Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Time to breathe again?


The fatalistic philosophy of David from The School on the Hill has proved its worth yet again.  Like a modern day Candide, his supremely irritating assertion that, in spite of all the factors hindering completion of any action in academic life, “It will get done!” has been shown to be true once more.  And, although the even more irritating and fiddly work of referencing is not complete,  a useable draft of my essay exists.  This writing has almost gone to the wire but, dare I say it, I have two days in hand and the thing (for thing it is) is largely complete.
            It will be a relief to get this essay out of the way, to allow concentration on the end of module assignment.  Quite what happens to Book 4 of our course which is now ahead of us with no essay or examination to force concentration, I do not know. But that is for the future and I am not looking forward with any discriminating clarity until the essay is winging its electronic way to my tutor and her fully justified condemnation!

Toni is working with what I can only describe as compressed smugness.  He is enjoying the thrill of horrified anticipation about the depth and width of the work that he will have to complete in the new courses that he has just started, but that is because he is no believer in the fear-fuelled production process that I espouse.  He looks back to his time in school as largely wasted and therefore the makeshift and lackadaisical approach that he had then is anathema to him now.  He works with oodles of time in hand and ensures that all his assignments are finished well within the limits allowed.  I do not think that he could exist in the digressive world that I inhabit!
            I am supposed to be writing an abstract of my ‘research’ so that its inclusion in some form or other might be considered for an exhibition on Guevara in Leeds University!  I am not sure that people outside the course A318 in the Open University have any real idea of what I am doing or what I am proposing to do and at what level – but I am enjoying the frisson of thinking that my work may extend out of the narrow tutor/student environment and gain further readers.  
          Yet again, as with my autumn book, all I have to do is write the thing so that there is some there to share!

Toni is using his blog (at: ) as part of his course as he is able to try out the various technological techniques to which he has been introduced.  
          The number of restaurants that he has commented on has now reached double figures and I rather enjoy the fact that our eating out has now been given a sort of authority and vindication by the inclusion of each of our meals as raw material (though rather delicious and usually cooked!) for their critical inclusion in his blog - with photos!
            I think the best part of the blog is the illustration of the food, and for the photographs I have resurrected my old Canon G9 – probably the favourite of all my cameras.  This is a flexible and compact piece of kit, feels good in the hand and does not have the bulky ostentation of a bridge camera or full SLR.  I am inclined to take it with me to London for the photographing of the Guevaras when I finally get to see them in Chelsea.
            It will be interesting to see how Toni’s blog develops, especially when the Ruta de Tapa is in full swing as each offering will have an entry of its own and Toni has indicated that we could do one-a-day then the number of entries will be considerably boosted.  
          The only unfortunate thing is that these tapas are only produced for the limited period of the Ruta and therefore will be of only historical interest as people will not be able to sample them after the Ruta closes.  
          But I think that they will be interesting to look back on and, if Toni continues the blog for the next few years then he could show how restaurants respond to the Ruta by adding the new tapa to the old and linking this to the general meal entry.  
          Already we have revisited one restaurant and we have added photos of the ‘new’ meals so that the range of food available in at least one place has been demonstrated.
            Eventually this blog will be a fascinating pictorial record of the food that we have eaten over a period and also a way of keeping track of how restaurants keep up their standards.
          In my blog, the one that you are reading now, I am still mystified by the fact that one particular entry has had and continues to have a large and regular readership.  
          I have re-read this entry myself and I would like to think that it is because of the witty and insightful writing that it has such a continued popularity – but I don’t see it myself.  
          The ways of the blogosphere are weird and wonderful and I suppose that one just has to accept rather than analyse.
            My poetry blog (at: ) is altogether more rarefied and the readership is, shall we say, more select.  I would welcome ways in which to extend the readership, but I don’t know how.  I can hear Toni’s injunction to “Go on YouTube!” as the answer to all of life’s questions.            I don’t know why philosophy is still taught in universities because now all you have to do is “Go on YouTube”.  What is reality?  Why does pain exist?  Is there a God?  What?  All the answers to these and more questions are waiting to be experienced in a three minute barely articulate video made by some spotty teenager in Wisconsin.  It is such comfort to know that Knowing with a capital K is just a few clicks away!

Now for my swim, and then the fiddly bits of the essay – together, of course with my flamboyantly academic yet paradoxically popularist bibliography, all carefully double-spaced.  
          If nothing else, and sometimes my essays are exactly that, they look professional and polished.  Pity about the content – though there is sometimes an elegance of expression which almost makes up for the paucity of apposite perception!  Almost!

And let’s face it, sometimes that is enough.
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