Month: February 2018

February 8, 2018

8.00 am: A communion. 8.20 am: An arduous day lay ahead, and my reserves – which I (like a local council) have dipped into too often this last fortnight – were drying up rapidly. Beyond this morning’s conference, I had a full afternoon of teaching to fulfil, an evening of email catch up, and to prepare for my day in hospital tomorrow, as well as the knock-on effect of taking off two working days next week in order to recuperate. 8.30 am: As part of my pre-delivery routine, I went through the presentation against the clock. There’d by no surprises, as far as it was in my power to ensure. In my final pass over the script, I made some radical excisions in order to keep the presentation well within time. (Strand chairpersons hate contributions that exceed their allotted limit. One overspill can throw the timetable for the whole session.) My last task was to make the top, right-hand corner of each page of my script dog-eared. This permits me to turnover effortlessly, without the risk of skipping a page.

10.20 am: I arrived at the Arts Centre, registered for the Digital Past 2018 conference, and was told that my session had been moved from the Cinema to the Theatre. No big deal. But I’d never spoken there before and, therefore, needed to get acclimatised to the acoustics and depth of the auditorium. I’m more comfortable when knowing how the space will respond to my voice:

10.45 am: Time for tea before I looked at the various heritage stands in the Great Hall:

I took time to review my script and, then, sat myself in the auditorium ahead of time and considered how I would walk from my seat to the lectern to commence, and from the lectern back to my seat after the delivery. Once I’d pre-visioned the bookends, what lay between would take care of itself. It sounds nuts. But it works.

I was down for the end of the session, so I was able to learn from the efforts of others contributing before me. My paper was rather left of field in respect to the heritage theme. Something of a wild card. But, what the heck! 12.15 pm: I took to the floor …

… and launched:

The audience were generous with their response (and, I’m sure, not a little bemused). However, their questions implied that they’d grasped my endeavour and its future implications.

After a speedy lunch and a searching conversation with one of the delegates, I pressed down towards the School to undertake what would have been the mornings third-year Painting tutorials. One student has been painting flowers and taps. (Don’t ask. It does make sense.) It struck me that their palette had begun to take on the quality of the bouquets quite unselfconsciously:

7.15 pm: I caught up on the day’s waiting emails, this dairy, and the events of the day, while making preparations for tomorrow’s hospitalisation. In an anonymous package, I received a lovely surprise gift from one of our former MA students and the cover designer of King Crimson’s album Lizard (1970). I’m looking forward to reading the book during my recuperation:

9.30 pm: An early breakfast. (I’d have to fast tomorrow morning).

Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:

  • What if blue was thought of as a warm colour?
  • One of the hardest things a student has to create is a sense of imperative. (Tempus Fugit.)
  • When you draw, it’s not only the drawing but also the experience of seeing, understanding, and rendering through drawing that’s of value.
  • Sitting in the front seat of a car is a peculiarly cubist experience: through the windscreen there’s the view in front, and through the side- and rear-view mirrors, simultaneously, what’s to the left and right and behind.
  • Avoid quoting from your own paintings. Originally, the quotes had a context, raison d’etre, and history that cannot be replicated authentically.
  • Unless you feed your ideas by drawing upon something outside of art, the artworks will become increasingly a paler and paler echo of themselves.
  • There are times when the scale or size of the format feels like an ill-fitting shoe.
  • Make your studio space efficient – fit for purpose; beautiful in its own way.


February 7, 2018

8.00 am: A communion. 8.30 am: I attended to emails before digging in for the final day on the conference presentation. 9.00 am: The morning after the snow fell:

I’ve known academics who, having been pressed for time, completed their papers on the train en route to the conference. I’ve seen academics correcting their script even as they delivered it. Me … I’m a coward. There are too many things that could go wrong, in situ, that lie outside of my control (for example, a poor projector, an inadequately darkened room, an insufficiently loud sound system, the lack of a lectern and reading light, and failed connectors) for me to add to the jeopardy. Whenever possible, I assume the worse and go over-prepared.

11.30 am: Slides were now assigned and tested. Only the sound samples needed to be added. A task for the afternoon. Next, the script required close reading and correction before a draft print out and a road test against the clock. Pare down! Pare down! I shaved off nearly 100 words. The paper had to be a lean machine.

After lunch I lurched towards the School to pick up some equipment that I would use tomorrow. There was a frozen turbulence above – appearing like a still shot of some calamitous and portentous churning of the sky. Something’s up:

Prof. JH is my teacher too. He can be an awkward cuss at times. His other students must despair too. This is a typical encounter with him: ‘You’ll need to do that bit again’. ‘I’m not sure I’ve got the time, though’. ‘It’s up to you, of course. But now I’ve told you about it, it’s difficult to ignore. Isn’t it?’ ‘You have a point’. He often does, and so I relent … even if I really don’t have the time.

Mid afternoon, I unravelled a redundant cassette tape in order to make a photographic illustration for the paper. (Wikicommons didn’t come up with the goods.):

My mind was taken back to the opening credits of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s marionette series Joe 90 (1968), (which I watched avidly as a pre-teen). The analogy between tape and memory, with all the implications of data transfer, storage, and erasure.

While taking a 10-minute period of recuperation in the study rocking chair, I experienced an emotional memory about a yearning that I associate with the time when, in my adolescence, I’d sit besides the ‘Little Feeder’ in Blaina (my material grandparents’ home), catching minnow and tadpoles, chase toads, and contemplate my future (that’s to say, no further than week to come):

The older I get, the more vivid my past becomes. Perhaps, such memories are subliminal consolations to either help me through a present trial or enrich a barren patch. (The present can sometimes appear rather pale.) Why some memories and not others return is a mystery to me. By 5.15 pm, I was ready to mark up the script.

7.30 pm: Mark up continued, and my equipment tested and made ready for the morning. Finally, I read through the text and played through the audio-visual presentation against the clock. 9.45 pm: Conclusion.

Some principles and observations derived from today’s reflections:

  • Principles imply consequences.
  • Observations imply responsibility.
  • I’ve never before realised just how rare is the virtue of constancy.
  • Some things are just too far away in all directions.
  • Something must take place, very soon.
  • Virtues and graces must be gripped tightly; they’re easily dropped when one is under duress.

February 6, 2018

He also went down and killed a lion inside a pit on a snowy day (1 Chronicles 11.22)

7.45 am: The first snow:

8.00 am: I posted weather warnings to my class and tutees. Getting to Aberystwyth is one thing; getting home again, today, might be quite another. 8.30 am: A communion. 9.00 am: To begin: postgraduate admin and teaching preparations for the day ahead. My muggy mind and more general debilitations persist. Snow quietens the world beyond my window (a hush); makes people and vehicles proceed more slowly (a sanity); and softens the turbulent heart (a blessing).

10.20 am: Off to School. The snow was still falling; things appeared as though solarised. Wonderful!:

10.30 am: I prepared the classroom for Vocational Practice. A number of otherwise loyal students were, wisely, not taking to the road today. Beauty and danger go hand in hand on these occasions:

11.10 am: Commencement. I reached for the reserves, yet again. We discussed the students’ recent experience at the undergraduate assessment observation, and looked forward to the implementation of the principles of higher-education teaching that we’d learned in semester one.

12.10 pm: A re-routed MA fine art tutorial (due to the prospect of the weather declining), followed by an early lunch (over which I tied up the loose ends of the morning’s business). 1.45 pm: A thaw:

2.00 pm: From then until 6.00 pm, both at the School and Old College (both achingly warm today), I conducted further MA tutorials:

By the time I got home, I was a wash out. After dinner, I snoozed on the settee. (Either I was having a reaction to something I’d consumed today or a cold was in the offing. Neither scenario was welcome.)

7.30 pm: I began to align the slides of the PowerPoint with my conference paper. Having clear markers to indicate transitions aids a confident, fluid, and professional presentation. It has always been worth putting in the effort.

Some observations and principles derived from today’s engagements:

  • ‘I continue to tread the road. Broad steps’, the student said of their endeavour.
  • What has the beginning to do with the end, and vice versa? So often, our practice runs in circles.
  • There’s a ‘deep structure’ (to borrow Chomsky’s phrase) underlying creative practice that’s common to all medial manifestations. Thus, we’re, at this level, artists before we’re painters, printmakers, photographers, or whatever.
  • We cannot succeed without enduring some cuts and bruises.
  • Extend generosity to the work of other artists. It may not be what you like but, if it has quality, then, acknowledge that the virtue has been hard won.
  • There are sections of the mountain that we must climb alone.
  • I’ve not taken a hand mirror into my tutorials for years. The device enables both the tutor and tutee to see an inverted version of the artwork. It’s like experiencing the image for the first time. The compositional imbalance is made conspicuously evident. I must revive the practice.



February 5, 2018

Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God (Psalm 83.1), (A personal, silent meditation before Morning Prayer, Holy Trinity Church, Aberystwyth, February 4, 2018):

To start, the silence
at the edge –
that dark valley which
arcs towards the sound.

And, then, the silence 
in the gap
between the tracks –

– pause before resumption.

At last, the silence
of the tail –
that spits and spirals
to the end

before the arm lifts off.*

8.30 am: A communion. 9.00 am: A full and contrasting week: teaching, conferencing, and surgery. Onto the inbox and into the outbox. I’m crawling today … in a deep trough. My mind worked hard to fix its focus. A poor night’s sleep had left me listless to begin. 10.15 am: Tutorials and interviews arranged, rearranged, and restored, I returned to the conference paper, cup of PG Tips to hand and music in the background. (Getting my act together, finally.)

There’s the prospect of snow tomorrow. When I was young, my family told me stories about the ‘Great Snow’ of 1947. Pop (my maternal grandfather) would pipe up, with a mixture of wonder and dismay: ‘Aye! The drifts were up to the bloody rooftops, in May still.’:

Unknown person in an unknown place (May 1947)

For a lad who’d rarely experienced snowfall that reached above the top of his wellies in February, these testimonies evoked a mythic time ‘when there were giants in the earth’. 50 years ago:

Known person, Abertillery (February 1968)

12.30 pm: A brief visit in the bracing cold to the School to retrieve papers for scanning. 1.30 pm: After lunch, a scan fest (In the background: John McLaughlin’s Devotion (1970).) 2.00 pm: Back to the paper, and the concluding section. (I’ve yet to test the length of the paper, and the visual and sound illustrations, against the clock.). Mid afternoon. The light no longer fails so fast:

7.30 pm: I pushed hard against inclination. My aim was to complete the conclusion to the paper by the close of the day; I held myself to that determination. One must behave honourably, even with oneself. 9.40 pm: Achieved!

Some principles and observations derived from today’s reflections:

  • Something that began as the consequence of a bad decision may yet lead to a good outcome. Something that began as the consequence of a good decision may yet lead to a bad outcome. Sometimes, it’s hard to distinguish between the two.
  • There are times when, it seems, all past griefs, losses, and surrenders fall once more, but together, as a single, amorphous, and suffocating blanket of sorrow.
  • ‘His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead’ (James Joyce, ‘The Dead’ from Dubliners (1914)).
  • Someone once said to me that my reflections were ‘like the confessions of a dying man’.
  • The past has always been more important than the future to me. The future is all conjecture: without either temporal fixity, or resolution, or substance, or deeper feeling.
  • The second silence fell far harder, like another, deeper snow upon the first. The thaw (if it should come at all) would be needs be slow.
  • Sometimes it’s a choice between which of several unhappinesses would you find most bearable.


*For Amy Seed

February 3, 2018

In that solid city

8.30 am: A communion. 9.00 am: I intended to finish the penultimate section of the paper substantially by the close of the day. I’m also, presently, reconsidering the abandoned composition based upon a deceleration of MacMillan’s recitation of Psalm 23. (Rarely, do I let go of any creative possibility without a fight.) Having alighted upon software that can facilitate an even and progressive slowing of the source, without generating unpleasant artefacts in the process, my enthusiasm for the idea had been rekindled. When I played the draft version of the decelerating source in Bethel Welsh Baptist Church in November, the sound had a plaintive, almost dispiriting, quality; but I wasn’t able to capture it, digitally, either in situ (you had to be there, as it were) or in the studio, subsequently. The vocal sample also requires a complementary undertow. ‘Think on, John!’, he piped up:

While writing my paper, I fielded two parallel and entirely unrelated social media conversations: one about effects pedals and the other related to the curatorial storm that has blown up over the removal of John Williams Waterhouse’s Hylas and the Nymphs (1896) from Manchester City Art Gallery. One of my FaceBook friends rightly drew attention to the work of the contemporary American painter, Eric Fischl.

A painting such as his Bad Boy (1981) – showing a young boy covertly putting his hand into a purse (traditionally, a symbol for the vagina) while looking at a woman (his mother, perhaps) naked and pleasuring herself on a bed – is far more ‘problematic’. But the ‘problem’ is both salutary and necessary. I replied to their post:

Fischl made a number of, what some might interpret as, unseemly and lewd images showing uncomfortable juxtapositions of children and adults. To my mind, he speaks a social truth that we must confront. (By the way, Hylas, the male in Waterhouse’s painting, was gay. The Nymphs abducted him, poor chap. ) … Fischl was a devotee of Edward Hopper. And Hopper showed naked women in hotel rooms looking out of open windows in order to be seen. What was that all about?

Some art ought make us feel uncomfortable; it should throw us back upon ourselves, put our moral compass into a spin, force us to better define the basis of our ethics, and face the hard realities about the human condition. That is art acting responsibly, in my opinion.

Many years ago, I taught a male painting student who made works based on pornographic images in magazines and on the internet. While I drew a line at reviewing his source material, I (and his girlfriend, too) fully supported his endeavour to translate that material into works that were, in some respects, not so far removed from Wilhem deKooning’s controversial series of Women (c. 1950s). I do have moral objections to pornography; but, then again, so did this student … which is why he made the paintings in the first place. So I felt able to commit myself, as his tutor, to his intent. During my second year as an undergraduate, my painting tutor, John Selway, produced a series called The Use of Women to Sell Beds. The paintings were sumptuous, bold, and mildly erotic (in the manner of Georges Rouault‘s images of prostitutes), but in no sense exploitative or uncomfortably problematic like, say, Allen Jones’ Chair (1969). Indeed, the title of John’s series suggests that his raison d’être was to draw attention to the issue of  female commodification.

11.00 am: Tea time:

Meanwhile … back at the paper … . I intended to type the phrase ‘I shall not want’ but it came out as ‘I shall not lunch’. (No way!) My mind and fingers clearly had different agendas.

1.30 pm: After my frugal repast (a cold, lifeless, left-over slice of pizza) and some manly domestic duties, I returned to my desk for the afternoon’s onslaught. In the background: Miles Davis’ Circle in the Round (1967). I wrote a short essential description of the modus operandi for each of the works the works that I’d be playing at the coming conference. Distilling an intent is hard. You can’t afford to tell the whole story. And the ‘devil’ is in the detail. Rain, rain, rain, rain. I’ll never leave my house again:

3.00 pm: I went into PowerPoint slide design mode. In the background: Van der Graff Generator’s Least We Can Do is Wave to Each Other (1970). 3.25 pm: It’s strange how some pieces of music create in me an intense desire to revisit a place that I know only as a mood memory. The place has neither a name nor a location nor a position on my timeline, as far as I can discern. But it’s no less real and consoling for that. The sense of that place, like an after-image on the inside of your eye, fades very quickly. Each time I experience this phenomenon, I’m left with a profound wistfulness. For, I know for certain that I’d find peace there:

Towards the end of the working day, another FaceBook friend asked me: ‘Do you think you’ll return to painting in the future?’. My response: ‘If ideas present themselves as realisable only in terms of painting, then yes’.

5.20 pm: Close of play.

Some observations and principles derived from today’s reflections:

  • The aim is to live at peace with yourself; to be reconciled to yourself.
  • I find those that desire, and delight in, solitariness to be very attractive.
  • You can be in a satisfying relationship and still a loner. The two conditions aren’t mutually antagonistic.
  • The acceptance of solitude is often the gift of the only child.
  • We are incomprehensible to ourselves. Small wonder that others misunderstand us.
  • Think of it not as an end.


February 2, 2018

forward nor backward
down nor up
that way nor this
wrong nor right;
its broad circumference,
the circle turns.

8.00 am: A Communion. 8.30 am: Why didn’t I have any socks on? It wasn’t the first time for this to happen. I made preparations for the late afternoon’s delivery of my ‘Time Management’ lecture for the Professional Practice module, and selected a cross section of assessment submissions from the Abstraction module for double marking. In the background: I replayed yesterday’s mix of ‘Depth Meshes Horridly’. I’d soon be able to relinquish my grip on this piece. I could feel it.

9.30 am: Back to the conference paper and PowerPoint. There was further information about the architecture of the chapel and the structure and themes of Psalm 23 to be inserted into the text. The paper and sound samples must be constrained within a 20-minute duration. No idle talk and superfluities, no frills or decorations, therefore. It’s curious how, so often, my current research finds its way back to much earlier preoccupations:

I’d dealt with the correspondence between the Temple of Solomon and Bethel, first, when I was writing my PhD Art History thesis.

This wasn’t the first time that I’d made an artwork involving Bethel either. In 1995, I constructed a series of shaped paintings based upon the chapel’s interior structure. They were decidedly paintings rather than relief sculptures. This was a state of mind definition; I was a painter and not a sculptor. Had I conceived of them as sculptures, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to pursue them. For me, painting has always been a particular type of outlook in relation to ideas and mediums, rather than an engagement with paint, necessarily. Thus, when I come making sound works, I do as a ‘painter’. Whether or not this idea bears scrutiny is a rather moot point:

Bethel II (1995) acrylic and wood stain on plyboard, 44 × 48.5 × 12

After lunch, I continued writing for as long as ideas presented themselves. Mid afternoon, I made some adjustments to yesterday’s mix in the studio. The beat track was over-cooked. It’d become too brittle and brassy, and threatened to occlude some of the foreground samples’ subtleties.  So, I resurrected and inserted a prior version in its place:

Working with low-fi source material is a challenge when it come to producing an overall sonority that isn’t thin, hissy, and grainy, like its parts. Individual frequencies must be removed, one by one, until all ‘noises’ that are extraneous to the sound are gone. This is a subtle craft. At the same time, I listened to the results both on monitors, headphones (two types) and Focusrite’s Virtual Reference Monitoring software, which provides an approximation of a variety of studio and monitor speaker combinations.

4.30 pm: Off to the School to prepare for the graveyard shift:

5.10 pm: ‘Time Management’. At this time of the day and week, I had to, again, reach for the reserves. The lecture bordered on theatre. The aim was to humanise what could  otherwise be a rather dry and tedious topic.

7.30 pm: Back to the mix. I found it! I nailed it!: the motor that drove the piece. The beat now sounds something like a relentless and an intimidating snare drum. Be gone lethargy and apathy! All I need do, now, is more carefully shape the amplitude pattern of the beat track and get an external appraisal of the whole, prior to finalisation.






February 1, 2018

7.00 am: Breakfast:

7.30 am: A communion. 8.15 am: After a brief survey of my gloriously empty inbox (that won’t be for long), I made ready for work. High winds had churned the neighbourhood all night. By the morning, they’d blown away the dark clouds. Now there was a metaphor in the making. 8.30 am: Into the day. I heard bird song in the trees for the first time this year. The season was on the turn. Children straggled reluctantly behind their mums, en route to school — pulled along like iron filings by a magnet. A kite hovered above my head. I sang the doxology beneath my breath:

9.00 am: My day for undergraduate fine art teaching, and the first for students on the Exhibition module. The beginning of the end, as it were. And that end, I’m determined, will be magnificent. I climbed the stairs (the first of many assaults, today) armed with my teaching kit: an iPad (to access images of artworks) and ‘The Black Notebook’ (to record my principles and observations):

I discovered the truth about ‘one-size bigger bras’ for the first time today. A painting student brought in some new acquisitions, which will serve as a still lifes for their exhibition. Raine’s tray: there’s a welter of principles about the spatial properties of colour that could be learned from this:

The weather lurched from hail storms of biblical proportions to resplendent, white, fluffy cumulousness:

12.30 pm: A lunchtime Committee meeting at the town chambers with Dr Forster. 1.30 pm: Homeward, for an afternoon in front of my composition. I was on the last lap. Before laying down my mouse, last night, I’d read over my paper. It helped to remind me of processes and adaptations associated with the deficits of dementia that I’d not yet adapted to any of the other compositions. The title of the present composition is ‘Depth Meshes Horridly’. It’s an anagram of ‘the Lord is my shepherd’ that encapsulates something of the disorientation and incomprehensibility associated with the condition and, in so doing, brings certain characteristics of the composition into sharper focus too. (This, in turn, confirmed the appropriateness of the title.)

3.30 pm: I moved from the study into the studio in order to finalise aspects of the mix. The process took the rest of the afternoon and evening, as each sample was individually remastered and located within the stereo field. The composition now had momentum and bite.

Some principles and observations derived from today’s tutorials:

  • Aim to make works that fulfil both your own needs and the condition of credible and engaging images.
  • You aren’t obliged to act upon your tutor’s suggestions. But you are responsible for evaluating their appropriateness or otherwise.
  • Our relationship to the work is like a conversation with a friend. We may come away knowing more about ourself than about them.
  • Weston-Super-Mare: the tide was ever out, it seemed; the damp sand that remained looked like the underside of my feet after they’d been in the bath for too long.
  • How you paint is far more important than what you paint.
  • The idea that you can make quality paintings of unwavering consistency is wholly unrealistic. Francis Bacon once said that he consigned 90% of his output to the skip.
  • When you paint from life you learn about life.
  • Today, I banned ‘I don’t know’, as a knee-jerk response to my questions. As a result, the students’ replies were much more considered and substantive.
  • You see your work from the inside out; your tutor sees it from the outside in. Two complementary perspectives that aren’t necessarily congruent. It’s up to you to either reconcile or choose between them.
  • What’s missing? What’s not yet exhibition-worthy about the work?
  • If your painting was a sound, what would I be hearing?
  • It’s like constructing a Lego model from very few bricks. Each must be chosen and assembled very deliberately. When working with very few elements in a painting, each has to bear a huge responsibility for the success of the work.
  • Painting as a web of memories.
  • An exhibition as an exposition of your work.
  • Be confident, and make a virtue of the works’ limitations and restrictions.
  • With respect to your work: If you’ve never had a crisis, then you do have a problem.


January 31, 2018

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4.6)

6.15 am: I awoke, with a heart of dark complexion that, in the past, I’ve associated with the anticipation of some great loss: a pre-grief, as it were. From whence do these shadows arise? 7.30 am: A communion. ‘Hey you! Don’t watch that. Watch this!’ was the memorable introduction to the song ‘One Step Beyond‘ (1979) by the British Ska band Madness. In the verse (above), the apostle Paul enjoins the same, essentially: redirect your attention away from the problem and towards the solution. The New Testament Greek for ‘anxious’ (μεριμνάω) means to be ‘distracted’, ‘over-careful’, or ‘to go to pieces’. We’ve all experienced those feelings too many times in our lives already in response to, for example, overwhelming circumstances, disturbing concerns, chronic illness, the possibility that our basic human needs (physical, emotional, and spiritual) may not be met, and the fear of failure. This list is almost endless. Paul’s encouragement is comprehensive in its scope: there’s ‘nothing’ about which you need remain anxious (no exemptions), and ‘everything’ that distresses you can be directed to God (no exclusions). But the means by, and attitude in, which you do so is crucial: ‘by prayer’, ‘supplication’ (earnest and humble asking), and ‘thanksgiving’ (for the good ‘stuff’ in your life, and because he’s willing to listen and act on your behalf). Of course, he knows your needs before you ask; but he still wants you to tell him about them. Because God seeks a relationship.

8.30 am: Off to School against a gathering wind to begin the first of this application round’s Visiting Days. ‘I want to be a professional artist, and I know the field is competitive. But I’m willing to work very hard’, the applicant replied. Music to my ears. Someone with that approach to study is likely to succeed. I place considerable emphasis on the applicant’s work ethic. It’s evident in not only the portfolio but also an attitude. That attitude cannot be taught; it’s arrived at independently and internally, and often in that moment when they catch a vision of themselves and what they may do with their lives. Today, I’ve talked (entered into a dialogue) with applicants for undergraduate schemes on the one side of the School and the PhD schemes, on the other. In the end, I want to be sure that the School of Art is the most appropriate place for them, and that they are the most suitable student for it. While achieving the departmental quota for admissions is important, the future happiness and development of the applicant is pre-eminent:

Applicants at this stage in their education really don’t know what they’re capable of. Today, I’ve been genuinely impressed by their presentation. And it’s heartening to hear that they benefit from the solid support of their A-level and foundation studies tutors. In between and around interviews I chopped down the height of my ‘unread’ mail stack and made preparations for future postgraduate interviews:

1.45 pm: The day has turned from sullen to resplendent and back again. When the sun shines, the spirits lift and the building is at its best:

On with postgraduate admin. 4.30 pm: A pep talk for the undergraduate Exhibition 1 and 2 tutees. Start as you mean to go on. I ended the day with a pastoral tutorial.

6.30 pm: Teaching admin: uploads, emails, sound file transfer, and curriculum distribution. 7.00 pm: On with the sound composition. I began working from both the beginning and the end inwards to the centre of the composition – as I might in a certain type of painting. I also imposed a time limit on the piece: 2 minutes. Thus, all permutations and explorations of the ideas had to take place within that frame. The effect was that of tightening the whole, even though none of the internal parts had been changed. Quite remarkable. For the remainder of the evening, I micro-adjusted the sample alignments therein:

Some Observations and principles derived from today’s engagements:

  • Learn to act against the dictates of the heart and self-interest.
  • Follow your passion; its most likely to be the thing in which you achieve success.
  • You may discredit yourself by trying to live up to other people’s expectations.
  • Parents and teachers can be wise and necessary counsellors, but its only you, in the end, that can make the choices and decision that affect your future.
  • Be prepared to receive as good as you give when you confront a dynamic student as a teacher.
  • Choice words delivered in season with love. My aspiration for the ideal pastoral tutorial.