I am operating on about four hours sleep as I inadvertently defrosted the freezer last night (the trays were beginning to stick) and it wasn't helped by the pub being noisy until 1.30am, which is when I finally went to bed. It wasn't fully defrosted at 3am, and probably was by 8.00, when I awoke and was by 9.30 when I got up. Last time I defrosted the freezer, it died. Yeesterday was clearly not the day to buy ice cream. I have phoned the council and the police to complain. More about the noise than the freezer. Although the freezer has made odd noises

I heard, as a result, about two hours of coverage of the proposed Bacefook flotation. It seems to me that it is vastly over valued with no real sense of how the business can expand and be monetised without further alienating their users. This is going to end well, yes? Maybe this is why I have a G+ account, although I don't like the way Google feels your life is better when interwoven (do I want to be told that someone else has done the same search as me?)

I have to invigilate an exam this afternoon, but have not received the confirmation email. I phoned to check, but realised that the Examinations office phone number is actually the Calzone number the high level, two-way, interactive bottleneck helpline which last year became student-only and assistants can be bollocked for assisting staff. The staff number or, rather, numbers are not apparent, and presumably need another level of clicky to get to direct line numbers. I was put through to the sports centre, which appears to be where I needed to be put through to. (I note that three weeks ago I was emailed by the Calzone - who in a Priestly manner can talk to you even if you are not allowed to talk to them - to tell me that my computer issue had been resolved. Since this was for a problem I had not raised, at a time when I was still in bed, I was even more confused than usual. Turns out they inputted the wrong name in their records. Heigho.)
faustus: (Default)
( May. 11th, 2012 04:39 pm)
Woke this morning to no interwebs, despite kickstarting the router, and then no upstairs phone. A process of elimination led to a snapped phone wire behind the bookshelves.

I have looked accusingly at the cat, who is either telling me I need to get up and feed her earlier or is not doing her bit to cull the local wild life.
faustus: (Default)
( May. 3rd, 2012 01:33 pm)
The same post (on Dreamwidth) seems to have attracted about thirty semipornographic spams. I've friend locked that one - see if that slows things down.
faustus: (Default)
( Apr. 29th, 2012 05:57 pm)
  • Buckingham Arms, Westminster, London
  • New Inn, Kilmington, Devon
  • Queen's Head, Newton, Cambridgeshire
  • Roscoe Head, Liverpool
  • Square & Compass, Worth Matravers, Dorset
  • Star, Netherton, Northumberland
  • Star Tavern, Belgravia, London

The London ones are easy.
The calZone springs into action once more...

Call INC415334 was opened on 26-04-2012 09:04.

The call details are as follows:

Surname: austus

Call Summary: Classroom Emergency in LG26

I wasn't in Lg26 at 9.04. I have never made this complaint - or if I have, it must have been in a previous year. I was in Lg26 on Monday, but didn't have that problem.
faustus: (Default)
( Apr. 23rd, 2012 11:46 pm)
I've fallen behind... but films watched this year are discussed here.
Foot pain retreated enough this morning to allow me to walk to West station and the 8.07 to London Bridge - truly London will be fab when they've finished building it - and a walk to Tate Modern. I'd done the Alighiero Boetti and Yayoi Kusama last Sunday, finding them both very rich and fecund artists, the Kusama beng the more interesting of the two, and I was a little arted out after Picasso and photographs to do Damien Hirst. Plus there was a queue. It looked heaving.

I got to the gallery just before it opened, and as a member I got to go straight in. I believe I have a potential for a private view, but I think I've had my money's worth. He's actually a rather old fashioned artist - his themes are mutability and preservation, most obviously in the cow, sharks and sheep in preserving fluid, sliced in half or whole. These have a melancholy beauty, as much due to the refraction caused by the tanks as anything else. Then there are the flies - buzzing around a decaying cow's head in a piece I've seen at least once before, in the RAA British Sculpture show, or stuck to the wall in a circle. - and the butterflies - flying around one round like Kew has been transplanted - or stuck to the wall. Then the endless cigarette butts and pills (not a show to inhale at). Perhaps the best piece is a autopsied angel, but I fear it all feel a little obvious in its juxtapositions.

In the Turbine Hall there is the diamond encrusted skull in a small blacked out room - you wait a few minutes to be admitted, walked through a dark tunnel, then into the room with the skull. It has a certain beauty, but it's flashy and vulgar.

I didn't feel the need to buy the catalogue.

Then north to St Paul's and a busy Central Line, via a coffee shop to a meeting in the Crown and Sceptre, a pub whose staff have gone from adequate to hopeless - this one didn't know what stout was, didn't recognise the name of one of their beers and was confused by notions of coffee or tea. Half the menu was off, too.

Then a walk with someone from the meeting in search of a coffee shop off Oxford Street - via a colour coded stationery shop which clearly either sells nothing which is yellow or has sold everything it had which was yellow - and to Selfridges. I didn't quite stand on the spot of the cover to Solar Flares, so next time.

Back to Charing Cross via CeX and Fopp and a sinking feeling that I'd dropped the fiver in my back pocket. A productive day.
faustus: (Default)
( Apr. 20th, 2012 09:43 pm)
Having done much walking of late, I've felt very inspired by (and jealous of) the artist Hamish Fulton, who has said "If I do not walk, I cannot make a work of art", and lives round these parts. Most of his art are posters (or, rather, large areas of paint with vinyl lettering) recording walks - from coast to coast, from source to sea, across mountain ranges, along the Pilgrim's Way - and there is something about them that I like. There's a show at the Turner Contemporararararary - alongside the Turner - which is paired with a show at the IKON Birmingham, which I'm convinced I've had a brief look round before.

After a recent daytrip to Nottingham - to see Thomas Demand, which I suspect I've failed to write about - I booked tickets to and from Birmingham, and plotted an itinerary from New Street via various shops and coffee places to the bookshop to IKON to the BMAG and to a reportedly good pub and back again. I didn't do anything useful like print out a map or anything. This may have been a mistake.

The journey there was uneventful, aside from a new walking route from St P to Euston, avoiding Euston Road, which is unpleasant in differing ways, and to time, although I see that they are (still? again?) improving New Street. They've done something to the Pavilions which I can't put my finger on, and I got a little lost in my search for Digbeth. I did find a rather useful secondhand bookshop, where I bought a volume of the Sturgeon short stories - five volumes down, eight to go - for two quid. I forebore to purchase anything else, and then got lost via the market (and an illicit pork pie) in search of local cheese (fail) and Brindley Place. I have Googlemaps on my phone, but the instruction HEAD NORTH is no use without a compass on a day when the sun is obscured by cloud.

Thus it felt like a forty mile walk to the gallery - the signage is erratic - and I managed to plot a coffee bar free route (although there was a Costa in the square and if I've realised there was wifi, I would have used the cafe in the gallery). I climbed the steps to the top of the gallery and had a look round the exhibition, which, to my relief, was rather different from the Margate one, although along similar lines. I was rather taken by a couple of the acrostics -




(rare to have five letters rather than seven in these acrostics).

Alongside the Fulton were various rooms of Sarah Browne's "How to Use Fool’s Gold", not an artist I knew, and it includes a couple of crystal radios, pictures of flowers, a vodka still, photos of Icelanders in knitted jumpers. Sculpture, I suppose, in the widest sense, and usually collaborations - brewing, knitting, printing, electronics, writing, weaving. Intriguing, although I'm not clear what it all means...

On the back stairs were various "postcards" by Japanese artists - actually larger than usual postcards - which I wish I'd spent longer looking at. And there was a Martin Creed piece in the lift.

I'd almost found the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery by accident when looking for the IKON, so it was relatively easy to find. I had about 45 minutes, so I had a quick look at the Staffordshire Hoard, and spent a little longer on the Pre-Raphs and the twentieth century stuff. I'm getting better at recognising British artists. I wish I'd had longer.

By then I was feeling the lack of coffee (I don't think I'd had one since Euston), and I accidentally found a Caffe Nerd whilst in search of a Caffe Nerd - I suspect not the one I was looking for. It was pleasingly close to the Wellington, the pub I had in mind to visit, so that avoided getting lost. I fear the glory days of Birmingham beer are over - local breweries having been taken up and moved, and not the same level of microbrewing as, say, Nottinghamshire. Subsequent research reveals three local microbrews - ABC and Beer Geek in Ashton and Two Towers (Tolkien reference?) in Hockley - which demand a subsequent visit I feel. The Wellington has sixteen hand pumps, each with a different real ale, each replaced as the barrel empties. There is a screen telling you what is on and the ABV, and you are meant to order by number. The bar was predictably busy, but long practice meant I was served both times pretty well straight away.

For the record:
Purity Mad Goose 4.2% (Gt Alne, Warwickshire)
Hobsons Twisted Spire 3.6% (Cleobury Mortimer, Worcestershire)
Slater's Top Totty 4% (Stafford)
Ossett Excelsior 5.2% (Ossett)

I manage to find my way back to the station via a Tesco for sustenance without getting lost, although I found a shop I'd been trying to remember to look for earlier. I sat opposite two people - a couple? I'm not convinced - who'd been drinking in the Old Post Vaults, which has eight pumps, and who supplied me with a real ale map of Birmingham. I think I have a cunning plan to deploy in due course...
faustus: (Default)
( Apr. 20th, 2012 08:56 pm)
Overheard last night in the Little Room:

"Ah, it's called Avenue Q is it? I didn't realise."

The design on the front cloth might have given it away. Or the words on the programmes being held up for sale. Or the posters in the foyer. I guess they might not have seen the tickets if they were bought for them. But even so...

Overheard on Saturday in the Carbuncle:

"Does he play the guitar?"

The three guitars on stage might have given it away.

(Still, I've been to enough comedians that I know nothing about.)

Mitch Benn had a lot of different material from usual on the set, alongside old favourites. And you know how audiences break into that moronic clapping along? I was sourly tempted to for "Auto Erotic Asphyxiation".
faustus: (Default)
( Apr. 16th, 2012 08:16 pm)
It's been a busy couple of weeks - a couple of trips to St Albans, one of them for a conference, a day trip to Birmingham over Easter to see the Hamish Fulton exhibition, a number of days in St Ives and a day in London, to both Tates and the V&A, with much walking. Hope to write some of this up, but time thus far forbids.
faustus: (Default)
( Apr. 6th, 2012 10:24 pm)
I keep enjoying not going to the Bubble.

Wednesday )

Thursday )
faustus: (Default)
( Mar. 29th, 2012 10:18 am)
... a pigeon shat on my head. I was convinced it was a metaphor for the day.

Ha. I thought it was a pigeon.
faustus: (seventies)
( Mar. 17th, 2012 10:24 pm)
I submitted the manuscript for Solar Flares last July, and sometime around December came requests for rewrites. I've battle with this alongside everything else, and it was due 14 March. Unfortunately, as I was giving a paper at the University of Herefordshire on then, I suggested I get a day's extension. I spent Thursday applying for two study leaves and two exhibitions, so didn't have a chance to fully reread it one last time.

The last week was somewhat stressful - I'd apparently been editing the version from Dropbox, and then Caffe Nerd's flaky wifi failed to save it, and I lost edits on three chapters. Fortunately, I'd edited on paper, so was able to recreate what I'd done. I have to say, it didn't like saving over the last couple of days.

At about 6.30 I finally sent it off, so it's all over bar the copy edit, proof reading and indexing. Special thanks go to jkneale and FJM, who both read chapters, and thanks to everyone who has answered queries over the four or five years I've been writing the damn thing. Hopefully I thank everyone in the book, but inevitably I'll miss someone.

Apparently people are looking forward to reviewing it. Revenge being served cold, perhaps?

Solar Flares

JKneale also tells me the cover is a photo of UCL halls of residence on Oxford Street, since demolished. Selfridges is to the right of the photographer, North Audley Street to the left - see http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&ll=51.513991,-0.153594&spn=0.005121,0.009645&t=k&z=17. If you go into street view on the box junction, looking west, you can see the building behind/above the right hand stormtrooper.

The time off which follows includes:

  • An article
  • A plenary for 2 April
  • A paper for the same conference.
  • The Sekrit Projekt delayed by revisions.
  • In due course, the Sekrit Book After Next (which JKneale had a preview of, but is sworn to secrecy)

So, no pressure.
faustus: (Default)
( Mar. 14th, 2012 12:08 am)
Do you have a book?

Oh yes, we have manuscript, 120,000 words, now edited, and needing a skim read tomorrow, before submitting on Thursday.




Yes, because Wednesday I am giving a paper.


You have a paper?


Of sorts, yes, which is the first draft for an article due in 2013.


Wasn't there meant to be an article for Wednesday?


Technically for 9 January.


You've finished that?


I thought it was January 31st, missed that, and promised 29 February.


You've finished that?


No, but they gave me until 14 March.


Which is Wednesday.




At least that's all you have to do this week.


Well, I have to apply for two exhibitions, and various work things.


Quiet weekend then?

With luck, yes.

faustus: (Comedy)
( Mar. 13th, 2012 12:01 am)
I've needed a day out for at least a week, albeit of the take-the-laptop-and-work variety. I thought of London, I thought of Tunbridge Wells, I thought of Tonbridge, I thought of Ashford... I thought of Ramsgate. But the train service was suspended all weekend, and there was a diversion on Sturry Road, so buses looked a problem. Oh, and the bridge from East was closed for maintenance.

I went to Nerd.

Saturday night, after much work, I walked the alleged two miles to ASDA, and two miles back, and was abused by the Imp's drunk, who called across to me as I was locking my front door, that I couldn't get in, because two people had come to change the locks, I was wasting my time, I wouldn't be able to get in. This was my front door. Which I'd just come out of. And then clearly locked.

I thought of going to the Bubble on Sunday, and calling in the library at the campus on the hill, walking home, but fortunately the library books could be renewed on line and Costa hath no wifi. I went to Nerd, then Bux, then (New Nerd being full) back to Old Nerd. I edited three chapters, wrote the lectures I needed for Monday, and ate an out of date packet of crisps. I went home, edited another chapter, then hit the wrong button.

I'd somehow been working on the Dropbox back up of the file, and the flaky wifi meant that the Scrivener file hadn't saved. I'd been editing each chapter in Word, to use the spellchecking function (belts and braces for my own self-copy-edit), but didn't save each chapter. Three chapters gone. Fortunately, I'd edited on paper too, and none of these chapters had the large restructure of some of them, so i was able to redo the work within a couple of hours. No early night, though.

Tonight, I've worked on the remaining chapters and epilogue. I have ten pages which I skipped editing (for reasons which escape me) to do, a couple of hundred words to add and a couple of additional references. Hopefully the manuscript can go off on Thursday.
I am very close to actually having a manuscript that I'm happy with at c. 120,000 words. But, more importantly, the outside looks good.

Solar Flares
faustus: (Culture)
( Feb. 20th, 2012 12:15 am)
With perhaps the same air of mixed feelings of a homeovestite, I have of late been trying on medium sized clothes, and last week - whilst in search of a jumper - bought a not-quite-hoodie (size medium) and on Saturday bought a new jacket (size medium) and a hoodie (size medium). These are tight, if not snug, with a minor degree of moobidity.

Given that with my shoes on,* I am obese, what does this say about male clothing size?

* We are treating the footwear as invisible for the purposes of mass, although it has to be said that the kilo they add makes the difference between overweight and obese. My BMI is 29.8. Obesity starts at 30. On the other hand, it seems unfair to include the footwear's mass whilst failing to note the 20mm extra height which would bring my BMI to 29.4.
faustus: (Default)
( Feb. 9th, 2012 12:08 pm)
I'm planning a small exhibition (a dozen or so A3 photographs, possibly objects) on the theme of the uncanny, with the pictures to be taken this spring and early summer. Does anyone have access to an exhibition space which might be appropriate to show them at this autumn or next year?

I suspect I have in mind university art galleries (obviously not of the level of the Fitzwilliam Museum, but of the kind of departmental level), but nothing is ruled out. Unless it's too scary. The photos are planned to be taken in a given location, but it might be possible to tailor it to the locality of the exhibition. Any pointers and tips welcome - on here or email andrewmbutler42@gmail.com.

Last year's show: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stairsstepsstares/sets/72157626817542093/
Pictures currently on display in my department: http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewmbutler/sets/72157614688751417/
faustus: (Default)
( Feb. 8th, 2012 10:06 pm)
I Philip K. Dick, The Cosmic Puppets.
II Philip K. Dick, Humpty Dumpty in Oakland
III Philip K. Dick, Mary and the Giant
IV Philip K. Dick, The Broken Bubble

Beginning of a reread of the oeuvre, which I may do over, as I've been distracted. Some really odd swerves of prose in The Broken Bubble, and I wonder what the novels would have been like if he'd gone back and edited them. Still have the moments to shock, and still that sense of so much of PKD's obsessions are there from the start.

V Hamish Fulton, Walking in Relation to Everything (Margate: Turner Contemptuously/Birmingham: IKON, 2012)

After a rather hollow opening - half a dozen conceptual sculptures and a Turner oil painting of a volcano - and a rather too rich follow-up - Nothing in the World But Youth - we now have a double bill of the first big Turner show (Turner and the Elements, which I ought to compare to Paul Nash:* The Elements) and another contemporary show, local boy Hamish Fulton (who I checked in the phone book, and is out near Broad Oak).

I first knew about Fulton as part of last year's Folkestone Triennial (which I don't think I wrote all of up), and a series of posters he had around the town for his walks. Then I suspect there is a piece by him in the Templeton (a series of seven letter words?) and I can remember seeing the piece with Rodney McDonald and Alistair Milne "Hitchhiking Times from London to Andorra and from Andorra to London April 1967", I guess in one of the Tates and at the Modern British Sculpture show at the RAA.

Fulton's practice is art through walking - each piece is a record of a walk: from coast to coast, from source to sea, from sea level to peak and back, in Britain, in Europe, in Tiber/Nepal and US/Canadian wilderness areas. There's a Burroughsian obsession with seven letter words (DUCHAMP/MESSNER/HABELER/MALLORY/HILLARY/TENZING/EVEREST), and there's something amazing about the sheer number of forty mile walks someone can pull off on the trot, and the way in which this can get conveyed in posters. I mean, you have to trust he's done the walk as they're aren't always photos and postcards. It has a distinct uncanny feel. Is it sculpture? I think so. But.

There's more Fulton at Ikon in Birmingham, and I plan to have a day trip there.

I hadn't planned to do the Turner show, because I wanted to read the catalogue first, and the Fulton intrigues me in a way that the Turner didn't - although the watercolours here seem to show Turner as a more abstract and dangerous figure than I give him credit for. He's a really odd establishment figure, who's also a tad subversive. The Tracey Emin of his day... I'll read the catalogue and go back to the show.

* I did not know that John Christopher lived in Paul Nash's house. Mind you, I didn't know that Paul Nash was significant when I took a photo of his plaque.


faustus: (Default)


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