Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Big fat wet fluffy white snow flakes are falling outside my window, softening the view of concrete apartment blocks and leafless trees silhouetted against a grey sky. It's the day after Christmas. I have a cardigan in squishy Malabrigo and shades of burned orange (autumn leaves) on my knitting needles, and a dissertation chapter on women, mothers, feminists and nationalists under my fingers. Some very ordinary days feel uniquely good. Today is one of them. Even persistent housework, and admin, and frustrating paperwork can't really put a damper on things. In a few hours, my wife will be home, and we'll eat Christmas leftovers and talk about our day. The Christmas tree will flash multi-coloured flowers at us, and we'll try to decide between leftover chocolate cake and leftover malva pudding. I like my life. I sometimes forget that.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Listening closely

Sometimes my writing takes me away from the music for a while. Recently I've been doing a lot of non-dissertation work, and listening to the music required by that has crowded Karen Zoid out of my life soundtrack just a little. Today, this week, and until the end of this year, though, I'm back in Karen's space, and it feels like coming home. I've been listening for themes across groups of songs this week, comparing her writing on motherhood, and her writing on politics, and on race.... There are lots of possible groups. I was flicking through videos of her, looking for a different one, when the one below came up, and I was compelled to stop for a bit. You know how some songs feel like they were written just for you? This one hadn't been one of those for me, until I really listened to it today.

I think it may be because I was listening to and studying a different song with my class today, and so my ears were tuned to a particular interplay of rising melodic figures. Karen once asked me what music inspired me, and I always felt like I fluffed the answer by saying that it was her music. Of course it's her music. I'm writing a whole dissertation on her music. But it's also this. And it's something about the experience of performing this, and singing it with my students, and watching them as they talk about musical holiness, and then watching them as they understand how the composer did that, and how they can do that. That is what inspires me. And that type of music-making experience is why listening to Karen, and listening to the people who adore her, inspires me.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

pwning the US Olympic Committee

I followed FIFA's heavy-handed tactics with possible trademark infringers in 2010 with great interest, not least because I really enjoyed the responses of some of South Africa's more playful advertisers.
So when the crafting community I am a member of, Ravelry, was hit in a similarly heavy-handed fashion today by the US Olympic Committee, I was fascinated by the response. I am not participating in the Ravelympics because I prefer to keep my crafting stress-free, but I was nonetheless annoyed by the condescending tone of the letter, which seemed to miss the point that the Ravelympics are really something of a celebratory tribute to the Olympics, and suggested instead that handiwork is less dignified than sporting endeavor. Yeah. You can see where this is going.
So I was quite delighted this evening to see not one but two apologies from Olympic Committee Spokesman Patrick Sandusky. Sometimes reason does prevail.