April 29, 2021

I am austere in those dimensions of my life where excess would be inappropriate (Instagram, correspondence (April 29, 2021)).

Wednesday, April 28. 7.30 pm:

8.00 am: A communion. 8.30 am: EGO article dispatched, I conducted some medical research for products that may offset the symptoms of, and consultants that might shed light on, a troubling condition that I suffer. 9.15 am: Off for a second, un-lockedown haircut. It was dispiriting to see so many high street premises either empty or temporarily assumed by charity and second-hand shops. Many of those that have gone to the wall were unable to compete with online sales outlets.

10.00 am: Back at homebase, the EGO had responded and suggested that the article would be published in the July edition. I pushed forward. Having updated and made modifications to my main website, I turned my attention to the ancillary sites dedicated to ‘Sound‘ and the ‘Spoken Word‘. To the former will, at the release of Noisome Spirits, be added the current albums in The Aural Bible series. The latter will continue to grow incrementally, as further recordings of my academic and public lectures are uploaded. (My collection of such goes back to 2003.) These types of project can continue through the assessment period, since they’re easy to engage in either the background to or the gaps between my other responsibilities. Beginning anything more heady and focussed will be out of the question until the beginning of June at the earliest. Nevertheless, my mind is already gravitating to the next CD release and the technological developments required to realise it. As lockdown in Wales proceeds, it’ll become increasingly possible to engage with museum collections that are relevant to the project.

1.45 pm: The streamable/downloadable version of the Noisome Spirits album complete, I worked my way backwards through the set for the remainder of the day.

7.30 am: Proof of presence:

8.00 am: A communion. 8.30 am: This would be my final day of undergraduate fine art teaching. (But there’d be assessments, resits, and off-curriculum consultations in the month to come before I finally ‘handed in my keys’ from this aspect of my career.) Now is the right time to conclude. If I continued any longer, then, the gulf that I perceive to be growing between my tutees and myself would continue to enlarge until I’d no longer be able to speak to them with sufficient relevance. 9.00 am: A set of online tutorials. 11.00 am: Off to School to face-to-face my other charge.

I’m conscious that the anxiety level among students is increasing the closer we move to the deadline for this and other modules. As staff, we’re teaching them as much to cope psychologically as to complete their projects. It’s crucial, too, that we encourage them to develop a positive sense of their lives beyond the period of assessment and the pandemic.

Returning after lunch, the weather cooled and greyed.

Of late, I’ve noticed that quite a number of my undergraduate students’ work reflects the anxieties, constrictions, and realisations of the current global crisis in subtle but recognisable ways. We both are astonished when the penny of realisation drops. Around and about me, a busyness is beginning to bubble to the surface. The Joint-Honours students are, on the whole, more adept at dealing with competing commitments and priorities. I suspect that this is because they’ve been geared-up to it over the last three years, by dint of their degree scheme’s dual nature. 4.00 pm: My last timetabled undergraduate fine art tutorial of the day … and of any day, for that matter. Fittingly — although entirely fortuitously — it took place in a studio setting: my first such engagement with a BA student in nearly fifteen months.

Some observations and principles derived from today’s engagements:

  • T: ‘In objectifying our thoughts in writing we clarify them in our minds, to ourselves’.
  • There must be a better word than ‘inspiration’; one that rids the concept of its association with the divine afflatus.
  • T: ‘During the first lockdown, my daily outdoor exercise would often take-in Plascrug Avenue. Prior to the pandemic, I’d merely walk through the avenue. I’m aware that, now, I walk in it, and attend to it. My perceptual and cognitive focus has changed radically.
  • T: ‘Destress the situation: break-up the problem into a number of more manageable parts, and deal with them one at a time, pausing for a break between each. Serial challenges are more readily dispatched than parallel ones’.
  • T: ‘An artist’s lack of confidence doesn’t mean that their work is unworthy. Likewise, an abundance of confidence does not by itself guarantee that their work has any worth’.

6.30 pm: Practise session. 7.30 pm: Thursday evening round-up: registers, correspondence, reviews of work, and preparations for tomorrow morning’s teaching.

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