my photos, whilst I wear my Take That hoody, and sip tea from my Take That mug.

Obsessed, you say? Never 😉

Told you, it's pretty magnificent!

Advertisements

£9,000 for a few hours of PowerPoints every week? No thanks.

5 Apr

We’ve all known for a while about the coalition government’s decision to remove the cap from university tuition fees – but today’s announcement from the University of Central Lancashire that they are to start charging students £9,000 a year from 2012 has still shocked most current students.

I find it absolutely outrageous that the University can justify charging that much, when I for one (although I’m sure others would agree), don’t feel I get my money’s worth as it is, paying just under £4,000 a year.

As much as I enjoy my journalism course, lectures consist of PowerPoint presentations for about 50 minutes, and seminars/workshops last for a maximum two hours, during which we again tend to have the joy of PowerPoint. I have learnt a huge amount in my two years here, but I can’t help but think that there’s so much more we could have been taught, and more skills developed if we were in for more than 8 hours a week. Yes, we may have access to computers and other expensive equipment, and I understood that my fees contributed to the cost of cameras and audio recording equipment in my first year, but I have specialised in print journalism this year, and as such, don’t think I have got my money’s worth.

Indeed, I’m due to pay over £40 for an exam next week, an exam which I could potentially fail, and that would be money wasted. My tutor was apologetic when she first informed us of the (upwards of) £200 expense of sitting all of the recommended National Council for the Training of Journalists accredited exams. She did explain that she hopes to have the exam fees included in tuition fees in future years – but that’s not a huge amount of use, when it is something which won’t come into force during my time at the university. I must make it clear, that these exams are optional, but we are encouraged to sit them in the interests of career prospects.

Before coming to university, I was under the (perhaps somewhat naive) impression that having a degree would almost certainly get me a foot on the career ladder, and give me an invaluable advantage over those without. But when I started my course, and on numerous occasions since, we have been told time and time again, that just having a degree isn’t enough – work experience and knowing the right people are crucial. At least for journalism anyway.

I think that the increase in fees is going to make prospective students seriously question whether a degree is necessary for their chosen career, and look into other means of gaining the experience and skills that they might need. Universities need to talk to current students before making such huge decisions which are going to impact on thousands of people – maybe if they heard what we had to say, they could make constructive changes which are in the best interests of students.

This decision doesn’t affect me or my friends currently at the university, yet my Facebook feed and Twitter timeline are full of people exclaiming their disgust at the news – the general consensus seems to be that it just isn’t worth it. I think that UCLan and any other university who will be implementing an increase in fees need to look closely at the courses they provide, and see how they can be improved to ensure that prospective students are going to be getting their money’s worth and will leave university with a better chance of employment.

Perspective

13 Mar

Oh gosh. A whole month since I last posted, sorry! I’m really not very good at this; I need someone to remind me.

I think that yesterday’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan sort of puts everything in your life into perspective. I’ve had Sky News on continuously both yesterday and today, and the footage is just unbelievable. This website has some really incredible photographs on it too, take a look. It sounds clichéd to say it, but it really doesn’t look real, and I can’t imagine what people who have been affected are going through. I find myself being quite intrigued by the idea that Mother Nature is something we just can’t control, and I wonder what it would be like if something so devastating happened to Britain – would we cope? Probably not. I wouldn’t know what to do in an earthquake, and even if I did, I’d probably still panic. As more pictures come in, and further developments are reported, it makes all my problems seem quite trivial.

Food for thought, huh?

See, even now, I’m wondering whether I should talk about other things, because after that little speech about the disaster, me whinging on about the noise downstairs really does seem insignificant! [It is loud though, I cannot wait to move into our house.]

Oh, also, I’ve recently been added to the UCLan student blogs page so if you’ve found me through that, say hi!

I’ll leave it there for now. I’ve managed to tick most things off my to-do list today, so I can finally crawl into bed and get my iPod on full volume to drown out the noise and hopefully get some sleep and wake up motivated to get some work done! [Or just watch TV whilst thinking about doing work.]

Promise I’ll be back soon!

tick tock …

12 Feb

The resolution to update this regularly isn’t going so well, is it? Truth is, as soon as I feel an obligation to do something, I immediately lose interest. But I’ll try harder, I promise.

Anyway, a little update for you – after all that stressing and just when we had given up, we found the most perfect house, and it was completely by chance. It’s absolutely perfect, and we’re all incredibly excited to move in and put our stamp on it. I think that even when we made the decision to stay in halls, I knew at the back of my mind that I’d much prefer to live in a house. Yes, it is more responsibility, but at the same time, I’m 20 years old, it’s about time I learnt how to set bills up etc, ready for when I leave the sheltered world of University!

Talking of which, the thought of finishing university scares the life out of me. I feel like my life is flashing before my eyes, we’re almost half way through February already. If I’m stressing now, imagine how I will feel this time next year. Doesn’t bear thinking about. I don’t know what I want to do when I’ve graduated. So many people on my course have set ideas and specific aspirations about what they want to do, and I admire that, but I’m quite happy doing whatever comes my way. Now, that might seem quite sensible, keeping my options open, but it also complicates everything, because time is ticking, and I can’t just drift along and wait for someone to tell me what I want to do. I do have a few ideas though, so maybe if I focus on narrowing them down, it’ll be alright. But still, it’s a well known fact that it’s a tough market out there for graduate jobs, which makes me wonder if this degree will be wasted. Gosh, how did life get so complicated, so quickly?!

I don’t know why I’m looking ahead to graduation, when I have numerous deadlines to meet to pass this year! I’m going to try and be more organised with this set of assignments though, maybe if I take more time to plan my time out, I won’t end up having a nervous breakdown!

Ha, right on cue, the people who live above us have started playing their music VERY loud for the second time this week. It only confirms that we made the right decision to move away from halls!

Wow, almost 500 words on one blog post. That’s a third of the word count for my Law assignment, if only I could be so productive with that eh. Maybe my tutors should consider setting blog posts as assignments, especially as we are on a Journalism course. Anyway, I’m waffling, sorry if this bores you, I’m doing my usual trick of thinking out-loud (well, online.) I’ll try and do a more interesting post next time!

Home is where the heart is

29 Jan

University – the most fun, carefree years of your life, right?

Not when you’re trying to find somewhere to live!

Having lived in halls for the second year, I was all up for finding a perfect little house to live in for my 3rd year. I love living in halls, apart from the occasional rant about noise, and it’s so convenient for getting to lectures etc, but I really wanted to have my first ever house.

So, we started looking, and soon realised that we had to lower our standards, and be a little more open minded and imaginative in our search [apparently student landlords don’t see the need to actually clean their houses before showing them to people, and we had to see past that!] We got excited before every viewing, only to come away disappointed -even when we thought we’d found ‘the one’, we were’t able to decide on who should get the smallest room. That was the end of that one.

More viewings were made, only to be cancelled, some as late as just a few hours before we were due to go. I think it’s disgraceful how these landlords treat students, we’ve been messed around more times than I can count, and they seem to think that they can con us into signing deals for a house which they themselves know is just not worth it.

Even the many private halls around Preston just didn’t suit us, and now it’s a choice between re-signing with our current halls, or waiting for the University registered list of houses are released this week. As much as I wanted to live in a house, and have that experience, I think that staying put is the best option. There are so many arguments in the house vs halls debate, but being able to have my heater on 24/7 and not worry about the cost of the bills will outweigh any in support of houses!

Sometimes, you just have to recognise the signs that something isn’t going to work.

Now, can I go back to being carefree and having no responsibilities? Ta.

Under pressure ..

23 Jan

I’ve been sat here trying to decide on something interesting to write, feeling pressured to make sure it is somewhat journalistic.

Not likely to happen. I’ll just stick with what I know, shall I?

Back for good ..?

23 Jan

Wow, it’s been a while since I updated this. I’ve neglected my blog a bit over the past few months, since I had to use as a host for my course assignments and workshop exercises, so please do ignore those posts (I’m unsure if/when I can delete them.)

Anyway, I decided that 2011 is the year I will make an effort to keep this going, and ideally I’d like to do at least one post a week – but we’ll see how that pans out! Haven’t really decided which direction to go with it – I do enjoy a good rant about current issues that get me riled, but I also love fashion/beauty blogs so it could turn into a mix of both. If you have any ideas, feel free to let me know.

I’m going to try and link it up to my twitter page (follow me @georgiaalice18) but I’m not the most technically minded person so I’m not sure how successful I’ll be.

So yes, keep your eyes peeled for more posts, and if you don’t see them, be sure to comment and tell me I need to stick to at least one of my new years resolutions.