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Archive for the ‘grub’ Category

more on penny / politics / grub street… but not from me

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Just wanted to point out a good site that’s been posting some very interesting stuff lately especially in regard to Laurie Penny’s recent work in The New Statesman. Here’s a link to the site, here’s a link to the first part of the article in question, and here’s the second part. Go take a look – much more intelligent and interesting than anything I have to say about the matter, and written by one of the occupiers herself.

I have a bit to say about the actual New Statesman article in question – and in particular the accompanying photospread – but I’ll wait until it’s online so that everyone can read along.

(Side point. How the hell does the author of get her site to look like that? Rather gorgeous, really. Will have to ask the next time we’re in The Boston together…. I’m also taken with the annotated reading list – maybe I’ll start doing that.)

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January 31, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Posted in grub, occupations

“not an option”

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Laurie Penny, in an ad for a researcher on her site:

I wish I could afford to pay the living wage for this rather than just minimum wage, but that’s not an option for me at the moment.

Malcolm Grant, UCL provost, responding to the queries of The Evening Standard a few months ago:

I am advised that paying contract cleaners the living wage would cost UCL £500,000 to £1 million a year. That’s a big slug. And what I haven’t got is a spare £1 million, okay?

Hmmm… I’m telling you, watch. Cultivating one’s own garden the right way and with the gardeners at the right wage isn’t the only thing, but given the parameters of the situation, it’s a big thing. And the fact that she runs around London telling people that she’s going to be “the next Christopher Hitchens” (?!?) is pretty much all the entrails inspection we need on this one…

(via oy….)

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January 18, 2011 at 8:20 am

Posted in grub


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Finally starting to receive random review copy through the mail. Lovely. Have been waiting for this perk to initiate since the first review was published…. Work with a guy (well, he’s emeritus) who was once probably the preeminent reviewer in the UK, or near the top. His pigeonhole (as they ridiculously call it here – and they laugh when I forget and call it a mailbox, which is, you know, what it actually is, a box where mail goes rather than a hole where pigeons live) still fills daily with unprovoked copy, most of which he leaves for others to take, some of which I have taken. He also gives them as gifts – when I was first hired he brilliantly left me this on my desk, which given the system we run where I work was an absolutely appropriate choice. But now I get my own, hurrah horray.

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August 17, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Posted in grub

grub street confidential

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Jesus man. Marked more than 100 exams this week and thankfully received the backslapping and general thanks I deserve for doing so, tonight up late writing a paper (on Ian McEwan’s Saturday no less – trust me, it’s not complementary) that I have to give in another part of England at 2 PM tomorrow (in 10 hours!), and there’s a review of a massive novel due Monday, and another review copy for yet another paper is sitting here on the table staring at me. Have lots of things to say on here, but there’s been literally not a bit of time… Here’s to the hope that things slow down soonish rather than laterish….

But it’s good finally to get something into prose on the McEwan novel. I’ve been talking about this idea I have about it forever… Unfortunately, because I’m super tired, that prose won’t see paper until I type the conclusion on the train tomorrow and find a local print shop to put it all onto A4….

Funny thing is that a fellow blogger is convening my panel. Can’t tell if he knows who I am or not. Small, small world this is, and all the people worth knowing have sites….

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May 29, 2010 at 3:55 am

Posted in grub

cash flow

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1. Yesterday I decide, after consulting the little statement that comes out of the bank machine, that we’re suffering from a bit of a cash flow problem. Not an emergency, yet, but not good either.

2. Well, I like to write. I have a better byline than I used to. So I spend the day pitching places, trying to round up some work.

3. These efforts yield £100, perhaps £300, worth of work. Novels are drifting through the Royal Mail as we speak toward my office for me to review.

4. A few weeks ago, I sent in an abstract for a conference in Chichester. It was accepted today, so I am going there at the end of May. I (fucking) have to write about Ian McEwan. Though negatively, as a symptom, so it’s OK.

5. I wake up this morning still afflicted with some sort of grub street, cash and pub (publication! not public house! though, sure, that too) mania, and spend much of the day writing a column-type thing for the place that readily takes column-type things at £60 per.

6. I am still not finished with the column-type thing. I should be working on it right now.

7. If I place the column-type thing, after taxes (because my academic salary brushes me right up against the top rate in the UK – not that high mind you), I’ll yield oh about £36.

8. To take a break from writing the column-type thing, I book my train tickets (well in advance – way cheaper!) to get to the conference. They don’t cost much – £29.

9. If today wasn’t a wasted day, I will have netted all of £7 from all this work.

10. Something about Thoreau, trains, and walking to Boston occurs to me as I smoke another 25p cigarette outside.

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April 30, 2010 at 12:42 am

Posted in academia, grub


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17,000 words or so this month, subdivided into a bunch of small projects. Am currently only late for a single deadline – a massively long review of Jameson’s Modernist Papers. That must count for something! Oy. It’s in my bag, the book. Oh, and something for the journal that pollian runs – sorry, pollian! Has it gone long enough that I can swap books? Could I do this instead? Would love to have the right to a review copy, as Ads is complexly, on paper, broke!

Have developed some form of graphomania as a result of this schedule, and am spending the spare moments today between meetings with students converting an old post from this site into a piece that I will submit to a journal tonight,  on spec, just before the deadline listed on the cfp. Decided just this morning to do this. Why not?

A longer post to come, almost done,  about academia and grub street but for now: lists of things to do, incessant small movement forward, these hold the darkness at bay, it is true.

UPDATE: It’s now the next morning. Fell asleep at 10 PM last night, woke at 3 AM. It’s like there’s an internal alarm clock that rings exactly five hours after consciousness flickers out. But I spent 3 AM – 7:15 AM sitting at my kitchen table, and now have a finished piece, the first one to be wholly drafted on here. Will send in a few hours from my office. But we’re now at 20,000 words for the last thirty or so days. That is, by the way, nearly double the pace that reputedly killed George Orwell:

Suddenly he was a widower and a single parent, eking out a threadbare life in his Islington lodgings, and working incessantly to dam the flood of remorse and grief at his wife’s premature death. In 1945, for instance, he wrote almost 110,000 words for various publications, including 15 book reviews for the Observer.

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September 30, 2009 at 2:49 pm

Posted in grub