Tuesday, July 31, 2007

[The Life of Shaun #147] Wow

My friend David just sent me two pics from New Year's Eve 2000 - I was 26, he was 2X - after it just randomly came up in conversation. I can't remember the last time I thought about that night - it seems so long ago, through such a haze of memories. It feels impossibly long ago through the thoughts of all that's happened since these photos were taken, like it's a story I read about more than lived.

And god, I was so young!!!

A bit older,
Shaun




--
Shaun Coley
Clerkenwell, Islington
London, UK

"You have to give this to the Luftwaffe: when it knocked down our buildings, it didn't replace them with anything more offensive than rubble. We did that." -- Prince Charles, 1948 - .
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Monday, July 30, 2007

[The Life of Shaun #146] Another year at Rosebery Court

We resigned our lease for another year this evening - very happy to be spending one more year in Rosebery Court and in Clerkenwell. I think next year I will be ready for a grown-up-sized bed, but quite happy to sacrifice that for location one more time.

We celebrated by finally eating at the Japanese restaurant that's in our building, Ginan. It was very good, and they have a buffet option on Monday nights which is only £10.50 for students - total score! I can see why we always have bus loads of Japanese tourists coming to eat there.

Completely unrelated, a couple pics I took this week: the first is a funny Vodafone ad on a building near where I am doing my Summer project, Whitechapel, a very heavily immigrant neighbourhood in East London, and the second is the great view of the City and the Gherkin from just down from the office.

So, the next year's set! Looking forward to seeing what it brings.

Cheers,
Shaun



--
Shaun Coley
Clerkenwell, Islington
London, UK

"You have to give this to the Luftwaffe: when it knocked down our buildings, it didn't replace them with anything more offensive than rubble. We did that." -- Prince Charles, 1948 - .
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Sunday, July 22, 2007

[The Life of Shaun #144] More Greece pics

Hey all,

Posted some pics Chris took in Mykonos - he has some of the actual
wedding, of which I took no pics, so I thought some of you might like to see.

http://greece200706.shutterfly.com/action/?a=0AZOXLJwzcNmLro&notag=1

Cheers,
Shaun

--
Shaun Coley
Clerkenwell, Islington
London, UK
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Friday, July 20, 2007

[The Life of Shaun #143] Well who'd'a thunk it?

Perhaps this whole MBA thing wasn't a totally cock-eyed idea - I received a job offer on Wednesday, which I promptly accepted. I didn't want to say anything until I got a contract for fear of tempting fate into them rescinding the offer, but there was an offer packet waiting for me when I got home last night.


I am going to be working at XYZ in Canary Wharf starting in September, working in the Financial Control Group. It is an ideal role for me, playing my past jobs well into the transition to financial services, and the company is fantastic - I couldn't be happier!

So that's a major, MAJOR stress relived; I am pretty much at financial wit's end at this end-of-student-loan-life period, so knowing there's a light at the end of this tunnel (or even that this tunnel has an end) is nothing short of liberating.

Now all there's left to do is finish my BRP; the whole MBA thing is really almost over - I have to be an adult again - *ACK*!

Hiding under the covers,
Shaun

PS - I am sending this to the AOLers directly by BCC as some of you are having issues with GoogleGroups; I think I removed the ones who are getting it OK, but if you get this twice, let me know and I'll take your address out of the BCC group.



--
Shaun Coley
Clerkenwell, Islington
London, UK
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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

[The Life of Shaun #141] The chav tax

To have a colour TV in your home in Britain you have to pay £135.50 ($277.12 currently) per year for a TV license for the privilege.  For this fee you get all the services of the BBC: several radio channels, a few TV channels (all commercial-free), unbeholden news reports from around the world and sundry other benefits of being resident in Britannia.

I went to my first prom tonight: BBC Prom 2007 #6,
BBC Singers/Tallis Scholars.  The Proms are a Summer tradition, a series of daily concerts sponsored by the BBC.  It's really a great offering, world-class performances of both the masters and contemporary artists, always with a good proportion of seats available for only £5, and all performances broadcast on Radio 3 and often on BBC television.

Tonight's selection was four choral pieces, one by each Lassus and Tallis, and two by Striggio; admittedly, none of which I had heard of before.  The centrepiece was the last piece by Striggio, "Missa Sopra Ecco sì Beato Giorno".  Tonight was the first time this had been performed in 400 years as the manuscript was "lost" (it was misfiled at the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris).  Here is the description of this piece from Wikipedia:

"Most of the mass is for five separate choirs of 8 voices each, with the closing Agnus Dei being for five separate choirs of 12 voices each; all of the voice parts are fully independent.  With its huge polychoral forces, climaxing on sixty fully independent parts, it is the largest known polyphonic composition from the entire era."

It was stunning.  Not because it was intricate and beautiful, which it was, but the texture of the sound was intoxicating.  Obviously when you have 60 separate parts in the vocal range of human singers, you're not all on separate notes.  But like in a symphony where different instruments create different mixtures of sounds, in this piece, the different voices and combinations of voices create constantly-shifting textures in this wall of sound*; one great moment is when it starts with one singer and builds, one by one, until all 60 are singing.  Along with that, there are 60 people switching to words at different times, creating this percussion rippling across the choir.  At one point the music was moving on slowly and steadily as it had been, but the people began reaching words closer and closer together, creating this quickening sensation from the percussive nature of their enunciation rather than in any increase in tempo or shortening of phrasing.

Really quite an amazing and unique piece.  I was very happy to be party to this re-inaugural performance.

So think about this: a system has been established where as most of Britain were watching "Victoria Beckham: Coming to America" tonight they were supporting this concert.  This is a good country.

Cheers,
Shaun


*For the musical people out there, the closest I can think of is like in "Island in Space" where the sopranos and altos alternate juxtaposed perfect thirds to create a constant sound with shifting texture, or an orchestral piece whose name I forget where the  first violins hold an extended note, but shift between and open and fourth-finger A to alter the timbre.)

--
Shaun Coley
Clerkenwell, Islington
London, UK
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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

[The Life of Shaun #139] The Loft

My friend Jan tagged this picture of me and a teammate, Simon (aka, Sîmøne), on Facebook, which I thought was fun. It's a picture of us studying in an area we call The Loft that the MBAs largely took over for most of the year. What you're not seeing here is the tags: one in Simon labelled 'Simon Davies', and (I am sure you guessed it) 'Shaun Coley', but then there's a label over the shoes in the top right corner of the pic, too, that says 'Shaun's Shoes'.

It was an ongoing source of snickering for the rest of the class; I hate wearing shoes indoors, and I was often literally here ALL day, so I just made myself comfortable and walked around in my socks.

Cheers,
Shaun
--
Shaun Coley
Clerkenwell, Islington
London, UK
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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

[The Life of Shaun #138] London at the Tate

While my parents were here I took them to the Tate Modern to see the exhibit on cities. It focused on eight cities (to my consternation and horror, they chose LA in America over New York - but then again the focus of this exhibit is massive immigration to cities, which LA is experiencing on a much greater scale than NYC, and they were highlighting the awfulness of many of these cities, and what's more awful than LA?) and how they are dealing (or not dealing) with their massive influxes.

Shocking thing I learned: 50% (yes, FIFTY percent) of Greater London is given over to green space! No wonder you have to travel what would be an unconscionable distance in New York to do anything!

Attached are a few pics from the exhibit I found interesting; I am definitely going back to take some more time there as the parents grew tired of it much more quickly than this urbanphile did.

Cheers,
Shaun
--
Shaun Coley
Clerkenwell, Islington
London, UK
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[The Life of Shaun #137] Pictures from Greece

Hi all,

I've uploaded my pics from Greece - if you want to see them, you can check them out here:

http://greece200706.shutterfly.com/

I've switched from Yahoo! photos for a few reasons:

  1. You don't need to create an account to view the pics on shutterfly - just hit the button that says "View pictures" - you can ignore the option to sign up
  2. Shutterfly has an EZ Upload tool for Macs - yahooey!  (Boo, Yahoo!)
  3. It lets me create this shared area, so the rest of you who have pics from the trip can upload them to this space so they're all together if you want to
I don't have many pics from the wedding itself - I left that to the professional photographers so I could enjoy the ceremony & reception.

Cheers,
Shaun

--
Shaun Coley
Clerkenwell, Islington
London, UK
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Thursday, July 05, 2007

[The Life of Shaun #136] Fourth of July, London Style


Notice all the people in jackets because it was FREEZING.  In July.  And drizzling.  But the view was lovely and it was a good time; a really nice way to celebrate our emancipation from the yoke of British tyranny!  ;-)

Cheers,
Shaun

--
Shaun Coley
Clerkenwell, Islington
London, UK
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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

[The Life of Shaun #135] An Old Country and a New One


If I were to write without thinking about my time in Greece, I would say "Athens was hot and expensive and then we went to Mykonos" and expand on how truly awesome Mykonos is.  Athens was hot (up to 46˚C [115˚F] many days I was there) and is expensive (and when someone from London complains about expensive, that's serious; but c'mon, EURO 8 for a bottle of beer?  That's just taking the piss.)  But once I filter through the memory of the all-encompassing, oppressive heat, I realise I really did have a great time there.

Athens is definitely an agreeable city.  It's ancient, and the streets are appropriately small, crumbling and charming.  There's a ruin of a temple or market or something around every corner, and unless you're deliberately standing in a building's shadow, there's almost always a gorgeous view of the Acropolis above.  Athenians adhere to the relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle, which is hard for an ex-New Yorker, but once you've relaxed into it you feel just that.  Our days were spent sipping drinks at cafés before the heat really sunk in, heading home for a nap, dinner at 22:00 or later, then, on several nights, going out on the town. 

Really very agreeable.  If you can get past the %&£$@!* heat.

But Mykonos, now there's a fantastic place.  If you've never seen/heard about it, Mykonos is a small island a couple hours by ferry from Athens, and all its buildings are white with blue doors and windowpanes.  It's small enough to walk everywhere (as long as you've coughed up the money to stay in town) and is quite the international gay destination.  My nights out there were a blast.

The reason for going to the island was my sister's wedding (How lucky am I to have a sister who gets married in a gay vacation destination?) and it was also a mini-family reunion as well.  The wedding was gorgeous; the ceremony at a tiny Greek church overlooking the sea, and the reception on one of the beaches below.  Great food, dancing, happy drunk people chatting and mingling, topped off with a great night out.

But that can't last forever and now I've returned to reality and London.  I started my business research project for my degree yesterday and am already wondering how I am gonna get it all done.  I did come home to a new country, however.  While I was away Tony Blair stepped down as Prime Minister to be replaced by Gordon Brown (Any better?  I don't know, but at least it's movement over stagnation.), smoking in enclosed public spaces was banned, bringing England in line with the rest of the UK and a little closer to the 21st century, and there's a new, fresh post-terrorist tension in the air.

Still happy to call this little island home, but I am missing my friends and family already.  Hopefully we'll all get together like this again soon.  Till then, Life-of-Shaun updates will keep you abreast.

Cheers,
Shaun


Pic attached:
DSC00055: Proof that I made it to the top!

--
Shaun Coley
Clerkenwell, Islington
London, UK
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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

[The Life of Shaun #134] Back!

Hey all,

Jusssst got back from my traipse around the Aegean, so a quick note to say I got back to Rosebery Court safely and relatively on time; I was (pleasantly) surprised to need a jumper when I got off the plane in London.  The whole trip was really great, but I will have to write about that later - right now there is a very cosy little bed calling my name.

Cheers,
Shaun

--
Shaun Coley
Clerkenwell, Islington
London, UK
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