Morning everybody. My new determination to greet the world with a sunny disposition had lasted an evening's Newsnight and the 250 yard commute from my flat to work, and it's paying off. I've deleted 350 emails without a care, and now I'm actually doing some research (though the dread prospect of actually doing some writing is looming: I've two deadlines in the next week and another coming soon). At the moment I'm reading K. L. James's chapter on 'Meeting Kate Kearney at Killarney, 1850-1914' in a friend's anthology about Romantic travel writing. Kearney was a legendary Irish beauty who plied tourists with poitín in the Gap of Dunloe - for generations afterwards unwitting travellers were separated from their cash by the charm and cunning of her supposed granddaughters. You can still visit, though the Cottage's charms are more legal and doubtless more expensive these days.
For musical accompaniment, I'm listening to Jonathan Harvey's new Bird Concerto With Pianosong. Obviously anything with birdsong is automatically compared to Messiaen's work. I have to say I haven't a critical opinion on this piece yet - bits of it are pretty, bits of it are ugly, but I haven't quite got hold of it as a whole, so far.
There's no online footage of the Concerto, but here's Harvey's tribute to Messaien: