Sunday, 30 December 2012

The New Year's Resolutions

Another year has passed by and we are soon to welcome in 2013. The world didn't end and the Olympic Games went off quite well which makes this year a qualified success in the eyes of many people.

However, 2012 has been a very mixed year on a personal level.

I graduated from university with a very respectable 2:1 degree and I began an MA degree which will hopefully lead to a job that I will enjoy.

In a way though, 2012 has been a year of endings as my university experience at Reading and enjoyable, independent lifestyle came crashing to a halt.

It is at this time of the year that I would usually be desperately creating a New Year's Resolution which would usually result in 'I will not bite my nails'. That itself always fails mere minutes into the new year.

This year though, I feel like I actually have resolutions which are do-able and genuinely life-improving.

I hope that this year I can actually stick to the challenges that I've set myself, and trust me I've set myself a long-list for the coming 365 days.

Let's hope 2013 is a good year, and I wish you all the best.

Follow me on Twitter @Alex_Harris1991

Friday, 28 December 2012

The Post-Christmas Blog

Don't you just hate that four day period between Boxing Day and New Year's Eve? You know, that run of days on the 27th to the 30th where not much happens? 

People are back at work, some are still with their family in far-flung destinations and most are too full from Christmas food to get up out of their chairs. 

So we are consigned to spending most of these days indoors. To make things ever worse, the top-quality television is over and replaced by some sub-par films such as Princess Diaries 2 and happy Christmas songs have been axed from radio playlists. 

I think I've cracked what these days are to be used for. They are to be enjoyed through the eating of more food, the drinking of more soft-drinks and alcohol and playing with those recently received presents. 

I'm testing out my new laptop cooler, how exciting! 

What did you get for Christmas? How will you spend this period of four pointless days?

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

The Christmas Blog

Its Chrrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiistmaaaaaaasssssss!

That's right. T'is the season to be jolly.

I know that it is still three weeks until Christmas but I am very much in the festive mood this year. Since the age of about 14, Christmas has become less exciting as the priorities of the day have shifted away from receiving presents.

However, this year seems to be a different kettle of fish. I attended Kingston's Christmas light switch-on for the first time in ages and I brought a hot chocolate from Starbucks the other day and it came in those lovely festive red cups.

Upon finishing university on Monday, I walked into Kingston town centre to purchase a present and card for my Dad's birthday and I decided it would be wise to begin my Christmas shopping.

I went into HMV and, after much searching, I brought Rihanna's new album for my sister. I expected the shop to be empty at 5pm but I ended up queueing for around ten minutes. And they say that we're in dire economic straits...

In addition to these exciting events, it also snowed in the UK today which really emphasised that Christmas is just around the corner.

Excitement is building, I have my MA Journalism Christmas party on Monday and a big friends of the family meal next Sunday.

Christmas should be celebrated in a jolly manner, so be merry and pleasant over the coming weeks.

Follow me on Twitter @Alex_Harris1991

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Time When I Fell Off A Chair

It was a simple Wednesday afternoon at university. I had finished my Public Affairs class after an interesting, if relatively dull, trip to Surrey County Council.

I had just found out that there was a branch of Subway on campus, and in an attempt to cure my hunger, I headed over to the fast-food outlet.

After walking back to the postgraduate cafe to devour my Italian BMT, I waited for some people to leave their seats so I could sit near my friends.

I confidently strode over to the now vacant chair with a sense of urgency and a wanting to eat this warm and juicy 6 inch sub.

I sat down and subsequently tumbled onto the floor. The floor gave way like a flimsy piece of paper.

Embarrassed and humiliated, I looked at the broken chair on the floor with a look of puzzlement to give off an air of control over the situation. I hoped my face looked like one of passing the blame onto the chair.

My friends were laughing like hyenas and I stood in a passive-aggressive manner. The chair had let me down like a disappointed father.

The manager of the cafe gave me the e-mail address of the university cafe manager to complain, yet I have still to do this and tell of my anger.

Whenever I go to sit on a chair, I now have to check time and time again to ensure my safe sitting can ensue.

Friday, 2 November 2012

The Run

I'm standing in the hallway of my house and I’m putting on my old, battered Nike trainers. I select an appropriate and energetic song on my iPhone, pop my earphones in and then I head outside to face the full force of this cold and crisp November day.

Today I am no ordinary student, I am student who is about to go running through the mean streets of Kingston.

It is at this point that I should probably explain. I have taken part in numerous sports throughout my life yet I’ve never gone jogging in Kingston, despite the fact I used to compete for my secondary school in athletics and cross-country events. I reasoned that it was probably time to become of those people you see pounding the pavement.

For my debut running adventure I rationed that it was probably wise to run a route that I was familiar with. I decided to head in the direction of university. Despite the chilly conditions, I began jogging down my road and through Green Lane Park. As someone who is afraid of dogs, I knew I had made a tactical error by running through a park full of the four-legged creatures. I plotted a course well away from any dogs and proceeded through.

During my athletics days I was always paranoid about setting off at too quick a pace. By the time I had reached the alley-way by Berrylands train station I began to suspect that I was sprinting. This must have made me look slightly strange, so I eased off the pace and tried to maintain a gentle speed.

After passing the sewage works and cemetery that have become regular sights on my daily walk to university, I reached the houses on Lower Marsh Lane. It was at this point that I passed a scruffy looking man carrying a plastic bag which looked to be containing cans of Special Brew. It wasn’t even Midday. I began to suspect that he wasn’t likely to join me in taking up running.

After passing the man, it struck me that the Royal Borough of Kingston is a wonderfully varied place. In the space of roughly ten minutes I had passed through a park, past a pub, through a winding alley and jogged by a cemetery, a Sikh temple and then a potential morning drinker.

Once this thought cleared, I had reached Villiers Road. I was faced by an important decision, which way to go? I could either head left taking the shorter route through Berrylands, albeit up a hill, or I could turn right and run the lengthy distance back home via Kingston town centre.

I opted left but the hill proved one step too far. Near the top I reached a conveniently placed bench which I proceeded to sit at for a while. I took stock of my run and gave myself a B- for effort. My report card would read – “Could do better but an encouraging first try.”

I walked the rest of the way home and began searching for running apps on my phone to aid my future endeavours. It’s probably better if I leave the selection of a route to technology next time.  

Monday, 29 October 2012

The Drunken Job Offer

Thursday was a busy day for me. I handed in my first university assignment and I had to do a mock NCTJ exam in my multi-media reporting class. Once the class was over, all of us MA Journalism students did what journalists do best.

We hit the pub.

Fast-forward two hours and it was 6pm. I was chatting away after a number of pints of Fosters and then suddenly my phone started ringing.

I looked at my screen at it was an unknown. I didn't answer rationing that if it was important then the caller would leave a voice-mail.

To my surprise the caller had left a voice-mail. I popped in my headphones and listened to the message.

I took my headphones out and gasped. I pressed the call back option and I walked outside the pub.

The call lasted roughly ten minutes and I can't really much apart from the core details. The reason for that is that I was fairly tipsy at the time.

As you know from reading this blog, I am currently studying for a Master's degree in Journalism. I am paying £5,800 for this privilege.

The call I received was from confectionery giant United Biscuits. They were offering me a sales job worth £28,000 a year.

I applied for their graduate scheme last year when I was unsure what direction my life would take. I reached the penultimate stage but am now considered worthy of a sales role with their company.

In my drunken haze I said I would call back if I wanted to take the offer but I've yet to.

Essentially, I have turned down £28,000 to give a university £5,800 instead. Am I mad?

Friday, 12 October 2012

The Girl With The Same Shoes

As I'm now two weeks into my new degree, I've worked out that it only takes me around twenty minutes each morning to reach campus.

During the first week of classes, I was keen to make sure I was never late. However, I was turning up too early. I was always the first one to class and this made me fairly sad as I could have had an extra twenty minutes in bed.

I decided to do my calculations and I worked out that I could leave at half past the hour and grab a tea in the cafe before learning would commence.

However on Thursday, the laissez-faire bug hit me and I was late to leave my house. In a panicked mode, I forgot to gel my hair and I'm fairly sure I was wearing only clothes that were blue.

I sprung out the house, not literally, and I marched onwards to campus. I reached my super secret alleyway cut-through, yet there was a girl in front of me who would no doubt slow my rapid progress. You see when it comes to walking, I only have one speed setting. Fast.

Wondering how I would overtake her in a fashion that would make me look not creepy, I noticed something that was becoming all to familiar. She was wearing the same shoes as me.

The reason why I say it was familiar is because I discovered only a week before that my older sister had the same trainers as me.

I realise you may now be thinking that I have a fetish for women's trainers, but I assure you that I don't. They are regular, run-of-the-mill white hi-top converse.

"If I overtake her then she will see that we are wearing the same shoes." I worriedly thought.

I assessed all the options available. Overtake her quickly. Stay behind all the way to campus. Take my shoes off and walk in my socks. Going home and changing, perhaps?

I checked my watch and noticed that I would probably make my class, just, at the pace that I was walking.

"What did you do, Alex?" is the question that I assume you are now thinking.

Well, I stayed well behind the girl all the way to campus by walking as slowly as my long legs would go.

You'll be glad to know that I made it to class just in time with my reputation still in tact.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The Thought About Friendship

I have had an odd history with regards to friendships.

I was friends with everyone in my class at primary school yet I suffered a dip when it came to secondary school. Once I hit Sixth Form, I found a group of mates that I still see all the time to this very day.

University obviously opened up numerous avenues for making new friends and over my three year course, the people I hung around with completely changed. I am still in contact with numerous people from my time at Reading yet it proves more difficult to meet up with them due to geographic differences.

As I have to recently begun a Master's course, I have come into contact with a lot of people in a very short space of time.

This made me wonder about friendship. Who do I consider my true friends? What qualifies as friendship? Do people view me with a similar level of warmth and status that I view them?

This deep and philosophical thought process took place when trying to get to sleep, but at that point at 12:30 am it all made meaningful sense.

As I can't physically find out the exact thoughts of people, I guess I will never truly know.

Seeing as you seem to drop the number of friends you have once you finish university, it will be interesting to see how the next few years, when I enter the job market and maybe move into my own house, pan out.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Thought On The Bus

One week into my Master's degree and I have a feeble admission to make. You see, I am really tired.

Each day has usually involved a 10am start with a one hour lunch break until finishing at 4pm. To most this would sound fairly reasonable but I've worked out why I've been so tired since the course started.

It's because I walk to and from campus. This involves a 30 minute walk both ways and I think this level of walking each and every day is contributing to my constant fatigue.

I woke up this morning and I thought I'd treat myself to a trip on the bus to get to university.

"Walking is for delusional fools!" I exclaimed to myself.

After running to make the bus, I paid the driver the ridiculous £2.30 bus fare and chose my seat near the door as it was the only row vacant.

We drove off yet at the next stop a man came and sat next to me. I started to panic. This may make you think that I have some sort of social anxiety, yet you would be incorrect. The problem, quite simply, is that I am paranoid of everyone who gets on the bus with a rucksack.

Ever since 7/7 I have always viewed the backpack carrying people with suspicion. Sure, this guy most probably had his work items in his bag. In fact, I was 99.99% sure of this.

However that 0.01% of doubt niggled at my brain.

The bus trip passed off without incident. Quite simply, who would want to blow up the K2 bus running through the tiny, dull town of Berrylands.

Once I left the bus I entered into a deep thought. Every action has a consequence. Something as little as choosing a seat on the bus could lead to anything. If I had chosen to walk this morning then who knows what could have occurred?

Perhaps it would be wise to think through every action before jumping straight in.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The First Week Of My Master's Degree

It's 8:30pm on a Wednesday evening and I'm as tired as a hibernating badger. I don't think I've ever been this drained of energy.

Why? Well, I am halfway through the first week of my Journalism Master's course. In this opening week we have a quick, intensive opening module about journalistic practices.

This has involved creating a group presentation, having lectures around law and ethics, going out into Kingston and finding a news story whilst there has also been the fact that this week has involved meeting lots of new people.

It's been an interesting week and I've already slightly changed my mind about my future career direction. I've suddenly lost all interest in becoming an actual bog-standard news journalist thanks to some pretty depressing lectures about newspapers and reporting. My interest now seems to be magazines, features and online which appears to be the more fun and creative side to the industry.

I naively thought the course wouldn't be too great a challenge or too tiring but it seems like this will be a heavy, intensive year ahead.

I keep telling myself that it'll all be worth it in the long-run if I can achieve my career aims as a result but I just wish I could travel back in time and tell a younger me to take media studies and then study broadcast journalism.

However, that would have resulted in not doing things, seeing places and knowing people that I have had the luck to meet.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Writers Block

If I haven't written anything for longer than a week then usually that is due to a legitimate, actual time-consuming reason that means I haven't been able to commit anything to paper. Well in this cause the internet, I guess...

This time it would be a case of my lying if I were to fob you off with an excuse. Really, I just feel like I've hit a block over the last couple of weeks.

It isn't that I've run out of ideas. It's just that nothing exciting has happened in the past fortnight.

Sure, I've been out. I've been to the cinema. I've been to the pub. I've met up with friends. I've carried on going to the gym. I even enrolled at university last week for my Master's degree.

The reality is that nothing has been overly exciting to write home about, share with the internet and divulge to you.

The last two weeks have flown by. It felt like only yesterday that we were waving goodbye to August and with it the summer, and subsequently ushering in September and the early evenings of autumn.

I have one last week free. One final week to do as I will before I start my new degree and, ultimately, give up the next year of my life.

I ate two bananas today.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

The Next Step

Today is my Mum's birthday. I woke up early and wrote the card that I brought and placed it with the wine and Belgian chocolate that I purchased from her favourite shop, Marks and Spencer's.

I went downstairs to the living room, having prepared my best "Happy Birthday!" shout to really remind my Mum that it was her birthday. I felt it was important to remind her of that.

My Dad immediately said, "Mum's out shopping".

I made myself a cup of tea and kept the presents in their waiting place.

After finishing my morning beverage, my Mum eventually returned. I yelped "Happy Birthday!" as she walked through the door and I thrust the M&S goodies into her hand.

"Wine and chocolate! You know me so well!"

I would like to point out, my Mum isn't an alcoholic or a lady of rotund size despite what she just said. She doesn't live off wine and chocolate. That would be slightly odd.

She then proceeded to give me some bad news.

"When I was out, I stopped your direct debit."

"FUCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!" I thought loudly in my head.

Let me fill you in. Just before I started university, my parent's had managed to pay off their mortgage so they decided that they would give me money every month to cover my living and personal costs instead of taking out student loans.

Their generous money had lasted me three years and I counted down every day until the next batch of monetary juice would flow into my account.

However, as my parent's are paying for my Master's degree they decided that they would cut down this allowance to the exact amount of my phone and gym contract.

Today was the day it stopped.

This news has forced me onto the next step. Whereas before, part-time work was something that I occasionally did which provided me with money to spend on little gifts for myself. Now, I will have to work to fund any fragment of social life.

I guess that is my next step of adulthood but I will now be pretty poor for the next year and I will probably be forced to shop in places such as the 99p Store and Primark.

RIP to my monthly allowance. You served me well, you will be missed.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

The Bloc Party Gig: Part II

A week has passed since one of the greatest nights of my young life, and I think that I have only just recovered to tell the tale.

Last Wednesday I saw Bloc Party in a tiny little bar called Birthdays in Dalston, London which has a capacity of just 250 hearty souls.

They announced this free gig just the day before due to the fact that they found out their latest album, Four, had reached number one in the midweek album chart.

After seeing this announced on their Facebook page, I text two of my friends to ask them whether they wanted to join me for a day of queueing in the not-so-pleasant area of Dalston in the hope of getting a wristband to see the band that night.

They responded with mixed enthusiasm but the next morning we boarded the train ready to queue. Seeing as we are terribly British, queueing is almost second nature to us so the idea of seven hours sitting down didn't phase us.

I panicked that it would be sold out as I had suffered heart-ache at a previous experience like this. My friend, David, warned me that we would be one of the first people there, that there wouldn't be 250 people there by 10am.

I didn't quite agree and I ensured that we were there early to secure our place in the top 250.

By 10am we had reached the queue. There were just 20 hardcore Bloc Party fans there and it made me wonder how early they themselves had got there. My friends looked pretty annoyed at being dragged out of bed so early, but I simply exclaimed "It's better to be early than not!"

I will admit that the queue was boring, so boring that I managed to drain the battery on my phone from 100% to 5% in just a few hours. Even though I love my iPhone, I will say that its battery life is criminally awful.

David cured his boredom by drinking an entire 3 litre bottle of Frosty Jacks. If you don't know of this drink then I will warn you now to never drink it. It tastes vile and is around 7.5% alcohol.

After finishing his Frosty Jacks, we went to a very dodgy Irish pub. It wasn't an O'Neill's but it seemed like a poor imitation. I wouldn't be surprised if it was called O'Leary's or something clinically Irish like that.

We eventually headed back to the venue, made our way to the front and I was in awe at the miniature nature of this venue. I have seen Bloc Party play in venues like Alexandra Palace and Olympia, so this was something quite unique.

The band came on after a lengthy wait and I could literally touch them. That sounds really weird, doesn't it?

They started with 3x3, which has fast become my favourite song by them. It was at this point that I noticed there was no barrier. That really shows how small this venue was. It was literally as big as a matchbox. Well, not quite...

The crowd were moving and knocked Kele's microphone over. At this point, us hardy soldiers at the front of the crowd began having to push back to ensure the microphone stayed intact.

They raced through their set and I began to think I was dying. It was so bloody hot. The venue was a basement, it was small and 250 people going mental all conduced to a hot and humid environment.

By the time they reached their last song, I was dead on my feet. I made my way to the back to cool off and sung along wearing to Flux.

Bloc Party departed, I wallowed and went in the search of water and then we made our way home.

Despite the heat and the sheer pain, I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. It was priceless.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The Haircut

I have never had my hair cut in a hairdressers.

Shocking, eh?

Now, I don't have long, hippy hair and neither have I been growing it since my birth in 1991. You see my Mum one day decided that she thought it'd be useful to buy a clipping set from Argos and cut mine and my Dad's hair. I don't know why she decided so, but it certainly saved money.

However, I felt it was time for a change. I have pretty dull hair so I decided that I wanted to go and get my hair cut properly by a professional. At the very best, I'd have great hair. At the very worst, I'd know once and for all that I have the world's worst hair.
After going to the gym this morning I popped into Supercuts. "This is a classy establishment, it's usually quiet and it's cheap," I rationed.

I gave the girl on the reception my name and sat down on those tiny, plastic chairs that you find in these type of places which involve a fair bit of waiting.

After a few minutes, a lady came over to me and ushered me over to the chair. I sat down, nervous and anxious awaiting to see my new hair come to fruition.

I told the lady what I wanted, "short back and sides", and she then spoke at me really fast.

"So I'm going to shave the sides and then round the back, then I will wash your hair and then trim the rest and make it look all neat and give you that fresh, 'I've just had a haircut' look"

Well, I'm pretty sure that's what she said.

I let her cut away and then came the hair washing. I reluctantly agreed with this as she knew best. She began washing, water ran down my face and then she put the shampoo in.

It was at this point that she started massaging my head.

I thought, "Is this normal? Is she meant to be doing this? Oh, wait she is now massaging my ears..."

I'm, honest to God, not kidding. She started massaging my ears. This was definitely not right, but hey she is the hairdresser.

It looked worse the more she proceeded to cut off and I felt like it would be best if I just stopped her there and then, but then I realised that my hair would really look stupid.

She finished the job and then I paid at the desk. I drove home and had a shower and put in my own hair gel.

Let's just say she is lucky that I actually really like my new haircut. Otherwise, I would be suing Supercuts for inappropriate ear touching.

Follow me on Twitter @Alex_Harris1991

Sunday, 12 August 2012

The Week In Lewes

It's been a pretty great week for myself.

It all started off last Saturday where I carried on in my volunteering capacity at a local football club where I got to write a match report. Luckily, it was a surprisingly entertaining match so I had a lot to write about and I've just seen that my report has been published.

On Sunday, I went down to Lewes for the the week. I went there for two reasons, for work experience at a regional newspaper and to visit one of my best friends.

It was a fantastic week and I am now a published writer in print.

If I learnt one thing from the week though, it was that my friend and I are useless at golf. On one hole itself, we pretty much lost all our golf balls. It wasn't even a very difficult hole which makes it all the embarrassing.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

The First Year Anniversary

Who would have thought it? This blog is officially one year old today. Happy birthday to my humble, little blog.

Seeing as this blog was created for me to express my doubts about me becoming an adult, do I think I have grown-up and matured over the past year?

I would say that I have. I feel more confident and out-going, which is always a good thing. My last year at university was great, I lived with great people and I left with a 2:1 degree which was my aim. I would also say that having gone through the university experience, I do feel more grown up. I still don't see myself as being 21, but I definitely feel confident in stating that I feel more of an adult than I did a year ago.

This blog has also given me an arena to be creative. I have fallen in love with writing and being creative over the past year, and I largely have this blog to thank for that. It has solidified in me, my ambition to become a writer and a journalist which I have begun to take steps towards. I will also start a YouTube channel soon, largely because I need to make use of my new video camera.

I will be doing a Masters course in September, I've had work experience at a national magazine, I've started writing for a couple of websites and I will be undertaking more work experience at a newspaper next week.

I am excited for the year ahead, and I hope that you stay with me and join me for the fun that will be had.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

The Toothbrush Dilemma

I've reached that stage in life where the slightest of changes in my everyday living means a lot. I have stumbled upon such a moment recently, and I reckon it could be a game-changer.

I've started using an electric toothbrush, a distinct move away from my previous usage of the bog-standard, manual Colgate variety that used to clean my teeth in strict, regimented but excellent fashion. 

"Why did you make such a daring change if you were so happy with your old-fashioned device?" 

Well, I was shopping with my Mum in Waitrose a few months ago and I noticed a Spiderman toothbrush. It was electric. It was new. It was exciting. Best of all, it was cheap. As my old toothbrush was dying a slow and painful death, a new one was required. So my Mum gladly brought me this childish toothbrush, much to my giddy excitement.
When we returned home, I noticed that I had a few spare toothbrushes and seeing as Spidey needed some batteries, I decided to put it away and let it hold tight until its long-awaited teeth cleaning debut. 

A couple of days ago, my Mum took Spidey out of the cupboard as she noticed that the bristles on my toothbrush were wearing out. I opened the packet and tried to open the compartment where the batteries go, yet it was quite the struggle. I observed the back of the packet and to my surprise and idiocy, I noticed that it didn't need batteries. 

After overcoming this difficulty, I put the recommended pea-sized portion of toothpaste onto the head, not my head, and pushed the 'On' button. I let the electric head do its work and clean my teeth to the best of its ability. 

Spidey has done a good job so far, but I can't help but keep thinking that it will break. I also find that Spidey is doing as admirable a job as a regular toothbrush could, but Spidey is much cooler. I honestly don't know what my next toothbrush will be, and that excites and scares me in equal measures. 

As I said, this truly is a game-changing dilemma in my life. 

Follow me on Twitter @Alex_Harris1991

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The Gym

One of my passions in life is sport. Now, I've always been into sport, I used to play football all the time, I competed in athletics for my school and I've tried my hand at tennis. Hell, I've even played ultimate frisbee.

However, I've always had a slight fear of the gym and that is the main reason why I've never really gone to the gym on a regular basis. 

You get two types of the people in the gym. You have the, how to put this, slightly rotund people who are looking to lose weight and then you have the meatheads who dominate the weights section. 

I don't fit into either of these groups. I'm pretty skinny but I'm also fairly healthy and fit. So I go to the gym simply to put on weight and to gain some muscle. Sadly that means that I would have to train with these meatheads, but these people seem to be lacking in the gym that I attend. 

You see, I go to The Gym. It is literally called The Gym. 

"Witty!" You remark upon hearing this ingenious name. 

I quite like it though and it means that I can actually say "I am going to the The Gym!" like a proud, gym-going bunny. 

I've been going to the gym now for three weeks and I seem to be making progress as I'm lifting heavier, I'm feeling stronger and best of all I've realised that it's a fun hobby. 

If you are reading this now, go to your local gym as I'm sure you'll have a good time. 

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Cider Festival Challenge

I write this blog post with slight trepidation. You see, I fear that you will maybe read this and thus consider me an alcoholic. However, that is a tag that I would happily dispute as I know myself that I don't wake up craving a drink. It hasn't quite reached that level yet.

Now, I love cider. It is my favourite alcoholic drink and nothing beats a nice pint of cider on a hot summer day. Sadly, we've been lacking those hot summer days in the United Kingdom of late but I've still be drinking cider.

Why? Well, unless you live under a rock then you might just know that Wetherspoons has a cider festival on at all its pubs.
On the first day of the festival, I headed down to my local Wetherspoons pub with a few friends and fellow cider drinkers to sup on fine apple based alcoholic liquid. Upon arrival, I picked up the leaflet with the range of ciders on sale during the 18 day festival.

During the 18 days, there will be 16 different ciders on sale. After reading the leaflet, a challenge, an idea, a dream formed in my head.

I announced to my friends, "We should try to get through all 16 ciders before the festival finishes!" My idea wasn't quite met with the enthusiastic response I was hoping for but my friends were game.

It is now a week in to the festival and so far I have had around half of the ciders. I started off with the berry based ciders and they were surprisingly delicious despite my friends mocking me for starting off with the weakest and fruitiest ones. I have discovered that the Sheppy's cider on tap has proved the most delicious yet the Devon Ginger cider was sadly a massive disappointment.

I will keep you informed of my progress. Wish me luck!

Follow me on Twitter @Alex_Harris1991

Monday, 9 July 2012

The Graduation

One of the biggest life milestones is arguably your graduation from university. Last week, I hit this very milestone.

It was a very melancholic day, however. It was the last time that I will really ever visit Reading, it was arguably the last time that I would see a few people whilst for my best friends that I have made from university, this represented the end of an era.

If I am being honest, I was pretty anxious about the day. This covered four reasons. One, I didn't know what to expect. Two, I didn't want to be the idiot who fell over when receiving their certificate. Three, I didn't quite like the fact that this represented the death-knell being sounded on my university experience. Four, I didn't want to look like an idiot in the robes.

However, it was a fantastic day. The sun was shining, I enjoyed putting on the fancy robes that I was given, it was great to see friends, teachers and families whilst it was just a proud moment for my parent's to see me graduate.

Oh, and I didn't fall over which was a relief.

Monday, 2 July 2012

The Writing Rant

Hello blog friends.

I am sad to report some bad news that I've just received via the brilliant medium of electronic mail. I've been unsuccessful in my quest to win this years The Sun Column Idol competition. Naturally I am disappointed that I was rejected but in a field of thousands of writers, it was understandable.

Whilst trawling through my e-mails, I also enjoy surfing the internet.

I opened up Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and the two forums that I frequent. This time though my little surf opened my eyes to something that I have always considered yet batted away.

I hate people who write in a pretentious way using complex sentence structures and words that have clearly been discovered through extensive use of a thesaurus. When reading what these people write, it is a struggle and it drains from the entertainment factor that should occur through reading.

I enjoy the story and the simplicity behind the story. That is why my two favourite authors are Danny Wallace and Bret Easton Ellis. They tell fantastic stories and through simple, fun language and styles.

The one golden rule that I now have for my writing which I have developed since starting this blog, undertaking the final year of my degree and now undertaking a journalism postgraduate course is that I should keep my writing as simple as possible and to tell the story in a way which the median/mean/mode reader will enjoy.

The story should be told, it shouldn't be diluted and forced.

Follow me on Twitter @Alex_Harris1991

I've also started my own YouTube channelwhy not subscribe?

Sunday, 24 June 2012

The Bloc Party Gig

It's a Sunday afternoon and, quite frankly, I am bored. Oh so bored.

Hence, I am now reflecting on what was a pretty monotonous week itself. I had to work a couple of times at my local pub, I went to the pub with a couple of friends to watch and England and I went to a friends' 21st birthday party.

There was one highlight of the week though. 

On Thursday night, I went to see my favourite band, Bloc Party, play live on their first tour in three years. 

Earlier in the day, I went back to Reading to clear out my student house with my house-mate in order to receive as much of our deposits back as possible. There was one further issue as well, I had no one to go to the gig with. 

I offered pretty much every friend I have the free ticket. Sadly, everyone rejected the offer with there being a wide range of reasons why they couldn't attend. 

Who did I turn to?

My sister. Yes, my sister who has previously gone to a couple of We Are Scientists gigs with me. I warned her that the moshing and jumping from the crowd would be more ferocious, but she batted away my warnings. 

I told her to be ready to leave our house at 3:45. We caught our train on time and then via the underground we reached Koko in anticipation of a large queue. 

Just a few people were there. I even knew a couple of them due to them being fellow Bloc Party fans. 

After a couple of hours of queueing we entered the venue and got right on the barrier, in front of Kele. The perfect position. 

The support band, Story Books, performed. I can't think of a more apt description than to label them as very average.

Bloc Party then came on stage after an hour of waiting and immediately launched into some new tracks. There aren't enough superlatives in the English language to describe how amazing they were but I will tell you that I had a big grin on my face throughout the entire gig. I realise that makes me sound very simple. 

I asked my sister at the end what she thought. She responded by telling me that she was in agony due to the moshing and pushing going on and that she felt like she had been physically abused. 

She doesn't want to ever go to a Bloc Party gig again. 

Monday, 18 June 2012

The Degree Results

It's not often that I say this, but I had quite the enjoyable weekend.

That would be quite a disservice to many previous previous weekends that I have experienced in my life, but this weekend was particularly good and better than at least 80% of those aforementioned previous weekends.

I travelled back to Reading on Friday morning to pick up my final degree result. I had previously tried to play down the importance of the result and give off the defined image of cool and collected but on the way to to notice board with our results on, quite frankly, I was bricking it.

I had never known nervousness of the sort. If you had asked me about prior moments of true nerves then I would have pointed you to moments in my life such as waiting to find out whether I had made it into university or the final day of the 2007/2008 Premier League season where Fulham just managed to avoid relegation.

As I am going down the Masters route instead of employment, it seemed vital that I gain a 2:1 to ensure that I have the strongest CV possible.

I walked up to the board with some of my friends and in the large crowd gathered around the board there was a vast range of human emotion on display. There was joy, tears, disappointment and some very delirious people.

I scanned the board for my name and spotted it halfway down the list. My eyes moved towards the result and my heart began to pound even harder.

"Second Class First Division"


Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The Sad Realisation

Over the course of the last two weeks, I have been  working with my Dad in the Supplies department at the Private Hospital that he works at. 

The work involves waking up at 7AM and then lifting and delivering boxes and parcels to various departments around the hospital. The positive of the job though is that my Dad lets me go home every day at Midday. 

On Tuesday, I drove home with my window down blasting out Capital FM on the car's now ancient stereo. I drove through New Malden High Street and I noticed so many people that I vaguely recognised from Secondary school. 

You know the type. The people who you constantly passed in hallways but you never spoke to, people who were a couple of years above or below you. 

I drove past a few of these people and something sad, disappointing and worrying struck me. They all looked really glum. 

I don't mean that they looked like those very unhappy dogs and had black clouds literally hanging over their heads. They looked world-weary, tired and lacking in hope. They cast the image of people who were stuck in a rut. They looked exactly how I felt at 7AM when I realised that I had five hours of hard-graft in front of me. 

Three thoughts quickly sprung to mind. 

One, were they glum because they were stuck in dead-end jobs with little prospects?

Two, did they want to travel the world yet found themselves stuck in the same town for the foreseeable future?

Three, did they not understand YOLO?

These thoughts, whilst potentially condescending, re-enforced my new attitude of working as hard as possible to fulfil my ambitions, my desire to not be stuck in my home town for the rest of my life and my attempting to try to follow the law of YOLO a bit more fruitfully. 

Saturday, 9 June 2012

The Daily Mail Article

I was flicking through the Daily Mail this morning when I came across an article which heavily indicated that I am not a grown-up. In fact, it indicated that I am nowhere near being able to say that I am a grown-up.

The article is, quite simply, a list of fifty activities that a typical grown-up would do.

Admittedly, they aren't the most exciting of activities. They include such life highlights as owning a vacuum cleaner and having a joint bank account.  Yeah, I did warn you they weren't exactly the most thrilling rights-of-passage.

Of the fifty indicators, I only fulfilled twelve. I know that is poor but at least I can cook a meal from scratch and I do my own washing. We all know that is what every girl looks for in a guy.

I can safely say that I am not too disappointed by my score though, if being a grown-up is simply achieved through owning a joint bank account then I'd rather attain the notion of being a grown-up through something far more exciting.

See if you get a higher score than I did and leave me a comment below with your score. Follow the link here:

Monday, 4 June 2012

The Diamond Jubilee Party

Here in the United Kingdom, it is a special weekend.

You see it is Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee, celebrating her sixty-years sitting on the throne. It is quite the occasion and numerous street parties and other celebrations will take place around the country.

It also marked the perfect timing for my parents to host a family party. We haven't held one in a while and despite the cost, time and effort of hosting a party, they tried to justify it as being a jubilee/belated birthday party/I'm home from university celebration. Quite possibly, that is the only time those three reasons will ever be merged together to give reason for hosting a party.

Sunday rolled around and the first guests arrived in punctual fashion, it was my aunt, uncle and cousins. It was  the first time they had been on time, though one can assume that the lure of alcohol got them to our house on time, a classic trait of Irish people.

Soon the numbers swelled and a few of us nestled down in front of the television to watch the flotilla. It made for fascinating viewing, though I do think the alcohol definitely helped numb the borefest that it apparently was judging by the negative comments in today's papers about the coverage.

After a few hours, my sister's boyfriend, Terry, challenged me to a game of chess. I considered this a rookie error, an unwise move.

You see, I once reached the finals of the Surrey Chess Championships. I won two out of my six games in that competition after qualifying through borough matches and I felt proud to have been one of the best under-11 chess players in all of Surrey.

After an encouraging start, Terry was winning and after some skilful play, he had my King in checkmate. Disaster.

"Beginners luck!" I protested.

He subsequently won his next few matches whilst I lost to my eleven-year-old cousin.

OK, I used to be good at chess.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Bloc Party - Four

I'm breaking blog protocol. I haven't begun the title with 'The'. Shocking stuff, but something happened today that I just had to write about.

Bloc Party are back. And they are back with an album, ingeniously, titled 'Four'.

Now, Bloc Party are my life. I've seen them live countless times, I've obsessed over intricate little details of their songs, I've brought numerous CD's and vinyl's and I've even once high-fived Kele Okereke himself.

I am currently sitting in my chair listening to the trailer for the album and I'm quite sure I've just jizzed in my pants.

Bloc Party are back. God Bless Bloc Party!

Follow me on Twitter @Alex_Harris1991

I've also started my own YouTube channelwhy not subscribe?

Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Epiphany

I write this post at home in Kingston-upon-Thames having left university yesterday.

Sure, I am going back for results day, summer ball and graduation but having packed away the vast majority of my stuff and then saying goodbye to my house-mate, Nick, who I won't see for a few weeks, it felt like the end-of-an-era.

I now have an entire summer to re-focus my life and orientate myself back to life at home. I always thought that by doing my Master's that I'd be happy. Don't get me wrong, I really am looking forward to the course and I would love to write for a living but doubts are beginning to creep.

It all boils down to money.

In the short-term, journalism doesn't pay well. I can look forward to a starting salary of £15,000 which quite frankly isn't very good. This means that I will be living with my parents for at least two to three years. After three years of living away from home, I'm not sure I will enjoy living back at home for an extended period.

In the long-term, I want to live the dream. I want a big house and land in a nice village somewhere in the country. I want to have friendly, middle-class neighbours who I will go to the local pub for a few drinks with. The looming question is whether journalism would fund that? It is possible but I'd need a lot of luck and skill.

This has led me to an epiphany though. I really need to go after opportunities and succeed. Basically, I need to try harder.

YOLO, right?

Saturday, 19 May 2012

The Apology

I feel an apology is in order.

It struck me today that I have been neglecting this blog and you, the reader. I have been depriving you of every interesting tale that I have experienced and want to tell you about. For that I can only say sorry.

However, I would offer a reason for my action, or lack of.

You see after finishing my dissertation, I had to immediately crack on with the task of revising for exams and then actually sitting the very exams that I'd just been revising for. It isn't a fun process and it has certainly increased my stress levels whilst it has also managed to act as a downer on the final month of university.

This leads me to a realisation that has rapidly dawned on me thanks to the fast-paced course that time seems to be steering at the minute. I am actually quite sad at my time at Reading University coming to an end. Over the course of the last week I have had to say goodbye to two of my house-mates, whilst this time next week I will be home. This time I will be home for good.

Before I left for university, I believed that I would make thousands of friends yet the realisation that university isn't like this induced the belief in me that university is actually important for making a select few friends who you will stay in contact with forever. Friends who in the future you will share many a drink with down the pub, go to visit and swap stories about recent events in your lives, friends who will attend your wedding and your children's christening. Friends who will help shape the future you.

That is what I have come to believe yet the dawning thought that I will not be able to spend pretty much every day with them from next week onwards is upsetting. However, that is all a part of growing up and that facing it is a key step towards adulthood.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

The Post-Exam Evening

I have just walked out of an exam and it went pretty well.

"Well that went very well!" I declare to my friend. It did go very well but then again it was exam on UK Politics which I consider my specialist politics subject.

My house-mate picked me up after my exam and we went shopping. Post-exam shopping when you have lots of birthday money to spend isn't the wisest thing because I spend a shed-load of cash. I brought a new wallet which was much needed, a new watch which was also needed, some new chinos which I just really wanted, the new Danny Wallace book which again I just really wanted and a remote-controlled helicopter. Yeah, that was a pretty random purchase.

We then went for dinner at Slug and Lettuce where we had what the bar man told us was a "manly cocktail" and dinner. We then headed for the pub where we met up with a few friends and I suddenly felt really ill.

After one pint of Fosters and a Jagerbomb, I found myself heading to the toilets. I felt like I was going to vomit, however after having a wee I suddenly felt a lot better. I went to wash my hands and then immediately went back into the cubicle and chucked up my dinner and drinks. It was pretty horrific and I walked back to my friends who laughed at what a lightweight I had been.

We then all had a arm-wrestling competition. The outcome?

I lost to a girl.

Follow me on Twitter @Alex_Harris1991

Sunday, 6 May 2012

The 21st Birthday


Sorry for the enthusiasm but it's 1:20AM here in England and I'm really energetic as I'm listening to Hot Chip on my new laptop. Therefore, I thought it was time to write a little blog.

I know what you're thinking, "A new laptop?"

I can confirm that to be true.


Well a little event, my 21st birthday, occurred on Friday. I am officially a year older and now very much an adult. Although I've noticed that I feel younger if anything. For example, I went shopping with my Mum and my Sister yesterday and my Mum took us to Pizza Hut for lunch, surely that isn't what three adults would do?

The main thing though is that I have a great birthday. Two of my university house-mates took me out to the cinema and then to dinner at Zero Degrees on Thursday and then my parent's took me out to yet another dinner on Friday whilst as I said, excessive shopping happened today.

I did notice one very bizarre ritual though. Almost every card that I received said "Congratulations". What are they congratulating me for? Surely they should congratulate my Mum for going through the pain barrier of giving birth to me. Perhaps even my Dad should gain some credit as well. It seems a very British institution to congratulate someone on their 21st birthday, but I will say that I am delighted to be alive after 21 years.

Well done me.

Friday, 27 April 2012

The Awkward Moment In Co-op

I've just got back from the Co-op down the end of my road after picking up a pizza, garlic bread and can of coke for dinner and I go to turn the oven on.


There was no gas. We had run out. I picked up our gas top-up card and went straight back to the Co-op.

I walked in the shop and headed straight for the queue. The lady in front of me went to the next free till and I subsequently stood still and waited.

I then noticed one of the check-out girls waving. I wondered who she was waving it. I did notice that she was waving roughly in my direction.

"Do I know her?" I wondered. I subsequently realised that I didn't because if I did then I'm sure I would have waved back and I certainly wasn't waving.

I pondered if she was waving at a member of staff to open a till or help out. I quickly scanned the area and noticed there were no other people wearing Co-op uniforms.

This was strange. Who was this girl waving at? She continued her waving and suddenly uttered the words that made me feel quite foolish.

"Next please"

She was trying to get my attention as I was next in the queue and she was waiting on the checkout. I blushed feeling quite silly.

I wandered over to the till and silently paid for the gas. Here I was standing next to a lady who clearly thought I was either slightly strange, rude or as high as a kite.

I walked home and put the gas card in the machine and cooked my pizza. Whilst eating I mused that I should always try and avoid that check-out girl again.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

The Good E-Mail

As I'm in the final year of my university degree, I have to submit what is basically a very large essay called a dissertation. It is 10000 words to be precise, and in my opinion that is 10000 words too many. 

Despite this week being the last of my Easter vacation, I decided to head back to university for most of the week to finish off this very large essay. One reason why I rationed that this was a sensible decision was that I'll be spending at least the next year studying a Masters at my home town university, so spending some of my precious, remaining time at university was wise. 

There was one sticking point though towards this though. My place on the Masters course wasn't guaranteed as I needed a 2:1 grade in my current undergraduate degree. At least, I thought I did. 

Once back in Reading, I got cracking on my dissertation and undertook the tasks that needed to be completed such as finishing off the writing process, editing the words, cutting out the filler and referencing. 

I had sent off an e-mail the previous day to the administrator for the Masters course asking about fees and my offer to study there. 

It was 5PM and I noticed her reply sitting in my inbox waiting to be read. I scanned the text and then noticed some key words that made me oh-so-happy, they were giving me "an unconditional offer".

I couldn't believe it. I think my heart actually stopped for a second. I was whooped in delight which is something that I don't do very often. 

I could suddenly feel the stress leave my body. No matter what my undergraduate degree result, I would be on my Masters course come September to study Journalism. 

Suddenly feeling relaxed, I halted my dissertation work and decided to watch Pointless whilst I went and brought myself a celebratory hot chocolate. 

It is only honest of me to say that life feels so much better and it is so very nice to be able to start planning for the future. 

Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Trip To Thorpe Park

It is a Thursday morning and I wake up worse for wear. You see, the previous night my friend and I organised a secondary school reunion event down our local pub. The turnout was surprisingly decent and as is the case with meeting people that you haven't seen in a long time, you drink a lot to avoid the awkward sober chat.

It is 8:45AM and I am due to go to Thorpe Park in about fifteen minutes. The last thing that I want to do in my hungover state is sit on roller-coasters all day.

I manage to drag myself out of bed, have a shower and then meet my friend, Alex, where we travel to Phil's house.

We arrive to see that no-one is ready to go. Phil is still trying to print out vouchers whilst his university friend, Sara, is still drinking a cup of tea. I will later learn that Sara is an avid tea fan which is so quintessentially English.

Alex and I try to help Phil print out his vouchers only to be distracted by the oh-so-brilliantly titled book The Rape of Tutankhamun. Phil has always said that this is his dad's book, but I am still convinced that it is his. I've always suspected him of having a fetish for Egyptian Pharaohs.

Whilst Phil and Alex continued to try and print out the vouchers, I joined Sara downstairs with Phil's mum where she regaled us with tales of her former career in the aviation industry. Here's a fun fact that I learnt, there used to be a helicopter service between Heathrow and Gatwick Airport. Don't let people tell you this blog isn't full of interesting facts to share down the pub.

We eventually got ready and set off to Thorpe Park. Midway through the car journey, I decided to check my e-mails.

"Oh my God! Bloc Party have just announced a new tour and tickets are on sale now!" I announced to the entire car.

I set about buying the tickets on my phone and luckily I managed to purchase them. It has been two and a half years since the last Bloc Party gig, so I was allowed to be a bit excited.

We reached Thorpe Park and met up with Phil's other friend from university, the brilliantly named James Brown. Before you start wondering, no it isn't the dead soul singer. He's dead as I just said so it'd be weird if he came back to life and befriended a twenty year old from Kingston-upon-Thames.

We went on as many rides as possible and it turns out that going on roller-coasters is very tiring. It reached 6PM and with Phil's mum due to pick us up at 6:30, we decided that there probably wasn't time to go on the new ride The Swarm due to time constraints.

We vacated the park and waited for the pick up only for Phil's mum to call at 6:30 and say that there had been a crash on the A3 and that she'd be a while.

We waited patiently and entertained ourselves. We played hop-scotch, rock-paper-scissors and had a hopping race and then finally Phil's mum called at 7:30 to say that she hadn't moved any further due to the traffic and that we should make our own way home.

Now any avid reader of this blog will know that Thursday night is quiz night and we only had an hour to make it. We decided that a taxi was the best mode of transport and luckily one drove straight towards us. We asked him the price to Berrylands and he didn't know where the place was. It was hardly like we were asking to be dropped off at the Kuiper Belt. He informed us that he could only drive locally due to the fact he was attending a wedding reception yet he decided to tease us by keeping the car right next to us by jolting forward by an inch every minute. It was quite odd.

We finally found a cab that could take us home and after a £30 journey we made it to the pub in time for the quiz. A heated moment occurred where I made a bet of a kick in the balls over a question which myself and Alex disagreed on.

Overall, I spent around £100 during the day and was as tired as an old lady but I still have yet to receive the kick in the balls so I guess the day was a resounding success.

Friday, 13 April 2012

The Card Shop

It is a Wednesday morning and I am facing a busy day where I plan to buy birthday presents and cards for my twin sisters as it is their birthday in just two days time.

I get a lift into New Malden from my Mum and I then proceed to purchase some headphones, sort out my financial accounts and then buy a sausage roll from Greggs.

I make the wise decision to visit a card shop to purchase birthday cards for my sisters. I spent a good amount of time choosing the most humorous card that I could find. 15 minutes and many cards later, I settled on the two best that I could find.

I went to the till and handed the till lady the cards to be scanned.

"£2.78, please."

Waving my debit card, I said "can I pay on card please?"

"It's a £5 limit, I'm afraid. There's a cash point next door if you want to use that?"

I decided that this was wise. Instead of spending £2.22 on pointless card shop tat, I decided that taking some cash out of the hole in the wall was sensible. It made financial sense.

I exited the shop and dashed to the ATM. As I had to queue, I had time to go through my wallet whilst looking for my debit card. I opened the coin section of my wallet and I realised what a fool I had been. Sitting in my wallet was a few pound coins and a variety of other coins. I had enough to go and buy the cards.

However, I thought about the face that could be lost and the potential for awkwardness if I returned to the store and said to the lady, "I have been a fool, I had the correct change all along and I have wasted both yours and my time".

I decided that in the face of this embarrassing situation and to avoid awkwardness, I would wait it out in the queue for the ATM and take out the smallest amount of cash possible and pay with that.

After a fair few minutes, I had completed my transaction and had a crisp £10 note in my hand. I marched into the shop and re-queued. I think this shows my Britishness, I had actively gone out of my way to queue in a queue that I had just left.

I finally reached the till and gave the lady the money.

"Sorry love, I haven't got any change. Let me serve these customers and then I'll gather together some change".

Oh great. This was becoming ridiculous.

After five more customers, she had the sense to move money over from one till to the other. I breathed a huge sense of relief. She proceeded to give me my change and my goods.

I left the shop in a passive-aggressive fury. My sisters better like their birthday cards from me.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The Blog With 30 Facts About Me

It occurred to me last night, whilst laying in bed, that you don't know too much about me. Sure you can see my little profile picture, you can read the description caption whilst I give you little snippets about my life, but surely it'll be more fun for you to read my blog if you knew more about me.

So, here's a chronological list of facts about me ranging the interesting to the bizarre.

1) I live in Kingston-upon-Thames with my parents and two sisters.

2) I go to Reading University where I study Politics and International Relations.

3) I am 6ft 1" tall.

4) I am right-handed.

5) I did A Levels in Business Studies, English Literature and Sociology.

6) I watch a lot of television. My favourite shows are: Eastenders, Doctor Who and Made in Chelsea.

7) Politically, I support the Liberal Democrats... still.

8) I support Fulham FC.

9) My favourite Fulham player is Clint Dempsey.

10) I love music. My favourite bands/artists are: Bloc Party, We Are Scientists, Get People and Marina and the Diamonds.

11) I do love chart music as well. I am quite embarrassed to admit that I love this weeks #1 song, Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen.

12) I am going to study for a Masters degree in Journalism starting in September.

13) I love steak. Hence, I could never be vegetarian.

14) Coca-Cola is the greatest drink ever, in my opinion.

15) I'd love to be a writer in the future. If I could, then it'd be a dream to write Danny Wallace-style books.

16) I played Ultimate Frisbee for about 8 weeks at university. In a surprising turn of events, I found out that it's a really tough sport.

17) My favourite colour is red.

18) My favourite clothing brands are: Hollister, Topman and Superdry. You can call me a douche for that.

19) My favourite film of all time is Hotel Rwanda. I also love Cool Runnings and the Mr Bean movie.

20) I love XFM. It's a great radio station.

21) I think BBC3 is a criminally underrated TV channel.

22) I just spelt underrated wrong and had to correct it. I'm not as clever as I think.

23)  I'd love to go travelling. So far, I've only been to Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium and Cyprus.

24) I think a pub quiz is the greatest thing ever.

25) I really want to live in Brighton at some point in my life.

26) My mobile phone is an iPhone 4S.

27) I have a really small bedroom. It is literally about the width and length of Peter Crouch.

28) I once broke my arm in a drunken incident. I ended up requiring surgery which was a fun experience.

29) I am going to turn 21 soon. It frightens me how old I am getting.

30) I apparently can't think of any more facts about myself.

Thanks for reading and please follow/subscribe my blog. It really would mean a lot to me.

Follow me on Twitter @Alex_Harris1991

I've also started my own YouTube channelwhy not subscribe?

Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Most Shocking News Story Ever

I'm writing this blog because of something shocking that I saw in The Sun on Friday.

Basically, a ten year old girl has given birth in Colombia. The girl is part of the Wayuu tribe in the country where they are allowed their own sovereignty so it is hard to really say that you can compare this to the Western world.

However, I find it absolutely shocking. At the age of ten children should be playing with toys, not looking after children of their own.

Sure, it is difficult to speculate on the culture of a tribe in South America when I am a mere middle-class male from the suburbs of London but one would assume that the parents in the tribe would responsibly look after their own children.

There is some humour to find in this story, though it's more tragic than a laugh-out-loud moment. The media in Colombia has narrowed down the list of potential fathers - it is either a 15 year old or a 30 year old.

How could you get such an age gap? Surely there is quite a distinct difference between a 15 year old and a 30 year old. Next they'll be speculating whether it's a woman who is the father...

It's just a shocking story that makes you question the world we live in sometimes.

You can read the story in full here:

Follow me on Twitter @Alex_Harris1991

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Thursday, 5 April 2012

The Chat With An Elderly Gentleman

It is time for a drink. A well earned drink, I might like to add.

You see, I have been in Reading for the past three days working on my dissertation. I managed to write 7000 words, which I think is a pretty solid effort.

I got the train back home on Wednesday evening and I met a couple of friends in the pub. A nice pint of Thatchers Gold was well deserved and thus I ordered a pint. I savoured every drop and I then went to the bar to order my next pint.

It was at the bar that I spotted something.

It was a card. However, this was not just any card. It was a card with a couple of stamps on and I quickly realised that it was one of those 'buy-5-get-one-free' incentive cards that coffee shops and the like give out to customers.

I picked up the card and observed it closer. It wasn't that fascinating but it was something to occupy my time whilst I stood at the bar waiting to be served by the adequate bar staff.

"Thought this was your lucky day, didn't you?" said an elderly man as he proceeded to take the card. As it turned out it was his card that he was collecting his stamps on in the hope of gaining that free coffee at some point in the near future.

"Oh no, I'm interested as to what it is" I replied in as convincing a manner as possible. However, it appeared like the man had brought my excuse that I had no idea what a couple of stamps on a card could be.

"It's a voucher card that I get stamped every time that I get a coffee and after five, I get a free one". I was fascinated to have learnt that he was only three coffee purchases until his long-awaited free Wetherspoons coffee.

I decided that I needed to win this man's trust. I don't like people thinking that I steal small bits of card with a couple of stamps on. That isn't a good reputation to gain.

"So it's quite a sensible idea then, isn't it?"

"Oh yes, I guess it just encourages you to buy more. However, it's so cheap that it doesn't really matter"

I pondered his point. This was true, Wetherspoons is lauded as being the cheapest pub chain. It was here that I thought of a potentially great conversation we could bond over and maybe look back on when we are best of friends in ten years time.

"Do you ever go to the Berrylands pub? It is much more expensive than here. I reckon they should have this loyalty card idea!"

"Well, you see I live in Wimbledon but I know Berrylands well. Is it the pub by the station?"

"Yes, yes it is!"

"My grandparents used to live in Berrylands so I used to go there a lot. I only really remember going to the outdoor lido. I don't think it exists anymore although there is still one in Ruislip"

The bar lady took my order and swiftly produced my drink. I paid up and said goodbye to my new friend.

I guess that I learnt a lot from this conversation. Elderly gentleman like to travel from Wimbledon to Surbiton for coffee and cheesecake and there is an outdoor lido in Ruislip. It never ceases to amaze me how much you can learn down the pub.

Friday, 30 March 2012

The Trip To The Corner Shop

I went to the corner shop today.

You'd probably respond in a heavily ironic tone, "Wow, thanks for telling us that Alex. What exciting tales you could possibly share with us?"

Well I'm about to make you look very silly because it was an eventful trip.

It was about 3PM and I realised that it was pretty late to go and buy the newspapers, but I felt after completing my set work for the day that I had earned a little trip into the sunshine. I was also desperate to read the pearls of wisdom that today's Page 3 model had for us. It turns out that Lucy, 22 from Warwick, disagrees with the 'pasty tax'. I think a career in politics beckons for Lucy, she would certainly gain some electoral support for two distinct reasons.

I set off into the sun wearing a very red get up that comprised of a red Hollister top, some pink and grey Superdry shorts and some red Vans. I was certainly reflecting the weather in my clothes. I like to think that weather/clothing co-ordination can be seen as a strong quality in my personality. It is a gift that probably only around 25% of the population have themselves.

I made it to the shop in quick time and purchased my copy of The Sun and the Daily Mail.

I set off the journey home. It is a journey that I have perfected. I say that because it is quite handy how it is the same route to the shop but just in reverse.

I quickly encountered the first sign of trouble. Two kids were walking to the shop and they just had that look. You know, the look that says, 'I'm a chav and I will say something at you that you wont respond to'.

"Do you like my heart, sir?"

Yes, one of the little chav uttered those very words at me. I was struck by two things. First, why would I like his heart? I mean, it's not like his body is transparent and I could see the intricate network of organs in his body. He clearly didn't understand science. Second, he called me "sir". Of all the little chavs, he certainly seemed to be the most polite of the lot.

I walked off having ignored the polite chav and I soon got the edge of my road and that is when I noticed it sitting proudly on the floor, looking majestic.

It was a £10 note.

I looked around. I sussed out my environment. Was there someone in the area who may have dropped the money? Was I being set up for a TV prank show? Was this £10 even real?

I picked up the £10 note and took it home considering my next move. Do I hand it in to the police station like a model citizen or do I pocket it for myself?

I consulted my Mum on the issue when she returned home. "Keep it!" was her quick response. I decided that she was probably correct, plus £10 can go a long way.

I have decided to save the £10 for my next trip to the pub. Each sup of Thatchers Gold will taste even better knowing that it was free.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The Dissertation

Anyone reading this who is British will know one thing and only thing about the country at the moment.

It is bloody hot. Like seriously hot. It feels like summer so I keep having to remind myself that it is only March.

Yesterday saw the highest temperature of the year so far whilst today's temperature is set to top that of yesterday.

"What have you been doing Alex? What thrilling adventures have you been getting up to in the sun?"

I shall dissapoint you with my response, because I would tell you in a stern manner that "I've been writing my dissertation". I would probably also poke you just to hit home the seriousness of that statement.

Yes it's that time of the year when students who have been very stupid and not written their dissertations well in advance suddenly start panicking and spend every waking minute writing what is essentially just a very big essay.

I am one of those very stupid students.

However, I think I have a legitimate excuse for my poor effort so far on this very large essay. You see, it is on what I consider a really boring topic. My dissertation is about House of Lords Reform since 1997.

"What a bad topic to be stuck with!" You would sympathise.

"...I chose it..." I would respond back in an embarrassed and hushed tone.

Yes, I was that stupid that I chose my own topic and didn't think at the time about how dull it would be. I mean, it is seriously dull. I wouldn't wish this topic on my worst enemy.

Therefore, in this unseasonably warm weather, I have been stuck indoors reading, researching, analysing and writing my very boring dissertation. I just want to go outdoors and meet up with my friends, throw a frisbee in the park and have lunches out in the sun. This is like some cruel academic punishment.

I might just pop out for five minutes into the sun and top up my tan. Dissertations write themselves, right?