My last post was about the AKG K490NC headphones. I didn't buy them just because I wanted a new pair of headphones but because I had been accepted to the Global Active Programme, previously known as Learning School. I will not go to much in depth about what the actual programme was or what kind of work I did since it isn't really relevant for an audio blog. GAP meant that I would be travelling around the world for a year, and I couldn't bring my Denon headphones and my Koss Porta Pro aren't really suited for use in airplanes, buses and so on. So therefore I invested in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones.
My travels started in Scotland, where I visited Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen along with two of the people I would be travelling for the year. We then continued up to the Shetland Islands where we were based at a high school doing various kinds of voluntary work. Then during autumn break we headed off to Italy for a short holiday. We visited Rome, Florence and Venice. After that we flew to Germany where we visited a high school in a small town, not much bigger than where I grew up. In the middle of our stay in Germany I got invited to go on a trip to Japan and of course I could not resist that so I spent almost two weeks over in Asia. I came back for one last week in Germany before heading home to my old school for a month before Christmas break.
I did a few audio-related things during this part of the trip, beginning with visiting the Mareel arts & cinema center in Shetland Islands. It's a modern top-quality music venue that also has cinemas, recording studios, and so on. We were given a guided tour by one of the employees and he showed us around the studio, the radio-room, the projector-rooms in the cinemas, and so on. It was a really fascinating place and a really valuable resource for the people living on the islands. During my stay in Shetland I was also lucky to see The Revellers live (a local folk rock band, they're good!). In Italy it was much less informal. There I saw lots of street musicians and one night in Rome I ended up with some strangers rehearsing for a ukulele gig. A Swedish girl and an Italian guy playing ukulele and the singer was a Russian girl. Amazing people and amazing music led to a really good night. Germany, Japan and Sweden didn't include anything specific that I can think of.
The next part of the trip, the longer part, started on the 20th of January when I flew to America. Here we met up with a new member of the group. We had ten days of holidays before school started so we visited Philadelphia, Washington DC, and New York. It was very cold but nevertheless we had a good time. The school we visited in the US was about 45 minutes drive outside of New York and it was really interesting seeing bits of the American high school life with my own eyes. When our stay there was over we continued on towards New Zealand, with a one-day stopover in Los Angeles and two days in Fiji. In New Zealand we were in Christchurch most of the time working at an all boys high school and we also did a couple of trips to various places around the south island, including Fox Glacier. Our next stop was Canberra, the capitol of Australia. It wasn't quite what I had imagined Australia to be like but I still enjoyed it very much and the school we were at was really interesting. The last two weeks in Australia we had easter holidays so some of us spent part of the first week hiking in the Snowy Mountains and then for the remainder of the holidays we went to the south coast and then Sydney. Sydney was incredible, probably my favourite city on earth. There were great street musicians, we were even lucky enough to see Winterbourne, check them out!
As you probably know, the great Opera House is in Sydney. I had a brief look at the concerts that would be on during our stay in Sydney. There was one with Jeff Beck and another with Iron & Wine. I had no idea who either of them were, although I guess I should know who Jeff Beck is since he is kind of famous. Me and my friend went to the ticket office to see if there were any tickets left to either of the shows. There were only a few tickets left for Jeff Beck and it was the row in the very back of the chamber and it was quite pricey so we rejected it. However there were quite good tickets left for Iron & Wine so we decided to go with that. I think each ticket was about 80AUD, which isn't too bad for a concert in the Sydney Opera House. The concert was absolutely amazing, great music, great musicians and the sound and acoustics was mindblowing. I couldn't take any photos with my camera in there but I did film the last song of the concert with my phone, I could upload that to YouTube later on.
|Sydney Opera House|
Since I came home I have mostly been at home. A day or two every now and then working at the summer house and a couple of days visiting friends. Two weeks after I came home I got the results for my university applications. I don't know if I have mentioned it here on the blog before but my plan was to get a master of science degree in media technology at Luleå University in northern Sweden. Last year the programme got cancelled because of too few applicants. I decided I wanted to try to apply again but this year they had cancelled it before the applications started. I hadn't really thought of any other options. Of course there was the option of studying in Stockholm, but accommodation would be way too expensive there. I searched around a bit and found two other universities offering the same programme, one in Norrköping and one in Karlskrona. I decided to apply to Norrköping and at the very moment I'm sitting in my new room in Norrköping. I am sharing a three room apartment with two other guys and I just moved in today. I couldn't bring my big speakers or the subwoofers so right now I only have the Mar-Kel70 and my Denon headphones. There are not many options for speaker placement in my thirteen square meter room so I'll have to be happy with the only possible way, one meter apart and on top of a bookshelf. The bass is quite boomy but I'm planning on experimenting with the MiniDSP some day the EQ the worst peaks. The school starts on Tuesday with a two week long introduction course in mathematics. The first year will mostly be mathematics, physics and other "engineering" courses. First in my second and third year will I start with the more media-specific courses.