Thursday 31st January 2019, 12.40pm (day 2,716)
Up and about again today, though not very far nor very energetically. This is the kind of vibe I am trying to affect at the moment.
2017-18 is my thirteenth academic year at the University of Manchester, meaning that today was the 39th opening day of a term there. Samuel Alexander has seen more than me, certainly as a bust in the foyer of his eponymous building: but according to his memorial he did 31 years as a functioning professor (of Philosophy) so I’ll catch him up in, er…. 2036.
It’s student video-making season: Sissi (bottom left) becomes the latest to come to my office and point a camera at me for sundry purposes. While she reviewed her footage, I became intrigued by her tripod. This is an inanimate object with a secret inner life if ever there was one. People go to certain clubs dressed like this.
I am here to work rather than just swan around visiting shrines, so here is a picture of that side of my life. We are trying to persuade Japanese potential students to come and study in Manchester — many of whom are vastly intelligent, fluent in English and would be obvious assets to the intellectual community, only you try telling this to certain elements in the reactionary press. Anyway, ignoring this aspect of our lives my colleague James, on the left, and his temporary client, seem happy enough as they discuss how to arrange this. I like this picture, it makes it feel like our presence here has a real positive point.
Maybe I take too many candid photos of strangers but let’s look at it this way: 617 days into this blog and I’m trying not to repeat myself, take away the street portrait photography and there’d be even less to work with. I think this photo also encapsulates how nice it is to have this lovely slab of parkland right beside the QUT campus: who’d not feel like studying outside, in the continuing lovely weather here.
Here we are at another of the repeating events of my year; this took place on 10th December 2011, but it’s the same day, in essence. And I say the same things I said back then regarding wishing these people well and admiring their achievement.
Incidentally the woman on the left here is from the Russian high Arctic, where they still literally live in yurts and herd reindeer: the very fact that I can somehow, however indirectly, be responsible for someone like her getting a Masters’ degree (in Cultural Management) makes me feel at least partly positive about what I do for a living. Hell, that’s education for ya. One reason, perhaps, why moronocracies across the world claim to be in favour of education but actually aren’t. Good for her.
A similar theme to yesterday, I know, but for the second day in a row I’m chuffed with the picture so couldn’t omit it. It’s less impersonal anyway: this is one of my students, Michael, pictured taking notes (good boy!) during our field trip to the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. It’s that institution’s second appearance on the blog, after this shot in February 2012.