February 17, 2020

I’d only been away from home 26 hours, but it felt like weeks. En route, my eyes scanned for signs of change, as one does when revisiting an only haunt many years later. What had blown away or otherwise succumbed to the storm? Yesterday, I was half inside a bush with a digital recorder trying to capture the strong wind in its branches. On my return journey, I noticed that far more trees had been snapped like ice-lolly sticks by the storm. The older and less supple trees had faired worst. (Now there’s a lesson in life.) We can bend against the wind only so far and for so long.

There’s a different GPS programme on the new (old) car. The voice is more polite than the one on the previous TomTom device. The latest lady says ‘please’ before giving directions. At times, she can be a bit of a nanny and too eager to inform you about the blatantly obvious. But we’re learning to get along with each other. Returning to my odious complaints of 14 February 2020, it struck me that some art students are looking for a GPS-type tutor to guide them: ‘Please take the second exit at the next roundabout, and then keep left for 17 miles … You have reached your destination.’ They don’t want to either get lost and have to turn back, or travel up cul de sacs, or get stuck in slow traffic, or meander aimlessly without a guarantee that they’ll ever reach their predetermined journey’s end on time. However, straying from the road, meeting dead-ends, and not having a clue where you’re going, or if you’ll ever get there, are essential attitudes when it comes to creative practice. And you can’t achieve anything of insight and worth without driving recklessly sometimes, too. (There’s no Highway Code in art, remember, other than the one that you make up for yourself.) Moreover, you decide where you were going only after you get there.

2.15 pm: I was back at my desk. Even the emails that had arrived today read old and stale. ‘The restlessness has ‘gotten hold of you real tight this time!’, spoke the voice from the margins. Nevertheless, the inbox had to be pruned. Almost every response implied another response in return, and set off a chain reaction that would have implications for my diary during the next three weeks. This would be a fulsome week for teaching. And there were research deadlines pressing down upon me too. By the close of the afternoon, I was on track (for the next five days, at least).

5.15 pm: Dinner prep:

6.30 pm: Practise session. 7.30 pm: Back to the paper’s PowerPoint and the development of illustrations showing an astral chart, which will underpin part of the compositional methodology of the Noisome Spirits suite:

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February 15, 2020
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February 18, 2020

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