Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Diverse things, mostly happy

1. Soulwax, aka 2 Many DJs, have an album out called "Most of the remixes...". (The ellipsis represents the rest of a very long title.) The first CD is the Soulwax remixes; and the second CD is those same remixes in a continuous 2 Many DJs mix. If you don't have the only commercially-released 2 Many DJs CD, As Heard on Radio Soulwax Vol. 2, you should try it as it is great, as long as you like your electropop loud and a bit angry. I went to the Hague a few years ago for the first actual holiday I had had since I graduated, and wandered the beach at Scheveningen at dawn listening to it so loudly it probably damaged my ears forever. It does have quite a lot of swearing in it though, so you have to be in an aggressive mood. Anyhoo this new 2 Many DJs CD has a fantastic rock-guitary mix of Kylie's Can't Get You Out Of My Head, and is generally great. Vol. 2 is the only Radio Soulwax CD they released -- I read somewhere that getting all the permissions was a huge headache, so they decided not to do it again, but you often see bootlegs of the other volumes on ebay.

2. Two friends of mine have had baby girls in the last week. One of the mothers is one of my oldest friends from school. Congratulations, and hello Eleanor and Liselotte!

3. Isn't the internet great? Here is an excellent letter a kid wrote from camp, and here is a blog devoted to moustaches, by someone who is clearly gearing up to release a small Christmas stocking-type book... But I particularly like a gadget I found for igoogle which gives the phase of the moon. At the moment it is waning gibbous, at 64% apparently.

4. Britney's new album is very good, apparently. I have it on order. Go Britney!

5. My little rat, Yaffle, looks all set to make it into November, which I would not have predicted a week ago. She likes to sit under my chin and make happy teeth-chattering noises.

6. Technology is great, but lo-fi is good too. When I dug out that image of Scheveningen, from my first camera phone, I thought that actually its basic nature has a charm lost by better quality equipment. It's the same with early photographs; I saw a program on BBC4 when I couldn't sleep about the early years of photography, and the way the Brownie camera turned images into patches of black and greys was actually very effective and made me want to get a Brownie of my own.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Quite old books

In the sort of stuff I work on there are a lot of monumental books from the Victorian and Edwardian periods. This is especially true for liturgy. If I had been born a hundred years earlier and a reasonably well-off man I would have loved to have been a canon of an Anglican cathedral, working away at things antiquarian with a tremendous knowledge of Latin behind me and an innate sense of how ritual works. (As it is ritual is alien to me and such Latin as I have is very hard-won.) These people were serious scholars, even if strictly speaking they were amateurs. Their works were often printed by subscription, and have to be ordered in Rare Books rooms or tracked down in some Cambridge college where they moulder in a basement, part of an unloved bequest of theological volumes by a pious reverend to his alma mater.

However, these days there is an idea that information wants to be free. Copyright prevents this for recent books, and in some areas of study this means that the most modern editions and the vital monographs cannot be made available, and most of what is on the web has been seriously superceded. But if you want to know about, say, the Bosworth Psalter, then the last word is Bishop and Gasquet's monograph of 1908. And because they are both long-dead, and there's a copy in a North American library, you can now get it all in pdf form. (Here is the link but the file is huge.) This is going to save me so much time, although I will miss the Divinity Faculty copy, which no one but me ever borrows, and which has original letters from Edmund Bishop bound in the front. Bishop was a brilliant liturgist; there aren't many liturgists about these days, and there's not really anyone to match him. His work on the Bosworth Psalter is a little marred by the fact that he thought that Arundel 155 (the Eadwig Gospels) was written after the Norman Conquest, but this makes less difference than you'd imagine to its overall usefulness, and wasn't such a very stupid thing to think. (It is my half-serious intention, if ever asked to contribute to a festschrift for David Dumville, my PhD supervisor, to argue that "Eadwig Basan" is a chimaera, and that the work attributed to him does in fact date from the third quarter of the eleventh century.)

Saturday, 27 October 2007

What I love and hate about where I live

Hate: the teenager upstairs plays loud music a lot.
Love: he seems to have the same taste as me (pounding pounding techno music, although it might be his mum I suppose), so sometimes I just turn off my own music and listen to his.
Love: the block of flats has some odd architectural features at low level and is therefore often in use by teenagers who are doing the whole free-running, le parcour thing. Sometimes to get to my front door I go past people walking along on their hands as if it's a normal thing to do, which is pretty cool.
Hate: drunk people on the street shouting at two in the morning.
Love: maybe it's because I'm half asleep, but the things they shout often seem to have an expletive-heavy poetry to them. Last night "She makes me feel like I'm f**king nothing!" yelled in total anguish suggested a whole backstory.
Hate: occasionally it gets out of hand and I have to call the police. There was a man beating up a woman a couple of months back, which was pretty nasty: it was also very painful to hear him yelling his reasons as people tried to hold him back. "I f**king bought her a house, I f**king bought her a car, and she's f**cking screwing my best friend!" which may sound hackneyed when you read it, but was cried with conviction, and is really horrible to think about seriously.
Love: nice old ladies to say hi to in the street, although I can never remember their names. They're happy to take in parcels, for example.
Hate: although sometimes I do get caught up in these annoying dramas of complaining, and even if the Champion of the Thames is often a bit noisy, it's an excellent local pub and needs bearing with.
Love: the Champion of the Thames and the Radegund, proper old British pubs. The Champion has a whole cast of characters, and the Radegund has the Dame Vera Lynn appreciation society.
Hate: not so sure about the King Street Run, which spills its baby goths out onto the pavement, provoking mixed irritation and pity in me as I try to bike past them and their mini snakebite-and-black-fuelled dramas.
Love: hearing the Hash Street Harriers run from the Radegund on Monday evenings, baying here here! like hounds.
Love: Clowns cafe, and the people who run it shouting "Ciao!" at me as I go past. The fat man is always in the window.
Hate: cars bombing down at stupid speeds. About a month ago one of them just caught a bicyclist sending him flying, and he screamed horribly and passed out on the pavement. I called an ambulance but I didn't go down because there were other people there. I don't know how it turned out. We need a sleeping policeman.
Love: the friendly newsagent, Julian the interesting hairdresser, the gallery down the road that deals mostly in Gwen Raverat. Also great to be so close to Midsummer Common, Jesus Green, and Christ's Pieces. Love reading a good book review at 9.45 on a weekday evening and owning the book quarter of an hour later.

America is a long way away from here

Supposing you contacted everyone who bought a Back-Up a couple of years later with a customer service form -- that would make a short story.

Well, that could never go wrong

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Research assessed

Because I was employed after a certain date I'm only allowed to put 2 things in the RAE, but I also have to write a 300-word blurb about myself. It's a pain, and I'd rather just put in 4 items frankly. It's amazing how much it puts you on the back foot, looking at everything through the eyes of some unknown, critical assessor. But after a bit I stopped thinking of it that way and just remembered actually doing some of this stuff -- times when I've come to understand something better, or discovered some overlooked Anglo-Saxon fragment, or reconstructed an interesting story. Very minor things on any scale, but evidence to myself that I'm a thinking being, and alive.

I don't know if that indicates the same sort of gaping hole in the psyche so evident in actors, who have to be looked at to show they exist. It may well do, but I still feel quite good about it. It's pleasant that even something like the RAE can have positive side-products.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Ballet is funny

I know it's very immature but watching men ballet dance makes me giggle. There's something on BBC1 at the moment with film of the Bolshoi ballet classes, with all these huge men leaping about fluttering their legs, landing with huge thumps.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Some disparate thoughts

1. I saw an episode of the Tudors. It wasn't great and the liberties with history were annoying. I was trying to remember what actually happened with Henry's sisters, for example. Now I want very much to write a trashy TV series about the Stuarts, maybe about Prince Henry, the oldest son of James I and VI. You wouldn't have to invent much to have some racy bits which Charlie Brooker could comment on wittily on Screenwipe. James himself was an intellectual and a fool, who literally drooled on his favourites, the obnxious Carr and the long-legged Villiers. Frances Howard (see right) was involved in two major scandals during the early seventeenth century, a divorce on the grounds of non-consummation, and the famous Overbury poisoning trial. (Prosecuting at the latter Sir Edward Coke said 'the heinousness of it hath made the King's eyes shed tears and his bowels to yearn'.) And they really did wear their necklines that low -- maybe the lowest necklines in history. Yay!

2. Dave the TV channel is showing those brilliant old Ray Mears World of Survival programs where he goes and lives with people in his thoughtful manner. Also they're showing Whose Line is it Anyway? which I used to watch as a teenager. It's not that good, but it's giving me proustian memory rushes about a whole era.

3. Maybe I should get a cockatoo. It seems like we share tastes in music -- I do have this on my ipod.

Friday, 19 October 2007


I tried out OneNote (nice blogcast demo here) before I bought it, and to get a free trial I had to answer lots of questions from Microsoft. Many were like techie versions of the ones you used to get in teen girl magazines surveys. Would your friends describe you as someone who likes new technology? Would your friends see you as a good person to ask for advice about new software? I went for a strong yes for the first, and neither yes or no for the second. I do like my gadgets. The good thing about these meetings with Americans (once I've got past the addition of what you might call 'grace' or 'otiose' syllables to words for emphasis in a way reminiscent of Homer's 'saxamaphone') is that I meet people there who are interested in similar stuff. This morning one of them said that if Zotero had been around a couple of years ago he thought they wouldn't have had to design a bibliography tool for the project. Many people are saying it's better than EndNote. It's free and open-source, is currently on version 1.0, and works as an add-on to Firefox 2.0 and above. You can get it here, and here is a useful screencast of the sort of stuff it does.

I've added Zotero to my installation of Firefox, and had a go at importing my EndNote library, which has nearly three and half thousand items in it. It took a few tweaks to make it work, but now it's there. I'm feeling a bit half-hearted about it really, which isn't like me. It's very satisfying to make Zotero suck references off a webpage, but I think it's going to appeal most to people who don't already have some sort of reference manager. Having a reference manager is great, though it does take some investment to move on to one when you start. (Putting my charters project's bibliography on to EndNote gave me my RSI.) Also, when you pull things off even a reputable webpage you end up with data like keywords and publisher which you don't want and mess up the consistency of your library. The things I would need in order to migrate to Zotero permanently are:
1. support for using your library on more than one computer, as well as offline. At the moment you can only keep it on a pen drive if you install Firefox portable on the drive and access the web from that. Apparently this feature is coming in Zotero 2.0, but no one's saying when that will be, and I assume it could be anything up to another year. (Thunderbird portable is great, by the way, so much better than using hermes webmail when travelling.)
2. customisable reference fields like in Endnote; I need one called label, which links in to my charters database, and fuels a whole website
3. customisable styles -- in Endnote it's as easy to write a custom XML export as to write a standard bibliographical style, in fact easier. Zotero promises customisable styles but even then they will be stored in XML, which suggests that open and close angle brackets will be a problem
4. a stable unique ID no for each record (EndNote doesn't have this; its ID nos are unique but occasionally change)

I think I'll stay with EndNote but try Zotero for a bit as a tool for grabbing new works I need to check. I compile one section of the annual bibliography for a journal, and I also need to keep tabs of new and forthcoming books for my charters project. This is the only aspect of my work where I get a good part of my bibliographical information from the web rather than print, through browsing publishers' websites and consulting online bibliographical tools, and it seems like web-interaction is Zotero's strong point. So I'll see how it goes with that.

Anyhoo, in the meantime here is some crumping:

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Containing multitudes

I do realise that I have a double-standard. The use of "relevancy" where "relevance" would do irritates me from Americans, but from some early modern author I doubt I would object to it. (Although in our meetings today we had "consultating group" which wouldn't do from either.) For example, I relish John Bale talking about "Antichristes noyful cattel" but if an American used "noyful" as an intense form of "annoying" I would be noyed. Maybe in future centuries people will gleefully quote George Bush-isms; they will probably seem appealingly evocative of a strange era.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Seventeenth-century bile

Thomas Hobbes claimed, wrongly, that he had squared the circle, and engaged in a dispute with John Wallis at Oxford about it. Here he is writing angrily to Wallis and his colleague Seth Ward about it:
So go your wayes, you Uncivil Ecclesiasticks, Inhuman Divines, Dedoctors of morality, Unasinous Colleagues, Egregious pair of Isaachars, most wretched Vindices and Indices Academiatrum.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

A small thought I had about Charlie Brooker

I think Charlie Brooker is great. This is embarrassing because it's the twenty-first century, and I feel like I shouldn't really think anyone is great.


I'm not very good in meetings. I rarely enjoy them, and there's always a bit about two-thirds of the way through where I lose all attention span and fidget like a twelve-year-old. And my politeness levels dip to a point at which I start to like myself significantly less. Anyway today's was at least productive, I think, and at one point a contributor said that there were time constraints so that a certain discussion had to be "conclusionary". I think he meant conclusive, but I liked the idea of a word halfway between conclusive and illusionary.

Then I went to a lecture by Eamon Duffy. He quoted a lot of excellent phrases from the sixteenth century. Robert Parson SJ criticised the Marian reforms as "huddled and shuffled up with negligence". Bonner published a book of "profitable and necessary doctrine". And young Lady Jane Grey, in the Tower awaiting her death, heard of the conversion to Catholicism of her personal chaplain, and lamented that someone who had been her friend was now "unshamefast paramour of Antichrist".

At Easter 1554 everyone was examined before they could take communion. They had to believe in the Real Presence; reject the idea of justification by faith alone; and acknowledge the supremacy of the pope. If they had any heretical books they had to bring them in to the bishop to be burned. 470 people were examined in London, of whom 3 ended up condemned as heretics and burnt at the stake. I couldn't answer those questions. I'm not 100% sure about the real presence, but I think I don't believe in it. I'm really not keen on the authority of the pope. I'm certain that I believe in justification by faith alone -- in fact I need to ask a Catholic what the opposing point of view is, and whether it's still a Catholic doctrine. But would I have ended up being burnt? I don't know. I hate to say it, but I expect I would have recanted. It's horrendous to think of it.

In Elizabeth's time one of the bishops (a proto-Tebbit) wanted to ask people whether they would support England or a papal army, if a papal army invaded England. He was stopped from doing it, but I rather suspect many English Catholics would have liked the chance to swear loyalty to England.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Valuable social service

I decided not to review any more books unless I basically liked them, which was a decision I took on selfish grounds. Many people say that reviews of bad books pointing out their flaws are an important service to the scholarly community, and I can't really argue with that. Here is a certain eminent professor in selfless mode:
Somehow it's making me think twice about being late with the book revisions I owe him...

Friday, 12 October 2007


When I was very little I used to make muddy-mud pies, and my grandad would help me. It's the wrong time of year now, and I'm not in Devon, but I would like to try to make one of these:
The Japanese always do these things more elegantly.

Thursday, 11 October 2007


Alium = garleec! More such revelations available here.

But the revelations here are better.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007


1. They've put Christmas lights outside my window. Christmas lights! They're not on at least. But a) it's October and b) I resent the way my street is being increasingly roped into the whole town centre thing. It's not town centre. It's interesting and slightly detached. It's the place where the parades assemble to get their brazilian drum rhythms going before launching themselves on the stage of the city proper.
2. Rats don't live very long, and I'm not in a position to get a long-term pet.
3. This postal strike!
4. I just read an annoyingly bad book. I've refused to review it because I've got a policy.
5. I still have stuff to do for my book. People are being very helpful though.
6. Just to finish on something cheerful, here is a nice place, with my dog Elly waiting at the gate, and probably buzzards overhead making whistly noises:

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Some thoughts I had recently

1. Benjamin Markovits can really write. Imposture is quite good, though a bit uneasy in tone. But Either Side of Winter is strikingly well-written.

2. Chris Morris's role as modern prophet or, if you will, Cassandra, continues. The RSPCA have a somewhat ill-judged advert aimed at the Young People, based on X-Factor style phone-ins. It's compellingly reminiscent of BrassEye's Animals episode (which you can currently download for free on 4OD); for example, it has Simon Cowell saying about some dog being dumped in a ditch "It's one of the worst things I've ever heard" before admitting at the end "These aren't real cases". Also, doesn't the channel 4 retrospective on More 4 remind you of The Day Today's Attitudes Night?

3. Charlie Brooker says Mykola Pawluk is a man. I used to imagine the interesting life of Mykola Pawluk when I was a teenager, and think maybe I could do something like that, and the fact that he's a man shouldn't make a difference but somehow does. Bad me.

4. I read Anne Somerset's Unnatural Murder, about the Overbury poisoning case at the court of James I. It goes into a bit too much detail about the actual events of Overbury's death, which seem pretty unrecoverable at this distance, but there's some very interesting stuff about the court of James I. I hadn't realised that Cotton, antiquarian hero, was so compromised by it all, helping Carr to alter the dates on letters, and using his fantastic library to draft a historically-correct pardon for Carr to try to charm the king into signing. Also the fact that the queen and the archbishop of Canterbury were involved in dangling young beautiful Villiers before the king's eyes in the hope that he would displace the obnoxious Carr as favourite is a bit disconcerting. They got more than they bargained for, obviously.

5. More4's Selling Houses is watchable in a grim sort of way. It's about houses which haven't sold though they've been on the market for a while. It involves a pretty unpleasant man sneering at people's decorating taste -- there's some odd decorating taste on display -- and then getting them together with their estate agent and demanding why he or she hadn't pointed out how vile their house looks. Then they paint it all magnolia and sell it for fifty grand less than the asking price.

6. The Living With Teenagers column in the Family section of the Guardian is getting to the stage where one want to do or say something to the mother. The last episode was about her younger son (who is still 16 or 17, not a child) getting in late on a Saturday evening, drunk. Now admittedly he is a bit young to be getting sick-drunk, but she puts him to bed, stays up late worrying about him, and finishes the column with a triumphant bit about how looking after teenagers is like looking after toddlers. Now I never got really drunk, more than just tipsy, until I had left home and come to university (and in the past week many similarly nicely brought-up timid rule-abiding kids have had the same experience here). But I am still certain that the correct way for parents to deal with this sort of thing is a) at the time total British denial. If any comment has to be made it should be along the lines of "I'm sorry you're unwell, would you like an aspirin?". Then if it has been blatant b) the next day a scorching telling off of the have-some-respect-for-your-parents'-house type. They're not toddlers. They deserve some space and respect, and their obnoxiousness should be acknowledged where necessary. Toddlers can't help throwing up and it would be terrible to tell them off for it; teenagers are proto-adults and to act as if they're not responsible for their own actions is to do them an awful disservice which must make them want to smash things and behave even more badly. (There was a girl like that at my church, a few years younger than me, whose parents were the wettest people you can imagine and kept forgiving her as if nothing she did mattered; she got angrier and angrier and eventually pregnant at fifteen.) This boy made a total fool of himself, and his mother acts as if that's no problem and she takes it for granted that he's a fool, and then she doesn't get why he swears at her. Still it's easy for me to say this; I have no teenagers and never will.

7. I'm still loving OneNote and am now using it for all my random notes, which is bad for my RSI and means I can't access them on any computer other than my laptop. Heigh ho.

Thursday, 4 October 2007


Since I had to be in London anyway yesterday, I managed to get to the Royal Academy's Antiquaries show. It had some nice stuff in it, but you had to know about these things already to get it, I think. It failed to catch what seems to me the wonderful thing about them, their eccentric attitudes and readiness to have a go. Humfrey Wanley, Harley's librarian, gleefully recorded in his diary nights on the town drinking booksellers under the table to get manuscripts at better prices. Bateman, 'The Barrow Knight', kept a tame clergyman who wrote up his rather ad hoc digs in verse. ('His eyes upon the barrow bent are / as if piercing to the earth's very centre.') There was a brief rather dismissive reference to John Dee, who is really an extremely interesting figure, and whose intelligence shouldn't be underestimated, even if he did spend a lot of time trying to talk to angels.

What I want to know more about is a) how this antiquarian pursuit of knowledge related to the pursuit of that other sort of knowledge, natural history, which eventually became science. There were a few reports on things antiquarian to the Royal Society, especially Stonehenge, with its astrological connections, but on the whole the Royal Society had a more mathematical tenor. One place where they seem to overlap is in the opening of tombs; antiquarians liked to make observations about the bodies of the long-dead. (This reminded me of the excellent story that Thomas Love Peacock told about his old friend Bentham:
When experiments were being made with Mr Bentham's body after his death Mr James Mill [philosopher and father of John Stuart] had one day ... told him that there exuded from Mr Bentham's head a kind of oil, which was almost unfreezable, and which he conceived might be used for the oiling of chronometers which were going into high latitudes. 'The less you say about that, Mill,' said Peacock, 'the better it will be for you, because if the fact once became known, just as we see now in the newspapers that a fine bear is to be killed for his grease, we shall be having advertisements to the effect that a fine philosopher is to be killed for his oil.'
from Eurekas and Euphorias, ed. Gratzer)

The second thing, or b), that I want to know is whether there was any political distinction between the pursuers of these two different kinds of knowledge. One thinks of antiquarians as naturally Tory -- certainly Lord Harley was -- and of the proto-scientists as Whigs. (The motto of the Royal Society was nullius in uerba, which seems pretty Whiggish to me.) But is this accurate? I'm guessing it's a gross over-simplification which my head came up with, but I don't know where to find the book which tells me how wrong I am, and how much more subtle and interesting it really was.

I think that Newton saw a lot of his knowledge as a rediscovery; he believed in the wisdom of Solomon. So to know more about Solomon would logically help one to understand the world. There's an excellent book I read somewhere set in a post-apocalyptic wilderness, where the cutting-edge scientists are the archaeologists who recover lost technology: a great scientific discovery is made by digging up artefacts which increase understanding of how things worked; and to find some tattered scraps of an old textbook is the dream of all scientists and their funding bodies. (I think it might have been in the brilliant Hungry Cities series by Philip Reeve. The first one, Mortal Engines, has this excellent first sentence:
It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the North Sea.)

I suppose it was a bit like that in the Middle Ages, when they started to get their hands on translations of old Greek authors.

Anyway if you can suggest reading to elucidate the relationship between those two types of knowledge, in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, and also whether this related to how people felt about the Stuarts, I'd be grateful.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Ezra Pound

I had a tiring day, and even if I hadn't I'm not ever likely to want to read a two-volume biography of Ezra Pound. This is why the Literary Review is great. It makes culture sound interesting, and because of that I am a more well-educated person. Here is the first paragraph of Peter McDonald's review of the Pound book:

One of modern poetry's great symbolic and prophetic moments came in 1912, when Ezra Pound challenged Lascelles Abercrombie to a duel. Upset at the literary shenanigans of younger writers (as well as some old enough to have known better), Abercrombie had called for a return to Wordsworth; incensed, Pound issued his challenge, announcing to his intended victim that 'Stupidity carried beyond a certain point becomes a public menace'. Offered a choice of weapons (and knowing that Pound was a practised, if eccentric, fencer), Abercrombie suggested that the two poets should bombard each other with unsold copies of their own books. As an image for what was to come -- the struggle between tradition and innovation in the context of an enduring lack of public interest in poetry of either shade -- the comic resolution of this quarrel could hardly be bettered.

Also, I had never heard the definition of Romanticism as "spilt religion", attributed to T. E. Hulme.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Ow brain ow

Well, I've just finished writing a book. Actually I know that I haven't really finished it, but I was supposed to finish it yesterday, and I have a ton of things which I scheduled for early October which I now need to get on with, and I've been working on it almost non-stop since ten this morning, so what has happened is that as I have progressed on it today my brain has turned slowly into cheese, and the ratio of x to y, where x is how finished the work is and y is how well my head is working, has increased until it reached z, which is the threshold at which I am prepared to send the work to the editor. So I have now pdfed it and e-mailed it off to him. Tomorrow I have to write an intellectually challenging e-mail to someone about it, which will probably result in more stuff to do. (I'm the one who will be challenged, by the way, not him, that's the problem.) It's a loose definition of finished, but then, I need to clutch at straws right now. The cheese my brain has turned in to is not edam, or even gouda, but stilton, crumbly and squidgy and on the borderline of vile.

I haven't entirely been helped by living on Pub Crawl Street. Every year at this time (and to a lesser extent in January, and then again in June) it becomes swamped with herds of well-brought up youths, bonding together through that heady combination, alcohol and desperation. They are whooping as I type. Many of the males have dressed across gender roles, but not in a lifestyle choice kind of way, rather in a sort of golly how hilarious, I'm wearing fishnet tights! sort of way. And it's no more use getting annoyed with them than with a puppy that peed on the carpet -- I can't even think about them for long without getting worried for them, in their extreme youth. I'm rather glad not to be involved with students this year -- for one thing it means I don't have to be fretful about the start of October (brain-cheesing deadlines aside), but mostly it's because I don't have to worry about them. I worry about the students more than is practical. It's a type of egotism really; I still can't quite believe I got through it all without quitting or spontaneously combusting. Probably they'll all be fine. Certainly they'll have unrivalled opportunities to learn interesting things.

Anyhoo I ought to go to bed to be fresh for tomorrow, when instead of ignoring the things I ought to be writing for the things I have to be writing while thinking wistfully of the things I want to be writing, I can do go straight to the things I ought to be writing, and maybe even things I want to be writing in the evening. Hurray! Life is OK, actually.