06/02/2017

Here we go... That dreaded first post!

Man, it's been a long time since I last blogged... Around 4 years, to be exact! Anyhow, let's start afresh.

So, you may ask: who am I? I'm a 22-year-old recent graduate who is presently reading a Masters at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. My undergraduate degree was undertaken at the University of Birmingham - with an unforgettable Erasmus year at the Facultat de Dret of the Universitat de Barcelona - in Political Science and Hispanic Studies.

I'm passionate about lots of things; above all, I'm intrigued by specialty coffee, football, languages, and, last but not least, politics.

When it comes to specialty coffee, this was an obsession of mine that developed in my freshman year at Birmingham... Four years ago, I walked into SixEightKafe, asking for a black coffee and ending up ordering an Aeropress; that was my "eureka" moment there and then, and Starbucks' coffee never passed through my lips again.

It's been an adventure that's allowed me to brew beans from many different roasteries and a plethora of origins.

My preferred brew method, on balance, is probably the Kalita Wave, although I do enjoy a v60 with washed coffees and the Aeropress is, slowly but surely, working its way back into my life after a long absence. I'm already planning to review my top coffeehouses here in Barcelona, as well as write about coffee from different roasteries and origins around the world.

When it comes to football, I'm a Manchester City supporter - to avoid accusations of glory-hunting, I have been a season ticket holder at the Etihad since 2003 -, but I do also enjoy just watching the beautiful game.

I've been known to back Hull City (where my dad's from), Derby County (the team of Mum's hometown too), and my local club, Tranmere Rovers, when they are not playing against the boys in sky-blue (that said, I doubt Tranmere will be facing City anytime soon).

I've recently started doing podcasts for the World Football Index about La Liga and the Premier League, so you should check those out if you're a football fan or you just want to hear what I sound like (warning: my voice will probably send you to sleep). Hopefully, I'll be able to share my thoughts on City and football in general with you guys. 

I'm trilingual: my mother tongue is English - in which I have a fairly middle-of-the-road accent, despite attending a Merseyside comprehensive for five years -, although I'm also fluent in Catalan and Spanish/Castillian. In terms of my preferred language, I'm in love with Catalan... I could speak it all day and frequently do. Expect posts on my learning of the language of Dalí and Gaudí and how people increasingly seem to think I'm a native speaker or French.

Finally, I'm something of a political anorak: I mentioned earlier on that my academic life focuses on political science and this is something that I really enjoy getting engaged with as well. I'm a Labour Party member, although I'm no Corbynite: I backed Burnham and Owen Smith (yes, I did almost write Owen Jones there). Politically, I think Corbyn has been good at shaking things up in the Party, but I fear that his poor communications strategy will ultimately not lead his message being successful in attracting working-class voters in post-industrial areas back to the party. Anyway, let's leave that for another day. My research interests focus on far-left parties and nationalism in stateless nations and you can find my dissertation on the Candidatura d'Unitat Popular in the Catalan Countries here.

It seems that I always miss out the most obvious thing that people notice when they meet me... No, not my ugly mug!

I'm a wheelchair user, due to the fact that I have a condition called dyskinetic cerebral palsy that affects my movement and balance. It was caused shortly after my extremely premature birth at 25 weeks when I weighed 1lb 14oz - as my grandmother always says, I looked like a skinned rabbit. I'm thinking about writing posts on what it was like growing up with a bloody obvious disability, higher education as a disabled student, and comparing public transport in the UK and Barcelona, so watch this space.

I'm a digital native and some might describe me as a social media guru. I've got a number of clients, including the digital news publication, EA WorldView, and trendy West London specialty coffee shop, Amoret Coffee. If you're interested in expanding your personal, brand, business' social media profile, don't hesitate to get in touch with me for advice and support.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post: here's hoping it'll be the first of many! Meanwhile, follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

Adéu-siau,



The Master Elf