Thursday, May 14, 2009


I was researching for one of my essays recently, which was on death & immortality. I came across the notion that "heroes" are very important in society. We need them as shining examples, and their brushes with death (war, protest etc) showcase the limits they are prepare to go to. This goes all the way back to the Epic of Gilgamesh. Moreover, the author stated that more than anything else, we all want to be heroes, because they are the highest of the high.

The Free Online Dictionary tells us that a hero is:
1. In mythology and legend, a man, often of divine ancestry, who is endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his bold exploits, and favored by the gods.
2. A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life

So beneath the HR managers, PR assistants and mortgage brokers, we all want to be Hercules (or Xena, Warrior Princess for the ladies). We all want to be admired and looked up to - for the right reasons - not for staying in a jungle with That Guy From Blue.

I don't know if "an inner hero" is an obvious concept, but for me it's true, and in my traditionally cheesey fashion, I think it's very nice. But what is stopping us from being the heroes we were all born to be - or at least, what's stopping us from being heroic? 

I have it in mind, at some point in my life to help/teach kids, and educate the masses about a few of the wrongs that exist in the world today through film. I'll have to think that one out a bit. But it's worth thinking about. Heroism. Corny, yes. Cliche, perhaps, but tell me one thing that's wrong with that?

I like this (click Paladin heading to see video if subscribing).

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Four Years

As of Friday 1st of May 2009, I have been a free man. I have finished my degree at the University of Birmingham reading American & Canadian Studies.

Some people may (and indeed have) pooh-poohed my choice of degree; claiming that I didn't work as hard as other students, that it was not employer-friendly, that it was not valid compared to the likes of History or Law. 

Let me say right now, I am eternally thankful that I have had the chance to study this course, because it has given me so much. Over the past four years I have grown immensely. 

I have read some fantastic books that include "Black Like Me" by John Howard Griffin, and "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy.

I've discovered some absolutely amazing historic authors including Melville, Whitman, and Hawthorne. I wholeheartedly encourage you to discover their works.

My passions for filmmaking and writing have grown exponentially: I have written for my student newspapers in Birmingham and California, I have shot a 16mm film and made my own documentary, which I am very proud of.

I have been inspired by some fantastic teachers, listened to John Cleese wax lyrical, been inside the private Pixar studios, and I have travelled up and down the wonderful West Coast of America. I've researched a paper inside the JFK library, getting exclusive access to CIA files, and seen Stevie Wonder live- for free.

I admit, my class hours were light to say the least, but I have been pushed and tested enough to warrant Honours like anyone else.

Finally, I have made so many truly spectacular lifelong friends who come from all corners of the world. Beat that.