Not the most optimistic
title for a blog entry and apologies to Alan Bennett who used the phrase ‘keeping
on keeping on’ for the latest of his diary volumes – not that he’s likely to
notice. Not that I’m down, just a bit muted, though the first few weeks of term were a nightmare.
The impact of COVID on adult student numbers, mostly. Things seem to be coming together now but
there are still gremlins in the works and those who enjoy casting shade. Enduring and pondering retirement, even
though in many ways I still love my job. I doubt I would be able to keep up, given the work load, without the help and support of my retired husband keeping it all together on the domestic front and for which I am so very grateful.
I’ve been doodling little poems and lyrics and have also been listening to music a lot. I recently bought the Specials’ latest, Protest Songs. I like it. It has a good range of ‘protest songs’ from the nursery rhyme like ‘I live in a city’, which conjures the incongruous image of Terry Hall singing at a Woodcraft Folk gathering, to another - but this time deceptively - simplistic song, ‘I don’t mind failing in this world’, which packs a solid socialist message and makes me think what a coward I am when it comes to criticism. Every time, I hear the lines ‘Somebody else's definition/Isn't going to measure my soul's condition/I don't mind failing in this world.’ I am reminded that teaching observations have been brought forward and walk throughs have been increased. I have been through this so many times but I can never quite shake off the feeling that one is viewed as only as good one’s last observation. It never gets any easier. Both these songs were written by political folk pioneer Malivina Reynolds of Little Boxes fame. There’s a wonderful version of Talking Head’s Listening Wind with guest singer Hannah Hoo, and great renditions of Fuck All the Perfect People and Everybody Knows. Lynval Golding brings a lifetime’s understanding to Black, Brown and White and Get up, Stand Up.
Reading wise, our book group read The Silence of the Girls
by Pat Barker. A brilliant study of male dominance and women’s witness to men’s
sense of entitlement and obsession with power. Truly tragic and very moving. The
sacrifice of Polyxena as seen through Briseis’s eyes will stay with me, as will
the representation of Achilles as an emotionally retarded man child. Fortunately, men have improved a great deal; despite the recent spot light on male violence, there are many good men out there. Without mine, I would struggle on so many levels.
So far, so self-absorbed but life is pulling me back from my own narrow concerns in different ways. My uncle has just passed away, which means family coming north for the funeral; my mum has to have an investigation under anaesthetic, which is a worry. These things plus several social gatherings on the horizon should also to help counteract my currently inward gaze.