Sunday, January 24, 2010

Marge Monroe

I suppose I'm doing the proud auntie thing here, but it was really nice to hear that my niece's drawing of Marge Monroe won her an (apparently nasty) plastic spider pig object and is star letter of the week in The Simpsons comic. That, and her getting a prize from her MP for winning a drawing competition recently, are the best things to happen this week. Thank goodness for the odd nice bit of news amongst all this redundancy crap. Life goes on...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

to cheer myself up...

This is completely self indulgent on my part, posting a video to cheer myself up a bit rather than writing anything vaguely interesting, but this is such an aimless blog anyway that it's ok. This version of House of the Rising Sun is one of my favourite Animals ones on YouTube because I like it when Eric goes a bit out of tune at 0:43 and his and Chas Chandler's expressions. I also like the way he sings the phrase about spending your lives in sin and misery and the accompanying facial expression. He's got a slightly fuck off attitude about him, which I find rather attractive. I prefer this video to the colour in-tune studio version where they're wearing the same suits wandering around a tiny set, obviously miming, under what look like christmas baubles dangling sparsely around their heads.

A few minutes of cheering up, courtesy of YouTube, is essential right now because everything has kicked off at work over the past week in a rather stressful and unpleasant way. My department is now in the middle of a drastic restructuring that leaves our jobs 'at risk' - ie they won't exist any more in their present form. It's an early stage in a much bigger cross-university thing, so we're spending our lives in uncertainty, waiting to receive letters about our jobs and to see what happens next. Maybe the email will arrive tomorrow at the end of the day, when it's too late for us to respond in person with any questions, with a hardcopy in the post on Saturday. It's quite difficult to muster much enthusiasm to get on with day to day stuff right now, alongside going to meetings with management and the union, plus talking to colleagues in the same situation (far better information than through the official channels). It's a relief to be able to go to the pub to talk about it after work, as it could be so much worse if we were really isolated in our jobs. It was interesting to see who avoided us at a private view the other night, creeping away from us around the exhibits and not making eye contact - it wasn't paranoia on our part as we all noticed it, but presumably just a consequence of those who knew what was going to happen to us the next day not wanting to face any awkward questions from us.

Ah well, this is just the beginning unfortunately. I think it's probably realistic to blame the bankers for the economic mess and Mandleson's massive cuts in HE funding. One wonders what the state of the sector will be in a year's time after this meltdown predicted by academics. It's not the best time in the world to be trying to build an academic career after finishing a PhD.