January 21, 2020

Rarely do we want what we’ve never asked for. And rarely do we ask for what we’ve never wanted.

9.30 pm: A long journey began for someone. ‘Bon voyage, and love to all!’ Solo, for me, for now:

10.00 am: Back before my desk at homebase: ‘Don’t fritter away the day on minors, John!’, the voice said. But so much of what passes over my desk (or before my eyes, on screen) is small, inconsequential, and irritating – like the ‘drip, drip, drip’ of rain. And then there’s all the ‘spam, spam, spam’. The deletion of which, so I’ve read, is absorbing more time than academics devote to research networking. (In the background: King Crimson’s Live in Chicago (2017) – LOUD. A heart ascending. ) The minors would have no more than the remainder of my morning. Marking and major piddling-admin beckoned.

12.00 pm: I felt inordinately hungry far too early. ‘Discipline, John!’, the voice admonished. 1.00 pm: I made a shaky omelette filled with leftovers, for lunch. 1.30 pm: Domestics. 2.00 pm: A deluge of incoming emails in response to the deluge of emails that I sent out yesterday. (This was a form of self-victimisation.) Mercifully, at least one major admin task and one second-marking duty had dropped off the table. A little light came into a dark room. On, then, with module updating forms. (Brain-Death City.) At least the form functioned, even if it did convert all the input into a red and underlined text. Q35: ‘Please give details of how learning will be enhanced by technology’. This is an exhibition module!! Do you mean computer-based technology? (Probably.) Or, can I write enthusiastically and at length and about pigments, brushes, substrates, burins, cameras, and pencils, etc? (I thought not.)

I’d tweeted an image of Antonio Canova’s remarkable sculpture Cupid and Psyche (1787). In response to a remade to a correspondent, I wrote:

5.30 pm: What’s for dinner? ‘S.O.S: Stretch Or Starve, John!’, the voice heckled. 6.00 pm: Back to work. Eating alone doesn’t take long. The same cannot be said for marking and corresponding. At least my Post-its were getting balder by the day.

A reflection on times past:

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