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Week 3!

A very good evening from seat 15F onboard Vueling flight 8463 from Lisbon to Barcelona and welcome to the second of what I hope will be a weekly series of blog posts detailing the joys and pitfalls of my six month stint in Catalonia.
I’ve spent the weekend with my parents and younger brother in Portugal They’re actually on the holiday I was meant to be on before I got my job and I’ll be joining them at weekends. Next week they’re coming to visit me here and the following week I’ll be joining them in Biarritz. Lisbon is possibly my favourite city in Europe so it was great to spend a few days there even if the heat was becoming truly oppressive. Food is cheap and extremely good quality (shout out to the chicken restaurant near Restauradores metro station which I still can’t remember the name of...), the architecture is stunning and above all the atmosphere is very relaxed. Barcelona is lovely but it’s the city equivalent of a over-excited puppy: exhilarating, lovely and a huge amount of fun for a while but eventually irritating if you have to live with it all the time.
Work is progressing well. Search engine optimisation may not be the most glamorous job on Earth but if described properly it’s CV gold and at least I’m doing it somewhere interesting. At the very least it’s given me the chance to do a bit of writing (my best example so far is probably this) and is a pleasant enough introduction to the world of office work, the place where all arts graduates are doomed to wither and die.
So what of the amazing club scene in Barcelona? Well unfortunately I don’t really like clubbing or rather I do like it but only for about an hour. After that I can’t escape how boring the entire concept. This may be because I don’t really allow myself to become totally rat-arsed (I’m a massive control freak at heart and getting seriously drunk involves surrendering much of that control) or it may be because standing in a room with 2,000 other people listening to dull, repetitive house music all of which sounds exactly the same. A (heterosexual) friend of mine here has promised to take me gay clubbing next week. This could potentially be interesting or utter carnage. I’ll keep you posted (she had her 18th at GHQ in Edinburgh, the mind boggles...).
My revelation of the week came at a language exchange on Monday (my Spanish is progressing slowly but surely). Apparently Geordie Shore, probably Britain’s worst ‘constructed reality’ show, is broadcast in Spain and has a loyal following. This exchange also involved my Spanish conversation partner imitating a Geordie accent which was interesting to say the least (my regret of the week is not recording this impression).
So in short work is going well, it’s very, very hot and you should go to Lisbon if you get the time. Oh and fly Vueling if you ever get the chance. They’re very good and the inflight magazine is actually worth reading.
I remembered this morning that I actually have a Livejournal account and somehow plucked up the courage required to look at it. Fortunately it's actually not that bad. While Glee reviews are hardly Ulysses the reviews are (in my eyes) reasonably coherent and sensible which is something that cannot be said for at least 95% of the Glee related stuff out there on the internet.
So what are we going to do with this blog then? Being 20, male and having got most of my teenage wangsting out of my system I'm not exactly in the target market for Livejournal anymore (if I ever was). My original intention was to write a few posts about the culture shock that has been my move to Spain. But then I discovered that a colleague of mine has done a much better job of that

So what's it like living in another culture? Surprisingly same-y. I was having a conversation with a fellow year-abroad student about this and we decided that we would be having a very different experience had we been doing this 10 or 20 years ago. Technology and globalisation mean that not only is it far easier to keep in touch with home but we have a far greater awareness of what to expect when we get here. I can watch Spanish television in Britain and British television here in Spain. I've been able to buy El País in Scotland for years and I can buy the Sunday Mail on the Plaça de Catalunya if I so desire.

So what is actually different? It's all about people and the way they behave towards one another. Catalonia is a far more social, group-based culture than Britain or particularly London (where I've spent the last two years) are. In London I feel bad for talking loudly on the Underground. In Barcelona if I'm standing on the metro listening to my iPhone I feel like the odd-one out. People do everything together and this can create a real sense of isolation if you're a newcomer. As a student working in a company with a lot of interns this is somewhat easier but it could be very easy to bob through months in Barcelona without truly 'getting to know' anyone.

The streets additionally feel very different. People run into you all the time and the way of dealing with this is radically different. In Britain we say 'sorry' when we really mean 'You bumped into me! I expect an apology'. In Barcelona someone will tread on my foot I'll exclaim '¡perdón!' and the offender will look at me quizzically and move on leaving me quietly fuming.

The approach to rules is also very strange for someone coming from Britain. In the UK we have many rules but there is generally an understanding that they can be bent if required. No-one really cares if you exit the supermarket without buying anything and this is not particularly difficult anyway.
In Spain trying to leave a supermarket without purchasing anything gets the same reaction as trying to pay your £80 shopping bill with change and that assumes that you can actually work out how to leave. I spent 10 minutes wandering up and down a branch of Carrefour last week trying to work out how on Earth I could actually leave. Similarly shocked reactions emerged when I tried to enter an electronics shop through the 'sortida' on the basis that the entrance was 100 yards away and the product I needed was right next to the exit anyway. The reaction of the man in the shop suggested I was only getting in at all because I had elected to play the idiot tourist card.
Service is similarly ruder or more honest depending on your point of view. The woman in the supermarket makes it clear that she really doesn't give a shit about how your day is going or what you have planned for the weekend. Having worked in retail for about three years this attitude really took me by surprise at first but Spanish friends assure me that this is the way. That isn't to say that Spanish people are by any means unfriendly or generally rude, they're not, but there is none of the dance of social etiquette that we get so worked up over back in the UK.

Doubtless there will be more to come here but I'll sign off for now. It's nice to write again though.

Glee 3x09 review

Glee has long been a massively inconsistent piece of television. If it were solely comprised of the sappy, stupid rubbish its detractors moan about it would at least be a far easier programme to watch. No the problem with Glee is that its moments of brilliance (the cast list going up in Asian F, the sheer fun of sectionals last week) are punctuated by beyond the bottom of the barrel moments like I Kissed a Girl or the wedding scene from Furt. 'Extraordinary Merry Christmas' falls into the latter category.

It's not the worst episode of Glee ever made but that's only because they made 'The Rocky Horror Glee Show'. The episode wilfully ignores basic elements of its characters (already very one-dimensional) personas. It's extremely hard not to conclude that the show runners forgot about Rachel's Judaism and only threw the 'Happy Hanukkah' line in at the end because one of them had an 'Oh Shit!' moment in post-production. Rachel's Judaism is a point which has been rammed home repeatedly over the series (particularly in that stupid nose-job episode last season) and if a show runner can forget about a detail like that then television production may not be the career for them.

The episode revolves around the New Directions producing the Holiday Special for the local PBS station on a budget of $800. Artie, choosing to combine the worst aspects of theatre geek and nerd, decides that the show should be a bizarre combination of sappy 1950s Judy Garland holiday special and the Star Wars Christmas Special (which I have never seen but am reliably informed makes the Phantom Menace look like Citizen Kane). 

Unfortunately however this opportunity comes up shortly after the New Directions agree to sing at the Homeless Shelter for Sue, who seems to have taken her biannual dosage of 'sappy and emotional' pills. Since the homeless can apparently only eat on one particular Friday night before Christmas and the PBS station doesn't appear to actually be capable of taping shows for later broadcast this is going to create CONFLICT and DILEMMA.

All of New Directions except for Quinn and Sam (who has apparently left his family to starve in Kentucky while he goes to sing with a high school choir…) go to film the special. Now the special is predictably awful (it's meant to be) and in a two minute cutaway would have probably been good enough but the thing goes on, and on, and on and on for about 15 minutes by which point I found myself unable to actually continue watching the darned thing out of genuine fear of whichever godawful cliché they were going to pull-out next. Christmas specials are generally clichéd but that doesn't mean they can't be somewhat inventive (see this week's excellent Simpsons episode by way of comparison). At the end of the day if nothing else Glee should be enjoyable, escapist and downright fun to watch. The Christmas special is none of these things.

Despite the special feeling about 729 hours long there is still about 8 minutes of the episode to go after it ends. In a totally shocking development the New Directions decide to go to the Homeless Shelter after all. Why? So they can sing to starving children about how awesome their lives are and how they should feel terrible about children who are starving that bit more than they are of course! Unfortunately however this is the one part where my exasperation with the show falls down because Kurt and Blaine (and to a lesser extent Mike and Tina) are so god-damned cute during this scene it almost makes me want to love it again. If anything however this shows how low my demands of the series actually are and what an achievement the writers have made in making me loathe it so much.

However just in case you thought it might end there with you know an upbeat song and happy people don't worry! There's still around 4 minutes left to ruin everything! Finn buys Rachel a present deciding to buy her a star (or at least name a star for her) which seems a nice enough gesture until he announces that the star is now named Finn Hudson because (wait for it…) 'There's already a star named Rachel Berry'. This is a hard decision to swallow. Even if he'd planned his stupid 'already a star' line in advance there are many other names he could have chosen. Let's review a couple of possibilities:

1. Finchel
2. Barbara Streissand (woo woo woo woo woo…)
3. Why have we still never met your parents?
4. Slushee-in-the-Face

None of these are very good but they are all vastly superior to Finn Hudson. Even more irritatingly Rachel is pleased with Finn's stupidity meaning that he'll only do it again in future.

The episode finally ends with our gang collecting for the Salvation Army (an organisation so inclusive that it lobbied to have equality laws overturned so it could continue to be homophobic) and Rachel suddenly reminding us all (and seemingly herself) that yes! She is Jewish! And Jews celebrate Hanukkah instead of Christmas! Ain't that neat? Then everything fades to black and the audience leaves to have a stiff drink and a serious think about what they chose to do with the last 43 minutes of their life.

Happy Christmas/Hanukkah everybody…

Responding to the PTC...

So the inevitable Parents Television Council response to Tuesday’s Glee episode has appeared and boy are they angry! A CNN article written by PTC Communications Director Melissa Henson hits out at the show (and television in general) for ‘presenting teen sex as common’ and ‘marginalizing teens who choose to remain abstinent’.

Glee’s grip on reality is loose at the best of times but the realm of sexual intercourse is an area in which the show’s producers appear to have been incredibly careful to ward off the type of allegations coming from the PTC.

The two couples featured in Tuesday’s episodes have been in long-term (admittedly on-and-off in the case of Rachel and Finn) relationships. Particularly in the case of Kurt and Blaine the amount of on screen ‘relationship activity’ depicted has been minimal. 

The show also seems hell-bent on telling its audience that sex and particularly the loss of virginity should not be taken lightly. Early on in the episode there was a scene featuring Finn asking another character which condoms he should buy in a obvious attempt to drive home a safe-sex message. Additionally Kurt specifically backs-off from Blaine’s attempts to have drunken sex with him in the back of a car, preferring to wait until the time is right.

Previous depictions of sex in Glee also don’t seem to match up to the PTC’s allegations that Ryan Murphy is on some kind of crazed mission to sexualise teenage Americans (surely Beyoncé’s music videos have far more to answer for in this regard). As stupid as the Quin pregnancy storyline has become it does show that unprotected sex can have serious and life changing consequences. Far from being a home for sex-crazed depravity sex seems to be the only thing the writers of Glee are capable of taking seriously.

It seems inevitable that Glee, particularly due to its focus on gay relationships, is going to continue to attract this type of attention from conservative media pressure groups. If the last episode was anything to go by however the accusations are essentially groundless. If anything Glee holds back in a media landscape which features far more sexualised characters, situations and imagery than a soapy drama about a show choir

Glee 3x05 review

The problem with being semi-obsessed with a TV show and a massive internet geek is that you generally know exactly what is going to be in a TV show before it airs. This is especially the case with Glee where storylines, song-lists, screengrabs and character development arcs appear weeks in advance. This put even more pressure on a show to really deliver when it’s fans know a major plot arc is coming up.

Did ‘The First Time’ manage this? The answer is a hesitant yes. It managed to advance the romantic lives of 4 principal characters and a major supporting one without too many massive handbrake turns.

The exception to this is Artie who has suddenly gone from slightly meek, nerdy nice guy to self-centered, controlling bitch. In other words ‘In tonight’s episode the role of Santana will be played by Artie Abrahams’. While I understand that the plot required someone to push Rachel and Blaine towards sex Artie was not the person to do that especially when Glee already has a large roster of bitchy manipulative characters to call on.

The whole Sebastian subplot was an interesting departure. Up to this point the writers have fairly consistently tried to avoid the promiscuous, sex crazy homo stereotype. Now they have distilled 3 seasons worth of these jokes and clichés into one knob of a character. Sebastian is that sleazy guy you’re shocked to find out has a beautiful partner, who has money but no class and has no interest in relationships beyond the shallow bonking level. Unfortunately however Blaine’s alcohol induced horniness kicks in again and we’re subjected to 5 minutes of awkwardness in the world’s dullest gay bar followed by a truly uncomfortable (but well acted) scene where Blaine (having talked down sex days previously) suddenly wants to shag Kurt there and then. Drunken Blaine is not a pleasant person to be around and someone I’d like to see less of in future.

Before we move on to the musical itself let’s discuss one of this episode’s key problems, plot overload. Glee is never happy to have an A-plot and a B-plot. At a rough count this episode went all the way down to an F-plot and at the end it really felt as though they had run out of time. What happened here could have easily filled 3 episodes without getting boring. Glee’s issues with plot are mostly self-inflicted since the writers seem to go through ideas like a hyperactive 12 year old when they really just need to hit pause sometime.

Anyway! West Side Story! Mike’s dad pops up again like Moaning Myrtle from Harry Potter to remind him how disappointing and terrible he is (he still has great abs though... [Less gay lust - Ed]). Santana excels in the role she was clearly born to play and Blaine and Rachel make good leads. For once Glee managed to put on a school show that felt like something a school would do. The rewrites were maybe slightly ambitious but overall it felt far more ‘real’ than last year’s godawful Rocky Horror performance. The Tonight performance and America particularly excelled and it’s nice to see straightforward performances of good songs by the capable cast.

Now to wrap up the miscellany of plot strands that are still kicking about. Beiste has a love interest! Who is crazy about her! This is one love-interest where I would like the writers to be really boring and conventional. Beiste is a character who more than anyone else deserves a stable relationship with a good man. I’m not holding my breath though.

And finally the elephant in the room. The sex. Rachel and Finn’s relationship has been so drawn out that it’s really started to irritate me so in a way it’s nice to see it finally come to something. In another way however it’s very irritating since the two have no chemistry and since Finn has been a complete douche towards Rachel (and most of the other girls) for 2 years. Cory Monteith’s performance was pretty stellar. It’s difficult for me to discuss the Kurt-Blaine scene without simply descending into childish noises about how cute it was. So I’ll make it simple. It was cute but we needed more...

Overall thoughts then? An above average episode but at this burn rate we’re going to struggle for plots by the latter third of the season. Oh and yet again Glee is better without Will.

Glee 3x01 review!

The problem with writing a regular review series like this is that you rarely find time when you’re too tired to go out and spend your evening drinking, reproducing or whatever it is people with better balanced lives than mine do but not tired enough to sleep. Happily the perfect opportunity prevented itself this morning in the shape of a group of youths smashing up cars in my street with a baseball bat (thankfully I don’t drive) as the police have now come and I’m too filled with adrenaline to sleep the obvious solution is to review ‘The Purple Piano Project’ while throwing awkward glances out of the window to gawp at the police detaining people.
Like almost every episode of Glee after episode 2 critics (and snarkers) can easily produce a shopping list of ‘things that would never happen in real life’. This week’s top 3 are!
  • The Purple Piano Project itself – ok (and I’m lifting a bit from the AV Club here) city-wide art installation projects are no longer cool. Heck even Edinburgh Airport is doing it now. Additionally the idea that a school would allow you to dump pianos at random around the building is just ludicrous. Also the whole thing was Will’s idea and therefore I think it’s terrible.
  • Santana being expelled from Glee club – SHE SET A PIANO ON FIRE and all that happens is that she has to leave a singing group ‘for a while’. Wouldn’t someone at least have told her parents? Wouldn’t Sue have got in some kinda crap for this whole thing? If Will really wants to sink her election bid maybe he could tell the public that she gets students to SET THINGS ON FIRE. Somehow I think that would be more successful than his backslapping glitter thing.
  • Blaine appearing in Lima – Ok I’m still not willing to accept that the whole Blaine thing wasn’t planned from the very beginning but the way he just appears and announces he is enrolling is just weird. Isn’t high school admission trickier than this. However as this move will result in far more Klaine I’m probably willing to forgive it… for now at least.
Now that we’ve snarked lets move on to the stuff that does work. Kurt and Rachel’s experience pretty much mirrors the start of university for most people. As important as it can seem high school is a small world and it is relatively easy to excel in your chosen field. Drop yourself into college (and a high end performing arts college in particular) and suddenly your USP is gone. People speak 7 languages,  solve differential equations in their sleep and write Nobel Prize winning novels before lunchtime. The very thing that once made you what you are suddenly seems mediocre and insufficient.
These scenes were brilliantly conceived and acted and for once the big gay musical number made sense. The dialogue in the car after is heart-rending (as it should be) and shows what a brilliant move the show runners made in casting Chris Colfer and Lea Michelle.
Sue running for office… hmm we’ll have to see where they’re going with this one. Sue has never made a huge amount of sense as a character and in this episode she is straight back into Vicki from Fairly odd Parents mode. Her anti-arts stance is appropriate and sadly would probably work at the moment. Will’s attempt to derail her campaign is typically half-assed and weird and unsurprisingly fails completely.
As almost always happens with Glee I seem to have written an incredibly ranty post about an episode I actually involved. In another recurring trope for these reviews I’ve not touched on the songs which were the definition of OK. If the writers can keep to the arcs and themes they’ve established in the opener we could have a great (and unlike season 2 tidy and sensible) 8 months of television ahead of us. If not well it’s Glee and I’ll probably end up loving it anyway. At the very least bad episodes make for better reviews.
Random thoughts
-       Everyone seems to watch Sue Sylvester while in bed with their loved one. Is this the grown-up equivalent of the ‘thinking of Beiste’ debacle from 2x06
-       Blaine’s trousers are still terrible
-       Will seems to always believe that the Glee club is on the verge of taking over the school. After 2 years you’d think he’d notice that this has never happened, even when they win major awards.
-       Emma’s lovely. I just wish she had a better taste in men
 Well originally this was going to be the second of my series of weekly Glee reviews. However due to Funeral being an amazingly average episode I have very little to say about it one way or the other. Therefore the series has died out after only one edition. The Glee reviews may return next week before disappearing for 4 months (I may resort to laughing at foreign dubs in a vain attempt to produce content).
So instead we're going to talk about... my trip to Switzerland in fairly obsessive detail that will only be of interest to frequent flyer nerds and/or stalkers. All normal people should therefore ignore the rest of this post (at least until the part where I land in the place I'm meant to be discussing). Sound good? No? Well sod it we're doing it anyway

7:15 seems an ok departure time when you're sitting pricing up flights online. It's only when you start to consider what time you'll have to get up to make this work that things start to unravel. Unfortunately I didn't start to think about this until the week before when it became clear that I'd need to take the 5:05 bus which would dump me at Terminal 5 at about 5:45. For once the bus ran on time(!) and after a quick transfer on the Heathrow Express I arrived at the (quiet) bmi premium bag-drop at about 6:00. Security was also quiet meaning I was in the lounge by about 6:10. The bmi international lounge is everything the domestic one should be but isn't. While on paper the differences aren't that big the higher quality food, nicer seating and availability of showers make a huge difference. I must say however that the creepy dog pictures shown in the image to your left weren't really to my taste! After about 40 minutes in the lounge and the theft of several pepsis and foreign newspapers II headed down to gate 17. General boarding began about 10 minutes after I arrived.
The aircraft doing the Basel flights today had not yet been refitted with bmi's new 'brown cow' interior so it was blue and red all the way. There were only 3 of us in business class and the economy class cabin was less than half full. While this meant great service it does make me worry about the financial viability of the route. Newspapers were offered in business before takeoff.
Pushback was on time and taxi to the runway was only 5 minutes. About 10 minutes after lift off the breakfast service began. I have seen some complaints on FlyerTalk about the new vegetarian option in business but I must say I found it very tasty. The omelette in particular was lovely as were the selection of pastries. Cabin staff on this flight were particularly lovely and kept insisting I had more of everything. Being the kind agreeable sort that I am I had no problem in complying with this request. 
Landing in Basel was about 10 minutes early and we parked on an airbridge which was around a 5 minute walk from immigration and baggage reclaim. After passing through Swiss passport control (you get to choose whether to enter France or Switzerland) I caught the number 50 bus into the city centre. A one-day transport ticket including your ride to and from the airport costs 8.50CHF.
The weather in Basel was beautiful and having missed the really warm weather in London last month this was my first proper taste of summer! Unsure of what to do with myself I went to the tourist office and grabbed a pile of 'what to do in Basel' type leaflets. Fancying a look round the shops and the city centre I took the tram up to Marktplatz. The shops in Basel (with a few exceptions) aren't great and you certainly shouldn't fly to Switzerland to take advantage of bargains. However the large department store did provide a chance to escape the sun for half an hour and grab a cake while the heat was at its height. Marktplatz is also home to Basel's striking, red Rathaus (town hall) and a bustling fruit, veg and flower market (at least on Wednesdays). 
Later on I walked up from Marktplatz towards the Rhine. There is a level of tiered seating on the south(?) bank of the river which provides a great place to sit, take in some rays and read. After about an hour I moved onto the Kunstmuseum which houses an impressive collection including several Van Goghs and early 20th Century Picassos. I must say however that the works of Konrad Witz, to who a special exhibition is dedicated, were not really to my taste although his stained glass was impressive. After wandering back along the Rhine and downhill towards the train station I decided to catch the bus back out to the airport as the heat was really starting to get to me. The trip to the airport takes less than 15 minutes and leaves you on the departures level opposite check-in. After checking-in I made a brief visit to EuroAirport's open-air viewing gallery before passing through (a very laid) back security check-point. The Swiss lounge at the airport which bmi offers to its Business Class passengers (but not silver cardholders) is huge and belongs to a different era when Crossair operated a transfer hub at the airport. As such it is almost empty with some areas (including the 'Skybar') permanently closed off. The lounge offers a selection of snacks and drinks, free wi-fi and computers (these run IE6 so don't plan on doing any work on them).
Boarding was called on schedule and we borded onto the same aircraft I'd flown out on. In another case of déjà-vu there were only 3 of us in business and economy was again lightly loaded. Service in business came from a Cabin Supervisor who seemed to be having 'one of those days' after managing to spill coffee over the manifest the initial preparation of dinner involved many crashing sounds from the galley. What he may have lacked in luck however he more than made up for in service. My drink was topped up several times before I was eventually handed the bottle to refill my own drink and take away with me (unfortunately I was drinking Pepsi, not vodka). The food was very nice and miles above the BA Club Europe 'afternoon tea' I had last year. I went for the Basque chicken but there was also some mozzarella based vegetarian option on offer. Landing was again 10 minutes ahead of schedule. Unfortunately however we parked on the end gate of the new Terminal 2B structure which is at least a 10 minute walk (and I walk fairly quickly) from immigration and baggage reclaim in terminal 1. After I completed my daily workout I passed through an e-passport gate and made it to reclaim where my bag was already waiting.
To wrap up then. Basel is a lovely city I would recommend to anyone looking for a daytrip (particularly with bmi's current £79 return offer on) however with tickets being sold at that price and the plane still far from full I have to doubt that the route is exactly setting bmi's financial prospects alight.


Having just watched 'Prom Queen' for about 4 hours on a loop (well the last 10 minutes anyway. Darren Criss doing a mental dance + Sue being pointlessly evil=awesome) it's time to put my thoughts down on paper. A friend has written a much funnier and more coherent review and if you can't stand my rambling and lack of structure then go read that one (in fact read it anyway, it rocks!).

Despite having repeatedly said that Glee's bus sized plot holes don't matter (they still don't) I do value continuity within an episode which is what often went missing. Plot continuity went out of the window here. Which is strange given that they've actually spent a while building towards this episode. Blaine's 'OMG Proms are scary' thing was totally pointless given that

a) It never really came up again except at the very end where it wasn't needed anyway. Given that this episode had serious problems cramming everything into its timeslot this could have been easily jettisoned
b) Ok I get that you're trying to make Blaine look vulnerable but to be honest I was quite happy with his character traits being 'super-confident homo' and 'more grounded than Kurt'. Maybe they've decided that trying to hide the height difference between the two was stupid and that Kurt has to fucking dominate everything now. This however would push the show further towards the 'Kurt Hummel and Friends Hour' it regularly threatens to become.
c) He fucking dominated that prom with his super-catchy performance of a really annoying song. Given that everyone seems to suddenly love him (making it utterly certain he'll end up at McKinley next season) couldn't he use that new found influence to help Kurt or deliver some ernest speech on how evil everyone was to vote for him as queen? Oh shut up Adam... I don't know.

Having said that Kurt was fairly awesome here again proving that Chris Colfer is the world champion at 'being emotional about homosexuality in a school' scenes. Blaine's reaction however is highly irritating. I just sat through most of this scene wanting to scream GIVE YOUR BOYFRIEND A HUG. I know it may not have been the most appropriate reaction but they're a couple in the first months of what (at least now) looks like a blissful romance and people in that situation hug all the fuckin' time. In fact you're lucky (or unlucky...) if that's all they do. Given that most human beings probably couldn't watch that scene without wanting to give Kurt a hug Blaine's reaction is just totally weird.

FINAL KLAINE POINT: It was nice to see Kurt's bitchiness make a bit of a return. I do understand the desire for Kurt to be held up as a positive role-model for gay teenagers (there aren't really many around).However as a teenage homosexual I much prefer my role-models to be like real people with character flaws. Also if Santana is allowed to be a total bitch, why can't Kurt be?

Over the course of this season Finn has become a total jerk for no obvious reason, to the extent that I would now welcome the chance to punch him in the face. However him being a douchebag serves absolutely no purpose given that with the exception of Klaine the writers can't keep a relationship going without a massive bitchfight occuring anyway for more than about 2 episodes. Anyway presuming the writers actually remember to mention his ejection from prom next ep his reaction should be an interesting one.

Santana! I think I would go lesbian for her [this makes no sense - Ed]. Following Kurt's elevation to angelic overlord of gayness Santana is probably now my favourite character and it's nice to see someone portrayed as trying to do the right thing but being let down by character flaws rather than someone being a total dick for no obvious reason (looking at you Finn). Her anti-bullying squad thing looks strange and possibly counter-productive but hey at least she's trying to do the right thing. Right?

Music time! When the songs appeared on YouTube last Friday I had my normal reaction process. After listening to all the songs once and thinking 'Meh' I then came back a few days later and have been pretty much non-stop raving to at least 3 of them ever since (You are the Girl!...). I'm not going to teach your boyfriend how to dance with you (even the title is long and obnoxious) is a terrible grating song rendered terribly catchy with the addition of Darren Criss and some electronica keyboards. Dancing Queen is always, always completely awesome and Friday was rendered extra amazing by the amount of fun (fun, fun, fun) the characters performing it seemed to be having. Jar of Hearts was fine but needed cutting for time in such a rushed episode. Isn't she Lovely was cute (props to Brittany for not crawling straight back... even if you were having a lesbian relationship behind his back) and Rolling in the Deep was a nice song well performed, even if it wasn't hugely memorable. 

One of the saving graces here was the general lack of Will. He existed in this episode only to make Sue funnier which I think should be his only role in Glee. Sue's cartoon villain reign of terror continued to my delight and she came up with some of her best lines ever (props to: 'you should literally apologise to America for that one' and 'John McCain must be rolling in his grave. [CUT TO ELECTRONICA AND DARREN CRISS MENTAL DANCING]. Ahem.). 

So to wrap up this poorly structured ramble 2x20 was a perfectly fine episode and had there not been so much hype I'd probably have let it go. However because of the hype (and my personal 'investment' in the Klaine relationship) most of the writing decisions seemed strange at best and terribly lazy at worst. This is the episode that needed the 90 minute timeslot. Hopefully the threads started in this episode will continue. I might be able to forgive Blaine for his actions here if they lead to something else later but knowing Glee they almost certainly won't. Despite all this will I be staring at a laptop screen at 1am Tuesday night despite needing to get a bus at 4:30am? Hell yeah!

A term in Uni - How's it been

I'd like to pretend that the reason why I haven't updated this blog in months is because I've been spending my time doing actual academic work. Unfortunately doing so would be a complete fabrication and I have spent as much time on Facebook, Twitter and FlyerTalk (yes I know) as ever before.
Since my previous two posts seem to have mostly consisted of me moaning (in various languages) about the awfulness of being gay and having to tell people let's cover that: I told people, they were fine about it. SInce I think I've already used up my quota of self-indulgence for the year (yes even blogs can be too self-indulgent) let's leave that subject there.

University has been fine. Back in 5th year I remember someone describing their vision of uni as consisting of 'orgies every night' and thinking that a drink, some friends and the TV sounded like a much better option. Thankfully with the odd exception I've turned out to be right (and unless Edinburgh uni is significantly different to what Michalina has described to me, he was wrong). I've been to the Students Union a grand total of once. It wasn't really that great, the music was so non-cutting edge that I recognised it, I danced for about 30 minutes (terribly and extremely self-consciously) and went to bed with excuses revolving around having a plane back to Scotland to catch or something like that (this wasn't true, but everyone was far to plastered to even know what I was saying).

Speaking of returning to Scotland that's something I did a bit more of than I intended during my first month at university. Sadly my 95 year old Granddad passed away during my first week at university which led to me returning home earlier than anticipated. Everyone at uni (teachers, friends etc.) was fantastic about everything and I really can't thank them enough. My employer on the other hand wasn't but thankfully after a bit of moaning on my part things worked out for the better.

And so we're already a term in, I'm 6 days away from heading home and it's been good so far. Roll on next year.


Following a discussion I had with a friend last night I set about considering something. Why do I find it so difficult to tell people I trust fairly minor things and why do I panic so much about their reactions even when the rational side of my brain tells me they either won't mind or (even better) will be supportive.
The current issue (and the conversation) stemmed from the difficulty I am having in coming out as gay to my parents and family. This is despite the fact that they have made it entirely clear to me at every stage throughout my life that they will be happy with me and support me no matter what I turn out to be it is still incredibly difficult for me to sit down and tell them this about myself. 
This ridiculous situation leads to panic and worry. Moving to uni has been both a help and a hinderence. On the one hand uni provides a nice opportunity for me to 'reinvent' myself a bit and be the ever so slightly more flamboyant and 'fabulous' (sorry Stephen) person I want to be. On the other hand September 18 has for a long time been the date by which I need to have my life up here sorted out.
Last night the person I was talking to pointed out that this time limit is a bit irrational and that I can tell them anytime and they will be just as accepting and loving. This is true but sparks off another set of worries: what if I have a boyfriend by then? (please don't laugh :p) how on Earth do we explain  that?
Finally there is the fact that while I'm perfectly happy with my sexuality and it suits me fine I never really wanted to be in this position. The fact that the few people I have come out as gay to have expressed surprise (which is nice in its own way) piles further onto the irrational set of thoughts. At the same time I kind of wish it was obvious that I was gay as the 'surprise' is more difficult to deal with.

Or maybe I just need to become more of a stereotype and dye my hair pink.