Monday, 12 December 2016

Coming towards the end of term...

...and what a term it has been! November came and went without a blog post. And here we are in December with the weather turning colder, the decorations coming out of dusty boxes, the festive music accompaniment in shops. Here at DMU we seem to finish later than everyone else (I'm sure, in reality, this isn't true!), and faculty and students alike seem to be rather crawling towards the finish line at the end of this week.

So, what have we been up to since we last checked in? Well, D and I can't remember a busier time really. For both of us work has been full, challenging and (mostly) fun. We've also been doing a lot of travelling. First up: California for the 2016 Modernist Studies Association Conference.

As the lead up to this conference landed in our reading week, we decided to take a few extra days in one of our favourite parts of the world. We explored a few new places for us, including Palm Springs (where D fell a bit in love with the pancakes at Elmers) where we spent out time in a wonderful Air BnB with four gorgeous dogs. We then headed off to Joshua Tree and into the Mojave Desert where we spent a couple of nights in a beautiful desert retreat. Sitting in the hot tub watching a timid coyote pad about and hummingbirds zooming over our heads was really pretty special. Then we headed back into the city, to Pasadena, a lovely area on the outskirts of the sprawling Los Angeles. MSA was brilliant this year. I co-organised a great seminar on Modernist Performance and Global Transmission, and spoke on British interpretations of Russian constructivism on a panel on Modernist Borders. Lovely to catch up with old friends and meet new folks. D and I even had time to go to the Rose Bowl for USC v UCLA, enjoy an orchestral concert at CalTech and see the space shuttle Endeavour at the Science Museum. It was a terrific trip and I headed back into term feeling really energised.

Riding a lovely horse through the desert. Really the best way to experience any place is on horseback, I think!

Since then we have enjoyed weekends with both sides of the family in Stockport and Loch Lomond. This meant fun and games with our nieces and nephew. We love them to bits! Other highlights from the past month include: watching the sensational 'Arrival' at the cinema (honestly in my top 5 films ever), reading the amazing 'Do Not Say We Have Nothing' (a Man Booker nominee) and the New Work in Modernist Studies Conference at Queen Mary last Saturday which included a game changing plenary from Sascha Bru.

In all this, new writing has rather fallen by the wayside. 'Migrating Modernist Performance: British Theatrical Travels through Russia' is now out (available just in time for Christmas, friends!). I'm pleased with its look and with the response from folks so far. I've also been working on a bunch of ongoing publications, including an edited journal collection, and a couple of book chapters. Hoping to spend a bit of time over Christmas reworking a new article out of a paper on Butlins and wrestling that I've already presented at a couple of conferences.

This week is a collection of Christmas parties, training days, and marking. I've been thinking a good deal about two typical Christmas ideas this week: joy and peace. I think at this time (and with everything going on in the world right now - don't get me started!) we could do worse then trying to share them with those we meet.

Happy Christmas/Holiday celebrations one and all.