My favourite hidden gems in Rome (Yes, I am that cultured)

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Chances are, this is what you think of when you hear the word “Rome” uttered in conversation.

When people book a holiday to Rome, 9 times out of 10 they will tell you they’ll be staying in a hotel in the city centre and will be seeing sites such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. All whilst drowning in their own sweat with the mistaken belief that a break to the mainstream centre of Rome is romantic and cultured. How wrong these fraggles are.

I’m about to tell you of a few places in and around Rome which are off the beaten track, rich in culture and aesthetically beautiful. Those of you planning a romantic proposal, going on a make-or-break holiday or looking to impress your girlfriend, you might want to bookmark this page or make a few notes on this post because a trip to these places will leave any woman wet at the knees.

First of all, anyone that has spent a long time in the city knows that a visit to St. Peter’s Square and the Vatican will leave you frustrated with all the crowds and half blind from all the camera flashes in the Sistine Chapel.  You will be pleased to know, however, that there is a way (and a better way it must be said) of viewing and admiring the Vatican from afar. Just South of the city centre, near the Ponte Sublicio on the Tiber, there is a place called Piazza Dei Cavalieri di Malta which snugly sits on the Aventine Hill. When you arrive here, you will be met by an large, old and unassuming doorway. Take a look through the keyhole and the sight is a great view of St. Peter’s lined with the Piazza’s foliage (this view is particularly inspiring at night).

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Perfect Alignment: If I was a religious man I’d put this keyhole view down to the work of some sort of deity

As Impressive as the keyhole of this door is, the wonders of this site do not end here, oh no, my friend. Just a stone’s throw around the corner is the so-called “Secret Garden” of the Villa del Priorato di Malta. In simple terms, this is a picturesque grove dating back to the 18th century which even includes a stone balcony over-looking the city. Also, it must be said that some of the trees here grow a white flower which smells of oranges, if you tell your girlfriend/significant other prior to your arrival and then offer her one of these flowers, she will be bowled over by your  Attenborough-esque knowledge, trust me.

If you move even further South of the city centre and swing towards the coast, you will find yourself in the town of Ostia Antica. To put it as simply as possible, this town has been around the block many a time. This town is so steeped in history it makes Ryan Giggs look like a rosy-cheeked, fresh-faced infant. Every major era of Italian history marks this piece of land. A Roman theatre and market square survive, the medieval Castle of Giulio II and Church of Saint Aurea still stand proudly. There are even bullet holes from World War II lodged in some of the walls.

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Tucked away and peaceful: Castel di Giulio II is a world away from the hustle and bustle of Central Rome

I want to draw your attention to Castel di Giulio II, Chiesa di Sant’Aurea and their immediate surroundings. Having left the fierce pace of modern life, coming to this place will feel like you’ve gone back to a more simpler time and the hands on your watch will magically seem to slow down to a much more leisurely pace. This is mainly because the church dates back to approximately 1483 and the castle, a few years earlier. The houses in the immediate vicinity are around the same age as well. Now that’s old school.

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Chiesa di Sant’Aurea: contained in a courtyard about 100 yards and a few hundred years away from modern civilisation

The church itself is enclosed in a courtyard as historic as everything else, almost like a time vacuum. At night, the whole pocket of land is particularly impressive and you can pretty vividly imagine the battle(s) that would have raged here in World War II.

Finally, I was never lucky enough or had enough time to do this, but there are two restaurants right here (Ristorante Cipriani and Ristorante Monumento to be exact) which, to be perfectly honest, are where I’d take a potential wife or a serious girlfriend if females weren’t so repulsed by my so many bear and ape-like characteristics. The food here is, for starters (no pun intended), reasonably-priced. Moreover, the cuisine here is so authentically Roman that it makes Ragu and Dolmio look and (I imagine) taste like paint that you’d purchase from the B&Q mixing desk.

So there you go, that’s all I have to say on this matter other than, when she says yes, you can thank me in the comments section

 

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MEGA BURGER!!! (said in German accent)

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Anyone who’s had to deal with the plight of a bad hangover will tell you how much better they felt  after eating some carb and fat rich food such as a bacon sarny, a full English breakfast or even a portion of fish and chips if you feel like pushing the boat out. How much of this is a placebo effect is up for debate, however you can’t deny the symptomatic relief that these aforementioned foods offer.

Those who have basic knowledge of the social patterns followed by myself and my housemates at university will know that Friday student night at Pure is a fast-growing tradition where alcohol is consumed in vast quantities and where students congregate in order relieve the stress at the end of another week of work.

Needless to say, this wonderful night has also resulted in many a hangover on a Saturday  and yesterday proved no different. Inspired by the horse meat scandal, we decided to cure these hangovers by going to Lidl, buying burgers, buns, cheese and bacon in bulk and gorging on the product that was created after cooking them. This product goes by the name of none other than MEGA BURGER!!!!!!!

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MEGA BURGER!!! proved nothing but a resounding success in curing our hangovers, proving teamwork makes your dream work and starting a new house tradition.

What MEGA BURGER!!! involved was 3 students cooking 9 burgers, 9 rashers of bacon, a load of mushrooms & onions and cutting open 9 bread rolls. As you can guess, this resulted in 3 burgers each. The process of preparing and cooking these magnificent burgers can only be described as a slick and well-oiled military operation which resulted in the most satisfying and tasty meal that Portsmouth Student Ghetto has ever experienced.

To sum up the events that transpired, I shall say that what we learned is that new traditions are constantly being invented (and MEGA BURGER!!! is a fucking brilliant new tradition) also, the skill and team work we displayed in collectively creating MEGA BURGER!!! just goes to show that the Blitz Spirit is still alive in this country.

What is cheating & is it ever alright?

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The concept of “cheating” is a much more complicated issue than first meets the eye. The vast majority of people, if not all people, would condemn cheating and would be quick to scorn those caught in doing so. However, pretty much everyone has cheated in the past in some way, shape or form. But, what exactly constitutes cheating and can it ever be justified?

Imagine you’re in this situation: it’s exam time during your last year at university and you have only one exam left to sit, you have a brilliant job lined up for after you graduate but it all rides on the fact you have to get a first to secure it. Seeing as you’ve put the work in consistently during your years at uni, the score you have to obtain isn’t outrageously high, for argument’s sake let’s say you have to score at least 68% to get that first. Whichever way you look at it, your performance in this exam will either see you win a fantastic start in a coveted position in your chosen career field along with optimal career prospects or you’ll be left at the bottom of the pile after graduation (i.e. You’ll probably end up on a year-long job hunt just to secure a job which isn’t even half as good as the one you had lined up).

A few days before the exam the answers to the paper you’re about to sit fall into your possession through no endeavour of your own. Maybe your lecturer dropped them in the hallway, you picked them up but couldn’t give them back to him/her because he/she didn’t hear you call his/her name such was the rush he/she was in. Whatever happened for you to gain access to these answers, in theory you have plenty of time to learn these answers word-for-word, number-for-number, sit the exam, look spectacular in the process and gain that all-important first with marks to spare.

In addition, all you have to do is exercise a bit of common sense (such as destroy those answers as soon as you get home from that exam and keep your mouth shut) and you WILL get away with it.

You think to yourself, “I didn’t steal these answers, I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m technically still revising if I learn these answers by rote, it’s not as if I’m sneaking cheat sheets or notes typed onto my phone into the exam. I’m just making sure I get a good start in my career during times when I can’t afford to be in a financially awkward situation.” Is this cheating? Is this justifiable? And, more importantly, would you do it if you were in that situation?

OK, so what exactly is cheating? Well, there are generally two camps that any example of cheating can fall into (quite often they’ll fall into both).

The first definition is: to act in a dishonest and/or deceitful manner in order to attain an advantage or some sort of self-gain.

The second definition is: to enhance your performance by using methods to gain an advantage inaccessible to others (in other words, an unfair advantage).

Now we get to the issue of Lance Armstrong. Was Armstrong’s use of Performance-enhancing drugs a dishonest/deceitful way of obtaining an advantage or self-gain? Absolutely. But, did his use of PED’s give him and his team an unfair advantage which noone else could have had access to? Considering the number of cyclists who have been caught doping, almost certainly not.

So, Lance Armstrong’s doping in all those Tours de France only actually falls into one camp of the definition of cheating. So what exactly is it that makes what he did so bad? After all, there are so many other cyclists who have been disgraced in similar circumstances yet they have not faced the same media firestorm.

The answer to that is simple, it’s what your mum and dad told you all through your childhood, “it’s not the fact that you did it, it’s the fact that you lied about it”. This phrase is bandied about so often but it is so so true. People are so angry at the fact that Armstrong lied and lied repeatedly on the record about his doping and destroyed the careers of those who tried to blow the whistle on him. In this way, you could say the cheating isn’t the bad part of Armstrong’s story seeing as he faces criminal charges for lying under oath and not the doping itself.

To try to decipher that hypothetical situation above, would memorising those answers be using an unfair advantage inaccessible to others? You can’t reasonably deny the fact that it is. But, would it be using dishonesty/deception for the purpose of self-gain? That question’s a bit more difficult to answer.

The reason that that question is so hard to answer definitively is because some will see it as dishonesty/deception and some won’t (really depends on whether they’d give into that temptation or not).

Those who say it would not be a dishonest and deceitful thing to do are displaying a phenomenon which psychologists call cognitive dissonance. This is essentially where human beings will always justify their behaviour when a small part of them feels it is wrong on some level just to disspell that slight twinge of guilt (e.g “I know smoking’s bad for me but I do it because I have a stressful life”).

So, is cheating ever alright?

It’s like diving in football. No it’s not alright, it’s a coward’s tactic but it happens, even those high up in the world do it and more often than not it’s those who are bad at it that get caught.

Juliet was jailbait and Romeo was a raging paedo

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and as is tradition, the closer the day gets, the more excited the couples become and the girls who are spoken for are getting increasingly restless with anticipation. And it makes me sick and nauseous to my very core. In this post, I shall deal with 3 issues:

1. Why Romeo was in actual fact a raging paedophile and not some sort of romantic demi-god that moronic women traditionally use as a template for an “ideal partner” (that concept doesn’t exist in reality, but that’s another story).

2. The reasons why Valentine’s Day is (for want of a better word) stupid.

3. The fact that pretty much every girl is nothing more than a self-serving malingerer who acts like a petulant 4 year old.

In 1593 (give or take a few years), William Shakespeare, history’s most overrated and overly-hyped playwright (seriously, that prick wrote an unprecedented number of clichéd plays and sonnets, stole an outrageous number of plots from other writers and was essentially just a propagandist for the Tudors) wrote a play called Romeo and Juliet. Not only has this play caused a sensational amount of frustration for GCSE English pupils, it also glorifies paedophiles if you read between the lines.

Allow me to elaborate, it is thought that a young man like Romeo would have been approximately 18 years old. Apparently, a young woman (and we’re talking pretty young here) like Juliet would have been around 14 years old. Could you imagine going for a 14 year old when you were 18? Well, neither can I.

Unfortunately for those who possess a concept of common decency, this is only just where the fuckery begins. You see, in Act 1 Scene 2 or 3 or even 4 (somewhere near the beginning), Romeo is being a pathetic virgin by mourning his break up with some former girlfriend (I forget her name) and he’s pretty much on the verge of suicide (man up, crying over the lost affection with a female human is for the weak). Not only is he the abnormally obsessive kind, he’s also really into girls who are way too young for him and he kills Juliet’s cousin later on in the play, the symptoms of a sociopathic paedophile. Jimmy Savile was therefore far from the first paedophile to be involved in the entertainment business. Thus, Shakespeare was a pathetic excuse for a playwright. This blog is more original than that man’s plays. In addition, the fact that “Shakespeare Day” is a real entity and coincides with St. George’s Day cuts me up inside.

Moving onto the second issue, the fundamental reason why Valentine’s Day is stupid is because we don’t get the day off for it. I get a day off for Christmas, Good Friday, Easter and the odd Jubilee and national bank holiday. All of these days just mentioned at the very very least give me a day off and often live up to their respective hypes. But does Valentine’s Day do that? Fuck no. This cretinous day was dropped from the Liturgical calender in 1969 because priests couldn’t stand stand this so-called “St. Valentine” a mediocre priest at best getting a day of the year dedicated to himself.

When I tell you about this Valentine character, you’ll see how this vile excuse for a holiday has absolutely zero foundations, tradition or culture backing it up (it’s like Tulisa if you think about it, she claims to have “urban roots” when in fact all that happened was that she was in a band, made a few songs with a slight bass line whilst wearing a slightly more upmarket tracksuit).

There were two St. Valentine’s during the 3rd century AD, a time when the Roman Empire was persecuting Christians: Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Intermna, a priest and a bishop respectively, minimal information is known about both of these men (therefore it repulses me that they merit their titles). However, their martyrdom in the year 270 AD (c.) is commemorated on February 14th. A common tale is that Valentine was a priest and married Christians in cognito due to the fact Roman marriage practices did not suit the new Christian movement. If this is the case it is a cheap excuse to found Valentine’s day on as this type of defiance has been practiced many a time throughout history (by the FLN during the Franco-Algerian War and by the Jewish Bielski partisans who fled Nazi persecution to name a couple). Therefore, Valentine’s Day is just a stoopid corporate hijack of a day for people blinded by ignorance and historical inaccuracy. Fraggles!

My final (and arguably most subjective) point is that all girls are nothing self-serving malingerers who behave like petulant 4 year olds. I reinforce this statement with the fact that all you need to do is pop into Liquid on a thursday to see that about 80% of a girl’s actions are mere attempts to satisfy their animalistic instincts. Also, why wear a painful high heeled shoe to “look good” and then complain about the foot pain? Do you see me slitting my wrists and then bemoaning the fact my clothes are getting covered in blood?

Finally, if you disagree with me and think I’m just being a cynical prick, I shall tell you this one simple and undeniable truth: any woman would leave you in the blink of an eye if another man offered them a certain amount of money, that amount is just different for different women. Real talk.

 

 

Origins of the word “bus”

Chances are, if you have never spent more than 10 minutes around Matt Lawrence and his mates at university, the word “bus” will signify a large vehicle used to transport a large number of passengers to a common destination, hence a noun. However, those lucky enough to come across the illustrious and aforementioned Matt will know that “bus” is actually an adjective used to describe someone who is aesthetically ugly.

This word cannot be dismissed as just a “slang” word that grannies will sneer at and turn their noses up at. Oh no. This word has mixed origins. First of all, some [more narrow minded] scholars believe this word to be just a mere abbreviation of the colloquial term “butters”. However, the word “bus” has a slightly richer meaning than that plebeian term. “Bus” more often than not will be used to describe someone who is not only aesthetically displeasing but also someone who “rates” their own looks. Hence, an ugly arrogant person.

In this way, a simple abbreviation of “butters” does not do justice the term “bus”, no sir. The real origin of the term dates back approximately 2000 years to the Romans, “bus” derives from the original latin term “superbus” which translates as “arrogant”, encapsulating the concept of “bus” in a much better way.

In short, to use the term “bus” is to demonstrate that you are nothing but an extremely cultured man who descends from the great lineage of the Kings of Rome. Lawyered.

I started a blog

Reasons I started this blog: 1.My housemates said I should start one. 2. I liked that idea and decided to do it because what else am I gonna do as a student?

Don’t expect any emotional shit in here about my “feelings” (I put that in inverted commas because studies suggest feelings are just chemical reactions in the brain catered for by the corporate world. For example, can you think of any occasion for which a clinton card has not been manufactured? Spooky shit right there).

But do expect me to write about mundane stuff that happens to me, such as why I want to own a Harley and live amongst the mountain apes of Africa.

And if you ever laugh during one of my blogs, well then, I’m happy for you.

I can’t wait to get started with this shit cos apparently it’s practically being your own therapist and some of the psychology’s leading experts have yet to even DIAGNOSE me, let alone CURE me. If about ten posts from now you have the time on your hands to read through and find out what mental illness I have, then you’re more than welcome to comment and give me some drugs for it.