Monday, March 07, 2005

Why PJ Should Have Kept Those Goggles On And Grabbed A Copy Of Beowulf

Why PJ Should Have Kept Those Goggles On And Grabbed A Copy Of Beowulf

This morning I woke up to the strains of 'Let's Get Ready To Rhumble' and thought something had gone majorly wrong overnight; that I'd slipped back a decade and that I'd open my eyes to find I was in a room with posters on the ceiling, my hair in a ridiculously long plait and with the knowledge that I had to go to school for Double PE. When I did open my eyes I was somewhat relieved that the time-space-continum was exactly as it should be and the only demand being placed upon my time was a pressing engagement with the English Faculty photocopier. It took me slightly longer to work out why Radio One was playing PJ and Duncan AKA, given that they didn't really play them the first time round, until it dawned on me that it was in fact Comedy Dave's tedious link track as they were in Newcastle as part of the Red Nose Rally. Comedy Dave and Chris Moyles proceded to mock some of the lyrics and I mentally composed a biting email in response - there are many, many things which I will allow you to mock, but PJ and Duncan AKA is certainly not one of them. Anyone who can compose such lyrics as 'watch us wreck the mike, watch us wreck the mike, psyche!' deserves defending to the death.

After such an opening there really was nowhere that today could go but downwards. And, anyway, today officially marks the day when I have to stop having fun and actually have to work. That would be properly work and not just get 8 books out of the library as I did last Monday, spend time looking up lots and lots of theatre reviews as I did on Friday or write nicely colour co-ordinated plans as I did at various times in the last week. I now have to adhere to the plans and actually write the extended essay that makes up one ninth of my final degree. There is nothing on the horizon until D-Day [Deadline Day] except endless essay writing and re-writing. Actually I lie, there is one thing on the horizon - Friday's "library day" where I'm going to spend the time hoovering up critics whom I can argue with whilst in the salubrious surroundings of the Bod, hopefully with a first draft in my hand. But, somewhat understandably I feel, that doesn't have me running around my house, screaming, as say an impending gig might or an upcoming theatre trip would. Or even, on a lesser scale, how a pub quiz or a lazy afternoon in the University Parks might. There shalt not be any enjoyment of oneself that does not involve a computer and the complete works of Pinter. And yet, distinctly worryingly, I did rather enjoy sitting in front of a computer writing about Pinter this afternoon. And I don't, Betrayal aside, particularly like Pinter, he writes the same play rather too many times for my liking. But I still enjoyed it. It's times like this when I realise that there will always be a part of me that would like to forever remain in this environment, surrounded by books and ponitificating on drama, taking breath only to pontificate about Woolf, or Fitzgerald, or Byron or indeed one of the numerous other authors or texts which cause me to get thoroughly over-excited. Because, and I can finally say this now that I'm at the end of a course which has been both painfully difficult and incredibly annoying at various points - and indeed will be again when in three weeks time I've to start my Middle English revision, I genuinely love authors, books, words and everything that goes with them. I've even picked up a respectable hardcore of poets whom I love, and I'll never forget, for all the crap that Old English caused me in my first year, just how joyous being able to read Beowulf in its original language was. Admittedly I could quite easily have done without Byrhtnoth's "ofermode"* or the Wyatt and Surrey fiasco of Michaelmas Term 2002, but as I sit here, pumped up with the works of Hare, Marber, Stoppard et al***, I can say that I have rather loved it basically getting to read lots and lots over the last three and a half years. And I love literature more than I ever have. Just don't ask me about The Cloud of the Unknowing as I can't tell you anything as I was doing a play that week and wrote the 2000 word essay having only read the editor's introduction. Just don't try that one at home.

*For those non-Old English speaker amongst us, Byrhtnoth fought, and died, at the Battle of Maldon, and in a particularly long-winded example of the genre of Old English war poetry** his failure boils down to his "ofermode", translated as his "pride". Literally thousands of words of criticism have been written about that single "ofermode". It really is mind boggling.

**And this is a language which has approximately 17 different words for spear but no future tense.

***If I'm being honest I'm also pumped up on Bucks Fizz and Kit Kats. But I maintain that a good play is worth more than any kind of drug.

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