This blog will comprise a collection of ephemera, mess and miscellaneous artifacts reflecting on the writer's life.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Fieldnotes chapter 1 In Ruffield....

Karen sat in her high-up room in Ruffield, staring miserably at a vista of the city from her window (pictured here).
It was raining again.
She sighed and continued to wander through google while wondering why she felt so depressed.
Her career as an ethnographer of objects, artefacts and stuff had begun well with: Ways with objects: An ethnography of three sites in South Yorkshire and it had been praised for its original take on materiality as a communicative practice and the important role of objects in homes as conduits of emotion.
Post doctoral work had included an article, You Mardy Bum: the role of the vernacular in playground discourse of the Rother valley' which was well received by the usual suspects most of whom worshipped Richard Hoggart, Raymond Williams and Paul Willis, but had not picked up the reference to the Arctic Monkeys in her title.
But she was fed up.
Fed up of trying to pass off her Marks and Spencer clothes, bought in the neighbouring mall Rotherhall, as Karen Millen.
Tired of Cole Brothers, the local department store and its tired offerings.
She had even grown tired of the Arctic Monkeys.
Idly she googled an article by one A Schoper, whose ethnography of the on-line activities of kindergarten mothers in San Paradiso she rather admired.
Karen secretely yearned after the high life of the digital experts.
In her department they all huddled together, blogging madly, while she earnestly walked the streets with her tape recorder in hand.
She wished she could inhabit heterotopic spaces and places where the local could be global and the vernacular could be cosmpopolitan.
She wished she could be nearer to sparkling luminaries from further afield who talked of geo-ethnography and spatiality.
As she googled this academic in the West Coast her eyes widened.
A notice had flashed up.
Interested in an exchange? it said.
Do you live in an area of gritty realism and are interested in material culture, shopping and on-line spaces but yearn for something a bit more cosmopolitan?
Karen could hardly wait. She read on.


Joolz said...

Gosh. This is so gripping. I love the title of Karen'swork ' You mardy bum...'
I do feel I can identify strongly with this character. I wonder if she will get that new job.

david gilbert said...

Artemis and Karen! What a shame they weren't Artemis (Greek goddess daughter of Zeus and sister of Apollo) and Diana (Roman version of Artemis) symbolising the transition from the first great ancient European civilisation to the next. Artemis was the virgin goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, and childbirth! According to Wikipedia 'In many parts of ancient Greece, just before marriage young women would dedicate toys, dolls, and locks of their hair to Artemis.' - ephemera, mess and miscellaneous artifacts, in other words, so this seems a highly appropriate appellation for your character. Diana (Wikipedia tells me) is used in freemasonry as a symbol of imagination, sensibility, and the creative insanity of poets and artists - I like the creative insanity, which I feel sure I suffer from.

I sense there may be an autobiographical aspect to the book - I say contact Alistair Morton (author of 'Diana : Her True Story in Her Own Words', which was of course about a virginal goddess who liked hunting) to sensationalise the plot.

Kate said...

Karen has to contend with her Head of Department, (Stan) first.
ALso, there is Kevin, the Head of Regeneration in the ex-coalfields of SOuth Yorkshire (and Karen's boyfriend), to contend with.
She will have a hard time.