Thursday, 31 October 2013

A rock weekend


What a weekend we had! It started with a musicals class (this course is going rather well btw and I am not yet sick of the Wicked soundtrack) and then a run across to Manchester. Actually the journey was fairly horrendous: 4hr 10min to get from Newark to Manchester. That is a record. I could have walked it quicker!

Anyways, we made it with a minute and a half to spare before the train left (cue heavy breathing and me getting flustered - D was his usual unflappable self) and it was off to the Phones4U Arena (formerly the MEN) for the Peter Gabriel gig. Gabriel was the last on my 'old guys to see before they pack in' list so I was hugely excited. He played an amazing, risk-taking gig with an acoustic set and a performance of a song he hadn't even written yet! It was breath-taking and a total privilege to be there.

After spending a happy day hanging out with the fam (inc Smelly and Stu who were up north as well) we trotted back through to Manchester for our second gig: Steve Hackett at the Apollo. This was a really different event. He returned to the early Genesis progressive rock stuff which is not really my cup of tea frankly but I absolutely loved it. The band were amazingly tight and the music was rather beautiful. I totally zoned into it and came out feeling pretty chilled but intellectually challenged. I should listen to more proper progressive stuff. After lunch with the fam on Sunday we trekked back to Lincoln though the journey was considerably quicker that outbound. A great weekend and a really lovely opportunity to reboot.

Everything is extremely busy here - it's all fun but a bit manic. I have book deadlines, article proofs, lectures to be written, invited talks to sort out, new research paths to explore...and all the usual - exercise, life etc. All in all, the next few months are really pretty crammed. As I say, all fun but a tad overwhelming. The next few days are for grant applications (a job I truly loathe) and a conference trip to Oxford. Then next week we have teaching, lots of student one-to-ones, a mad trip to London (which I'll write about next week!), an appearance on Radio Lincolnshire and book proofs. The week after I am off to speak at the University of Strathclyde and am combining it with a run across to Edinburgh to do some work and catch up with the publisher (as well as enjoy the company of my lovely in laws). And so it goes on..and on... I think this year Christmas will be spent collapsed in a heap surrounded by tinsel and chocolate!

Tonight is also Halloween, my least favourite night of the year. I intend to hide away, do a workout, eat noodles and ignore it. If you really make it all the way to our village, down our pitch black drive and through the forest to knock on our door than frankly good on you - I'll invite you in for a cuppa!

Have a good night y'all

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Winter has arrived...

Since my last post, it appears that winter has hit Lincolnshire. It has rained all day! Ho hum... I received my early birthday present just in time: a dehumidifier. Our house is quite old so we get damp corners. This rather amazing machine sorts everything out. I do wonder when I got so old that a dehumidifier was an exciting present!

The past week or so has been filled with interesting wee events (like last night's Q&A with playwright Simon Stephens and last week's madness that was Filter Theatre's version of Twelfth Night), teaching, and some jolly little trips including a lovely Sunday in Leeds with our buddies. We had such a fun time with their four children and we spent Sunday afternoon drawing pictures and watching dance shows.

D has had exams again this week so he has been ultra busy with revision. We've managed to intersperse all the work with some fun watching. We've just started the new series of Newsroom which is a show I really enjoyed last year. You have to ensure you don't approach this series the wrong way. It isn't realism in that wonderful HBO, Dickens-on-the-screen sort of way. Rather it has something of the magical about it and a witty script to match. No one thinks of come backs as quickly as the cast of me, living with the king of quick wittedness, I would know! It is good fun though and a bit of relief from the last series of Treme which we've just finished. I can absolutely understand why both these series might have their critics! On Saturday we headed down to Kinema in the Woods in Woodhall Spa and watched Prisoners with the delectable Hugh Jackman. Not so delectable in this film but it was hugely admirable. D and I talked about it all the way home and to Leeds the next day. There were so many clever moments and it actually treated its audience members as adults, presuming that they are intelligent beings. As usual, I was a bit scared and had to grab D's arm on regular occasions but I am glad I saw it. Jackman and Gyllenhaal are both absolutely brilliant. Both display some serious acting chops. The ending played on my absolute worst nightmare...but I won't ruin it for you.

Other than I finished the full draft of the Book. It stands at 64, 322 words. I only have the conclusion to add to. Right now it feels just a bit thrown together but some great colleagues are looking over it for me. I now just need to sort out image permissions, one of my least favourite jobs. I am going to set aside an hour over the next few days in order to get them sorted.

In wrestling news (you would be sad to miss out on your regular pro-wrestling catch up, wouldn't you?), Shawn Michaels is back. I actually screamed at the television when his music hit. Hugely exciting!

I am continuing on with GSPRushfit and enjoying the challenge of weights although, as always with these long fitness courses, I'm also looking forward to being done so I can mix it up a bit more. Having watched Ironman Kona at the weekend (I stayed up until 3 in the morning on Saturday watching on my ipad) I am pretty inspired to do a crazy fitness challenge. Kona looks a bit brutal but I'm pretty sure that 2014 will have some sort of large fitness challenge in it.

Anyways, must crack on. Hope all is well with all.

Friday, 4 October 2013

And so it begins...

...the new term, that is. Here we are at the end of week 1. It has been a brilliant teaching week, perhaps one of my favourite ever. Groups of great students, some fascinating chat, stimulating learning environments and, best of all, plenty of laughs.

We've had some rather lovely days outside of work too: days riding Tommy, having lunch in Woodhall Spa, visiting Bransby Home for Horses, celebrating seven years since D's rather spectacular resuscitating of his future wifey with dinner at lovely Chequers, watching series 2 of Treme (nearly finished), lots of GSP Rushfit (my hip flexors know all about that!), an autumn BBQ with our buddies, getting a new showbiz haircut and reading a wonderful book called And the Land Lay Still by James Robertson. All in all we have filled our days with quiet fun stuff when we aren't working.

Research time over the next few weeks is divided between finishing the Book (Modernist and Avant-Garde Performance: an introduction with be out next year!) and trying to put together a new funding application. My teaching timetable this semester is rather odd so my research days vary. Actually I quite like this - I find I get more done with a bit of variety in my world. In addition to teaching and my usual research load, I seem to have lots of opportunities to do other fun (work-related) stuff like speaking about research on Radio Lincolnshire last Friday. Man, local radio guys are super talented and work super hard! I was incredibly impressed by Nicola Gilroy and team - nothing fazed them which, in a rather unpredictable environment like the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, is a very good thing!

All in all, all is well! Some groovy stuff coming up over the next few months - gigs, research trips, speaking engagements so I'll keep you in touch.