A New, New Doctor Who

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So… how wrong was I, buying into all that Kris Marshall stuff?

I guess I should really stop trying to predict things…

Anyway, Jodie Whittaker is going to be the next Doctor. Yeah, it isn’t going to be David Harewood or Maxine Peak, but I am going to explain why Whittaker’s casting is a good thing for Doctor Who.

Long term readers (and potentially podcast listeners?) know how I feel about the last few seasons of the show; it has been repetitive, boring, poorly written and, despite one or two highlights, has been pretty shite to be honest. I liked bits and pieces of Capaldi’s last season in the TARDIS but on the whole it and the other Moffat-run seasons have really started to tarnish the good name that Russel T. Davies battled to rebuild. The show has really needed freshening up for a while, which we should be getting through the teaming up of the critically acclaimed Chris Chibnall (new head writer) with the first female Doctor, Jodie Whittaker.  If I am being totally honest, I didn’t think the new show runners would have the balls to rock the boat during their first season in charge, but considering the declining ratings and increasing fan resentment to the show (fucking sonic sunglasses), I am really not surprised to see them roll the dice.

Whittaker has a solid film back catalogue including the very enjoyable Attack the Block (which you should go and watch if you haven’t), as well the critically acclaimed Black Mirror. Most importantly though, she worked with Chibnall on Broadchurch (which I haven’t watched, I was probably too busy being disappointed by Supergirl, but I have heard very good things about it).

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We really shouldn’t be surprised by the choice, I think I was too distracted by Olivia Coleman picking up the sonic screwdriver to consider Whittaker, but this choice means that both the actor and the writer knows what each other are about, hopefully avoiding any clashes like those between Moffat and Capaldi.

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I would like to see Chibnall write Whittaker a Peter Davison-style incarnation of the Doctor, and by that I mean I want the character to be relatable and enjoyable to be around, but stand-offish enough to avoid any romantic relationship like those seen with David Tennant. The traditionalist will be pissed enough already to see a female Doctor, let alone one that want to bone a human (Tactfully put, Ben- Lewis). If Supergirl has shown me one thing, putting a romantic interest in the show from episode one can undermine the strength of a female lead, leaving her a fawning mess rather than the badass we know she is.

To sum up, this is only a good thing for the show, taking a gamble on a Female doctor will give it the vital breath of fresh air it really needs. Besides, Whittaker has proven herself to be a strong and versatile actor, and her good working relationship with the new head writer promises to produce good things.

I am definitely looking forward to the next season.

-Ben

 

Doctor Who – Insert Clickbait Here…

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So it was announced last week, although from what I remember rumours have been circulating for a while, that Peter Capaldi will be hanging up his TARDIS key at the end of the year, meaning the search for his replacement is on. But, before we jump into that, I want to take a look back at his time in the TARDIS…

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On the 4th of August Capaldi was announced as the 12th Doctor and I, for one, was pretty pleased with that. We were promised a more old school Doctor, not as unlikable as Colin Baker’s 6th, rather, more like the Grandfatherly figure of William Hartnell’s 1st doctor with a fashion choice to match. This is what I wanted. I wasn’t a fan of Matt Smith at the time (I’m still not, but I watch his last season more fondly now) and I saw Capaldi as a step in the right direction, getting away from the touchy-feely 10th and 11th Doctors (Hey, you leave David Tenant out of this- Lewis).

However, on the whole, I was pretty disappointed by Capaldi; in his first episode we saw some glimpses of the Doctor he wanted to be, but that was lost in the following campy -episodes and mopey characters. His character traits were often spoken about; an incredible over use of – “I don’t do hugs” – (which was often ignored) for example. It was clear that the writers were trying to tell us that this Doctor was an older, more distant man rather than try to show us, but that simply robbed this new trait of its impact. You see, you wouldn’t dream of hugging the older Doctors, which was exactly what I wanted to see in Capaldi’s episodes, and I honestly think that he wanted this characterisation too, but the writers were just too attached to the previous incarnations of the Doctor.  I can count the number of standout episodes from the Capaldi years on one hand- The Time Heist and the two-parter episode Under the lake/Before the Flood. Beyond that, the cast weren’t given much room at all to grow as Steven Moffat pleasured himself with the idea of sonic-fucking-sunglasses (Jesus, thank God he is leaving).

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Anticippointment (Anticipation followed by disappointment) summarises how I feel about Peter Capaldi’s time in the Tardis. I had high hopes for a different Doctor, but I think the show was let down by some really poor writing- what is new there? I would have really liked Capaldi to stick around for a few more seasons to see what he could do with a new writing team, but it just wasn’t to be. An issue may have been that I wanted to see a Malcolm Tucker- esque Doctor, which is obviously not ok for a broadcast shown at 7 O’clock on BBC one… so yeah, that has led to my anticippointment.

It’s strange though, because, looking at the numbers, the two Capaldi series have been the most successful yet in terms of viewing figures and critical reviews, which baffles me because most people I know have stopped watching the show rather than started it.

Anyway, it’s speculation time.

The precedent has been set with the Master so I honestly wouldn’t rule out a female iteration of the Doctor. Provided it isn’t as irritating as ‘Missy’ (another concept I’m sure Moffat tugs off to) I am open to a female Time Lord in the TARDIS, but who would I want behind the wheel? Well, looking through the current favourites, here are some options:

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Ben Whishaw 5/1 – An interesting choice, he was up there last time round. He would probably be a Doctor more akin to Matt Smith’s iteration. Whishaw made a very good Q in the last two Bond films, and he could make a very good Doctor.

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Richard Ayoade 6/1 – This would be bloody hysterical for two or three episodes, but after that I’m not too sure.

 

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Rory Kinnear 7/1 – Another Bond man, I like this choice- he’s more of a dad than a grandad, and not the type to be another ‘boyfriend’ Doctor. This is one of my preferred choices on this list.

 

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Miranda Hart 8/1 – No. Just No.

 

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Jason Flemyng 9/1 – Much like Kinnear, a Flemyng Doctor would be an intermediate between Capaldi and Smith, and to my knowledge he isn’t up to much which makes him free for long filming sessions.

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David Harewood 10/1 – I am game for this one as well, however he is involved in Supergirl which could interfere with filming commitments.

 

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Helena Bonham Carter 10/1 – So we would basically have two ‘Missys’ in the universe- I would find it pretty unwatchable.

 

 

Olivia Coleman’s name has also been mentioned, and she definitely has the comic ability/acting chops that would make her a very good Doctor, and considering the new show-runner wrote Broadchurch I wouldn’t be surprised to see Coleman at least get offered the role. Idris Elba is also on the list but with the upcoming Dark Tower film it looks like his Hollywood career is really starting to get going (Unless it’s, regrettably, a flop- Lewis), besides, I would much rather he be the next Bond than the next Doctor. Another element to consider when picking the next Doctor is the show’s new popularity in the US, which means the show runners are more likely to give the role to a bigger name rather than taking a punt on an unknown.

So that about wraps it up, a few of my opinions about the Capaldi years and a brief run through of some of the favourites to replace him. But what do you think? Who do you want to be the next Time Lord?

Please leave a comment below, we’d love to hear from you.

Carrie Fisher- a Tribute

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In a year that had already taken Gordon Henley (Garven Dreis), Ian Liston (Wes Janson) and even Kenny Baker (R2-D2) from us, 2016 then left the biggest kick in the gut until the very end- Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia. After suffering a cardiac arrest while on a flight to Los Angeles, she was rushed to intensive care, and unfortunately passed away yesterday afternoon.

As one of only three women with speaking roles in the original trilogy (the others being little more than cameos), Leia was often the sole female presence in a cast dominated by men. Furthermore, unlike Luke’s iconic green lightsaber or Han’s hairy sidekick, Leia had no instantly recognisable “gimmick” to fall back on. Despite this, Leia stood shoulder-to-shoulder with her male co-stars, proving an inspiration to a generation of fans, and providing a role model to millions of young girls across the world. Leia managed to subvert many clichés throughout the original trilogy; she may have held the title of Princess, but she never once acted as a damsel in distress- as much as Han Solo would have liked to believe otherwise. In the Death Star she resisted torture and the destruction of her home planet, and on Tatooine, in spite of her now infamous attire, it was Leia who killed the crime-lord Jabba. Finally, years later, it was Leia who led the Resistance against the First Order.

In real life, Carrie Fisher had her demons. Her addictions and afflictions are well-documented, and so I feel little need to dwell on that again. Instead, what is more important is despite all of these problems, she never gave up, and dragged herself out from her own personal hell. She never shied away from the truth, often speaking candidly about her problems, culminating in her being awarded an Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award for Cultural Humanism by Harvard earlier this year. Her own struggles helped her understand those of others- including the PTSD of musician and former soldier James Blunt. Instead of letting her demons engulf her, Carrie decided to use them to better the lives of others- and that is what I believe her legacy will really be.

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In more recent times, Fisher had moved into a role similar to that of Leia in the Force Awakens. Using her unique life experiences, she mentored the aforementioned Blunt, as well as taking Star Wars’ new star Daisy Ridley under her wing. Even in the brief glimpses of their relationship from interviews, it is obvious that Carrie used her wisdom to try and prevent the new star from making the same mistakes that she herself had, advising Daisy on fame and fighting for the right to her own wardrobe, among others.

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Carrie Fisher lived a remarkable life. Her roles as Leia Organa and the “Mystery Woman” in the Blues Brothers make her the equal of Hollywood royalty. Her struggles with addiction, and her subsequent recovery, with all the infamy that surrounded it, made her a tragic figure. Her self-reinvention as a role model, using those experiences to make the lives of luckier people better, made her a caring, empathetic person. All of these things make her passing all the more poignant, the timing being just the icing on a very bitter cake.

In the end, whether you choose to remember Carrie Fisher as a feminist icon, a troubled actor, or simply as the person who played a badass character on a film you like, it is undoubtable that the world is a worse place for her loss. Moreover, at only 60 years of age, it is one that has been felt far too soon. Though, if I had to choose a way to go, drowning in moonlight while being strangled by my own bra would probably be up there.

RIP Carrie Fisher

 

By Pete

Premier League Predictions

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Benportrait1So with the Premier League kicking off again this weekend, I thought I would take a half-hour FIFA break to write up a few predictions. It’s a bit of a deviation from our usual ramblings, but what is life without a little variety?

I think this year the Premier League will be a lot tighter than seen previously, with the potential for teams like Southampton, Stoke, Swansea and West Ham to push the traditional top 6 much harder than before.

Here are my predictions-

1st – Chelsea – I can’t see past Mourinho’s men. Despite not adding to his squad, Mourinho is one of the most tactically astute mangers in the Premier league, his ability to take the pressure off his players following poor performances is uncanny, and it does have a positive effect on his teams.

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With a solid defence and an impressive front line including Hazard and Costa, Chelsea will score plenty of goals. The lack of quality additions to the side could leave things a bit stale but, with their number of motivated top quality players, I think Chelsea will retain the title. As for the transfer of John Stones, I don’t think he should move. The best way to improve is to play football week in week out, and under the tutelage of Martinez Stones can greatly improve; sitting on the bench at Chelsea will do nothing for him.

2nd – Manchester City – Another second place for the blue half of Manchester, despite the high profile additions of Sterling and Delph. I feel City are weak at the back with Pellegrini still not knowing his first-choice-centre-back-partnership. I also feel that Pellegrini can be too easily out smarted by the likes of Mourinho.

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I think that the two high profile additions are improvements to the squad; the two young Englishmen certainly have great potential, and learning from some of the best players in the league (Toure, Silva and Aguero) can only help them. However, I do disagree with young players moving to clubs only to sit on the bench… but that is an argument for another day.

3rd – Arsenal – Although some are tipping for a title contention, without a more prolific striker and improvements to the back four I can’t see a title contender emerging from North London. The signing of Petr Cech is a strong improvement, but I can’t see him alone making the difference. Despite the disappointing display against West Ham this weekend (Wooooo- Lewis) I am not concerned that Arsenal won’t make the top 4. (No pressure Petr).

4th – Liverpool – There will be a fight between Manchester United and Liverpool for the final Champions League spot. The side from the red half of Merseyside seems to have a better balance, and after spending big money on a number of new attacking options (including Benteke, Ings and Firmino), as well as bringing in Nathaniel Clyne to replace Glen Johnson at right back, Rodgers has the tools to make a real challenge this year.

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United, on the other hand, need to keep hold of De Gea, after watching Romero in action against Spurs I feel he is a classic South American Keeper; more interested in making saves for the camera than for the team. The red half of Manchester have also spent big money on holding midfielders but as to where goals will come from? Without further attacking signings I am unsure.

And so onto… the relegation zone. I can only really see four candidates for relegation; Watford, Norwich, Sunderland and Bournemouth.

18th – Norwich – This was the hardest position to allocate, but after a lot of mind changing I settled on Norwich. Despite having a number of players with Premier League experience, I think Norwich will lack goals without the purchase of an out and out striker before the end of August.

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However, the accurate passing displayed against Crystal Palace could serve them well and I expect it to be tight between Watford and Norwich for the final unwanted relegation spot.

19th – Sunderland – After managing to escape the drop two consecutive seasons on the bounce, I think this will be Sunderland’s year to exit the Premier League. After a woeful performance yesterday a lot of work needs to be done to maintain safety.

20th – Bournemouth – I think every football fan in England wants Bournemouth to succeed this year. Despite his faith in last year’s team, I think Eddie Howe’s side will struggle for goals and clean sheets, normally a fairly fatal combination. Despite this they won’t go down without a fight; they’re a good cohesive unit that will fight for every point.

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However Burnley were described in a very similar way last year, and we all know how that ended up…

So that’s it, a brief set of predictions for this year football season, if you agree, disagree or just want to have a shout, feel free to post a comment below.

Cheers,

Ben.

Happy Anniversary, dear

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Well, well, well, well, well…

One year, huh? I have to admit, I wasn’t sure whether we’d still be doing this after a month, let alone a year… but here we are.

I remember it like it was yesterday…

*Insert shimmery flashback filter and harp music*

-Cuts to three teenagers sitting in a reggae bar in Stratford-

Last summer, before an outdoor viewing of Reservoir Dogs, I asked Ben and another friend whether they wanted to help me make a blog that we could use to; A) act as a creative outlet for our boredom, and B) engage with other people about shared interests. Ben was immediately enthusiastic about it (our other friend less so, but maybe they’ll contribute something in the future). I’ll be honest, if it weren’t for Ben pressuring me to write and edit our content, almost half of it wouldn’t see the light of day. So I think our partnership was a good idea; the blog wouldn’t be possible without him.

(dry your eyes, Ben. It’s unprofessional to get sentimental too often)

Obviously we’ve had people help us out; Alex joined us for a couple of very popular pieces, and Connor will occasionally pop up from the woodwork to offer articles about some of the strangest movies I’ve never heard of.

We also had some fun with Pete and Ben making the podcasts, even if the discussions became stupidly heated and heatedly stupid on a number of occasions. It was all in good fun of course, even if they were wrong almost all the time, and we’ll hopefully see the return of them soon enough. A promise that I’m both keen and not so keen to fulfill, since the podcasts were incredibly fun to film, but incredibly not so fun to edit, but it’s all worth it in the end.

Last, but not least, we had a couple of collaborations with Michael of Four Eyes Productions (yes, a couple, I just haven’t finished editing the other yet…). We’ll definitely be doing more of that in the future; I don’t think we’ve ever had a more agreeable “fight” about films.

All in all, I think we’ve come a long way since we set out to put a stop to our summer boredom, even if we haven’t yet reached the level of content or quality we want to get to. We will get there though, even if it means slogging through another year before we do. More podcasts, more trailer talks, more articles and, hopefully, a few more people willing to help us out.

Thank you all for your support this past year, and I hope that in the following months we can produce at least one piece of content that either makes you laugh, sparks a discussion, or gets you interested in something new.

The next year’s gonna be a good’un!

‘Mee Pok Man’

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So our good friend Connor has another piece for you to read on a film called ‘Mee Pok Man’. When he sent it through to me, he said this- “dont bother sorting out the grammar, youll spend most of your life trying to fix it up”. Well, you heard him guys, and I’m not the kind of person to turn down an opportunity to take it easy. I’m washing my hands of the grammar in this piece, and I hope you enjoy this strange, interesting read as much as I did.

*SPOILER ALERT*
I’m not the kinda guy thats into people writing about spoilers, but its the ‘spoilers’ of this movie that are the reason im writing this in the first place.

for context: i just pick up movies in libraries and check them out. if i dont have to pay for them, then realistically it doesnt matter if theyre no good because they dont need to fulfil any kind of goodness-to-cost ratio. for the average person, theyd probably draw the line when the title of the movie isnt written in english. im not that sort of person though. so, i saw a movie entitled ‘mee pok man’, with a dvd cover that had quite clearly been printed off at home by someone who was just trying to avoid copyrighting issues, and obviously thought i needed to see it. turns out it was a gem. sorta.

the first thing to notice about the copy that i had was that it was SCRATCHED — not the disc, but the image on the screen. really, really, really scratched (which i love), and on checking the faux cover, it does say on the back ’35mm/video’, which basically means that it’s been transferred straight from the rolls of film onto a computer and not ‘remastered’, or even edited in any sense whatsoever. that’s a win in my book.

storyline aside for now, theres something interesting about the filming of this movie, and its not even artistic, its just that the movie was filmed in 1995 in the heart of singapore. 20 years on, that place doesnt look the same at all. in this movie it has that old school sleaze and air of poverty that just isnt there anymore. its got all these little things that portray the kind of living conditions that singapore had at that time in a way that you just couldnt replicate now. the whole place just looks so rundown and unhygienic and hustleybustley and i havent yet seen a modern movie manage that same feeling. i suppose you could try it if you just had a load of close ups of different people eating street stall food, but it wouldnt be the same. if you imagine a backstreet thats hidden behind another secret backstreet in the outskirts of a red light district… its that kind of sleazzzy — triple z sorta sleazzze.

aaaaaaannnd onto the actual movie. theres some guy. unsurprisingly hes a mee pok man. that means he cooks fish ball noodles at a food stall. i dont remember his name, i dont think that matters, hes the titular character. hes a little bit slow, or maybe just reserved, its not really explained well, hes just trying to cope with his fathers death apparently. then theres also this hooker, called bunny. mee pok man likes her, but he doesnt know how to tell her that, so… he doesnt. anyway, one night, bunny gets hit by a car outside the mee pok stall. so now, what seems like a normal enough movie premise slowly becomes weird: rather than taking bunny to a hospital, like a normal person, mee pok decides its obviously a great idea to take her back to his dingy little flat. hes not even that good at all the medical stuff, he just puts a wet towel on her head every time she wakes up in pain, after she has been HIT BY A CAR.

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anyway, the movies actually nearly over now.
so, there’s one night where mee pok comes home and shes awake and shes all like ‘ooh, heres a great idea, lets kiss and stuff, even though im assuming most of my body is heavily damaged after a serious impact with a giant block of metal’ (she doesnt actually say that), and essentially they start getting physical and…

—SPOILER—

she dies.
its not a hollywood movie, people can die in a non-hollywood movie, thats fine, i get that, she was of course treated for dry-head syndrome when she most likely had a shattered pelvis and spinal cord.
but now it stops being a normal romantic-tragedy…. it gets a bit more norman bates.
the next scene is bunny sitting at a table, and ol mee pok sits down next to her with his breakfast or something and hes sitting there talking to her, and shes all gaunt and… dead and not moving and hes having a normal conversation with her, and then he goes to fix her hair, and then quite a fair bit of it falls out and hes kinda like ‘yeah… thats not totally normal, but i can live with it’.
i think theres some implied necrophilia, but its not explicit enough, he seems just romantic enough for it to not be a certainty.
then right near the end theres a scene with him holding onto and kissing her GREEN and definitely decayed hand and with a couple of final minutes of contemplative philosophy about what it means to be alive…. the movies over.
it wasnt even that bad a movie. thats the weirdest thing about it. its kinda good, but only if youre me, and you can bear bad film quality, bad subtitling, and out-of-nowhere surrealism. thats my kinda stuff. except, i dont think it wouldve been as good if i knew what was coming. maybe its slightly ironic that im writing a review about it, but for the first time in forever i was watching a movie and thinking ‘whaaaaaat the hell?’ because like most people, i google a movie first and have some kind of understanding of the premise and storyline and would therefore know its going to delve into keeping a dead woman in your flat sorta strange. but at the same time, if i did know that was going to happen, i probably wouldnt have been wondering why theres 2 copies of this movie in my uni library, when theres about 100 votes for this movie on imdb, which is after the worldwide place to vote for movies.
i dunno, i feel like its kind of fitting that a movie that was so scratched and so grimy and nostalgic (in terms of asian cinema imagery) turned a little bit odd and kept me fixed.
if i was a cliched movie critic id probably say something pathetic like ‘ill never look at mee pok the same again’. but im 99% sure im not that stupid, so ill just end it with my internal thoughts as i read the synopsis on the back of the case.

SYNOPSIS: a scathing look at singapores sanitised society as well as a moving portrait of perverse obsession and failed love.
ME: thats the fanciest way of describing the human version of finders keepers there will ever be.
SYNOPSIS: an often striking mindf**k…
ME: what’s with the asterisks?

so… a note to people who see a weird looking dvd somewhere… google what the movies about first, otherwise youll probably be surprised — it wont always be a good thing either.

– Connor

Procrastination: What is it Good For?

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imageAs I’m sitting here, writing this piece on procrastination, I should be writing a piece of coursework on “the figure of the wanderer or outsider in 19th century literature”. Instead, I’m procrastinating.

It’s the one thing that stops me from achieving my full potential (a lie I tell myself daily), but no matter what I do, no matter how disciplined I think I am, I always end up doing anything but what I should be. Everybody does it though, at one time or another. Some people are better at it than others, and some people spend their time doing nothing but jumping from one attention-grabbing thing to another, never circling back to that essay they’re supposed to be writing. I know I do it frequently, but I always drag my mind back to the task at hand, and I never allow it to stop me from doing a task entirely. However, that doesn’t change the fact that I still do it.

And I know you do too, Mr/s. Reader.

Yeah you do, don’t give me that look.

Don’t think I don’t know about that really important thing you’re supposed to be doing right now. Yeah that’s right, THAT thing. But instead you keep putting it off to watch another episode of (insert generic TV show here), or to watch those hilarious clips of (insert famously funny animals and objects here), or to read another pointless blog post about (insert common obstacle in people’s lives here).

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It’s obvious why we do it. We find more enjoyable activities to take up our time in order to avoid doing the one thing we should be, whether it’s an essay, revision, ringing the gas company, tidying the house etc. However, a couple of years back I decided to look into the subject (mainly because I was interested in the psychology of what makes us inclined to do it) and I read an interesting idea about why people tend to procrastinate more about tests and work than everyday things. The idea, basically, is that our subconscious says to itself-

“Hey, what if I just don’t try? That way, when I fail, on my intelligence can’t be blamed because I just didn’t try. So the reason for my failure will be my laziness, and not my intelligence”

I can really understand that- because pouring your heart and soul into a project and having it fail is not a great feeling. However, there’s obviously a paradox in that logic.

There’s no way you can succeed at something if you don’t try. By using that logic you’re being a defeatist. If you think that you’re guaranteed to fail, you end up asking yourself, why not do it on your own terms? Well, that’s fine I guess, but I personally think you should never accept defeat before it’s happened. There’s always a chance that you could win, but by procrastinating and blaming your laziness you’re throwing away any chance you have. There’s no harm in trying and failing, even if it’s one of the worst feelings you can have, because that’s how you learn in life. You’ll also have less regrets when you look back on your efforts, and everyone knows that regret really sucks.

When I look back at my school days and think about how little work I did for some of my exams and some of my coursework, I really do regret how lazy I became. Sure, there were plenty of other factors that resulted in me losing almost complete interest in a few areas of my school work, but I know that if I had tried more, I could’ve done so much better for myself. Then again, I’m happy where I am now, and so should I really regret the things I didn’t do? I think you should approach regret using the “forgive but never forget” philosophy. Forgive yourself for what you did and didn’t do, but never forget why those things did and didn’t happen (There you go, kids. You’re set for life now).

But before this becomes an article about my failings in life (which I’m sure you’re all really interested in…), I’ll quickly sum up my ramblings.

Basically, everyone procrastinates, so you should never beat yourself up about it too much. But if you begin to fall into the mindset of “If I don’t try that means my intelligence isn’t to blame”, just remember that if you don’t try you can’t win. As the old saying goes, “If you think you’re going to lose, you will”. So the next time you’re avoiding that essay or revision, or maybe you’re sitting at your desk at work and you ceaselessly find other things to do, just remember that you’re going to have to do it eventually, so it might as well be now.

But hey, what do I know?

-Lewis