August 19, 2020

WFH: DAY 116. 8.15 am: Preparations for Clearing. I’m always a little anxious that the ‘webclient’ portal won’t recognise me. Not that it never has. (My neuroses are very specific.) Our marketing and admissions teams are excellent: informed, clear communicators, courteous, and professional.

10.00 am: Kick off! Participation in my capacity as a departmental advisor is rather like being a taxi driver waiting for a call from the central switchboard to pick up a passenger. In the background, I listened to the cross-talk between the various administrative staff of bomber command. Inquiries came in thick and fast. Many of the inquirers needed advice about accommodation, the impact of Covid-19 impact on course delivery, and the currency of their predicated ‘A’-level grades (unsurprisingly). One wanted information about picture-hanging policy in halls of residence. (Very practical.) While waiting for subject-specific questions, I caught up on the university’s online publications related to the start of the academic year, attended to last night’s email deliveries, and planned next week’s postgraduate teaching.

In the background of the online conversations between staff, I could hear the noises of their domesticity: late breakfasts being consumed, the chink of mugs, pages being turned, a builders’ radio blaring, and children at play in adjacent rooms. Overlaid upon this soundscape was the dribble of rain on my studio Velux, the sounds of stone-cutting in the far distance, the shriek of gulls, and the tapping of fingers on my computer keyboard. ‘I’ve got a question about mini-fridges’. (Clearly, a deal breaker.)


12.00 pm: Done! Landed. There’d been a healthy exchange between central provision and inquirers. I came away appreciating how much hard work goes on in the background to admissions. On, then, with preparations for the interview panel after lunch, and re-listening to, and advancing, yesterday’s samples.

2.00 am: The interview:

3.30 pm: Panel feedback completed, and recent incoming emails dispatched, I returned to composition. The objective was to demonstrate variant modulations on the source recording. And, in so doing, to determine not to find those sounds that I’d found before.

4.30 pm:

Signs of the times:

7.30 pm: I have:

  • never tried to compete with anyone other than myself. (Exceeding my own best efforts has always been a sufficient challenge.);
  • always pursued ideas out of personal curiosity and for my own satisfaction, principally;
  • self-consciously worked to achieve continuity between works in a set and between sets, while remaining alive to the possibility of unforeseen, sudden, and necessary change;
  • pushed the boundaries of my competence, while respecting my limitations;
  • believed that what was worth doing ought to be done;
  • found most things difficult to do at first, but persevered.
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