Monday, 8 November 2010

Papering over the cracks

I've had an appalling day. Two extremely long meetings, in one of which Zoot Horn suggested that I close down Plashing Vole as part of our recruitment strategy. I don't what the addled old hippy's getting at, but be assured that I'm rooting through my files for embarrassing pictures, Zoot my old mate.

Then a 90 minute lecture with far too much material to keep the audience's attention - had to be done, but even I was bored before the time was up. Then another seminar in which only two students had read the material. Too morally weak just to throw them out, I droned on for 45 minutes before giving up, exhausted.

There is some joy however, and it comes in the form of printed and folded sheets of paper. Specifically:

A beautiful reprint of Tove Jansson's The Dangerous Journey comic strip and poem (finely translated by Sophie Hannah).
M. Wynn Thomas's magnificent examination of the interaction between literature and nonconformism in Welsh culture, In the Shadow of the Pulpit;
Steve Bell's new collection of nasty-minded political cartoons, If…Bursts Out;
a second-hand copy of Bruce Sterling's Distraction - near future dystopia. I'm currently reading Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story, set in a post-literate post-hegemonic dysfunctional United States. It's good, but not as clever as it thinks it is (and rather nationalistic in an ironic sense. We're apparently meant to be horrified by the idea of Chinese hegemony. Having lived under US hegemony for my entire life: meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Oh yes: and the new Orange Juice boxed set. Mmmm

Now I'm off home to eat junk and do nothing.

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