Monday, 12 March 2012

Hopes, Aspirations, Dreams, Plans

Boots Library, Goldsmith Street, Nottingham
Yesterday, the warm air hit you as soon as you opened the front door. As usual I was dressed for winter, but the warmth wouldn't last would it, so I didn't change. What a mistake.

Layers started to come off as soon as I left the tram at the Premier Inn, opposite the Boots Library in Goldsmith Street. That meant carrying a jumper and heavy top coat - will I never learn? The Premier Inn also houses a Costa coffee house, and I sat outside with my cappuccino watching part of the student world go by.

What will this generation of students achieve, or what will they be allowed to achieve? When I was watching those go in and out of the library; others having coffee with friends, and still others in groups large and small making their way into town, I wondered what hopes, aspirations, dreams, plans they had. I hoped that they had some, rather than just waiting to see what happens. These would be part of the next generation of scientists, educationalists, politicians, lawyers and whatever was their chosen field, and while university is also a time to enjoy yourself (or so I'm told), it is also the time to prepare for the future. No pressure there then.

How embarrassing
In making my way to the Arboretum to finish my coffee, I found scores of students (I overheard some conversations) who obviously preferred a sunny afternoon in the park, rather than an air conditioned library.

If I had the body for it I would have sun-bathed myself, but I don't so I didn't. I'm always afraid that some concerned citizen will ring up the authorities and say that somehow a whale has beached in central Nottingham.

You almost needed a ticket system to find a park bench, but I eventually found a free one overlooking the Chinese Bell Tower; it was worth the wait for its comedic value. There was a mixed group of about a dozen students sprawled over the tower having their lunch. Some of the lads were stripped to the waist showing off their six-packs, and obviously trying to get the female attention. They were like peacocks without the plumage. The funny thing is that the girls were paying more attention to what was on their mobiles, than anything that the lads got up to. With damage done to the male pride, some of the lads seemed to admit defeat, and did what many of us have done when we've been rejected, they had a game of football.

As an old man I was beginning to find all of this very humorous, but then I remembered that there's nothing new in this. Men have always postured to get the attention of others; always used their bodies as part of the mating rituals. I remembered that I was a bit of a poser myself in my youth, as the embarrassing photograph above of me shows. Girls were driven wild by my slim and cool exterior (Oops! Apologies, I've slipped into dreamland again; just like those on the Bell Tower cannons, I was more ignored than acknowledged).

The students were certainly having fun, and that's part of life. I also hope that they have dreams and plans, and that those come to fruition, not only for their benefit, but for the country also.

While still on the subject of students, I went into town today, and while walking down Bridlesmith Walk, I noticed a photographic exhibition by second year students from Nottingham Trent University, so I went in to have a look. Bridlesmith Walk is not exactly the mecca for "foot fall", but the exhibition had taken over an empty shop.

I was interested because a couple of weeks ago I was sitting in the town centre (yes, I know I do a lot of that), when a young lady came up to me and said she was a photography student who was taking photos of people in town, and would I mind if she took mine. I should have asked, "Why me"?, but I didn't, so I just said yes. I don't think that it was my physique that impressed her; I just hope that she doesn't put a caption like "Lonely old man on a city bench". But I wasn't in the exhibition.

I love photographs, and the student exhibition was very good. My eldest son is keen on photography, and you can see some of his latest pictures of London here. That's worth a pint by anyone's standards.  Good photography for me seems to be all about the eye; good equipment yes, but it's the eye that sees the image you want to capture. The NTU students had this, and the exhibition showed it.

Hopes, Aspirations, Dreams, Plans - what will the future bring?

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