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Wednesday, March 14th, 2007
8:14 pm - Woes of Persia
I was interested to see this:

Iranians take offence at depiction of ancient Persians

While I sympathise with their annoyance, they allege that George Bush's 'Axis of Evil' ideology is behind the negative portrayal of the Persians - as decadent effeminates who covet Western lands, but who are destined to be repeatedly hacked apart by Europeans with sharper swords and better dress sense. And I can't agree with them there, because that's been the prevailing image of the Persians for the last two and a half millennia - the unfortunate legacy of fighting a series of wars against people who did a lot of writing in their spare time. There's a certain inevitability about being seen as barbarous when you're one of the cultures for whom the word barbaroi was invented.

None of which, of course, is likely to make them feel much better. An interesting question, though, is how much we can blame Herodotus and his successors (Greek and Roman) for the existence of the 'Axis of Evil' concept. Leaving North Korea aside, of course (as they did, for some reason), I'd say it's quite plausible that they contributed in some way.

Anyway - looking on the bright side, 300 appears to be doing very nicely at the box office, which should go some way to erasing the Hollywood memory of Alexander. Based on a comic or not, if this one had flopped, it could have taken Classical filmmaking down with it. We'd have had to wait another decade for the next Gladiator equivalent.

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Wednesday, March 7th, 2007
11:35 pm - Music of tonight
One evening of Lloyd-Webber goodness later (thanks to mousey13 and co), I can now more fully understand what people are talking about when they discuss the merits of the parties in Phantom. Excellent. Onwards to Les Mis!

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Tuesday, January 9th, 2007
10:00 am - Undeterred
I have the greatest respect for science. But to be honest, I'll continue to take my chances.

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Thursday, January 4th, 2007
8:42 am - Back!
Ah, Krakow - old buildings, ancient legends, and generous portions of very cheap food. Brilliant place.

I spent my New Year being pushed back and forth by a boisterous crowd in the town square, listening to such old Polish folk songs as Sex Bomb, before two firework displays: the formal, spectacular and provided at government expense, and the informal, provided on a minute-by-minute basis by young Cracovians at considerable danger to themselves and those around them. I think it's my most enjoyable New Year celebration ever, though only the second most alarming.

I also managed to meet up with synergetic, proving yet again that the best way to meet people you know is to travel a thousand miles in any direction. We had a long and nostalgic chat (and excellent lunch). I also found time for various museum visits, trips to churches, and improving my bridge but not my chess. There was also a visit to Auschwitz, which was certainly food for thought.

And now I'm off to a Business Law tutorial. Ho hum. Nevertheless, it's good to be back.

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Thursday, December 28th, 2006
4:34 pm - Journey to the Poles
Right, I'm off to Krakow for the New Year. Apparently it's not all that cold at the moment, which is unfortunate in a way. Enjoy your various New Year celebrations, and I'll see you all back here, refreshed and ready, in 2007!

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Thursday, August 31st, 2006
10:00 pm - Barnes storming...
Hmm. I see that Peter Jackson is going to direct a remake of The Dam Busters. On the one hand, it doesn't seem a particularly necessary remake. On the other, the article reveals a dodged bullet:

Jackson asked his agent to inquire about the possibility of remaking the film at the same time as he was securing the rights to the Lord of the Rings trilogy in the 1990s.

"He came back and said that Icon had the rights and that Mel Gibson was going to direct and possibly act in it," Jackson said.

The mind boggles at the thought of Mel Gibson, the man who has essentially made a career out of killing English people on film, directing a Dam Busters remake. It would be fascinating to see how one could make an anti-English Dam Busters, but thankfully we'll be spared that in favour of one shot entirely on location in New Zealand. Well, perhaps.

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Wednesday, August 16th, 2006
1:56 pm - Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensia, etc.
I haven't posted on LJ for a while, largely (or entirely) because I haven't been doing anything particularly interesting to post about. Playing tennis, catching up on my reading, all that kind of thing.

But I now have something interesting to report, having just got back from a trip to Germany! Inspired largely by the fact that I hadn't been before, I popped off with a friend from school to Berlin and then Cologne.

Read more...Collapse )

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Friday, June 9th, 2006
2:40 am
Via anotherusedpage and cottonwoolfairy, the "write a complete story in just twelve-and-a-half words" challenge. It's getting on for 3am, so this seems the perfect time for my effort.

The elixir bubbles.

"Soon I will be imm-"

Coroner's verdict: 'Death by Irony'.

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Sunday, June 4th, 2006
2:40 pm - Fight Historical, No.1
I can't remember the last time I went for 40 hours without sleep. Interestingly, it turns out that, after the first 24 or so, you pass through some kind of tiredness barrier and come out on the other side, so I didn't feel tired at all for most of the second day of the G&S marathon.

A very successful one, too. I'd been slightly worried beforehand that the graveyard shift would be sparsely populated enough to force me to sing the entirety of the male cast of Sorcerer, but that was never even slightly on the cards. Four of us, in some kind of bizarre suicide pact, were there for every operetta (and in fairness to Nic, he only missed out on a couple because he was performing in something else instead, so he didn't get any sleep either), ably supported by a healthy interchange of people - some well-known, some slightly-known, and some I was meeting for the first time - who were almost all very pleasant.

The setting - bright sunshine, a view overlooking Christchurch, the cathedral in the early glow of dawn (possibly the only time I've heard anyone be complimentary of it) - was also pleasant to the point of nostalgia overload, a sentiment to which I subjected a large number of people at different times over the two days.

It was also fun to play a variety of roles - Dr. Daly, Hildebrand, Captain Corcoran (twice), Celia (high bits tricky), the Colonel, Guiseppe, Sergeant Meryll, the Usher, Phantis, Robin/Ruthven and, in a return to my theatrical glory days, Bunthorne's Solicitor, A Gentleman of Japan, and A Bobbing Policeman.

Finally, I got to See People in large numbers. Yes, I know that I last Saw People only a week ago, but this time I not only Saw More People, but, what is a great deal better, Saw People More.

Anyway. A Good Thing in spades, by any measurement. Now...exams. Hahah.

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Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006
4:22 pm - Fairy tale ending. Read that whichever way you like...
I understand that Foggerty's Fairy is on this week. I'm therefore popping up to Oxford in my usual fashion to see it on Saturday, and hopefully as many people as possible. (If anyone has some convenient floor space for the night, that would be also be welcome.) Good luck to those who have exams in the meantime!

I also have an appeal. I have occasionally heard hushed whispers about the existence of a Yeomen DVD, owned only by select members of the Priory of Sion down the ages. If anyone has come into possession of one of these, and has it at hand in some loanable form, please let me know.

In other news: I also have exams at the moment. Don't ask. Seriously.

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Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006
8:11 pm - Just a bit angry...
Roman city destroyed for extra parking space

How do you say "Burn in hell, you utter bloody philistines" in Spanish?

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Wednesday, April 26th, 2006
2:25 pm - Printer, printer! Take a hint-er!
An immensely frustrating phone conversation with Dell Customer 'Care'. Leaving aside the fact that it took me half an hour and three attempts to navigate my way out of the reefs of Automated Messages and into the open seas of Actual Person On The Other End, my mission to change an aspect of my order was annoyingly abortive.

ArghCollapse )

I realise it's not the fault of the individual operator. But why should it be so hard to save them money?

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Friday, April 21st, 2006
10:23 am - Would another 80 years be too much to ask?
Happy birthday!

title or description

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Wednesday, April 12th, 2006
12:04 pm - This interview's already lasted...oh, you know the rest!
I had an interview with a law firm last Tuesday (slightly disloyally, during my vacation scheme with another firm). They said that they'd get back to me in two days.

Astonishingly, I then heard nothing. Fair enough, they didn't want me. Would it kill them to tell me that?

Fast forward to today, and an apologetic phone call from the chap responsible for interview responses.

He'd gone on holiday. He'd sort of assumed that someone else would handle it. Surprisingly, nobody had. Profuse apologies. And, by the way, would I like a training contract?

It's nice to feel wanted. It will, I hope, be equally nice to feel employed.

current mood: chipper

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Saturday, April 8th, 2006
6:23 pm - A law unto meself...
After an interesting couple of weeks, I can now rejoin the real world! Sadly I wasn't on holiday, but doing a vacation scheme at a law firm.

It was actually rather fun. Part of this, I suspect, was down to it being an Easter scheme (populated by an eclectic group of diverse graduates at varying stages of their career or legal education) rather than a Summer scheme (consisting entirely of penultimate-year undergraduates). This made the social side of the fortnight higly enjoyable. For the most part.

However, everyone at the firm was very friendly too, and the work was often fascinating. Not everyone, I'll admit, will take joy from the process of amending a lease to thwart a landlord's attempts at gaining extra control over an undertenant; however, take it from me that it's suprisingly good fun. The excellent food, free drinks and London Eye trip, however, I plan to discount as shameless bribery rather than a representative experience of legal life. The endless stream of Jaffa Cakes, on the other hand, may count for something.

I also went along to the Apple v Apple trial, of which some of you may have heard. We were acting for Apple, I think. There was a British Museum trip as well, but to be fair it wasn't exactly scheduled by the firm - two of us found ourselves in Bloomsbury with an hour to spare. What else, reasonably speaking, could we have done?

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Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006
10:33 pm - Paragons of legislation? Only up to a point...

I'm not saying that the country's going to the dogs, but one certainly starts to get the distinct impression of a substantial boost to Britain's canine proximity.

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Friday, March 10th, 2006
12:25 pm - Open all hours
An interesting open day at a law firm yesterday. I didn't realise it until I arrived, but the firm in question was founded in 1701 and occupies a former mansion off Lincoln's Inn Fields. All very pleasant, and certain parts of it made me feel as if I was back in Oxford.

In addition to the usual tours, talks and so on, there was a rather fun group exercise. Divided into teams, we had half an hour to think up and then film an advert for any product of our choice, fictional or not. These were then played back to everyone and a winner selected. (My particular role involved coming on with a hammer and violently assaulting the camera with it.) Luckily enough, our team won, which meant a bottle of champagne each. I know what you're thinking - "I hate to raise this, Ed, but you don't actually drink champagne." True...but it's the principle of the thing. I'm sure I can find someone who drinks it.

The chief puzzle of the day, however, lay in trying to work out the identity of a girl in my group. I was sure I'd seen her somewhere before. According to the list of attendees, she'd done History at Oxford, so it seemed feasible that we'd met - but where? I caught her looking at me in a thoughtful way as well, so I asked her if by any chance she'd done any Ancient History options - perhaps we'd seen each other at a seminar. No, she hadn't, but she thought she recognised me from somewhere too. Had I been a member of the History Society? I hadn't, so that wasn't it. Had she been a G&S attendee? She'd been to a few shows, but that couldn't be it. Well, she was from Merton - did she know Marc Stoneham? Yes, she did. Had he dragged her along to any OUCA events? Yes...but somehow that wasn't it either. Well, Marc Stoneham had been at Chris & Laura's wedding - had she? Perhaps I'd seen her there. No, but she'd seen pictures of it. Well, that was no good - she might have seen me, but I wouldn't have seen her. A pause. One last try. Weren't there any more societies she'd attended? She hesitated. "Well...there was also Scottish Dancing."

Mystery solved! We remembered each other because we'd probably danced together at some point. It's a small world, which is something that never ceases to surprise me no matter how often it's proved to be the case.

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Thursday, March 2nd, 2006
8:52 pm - Another day, another interview...
Interviewer: "Right. Now, about your personal interests. You say you have an 'enduring interest in classical music' - good. *pause* Unfortunately, you then go on to say 'in particular the comic operas of Gilbert & Sullivan'. *further pause* Isn't that an oxymoron?"

Me: "I can see I've got my work cut out for me here..."

Postscript to this issue: fortunately, the interviewer didn't apparently hold my musical opinions against me, despite my attempts to convert him, as they've just invited me back for a second round interview.

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Friday, February 24th, 2006
11:33 pm - Onwards, etc.
My recent but determined attempt to build up a portfolio of legal experience continues, and oddly enough seems to actually be meeting with some success. Following an interview last week, I've been invited to attend an Easter vacation scheme at a law firm, which should be interesting. The real boost is knowing that I can actually succeed at an interview, of course.

Next aim: actually get, you know, some kind of job? Well, let's not rush things.

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Sunday, February 19th, 2006
11:19 pm - Update...
It strikes me that I've been up to a few things lately. So I thought I'd keep people informed.

What I've been doing of late...Collapse )

Also - the Government has banned smoking in various public places, but decided that it has to outweigh this good deed with a raft of unpleasant legislation that also passed this week. Meanwhile the Tories, in some kind of fantasy world where the idea didn't represent a minor form of treason, sent a deputation across the Atlantic to grovel at the feet of Bush's chief spin doctor.

This was all so thoroughly depressing that I briefly considered actually getting involved in politics so I could try and get the chance to legitimately shout at someone about it.

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