Thursday, 2 July 2015

Still studying

I haven't blogged for a while because I've been pressing on with the book. I'm over 40,000 words now, so its going reasonably well. I've just decided to totally restructure the way I've written it. Instead of dealing with each theme separately (politics, relationships etc.), I'm going to go back to the traditional way and organise it by lyric. BUT I'll still pick out the themes so that I can produce some graphs of how they compare by subject matter and over time. Its a cut and paste job, so while its complex, I don't think I've wasted too much effort.

In the meantime, I'm feeling a bit stale, so I've decided to take up MOOCS (Google knows what I mean) in my spare time. My first one is:  I'm part way through and its brilliant!!

The new hairstyle is great -I've wanted this style all my life. Whether I could have coped with it when I was working is another thing, as its high maintenance.

We saw ENO's Carmen at our local cinema and really enjoyed it. The best special effects movie I have ever seen is Jurassic World in IMAX 3D.

Dinosaur is coming for two days without his parents so sleep might be limited and energy depleted.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015


I'm writing the chapter on metaphor, which is quite challenging. Cohen's metaphors are obscure and I can't pick and choose because I've done the logical thing of 'every nth line' to produce 100 lines to work with. But a huge number of them contain metaphor. 'Between the sundial and the chain'?? 'Avalanche' is a lyric with no further reference to avalanches but I think I've worked that one out. 'To a teacher' is bothering me at the moment. I've really settled back after a busy Easter (all the cakes turned out well and were in demand) and I'm making progress.

We also had a day out at Beamish with Dinosaur, who refused to sleep all day because of the excitement of all the activity - vintage cars, trams, steam tractors and a small farm. At least we delivered him back safe and exhausted - like we were.

I mentioned a while ago that I'd moved on from my Old Faithful hairdresser. The new salon has a lot of different stylists who keep leaving, so I've had four so far. Today I had the salon owner (New Star) at a reduced price because someone left suddenly. He was brilliant - I haven't had my hair cut so attentively since the 70s, when I was young and vain. OK, so now I'm old and vain. We didn't talk about holidays. Just hair and layers and maintenance for a whole hour. And I've got the sort of sharp(ish) cut I didn't think my hair was capable of. I suppose the real test is tomorrow when I attempt it myself.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015


I'm getting on with the Cohen book now. I'm working on the chapter about musical references in the lyrics. Around a quarter of the lyrics have some reference to music, song or dance and I'm describing them all and arranging them in groups. The word count is slowly building.

Still loving the new kitchen - its brilliant to have new appliances. The old ones were definitely showing their age.
We've had a couple of nights out recently - High Kings at the Lowry for St Patrick's night and La Traviata at a local cinema (ENO broadcast) - excellent and so cheap and convenient.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

63 chasing 80

I did some real writing of the book today. And then I looked at Facebook. And Leonard Cohen is about to release a new album. Just when I've incorporated Popular Problems. I can't cope with any more!! He's 80 and I'm only 63 and I can't keep up.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

New direction

I gave up on trying to write a paper for a journal. Their referencing scheme is different from the one I used in my MA and they require extra detail, like page numbers. And the university library has now, understandably, taken away my online access. So that's it. Sometimes its the final hoop when you realise 'this is not that important and I don't want to do it'.

It reminds me of when I was at work. I really enjoyed Information Security, which is an extremely challenging area. But a lot of the work around it did not interest me and I never understand why it was not done by people who were interested. I'm talking about budgets and targets and management strategy (which was always overturned by people higher up in the organisation). I think specialists should be just left to work on their core expertise. That's how the organisation gets the most out of them.

But I've done a bit more on the book - at least I can write that the way I want to write it. Distractions around the house are overwhelming me at the moment and I have written nothing today.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Back on the job

The kitchen is finished (except for the roller blind) and its everything we hoped. It is light and bright and we love the handleless cabinets everyone said we would regret. The fitters were pleasant and all the work is excellent. TSH had another moment when he decided to sand the ceiling and there was dust everywhere and he was not Popular. But that is now all in the past.

I'm back at work on the lyrics of Cohen. I have a workplan, with time-table. The first job is to prepare a paper which I am hoping to submit to 'Journal of Popular Music'. The first problem is Popular . (sorry about the puns - Cohen's latest album is called Popular Problems). So all the numerical data from the dissertation is now outdated. I have started reworking it all and although all the numbers have changed, the conclusions are not affected as far as I can tell at the moment. Phew!!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015


I have written a little more of the part of the book concerned with the power balance in the lyrics. Basically, it is hardly ever with the narrator, who perceives himself to be at the beck and call of lovers, rivals and political and military opponents.

I've also started modifying the dissertation to produce a suitable article for submitting to a journal.

But today ....... Apart from having to carry all the washing up upstairs to deal with it in the bathroom. And carrying drinking water downstairs all the time. We have always had an open dustbin in the kitchen. Sounds dreadful but it means it has large capacity and its totally hands free. And we empty it often, so no smells from the rubbish and no smells from the lid or other parts of the closed bin. But TSH thought (note past tense) that we should have a smart stainless steel bin to match the new kitchen. I said then that I wanted no part in the inevitable cleaning out when bits ended up in the bin or on its lid. It worked for the first week. But today I discovered that most of the rubbish was in the bin rather than the bin bag. So I had to scoop it out into the bag - wearing rubber gloves, of course. And in the process, the bin came apart and we had breadcrumbs and worse on the dining room floor. So I carried the bin upstairs to wash it under the shower but en route it came apart further so there was a trail of crumbs everywhere. And there were bits of ham trimmings in the bath. TSH hoovered the bits. And we are having a new open bin. From Ikea.

After the fitter left for the day, TSH continued his sterling task of trying to paint the new ceiling before the kitchen is finished. When he started this a few days ago, he was working by torchlight because there were no ceiling lights. But now there are ceiling lights so it boded well. Meanwhile, I said I would prepare dinner in the dining room using the microwave as an oven. Never really done this before. And then lights went off and TSH (and me too) was plunged into darkness. This happened a few times until I realised that the circuit in the dining room wasn't adequate for a cooker. So the food all had to be done in microwave mode, which was not what was intended.

Did Shakespeare and Wordsworth have these issues? I have a 'room  of my own' but no kitchen and sometimes no electricity. Come to think of it, they didn't have electricity either. I'm in the footsteps of the great!!!

Monday, 12 January 2015

I'm back

I didn't manage 5,000 words but I got up to 4,500 so not bad for a holiday!!

I haven't been here for a while because I have not been able to progress the book at all. When we returned from the Amazon cruise, it was straight into 'prepare for Christmas' and our visitors and then 'clear up after Christmas'. And then it was time to make final preparations for the new kitchen installation. Right now, we have no kitchen. There's a microwave and a kettle in the dining room and we wash up in the bathroom. Its tough but we'll get used to it.

I'm hoping this is not just some kind of displacement activity to stop me making the effort. I think not because I'm still really interested and I have done a lot of work already. And I'm determined not to 'fill my day' like old retired women are supposed to. I was a student and now I'm a writer and I will finish this book. Restarted today - keeps my mind off the kitchen without a ceiling.