8.15 am: A communion. 9.00 am: A touch of admin, in order to exorcise a demon of injustice from my head. Too much of academic life is a joyless, thankless, and galling nuisance. That’s the result of a systemic problem within Higher Education, rather than the fault of my university or department. I sigh too often these days. But the weather … the weather: ‘sunny and a gentle breeze’, says the BBC. And that for the weekend too. Gratitude all round. Curiously, Aberystwyth’s local weather-watch webcam, situated on Brenin Square, froze on a wet and windy February afternoon two years ago. The image is the enduring and dispassionate capture of a moment. Authentic photography:
9.20 pm: The grant application required more attention. My impetus, rational, and objectives for the project have clarified since yesterday evening. In writing the proposal, I’m also beginning the text of the paper that’ll accompany my sound presentation at the’Pyramid’ symposium in March. I searched for an image of the book on which this current research project is based. I Googled ‘harvey, appearance of evil’ (the book’s title). Up came the cover next to the face of Harvey Weinstein. The latter was an illustration to a Guardian article entitled ‘What Harvey Weinstein looks like doesn’t matter – it is the evil lurking within‘. True in his case, and as a general principle. We cannot judge by external appearances. ‘A tree is known by its fruit’ (Luke 6.44). In other words, a person’s inner-moral condition is disclosed through their actions and speech alone.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed returning to Jones’ accounts of spirits, on this occasion with a view to considering the sonorous, rather than the visual, manifestation of the malevolent supernatural. (In the background: Derek Bailey’s ‘Playing for Friends on 5th Street‘. The YouTube comments are instructive. I wish I could make art so straightforwardly and immediately. It’s as though, here, he’s talking to the audience — which he does during the gig — through his playing. A compulsive guitarist.)
1.30 pm: I took advantage of the sunny if perishingly cold weather and a brisk circuit of the town, via Brenin Square:
The recent storms had heaved part of the beach onto the Promenade, again:
2.00 pm: Back at the studio computer. (A change of venue is as good as a rest). I opened up ideas surrounding the concept of noise, spirit, and folk culture. The cry of the banshee was prevalent in Welsh and Irish folklore up until the end of the nineteenth century. In Jones’ collection, it took the form (or not, as the case may be) of a disembodied mournful wail. I’m curious about when, historically, not a belief in, but the experience of, certain supernatural phenomena cease. In both countries, reports of the banshee die out around the 1890s.
5.00 pm: Silence.