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Let’s get this over with. Cut to the chase, get to the good part, etc.

The basics: I am a soon-to-graduate Creative Writing undergraduate, studying in the whimsical old town of Winchester. At the moment I’m sitting at my computer listening to Flux FM, an alternative German radio station that I like to imagine will somehow imbue me with fluency. I try, sporadically, to learn a second language.

One of my favourite books is All Quiet on the Western Front (Im Westen nichts Neues), and it was this which had me attending my first German evening class, hosted in a local school during the winter evenings.

My teacher was a terrifyingly excitable old man who kept his fingernails unusually long. I used to watch his hands whilst he was talking. I wondered if it was a conscious decision, or if he had lost his clippers. About the class: I was far from a natural.

I have since tried Russian (because of War and Peace), Chinese (because I went to Beijing), and French (because I am thinking of studying in Paris).

So far I have got absolutely nowhere with any of them, but this is very much my own failing, and if we’re speaking of failings, I have a confession. That picture, with all the impressive books up there? That’s actually a very small portion of my ‘to-read’ pile. And when I say a small part, I mean it. Currently in my possession are ninety-eight books which I have yet to get to. I know, I have a problem.

If I’m being wholly honest, I have read Dracula, but the edition in the picture also contains The Lair of the White Worm, which I have tried to persevere with about five times. I suppose the trouble is that once you’ve read a good book, you expect the writer to have maintained the standard. Sadly, in this case, it doesn’t seem to be true.

Anyway. First post, finito. Until next time.

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