Here we are, sitting on the brink of another year. I think it would take a very long time for me to review the entire year, however, I can point out a few highlights.
Change of direction
September 2012 saw me heading to Strathclyde University for a masters in Digital Journalism. After a flop (for want of a better word) in my first degree, I thought it quite amazing that such a prestigious university would take me on. What’s more, Kingston University – another great one, or so I’m told – was reluctant to let me head to Scotland. With emails sent back and forth at a hectic pace, I was asked if I am absolutely sure I don’t want to go there.
New life, old friends
Having arrived in Glasgow, within one day of being here, I was reunited with ‘boss’ and friend, Gareth K Vile (http://vilearts.blogspot.co.uk/) , who has been a really powerful influence on my way of thinking about theatre, journalism, criticism, philosophy, and the world in general.
This is not only because he actually has good ideas, and knows how to teach what some would call ‘critical thinking’, but also because working with him on the insane schedule of a biweekly publishing of the Shimmy Skinny in the summer of 2011 was one of the greatest experiences of my life. The Edinburgh Festival of that year was an educational one for me. Working in a tiny box of an office with ‘the boss’ (also known as big G) from the early hours of the morning to well past midnight, reviewing three or four shows a day, editing or subediting other people’s work, forced me to learn things very quickly, and taught me that I could write something that was reasonably ‘good’ in a very limited timeframe. It was then and there that I knew I had to pursue a career in writing of some sort; I loved writing before, but I’d never seen myself put it to any kind of use, beyond it being my hobby.
Anyhow, aside from bringing me back for work on The Skinny, Big G let me help out with his radio station – The Vile Hour – which taught me invaluable skills about audio editing and production. These came in handy a few weeks later when we were being taught the very basics in the field at university. What’s more, I met plenty of people from the theatre and art-making scene in Glasgow.
While in Glasgow, I have been trying ‘new life experiences’. Obviously that sounds very dodgy and hippyish (or otherwise a good way to mask an attempt to use drugs), but I’m not talking about drugs here. Because I just needed to vent out pent-up frustration and tension into something artistic that wasn’t writing, I somehow hunted down a theatre group that needed an actor and singer to fill in for a last-minute drop-out. Within a week, I learnt the few lines he had, and the songs (they were pretty easy), and made some amazing new friends! I didn’t think I had it in me to do that; I was so terrified of letting everybody down, that I actually worked at it. What’s more, I spent time with them over the holidays, went to the cinema with them, and had an amazing birthday because of them. Had I been asked a few weeks ago if that was possible, well… I would’ve probably said no.