8.00 am: Dismal land. The, now, incessant rain had woke me shortly before 5.30 am; after which, sleep proved elusive:
A communion. 8.45 am: A batch of moderated feedback reports awaited my attention in the inbox. There were other matters of admin that pressed upon me; these would need to be addressed before feedback report writing could recommence. (In the background: Ravi Shankar’s and Yehudi Menuhin’s West Meets East (1976).)
After the hail, the sky’s complexion began to improve, temporarily:
On with second set Research and Process and Practice feedback reports, derived from yesterday afternoon’s session. The complexion of this second group was very different from that of the first (which I’d heard on Wednesday). The composition of each group is arbitrary. I wondered how much the context of delivery played into their individual contributions. A venues, as much as its audience, can profoundly effect an actor’s, a teacher’s, and a musician’s performance. I recall giving a talk on ghost photography to a local charity group in the basement of a hotel. The room was inadequately lit, and I was at right angles to the audience, reading from a script that was precariously perched on an improvised podium. I delivered the goods. But the experience was deeply uncomfortable. Afterwards, I felt that I’d been the wrong person talking about the wrong topic to the wrong people in the wrong place. Which, of course, may not have been their perception. Self-awareness and self-evaluation can be entirely subjective in these contexts.
1.30 pm: After lunch, I took advantage of the sunlight and, in the bristling cold, walked through town towards the School to carry out errands and retrieve dispatches:
2.00 pm: The pressing deadline for a grant application in support of one of my next CDs burned on the Post it sticker below the monitor. This was, for now, the priority of priorities. (In the background: varieties of free-jazz guitar playing, courtesy of Marc Ribot, Derek Bailey, Mary Halvorson, and Fred Frith.) If you’ve painted abstractly, then you’ll have no difficulty appreciating this type of music.
It’s strange how, at a time when staff are most busy tying-up one semester and opening-up another, the greatest number of external requests for interviews, references, information, and confirmation drop into our inbox. A case of calculated cruelty, perhaps. As a result, we begin the new semester already completely wasted. I can see my weekends evaporating before my eyes.
6.30 pm: Practise session – with the Fender Stratocaster. 7.30 pm: Back to the grant application, and the ponderous question: ‘Why do you want to undertake this research?’ ‘Because I’m keen to find out something that I didn’t know before!’, just won’t cut. But that’s the truth of it.