This is such a terrible idea, on all counts…if this happens (as it no doubt will, seemingly so many decisions that the ge…neral public object massively to are steam rolled through anyhow), we run the risk of demoralising children who are developing at a different rate to their peers, who might in the future surpass the success of the classmates ranked above them at age 11. We also risk students in the top 10% becoming complacent, or pushed into a career path that they wouldn’t necessarily choose for themselves. 11 is no age to be placed in an achievement bracket, and nor should you at this age be forced to think of yourself as ‘above’ or ‘below’ your classmates. Friendships which might have otherwise lasted a lifetime might suffer, and ambitions may be affected at far too young an age. I’d like to think that people’s opinions on this mattered, but experience has taught me that it’s very unlikely to have any bearing at all. Rant over.
I’m certain it’s not unnatural to at this point be contemplating how closely your life matches how you envisaged it would be. I’m also certain though, that you should only be concerned with the things that really matter to you, not the things that can sometimes permeate your own to-do list. As I’ve got a little older, it’s become easier to enjoy and celebrate my friends’ success without feeling guilty that I should be embarking on a similar adventure/career move/hobby. I am either lazy, or content.
Over the past 10 years or so, I’ve made some of the best friends I could have dreamed of. I’ve stayed up too late, talking nonsense to strangers at messy parties, donning fancy dress, face paints, doing the walk of shame, dancing on tables, getting carried out of clubs, having food fights in pubs (sorry Cluny!), singing to the stars at night in Jesmond Dene, raving in the quarry, setting fireworks off on the beach Tribal Gathering style, seeing in every NYE in style, hosting pool parties, soaking up live music (a brief dalliance with my own events), getting muddy at festivals, laughing until I can’t breathe, and being lucky enough to enjoy all of this with wonderfully quirky people who I am proud to call my friends.
This largely compensates for the fact that in some respects I feel very far from ‘grown up’. But there’s plenty of time for that, isn’t there? And if not, I’m not sure I care…surely to be happy is the most important thing of all?
I’m very much enjoying living back in Heaton – perhaps that’s because I can kid myself that I am a student again? Although the house we occupied in Fenham was grand and beauteous, the sort of place I will probably never be able to buy, and despite the lovely cows, friendly cats, grassy moors and vast array of amazing corner shops, it just didn’t have the buzz that Heaton does. Since moving back, I’ve spent many hazy afternoons in Armstrong Park, including this Saturday – I was chuffed to find that some lovely folk had set up a generator and were playing reggae and dub under a gazebo, the blazing sunshine providing the same warmth as Roy Avers voice. It was like a miniature Green Festival, which is happening this coming weekend. Following this, a lazy meander over to the Bluebell pub (one of my faves in Newcastle), to celebrate a good friend’s birthday (who too is soon to move to Heaton – the pull is too strong!) Being in Heaton also means that Ouseburn is on our doorstep, which considering the Evolution Emerging Festival is happening this Friday, is good news! This is a free festival taking place across several venues around Ouseburn, culminating in an after show party at the Star and Shadow cinema. Through fear of sounding like I am on commission from the Count of Heaton, I shall end here…big love to the Heaton massive!
Brew Dog is proving a welcome addition to Newcastle’s watering holes…I’ve only been twice so far, but I can see myself becoming a regular fixture! Comfortingly, it’s far removed from the diamond strip wanker-magnets, and it’s the first bar I have ever been to where I have been asked by the staff ‘what music would you like to listen to?’ They’ve got a huge selection of ales on offer, and encourage you to ‘try before you buy’…the more frugal and cheeky amongst us could probably get to tipsy level 1 just by enjoying the freebies! There are board games aplenty, and food on offer (which I’ve yet to sample). For the brave, I’d recommend trying the 40% proof ale…but be seated before you do!
I’ve yet to see this, but it comes highly recommended by a trusted source!
Debut video from the Union Choir, who are playing at the Split Festival this weekend - it’s definitely got a bit of ‘Science of Sleep’ about it. Saw them at the Riverside supporting The Phantom Band a few months back…I also very much like the Steve Zissou hat!