Monday, January 15, 2007

Feeling Good

Had a great time on Saturday, albeit a very long day. Started early enough - left home shortly before 7am to get to Reading for 10 and only just made it! Was my OU Tutorial on Saturday and I felt really pleased with myself that I contributed what I thought were fairly intelligent and erudite comments on the American legal system and constitution, which is interesting seeing as the course I am doing is about UK politics! It did have relevance though as it was to do with the comparison between the UK and US political systems, which are about as different as chalk and cheese. Studying one informs the other and vice versa so my comments were with value and importance. Also surprised myself with being able to correctly name every UK Prime Minister since 1945! Although admittedly I struggled with Clement Attlee, which is a shame as his premiership has been overshadowed by history yet it is argued that his tenure at No.10 shaped the UK for the rest of the century. Not just the establishment of the NHS and the modern welfare state but also the nationalisation of utilities and railways and the building of consensual government in the post-war period.

Later in the day it was back to London to meet with friends, which after some mix ups, did do eventually at the British Museum. This is one of those places that just awes me. Everything about the BM is grandiose and triumphant. Much like the feeling I had earlier in the morning arriving at Paddington station. Whenever I head up the stairs/escalators out of the tube station into that magnificent concourse, I swear I get tears in my eyes. It is not just the enormity or grand design of the train shed that takes my breath away, its the atmosphere with fumes and roar of engines that making it feel alive. Anyhows back to the British Museum and I get similar feelings. These impressive buildings speak of greatness and power; a testament to a proud and patriotic nation. At the British Museum we spent time covering the Egyptian and Greek exhibits seeing the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles. It is such an impressive and wonderful collection of treasures, it just has to be seen to be believed.

We left the British Museum and headed back to the West End, stopping off at Forbidden Planet in Shaftesbury Avenue before settling at a pub for a few hours well earned rest and replenishment of the liquid and food kind! Just a wonderful few hours, talking about all sorts, Star Wars mainly, naturally! Sharing good memories and happy times together. Tim has got me hooked on the new Star Wars Miniatures Game, must get my starter set!

Yesterday was a quiet day, catching up on my sleep mainly and working on my current essay, which I've started writing tonight. Last night I decided to chill and watch a film. Choice was It's A Wonderful Life, which I've had at home on rental for a few weeks. It has been a while since I've seen this film and I'd forgotten just how good it is. A lovely, heart-warming story that made me think how important everyday is. I like the fact that George Bailey is taken to see what life would be like if he had never been born as it shows just how much we all influence and impact on each others lives, even in very small ways, which can have profound implications. His realisation that his life is important and that he is in every way the 'richest' person in Bedford Falls is simply wonderful. It brought tears to my eyes.

I picked up some bargain DVD's today at lunchtime - Monster, The Remains of the Day and October Sky and I recorded The Shipping News and Moonlight Mile, which were on TV this weekend, so I've got a fair amount of film watching to do! Plus I got another Nina Simone CD - an absolute snatch at £2.99! A compilation of her work between 1964-1967 it includes Feeling Good, a track that perfectly sums up my outlook just now. Yet again this is a exceptional CD and I really do wonder why Simone is so underrated when it seems to me that she was such a towering talent. From what I've read, difficult and idiosyncratic too but a genius all the same. Okay, she may not have been the most attractive woman, although certainly striking and she may not have had the most accomplished singing voice but she knew how to use it and deliver music that is affecting and powerful. I'll keep buying her music though, I am hooked!

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