January 10, 2018

8.15 am: A communion. 9.00 am: Bodily deficits have, over the last few days, been compounded by a recurrence of symptoms associated with ME. These make an appearance periodically, and can last up to a month. I feel as though I’m suffering from the perpetual onset of flu: limbs ache and are heavy, my eyes burn and stream, concentration requires a herculean effort on occasion, and I experience a lassitude that no amount of sleep can relieve. ‘Keep going, John!’, the voice charged. On with marking:

The term ‘Generation Snowflake’, which I heard most recently on the BBC Radio 4 news this morning, while derogatory and not applicable to a broad swathe of confident, robust, and well earthed young adults, does ring true of others, in my experience. I suspect that the latter (like the poor in the gospel saying) will always be, and have always been, with us. Today, however, they have definition. I belong to, what could be called ‘Generation SOS (Swim Or Sink)’. We taught ourselves to be self-reliant, have a realistic sense of what others either could or were obliged to do on our behalf, apportion blame to ourselves first, facedown problems without prevarication and grizzling, and not to allow the injustices, bad hands, and grenades that life threw at us to be an excuse for underachieving. We were (many of us) our own men and women. Maintaining that attitude involved hard work, focus, sacrifice, discomfort, and a great deal of soul searching. But that’s what we expected life would demand. So, there were no grounds for either disappointment or complaint.

I, late in the day, completed my response to the Module Evaluation Questionnaire for the module I’m currently marking. There was a 48% return only, which doesn’t provide an indicative response in my books. The process is dispiriting. Students are now tired of being asked to respond. (I sympathise). Why is my iPhone no longer ‘discoverable’ by my iMac? These devices boast of an efficiency that cannot be delivered with consistency. Who’s not recognising who here? One of them doesn’t trust the other … but neither are telling. Turning them both off, and then on again, sometimes re-establishes a reliable connection. We’ll see! Life’s rarely straightforward.

On with marking:

In the background: John Coltrane. Mid afternoon, I put down the red pen and tested an idea that had been bouncing around my brain like a ball bearing in a bagatelle over the Christmas period. I’ve wanted to capture the sound made by the movement of the cursor on the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software as it traversed the graphic interface. Using a live-sound capture software, overlaid upon the DAW, I was able to record its peregrinations in real time. It’s the equivalent of manipulating the DAW like a turntable:

I based my trails on MacMillan’s recitation of Psalm 23. Whether this will result in material towards another composition for the I. Nothing. Lack. suite remains undecided. ‘Never say never’, as they say. During my second year undergraduate studies, the bagatelle (fused with the interiors of a piano) was a regular subject of my drawing:

(1980) mixed media drawing, 34 × 43 cm

In the evening I extracted samples of beats, ‘silence’, and the spoken word from the Psalm 23 material. There maybe something in and between these recordings. (I hear new sounds.) But, then again, perhaps it all lands on the wrong side of obvious.

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January 11, 2018