Darragh McGrath's 'A Review in Progress'.

Now that we’re well into the new semester, the wide-eyed excitement of returning to university after the long summer, seeing friends again and getting back to your course should have dissolved into the daily routine of college life.

 

Not that there’s anything wrong with having some structure back in your week. Personally I felt relieved to once again have a timetable in my pocket, places to go and things to do (As Sherlock Holmes said in The Sign of Four: “Give me problems, give me work…I abhor the dull routine of existence and crave for mental exaltation”…or a couple of interesting lectures each week and some chats with friends, either would be fine!)

 

I don’t mind admitting that while many people use their months of freedom for travel, or working or volunteering or just generally contributing to society I spent the summer of 2016 being as lazy as possible and catching up on all the wonderful gems of geekiness that the world of entertainment has to offer.

 

From binge-watching Daredevil on Netflix to catching up on Game of Thrones to finally getting around to seeing various new shows that my friends have been harping on about, it was in my humble opinion a summer well spent. This is without even mentioning the several blockbuster movies released this year as part of what I affectionately dubbed ‘2016: The Superhero Summer’; Civil War, X-men Apocalypse, Suicide Squad, to name but a few titles, comic book fans certainly couldn’t complain about a short supply of movies to satisfy the caped cravings.

 

On the subject of books; summer is also a period that allows the bookworms in us to break away from deep academic texts and once again enjoy the lifelong passion found between the pages purely for pleasure. I had a stack of ‘Must reads’ at the beginning of the holidays (I won’t say how many I actually got through). Most noteworthy of all was the release of the script for the long awaited 8th Harry Potter story The Cursed Child in hardback form, with the stage show itself now open on London’s West End. (There’s no time to go into my personal opinions on the story but if I wanted to give an in-depth critique all I would have to do is copy and paste the text from the Facebook messenger discussions I had with some of my fellow “Potterheads”).

 

Right now you’re probably asking why I called a piece that reads more like a particularly articulate 12 year old’s “How I spent my summer vacation” report, a “review”. Truth be told I wanted to write a simple critique of some new book, film or series for this publication and had plenty in mind (never be without something on your playlist dear readers!) Unfortunately my course syllabus had other plans and I quickly found my evenings taken up with required reading. Knowing that falling behind on reading in Single honours English can be costly I immediately turned my Netflix n’ Chill into Literature n’ …Less chill.

I imagined that the average reader probably wouldn’t be interested in my opinions of a 200 year old depressing Realist novel or a gory Shakespearean play and was thus left at a loss for something to write about.

 

I could have revisited one of the many titles I had spent the majority of the summer enjoying but I like to review with the film or book fresh in my mind, plus many of the aforementioned titles are quite dated at this point (remember it was a summer spent catching up on things I had missed out on because I was just as busy last year!).

 

I also find myself thinking about how today our ‘Fandoms’ are an important part of our culture and in a way even a central part of who we are. No longer is being nerdy an insult and when you come to university, openly expressing your obsession with movies, books or TV series can actually help you in the daunting task of making new friends (with many of our societies here at UCC born from those passions). I consider myself lucky that the degree I am studying for is an extension of my life-long love of literature and so am adamant that keeping on top of coursework will not completely interfere with my enjoyment of my pastimes.

 

In short while it is important that you read what you have to read, don’t forget about what you want to read or watch (Don’t forget to be a fan!).

 

They constantly tell us that college-life balance is the key to success and with that in mind I am resolved that in the coming weeks I will once again have pages of popular culture phenomena to write about. For now this is a review in progress.