Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Was there only one world after all which spent its time dreaming of others?

In the last few days before term ended I suddenly realised that I hadn't, in the last few years, taken any photos of Oxford at all. It's bizarre really as it's such a photogenic place and I'm so in love with it but truth be told, we have a friend who has a very good camera and is the "photographer" of our group so I just got into the habit of not taking photos. So on my very last day my friends and I went on a long walk around my favourite parts of Oxford and my lovely college and I snapped away, knowing I wouldn't be seeing the place for several months. It's kind of bittersweet looking at these again, but it's such a glorious place that I'm happy to share my home with you all :) The bench is from the Botanical Gardens and was mentioned in The Amber Spyglass and the last four photos of are of my college and its grounds.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

“I did not ask to be born, but once born, I will fight to live. All life is precious - even mine.”

"Is this the region, this the soil, the clime, said then the lost archangel, is this the seat that we must change for heaven, this mournful gloom for that celestial light?" 
"That's Paradise Lost. You've read Paradise Lost?" 
"I liked it." 
"You saw yourself as Adam?" 
"I should be Adam. God was proud of Adam. But Satan is the one I sympathise with. For I was cast out like Satan, though I did no wrong, and when I see others content I feel the bile rise in my throat, and it tastes like Satan's bile."

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Long have I desired to look upon the kings of old

I'm kind of stealing from Andrew's Scene on a Sunday thang (oh my god, today's Sunday! Totally did not intend for things to match up so neatly....), although of course I will do it nowhere as good as he does. But this scene has been playing on my mind for a while now, or rather the film(s) has/ve. You see, I adore the Lord of the Rings movies but I do struggle to write about them because they're just so epic and grand and wonderful that there doesn't seem to be a way to reduce them to a few sentences. This scene though kind of sums up why I adore them so much - the scale, the magnificence, gorgeous cinematography, grave acting, it's all just so perfect. As the boats bearing the Fellowship travel along the river, all of a sudden from behind the gorgeous scenery the Argonath emerge, huge breathtaking statues of wise, grave, heroic looking kings. The look of awe and pride on the faces of the Fellowship combined with the sheer scale and the chill-giving's just so so so perfect it couldn't be perfect-er :)

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Something here doesn't make sense. Let's go and poke it with a stick.

I haven't really been watching many films in the past few months and the ones I have watched merely made up lazy movie nights with friends (such as when we watched The Two Towers on my last night in Oxford and couldn't stop quoting this). However, I have got into probably four or five new TV shows - most of them cult sci-fi-y fantasy type stuff that I can't really believe I had never seen before. One such is Doctor Who - and yes, I'm fully aware that by discussing this my blog has now descended into such deep geek territory that there is no turning back but there we go - a show that has in a very short time become one of my favourites. A classic British program, I started watching the new series when I was dragged along by a friend to the TV room and all of a sudden I finally saw what all the fuss was about. It's probably very obvious, but I adore wackiness, I adore stylishness, and I adore creativity and this show is a perfect blend of all three, and so much more. Doctor Who sometimes give the strange impression of having been written by an overexcited eight-year-old (this is a high compliment) - with its terrifying yet bizarre monsters, eccentric characters and sudden leaps from storylines, but this is what makes it so brilliant - it is fast moving and fearless, and by not trying to be sophisticated it does in fact achieve a timelessness and beauty that is simply unsurpassed. (I reread the last sentence and realised I was gushing, on the Internet, about Doctor Who. Such a nerd). Small confession - I've only ever seen the serieses which Matt Smith has starred in, which I suppose makes me less of an unshakably loyal fan of the show and more of a fan of Matt Smith' adaptation. But still, I can't imagine it getting much better than this - Smith is funny, charming, bold, sweet and simply mad as the Doctor and makes the character utterly his own, something which I imagine is quite difficult to do with ten other people having played the same role previously. The supporting cast are all excellent too, they in turn supported by an always wonderfully written script that, in its wittiness and craziness, is always so quintessentially British, and despite the complex time shifts and overarching storylines always exhilarating-ly simple and fun to follow. I should stop gushing now so I will, but suffice it to say that this is a slick, fun and fabulous show which everyone should unashamedly become a fan of right now.

"There's something you better understand about me, 'cause it's important and one day your life may depend on it. … I am definitely a madman with a box."

Monday, 15 August 2011

Ni Hao!

I'm back from China and it was simply lovely! I hadn't been out of Europe in over a decade so everything, the long distant flight, the non-European culture, the language was utterly unfamiliar and a massive adventure. I spent most of my time in Shanghai before travelling up for a few days to Beijing. Shanghai was by far my favourite of the two cities, although I think this is probably just because I had time to really get to know it better. It's kind of the experience I had with Paris last year - I didn't love every minute of it and definitely ran into a few problems while there, but because I lived there and it was my home there's a little part of me that will always miss it and the familiarity. Anyway, here's a few photos I snapped, (I took over 500 but I won't be putting them all on here as I think this blog strains people's internet connections enough already!), isn't it all so exotic and gorgeous?

(Update: Have sorted through photos and OK, there's still quite a few...sorrrrry).

01. Longhua Temple 02. Lots of little Buddhas :)

03. The Bund 04. My Chinese education involved dumpling making

05. Awesome tea 06. People's Park

07. Dude got skillz 08. A Chinese water village

09. Hehe 10. The Forbidden City (into Beijing now)

11. Forbidden City's gardens 12. Tienanmen Square

13. District 798 y'all 14. Some awesome installation

15. I called every dragon I saw Mushu 16. Bridge in the Summer Palace

17. Practising calligraphy :) 18. The Summer Palace is gorgeous

19. Mountains! 20. The Great Wall, bitches.