September 17, 2020

WFH: DAY 139. 7.30 am:

8.15 am: A communion. 8.45 am: No sooner than I set down than its rains ‘things-to-do’ in my head. They must be written down, immediately, otherwise I’ll forget, although not quite immediately. Post-its were scattered across my mixing desk, waiting to be transcribed to the ‘big plan’ that was on my computer. Draft emails posted and other letters conceived, I orientated myself to the day’s endeavours. I just had to walk into the on-coming snow storm, and keep going. In the background, I continued to review compositions in progress. Hearing — and, to a measure working on — the sounds while they’ve been on the periphery of my attention, has yielded insights and solutions that didn’t declare themselves when the compositions were in the focal field. ‘Distracted listening’ or ‘casual audition’ enabled the work to act upon me, as though it had been made by someone else.

9.45 am: I began working through today’s ‘musts-get-done’. The meteor shower of university information falls unabated. Meanwhile, reports are emerging from some UK and USA universities of campus outbreaks and reckless behaviour. Unsurprising. And this, against a background of an increasing number of localised lockdowns. ‘It will all be over by Christmas’, some are saying. The ‘it’ being face-to-face teaching.

11.30 am: Pieces were falling into place. Getting my Year Tutor responsibilities ‘sorted’ was at the top of today’s list. Unfortunately, I would see only a two-dimensional version of them in the coming weeks. Clear communication is of the essence of good management. Letters, letters. I bounced from studio to study, from in front of to behind the firewall, and from undergraduate to postgraduate matters.

I read, via Twitter, an article on the musician and composer Beverly Glenn-Copeland. His work didn’t find an audience until nearly fifty years after it had been released. Quality and popularity bear no relation to one another. Having either no or a very small audience can be very discouraging. Some artists throw in the towel; the sense of isolation and public indifference is overwhelming. Those, like Glenn-Copeland — for whom abandoning art would be like ceasing to breath — persist in their vision, if falteringly in some cases. As makers, we should all take responsibility for ‘getting our work out there’. But there’s no guarantee that there’ll be any takers … in the present, anyway. Therefore, it’s important to also take responsibility for curating and archiving our work. Place it somewhere where it can be found. And leave with it a written testament about why it was important to you. If no one else is inclined to write about you and your work, then you must do it yourself.

3.30 pm: The work at hand is not hard … it’s bitty, repetitive, low yield, and tedious. But it must be done. And if it’s done well, I can leave the admin behind and get on with business of teaching under these extraordinary conditions. The MA Vocational Practice handouts needed some modification in the light of Covid-19 social-distancing regulations.

4.30 pm: Ambulology:

7.30 pm: Back to postgraduate induction and the always messy business of developing a final list of those students who’ve accepted an offer onto the MA schemes. Ms Wildig’s assistance has been invaluable. And then there’s the problem of where do you put them all. Having had to surrender the studio spaces at the Old College, the university has slotted us into part of the old Penbryn halls of residence. Those rooms facing the front have a sea view. So, some things won’t have changed.

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