Wednesday, 8 October 2014

What passes for normal around here

As befits the start of a new academic year, the past couple of weeks have been full of highs and lows. Management have taken decisions so breathtakingly stupid that I've felt like wandering round to their secure location, necking a couple of spinach cans and POWING them through some walls.

The Lego Academics wanted a quiet word with whoever makes the decisions around here

Thankfully I have a boss with a good line in soothing humour. He recommends that we all play this satirical gem on repeat, while taking deep breaths. It might be stuck in your head for a while though…

And yet, the highs have outweighed the lows. Now I've met the students in both my departments (one subject cannot contain my powers, puny mortals) and it looks like a second year of engaged, knowledgeable people in a row. For no reason I can discern, cohorts have collective identities, despite individuals of course coming to the fore. This lot, like the last, are talkative and ready to go. I intend to keep up this conviction until the first essays come in…

"We have marked your first essays"

I've also had some really good news personally. My application for a couple of hundred hours of teaching exemption to get on the Readership track has been approved, so I'm thrilled about that. Sad too: I love all the classes I teach, and will miss those I have to drop next semester and the one after that. Still, I'll get some decent research done and come back bursting with new ideas. In theory.

The other bit of good news is that a PhD I proposed with colleagues has attracted funding, so I'll hopefully have a minion eager next-generation scholar in a year or so. If you're interested in media ethics, watch this space!

We're attempting to detect the Mail's conscience. You have three years. 

Finally, a friend has located the first episode of Scotch on the Rocks, the BBC's early-70s adaptation of Douglas Hurd's terrible Tartan Terrorism novel. It's too large to post here, but I'll try to find some way to edit it so I can share the horror. 


Ken said...

I recently re-read Scotch on the Rocks. It isn't about Tartan Terrorism but an armed uprising, and as a thriller it isn't really terrible for its time. While the authorial viewpoint is (not surprisingly) Tory and the story has plenty of trashy tropes it presents the Scottish nationalist view seriously and sympathetically.

Mind you, if I were in charge of an armed uprising in Scotland I wouldn't start by seizing Fort William.

The Plashing Vole said...

I started it recently. Perhaps 'tartan terrorism' is slightly too sweeping, but the MI5 hard man does say 'wogs start at the Tweed'.

Where to seize…Aberdeen's oil installations, plus Faslane?

Ken said...

Good Lord, no! Aberdeen's oil installations are mostly offshore and Faslane must have a lot of hard defences.

An armed uprising with sympathisers in the armed forces and mass (but not majority) public support for its cause (which is the situation in the book) could seize Inverness (especially its bridge and road/rail junctions) as an opening feint, cut the A9 more or less at will, then take charge of the Forth Bridges and Grangemouth oil refinery (one hell of a bargaining counter) and finish in Glasgow in the evening rush hour by combining a mass occupation of George Square with seizure of Queen St and Central Stations.

That's just off the top of my head, but it's got to be better than seizing a cluster of postcard shops and B&Bs in the middle of nowhere.