When I wrote my last post I was only a few days away from setting out  across the Atlantic for a long month in San Diego. Now I’m preparing myself for the journey in the other direction. Is STFU a necessary precursor to intercontinental travel?

Traveling is a major theme in my life right now. After two days of door slamming, passive-aggressive body language  and the subsequent gestures of apologetic tea-making, Mama Burns and I finally negotiated the ridiculously convoluted world of airline ticket purchases. I’ll spend the next few months polishing off the rest of my degree in Bristol, before flying to Singapore for three weeks of medical shadowing. Then it’s on to Melbourne for a road trip with friends I haven’t seen outside of a Skype window for nearly three years, and finally back to California where I’ll be beginning my pre-med in San Francisco.


I’d spent the first few days in California convincing myself that I didn’t want to study medicine in the US, that all my friends were in the UK, that Britain’s National Health Service was far superior to the strange amalgamation of insurance companies, HMOs and half-functioning government programs of America. I had already been rejected from a program on the East Coast, I had had such trouble getting my documents from Singapore and Texas and Bristol and San Diego to the colleges I was applying to, I just wanted to get my rejection over and done with so I could start looking at A-Level science programs in the UK.

So when I received an email one morning from Mills with the subject line reading ‘Congratulations!’, I was initially confused. I opened the document, read the attached letter of acceptance, checked the date, examined the signature. It looked legit, but it couldn’t possibly be real. April Fools had only been a few days earlier, and in my apparent lack of any self-confidence I was certain that one of my housemates must be pranking me. (Just before I left Bristol I steam-opened some of Josh’s junk mail before it got to him, inserted my own document with genuine company letterhead informing him that the job he thought he was getting with said company at the end of the summer had been nullified due to ‘unforeseen market circumstances’ and innocently delivered it to him when he came home from lectures. The joy I felt at watching his face fall as he read the letter was nearly as great as the joy I felt when I revealed the truth to him just as he was frantically dialing the head offices.).

Despite my doubts, I half-ran to see Papa Burns (Susie’s American friend Brindley later remarked that my footsteps followed the distinct cadence of someone who had just got into college), who promptly released me from my own doubts with a big congratulatory bear hug.

(I still phoned Mills just in case.)

A few days later I drove up to San Francisco with Mama Burns and saw Holly, SPS and their fashionably-shaved cat, as well as the beautiful campus grounds and overwhelmingly friendly staff at Mills.

I’ve spent the last couple weeks figuring out how I am going to scrape together the cash to pay for my pre-med and also found the time to finish my 10,000 word dissertation, which is sitting in front of me, printed, bound and full of tiny little errors that knock a year off my life every time I uncover one of them.

The outcome of all this nonsense is that I’ve had little time to do my folky due diligence. Nevertheless, somewhere in between the paragraphs on American social capital, the fender benders on the I-5 going North to San Francisco and the trips to banks to secure low-interest loans, a few songs somehow trickled into my iTunes ‘Most Recently Added’ playlist. I’m not sure where I got them from or how they found their way onto my computer, but the Shins-y, clappy, Vodafone-advert-soundtracky folkiness of Radical Face make me kind of wish they’d got here sooner.

(Actually it’s a ‘he’, not a ‘they’, a certain Ben Cooper from Jacksonville, Florida, the kind of guy who’s left his fingerprints on various musical projects over the years.)

I’d do a little more folkological research, but it’s time I got packing. In the mean time, if the person who inserted this fantastic music into my iTunes without me realising would like to continue, I’d be much obliged. Just get it to me before my next transatlantic departure.

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Welcome Home – Radical Face

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Wrapped in Piano Strings – Radical Face

6 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. AC says:

    Congratulations Luke! You deserve it. Aren’t you excited to be so close to your family again?
    I really like Radical Face. I first heard of him while watching this

  2. Jessica says:

    Congrats! I just got accepted into a neuroscience/pre-med program at the University of Texas at Dallas! Great news for both of us! If you haven’t seen the film “The Vicious Kind”, I suggest you do so. That is where I first came across the song Welcome Home by Radical Face and boy does it make for one steamy running-at-each-other-while-tearing-off-your-clothes scene. Fantastic! Congrats again!

  3. 3

    Congratulations, old chap…my boy…good sir. Uh, I’m trying to speak British. How’s that working for me?

    So excited that you’re joining us up in Northern California. You can play the part of Friend’s Cool Younger Brother Who Recommends Hip Music to Slightly Lame 30 Somethings.

    Perfect! And I think you’ll make a fine doctor. Enjoy your travels.

  4. AG says:

    Congratulations, great news, well done. Hopefully you will come practise in the NHS one day!

  5. PHB says:

    I’ll say it again- well done Lukie!!!

    Really enjoyed collaborating on the song. If we do one each time you have a holiday at med school we should have enough for an album by the time you qualify!

  6. JKE says:

    Congratulations! A former post-bacc-er myself (and now fourth medical student – time flies!), I can say you’re in for a slog, but it will be the best, most inspiring, most exhilarating slog you can imagine.


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