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Monday, 22 February 2010

Gender Roles

"Next time", I say with a heavy sigh after descending from Mazzer Central, my operations centre AKA my office, "Next time, you are going to have to watch that rubbish and I will watch a documentary about untreatable diseases".

"That rubbish" refers to another disappointing display by The Most Successful Football Club in English History, and while I am defining things I should add that my rather sniffy reference to "documentary" refers, unfairly, to RHB's penchant for watching television programmes that inform, educate and entertain. To me, this approach to televisual engagement completely misses the point of the medium. Television's job is, I believe, to stultify, exagerrate and sensationalize and should be approached with a obsevratory mindset that is pre-disposed to disappointment if, after an hour or so in front of the box, the viewer is in any way, shape or form enlightened by the experience. As with all rules, there are of course exceptions to this - for example, gaining knowledge on the honour codes of various aliens (Vulcan versus Romulan, for example) is an unvaluable life lesson, and comparitive studies in martial arts have proven life saving on many a trip to the supermarket, but on the whole, for me, television is good for two things - stupidty-enhancement and football. Unfortunately, given the recent performances of Liverpool FC, I have been unable to distinguish between these two experimental conditions. Hence, an almost serious commitment on my part to move on in my viewing habits.

And "moving on" is the current meme at Large Mansions. Some of this is voluntary, some forced. The "forced" bit is the ongoing tanking of the British economy. In the First Year of my degree, I paid my way (in part), by returning to the world of exhibitions and display, travelling mostly to Birmingham and London to install trade shows and conferences. The recession (AKA Global Financial Meltdown) hit during this year, and since then, even the occasional work I used to do has dried up completely. The company I worked for had shed workers twice - twenty five percent of its workforce on the first occasion (about thirty people) and recently twenty percent of the remainder. And the snowball effects are beginning to show throughout the economy. On a macro scale, January represented the first January in history that the British Governmnet had to borrow money. This is important because January is the "pay your taxes or go to jail" month, and traditionally in this month the exchequer's coffers are overflowing. On a micro scale, every single tradesperson who helped us build our house has been back in touch wit me asking for work. Two of them want this work "on the black" (ie cash only) because their businesses have gone under. I personally do not know anyone who has not been affected - a very close relative who manages a significant staff has been instructed to "loose" people, a friend is facing the loss of her house due to sudden and unexpected unemployment. Even as a student,I am potentially faced with arbitary and massive increases in the fees I will have to pay at University - the alternative, I am told is that the Governmnet will have to close course and Universities. It is hard to overstate just how dire the potential economic future of the UK actually is. And equally hard to understand, why the word "revolution" is not heard more often in polite conversation.

The "voluntary" part of moving on, is for us, related to the foregoing, in that I am increasingly satisfied that yet again we have, without any planning of any description, made what appears to be a wise decision in sending self to University, (At this point, I should divert slightly, and state boldly that the entire foregoing of this post is not just a very long build up to a heavy handed brag, but did, I believe, have an integrity of its own. Having said that, results of the Christmas period exams are in, and I am riding high at the top of the class on a wave of seventy percent plus marks.) as my venture into adult learning has so far been an unqualified success. Modesty demands that I clarify this statement sufficeintly so that you understand that I really mean that the voluntary teaching I have taken up is an unqualified success from my perspective. It is quite simply the most fun I have had in a very long time.

Unfortunately, the sheer amount of preparation that has been involved has menat a decrease in blog entries, as that old devil time has become very important. YNWA will resume on a more regular basis in the very near future, once I have completed the curriculum I am writing, because there is lots to tell about what happens when you put a group of people from many different countries across the world(some of whom are deeply prejudiced against eachother) and how one can overcome these differences through the medium of crap television and football. But these stories will have to wait, for now. Instead, as a stand by, I have attached to this post, as a world exclusive, the first "mix down" of a product from my studio, the first music I have "released" in fifteen years. This initial mix is very much a draft - a little sketch. Typically artists do not like to release their sketches and working files, but I am confident that so few people read this blog that there will be no deliterious affect on any potential fan base. Those of you who do read this occasionally would have this stuff inflicted on them after a few drinks anyway if we all lived in the same city, so this is just an experiment to make sure the site can support the links. Dont listen to it critically, just let me know if you can open hear the stuff. At the moment, its just in the form of a link to my webpage on Last FM, but later I hope to be able to download the whole thing to this website. You dont have to download the test track, just go to Last FM, and where the track "fire" (could'nt think of anything else) shows, click the little green arrow next to it and you should be able to hear it. Remember, I'm not asking for a review, just want to know its going to work.


JoeyMac said...

Great news on grades and teaching! I checked the link and the music played - critical review to follow. ;)
I also feel your pain on the sports front. Check out the men's olympic hockey results to see the extent of that pain.

Sue said...


Bill Hall said...

Does it ,perhaps, have a hint of Jet Harris?

MJN said...

Well spotted Bill. Also, though, I have to say it was influenced by that Country Great Glen Fiddich, the close cousin of the American country star JAck Daniels.

The good news is that the links seem to work. So in a few months, I will be inflicting some proper tunes InterWeb.

Grasshopper said...

Glad to hear that your silence is due to keeping busy with things that you enjoy. Congratulations on your excellent exam results!! I look forward to hearing your tales of teaching. (and, yes, your music link works just fine)

MJN said...

Hi GH,

The volunteering I am doing is quite tough and involves a load of preparation - not surprising as I've never done this before. But one reason why so much prep is that the organisation I am working for seems happy to just sit the learners down in a room with a bunch of word searches and fill in the missing letters etc and let them work through this stuff.

My boss and I arent happy with doing this so we're effectively developing a curriculum. So a lot of the work is self inflicted, but if you're going to do something....etc. My boss is very inspiring and very experienced. We're getting there but still a little bit of work to do. The silence on the blog is mainly because I feel so responsible to develop something good, not just turn up every week and dish out a load of worksheets, so we are developing our own material.

Glad the link works.