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busy man i am

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1. Was browsing in the LRB Bookshop today and picked up a particularly handsome and fronttabled book about literature in my period. Hmm… Lovely, I thought, I’d like mine to look just like this. I wonder who the publisher…

My heart fell when I realized that the book was published by a house that had read my dissertation back in 2005 and expressed enthusiasm about publishing the fucker. I had turned them down, as said fucker needed work, and besides, we were taught, back in the golden years and by people whose career paths had been paved in gold, not to publish with commercial presses as it looks bad on the CV.

Fuck. Fuck. Perhaps I’ll try again with them now, in a much worse publishing environment, and several years on. But the thought of all I might have been doing with this monstrosity off my plate…. Fuck.

2. Have been writing (and missing deadlines) more or less constantly. For the current thing, all the famous people have theirs in; mine is basically the only one outstanding. And I am not famous, sadly. But the interesting thing is that approximately a third of the piece was cut and pasted (and, sure, heavily editted) from the blog, which actually seems to be becoming the notebook-type resource that I’ve always intended it to be.

Good news is that I think this thing I am just about to finish is probably the best thing I’ve written since the piece that got me both jobs that I’ve had. You have to wait for Ads’s products, but sometimes Ads’s products are ok. Wish I could link to all of it on here. One day! Soon!

3. Went to a meeting with my kid’s school teacher today. They start a year earlier here than they do in the US, which I suppose means one day my daughter, if we ever move back to the US, will turn out to be brilliant and troubled. Anyway: was astounded by the amount of material that we learn when we go to school. The letters and numbers, counting and reading, writing and adding. And then all the other stuff.

The teacher has asked me, in my capacity as a university lecturer, to come do things for the kids. I am thinking Isotypes. What do you think?

One of the other girls, quickly becoming one of my daughter’s friends, has a pair of academic parents. What sucks is that the mom likely just read a friend’s job application that didn’t work out. (They didn’t hire me either when I applied….) What is funny is that the dad reminds me of a character on Mad Men, spitting image, but it’s not that flattering a comparison. He also flirted like shit with my wife tonight, unaware perhaps that I was her husband. Hmmm…..

4. I am a bit crestfallen that I won’t have an opportunity to go on my daily run tomorrow. What busy lives we lead! But running is actually starting to help – I go to sleep earlier than I’ve ever done, as I’m actually normal-tired at the end of the day instead of rangey-exhausted.

5. A year and a half in, and I am actually starting to make friends with my colleagues. I mean I was friendly enough before, but now there’s a weekly meetup of guys, and this is a good sign for me, you have no idea.

6. School starts next week. Americans will be shocked to hear this, but the first week of university here is mostly taken up with drinks parties – no, not just for us, but for us with the students, i.e. new undergraduates. What a dissolute place this is. I have pledged myself to remain not quite dry, but dry enough, during said parties. I do like the party involving the MA students, who again, now that the pound has fallen against the dollar, will be largely American. It’s funny to see their faces fall when it dawns on them that they’ve paid all this money to participate in enormous numbers of seminars with a guy from New Jersey.

7. I am not sure, but I think I might have a sockpuppet problem.

8. I have decided to ask my parents for some money, as I likely need it. You might have heard, but the cost of living in London is a wee bit high.

Written by adswithoutproducts

September 24, 2009 at 11:43 pm

Posted in academia

11 Responses

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  1. Re:

    1. Aiiigh! Good luck, I hope you find a publisher. I’m still avoiding dealing with my diss in any form. Denial is much more pleasant.

    2. Good luck with the deadlines — no, wait: get the fuck of the blog and write yer damn overdue pieces!!! There, does that help? Go to it.

    7. I believe you’re supposed to put either mint or chili powder around all the entrances to the blog to keep them out. Some people might advocate pesticides, but then you’d be running the risk you were no longer an organic intellectual.

    6. But not just _any_ guy from New Jersey. Besides, you’re tall, and that always produces an air of authority and importance. If they still don’t like it, use the mint and chili powder on them.

    Have fun with the isotypes! ANd the writing!


    September 25, 2009 at 4:32 am

  2. The students vs professors drinks party had gone great guns for over an hour. Ads had brought out that old chestnut, the Cyclops episode of Ulysses drinking game. The chapter was read aloud, and every time someone orders a drink in the book, the assembled gathering of high-spirited individuals drank the same. Whenever the Citizen insults Bloom, they took a sip of whiskey. Whenever the narrative switches into mock-heroic, they took a big sip of Guinness.

    After two hours the police were called when a pillow-fight broke out between the medieval and modernist professors. Some of the rhetoric offered included: “You’ll never be as good as Beowulf, bastards!” and “Even Finnegans Fucking Wake is easier to understand than that Anglo-Saxon rot.” After spending a night in the cells, the professors were released without charge the next day.


    September 25, 2009 at 9:46 am

    • I’ve only read the book once, but thought ‘Sirens’ by far the most difficult but caused hallucination of the most luminous images–there’s something about the bar itself, the brass on it, I believe. What drinks here, other than those already mentioned? It didn’t sound like a dive, but rather somehow a-gleam. Of course I’m looking for something exotic appearing here (after all, there’s the tea of Buck Mulligan that sounds almost Evelyn Waugh, doesn’t it?), so I don’t suppose that even once in a while Cassis could have been kept for special occasions, you know, just a thought…but no, that wasn’t mentioned in the novel, so apologies for being off-topic. It goes without saying that there is no Framboise, but while I prefer a Guinness party to a Framboise party even without the ‘Sirens’ angle, is it really possible to ‘sip’ Guinness? I don’t think I would do that, not even in Mayfair.

      basic plumbing

      September 25, 2009 at 4:03 pm

      • Sipping Guinness is not on at all, yes. It’s some kind of cider LB has in Sirens, isn’t it? Near the beginning of the book Mulligan says something like, “Only the sacred pint can unlock the tongue of Dedalus.” I just searched and it’s really The sacred pint alone can unbind the tongue of Dedalus, much better than my mangled-by-memory version.

        There is Bloom’s burgundy at one point, with someone remarking that they had never seen him drunk, one major difference between LB and JJ. Joyce without drink is very difficult to imagine. I made them take it! – one of the most memorable bits of the Ellmann biography, with a drunk Joyce running down a street shouting it (about Ulysses Ellmann presumes).

        I remember some Bass beer in the hospital/Oxen chapter, with the students getting hammered and telling bawdy stories. Maybe Ads will give us the low-down on the (hopefully many) dirty stories told during his uni’s drinking parties.

        Constructing a drinking game for the entirety of Ulysses would be a fascinating project. Good excuse to reread. As for Finnegans Wake, I recall reading somewhere that the first ever pages that Joyce drafted for the book were about a pub owner clearing up the empties after the customers have left. A drinking game for FW would be a rather dangerous affair, since the participants would be required to drink in the dark.


        September 25, 2009 at 8:03 pm

  3. Sisyphus,

    Thanks! You’re right, or I hope you’re right, about everything that you say!


    The Cyclops drinking game is a very good idear.


    September 25, 2009 at 11:04 am

  4. Ads,

    Beware of “Literature”, someday it’ll kill you if the drinks parties don’t.

    Why not try another way?

    (By the way, New Jersey, isn’t that in Canada? My experience after five years doing academia Inglaterra-style–this was during the Carboniferous period, mind you–was that if you work on it you can eventually fool people into thinking you’re Canadian, ALMOST… though finally, just when you think you’ve cinched it, someone is going to screw up their face and ask, “Welsh are you, then?” And DON’T for crying out loud keep up this Yankees/Mets nostalgia, it will spoil everything, even in “America”–that big bad danger zone across the Hudson I mean.)

    tom clark

    September 25, 2009 at 11:32 am

    • Funny thing is I am Canadian, too. I am increasingly many things, it seems. It depends just whom I’m talking too.

      And I’m getting the slightest transatlantic accent to go with my trans- hudson accent.


      September 25, 2009 at 11:34 am

  5. come do things for the kids. I am thinking Isotypes.

    I only just noticed that you weren’t saying isotopes, here and in the previous post about sleeping. I can’t recall ever seeing isotype before, so I guess my mind automatically substituted a similar-sounding word that I do know.

    You could do dancing with da yoof, and maybe painting with liquified (sweet)corn.


    September 25, 2009 at 3:49 pm

  6. what i find most annoying about the cost of living in london is that it’s very little things that seem to take up inordinate amounts of my monthly salary.

    I had turned them down, as said fucker needed work, and besides, we were taught, back in the golden years and by people whose career paths had been paved in gold, not to publish with commercial presses as it looks bad on the CV.

    I remember getting that advice. But the other advice i got – from the same people – was that ‘without a book you don’t get a job’. the gold-paved ones have a tendency to send out that kind of mixed message.


    September 27, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    • Agreed about the little things / cost of living. Just the cost of being at work all day is astounding when you stop to think about it. Which you probably shouldn’t.

      And exactly right on the other point as well. I suppose though, there’s a difference here between the way employment is structured in the uk vs the us. In the latter, the book is to come before tenure, whereas most start their first tt job without a book in hand.


      September 27, 2009 at 4:54 pm

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