The Zap - the site the Chinese government is currently using as its home page

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Flirtation with greatness

It must really suck to one day be great at something, only to discover the next day that that greatness has deserted you. Take Rivers Cuomo, for example, or Noel Gallagher. Both, essentially, wrote two brilliant albums each, for Weezer and Oasis respectively, to begin the lives of the two bands. Yet the third efforts of both writers disappointed, as did all subsequent releases. In fact you might go as far to say that all Weezer and Oasis albums, with the exceptions of each band's initial two, are shit, and both bands are surviving on the critical success of their earliest works. Now despite both writers' claims preceding the release of each new album that that forthcoming album would at least match their best work thus far, one finds it hard to imagine that they really believe that. They do not need to be told by the music press that they have got it wrong. They haven't even got it wrong. They've just lied. Because they know that, whatever greatness they once had, whatever inherent ability that they had to write brilliant pop songs, has now gone. Even they can't put their fingers on what it was, they just know that it's no longer there. They probably spend months in preparation for the release of each album, trying to write material at least close to being as strong as the stuff on their first two albums, before admitting defeat, realising that they'll never do it again, and resorting to releasing something distinctly average, only to be slated by music journalists for forcing us all to wait years for something that really wasn't worth waiting for at all. I wonder what's worse: knowing that you're no longer as great as you once were, and that you probably never will be, or having everyone else think it?

Monday, November 21, 2005

As said to my college Dean

"I made her come with my guitar playing once. Come to my room, I mean. Sorry, I don't want to sound like I'm blowing my own trumpet. Or indeed, make it sound like she was blowing hers. Erm... can I have another slice of chocolate cake, please?"

Friday, November 18, 2005

My purpose

I'm starting to think that I have none. I'm not sure I'm cut out for university. I'm sure that Computer Science is the wrong subject for me, but if not that, what? I've applied to do Maths and Philosophy, but I've just started reading The Open Society And Its Enemies by Karl Popper, and I'm thinking: I don't want to do Philosophy. Plato's theory of Forms? What the fuck's all that about? Okay, I realise that that's just one of one philosopher's theories on one topic, and I realise that it's 1:28 in the morning, but still. As for maths... well that's cool, but I frequently wonder whether I'm actually good enough to do it at degree level. Also, I really can't see myself using anything I learn from the course once I've graduated, so what's the point?

Then I begin to wish that I'd done English Lit at A-level, allowing me to do that as a degree, but who the fuck am I kidding? I don't read literature. I don't read books. In fact, I'm worried that lack of reading experience is part of the reason I'm struggling through this book I'm reading at the moment so much. Although it's probably mainly because it's shit. So what am I to do? Which subject is for me? I'm not sure I'm interested in anything at all, at least not when it comes to learning, hence the answer to the question is quite possible "none".

I'm now considering leaving Cambridge, not to then go to a different uni but just to bypass the whole higher education period of my life altogether. But then what? Go travelling? That's hardly a life plan. Bombard The Times with reviews and columns until they offer me a job? I'm a lazy writer. Plus, that's stupid. Start a band? Tour the gig circuit, hoping for a record contract? I'm a shit guitarist. And I haven't been able to sing in years. I could be the greatest songwriter of my generation, but how will I ever know or, more importantly, ever exploit the fact if I have no way to ilustrate my vision? It's like having this massive V8 engine which looks the absolute bollocks, but having no car to put it in. For fuck's sake, the thing might be damaged beyond use, but how can you know if you can't try it? I think maybe that's my greatest fear.