The Dissertation Diary – Preemptive Stress

So this week has marked the beginning of something many people live with every day. The commute. I have traveled each day via train from the Home Counties commuter belt into London for work. Admittedly my travel over the past week has been incredibly” easy with no problems and a satisfactory experience. However it has brought to light the question that no one particularly wants to have answered. What the hell am I going to do once this is all over.

The obvious answer is to be a writer. Therefore it is also the most pointless. I could spend a lifetime trying to become a writer, but I could also spend just as long trying to recover from what I have written. For example, J.K Rowling will forever be tainted with “this isn’t as good as Potter” reviews. It’s best not to think of these things and just let them happen.

The question that seems more pertinent is: What kind of writing do I want to do and how can I make a living from it? Somehow I have become a journalist. I wrote a blog once on video game music I like, that led to writing reviews and opinion, that led to sports punditry which has led to submitting articles for the London Evening Standard and The Guardian. This is all in the space of two years. When I started this mad quest for further education and dream following, I had had the grand idea of writing for TV. I still have that idea, but so much has happened in the past 2 years, to me and in general, for me to really know what I want to do.

This problem translates itself to my writing and to the story. How do I write it? What kind of voice will tell the story? Is the story funny, sad, endearing or just plain dull? What perspective should I write from? In essence my entire confusion on life, my insecurities and my eternal question of “What do I do?” is copied into my work. It is shown by the text and the way the characters behave, speak and how I fill the gaps in between. One thing is certain, both me and the story have an ending pictured. It’s just trying to get there that’s the trouble. If Stephen King was reading this right now, he’d probably tell me to get on with it and don’t be afraid of the beast you produce, just let it flow. So I will.

Since writing this, I got a train home… Drunk. Of all my commuting experience, that is by far the worst. Naughty alcohol.


Word count: 10

Reading: Bright Lights, Big City – Jay McInerney

The Dissertation Diary – It Begins

Good day to you internet world. I hope this post finds you well.

So this morning I got this grand idea – partly to keep me sane and partly to practice my craft – to create a diary for my final year at university, centred around my final project. Most commonly known as the ‘dissertation,’ I’ve decided to do mine as creative writing rather than a research based piece. Yes, I can hear you all screaming “easy option” at me. It’s not an easy option, as I’m sure the next years’ worth of these posts will serve to prove. So, inspired by this book I’m reading right now about creating such a weblog (Just a Geek – Wil Wheaton) , let me begin THE DISSERTATION DIARY.

Of course this wouldn’t be indicative of myself without something fairly stupid happening. Naturally, it happened immediately. The Dissertation Diary rolls off the tongue thanks to its alliteration. However, it doesn’t suit my fast paced iOS6 based existence. So I decided to privately shorten the name for my own reference to the Double D. That’s right, no more than thirty seconds into this blogs’ theoretical existence, I had reduced it to a breast based pun. Similarly I also realised as this would be updated fairly regularly, it could become home to my intrinsic pessimistic nature. For example, some life advice: When the Oyster card machine says “Next time, why don’t you top up online?” – Don’t. What seems like a grand painless idea is nothing but 30 minutes of website based agony for you to find that the payment won’t go on to your Oyster until after 24 hours so you arrive at the station expecting to be topped up, aren’t, and have to manually top up anyway, costing you more money… You know, those kinds of things.

Which is what led me to conceive the project idea I’m doing. It has come to my attention that my stories suffer from one flaw. They are all fairly melancholic. Something bad happens, has happened, is going to happen, or twists to happen. It’s part of the curse of creative writing courses I suppose that, whilst learning to do new things, expand your craft and work out what you’re good at, you terminally end up at some kind of vitally depressing moment. It wasn’t until I wrote up a stand-up routine recently that I realised I can shift this part of my work into my naturally endearing self-deprecating stage persona. For once, I actually know what I’m doing with a story, or at least where it will end up.

Writing is a horribly depressing deep dark hole where you start typing with seemingly no real guidance as to where you’re heading. It’s an amazing adventure, coupled with complete and total despair leaving in its wake a plethora of half baked ideas, cast-aside moments and many bottles of whatever world/craft beer I’m preferring to our pathetically mass produced shit this week. (At the moment, Samuel Adams and Jeremiah Weed Root Brew). So it’s amazing that for once, I have not only the idea, but the end as well! I have the exact moment in my head for where this story will finish. All I need to do is guide my three characters on their journey (literal and metaphorical) to that point. Whilst at the same time showing progress, criticism, editing nuance and a distanced relationship with my baby. Coupled with doing the rest of the university work I have to do, forging a career and constantly reading. Which reminds me I need to thank Stephen King for his advice. Apparently having a book in your bag all the time is the subject of ridicule among my friends. Who knew?

So, that’s it. I’ll end this post as I hope to end every post in the Double D. With a word count for the story and what I’m currently reading. For this entry, I’ll also show you what I’ve read over the summer that’s helped me to nurture this germ of an idea.



Word Count: 0

Reading: Just a Geek – Wil Wheaton

Summer reads: The Hunger Games/Catching Fire/Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins; On Writing – Stephen King; Black Dogs – Ian McEwan; The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald; Ready Player One -Ernest Cline; A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking; Watching Baseball Smarter – Zack Hample; A Catcher In The Rye – J.D. Salinger.

Twitter #cleaveropinion – Premier League Week 4

Back after the international break (or as I call it a football entertainment nap) the Premier League is in full swing. And as my predictive powers are in full fail mode over at, I’m sure this will be fairly obvious punditry. Or Alan Shearer in 140 or less characters.

ARS 6 – 1 SOT. No luck for Saints. But much better play from Gunners. Finding some confidence and more importantly, goals. #cleaveropinion

MNU 4 – 0 WIG. Sloppy Wigan suitably punished. Hernandez’s runs perfect. Good Buttner debut. Soft penalty though. #cleaveropinion

Side note: This must be Man U’s Capital One Cup/Early round FA Cup team. Looked good. #cleaveropinion

FUL 3 – 0 WBA. Definite red card. More like Odemwingie was trying to punt the guy. Baggies leaving too much room for Berba. #cleaveropinion

AVL 2 – 0 SWA.Villa looked something else. Much promise and great goals. Hoping Swansea don’t suffer an away form slump. #cleaveropinion

STO 1 – 1 MCY. Crouch showing his best accidental prowess. Garcia with an easy header. But great Begovic/Shawcross save #cleaveropinion

Side note: I can’t decide what Balotelli would do if he wasn’t a footballer. MMA Fighter? Body builder? Royal Bodyguard? #cleaveropinion

SUN 1 – 1 LIV. L’pool had the run of the game really but lacking the goals/will to score. Sunderland, good squad but wins? #cleaveropinion

Side note: I mean that I can’t see the, winning games, despite their squad. Talent on paper, yes but in games, not sure. #cleaveropinion

QPR 0 – 0 CHE. Handshake gets headlines but Cesar the real story. Great debut. Chelsea good start goes on, keep Hazard fit. #cleaveropinion

Side note: QPR!!! CESAR??? Seriously? How do they afford this? Also, their shirt numbers are ridiculous. Who decides this? #cleaveropinion

NOR 0 – 0 WHU. Vaz Te was pretty good. Norwich couldn’t score despite trying hard. Mad jaaskelainen saves though. #cleaveropinion

REA 1 – 3 TOT. Spurs deserved win really. Great goals from Defoe, good to see him on form. Not too sure on Spurs away kit. #cleaveropinion

EVE 2 – 2 NEW. What a game. Bad ref decisions, goals, emotion & some great passes & play from both. Classic football match. #cleaveropinion

Final Note: On a week where football was secondary to justice and apologies were made, the truth has proved the 96 will never walk alone.


Want more? Read my history of Liverpool’s poor January Transfer record or catch up with the previous weeks below:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

The Highs and Lows of Liverpool’s January Transfer History

Liverpool are no strangers to January transfers and in their current situation they’ll save enough money in goal bonuses to spend during the New Year window. Such names as Scott Carson, Muricio Pellegrino and Jan Kromkamp have come via January transfers. Even God himself, Robbie Fowler, came back at the end of the window in 2006. But Liverpool has had some great signings and bad signings during this window and as we enter the “striker-less” era at Liverpool, this doesn’t bode well for buying. Here are some of the high, and lowlights of Liverpool’s history during January:

The Highs

Daniel Agger – With the exception of Jamie Carragher, he is Liverpool’s longest serving defender. Although he has been blighted by injury during the early stage of his Liverpool career his dedication to the club has cemented him in folklore. Liverpool remembers great defenders. Which is why they still love Riise. But Agger moved from Brøndby for a mere £6m in January 2006 and hasn’t looked back. Much like Riise, he destructive left foot as rattled a few nets.

Martin Škrtel – A year later, in a deal worth £6.5million, Liverpool acquired “The Terminator’s” services from Zenit Saint Petersburg. Again there was injury worries during the first couple of seasons. But since then, Škrtel has been a fixture in the Liverpool side. What he has brought is goals, unexpectedly. A force in the box for set pieces, his head always makes me check his odds for first goal scorer. All in all, the two defenders are two of the shrewdest buys Benietz made at the club. How many clubs can boast that they only paid £12m for two world-class centre backs? Not many.

Maxi Rodriguez – Liverpool seemed to like raiding Athletico Madrid in the last decade and Maxi was seen and used as a great back up player in a squad continually blighted by injury. As a winger he scored 15 goals in 57 competitive games, but that doesn’t show his movement and work rate when he was on the pitch. The best thing about this was that he was a free transfer. He perfectly filled a hole, like January transfers should. All in all it was good business.

The Lows

Fernando Morientes – The year Liverpool won the Champions League, their strike force consisted mainly of Steven Gerrard. Actually it was Milan Baros, but the fact that you only remember the goals Gerrard scored shows how much Baros contributed. So Morientes was brought in to shore up a league campaign (as he was cup-tied). Problem, at 28 after a great spell at Real Madrid, his form dropped. Dramatically. 12 goals in 61 appearances over a year and a half. Brought for €9.3million and sold for £3m. A loss, for everyone – fan, player and club alike. To see Morientes struggle in a team that should have been prefect for him was hard but like others before and after him, it just wasn’t right.

Andy Carroll – What do I need to say about a last minute £35m “oh no we just sold our star striker what do we do” purchase? Is Carroll’s failure to deliver due to lack of games? Is it due to injury? Is it due to the fact that Liverpool have yet again tried to shoehorn a good player into an unsure and failing tactical system? (I point to Robbie Keane as testament to this). Who knows? But 8 months into his career as a record signing, Carroll is on loan, injured and has scored only 6 goals. I think everyone can agree that this will only end bad financially for Liverpool. So far then, bad buy.

The Middle

Some of you are probably wondering why I’ve omitted Luis Suarez. Well, he is worth his weight in footballing gold when it comes to creating chances, ghosting defenders and getting goals. No one has ever denied that. But Suarez came with more than £22.6m worth of football. He came with baggage. Much popularised even before Liverpool brought him and then heavily in the spotlight for racism last year with a hefty ban. The problem is that we are unable to tell if he is more trouble than he’s worth yet. Generally he’s despised by almost everyone in England except Liverpool (as the booing at the Olympics showed). If he can deliver this season in a squad light on finishing quality, then he’ll be a high. If he doesn’t and gets frustrated, he could be a rather large headache for Liverpool’s now overworked PR department.

So when January approaches and Liverpool dip their toes in the cold winter market pool (they’re already looking), what can we expect to see? The money is not there for Rodgers. That much is certain. Also their Europa League results will determine if being cup-tied is an obstacle or not for potential buys or loan moves. One thing is for sure; Liverpool will be gagging for goals and will be taken advantage of for their desperation.

Twitter #cleaveropinion – Premier League W/C 1/9/12

Another week gone by and my Liverpool side are looking flatter in football than Holland does geographically. See what I thought of the rest of the games and keep up with me on twitter: @cleaverslips.

SWA 2 – 2 SUN. Good game, Fletcher with a good goal & uncharacteristic lapse for the second from Swans. Right result here. #cleaveropinion

Side Note: Sunderland look to have brought well, Chico needed to go. But gutted for Taylor. An unlucky injury. #cleaveropinion

WBA 2 – 0 EVE. Great attacking game from 2 in form teams. Nice goals Howard couldn’t do much about. Fellani didn’t turn up.#cleaveropinion
Side Note: Agree with Redknapp on Clarke. Looks to be brining the best out of his team and it’s good to see. #cleaveropinion

WHU 3 – 0 FUL. Carroll centre of everything, hope not injured as this was a West Ham side possessed. Nolan – class finish.#cleaveropinion

MCY 3 – 1 QPR. Result never in question, but commanding game for City. Nice for QPR to get a goal though. Fear for them.#cleaveropinion

Side Note: I still don’t understand QPR’s transfers. They need defence. Big players, high wages, typical rich club syndrome.#cleaveropinion

TOT 1 – 1 NOR. Friedel still great. Heard a. Lot about uncreative Spurs yesterday, have to agree. Harsh red card maybe.#cleaveropinion

WIG 2 – 2 STO. 2 easily avoidable pens. But Wigan can counter attack well. Great Al-Habsi save though. Wigan will survive.#cleaveropinion

Side Note: Pulis at one point lifted his baseball cap to comb his hair back with his hand. HE DOESN’T HAVE ANY HAIR!!! #cleaveropinion

LIV 0 – 2 ARS. Woeful Liverpool. No goal scorer will ruin their season. Giroud should have buried his chance though.#cleaveropinion

STON 2 – 3 MNU. Harsh on Saints. Deserved the point. Lambert great, RVP slightly better… Slightly. Still a bit ropey, MU.#cleaveropinion

Side Note: I’ve never seen a penalty where the striker thinks they’ve already sent the GK the wrong way before they kick it.#cleaveropinion

NEW 1 – 1 AST. To follow.