Your blogs

  • The X Factor - An exploitation of the naïve?

    Michael Sophocles
    Nov 12, 2009

    Having come from a reality television background, I am fully aware of being exposed to a nation thirsty for blood.

    Of course, as candidates on The Apprentice we knew what we were getting ourselves into, but being cautious is not a quality one exhibts when facing a 'life changing’ opportunity.

    The X Factor of course is a very different animal to a business show. Despite both shows being labeled under the genre of 'reality television', the nature of X Factor makes me feel altogether frustrated and even a little uneasy.

  • What on earth is going on?

    Naomi Bloomer
    Oct 30, 2009

    What on earth is going on? What happened to “JewCL”? The only Jewish Society things that are going on, as far as I can see from the sparse emails (the first of which was only to say “give us money”), are actually Hillel events. That’s no kind of Jewish Society at a university where a very high proportion of the students are Jewish.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’ve met the JSoc leaders and they are absolutely lovely. They made a great impression on me at the Freshers’ Fayre (where all societies try to attract you to joining, with sparkly freebies including pens and badges). I was so excited to start life at a university where the JSoc seemed so interested in me, in looking after Jewish students.

    But there has got to be something going wrong when I’ve got more emails coming in about something happening in Golders Green when UCL is in Camden! It’s been a month now, JSoc, get your act together and start some UCL stuff up! And not just pub crawls please, as when you don’t drink or you don’t like schlepping around from bar to bar when you’re clearly too inebriated to stand, let alone walk, is… well, it’s just not cricket.

  • Stepping up

    Naomi Bloomer
    Oct 23, 2009

    In stark contrast to last week, this week I am quite a happy bunny.

    I am now a proper full-on real-life grown-up student! I handed in my first essay. It was awful, and makes me want to cry thinking about it, but I did footnotes and EVERYTHING. A bibliography!

    Having only done bibliographies for AS and A2 English coursework, and never having done footnotes, I discovered that doing them properly is my ‘Nam. The most horrendous experience. Worse than the essay itself. In fact, I think most of it was footnotes… I remember very little about the actual essay. The topic was a comparison between the biblical Flood story and the Babylonian Flood stories.

  • Oo-err missus

    Naomi Bloomer
    Oct 16, 2009

    I’ve been ill all week. I warn you, here and now, that I’m going to be very complainy moany whingey this week.

    I had Freshers’ Flu in, well, Freshers’ week. That got better. But on Saturday I went to Hampton Court with Mummy and Daddy (had a scone, lovely), and I started coughing slightly. I was so tired I went to sleep on the grass in one of the massive gardens (imagine Versailles with someone taking a nap in the fountain, that’s how weird it looked), and when I woke up I was hacking my guts out. It was quite unnerving, gripping my neck in pain, while about 200 meters away from where Henry VIII decided to lop off Anne Boleyn’s head. Oo-err missus. (I’d quite like to bring that phrase back into usage, if anybody would like to help me? No?)

    Anyway, I went back to uni and slept. Sunday, I slept ALL DAY. I have never slept so much in my life.

  • The carefree joys of student life?

    Naomi Bloomer
    Oct 9, 2009

    Buy this book. Buy that book. Photocopy this page. Learn that vocabulary sheet. Read such and such a page of such and such a book. In its original language. You don’t know what it means? Just read it out loud. How do I know I’m saying it right? Oh I see, you’ve not been listening to anything I’ve been teaching you, is that it? Get out of my class. You’re banned. You’re expelled.

    And that’s how my most recent sobbing fit happened. Well, it didn’t even happen like that, actually. I imagined that entire conversation. I imagined it? No, I dreamt it. Yes, dear reader, I’m dreaming about having crying fits in lessons.

    I also dreamt that someone stole my bag from me on the street, looked in it, threw my purse and phone back at me and ran off with my notes. I woke up in a cold sweat. And it’s only week two. What am I going to get like during exam period?

  • Let's make it a good one, lads!

    Naomi Bloomer
    Oct 1, 2009

    This week has been crazy.

    I moved in on Saturday, and within twenty minutes was already talking to five different people as if we had known each-other for years. Within a few hours, I had met someone on my floor in halls who I had known two whole years ago from going out with his best friend. Then, someone from school last year. In the Union later, another friend from school had popped up and perhaps 20 new “Best Friends Forever” – BFFs – were made.

    Everyone talked like we were BFFs and we would be together forever. You could go up to anyone and instantly talk genuinely and with more enthusiasm than I think I had for any other random person in my entire life. I said “I love you so much! You’re my best friend!” probably around 30 times in one evening.

  • Wrong end of the hose

    Geoffrey Paul
    Sep 17, 2009

    While the UK Fire Brigades Union, long-time experts in matters of foreign policy, as we must all be aware, were busy whipping up their comrades to support a boycott of Israeli goods, the Egyptian Petroleum Ministry was planning to increase Egypt's gas exports to Israel to 120 trillion British thermal units in the coming year, a major increase in supply over the current year. It is not unreasonable to suppose that Egyptian gas is used by Israel in its manufacturing industry. So is the Fire Brigades Union, and its foreign policy savvy TUC allies, now going to extend its boycott to Egypt? Will it become verboten to visit the pyramids or take cruises down the Nile? And will the unions forbid British soldiers the life-saving benefit of a new Israeli discovery of a sort of "glue" which stops bleeding from battlefield wounds? Even firemen may one day be thankful for this new medical technology. Should Israel refuse it to them? Good moral questions for this time of the year. Shanah Tovah!

  • Can't wait to start university? Actually, I'm petrified

    Naomi Bloomer
    Sep 10, 2009

    So, what seems like a lifetime after A-level results, this Jewish girl from Watford is now looking forward to going to university later this month.

    Looking forward? No, that’s not the right phrase. Perhaps petrified is more appropriate.

    I completed my accommodation form incorrectly and ended up in catered halls instead of self-catered. It will just have to be a repeat of the past seven years at a secular comprehensive: I’ll have to be very careful, always asking twice about canteen food and never eating anything I’m not sure about.

  • What was that you said?

    Geoffrey Paul
    Aug 24, 2009

    Academia does not necessarily (some would say, at all) breed commonsense. But even Bar Ilan's Ephraim Inbar should have known better, on the eve of his Prime Minister's visit to the UK, than to tell the Today programme in essence that Britain was no longer a power that really mattered in the Middle East and was just carried along in the American slipstream. Professor Inbar was introduced as an advisor to Mr Netanyahu. I hope he has not advised him what to say when he meets Gordon Brown this week.

  • Sheryl and Bernie: An American Tale

    Geoffrey Paul
    Aug 21, 2009

    New York's Jewish establishment is panting in anticipation of publication next week of a tell-all memoir of her 20-year affair with fraudster Bernie Madoff by former top Jewish civil servant Sheryl Weinstein. One astonishing fact which emerged pre-publication from inside the covers is that, during her association with Madoff, the unsuspecting Weinstein was chief financial officer of Hadassah, the American arm of the Women's International Zionist organisation, Wizo. As such, she was party to investment decisions by the Wizo board which poured many millions into Madoff's schemes. Her own husband (who did not know of her affair) is also said to have invested with Madoff. Weinstein's book, "Madoff's Other Secret: Love, Money, Bernie and Me," is reported by New York newspapers to disclose rather more than most readers might want to know about Madoff's phsyical attributes, or lack of them. Weinstein was one of those who gave evidence at Madoff's trial. She said the day she met him was "the unluckiest day of my life." There are no comments from her husband.