Sunday, 30 March 2014

Lewis Hamilton, Divergent and Rock n’ Roll Music

by Tim Bustin


I’m going to be perfectly honest here: this was written at the last minute. Upon spectacularly failing three very important tests yesterday, I rather forgot I had to write a Portsmouth Point article due in now. Failing to find anything I knew enough to write a whole article on, I instead thought of the first three things that sprang to mind and decided to write about them.
 
Today is the Malaysian Grand Prix, I have just finished reading the Divergent series (and the film soon comes out) and, also today, I will be living my not-so-secret double life as a wild rock drummer. So here it is: three things which will probably, overall, cover everyone’s interests.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton
(source: Wiki Commons)
Somewhere in the depths of my laptop lurks a wildly unfinished F1 article I started writing last year. It talks about (or would have) the greatest change in Formula One rules in a generation: out are the iconic, noisy V8 engines, and in are the quiet V6s; adjustments have been made to the front and back wing lengths; new weight restrictions are in place and only 100kg of fuel is allowed in the car at the start; KERS has become ERS, and all other manner of devilishly technical changes have been made, most of which the average non-engineering man or woman doesn’t understand. The upshot is, in what is a highly competitive, constantly adapting sport, all of the teams have had extra, and much more complicated, challenges to deal in this year’s winter testing than ever before in recent history.

That’s where Lewis Hamilton comes in. Putting aside how you may feel about him personally (although I’m sure most of you will agree that’s he’s usually the coolest driver on the track) he is undeniably a fantastic driver, proving this by almost winning the championship in his debut season, and then succeeding again in his second. Since then he’s finished fourth or fifth overall, and arguably this is because he has not had the fastest car, sometimes by a long way (see my article here).
 
Two years ago, he made a controversial move from McLaren to Mercedes. Initially, people wondered if he had made the right choice, but last year Mercedes shone whilst McLaren had their worst year in decades. But the real reason Hamilton moved was because of this year’s rules changes; when he visited the Mercedes garage, two years ago, and saw the work they doing to meet this year’s rules changes, he was so impressed that he decided to leave the team he had been with his whole career.

And it was the right choice. Because this year Red Bull are the ones chasing the spinning wheels of the Mercedes. In Australia, the opening race of the season, Hamilton qualified on pole (though retired later due to engine failure) and his team mate Nico Rosberg won the race by about 25 seconds over Red Bull driver Daniel Riccardo (who was later disqualified). And for this weekend’s Grand Prix, Hamilton again is pole, with Rosberg third behind him. So, though this article will be published before today's result, I predict that Lewis Hamilton will win this year’s F1 world championship. And, if it’s not him, it will be his team mate, Rosberg.

 Divergent

Some of you may be surprised (and probably more of you not) that the type of books I most enjoy are those such as Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, The Power of Five, Alex Rider etc. (but if any universities come asking holding copies of personal statement then, shh, it’s Michael Crichton’s techno-thrillers). A person who shall go unnamed (although their identity will easily be deduced from the following quote from her) badgered me for months to read Divergent, saying “OH MY GOD DIVERGENT, IT’S THE BEST THING EVER, I CRIED SO MUCH AT THE END, ISN’T IT THE BEST THING EVER, OH MY GOD!”. Months of shouting passed, and I decided it would be better to read the damn book than suffer death by fandom.  

So this is a sort of review of the book series, and a look at the upcoming film (released on the 4th April). I’ll try not to do spoilers and this will be my honest opinion of the series. The book is set in a futuristic society, where, in what is possibly the last city on Earth (due to wars), people are divided into five factions, depending on whether they are mostly selfless, honest, brave, intelligent or kind. However, there are those in the city who don’t fully fit into just one faction: these are the Divergent. The first person narrative is by Tris, a 16 year old who describes herself as rather plain looking, small and barely noticeable in a crowd. She makes a choice to leave behind her faction of the selfless, Abnegation, and join instead Dauntless, for the brave, and often reckless. She is Divergent, and deep down she is not only the selfless girl but the fearless, determined and brave fighter. As you may have guessed, if you have seen the trailer, the book later evolves into a much more sinister plot. It’s an interesting read because of the concept, but there’s also the excitement and plot twists/reveals.
 
Now for the criticism.
Some of the names of the characters are stupid. It’s hard to keep track of who’s male and who's female. To make matters worse, the secondary main character is called Four. Yep. Carrying on from that, Four (who is male in case you were wondering) is the love interest for Tris. This leads to her irritating teenage thoughts filling up too many of the pages: “I feel the ghost of where his hand was” “Something about him make me feel like I’m about to fall. Or turn to liquid. Or burst into flames”. Oo la la! It’s sort of like how the love triangle tainted The Hunger Games. Also there are plot contradictions later on in the series, and some of the characters are quite 2-Dimensional."
 Anyway, besides this, it is a good book. The trailer for the film makes it look very cool indeed, even if Kate Winslet is playing the main baddy. I would recommend watching the trailer if you haven’t already. I would also recommend not bothering with the sequels (ingeniously named Insurgent and Allegiant) if you didn’t find the first book really enjoyable (n.b.Allegiant is a major, I repeat major, let down; although you will cry if you read it, and it does explain some of the questions that will have been nagging you since the start of the series).

 

Rock n’ Roll

We have reached the part of the article you were all waiting for. Isn’t that just marvellous? So, unless you’re not friends with me on Facebook, you’ve probably all heard my band, Olympus, is finally kicking off (you can listen to our single, "Killing Love" by clicking on the link below, or you can find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Olympus-Band/52801005064504). 

We’ve been playing for about 6 months now (if you include the time when there were only two of us) and we’ve finally got our music online, and are hopefully getting ready for our first gig pretty soon. And what have I learnt, playing drums in what is soon to be the world’s greatest rock band (?): that playing rock music is even more epic than listening to it.

It’s hard to explain if you’ve never done it before. We have all (I hope) listened to bands like The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones etc. (or maybe something more modern, whatever your taste) – maybe some of us have been to festivals, or locals pubs, just anywhere you can hear a band live. The closer you are to the music, the more alive you feel, and the greater its effect upon you. And actually creating that music yourself, forging powerful chords and funky beats to sculpt epic tunes of infinite mastery, is the closest you can come to the music.

So, a piece of advice to everyone: play in a band. It doesn’t matter in what capacity, what genre of music (though preferably rock) but pick up whichever instrument you play, or learn one if necessary, and make music with your mates. Music, as a shared experience, is so much greater than a solitary one and, speaking from experience, it is one of the few things that allows you to forget all your problems, whether those be upcoming GCSE/A levels, annoying people trying to ruin your day, love, loss, anxiety, depression, deadlines or dead ends. Make music, and you will be happy.


 
 
 
Listen to Olympus' single, Killing Love here.

 

2 comments:

  1. Vettel > Hamilton

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The bet's still on, Neil.

      Tim Bustin

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