June 28, 2021

There’re occasions in life when one oughtn’t even to think about stones, let alone about being the first to throw one. ‘All flesh is grass’ (Isaiah 40.6).

Saturday, June 26. 8.30 am: A communion. 9.00 am: My self-reflection extended into the first part of the morning, and informed the spirit of the work. So as to limber-up for a return to recording over the Summer period, I set myself several exercises. There were a number of instrumental compositions for acoustic guitar and several sung duets with acoustic guitar accompaniment that I’d recorded between 1978 and 1979. (I’d alighted upon them in the archive several days ago.) The solo works were captured on a mono cassette-tape recorder with a barely adequate external microphone in one-take over a weekend. I was living at the Caerleon Campus hall of residence for men. (The sexes were segregated in those days.)

These were the last strictly musical compositions that I wrote. The tracks were laid down because I knew that I wouldn’t return to the compositions again. (One must always honour even abandoned ideas, in one way or another.) My task this morning was redemptive in nature: to ‘spruce-up’ and add presence to the very lo-fi source material. Those completed, I proceeded back in time to look again at some of the tracks that my last functioning group had recorded in 1976 — when I should’ve been revised for mock ‘A’-levels. (No wonder that I did so badly in secondary school.)

1.30 pm: I continued with the album, as much for the sake of nostalgia as sonic integrity. (Am I, after all this time, still finishing this album?, I wondered.) 3.15 pm: Down into Cellar Room #4 (Fine Art Store), in search of a painting appropriate for someone:

By the close of the afternoon, I’d completed my exercises. 4.15 pm: Into the air and the cemetery, before taking my track up and down the avenue. ‘A time to refrain from embracing’:

Eifion and Nia: ‘Love is stronger than death’

8.00: pm: Eventide. Let the blessing fall:

Monday, June 28. 8.15 am: A communion. 8.45 am: A review of the week ahead and of aspects of Saturday’s undertaking. There were several unpleasantries on the books today: chiefly letters and responses to be sent, from which the flesh inclines away. (This is the human condition.) Duty so often precedes desire. Too rarely, these days, do the two coalesce. Onwards! The morning and afternoon would be defined by admin. I registered for next week’s conference. The event will be hosted by Crowdcast — which is a new one on me. It’s operational logic is quite different to that of Teams and Zoom. So I was on a learning curve, and would have to rid myself of quite a number of presuppositions about how my presentation might best be delivered. Adaptability was the watchword. First, I needed to format the text and read it against the clock. 12.00 pm: A rationalisation of dental appointments. As lockdown eases, the necessities and possibilities of routine teeth, eye, and ear check-ups reassert themselves. 12.15 pm: On with delicate, politic, but determined epistolary endeavours (as it were).

2.00 pm: The final School of Art Management Committee meeting of the academic year:

Next academic session, we’ll be into the third year of pandemic mode. Uncertainty has become a constant. The context of Covid-19 variants and the Welsh Government’s adaptive edicts will keep us in a state of flux for the foreseeable future. The Module Evaluation Questionnaire reports for the last semester were excellent. Nothing less than 95% satisfaction. That’s a credit to staff who’ve gone beyond the second mile over the last eighteen months. Resits will be the next challenge. I heard about exciting potential developments at the School that I’ll have no participation in. It was like listening to the family’s plans for the period after you have pass away. We discussed the agenda for over three hours. We’re moving towards one of the most critical shifts in the School’s history. A cautious and considered approach is a necessity. Dinner would be late. 6.00 pm: Finished.

8.00 pm: Back to excruciating emails, and admin arising from this afternoon’s business.

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