Saying Goodbye to the Discworld

In my bookcase, there is a copy of Raising Steam with ten pages left, which I put down three years ago and refused to continue, even though I know how the book ends. Because once those ten pages are read, then it’s done.

No more Discworld novels, aside from the Tiffany Aching finale, but I’ve no interest in reading them because, once again, there the last vestiges of the Discworld Universe, and I am not ready to let go.

Three years after complications from the “embuggerance” as Sir Terry Pratchett, eloquently put it. Mentally I’m still waiting for another Discworld novel, which is never going to come.

Some of my Discworld books.

Strange that the Discworld, a flat world resting on the backs of four elephants which are standing on the back of an enormous turtle, called Great A’Tuin, has been a part of my life ever since I was a teenager.

The first Discworld novel I read was Witches Abroad, found at the tender age of fourteen in my school library. I think it was down to the cover art by Josh Kirby, as I started reading with no clue what was going on. Including when Gollum was hit over the head by an oar because I hadn’t read Lord of the Rings up to this point.

My original idea was to read until the end of the chapter, but a third into the book realised there weren’t any. I wonder how many others this happened too?

I was intrigued enough to find the rest and didn’t read any order for a really long time, but what I liked, even though I had no grasp of fantasy books I enjoyed it. I think it was the moment Death walked in, SPEAKING IN CAPITAL LETTERS, that I was hooked.

There was something about this deconstruction of fantasy and its tropes, of Dwarves exploring their gender, of Witches being conflicted with the maiden, mother and crone archetypes. Along with the transition from a Medieval society into the Industrial age, yet managed to play around with words and situations, and let’s be honest who didn’t smile when they read about the City of Quirm and realised how it’s pronounced?

The Discworld, was something special, even with its two prototypes, Strata and The Dark Side of the Sun. But let’s be honest, the early ones were bizarre.

For someone who had never read them in order, The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic and Equal Rights, were just weird, and I always wondered what the point of Eskarina Smith was. The first female Wizard on the Discworld, who disappears into the margins and never gets a mention for twenty-three years. A great character who never got the development she deserved.

She apparently has a son, if that was something that was going to be explored and sadly never had the chance to be, then it’s a shame.  But then again the first character was Rincewind, and everyone was better than him since he was too much of life’s bitch to identify with.

It was Mort, where I think the Discworld, fell into place, Death takes a holiday to explore humanity and leaves a human in his position without explaining the details. Then shows himself to be a massive hypocrite when the titular Mort screws it up. That’s the Discworld in a nutshell, trying to find order in organised chaos.

Favourite stories, however, have to be the Ankh Morpork City Watch, I read this article years ago where Pterry intended in Guards! Guards! for Captain Carrot to be the lead. Please, he’s the decoy protagonist, the moment Samuel Vimes walked on, that was pretty much it. I love Carrot as a character, but in comparison to Vimes, Carrot stood no chance.

Prince Valiant is standing opposite an alcoholic, jaded nihilist who loved and hates the city of Ankh Morpork and everyone in equal measures. Now that’s my type of character and the real audience surrogate. The fact that he ended the series the happiest henpecked husband, married to the wealthiest woman in the city, settled and a proud and contented father to young Sam. Perfect ending right there.

However, with the City Watch, Pterry wrote himself into a corner, because after these colourful fleshed out characters, you couldn’t have a story set in Ankh Morpork without them. Hence the only reason for Moist von Lipwig, the protagonist for the final line of the books, and I liked them aside from Making Money, even on the Disc banking is never interesting no matter where you are.

The reality of the embuggerance was that beautiful original brain would fade, and sadly his later books showed this.

No disrespect to Pterry and his situation, but that’s the way I feel. But then again, you can see the cut potential with the introduction of Mr Nutt in Unseen Academicals, which was meant to go somewhere, and where that is, we will never know.

The moment he pretty much stated what Nobby Nobbs was. I knew it was over, and the rest of the series was just him saying goodbye, which is the only reason for all the cameos appearing in Raising Steam, so each and every one of them could have their curtain call, as well as the Discworld, moving forward into modernity.

Incidentally my favourite part of Snuff is Vimes telling the Discworld equivalent of the Bennet sisters from Pride and Prejudice to get off their asses and get jobs (one of them already works in timber and is an embarrassment to the family) one of them is also Jane Austen (don’t ask), is worthy of a spin-off of its own.

I also hoped that one would be turned into a show, because translating a medium like the Discworld is difficult, but the output was a bit so-so. The Cosgrove Hall animations, excellent. The live actions on Sky, sort of miscast and not even impressive cameos by Pratchett could solve the issues.

David Jason may be a national treasure, but Albert perfect casting. Rincewind…what the hell were they thinking?

Like any fan, I met Pratchett. Waited hours in the queue in all weathers, I have several books, CD’s and video’s signed by him. And he was just marvellous, his events took hours because he spoke to every fan and treated everyone like an equal, and let’s face it. He was just phenomenal.

In its own unique way, Pratchett has been a part of my life for so long, in between and after University, I even joined The Purple Theatre Company in West London, which specialised in Pratchett Plays.

I was Perdita/Elf in Lords and Ladies, Mrs Enid/wounded soldier in Monstrous Regiment. A little bit of everything in Wyrd Sisters, including the guard that gives baby Tomjon to the Witches before dying on stage. And I loved it, something about immersing yourself in your favourite series can do wonders for your confidence.

Agnes aka Perdita in Lords and Ladies in 2002

After all of this, I’m just not ready to say goodbye to the Discworld, and even though the unfinished novels apparently nine of them were crushed by a steamroller last year. Because overkill is underrated according to the will of Terry Pratchett.

I admire the badassery, but can’t help think but “What if?”

What if Mr Nutt found the rest of his kind and what happened after that? Bloody civil war, or peaceful resolution?

What if Nobby and his girlfriend settled down and wanted to marry. But Goblins still struggle to be accepted, and a lot of people are not happy about it.

Or my two favourite stories which I always wanted to see, just to see what would happen.

Susan Sto Helit aka Susan Death, for whatever reason, joins the Assassins Guild and is very good at it. So good, that it gets the attention of Death, and due to it being against the rules, he has to stop her. But it means going up against her own grandfather and every bit of restraint, Susan has ever shown is gone. Ok, always harboured a desire for Susan to go wild.

Sybil and Young Sam get kidnapped, and (deep breath) His Grace, The Duke of Ankh, Commander Sir Samuel Vimes. Ambassador for Ankh-Morpork, as well as Blackboard Monitor, goes full-on mental. Using the Summoning Dark and everything and everyone at his disposal, he’s prepared to rip apart the foundation of the Disc and kick Death in the face if any harm comes to his family. All the while teetering on the edge of his alcoholism.

Stories that would be fantastic to see, but we never will.  But Terry Pratchett, the genius he was, invited us into this beautiful, confusing, conflicting world. And I just can’t let go.


So overall, it’s hard, it’s hard to let the Discworld go and say goodbye, but those last few pages of Raising Steam.

I’ll read them one day.

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Juliet Wrote Back

Juliet wrote back to me, very surreal that happened. I actually got the reply back in November but thought I’d save it for this day. Valentine’s Day, the Day of Love.

All I’ve done today is work, no that’s pretty much it for the romance in my life. But as I promised you the reply, well here it is, courtesy of the Juliet’s Sectaries in Verona, where I bet right now is full of loved-up couples and proposals.


Dear Jodie,

I was really glad to receive your letter and thank you for your faith in me. At first I want to congratulate you on your graduation with a Master in Creative Writing. This is a great success and differentiates you from other people. It shows that you are a sensitive and thoughtful person with fantasy and dreams and with the potential to successfully complete things. Not so many with such a talent are able to be targeted.

So I understand the more that you feel “trapped” in a way when you realize that things don`t come out the way you wish them to. It`s such a nice plan to go and live in Japan and that makes you special as well. At first I love to give you the advice that you should never forget how wonderful you are.

As a creative person you will know deep in your heart that it`s almost your own mind and the way you think about things or yourself that make you feel “trapped”. Of course there maybe restrictions but who if not you will find a “creative” way of going on the way you want to.

So the most important thing in life and love as well is – even if it sounds commonplace – to love and respect yourself. The others already respect and love you. Don`t let things from the outside stop your plans. The first thing you should do is to go forward and follow you inner “star”. After that and when you feel safe inside again, love will follow – I promise.

It seems that you are ready for a change or for departure, wherever it may lead you. And of course it scares you because it`s not clear yet where it will end. You always can start with little steps and accept the little obstacles.

Japan is not possible anymore? So ask yourself if there are alternatives. Maybe you can start and search a job or an employment which leads you closer to Japan and let you travel there for short times. Or organize some trips there – just to see what may happen and for inspiration. Without the aim of living there immediately. Or transfer your love of Japan in the place where you live. Maybe that`s a unique style which makes you be desired on the labour market.

Or go to another country which may fulfill your needs and where you will be the special one. Maybe there are already too many people with the same attitude as yours in Japan and it`s kind of destiny, that you should not go there right now?

And please don`t be afraid. You have already managed so many things. Trust yourself and go for it. If you think about living in Japan, you will be able to do things or travel for short times on your own as well. And love will find you at some place when you feel “home” with yourself.

I don`t know in which country you live, but I hope that this freedom is possible for you.


Dear Jodie, this is my advice and I keep my fingers crossed for a wonderful start in a new and exciting decade of yours with success and love.





Wow, I’m talented, really? Never thought of it like that!

Powerful words for little old me. The thing is though is that Juliet right, I need to change my thinking about Japan. Sage words, of trying to fulfil dreams. But she’s right about so much. I’m cynical about love the same way I’m pessimistic about Romeo and Juliet.

But she’s right. Juliet is right about me. A volunteer wrote me this beautiful, empathetic letter about love, how can I keep denying myself any of this. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but nothing as beautiful as detailed as this astonishing letter.

So to love, and changing my path.

This is going to be a fascinating year.

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My Letter to Juilet Capulet

Ok, because, last year I wrote about that I was writing a Letter to Juliet, the teenager from Romeo and Juliet, who committed suicide even though her death along with her husband Romeo, “buried their parent’s strife” and she got a golden statue out of it. So it wasn’t a pointless death.

Look, as much as I love Romeo and Juliet, both of them really were idiots wern’t they? Even if you see their deaths as a necessary sacrifice to stop the body count rising in Verona.

I’ve always been a cynic about Valentine’s Day anyway, even though I’m a sucker for romance. It just seems pointless and such a cliché.  Which doesn’t stop me checking out the Hallmark channel though?

Strange in hindsight that I wrote my Letter to Juliet seeking wisdom from a teenager who committed suicide over four hundred years ago and who never existed, to begin with.

Doing some research, there are so many who wrote to Juliet but even they only seem to post the reply online, few it seemed that have the guts to post their original letter. Why not?

Besides I was desperate enough to write to her in the first place, what have I got to hide?

I’m a geeky solo travelling Singleton with education, experience and no idea what I’m doing with my life.


Solo travelling to the German Alps

And at least I’m honest, but like hell do I want a pity party about it.

So beneath is my original unedited, unblemished heart on the line “Letter to Juliet” answered by one of the volunteers of the Juliet Club.


Dear Juliet

This is the moment I thought I’d have my life sorted out, just graduated with a Masters in Creative Writing and I’m trying to sort my life and love out, but now I feel trapped.

My dream was to work and live in Japan, but circumstances meant it’s now too late for me. More than qualified, but too old to get a visa!

By this point in my life, I should have seen the world and had more love in my life. I’ve only ever really loved one person, and it ended sadly. However, at the same time, it was gratifying that someone wanted me at all.

In my area, there is no one I feel I can connect with, and I am sick of being set up with someone because “We have so much in common”. Being a brunette is not really the basis of a lasting relationship, but it hasn’t stopped people from trying to do it.

For them, I’m a project that needs fixing, nothing more wonderful than your friends using you as a source of amusement since being in a relationship elevates you amidst the singletons of the world.

At times, love feels like a cult, “Come join us, so you can be as selfish as us”.

I spend half my life not wanting to be in a relationship because I’m too scared to be tied down, and the rest concerned that I will always be alone.

Circumstances stopped me from travelling the world, and now I feel trapped, between what I want and where I should be. I know I won’t find love where I am but have to remain where I am.

One of the reasons I was told not to come to Verona and write this in person, was because of my single status. I’m about to hit thirty-eight, and this cannot be my life.

So Juliet, do you have any advice to pursue my goals and to find love?


Love Jodie



And the reply, please this is such a cliché, it’s coming out on Valentine’s Day

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Portugal. The Man finally win a Grammy

I don’t usually pay that much attention to Award shows, but this grabbed me and I had to blog about it.

Portugal. The Man won for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance in the 2018 Grammy’s

Some group’s I remember listing to their music for the first time. “Linkin Park”, channel hopping and landed on Kerrang, “The Prodigy”, ever since “Charley Say’s” came out.

I love “Portugal. The Man” and I have for years, ever since 2011 because of Facebook. I was bored one night and randomly typed in my last name to see what else was out there.

Let’s face it, my last name is Portugal, pretty much an inevitability that it’s designed to stick out. A moment of smugness for I, have my name in a group, which you have to admit is more interesting than just a song.  In your face Eleanor, Caroline and Roxanne!

Stumbling on their music, the first video I ever saw was “People Say” was just a bonus. All I knew was that I liked this song, then found the rest on YouTube, and found PTM were performing in London soon.

Naturally, I told everyone about this group, but who I thought would like the music suddenly couldn’t come with me, because people are boring and it was in the mid-week. I even offered to treat them to tickets, and they still said “No”.

I had work the next day, and I still went to The Lexington in London, where I was faced with fans, loads of Americans and a lot who were pissed that the tickets were sold out. I did feel like a bit of a fraud because I was surrounded with fans who had been following them since their first album “Waiter: “You Vultures!””, and I had heard only about them a few weeks earlier.

But no one was judgy, and it was an excellent night. Hearing them live was amazing, and I remember loving their rapport with the fans. Also, lead singer John Gourley does have this ability to hit some serious high notes.


The Satanic Satanist and American Ghetto CD’s have gone missing. All on walkman, so it’s all good 

After this, I got most of their albums, apart from “The Majestic Majesty”, and loved most of their songs. If anyone cares, my favourite songs are, “People Say”, Purple Yellow Red and Blue” “Modern Jesus”. Actually, my two favourite albums are “Evil Friends” and “The Satanic Satanists”.

The issue is though, is liking a group that no one has ever heard of, and no one but me seems to care about.

Seriously, describing one of your favourite group’s, and received the blank look when you mention PTM, or the times I was in a club and asked for something of theirs (you learn not to be picky after a while) and just got back silence.

In fact, I was at a party on the day they won their Grammy and asked for them, and all I received was a look through the DJ’s playlist and a head shake.

People have asked me to describe their music to them, and all I could come up with was “It’s rock, with a bit of folk, psychedelic, and some indie and some….” Let’s face it, the only way to describe PTM is “Take every music genre in existence, put in a blender and throw in some awesome”

The fact of the matter is, in the UK, they’re not that well known, the only song ever to chart in the UK is “Feel it Still”, and that was at number 20.

Of course, I saw that iPad Pro advert with “Feel it Still”, and was impressed, though not impressed to buy the iPad, and Miley Cyrus prancing about on Jimmy Kimble, and then the song appeared in an episode of MacGyver.

Then the other week I was in a restaurant with Summer my twelve-year-old niece and it came over the airways, and she started to sing it.

As a fan of PTM, I am bloody thrilled that they were getting noticed because it’s taken so long for them. As a group, they’ve had the long struggle of performing, recording and being life’s bitch when their equipment was stolen from their van back in 2011 while they were at Lollapalooza. It was all recovered, so it’s all good.

If you had told me that the group I watched live back in 2011, would go on to win a Grammy, I would have hoped. In truth, their break out should have been “People Say”, but it’s not the destination, it’s the journey.

The thing I love most about the group is that they’re so normal, hailing from Alaska which every picture of the place shows snow, bears and the Northern Lights and now living in Portland, which is at least green.  Their own videos seem to pick up on the isolation of their origins, and the video for “Sleep Forever” is just beautiful.

Their respectful of the indigenous people in Alaska, in their own speech proves their never going to forget where there from and holding that Grammy will not change them one bit. In interview’s their always respectful and even gracious, and their just going to keep doing what they do.  John, Eric, Kyle, Zachary and Zoe and all the rest of PTM past and present are just regular people doing what they love, and we love them for it.

As a fan, I am thrilled their finally getting the recognition they deserve, and I really hope they come back to the UK soon, as this article informed me that this is one country they haven’t broken yet and perhaps the reason why.

However, it is still so funny that four years ago, when I was at the time recovering from my shattered and metal filled foot, and made my “Geek List”, while in agony and off my head on Tramadol. On the impossible part is number 2: Be in a music video for Portugal. The Man.

With now a Grammy under their belt, yeah that won’t happen, but a girl can dream.

I really hope that this Grammy can push them into the UK mainstream, they do have fans, just not as many as they deserve over here. But after fourteen years since the group was formed, congratulations guys, you deserve this so much.


This is the “Geek List” if anyone cares.



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Confessions of a Tsundoku

Tsundoku is the phrase for acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up in one’s home without reading them. Thank you, Wikipedia

I’m on a Book Ban, with a few exceptions however which I’ll get to at the end of this.

I am buying no more books in 2018. This is one of the hardest resolutions I could come up with, but it’s one that I have to do.

I have too many books, to the point that there taking over my room and my life. And it’s my own stupid fault.

Ever since I was a little girl, I’d always envisioned that one day I’d own one of those stately homes in the country. Where agrand library would be wall to wall books, to the point I’d need a stepladder to reach them all. And also go prancing about on the Moors like Catherine in Wuthering Heights though if I ever attempted that, I’d probably resemble Elfine Starkadder from Cold Comfort Farm!

Since a place in the country never happened, which is a good thing as I’d probably go mad from all the fresh air, so all I have is books, books and more books.

I’m a bibliophile, been one ever since I was a child formulating and reading my first ever words. One of the benefits of having Ty and Anna only a few years older than me, was that when they were learning to read, I was absorbing everything like a sponge so was reading independently from the age of five.

I managed to read everything in my house before my grandmother, who we had an antagonistic relationship at best did one great good thing for me.

She got me my first Library card at the age of six.

I hadn’t even read Matilda at this point, but that pretty much sums it up. In the end, I got out of going to do the weekly shop with mum by having her drop me off at the library, and pick me up afterwards. On the strict condition that I would stay in the children’s section and I just curled up on the floor and read, and read. I even hid some behind a shelf so I could continue where I left off.

Leaving your youngest at the library would be unheard of today, but it was the 1980’s. We had no internet and more freedom. Even now I still don’t find it strange that I’m on first name terms with most of the local librarians.

Have to admit it was a certain type of smugness when I was studying the same books as Anna at secondary school, and I had read them all years earlier. I was reading out of my age level early, thankfully Dr Triplett’s my primary school realised this and I was reading junior books while still in the infants.

Sadly, I was too advanced so they wouldn’t let me read Roger Red Hat also known as the One, Two, Three and Away Series. While everyone was reading the class books, I was sent to a separate area to get something else.

The Silver Sword, the Drina books (may they come back in print and soon), The Diary of Anne Frank, Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry. Everything read by the time I was ten.

No one was surprised that I did a BA in English Literature and then an MA to go along with that, but then it came to the issue that I love books, and I owned too many of them.

As I get most of them from charity shops, and car boot sales, let’s face it any place where you can spend a fiver and come home with twenty books, and who says “no” to that? And I haven’t and didn’t for years.


My to read pile, this is going to take a while.

I would never throw away a book, it’s bad karma and a waste of words, and it just feels wrong after an author has spent so long crafting this piece of work, and sent it forth into the world like a ship on the ocean. To then just be thrown away like a piece of rubbish.

Once I was talking to a lovely woman who told me she worked for a book pulping company.

Welcome to my idea of Hell.

To see books which didn’t sell or never had their chance being destroyed like that, I know I would “liberate them and distribute them to the masses”.

Last year I admitted I had a problem, and this year I am doing something about it. I haven’t bought a book for a month, and it’s strangely liberating. Mentally I’m shelving away authors to get in 2019 when I have gained space to accommodate some new ones.

I’m even avoiding the library until I finish reading some of my books. This is a strange concept giving that a wide berth. I love libraries and always have, it’s like an Aladdin’s Cave of Culture just waiting to be explored. They have been a source of inspiration and frustration, and I still have fond and not so fond memories of almost getting crushed in the stacks at University.  I even have thousands on my Kindle I still haven’t read, and perhaps never will.

Libraries are my happy place, if I ever got married, I want it to be in a library, just in case I get bored I can disappear with a book. I would too, and everyone knows that

This place, especially.

It’s the setting for Wayne Manor in all the Batman films, Burton and Nolen. My two loves coming together. Books and Batman!

Or Oxford University’s Bodleian Library, or even the one in Uxbridge.  Ok, the one in Uxbridge is pushing it!

I’m not ashamed that I’m a bibliophile, I’m just embarrassed that I let this grow out of control, I even learned a new word for it. “Tsundoku”, A word from my beloved Japan, meaning too many books which I have never read and that’s it.

To read a book you have to be in a particular mindset and mentality and sometimes that moment has passed so once book buying euphoria has worn off, I just think “I’ll read it later”, and I never do.


All stacked up and ready to go

To summarise this, recently I read a book about the Salvation Army in Japan, Hasegawa of Japan. An interesting novella which has the stamp from Winchester Salvation Army. A place where I haven’t been back to since 2004, so this has been in the to read stack for fourteen years. It had to stop, and everyone knows it.

Not buying books, mentally stopping myself is a challenge but it’s one I have to do. On some level, I’m ashamed that my book hoarding has got out of control, but I need to reclaim some space, and that means they have to go after I read them of course.

Exceptions to this rule, however, are in place.

Events where I’m meeting the author of said books, do not count. I’m meeting these people, getting advice from them. So I have to get their books signed too.

Book vouchers for Birthday and Christmas (pretty please), it’s in November. Hint, hint.

Book subscription boxes. I have got Illumicrate since the first ever box. It’s my quarterly present to myself, and I won’t give that up.

Books as gifts, because it’s bad manners to refuse a gift isn’t it?

Libraries do not count, if I see the latest book by one of my favourite authors on the shelf. All rules suspended, I’m getting it

So wish me luck…because this is going to be hell



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I went to Graduation

Because even though I worked my ass off, went through stress and sleepless nights. I never felt like I deserved it. Getting a Master’s Degree was like a hollow victory, to the point where I was reluctant to go to my Graduation.

Everyone I know was shocked when I told them this, told me I had to. I had earned the right to wear the mortarboard and gown and collect my award on stage.

Up until the final day to confirm I was dragging my heels about this. In the end, I relented and booked tickets, for my mum and my auntie Angela.

Then was this whole gripe about what to wear. Apparently, jeans and trainers are a no-no, and because this was going to cost me, I didn’t want to buy anything new, and couldn’t find anything new. I am terrible at buying clothes, and everyone knows it.

In the end, I just wore a tunic dress and smart trousers, and for once boots and no trainers. The tunic dress was designed for summer, so though smart, it was freezing on the day. I wore something similar for my BA Graduation, so at least I get some points for consistency. The only thing I did for myself was to get a manicure, in as close to Kingston blue as possible.

Getting to Kingston was a nightmare of a journey, over an hour and Kingston is pretty much made up of one-way traffic. We parked in the Rose Theatre car park, then ventured down to Surrey County Council, since we had been informed there was no on sight parking on the flyer the Uni provided at any of the venues.

I wish they would have stressed that there was disabled parking at these places. Which would have saved us some hassle, but there you go.

After my mum and aunt waited, while I went to get my gown for the ceremony and mortarboard, though I resented paying £51 for something I was going to wear for only a few hours. However tradition dictates, and let’s be honest even though they are not compulsory. Indeed quite a few of the students didn’t wear one, but it looks great in pictures, all academic and official.

The gowns were supplied by Ede & Ravenscroft, and I will give full respect, they were amazing. Thick, well stitched and being a Masters student, we were all wearing gowns with long Tudor sleeves, and the blue academic hood. It was so different; I was half tempted to run through the halls screaming “Traitor to the crown”.


Looking very Academic

Of course, because nothing is simple, and drama just clings to me. I booked mine for the wrong day, graduating on the 16th, booked it for the 17th. Making sure my measurements were correct really was a waste. However full props to them, they took one look at me, and got me the perfect gown, and even pinned my hair correctly, incidentally showing hairclips in graduation is a big faux pas. Who knew?

After this were the pictures, done by Tempest, and even though that you just showed up and there was ample time to get them down, due to the fact it was such a dull day, the best shots we got was in the natural light outside. They did do beautiful pictures, however, and we got some lovely images from them.

But then we all ventured back to The Rose Theatre, and this was the main problem of the day.

We were waiting too long to go in, and it was cold outside, and too warm inside which was making it unbearable. Now I was apprehensive about going to Graduation since I was the one who differed and it made me feel like a total stranger when I went back.

But there were several from 2016, who were doing two-year courses, my journey was a little bit more different and past handing in the dissertations everyone was more relaxed as if we were on the first day of term.

Even though our paths hadn’t crossed much, the fact they were there made me feel more relaxed, and we all laughed that it was finally over. There are so many things I won’t miss about University, but there are so many wonderful people I will miss. Going back while grieving, they were such a help and support and encouraged me to write about my feelings.

After we got the tickets and were finally seated, all rising for the Academic Procession and the opening of the ceremony by Professor Clarissa Wilks and the Dean, Simon Morgan Worthham.

They made it clear to us no matter our backgrounds or social, economic status, the world was ours, and we could do whatever we wanted with it. Full respect to both of them, they are both marvellous speakers.

Following this was Yvette Vanson, who had done so much good in the world. An actress, artist, a documentary filmmaker who protested real social change and was active when she was a student not to introduce Student Fees, which then were £300. There was massive applause from everyone when we learned this. Also, she went back to University as a Mature Student to do a BA in Social Science. Proving it’s never too late since I did the same in going back in my thirties, so it was really inspiring words to hear.

After that was the presentation, the walking to the stage in alphabetical order, to hand in our named card which was given to us at the start and hand to the Dean to read out.

What happened next proves I am one of the biggest idiots sometimes. With all of us graduates sitting together in heavy gowns in a stifling Rose Theatre, and I was placed in the middle of the aisle. Something I’m not used too since my surname’s generally in the lower end of the alphabetical bracket, and my foot was killing me.

When I had put down special attention for the disabled, of course, I never considered myself in this since metal footed is not a disability, but because of this I usually have to sit on an aisle to ensure when I get up, I don’t limp. Realising this, I had rushed over to my mum who was holding my handbag, with my painkillers. And in my haste to get back to the seat, I had left the slip with my mum!

If I ever thought having a Master’s Degree would give me wisdom, insight and prevent me from being a colossal screw-up, that idea was dashed at this moment.

So here’s mum waving my card in the air, and I rush from the line when we go outside to line up, then have to find my place in the queue, with my gown adjusted by some excellent support staff.

Suddenly I was walking on the stage, limping didn’t bother me, so I’m unsure if that happened, but at least I didn’t fall over. A name call and a quick handshake and congratulations, I was outside collecting my certificate, which incidentally contained all four of my names. Kudos, I really wasn’t expecting that, my BA didn’t after all.

At this point, the ceremony was halfway through, and I sat and waited for everyone’s else name to be read, and I fully respect that every name was pronounced correctly because that must have taken some studying.

After this was a short, very compelling speech by a guy called Sergey Lunev, and we rose and filed out not before congratulating our parents and loved ones for all their support. There was the option of staying for a glass of wine at a small reception at the Guildhall but as I said it was an hour to get home and it was cold and dark so I took the gown back and we just left. Slightly anticlimactic, but there you go.

I officially have a Master’s Degree, and have the certificate to prove it! If I had hoped that this would give me some direction in life. I’m still as clueless as for when I started, but I can’t help but compare this to Winchester.

In Winchester, the Graduation was so well organised. We parked, had lunch and my parents and grandmothers saw more of where I had been living for the past four years. I picked up the gown from the Guildhall and had the pictures taken at the same time, and it was a slow walk to Winchester Cathedral for the ceremony. My parents left me there because I was staying at a friends and it was my graduation ball, soon after.

Kingston was missing something, and that something was my dad. I know he would have bitched about the time of the ceremony and the date, and he would be right. Seriously who the hell schedules a graduation ceremony at five thirty in the evening in January?

Having to wait around for so long, I know he would have found a pub, and I know this because I would have joined him. He would have grumbled at having to wear a suit but done it anyway because he was an excellent dad who was proud of me.


I did treat myself to this thought. Isn’t she cute

When I got accepted into Kingston, I knew what was expected of me, but I knew who I expected to have at the very end. However, in-between this my dad passed away, and that’s what was missing at the ceremony. Well that and the Graduation Ball, let’s be honest here Kingston what is that about?

I know I should be grateful and my sisters pointed out that I still had people there who were and did support me, especially mum. Thanks by the way, but it doesn’t change how bittersweet the day was.

But still, here I am Jodie Portugal MA.

Here’s to the next step.


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I Love The Orville

The thing is about fandom, is that we’re never happy.

Rose loving Finn at the end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Back off Bitch, he’s getting with Poe, and everyone knows it.

Quantum Leap. “Doctor Sam Becket(t) never returned home.” I hate you.

Star Trek: Enterprise. “Computer, end programme”, Burn in Hell Braga. Though he’s the Executive Producer for The Orville. If Braga is atoning for past mistakes, we accept this apology.

Now being a Geek, and proud member of the nation, yes I love Star Trek. It was one of my entries into the world of Fandom. Deep Space Nine I loved, Enterprise I tolerated, and only watched out of a sense of loyalty since this was the last thing broadcast which was Star Trek related.

During the last decades of the Millennium, we were really spoiled for Star Trek, yet I still haven’t watched Star Trek: Discovery. I’m just waiting for a moment where I’m off work and can enjoy all of them in one go, something about it seems so bleak though, too gritty, too political. The Klingons aren’t meant to look like that, thanks, Michael Westmore!

However, I am addicted to The Orville, and this is the show I’ve been waiting for, for a really long time, created by Seth MacFarlane.

I’m not a fangirl for Seth MacFarlane, I appreciate his work, think the uncut A Million Ways to Die in the West is hysterical, I love both Ted films, love Family Guy and American Dad. But not The Cleveland Show, since Cleveland was never a strong enough character to even justify his own show.

I liked Seth’s cameos in Enterprise, and I loved Hellboy II: The Golden Army, but didn’t like Klaus, sorry Krauss. Nothing against him just hated the character.

I appreciate that anyone who can miss being killed on 9/11 courtesy of a mixed up booking and the fact he was piss drunk at the time, does give you free reign to say anything you want about it.

Like us Seth is a massive fan of everything geek related, and clearly doesn’t give two shits about the critics, and just does what he wants.

But now here’s The Orville, the show I’ve been waiting for, for years.

If Star Trek taught me anything, it’s that humanity will evolve past jealousy, aggression, money and look down their nose at anything that embraces these virtues, in a big way.

Though the fact that the Ferengi evolved past “Space Jews” into some excellent storylines is to do with the writing, and Armin Shimerman, making it clear that his religion isn’t a joke and shouldn’t be treated like one. Which was the only reason he went back and played the aliens again, and Quark in DS9 was excellent wasn’t he?

Overall the real moral I got from Star Trek is humanity is boring with no need to work, no culture, no hang-ups and everyone is just too uptight. Compared to The Orville where you can replicate tequila and pot brownies on a whim, and if the Holodeck really existed, you’ll be using it for sex and or violence. I’m still waiting for someone to go into the Holodeck, and say “Computer, Grand Theft Auto and a metal studded baseball bat”.

Let’s be honest, humanity doesn’t change, we’re territorial, aggressive and being in Space won’t change that. The fact that The Orville, also has an obsession with 20th-century pop culture, four hundred years in the future is a reference and a nice gesture to Star Trek.

The Orville is Star Trek, it’s the love letter to Star Trek that Discovery isn’t, it’s like The Next Generation for modern times but without the beige surfaces. It’s organised choas, it’s humanity being realistic, Klingons sorry Moclans being the proud warrior race, and also total hypocrites to boot.

Using tropes, which are familiar to us, Seth still manages to push the boundaries of humour, to give us the moral of the week, even if there at times no happy ending. However, it’s also just fun. It’s as if he recruited everyone he’s ever worked with and given them a chance just to take part in his very expensive fan film.

The Orville is his fan film, a ragtag bunch of misfits, with Seth as Captain Ed Mercer whose personal hero the Kermit the Frog. Ed is highly competent, yet, loves just to chill out and have fun, while managing to navigate his relationship with his ex-wife and the rest of the crew. Compare that to Captain Picard, the British (playing French, don’t ask) stiff upper lip, child hater.

Though Patrick Stewart, is going to have to cameo eventually and we all know it. The same way Michael Dorn has to as well, since several Star Trek Alumni are either, directing or starring in this show.

I love The Orville, it combines humour with seriousness, the cast are all perfect. Special mention to Peter Macon and Chad Coleman as Botus and Klyden, who amuse me, then break my heart. Sure they may be a single sex species, who mutilated their child for having the defect of being born a girl. But as an audience, I’m invested in their characters and marriage. Special mention also has to go to Scott Grimes as Mallory, since he’s a great actor who hasn’t aged since E.R.

Let’s face it, all the cast are stellar, and Seth chose them well.

Also what I love about the Orville in comparison to the Original Star Trek, is that Seth, is the creator of the show, the lead actor of the show and of course would have creative control, yet is not an attention whore about it (William Shatner, I’m looking at you).

Most of the episodes so far are about the rest of the cast, and apart from some great one-liners, he just sits back and lets everyone have their own moment and development. Only five episodes have aired so far in the UK, and all have been fantastic.

Admittedly The Orville doesn’t hit the mark every time, some jokes fall flat, some storylines could have used a bit of refinement. But Seth’s, always been a divisive figure, and this should be no different.

I also know that some people are pissed that it’s been renewed for a second series, when Firefly, another Fox show which was never appreciated until it was cancelled never had the chance. But every episode of that show was gold, and it didn’t have the chance to get lousy several seasons in. I still think Kaylee would have got with Jayne eventually, but that’s just me.

So give The Orville a chance, it’s a well-paced, well-directed show, which is serious, but doesn’t take itself too seriously, and kudos to Seth MacFarlane for making it

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