So far it has taken me over thirty years! To be fair, I had thought that the handful of courses that I had taken in the 80s were now ‘out of date’ and would not be counted and had started anew, taking a couple of level 1 courses to get myself back into the swing of things. I had entered into negotiations to try and get myself excused from having to do AA101 (the Foundation Arts Course) and was prepared to do a higher-level course to compensate. Then everything changed when out of the blue I had a phone call which told me that everything I had done would be ‘counted’ as long as I completed my degree before 2019. I even discovered that I had some bonus points which I could use instead of doing a couple of courses. This means that I have another two years of study (Modern Art and then the Renaissance) and I will be able to call myself BA2 – I am aware that, in the scheme of things this is a dubious distinction, especially as I have completed my career. But it does keep me off the streets and has allowed me to produce a slim volume of verse.
So, the sun shines and the wind blows and I am keeping out of Toni’s way as he counts down the last week to his next exams. I have been assured by him that when this selection of examinations has been completed he will return to his fully human personality. At least for the duration of the summer period until he starts his next course of studies in September.
I will have an extra period of grace until early October before my own studies start, but I have already bought the books necessary for the course - and since one of them is over fifteen hundred pages long (and without pictures!) I think that my time will be fully occupied in getting ahead of the deluge of reading that will be an essential aspect of the module. I have made a start on the smaller and altogether more reader friendly book that has been written specifically to accompany the course. I fail to understand why this book has not been provided with the four volumes that cover the course as part of the supplied course materials – but that might be someone speaking from the perspective of the 1980s when the courses were over twenty times cheaper. Even allowing for inflation it means that the OU is no longer a gloriously inexpensive way to get a university education.
So, next October I will be struggling to follow the artistic manifestos of various writers, artists and critics whose first duty seems not to be to clarity of expression in the simplest possible language. To put it mildly. I fear that I might be near to being out-pretentiousnessed. Which could be something worth watching.