Thursday, 22 August 2013

Pointless round-up of reckons

Good afternoon from the Midlands! The sun's shining, enough colleagues are back for the first collective moan of the new academic year, I've been for a swim and I'm not doing Clearing until tomorrow. Some books have arrived and I'm now in possession of an iPad, for which I'll find a use at some point: it'll be easier to carry round for lectures than toting the MacBook at the very least.

This week's books are the Broken Homes, the latest in Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London police procedural-fantasy series which was very enjoyable; Peter Heller's interesting-looking post-apocalypse novel The Dog Stars (acclaimed by Oprah, Playboy and the Wall Street Journal, so I'm more interested than convinced), John Niven's Straight White Male which will no doubt be scabrously satirical (and this one features a burned-out writer consigned to a Midlands university); B. S. Johnson's The Unfortunates which as you know comes as a series of bundles in a box to be read in any order,

B. S. Johnson, The Unfortunates

and finally Ceri Jones's Dweud eich Dweud, which is a guide to colloquial and idiomatic Welsh. Basically, it'll help me curse convincingly in yr hen iaith. Though if you're from Caernarfon, all you need is 'Shw mae, gont?' anyway. As Caliban says in The Tempest,
You taught me language, and my profit on't
Is I know how to curse. The red plague rid you
For learning me your language.

So all in all, a good day. I will get back to Serious Academic Texts shortly, but there's no rush. I can't do anything substantial in the Clearing call centre anyway. Yesterday we chatted about all sorts of interesting research they're doing in between gossiping, and I came away with a whole other list of books to read, particularly Northern Irish Troubles novels.

The other excitement of the day was my colleague Alan doing an interview about a forthcoming TV series, Peaky Blinders, which picks up on Birmingham's gang history to present a local and richly-accented version of Gangs of New York.

Meanwhile, here's a comedic version of Michael Gove's vision of history, courtesy of Fry and Laurie:

and a bit of academic humour for you Foucauldians:


the archivist said...

I think you need to pay some detailed attention to that Dweud eich Dweud book if you think that anyone in Caernarfon would use the phrase "Shw mae" - decidedly south Walian. Your third word's spot on though!

"Iawn cont?" is the more likely greeting in those parts.

The Plashing Vole said...

Thanks, The Archivist. I have been greeted with 'Sh'mae gont' in Caernarfon, but he may not have been a native. It was all a very long time ago.

The studies begin tonight!

the archivist said...

It might alternatively have been the N Wales version 'Sut Mae' slurred into 'S'mae'?

Patrick said...

True story - my colleague was going to phone you about Peaky Blinders before I pointed out to him that you were swimming at the time!