First I'll sum up the last few weeks by quoting a tweet from British comedian Bill Bailey (taking my own twist on it). Into week 10 of studying in London "thru protests, riots, tube strikes, perishing cold, Camilla prodding -yet I will not submit!" There, that sums it up! Well, I guess I can say that in the middle of all this perishing cold and riots I've been struggling with my research, I've been sad and homesick and worried about my future. It hasn't been pretty.
Anyhoo. In contrast, the last few days have been SUPER. First, I got really high marks and kind feedback on my first essay of the term. This restored faith in my research abilities. My professors loved my topic (I wrote about the Ice Palace as a liminal space in a story by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Kubrick's The Shining) and they praised how I balanced the historical and cultural aspects of the topic. It was broad, but also very well contained and focused. My specialty. Secondly, during my feedback session I got a little bit of hope in staying here to finish the PhD. It seems that they want to keep people in the program and they might help me find a way to pay for the next couple of years. I need to go talk with the director at the start of next term, and he said we'd figure something out.
The highlight of the week was definitely seeing The Boy Least Likely To live last night. In fact, that is what I'd like to really focus on writing about tonight. I've blogged about them before when their second album came out, and I've loved them for a long time, ever since the first album was released some 6 years ago. I knew they were a small band from a small town in England and being from a small town in Utah I never ever thought I'd actually get to see them. So last night ended up being extremely special for me.
I don't think I'll take the time to explain what TBLLT are all about. A recent review of their new Christmas album (which is awesome) does a great job of that. I'll just get to the show for now: I was surprised at the small venue, and not being a drinker and being from Utah I was also surprised by how badly the bar smelled like piss and vomit. (After asking around I've found out that this is how most bars smell. guess that makes sense.) I also got there way too early because the tickets just said 8:00and I didn't know if that was when the doors opened or when the first band went on. I was a bit annoyed with myself at first for getting there at 7 when the band wouldn't be on to 9:45, but I forced myself to stick around and fortunately Jof was there selling his own merch. I was really pleased to talk to him and have him sign a Christmas card for me, and he was very nice and gave me a couple of buttons to go with the tote I bought. I loved how when I asked if they were actually not going on until almost 10 Jof's eyes widened and he asked "Is that going to be a problem?" Haha, no, I thought, I'm just an old lady who likes to go to bed early. After buying my tote and talking to Jof I still had another hour and a half before the opening band went on so I just stood around and waited. I went in to the venue when it opened at 8 and realized I had my camera with me and should have got a picture with Jof. I knew he was sitting outside and I knew I had loads of time to kill so i thought, why not, and I went out and asked him for a photo. It ended up being a really awkward photo, which is ok, but I also got to talk to him for a little bit and that was nice. I'm actually proud of myself for asking since I'm usually really shy and reserved in those sort of situations.
The show itself was fantastic. The band had loads of energy and Jof was pretty adorable dancing around on the stage. They played all of their best songs, and I kept feeling a little sad every time they started one because I knew it would end soon and I wished they would play them a couple of times in a row just like how I listen to them on my ipod. The only things that kept it from being a perfect show is: 1) I wish they hadn't had so many long pauses when they played their cover of Faith. I love that cover; nothing makes me happier than to listen to it and dance around my room. The song has always been my #1 guilty pleasure, and when I found out they had covered it I about died. They were cute when they paused in the song and bantered a little bit about it, I have to admit that, but still I wish they'd played it all the way through. 2) I wish they had played more songs from the Christmas album. It's odd, people usually hate it when bands play too many songs from their new album, but this is the only thing I've been listening to the last three weeks. It's got me through that little bit of dark time I mentioned before, and I would have loved to hear them play The Wassail Song, Jingle My Bells, Christmas Isn't Christmas Without You, and The First Snowflake. What better time and place to play such awesome Christmas songs? Well, as I said before, if it were up to me I'd have them play all their songs in their discography and twice over.
The crowd was small, which made my wild dancing right at the front feel kind of conspicuous, but I ended up not caring. That's how I do concerts, and I make no apologies for it. Nothing beats the restorative properties of dancing to fantastic live music. I came away from that show feeling like a new person. My head was cleared of this terrible cloudy feeling I've been carrying around all week, and I felt deliciously sore from dancing and standing around for hours. And happy. Oh I just felt so light and happy, and it's carried through today.
I think things are starting to turn around for me here in London. I was worried before that I had no place here, that nothing I do was going to matter and that I'd come back with nothing to show for my time spent but a massive load of debt. But maybe not. Maybe I do have a place here, maybe I can create some good work, and maybe there are going to be the opportunities I've hoped for. I'm feeling really optimistic. I hope nothing comes along and destroys it all...
Oh, I nearly forgot. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!