January 4, 2021

Saturday, January 2.

Sunday, January 3.

Monday, January 4. 8.15 am: A communion. 8.45 am: Into gear. I’m not an advocate of a phased return to work. Jumping-in at the deep end has always been my policy. And, ‘my!’, the waters were very deep. The priority this morning was email notifications about the forthcoming assessments and the return to teaching. With respect to the latter, the sands were shifting on an hour-by-hour basis (or so it seemed). Since I closed shop for the vacation period, the pandemic had become increasingly more adept at transmission. The health risks attendant on face-to-face teaching have increased significantly as a result. And who knows, presently, either when or how the students will return. 10.30 am: On with postgraduate admin, student references, and a cull of the inbox deliveries that had remained unopened (although not unobserved) over the festive period.

Over the vacation period, I reconfigured my studio, made a substantial in-road on the new album’s bespoke website, began to conceive a follow-up sound project (funding permitted), and acquainted myself with a new headless guitar:

2.00 pm: Some of the morning’s emails had received a return volley. Other emails were launched in many directions. 3.00 pm: I turned, then, to research admin and, in particular, the construction of a competitive grant application. I’ve received three awards in as many years from the granting agency. So, I wasn’t anticipating a repeat of my success. Nevertheless, the exercise would help consolidate the next project’s objectives and parameters. To begin, I picked up my ‘Notes’ file, which I’d compiled during my PhD Art History studies, and read again my transcript of tape-recorded interviews, held in the South Wales Miners’ Library, Swansea:

5.00 pm: It was bitterly cold, but I needed to get out. There were still Christmas trees in the windows, waiting for the twelfth night. Few walked the streets. We each gave the other a wide berth.

7.30 pm: I returned to the grant proposal. The conception began to evolve. A starting place had already been founded for this project. ‘SteelWorks’ — my first attempt to construct a landscape of industry — had to be abandoned in 2017 due to the dispute that TATA Steel was undergoing, and the unresolvable issues related to the copyright of the steel works’ photographs. It was the only project that I’ve ever had to abandon. However, now, perhaps, it’ll have an opportunity to come to fruition. Only the industry will have changed, from steel to coal. Nothing is ever wasted.

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