Aachener Dom

In and around Nordrhein-Westfalen

A QUICK LOW-DOWN – this month I’ve been in Aachen, Germany, having been awarded a scholarship by the Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst (DAAD) for a month-long intensive German language course. Away from the classroom, naturally I was desperate to go out and explore this corner of north-west Germany, and so I’ve put together this post (a…

Festival-goers-arriving-a-003

10 reasons I’m glad I’m at home and not at Glastonbury

WHAT A SURPRISE! In true British tradition, the heavens have already opened above Somerset. I love tradition, but sharing a sodden tent with half-cut twenty-somethings – even if they are friends – surely cannot compare to a dry double bed, complete with a roof over its head. Having to either dig a hole in the ground…

Suarez bite

What to do with Luis Suárez

IF THE TWITTER frenzy and TV coverage evaded you (or rather you it), then you might not have heard of Uruguayan striker Luis Suárez’s third attack on another player yesterday. Well, I say attack – I don’t mean a punch, a push or even a wielding of a dagger, but a bite. Yes, it’s really…

Dead Mockingbird

Don’t kill the Mockingbird; maybe just cage it

YOU MIGHT HAVE seen that list compiled by the BBC a few years ago, listing 100 ‘must-read’ books. I think I managed a mere eleven or twelve, which, needless to say, made me feel horribly uncultured and a questionable advocate of the English language. Then again, I wonder how many you’ve actually read – or…

Coffees

Coffee and cogitation: The appeal of the coffee shop

IT’S FUNNY – I never really drank coffee until I came to university. Perhaps that explains quite a lot. Nevertheless I do wonder if part of what coerced me to caffeine was the fact that I wanted to be able to go into coffee shops and order something with resolution, and that something not be…

Conchita Wurst2

Why Wurst was meant to come first

CAUTIOUS NOT TO turn this blog into a Eurovision fest, I couldn’t help but put down in words why Conchita Wurst’s contest conquer was the only outcome. Given the media attention – both positive and negative – that surrounded her before the grand final, this glamorously tranvestite, bearded, Austrian version of Shirley Bassey – think…

Conchita Wurst

Eurovision: Stop moaning and just laugh

IN CASE YOU had either forgotten or consciously vaporised it from your mind, it’s that time again. That time when television networks selflessly devote their primetime to the continent we (often conveniently forget we) are part of, the time when are our eyes and ears are greeted with the strangest of spectacles and the time…