Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The sound of summer

Oh my goodness, Cults completely rock! This is the sound of my perfect summer band - old school bubblegum Dirty Dancing-esque 1950s inspired pop, with a lo fi rock-out edge. Soundtrack to my summer

via {frolic}

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Can a doodle be art?

So I'm - perhaps a little stupidly - about to embark on a 6 week experimental art e-course, having very very little 'artistic' experience and with quite a low sense of my own creativity or ability in the visual arts. The first assignment won't be posted until tomorrow, but I got my sketch book out tonight... and I didn't know what to do with it. Total fear of the blank page....

Then I decided just to start writing and drawing something, with no pressure or sense of having to be 'artistic'. I drew what I felt. A big scared face shouting out 'BLANK PAPER. AAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!'. It was the kind of drawing I do all the time. It was a doodle. My friends and I do these doodles at the back of our lecture room during research seminars (they generally are drawings of glasses of wine with 'I neeeeeeed vino!!' underneath or pictures of how we might escape the room, in search of wine). But a doodle is not art, right? Then I thought, well maybe if it is, I could start here. In a place I know very well. With a doodle.

Here are some examples of very cool doodlings that most definitely are art.

Via cariblogger and richworks

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

I love universities a bit too much - I'm fascinated by the sense of tradition mixed with politics and radicalism. I have spent nearly half my adult life in university settings (cripes)... Here are a few great university photos from the wonderful LIFE archives

Australian-born feminist author and journalist Germaine Greer makes her students laugh as she teaches a class on 17th century literature at University of Warwick, England, March 1971.
Photo: Terrence Spencer/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Mar 01, 1971

Freshmen John Sease and Beverly Cayford meet on a random couch which is being moved into the dorms at Princeton, New Jersey, 1969. Beverly is one of the first 101 female students to attend Princeton. Photo: Alfred Eisenstaedt/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
Jan 01, 1969

Hippie poet Allen Ginsberg speaking at Kansas Univ.
Photo: John Loengard/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Jan 01, 1966

Irish author, scholar, and theologian C.S. Lewis (1898 - 1963) walks past a Magdalen College building at Oxford University, Oxford, England, 1946.
Photo: Hans Wild/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Nov 01, 1946

Sunday, 5 June 2011


Here's an amazing example of songwriting. Some wonderful lyrics in this tune. Am spending a lazy sunday listening to Shawn Colvin and the Indigo Girls and marvelling at their craft

Saturday, 4 June 2011

New beginnings

This past year has been a crazy one - notice the lack of posts, right?! - and I've been struggling with the demands that part-time lecturing has on my time. Marking, marking, marking for an intense six months of the year, then no work and no pay for the remaining six. It's been great not working in an office, not doing admin, not managing staff, but actually the lack of stability, and regular income have been problematic. Not to mention that marking hangs over into your home life so much... I miss being in a job where I can close the door at 5pm and leave my work there. So, this week I start two months of temporary administrative work at the University of Southampton, three days per week. And hopefully, if the interview goes well, I might get this gig permanently (if they let me stay part-time). The money is not as good as it needs to be to pay all my bills, but it's regular money. And hopefully what this job will give me is a bit more time. Sounds illogical, but it's time in the evenings and weekends that I need, to be able to write, research, make music and do all the other things that I want and need to do.

When these new sorts of beginnings come, I find it a really positive time to look at my life overall and see where I think things are going. This first spring in our new house has been amazing, and we've been doing so much in the garden. It's starting to look good now - though there is still masses to do, there *is* progress! - and we have a lovely seating area and some wonderful flowers starting to bloom. E has really been enjoying all the space and now has a climbing frame and slide, which keep him busy. So, this side of things is great. The woodsman, the boy and I are happy here.

There are two areas I'm not happy about. One is time - too many things to do, too many deadlines, not enough time. Hopefully the one job that I can leave behind at the end of each day should solve this. The second is health and diet. I've been so busy that I've been eating loads of junk, and it's really starting to show. So from next week, I'm trying to get back to some of my old good habits. Less booze, less caffeine, more fruit, veg and grains, herbal teas - basically more fresh food. None of that 'argh I'm at a train station and have 5 mins to eat, grab a bag of crisps!' thing that has been going on. And definitely no pain au chocolat for breakfast at the station any more!! To be honest, I won't miss it much. I'd rather make time to eat breakfast at home and have something tasty. E is up at 5.30am most mornings at the moment, so there should be plenty of time before I leave the house to get my breakfast. Novel thought, but perhaps I could get mine whilst he has his?! Oh, and also I've just found this site - 101 Cookbooks - with these delicious veggie recipes for some inspiration.

Finally, this Simple Living Manifesto has been providing me with some great ideas.

Now for watering the garden.... lovely job at the end of a hot, nearly-summer day

Photo by beauty that moves