Friday, 31 December 2010

A new year beckons.

"I want to tell you
My head is filled with things to say
When you're here
All those words, they seem to slip away"

It's been a while since my last post - over a month. And this will (I think) also be my last post for a while.

Recently I have been less than happy studying clinical medicine. My initial reaction was that I wanted to quit. This might seem hasty, but I had my reasons. I believe that medicine was the wrong choice in the first place. I didn't really enjoy preclinical and now that we've got to clinical, I was expecting to like it more than I have done. I found myself unmotivated and uninterested by the work. I've been dreading going into hospital in the mornings. I dislike the lifestyle which is inherently dislocating, being shoved out to Ipswich every now and again for the weekdays, separated from friends and Internet and sports facilities and things that matter. I have seen the lifestyle of a doctor and I don't particularly want it on this basis. Moreover, I know exactly what I do want to be doing other than medicine - a Masters in music psychology.

Despite all this, I've come to the conclusion, after talking to a wide range of friends, family and tutors, that staying in medicine - at least for now - is the best option. For one thing, even if I apply for a Masters in music psychology, I wouldn't find out if I'd got into the course until June at the earliest, and dropping out of medicine before then would be foolish. Besides, there are many reasons that I haven't been enjoying medicine, many of which I'm able to address. For example, I hope to get a car soon, which should make living in Ipswich for weekdays less of a chore because I can come back of an evening if I so wish. I intend to start using study partners more rather than cooping myself up in my room. I'm going to start playing squash and badminton again - having not played them for a while, I can feel myself go out of shape, my self-esteem go down and my energy levels drop. I have got into the habit of sleeping far too late which makes me permanently exhausted, and I procrastinate far too much on Facebook and the internet in general - all these things I want to change, and if I can, then I stand a far better chance of being able to enjoy the medical degree more. So Facebook is going out of the window. This blog is also sadly going, at least for now. On one hand it is a good outlet for my non-medically-related thoughts and ideas. On the other hand, I have so many that I can't possibly write them all down - and if I try, then I use up huge amounts of time.

What do I think about? Sadly, I've come to the conclusion that what mainly occupies my brain space is actually fairly trivial; I don't occupy the higher spiritual plane that my grandfather does. I think an awful lot about books, music, sport and films - and so those are what I write about mostly, it seems. Music is the most important one out of these. I am interested in it on an intellectual level. As well as enjoying playing it, composing it, listening to it - I am fascinated by the influence it exerts over people. It is phenomenal what a striking effect music can have on people, causing them to break down in tears, tingle all over, change their mood in subtle and unsubtle ways, and much more besides. I'd like to understand more about the processes by which music exerts its influence on human minds and brains. And there are so many unanswered questions in this very broad and very new discipline that my mind is constantly whirring with them - too many to study in a lifetime, let alone try to write about in a blog.

Thus - I'm stopping for now.

Before I go -

Just like that bloke out of High Fidelity, I love making lists, and rank-ordering things that I like. It serves no discernable purpose, but for some reason it pleases me. So here are the Arjun Kingdon Awards for 2010. This is a fairly onanistic exercise; it's my opinions, and nothing more. This blog was always written more for my sake than anyone else's. But hey, that's what the Internet is for, right? So that the unwashed masses can vent their ignorant spleens about whatever they like?


I tend to discover music, if at all, a bit late. Given that I was only able to identify three albums released in 2010 which I own and enjoy (The Staircase Band - can I say that?, Seed by Richard Leigh, Hedonism by Bellowhead) - I think it would be more sensible for me to come up with a top 10 list of my favourite albums over the last three years. (N.B. interesting that I should have discovered so little new music over this time, given how much I profess to "love" music. It's because I'm happy to listen to the same old stuff, actually a fairly small subset of music, over and over again.)

10. Imidiwan, Tinariwen

9. Far, Regina Spektor

8. The Resistance, Muse

7. Viva La Vida, Coldplay

6. Seed, Richard Leigh

5. The Duckworth-Lewis Method, The Duckworth-Lewis Method

4. Hedonism, Bellowhead

3. Moi et mon camion, Merz

2. The Seldom Seen Kid, Elbow

1. Songs from the Floodplain, Jon Boden


This is very tricky indeed.

5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, pt 1

4. The Social Network

3. Three Idiots

2. Toy Story 3

1. Inception

And I also ought to mention the best films I saw this year which weren't released this year - they were O Brother, Where Art Thou?, District 9, The Secret in their Eyes, Juno, Serenity, All You Need Is Cash, Memento.


(I'm only counting books that I'm reading for the first time - no re-readings are allowed in this list. And I'm not doing the "best books of 2010" because I think I've only read two or three books that were released this year.)

5. Dune - Frank Herbert

4. Twilight (any of them) - Stephanie Meyer

3. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis de Bernieres

2. Black Swan Green - David Mitchell

1. Emma - Jane Austen


5. Soul Music, Terry Pratchett

4. Twilight (any of them), Stephanie Meyer

3. Foundation, Isaac Asimov

2. The Mystery of Things, A.C. Grayling

1. The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown

That's all folks! Happy 2011! And given that I'm quitting facebook, make an extra effort to keep in touch via email ( or Skype.

1 comment:

  1. You're Prince Myshkin with all his moral feelings and innocence ensnared in a rotten world. Words, music and religion are all beautiful and Prince Myshkin declared "Beauty saves the world". I found this from Baha'ullah's writings:

    ای دوست
    در روضه قلب جز گل عشق مکار و از ذيل بلبل حبّ و شوق دست مدار* مصاحبت ابرار را غنيمت دان و از مرافقت اشرار دست و دل هر دو بردار