December 18, 2015

8.30 am. Today, it was the turn of my WordPress software to malfunction. I suspect that the server-provider was at fault. Following a stint of house tidying and empty-box disposal, I pressed on with marking assignments. I’m now creating my own ‘Commonly Used’ comment remarks. I’d like to include expressions such as ‘Blimey!’, ‘Huh?!’, ‘But … !’, and ‘Oooo!’. A smiley emoticon wouldn’t go amiss either. But, no doubt, I’d be reprimanded by the ‘higher powers’ for so doing. (There’s little humour and lightness in teaching these days.) Although, I did include the comment: ‘Oh! How sweet’, in response to one submission; the student confessed to falling in love with Jackson Pollock’s work, having attended the recent exhibition in Liverpool. A number of other students experienced a powerful and positive emotional response to the works on that occasion.

9.15 am. More marking and a little Christmas card designing until lunchtime. My collection of gratefully received, and sometimes wonderfully idiosyncratic, department-related Christmas cards is growing:

Screen Shot 2015-12-19 at 09.14.18

Many students aren’t taught the rudiments of syntax and punctuation in school. (If these are not ‘key skills’, then I don’t know what are.) Without them, you cannot communicate ideas with any precision. ‘You gotta know this stuff!’

1.45 pm. Following lunch, I was on the case again. This was like eating a bowl of noodles, one strand at a time. And so on, and so on, until 5.15 pm. My eyes were fried.

7.15 pm. I performed an initial test of the new amp:


It’s quite astonishing how close digital emulation has come to capturing not only the sound but also the dynamics and player-interaction of valve amps. But, unlike valve amp, this one will perform with absolute consistency every time it is switched on. And it’s so lightweight. The cabinets are not. Nevertheless, I can hump them up and down three flights of stairs in one go, without strain or injury. They’re light enough. My Fender Twin Reverb weights 80lb. Needless to say, it rarely travels far.


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December 21, 2015