Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I've been listening to lots of early Animals recently. Their music has been a very good way for me to combat work-related misery and stress, though I am an Eric fan anyway. I bet he would have been a punk if he'd been born two decades later. I like this photo as it's different to the usual pop star fan photos from the sixties. The chairs they are lolling on are well-known modern design classics, the Dax chair designed in 1948-50 in fibreglass by Charles Eames. So that's a classic band and a classic chair design all in one pic - what more could one want! Well, I'd like to know who took the photo actually... if anyone's got the original vinyl album 'Animalization', I'd love to know if there are any more details about it on the cover, they usually have more info on them than relatively miniscule cd covers and suchlike. Anyone...?

A search for the photo using TinEye, a reverse image search engine that lets you upload a pic to it then searches for matches on the internet, showed it was a photo on that album cover. It's odd being able to search using images, the internet suddenly seems much smaller for some reason... You think uploading an image to a blog or something is fairly anonymous and no-one will ever track you down as the internet is such a huge place, you're just a little speck in cyberspace, but oh no, you can be found! Useful if you're an artist or photographer and want to see who's using your work without permission though.

(Links courtesy of the very knowledgeable looker-up of all things digital, thecatsmother.)

Saturday, October 03, 2009

A Sword of Damocles situation

The academic year starts properly next week, with existing students back from their summer break and new ones to 'induct'. My teaching starts next week too. I'm looking forward to it, as it's the first time for years I won't have PhD deadlines jostling for time alongside my other work commitments.

Unfortunately, we've also just been told to expect 'grim' cuts in staffing after Christmas, particularly in my area, so we're now working under a cloud of imminent redundancies (voluntary or otherwise), early retirement, frozen posts and non-renewal of contracts. There is a tenuous connection here with the Greek legend about the Sword of Damocles, though I'm relieved to admit I don't have a sword suspended precariously above my head, dangling from a single horse hair. Having said that, there is definitely something nasty hanging over me for the next few months. I don't think I've ever worked anywhere before with so much gloom and foreboding about how this precarious economic situation might pan out in the near future. I know something similar must be happening to many people across the country right now, not just in Higher Education, but it's horrible. Very unsettling.

It probably all seems worse at the moment because lots of stuff has happened in the past week, plus I am really tired from getting those corrected theses in on time. Maybe a restful weekend, doing my teaching preparation and a bit of clothes shopping will help. Well, it can't do any harm as long as I don't spend much, then just wait to see what next week brings and I can think more clearly about what to do for the best. Ah well, tomorrow's another day, as Scarlett o' Hara said at the end of Gone With the Wind, and I agree.

btw I was surprised to find so many Sword of Damocles songs around, from the Rocky Horror Show to Shadow the Hedgehog to Lou Reed, but they are all far too cheerful for today's blogpost, I'm afraid. Yes, even Lou Reed.