Posts Tagged ‘Viv Albertine’

A couple of weeks ago, at a drinks party, a friend casually asked whether it was the end of term yet – and was clearly surprised that I then spent five minutes explaining how, rather than the traditional binary term/not-term distinction, British universities now operate on the principle of a spectrum of termliness, in which the level of demands on academic time imposed by the university gradually diminishes from the time when we finish marking exams – but never entirely disappears. On the online calendar system, Monday June 16th is when “Students summer vacation starts” – no suggestion that such a thing applies to academics any more. Indeed, the effect of the online calendar system is to imply that we are available throughout the summer, to be scheduled into meetings at any point unless we expressly block out time for research, writing or – heaven forbid – actual holiday. It’s not that we ever had months of vacation, but there used to be an expectation that we would be able to shift our focus from teaching and admin to research for at least a month or so, and it’s not as if they’re stopped expecting us to produce the same level of outputs as when we had some time to write them… At this point my friend offered to find some more drinks, and for some reason never returned.

The main reason for writing this post is just to say that there probably won’t be many, or perhaps any, for a couple of months; I’m going to be off for an actual holiday for ten days, and have to write a couple of lectures for the end of the month. Maybe August, though I’m supposed to be writing a grant application, if I’ve managed to recharge the batteries by then. In the meantime, a bit of music from the utterly wonderful Viv Albertine. Having just finished her magnificent autobiography Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys I feel inspired to make some changes – as soon as I have a bit more energy. This may be no more than getting some singing lessons…

Addendum: If you haven’t yet read Clothes Clothes Clothes… – and you really should, if you have any interest in music, feminism, creativity, British social history or human beings – then that last comment might seem a little cryptic. Quick summary: having been at the heart of the whole punk movement, including playing in the Slits (not only the first female punk band, but one of the best bands of that entire era), Viv Albertine then went off to be a housewife and (after terrible problems) mother in Hastings, survived cancer, and then suddenly decided to take up the guitar again and have singing lessons, leading to whole new life, new album, autobiography etc. Now, my plan emphatically does not involve separating from spouse along the way, but either I’m going to start writing songs again, or something a bit more dramatic; whatever happens, getting to the end of the year feeling quite this exhausted is not so good.

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