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  • Writer's pictureWill Sharland


This is often my internal reaction whenever I find out someone I know has a blog. I become overwhelmed with a sense of dread at the prospect of having to read it and then give unconvincing praise about whatever banal thing they have been up to. Who can honestly be arsed to read about the minutia of another persons life? Who is narcissistic enough to think anyone will care about their boring job, or the shit they took that morning, or how they survived in the desert for two weeks with nothing but a dildo blah blah blah boring! And on that note, one of my new years resolutions has been to start an active blog with posts every month to chronicle my life cosplaying as a struggling musician in Manchester. Like all blogs, my writing will contain a lot of pompous wank, a lot of self-aggrandisement, but it will also contains some laughs (mostly mine), tears (all mine), and hopefully something to be learned by you [enter your name here], about the life of Wilmslow Will (providing you have the patience to read through all of my pretentious musings).

So… let’s start from before the start of the start of this year (2023) to enable you dear reader to gain a little insight into I, myself and me. My name is William James Sharland the 1st and I am a twenty six year old wannabe composer. I started a masters in musical composition (a guaranteed cash-cow-course) at the Royal Northern College of Music in the hope of kickstarting my career as a freelance composer. At the time of writing (12/02/2023), I am roughly half way through my first year studying on this two year course. I have had a rollercoaster of feelings whilst studying at the RNCM to say the least. I have nearly dropped out several times due to intense self-doubt, but I have managed to plow through due to an even greater feeling that I am, for some delusional reason, a brilliant artist who is entitled to more than the hum-drum life of all those peasants who have to work for a wage! I of course am being facetious, though to be a successful artist / poser it is certainly helpful to have a sense of narcissism about you which most normal people are far too sane to have.

It has been an extremely peculiar experience coming back to university after four years of working, being unemployed, travelling, and Covid. I can honestly say that I did not feel like a fully formed human being until I was around the age of twenty two and I can see why that’s the case after coming back into the insular world of academia. Looking back at myself whilst I was an undergraduate, I remind myself of the description given to Clevinger in Catch-22, I was ‘one of those people with lots of intelligence and no brains’. I made a fairly conscious decision in the interim period between my undergrad and this masters to try and work in the ‘real world’ by doing some fairly gruelling jobs which would hopefully give me some insight into the real human experience… or at least that was the romanticised ideal. I ended up working in nearly a dozen low paid jobs with a lot of people who were significantly less fortunate than me, something that has made me far more aware of how much of a bubble I have grown up in and currently inhabit. My most recent job, for instance, involved temping at the homeless charity Centrepoint in Manchester. In my six weeks there, I was routinely exposed to some of the most dark, depraved and depressing situations that not even Mike Leigh could imagine. Going from doing this type of work to one week later being a student again and being on the 143 bus heading down Wilmslow Road and hearing all of the Uni of Manchester NPC’s saying ‘Ya, I got totally FOCKED this weekend. Ya I know. Jonno did SOOO much ket and Oliver finally got with Olivia…’. It has been an adjustment switching from working life back to university to say the least.

The first term of university was mostly good though I felt (and still feel) a huge sense of imposter syndrome at RNCM. Having not been very musically active the last four years, I felt quite rusty and despondent, particularly at the start of the masters. I have had two tutors (one who resembles an older but nicer Ignatius Reilly, the other who I found to be too snooty and snobby for even the likes of me and who I had replaced with someone much more grounded) who have challenged me enough to feel simultaneously a lot more confident but also a lot more insecure about my abilities. I have been surrounded by many people whilst at RNCM who are lovely, relatable and gifted, but many feel like a completely different breed of human to me. Perhaps when I was doing my undergrad I would have felt less like this but some of the students and faculty at RNCM are particularly interesting specimens, many of them have been Grade Eight instrumentalists from the age of eight weeks old and I feel like something of a blockhead in comparison for routinely forgetting the most basic terminology. Re-entering academia I realised that I was stupid in many of the places I used to be smart, but smart in many of the places I used to be stupid. None of my jobs in my four year break from academia were particularly intellectually engaging but they taught me more about life and people than seventeen years of education had. In any case, I feel far more adjusted to being a student again now that I am well into my second term of first year. I have felt optimistic about 2023 and I hope through this blog you will all be able to see how things pan out for old Wilmslow Will. Stay tuned dear reader, updates will be coming monthly!

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