Saturday, the 10th of December, 2005 - 23 to 11pm

Current Song ~ "Sorry Eyes" by the Ambassadors of Sorrow.

Having now covered my Durham excursion in tiresome detail, let us return to our (theoretically) regularly scheduled London-centric entries, and skip forward to the end of my OU courses.

Prior to the 17th and 18th of October this year, I had never had to sit two exams within thirty hours, and I won't have to do so again before graduation. This is, judging by that one experience, just as well.

I'm not all that bad in exam situations - my revision leaves much to be desired, but once the clock starts running, I'm able to get on with selecting questions and having a stab at answering them quite happily.
It would, however, appear that all of my reserves of sanity are poured into the exam itself, leaving absolutely nothing left for the trip to and from the examination venue.

At the best of times, I am directionally challenged. On the way to my music exam, I managed to briefly convince myself that a major London Underground station was a figment of my imagination.
Having arrived at Embankment, I had a look at the map to ascertain whether Liverpool Street Station was to the East or the West. I couldn't spot it straight away, and immediately flew into a panic along the lines of '...what if I remembered wrong and Liverpool Street isn't on the District and/or Circle Line? ...fuck, what if there is no Liverpool Street, and the station is, in fact, called something completely different that I can't remember?! ...oh, there it is.'

This had slightly worrying implications for my ability to think, but like I said, once I made it to the actual exam I was fine.
Disastrously unprepared for the second half of the exam, but it would have been a bit late in the day to start fretting over that mid-exam, especially when I needed to be concentrating on explaining what little I did know.
(Oh, and I successfully identified the composer of an extract for the first time ever... before turning over the page and discovering that it was the only extract in the whole damned paper that didn't require one to do that. Feel my bitterness!)

While returning via the Circle Line, I discovered that if I was merely teetering on the brink of insanity through my own mental efforts, pure coincidence was more than happy to provide that vital extra shove.
I spent a good few minutes sitting a few inches from a stranger who looked really disturbingly like one of my friends.
Some details were wrong, and I wouldn't have had a moment of doubt if I'd seen said friend more recently, but you know how easy it is to start wondering if you just remembered some things wrong if you have no easy means of comparison.
You can imagine, then, how much it rattled me when this stranger produced a book from a series that my friend collects.
I mean really, what are the chances?

The next day was, thankfully, a vast improvement.
I spent the morning desperately attempting to revise while feeling shaky and ill, but having already gone to the venue once, I didn't have any trouble getting there again.

I hesitate to enthuse too much about my religion exam (despite it being down in my entry notes as 'oh bliss! oh rapture! oh religion course!'), because for all I know I completely fluffed it. However, I must say that the questions on the paper were fantastic. I would have loved to have had some of them as assignments so that I could have spent more time on them, for there was a lot to really sink ones teeth into.
I picked questions on religious tolerance, secularisation in the UK, and the Israel-Palestine conflict, but there were others that I could have done instead.
Again, I have no idea whether my answers were any good, but damn, were they fun to write; at least before my hand started giving up.

And with that high note, my second year with the OU was all over bar the results. Whew!
I suspect that Religion in History will remain my very favourite course, but even so, I have high hopes of my final two courses. More on them shortly - my first batch of course materials is due next week, which will presumably give me more to write about.

A few weeks later, and following my UK television debut on Songs of Praise (oh, the glamorous life of the church chorister!), I at long last took my grade five singing exam.
Alas, the venue being absolutely crammed with those evil little heaters that remove every trace of moisture from the air, resulting in a certain 'Conservatoire: Extra Dry' effect.
This caused me to lose my voice in the rehearsal room, which three minutes before an exam is just a teensy bit unnerving; and bloody annoying, as I'd been in good voice beforehand despite it being 9am.

However, I did make it through the exam - my second set piece suffered quite badly, but my voice recovered for my third piece and unaccompanied traditional song.
I scored 113/150 (not quite a merit, but a good clear pass), and got pretty much exactly what I was expecting in each section.
Overall I think I did as well as I could have done under the circumstances, and as grade five had a lot of inherent problems, I think my getting a respectable mark for it bodes well for the future.
I have a long way to go with the singing, but by gum, I'm getting there!

Since then I've done another concert with the Prestigious London Choir, learnt to write in Hebrew script, and I think that pretty much brings us up to the present day.
Just as well, considering how unwieldy this entry already is!

Au revoir, folks!


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