Thursday, October 27, 2005

Coventry University

Originally posted AOL Hometown: InfinityReversed.
05 October, 2005, 20:36:51 BST.


Once again I find myself apologising for the recent lack of entries - although I'm not sure why, as it's not as if anyone ever reads this stuff! However, I am conscious about how this makes me appear, and it is about time I explained my intentions here. Or rather, actually established some.

The title might give you a clue, I suppose. There is a little bit of a theme through the previous scribblings, which is to say I tend to write quite a lot a about cars and such like. Since I got my degree in 2002 I've found myself struggling to really figure out what it was I wanted to do with my life. And the thing is that I got a good degree - I may as well point this out, but please promise not to think I'm smug: I have a first, with the second highest average in the twenty-five-odd year history of the course at the university I attended - but at the end of it no-one particularly seemed to want to employ me. This was my fault, I guess, as I wasn't particularly interested in anything I was applying for. I could make up loads of excuses at this point, but the real problem was that secretly I had an ambition - unfortunately I didn't really consider it to be a very realistic one, leaving me in half-hearted pursuit of a more sensible solution. What I've always wanted to do is write. And even less realistically, it seemed to me, what I've always really wanted to do for a career is write for a car magazine. Hmmm, not much competition there, then.

To cut the story short - not that it's particularly long, rather that it isn't very interesting - I finished my degree, applied to do a PhD, didn't get the funding I needed (oh, the desperate, desperate difference between the humanities, and say, science-based post-graduate research, where there is loads of money and little interest...), and wound-up working a dead-end job for a retail chain that is seemingly determined to mis-manage itself into receivership.

However, working a dead-end job does have its advantages. For one thing, you end up realising that virtually anything else would be better than what you actually are doing - up to, and including, making an attempt upon an impossible dream, even if that means failure in the end. Trying and failing is better than not trying at all. And other such clichés. So two years ago when a sparse column inch in Evo magazine's news section appeared in reference to a new single year MA programme at Coventry University entitled Automotive Journalism, my eyebrows shot up, and I thought to myself, well, maybe that’s for me….

Ok, so I was a little more enthusiastic than that.

In fact, it sounded like the ideal solution. Usually I would be extremely sceptical of any kind of "specialised" degree course, particularly when it's dealing with such a competitive area. But this is Coventry University we're talking about here, with its famous School of Art and Design - within which this MA finds its home - perhaps best known for its Automotive Design programme. So it follows that they have pretty reasonable links to the automotive industry, especially when Coventry itself is the home to such car manufacturers as Jaguar and the now defunct Singer. Quite how well this would reflect on the Auto Journalism MA I hadn't appreciated until I received my induction pack about a week and a half before the beginning of the course, and discovered that one of the first meetings we had was going to be with Steve Cropley, editor-in-chief of Autocar Magazine.

In fact, it wasn't just Steve Cropley. There was also a chap called Peter Burgess, Chairman of the Guild of Motoring Writers. If the university was keen to make a good impression, they certainly succeeded. More than that, it turns out that Mr Cropley was the driving force behind the MA's inception - and while it's first year probably only a qualified success, I think the twelve of us that have made the commitment for the second could really be in for an interesting ride.

Anyways, getting to the point. What I intend to do here is put out a regular blog that will in some way be related to this fickle world of automotive entertainment that I am attempting to crack. Emphasis on the word regular. The idea is that I’ll put something up every week, most likely on a Sunday or Monday. I’ll see how this goes, and adjust it according to whether that’s too much or too little in the context of the coursework I’ll also have to complete. The aim is also to impose a word limit – but again this is subject to figuring out what a sensible one of those actually is. (I’m currently in the process of writing a couple of entries so I’ll soon have an answer to that one.)

So, I’ll see you on Sunday, then.




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