I regret the fact that they all still feel the need to wear a mask. I regret that so many of them have not yet been able to arrive, thanks largely to airlines ripping them off and governments (worldwide) still using Covid as an excuse to be mean to foreigners. But I’m still glad they’re here. This is only the second day in more than 18 months — the first being 4th December 2020 — in which I’ve been able to hold a face-to-face class. There seemed to be some work going on at this point.
In some years the return of the students to campus is not always exactly a welcome event — it marks the end of summer, it presages a lot of work for the weeks ahead, etc. But in 2021 it would be impossible not to celebrate it. And anyone who thinks that some kind of future lockdown is an inevitability, please leave the room now, I will have nothing to do with that viewpoint. The only way I will be incarcerated in the future is by being arrested.
Photographer and bride… but there was no groom in sight, so either these two were preparing some photos for a wedding at a later date, or this was a fashion shoot of some kind. The lump of rock behind is the big glacial boulder that stands in the Old Quadrangle of the University of Manchester.
The bee is the symbol of the city of Manchester (something to do with ‘industry’), so it seems appropriate that this guy and his colleagues were busying themselves on campus this afternoon — certainly they are showing more industry than the human inhabitants are at the moment.
One year ago today, 30th June 2020, I was ‘allowed’ back on to campus for the first time since all the shit started, and took the picture linked here, of a student sat among the lush June foliage, alone, wondering where his future had gone.
One year on, this photo is taken from more-or-less the same point, and little has changed, has it? The huge Manchester campus still just sits there, mostly unused. Maybe my managers, our ‘leaders’, would like to ask, what am I complaining about? These people are still going to get their degrees are they not? They’ve got what they paid for? Yeah, well, if you reduce the experience of getting an education to a pure cash transaction then yes, they have indeed. But what a wasted year it has been, and I mean that also in the sense of wasting away, eroding, no longer vital and healthy. This is not because of some virus, but because of fear and paranoia, a desperate urge not to do anything that could see fingers pointed.
But I say this again, sorry to be repetitive but it deserves repeating. There were more than 40,000 people in Wembley stadium yesterday afternoon. This proves that if the will is there, this ridiculous fear can end. Is it so impossible to accept that once you are vaccinated, and the guy next to you is vaccinated, and the people who can’t get vaccinated (like those under 18) brush off this thing as if it were water in the vast majority of cases — then there is no longer any need to live life in this state? The most worrying thing for me is that such views now seem to be considered subversive. There are groups out there who are quite happy for most people to be frightened of shadows, and they’ve won.
At this time last year we had our annual ‘staff awayday‘ entirely in Zoombieland, and frankly it was the lowest point of that bleak, lonely time for me. I could return to the point about why a largely vaccinated population is still being told they should live in fear, but let’s not — instead, let’s at least celebrate the fact that there were some work colleagues around today. Only a few, but they were there, and how much better the day was for it. Left-to-right; Steve, Miri, Stephen (pictured in his office two weeks ago), Miguel. Happy Fridays, everyone. Take back your public spaces.
A meeting — with a colleague! In person! OK, so Alex had to stay imprisoned in his magic mirror, but he was in Austrai so we’ll let him off. Stephen becomes the first colleague I have actually shared a room with for many months; and the working day was all the better for it.
These ‘pagdoas’ have sprung up around campus recently. At least we have more spaces in which we can start getting back to face-to-face. This is one of those shots where I worry that the symmetry is not quite what it could be. But it doesn’t matter too much.
Lately most of the ‘likes’ on this blog have come from bots — can I just say hello to the five or six different accounts, all with the same profile picture, who have supported my efforts lately? Clearly I need to spice up this photo-feed a little, so here’s two beetles getting it on in the springtime. So attached (in both senses) were they that they remained entwined even after I manouevred them up onto my finger, in order to avoid squashing them when sitting down on the bench (at university) on which their amorous activities were occurring. I hope they and their babies are now grateful for this consideration.