Hello and welcome to the Blog! I hope you are well!
It's only been 4 days since my last blog, and already loads has happened!
So, without further ado - the remainder of this week's blog.
I'm in the Dakar Rally, fine sand is being thrown up all around me as I leap from dune to dune in incredibly high-powered machinery - one last push to the finish line, there it is annnndd...
My eyes flicker open. I'm in my room. I'm no rally hero, nobody's chanting my name.
My phone clock displays 9:36am - it takes me a good few minutes to catch onto the fact that I'm a bit stuffed - an all-day radio news day starting at 10am.
I originally consider leaving without breakfast and making it earlier - but being a big, busy day, I thought that was ill-advised.
After a small-ish breakfast, I set off at about 10am - I will certainly return to setting the clock to 8:00/8:30!
After arriving and finding out I haven't ruined the day, we go through each student on the course and everyone gets a role to be getting on with.
Last news-day (for TV News Production), I was a reporter and despite a little bit of stumbling on a sentence or two, I managed to get through.
This time, I was appointed as a reporter - once again, something I could do perfectly well...until two words were said that turned my blood cold: "vox-pop"
At the time, we were still batting ideas around and discussing what each of us were doing...but as the "pre-brief" drew to a close...I shortly came to the realisation that this was happening, and this was happening today.
I had the option of going at it alone or with my lecturer - and in a heartbeat I picked the latter.
Shortly after, I'd grab the equipment needed (in a little shoulder bag) and we'd walk out of the Uni gates not all too long after.
It was certainly interesting - up until now, it had been drilled into my head that my teachers are above me, and I'm just a mere student - so to be able to go out and have a walk/work with a lecture was almost surreal - it almost bought us to a "friends" level as opposed to "boss" and "janitor"/ teacher/student.
As we walked, we discussed the task/objective at hand - ask people about their opinions about "Partygate" and Boris'/#10's/Government's recent accusations and actions last Christmas (during Lockdown).
I hadn't just been thrown into the deep end - I had been thrown into the Atlantic Ocean!
First of all, I'm incredibly passive and unpolitical - whatever the choice may be, I'm "down the middle" I don't care either way, I just want fairness and to not get involved - I just want peace, harmony and happiness.
Add into the mix that I had never used or even SEEN the equipment I was using until the moment I pulled it out in public (in Wolverhampton) as well as the fact that I had never done a vox-pop or interview in public before was not the "get your toes wet" introduction that I was used to (when getting used to something new)
After an interview or two of me figuring out the audio equipment, we eventually got a few "Golden Nugget Quotes" - my lecturer introducing him/us, me just being on "microphone duty" as he did so.
Looking back, there was a stark difference between my lecturer - calmly, confidently and friend-ily approaching strangers on the street and beginning a conversation with them - even about politics it was almost as if he had met them before!
I think one's life-style really does impact on weather they split off down the "introvert" or "extrovert" route - I sit/sat in my room racing virtual racing cars all day - only talking to my team-mate/s...I think it's pretty telling why I was out of my "comfort" zone trying to get a "vox pop".
Like a boat driving away from me swimming in the Atlantic, my lecturer then left me in charge and inside I was freaking out - it was CHAOS inside my head.
I think I just got a bit overwhelmed and almost shut down - there were so many people in so many directions and I didn't know who to ask or approach...but I bit my tongue and chose someone - 3/4 times, I was ignored or they declined and honestly, that was the hardest bit, I'm not writing a sob story, but I finally thought I was grounded in my life, I left the bullies and the hardness of Year 7 & 8 behind and through Sunnydown, my college and Uni, I rebuilt myself - Wolverhampton was a new city and a new start - and honestly, excuse my french, but following attempting getting a vox-pop, I had never felt that awful/sh*t about myself in years - just a testament to how well the previous 6 had gone.
It wasn't so much "oh no, I did awful at that", it was the feeling of being ignored - of not being wanting to be spoken to - I guess, when you're bullied/called weird at school - the bullies acknowledge your existence, they just don't like it, or "flick" you with insults, but being ignored or avoided is almost like feeling invisible.
With my self-confidence/self-esteem already quite fragile, my biggest insecurity/problem with it was bugging/annoying people just going about their day - they had no business with me, and under normal circumstances, I would have no business with them - but from my view, it's almost like "Oh god, this guy with a microphone is approaching me, avoid, avoid, avoid, oh no no no no no"
My lecturer said only pull out the microphone after you've initialised the conversation - but already approaching someone and saying "Hi, I'm Robin from WLV News/The Uni's Radio Station" is going to already put a fair few off - it honestly reminded me of this video
Except I was a Southerner terrifying Northerners! Interesting!
Experience over, I headed back to the studio (sorry, I had to use that line!)
Once back at Uni (the studio), I took the audio from the ARD (Audio Record-y Device) and put it onto the computer I was using, another drama unfolding.
No matter what we tried, we could not get the audio to play - however, Adobe Premier Pro provided more luck (after changing the audio type after going back to the 1800's level of audio quality)
After this whole palava, we eventually went to air...without my piece.
About 60 seconds before going to air, I managed to clip a few quotes from the 10 AT MOST clips that I had recorded - nothing I did made it to air.
Having technical problems previously meant that this was my second newsday (in a row) not having anything to show/present/contribute in the final bulletin - to make up for this, I'm making a package for UWR's (University Of Wolverhampton Racing Team's) switch to the Praga Cup for the 2022 season - but I haven't the first clue how to go about it.
~ That evening, as I was smashing cars to smithereens I got a whatsapp message.
I don't usually get whatsapp messages (other than from Uni contacts/group chat), so I thought this was a little unusual.
I shortly found out that this was one of my friends from my secondary school who I hadn't been in contact with since Year 11 (at least 5 years ago!), for someone to care about me so much to message me after 5 years - and still remember me and my interests was actually quite wholesome, and we had a really nice long/deep conversation about the school since I left, where he'd been and what he'd been up to and where he was now and what he aimed to do in the future - from what I found out, I apparently missed a lot including a school/class/trip to Australia! (always the case, the school always gets wayyy more epic after you leave)
Also that evening (or prior) I booked my brake appointment for February 3rd - initially this was going to be the day I went to Essex, this was quickly replaced by an appointment at KwikFit to DIAGNOSE my brakes - before my friend Will helped out and helped me get an appointment to get the brakes/pads REPLACED on the 3rd, meaning the 4th could be the day I went to Essex - RESULT!
The beauty of The Garage in Wolverhampton, was that they never specified when you had to arrive - they only said "either come in the morning, or afternoon" - so at about 12:00 or 12:30, after smashing a Bucknell Bastion around some Japanese drift circuit (on BeamNG.Drive), I headed off to The Garage.
Upon arrival, there wasn't too much space out front/to park, so I tried my best to get out of the way, but still got honked by a (miffed) Laguna Seca behind me - one of the mechanics beckoning me forward to park in front of the garages.
Now out of the way, I'd inform them of my details and handed over my keys. I was then informed that it would likely be about closing time (5 - 6pm) that the car would be ready.
Without a means of transport out of the garage, and about half-an-hour away from my accomodation, this was a bit awkward, but I'd book an Uber into the city-center shortly after.
Since I had so much time, I decided to hit two birds with one stone - whilst the car's getting done, I'd use the time to get a haircut (since I looked like a lost Welsh sheep).
To date, my haircut hunt hadn't gone all too well - all the hairdressers/barbers I had tried (after quite a long walk) required booking.
Not a week later, (a few days before the brake appointment) I found a hairdresser/barber within walking distance of the Uni, and after calling them, I found out that I did not need to book!
Come the day of the appointment, I set the Uber from The Garage to the rough vicinity of the hairdresser - went in a Welsh Sheep and came out a change man (with a cool head!)
I couldn't pin-point where exactly they were from/what language they spoke whilst cutting my hair - but judging by the sign outside, what little I knew of languages and other indications - I'm going to hazard a guess that it was Arabic, and they were either Turkish, Arabic, Egyptian or from the Middle East (Iraq/Iran/Syria etc.)
At the end of the day - it doesn't matter where they came from - they did an absolutely STELLAR job with my hair - and (whilst I didn't show it) I was beyond chuffed.
The only comment I have, which is more of a statement, is that they asked for in-hand cash as opposed to card/contactless - which they trusted me to go to the ATM, withdraw cash and come back - incredibly trusting!
In Essex, when I had my haircut (last year) they too asked for cash as opposed to card - so weather the technology wasn't integrated or it's just a personal preference, I'm not sure.
With my hair done, my stomach was the next to call for attention - so I grabbed a McDonalds from the town centre, ate it on a park bench next to the church overlooking the theatre at the Uni (how romantic) before walking back to my accomodation for the next couple of hours until my car was ready.
Once again, I called (requested) an Uber - the funny moment here being me mistaking his (front) passenger seat cover for a person (this seat was more forward than normal/usual, but he called me to confirm it was him/his car, and I got in and realised my mistake.
Not half-an-hour later, I arrived at the Garage, waited for the employee to finish on the phone before she gave me my car key.
Other than a quick and quiet warning about spongey brakes and the brakes "settling in", the car was all mine to take away, so albeit cautiously, I started up the engine and drove back to my accomodation, becoming more trusting of the brakes as the journey progressed.
At the time of writing, it's currently 1am at the time of writing in Essex (06/02/2022) and I've got a busy day tomorrow - so I shall continue on when I next have time, but for now, I'll see you next time