Sunday, October 20. 1.30 pm:
Monday, October 21. We took our boys to galleries, museums, theatres, concerts, and cinemas even before they could walk. They were taught the value and benefits of culture. (Religion and politics were discussed at the meal table too.) Today, as young men setting out on their careers, they continue to visit the same, along with football stadiums (which they’d had to discover for themselves), of their own volition. Both not only enjoy theses experiences but also talk to us about them, enthusiastically, intelligently, and knowingly. (And they can now teach their parents a thing or two, as well.) I’ve found all this to be immensely heartening. It has been the interest on our investment. As arts education in the schools today face further cuts, parents will need to take even more responsibility for this crucial aspect of their children’s education.
8.30 am: A communion, and a late start. ‘Am I going down with something?’ 9.00 am: The first-thing-Monday-morning routine: email review, tutorial confirmations, pastoral session set-ups, a review of the week ahead, and the drive towards 2021. (In the background: early Kate Bush.) My brain was fogged. I emailed a firm and gentle encouragement to one of my art history classes:
Some students, I realise, have to hold down late-night jobs in order to fund their education, which may mean that they’re not able to get to bed until the early hours of the morning. Rising for a 9.00 am class requires a herculean effort for such. The availability of podcasts of my lectures enables the late arrivals to catch up. But, here, I’m concerned about the quality of their educational experience at the point of delivery. Student life isn’t always ideal.
11.00 am: Cup of tea #3:
12.00 pm: I took up the cause of composition descriptors again. The Biblical Record CD is now in production. I’ve heard it too often recently to have much enthusiasm now. (Scott Walker claimed never to have listened to the recordings that he’d made during his late period, after they’d been concluded.) New possibilities beckon. In the background, I played John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme (1964). It’s his masterpiece, and one of the most important recordings in jazz history. This is also a deeply personal and religious album. On the vinyl’s liner notes Coltrane wrote:
DEAR LISTENER: ALL PRAISE BE TO GOD TO WHOM ALL PRAISE IS DUE. Let us pursue Him in the righteous path. Yes it is true; “seek and ye shall find.” Only through Him can we know the most wondrous bequeathal.
During the year 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music. I feel this has been granted through His grace. ALL PRAISE TO GOD …
This album is a humble offering to Him. An attempt to say “THANK YOU GOD” through our work, even as we do in our hearts and with our tongues. May He help and strengthen all men in every good endeavor.
‘Miraculously’, the tracks were laid down in just one day.
1.30 pm: Interspersed with bouts of admin, I maintained the morning’s course. 3.30 pm: Afternoon tea:
It’s hard work to avoid reading the drip, drip, drip of political commentary via the tweets of Katia Adler, Laura Kuenssberg, and Robert Peston. In my youth, you had to wait until the evening news or the delivery of the following day’s paper to get up-to-date on current events. Today, I want news, and I want in NOW! … with my tea … and a biscuit, if there’s one going. Moreover, we want our news not only described but also interpreted immediately. As such, thoughtful reflection on the part of both the commentator and the reader risks becoming premature in its conclusions and limited in scope.
7.15 pm: Back to the desk and on with the day’s focal task, while getting my head around Window 10 (on a laptop inherited from my younger son). I need, now, to be conversant with both Mac and PC for the next stage of sound development. I’d left Windows, yonks ago, when it was still in XP mode. Much has changed.