Sunday, 25 October 2009

Presenting a paper at a history seminar...

Hi, just a quick note to say that I'm presenting a paper about some of the research for my PHD on Tuesday evening from 5pm in the poetry centre, Samuel Alexander building. If any Manchester uni post-grad students are reading this and fancy coming along then it'd be great to see you.

Rach xx

Saturday, 24 October 2009

University Challenge 2009-2010 - Making the Manchester team

I know that everyone who knows me is probably bored to death of University Challenge talk by now, but since we recorded our first round match in June and it was broadcast on July 13th and our second round match isn’t being shown till Monday 21st December I’m afraid you’ll all have to put up with this a bit longer!

Anyway, it’s been such an exciting (and slightly surreal) experience that I thought I should maybe document it for posterity.

So, here’s the story of how I ended up on the team and how we prepared for our first match, the next exciting instalment will describe what happened when we faced London’s Royal Veterinary College in our round 1 match, Hope the excitement doesn’t get too much!

To begin with, I love quizzes and useless trivia, I will watch pretty much any tv quiz and am a pub quiz regular, team Cherryade (Grant ‘Handsome Devil’ Curnow, Anna Smith, Adam Cherryade Wiseman and I, attend the Fuel CafĂ© quiz (probably the best quiz and quiz master in Manchester!) every Tuesday evening with varying degrees of success! I got into the habit of watching University Challenge as a kid because my dad was always a big fan and we used to watch it together and see who could get most questions right.

When I heard that my uni (Manchester) were holding auditions for the UC team for the 2009-2010 series, I knew I had to go along and give it a go, both because it’s the ultimate quiz and because I knew my dad would be absolutely delighted if I ended up on the team.

So, I went along to the first stage of the selection process, which involved answering 100 questions in a written test with the top 12 scorers returning later the same day for a round of buzzer questions. I should explain that the Manchester selection process is run by Stephen who has been putting the Manchester team together (with great success) for some years now. He collated the scores of the buzzer game and put together a team based on the top scores and on the subject areas covered and invited the top5 back to become the 2009-2010 team and reserve, and, to my amazement, I was invited to join the team along with fellow team mates Tom Whyman, Nick Daunt, our captain Jakob Whitfield and our reserve Jonathan Davy, a truly excellent team and me, ah well…

Once we’d been chosen to be on the team we had the opportunity to play a few practise matches against contestants from previous Manchester teams which was amazingly helpful on getting used to answering quickly and taking risks by buzzing early, plus to get the chance to practise against such distinguished quiz experts, including the unstoppable Henry from last year’s UC Manchester team and, more recently, along with our coach Stephen as part of a formidable team on TV’s most difficult quiz, Only Connect.

The four of us didn’t really know each other before being on the team, though it turned out to be something of a miracle that Tom and I had never met properly as we’re both quite involved in the local music scene and thus know loads of the same people. Anyway, I think we gelled pretty quickly as a team, we soon learned about each other’s quiz strengths and weaknesses, for example, not to ask me anything about science, maths or classical music but to bow to my superior knowledge of Agatha Christie or anything really trivial, essentially, my specialist subject was the kind of questions that Jeremy Paxman sneers at when he has to ask them! Still, somebody has to know that stuff! Oh, and I quite like word games, but not opera, definitely not opera!

To be honest, I really didn’t have time to get nervous about filming our first round match beforehand. I was very absorbed in a chapter of my PHD which was proving very exciting (though also time-consuming) and as soon as that was done we hopped in the Cherryademobile and went off for a blissful week on a Cherryade tour with two of the very best bands in the whole world, The Lovely Eggs
and Hotpants Romance
(I’ll write something about this tour one day) from which we only returned a few days before filming.

Find out what happened when we met The Royal Veterinary College in round 1 in the next exciting instalment…

Rach Cherryade xxxxx

Monday, 19 October 2009

Please would you help me with my PHD research?

Hi again!

I'm currently studying for a PHD in English and American studies at Manchester University. It's about the cultural and social impact of being involved in the making, promoting, distributing or consuming of DIY music. If you're involved, or have been involved, in any way then I would really really love to hear from you about your opinions and experiences. If you'd like to help me out then please e-mail:
and I'll send you more details. The research is approved by the university ethics committee.

Rach Cherryade xxxxxx


Hi there, welcome to the new Cherryade blog, a place where you can, as the name would suggest, find out all the news from Cherryade Towers, don't get too excited!

This blog is likely to include the following:
News about Cherryade releases and what Cherryade bands are up to

Other music I love

Stuff about my PHD (which is about DIY music in the UK and America)

Discussions of TV programmes I love

Descriptions of our beautiful flat, Cherryade Towers, and the assorted knick knacks that live in it.

Dandelion Radio stuff

Posts about my experiences of being on the Manchester University Challenge team 2009-2010

Lots of BBC7 appreciation.

The countdown to Christmas, and lots of general Christmas love.

Description of nights and days out, gigs, club nights, festivals, museums, galleries, etc.

The occasional rant.

A bit of feminism.

A lot of tweeness.

Quiz stuff.

Agatha Christie fandom.

And so much more (well, not much more really!)

Hope you enjoy it!

Rach x
Christmas countdown: only 66 days to go, today's advent calendar picture, a boot with a mouse peeping out of it!