Monday, January 14, 2013

Long live differences!

Sometimes getting up at six-thirty in the morning is earlier than at other times.  This morning was one of those crack-of-dawn type experiences when the obscenity of early rising was more pronounced.  And the traffic was worse and there wasn’t even a decent sunrise to gladden the heart.

And you have to teach!

The hysteria connected with the distribution of iPads continues with a hierarchy of smugness directly proportional to the sveldtness and elegance and practicality of the “cover” rapidly emerging.  This was an obvious next step for a group of people who had all been given exactly the same machine.  I am thinking of writing a short monograph on “The sociological implications of technological innovation in a closed community.” 

My previously stated plan to shock people with an ultra-thin keyboard of satisfying expense (it has already been ordered) looks as though this will be plan of merely private satisfaction as the visible ownership of an iPad will mean automatic enrolment into the slave ranks of the feeders of the iPad who will, for the next number of months up to the advent of the new intake in September, be producing material as if there is no tomorrow.  Yet tomorrow will inexorably come and no matter that there will have been months to prepare, it will be as if nothing had been done and there will be howling and wailing and gnashing of teeth as the entire system collapses on Day 1.

When I arrived home the keyboard was waiting for me and, remarkably easily the thing clamped magnetically onto the iPad and worked its magic.  It does look elegant and, more importantly, it works.  Alas!  It looks so impressive and professional that it screams for academic work to be fed into it, so I fear that it must remain another of my guilty gadget secrets!

But I will be far away and the sounds of distress will be as distant echoes in a waking dream.  With any luck.

My teaching day was less than satisfactory and most of the negativity was my fault.  There is something infinitely depressing in analysing poor lessons and working out that the factor of failure was down to the practitioner, i.e. me!  At least with the drama lesson it means that the next one will be much better as I have to teach four parallel classes, so at least I get another chance to redeem my reputation.  As I keep encouraging myself, if you can tell that you are teaching badly and work out strategies for improvement then you are still capable of professional thought!

Tomorrow is an early start, but also, with any luck, a very early finish.  One of my drama lessons has been moved to another day and so (in theory) I can leave before lunch.  This approach is being tolerated at the moment and I am not bruiting it abroad basing my strategy on the notorious “Don’t ask; don’t tell” policy of the US armed forces with the only negative aspect being one of my colleagues who notices each time I am not there.  My habitual response of “I was lying low” is beginning to wear a little thin – and it’s going to be a damn sight thinner by June!

I have begun my musical homework for the next opera “Les Contes de Hoffmann” and have used YouTube to provide an extraordinary Powell and Pressburger 1951 version which prompted me to view their Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) which was a much better film and one which I found engaging and emotionally charged with amazing performances from the two leading men and an overall impression of moral authority remarkable for the time.

Finding an entire film on YouTube will, I think encourage me to use YouTube to try and find some of the more obscure films that writers have enthused over and that I have long desired to view!  Even more opportunities for pretention beckon.

But an early start tomorrow so oblivion calls!
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