April 24, 2021

Now that I’ve had those experiences, I don’t need to have them again. My curiosity has been satisfied. The desire, exorcised.

Friday, April 23. 7.30 pm: I made my way to the top of Constitution Hill, passed Phoebe’s bench. I can still hear her laughter in my head:

This was, for me, the perfect morning: a cool temperature, tipping towards chilly; crisp, strong sunlight; deep-dense shadow; a sea of steely-grey blue shading into azure, and a sky of pure air. I recalled the work of Thomas Hart Benton, and Edward Hopper’s paintings of Cape Cod:

8.30 am: Tea #2 in hand, I read through my inbox and readied the Teams room and my materials for the 10.00 am Art/Sound lecture. This was something of a lower-case, red-letter occasion: not only my last lecture for this module, but also the last time that this module would be offered in its present form, as well as my final, formal lecture to undergraduate art history students at the School before I semi-retire.

12.15 pm: I completed my online consultations with individual students who had sought advice regarding the development of their assessment submissions for this module. Thereafter, I returned to my main website to continue updating the text and begin breathing life into a number of tired-looking photographs on the pages. 1.30 pm: Off to School. The external examiner for Anastasia Wildig’s PhD Fine Art exhibition had been delayed on the train. (The ‘old normal’ is still very much present, in some respects.) Rather than return to the School two hours later, I gave my warm welcome over the phone instead.

2.00 pm: Back to my main website, and to building a section that’ll house summative information about the new Noisome Spirits CD release. I maintained that focus throughout the afternoon and into the evening.

Saturday, May 24. 8.30 am: On with website optimisation. I don’t want to have to come this way again anytime soon. Cumulative websites slowly grow to become burdensome in terms of their maintenance. My main site aims at totalisation: its hundred or so pages provide a fulsome account of all my activities and outputs across image, text, and sound; research, teaching, and admin. In one sense, the website will — when I’ve shuffled off ‘this mortal coil’ — become my online memorial. Reviewing ‘a life lived through work’ has been instructive at this point in my career. Not so much in providing such lessons as the past might teach but, rather, in enabling me to discern what is yet to be done. For it seems to me that, as one get older, projects risk becoming less ambitious in themselves and demanding on oneself. I’ve seen this happen in the work of other academics and artists. A complacency sets in. At the same time, its imperative to rationalise one’s future commitments. I shall do only what is necessary, desirable, challenging, productive, and genuinely helpful to others. Having added-in column furniture, and checked and confirmed the website text’s active links to external sites, I called it a day on the project.

1.00 pm: Lunch, and Mrs H’s delicious homemade curry puffs:

1.45 am: I moved on to my ‘John Harvey: Sound’ website with a view to improving, marginally, some of the mixes derived from live, guitar-led recordings, on The Bible in Translation: Bonus Material streaming release. To conclude the afternoon, I instructed myself in the art of sonic compression. 4.00 pm: ‘Play/Stop’.

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