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

Thursday, May 25, 2006

last post for a while

just to say this is my last post for a while as I am off here and here and even better here where the internet cafe is extrememely FAR from where we are staying and even worse it is right by the WHISKY distillery so if I blogged it might be a bit muddly. (Or Muddy? Both probably).
Note the extensive programme on the Islay website including the Whisky tours.
But I leave you in the capable hands of Hilda and Anon who are blogging oh so well.
Anon has opened my eyes with this image.
I also leave you with a research task which is to look in myspace and find out about it as a literacy practice.
According to my daughter, it is where everyone meets up and hangs out, no need to have real meetings or friends.
Again, cultural geography is where it is at.
My new discipline.

Very misty.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Today we think about

Yes it is that time of year.
The eldest went off this morning to do English.
I have decided I am an expert on revision tips.
These are:
1. You have to watch a lot of Green Wing. This helps concentration.
2. Purchasing dresses also helps on a regular basis.
3. On no account should the examinee have to do anything stressful like housework as this is too hard. They should just eat and sleep.
4. Another idea is to be the person you are doing the exam on. Yesterday, my daughter was Latino (Spanish) today she is from the Deep South of America. (To Kill a Mockingbird). Then you don't actually have to read the book, just be in it.
This idea is actually excellent and applies to Molly who is today a Viking and has gone to find out about Viking boats at the National Maritime Museum.
Here is Molly dressed as a Viking:

I would make a great Viking Mother.
I would produce artefacts and make dresses.
Another possible career without the pressures of the RAE.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Tying threads together

I am trying to collect threads about blogging together so that my students can think about blogging.
Sarah's blog is very good - thanks Dr Joolz, as she is using her blog for her students.
Here is a brilliant blog about shoes - watch this space as this is a Creative Partnerships project I am involved in.
These two blogs are also about the processes and practices of artists who have a residency in museums in Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley - read about their artistic practices here and here.
I like the way Sheila's blog has random photos and I will do random photos this week to encourage you to put pictures up.

And here is a warning - watch what Jennifer did which is to create a blog, write the first post and sit back and wait.
She got 28 comments.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Blogs as spaces

for invisible thoughts.
I realised this when I read Dr Joolz's excellent post on creative jamming.
Your blog is often the place you go to try out a new idea.
Mine is something I said on Thursday, which was unusually profound, as, dear readers,
my mind is FILLED to the brim with ephemera, mess and trivia in particular these dresses which are a MUST HAVE purchase,
which is that meaning tugs learning along.
This is because I am fuelled with a desire to follow the trails of meaning across domains, much like Barton and Hamilton did when they talked of people's ruling passions.
But it makes a difference WHAT the passions are.
It is the intersection of materiality and meaning that makes the difference to an object.
So we know these are Celia Birtwell second time round, but our first time memories of Biba are different right?
Blogs are the places where you can put these random across domain thoughts.
A reason I like the idea of Sam Taylor Wood's invisible cello which is on here
it that it precisely describes the way ideas sometimes are invisible, and there is a silence at the heart of them, and they only open up in unexpected ways.
Guess where this is?
It is where I will be in one week's time. Heaven.
Clue: Travis and Franz Ferdinand come from there.
It is the best space for invisible thinking.

Friday, May 19, 2006

What are the affordances of blogs?

I wrote about the different aspects of blogs (links, sound, pictures and words) here and here.
Also, go here for a really good reflective blog about blogging.
Links are very interesting and they can subvert a blog as you link the meaning to something completely different.
Images are next - I am not so good as people like Dr Joolz who use Flickr as much as blogger for their on-line identity work.
Sometimes Flickr is more important - like with Litrate's blog.
Words can often be shared - I often write about something someone is following on another blog.
Memes are games you play across blogs, see here for more about them.
Blogging is exciting, time consuming but it changes all the time.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

blogs: a spatial guide

In my new role as geographer (see post below) I thought I would give my students on this course a chance to sample some interesting blogs.
First off is this new blog which looks interesting, brought to us by Guy, whose blog is always interesting.
He posts everyday and for that he should get a medal.
He disagrees with the eminent Dr Joolz about whether blogs are affinity spaces or not.
Perhaps the students could help us decide?
There are lots of literacy practices blogs out there.
Colin and Michele are very generous with their thoughts and I also always enjoy a visit to Anya's page as she surfs her virtual games and presents us with complex thoughts on identities and blogging.
Finally, a new entrant: Sheila from information literacies is blogging away in the same University.
It makes me realise that we need a map.

Would it be aerial or would it be a kind of from the ground representation?
Cartographers, please respond.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I have decided I am a geographer

I spent yesterday in the new inter-disciplinary department of worn objects, discarded objects and artefacts and narratives of migration currently based in the Coffee Republic until more suitable premesis can be found.
I have new books to read and exciting new colleagues to find out about.
I even go to new research seminars with different visiting Professors and sit in different buildings.
I can talk about post-colonial identities and art with more exciting people and make marvellous links across departments with new experts.
I have learned to think spatially.

Monday, May 15, 2006

sculpting with no objects

This week I am going to think about worn objects,
also about no objects.
David told me about these two and about sculptors who do not produce objects
as part of their practice.
We wondered what a post-object society would look like,
and following Braudrillard, what happens when objects cease to be signifiers.
If you look at the work of this architecture practice, you can see what a non-object based architecture practice could look like.
This exhibition is about fear, and fearful objects.
The next thing, ofcourse, for all us bloggers, is to think about the web as a place where objects disappear and vanish.
One of my students once asked me about old blogs.
Where do they go when they stop being used?
So obviously museum curators think this is the most important heritage dilemma.
Curating new media turns out to be the latest thing.
Look here for more about curating new media.
So, how would you curate a blog?
Is it a disappearing object?
Answers on a postcard please, to this address.
What are these objects?
Are they real?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Intermission from Fieldnotes

I have decided to create a brief mini break from Fieldnotes, the blockbuster novel (earning, remember, a 6 figure advance at least)
in order to create futher suspense
(will Artemis get on with Kevin, worse, will she leave Hope and find a New Partner in Ruffield?
Will she learn to like football? Oh terrible thought.
Will Karen embrace San Paradiso Life and end up in the Castro? etc etc)
and focus on identity in blogs.
Guy is talking about this, and so were the students on this course
this weekend.
Who are we when we write our blogs?
obviously I am a mix of Artemis and Karen but not
(I hope) Stan but I am ultimately Dr Kate but who is she?????
ALso, who am I???

Is this me?
Will I get to see this film, this week or will I simply not have time?
Will I buy a dress from here?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Artemis in Ruffield

Was fine.
She had discovered a spa where she could get her manicures and pedicures also
thankfully one place that served salad.
In the morning she jogged all around Sunmore which after a while the residents got used to, and even her ipod no longer attracted stares.
Abdul's cousin Rukshana had promised to take her to the Laura Mercier Lipstick Counter at Selfridges when she next came to London and also wanted her to meet her cousin Yasmin who was doing an MA with this lot and wanted to do a Phd on the on-line blogging habits of teenagers in Ruffield and thought Artemis would be a fab supervisor (Artemis was thrilled).
The only mystery was a Kevin Grand, who kept emailing her insisting they met to discuss regional networks.
Artemis didn't understand regional networks.
One morning in the staff room she turned round to find Stan looking intently at her silk chiffon summer dress.
'Artemis' he said 'Settled in alright?'
'Can I have a word?'

Monday, May 08, 2006

At the Drinks Party: Karen in San Paradiso

Hannah offered Karen a sushi roll and a glass of Sapa valley white and surveyed her carefully.
She was wearing some kind of night wear, accessorised with high heeled round toed purple shoes.
Maybe English Girls dressed like that.
Hannah, resplendent in khaki jumpsuit and combats, could not understand it.
Hannah's work, until she had been Dean, was on ethnographies of teenage communicative practices.
She had hung out with the girls on North Beach, and watched as they flirted with their mobile phones and texted their friends while vintage clothes shopping on Grant Avenue.
(Pictured here. Photo courtesy of Dr Joolz.)

Hannah had put her wild days behind her.
Once known for her femme fatale tendencies, she had gone Urban Guerilla in 1999 and had risen steadily up the ranks of faculty of San Paradiso.
Now she ruled the roost.
Her new ambition was to have the greatest vineyard in the Sapa valley.
Nothing would stop her now.
'So honey' said Hannah nicely to Karen.
'Where DO you buy your lipstick?'

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Girly stuff: Artemis in Ruffield

It was Saturday, and for once, Artemis did not have a football match in Ruffield.
She sauntered down the most supposedly fashionable street in Ruffield, which had borne the brunt of Kevin's Regeneration in the mid 1980's and now was called the 'Cultural Industries Quarter' which included El-Salaam university, a Green Dome and the unsual Gap etc and the department store, Cole Brothers.
Artemis had high hopes of Cole Brothers.
She had enough lipstick, but she needed mascara, some nice blusher and a tube of foundation.

Would it do?
She pushed open the green and white doors in hopeful anticipation.
Immediately, a strong smell of musk
wafted towards her and Artemis trotted forward thinking...
Laura Mercier?
Bobbie Brown?
All she could see was women looking anxious with too much foundation on.
Nervously she approached a counter.
Marlene looked at Artemis.
Artemis looked at Marlene.
'Um, do you have mascara?'
asked Artemis
'No!' said Marlene with joy.
'An American!'
'Come and see Doreen'.
Doreen hurried over.
'Oh love, where do you come from?'
'San Paradiso' said Artemis'
'My FAVOURITE PLACE' said Doreen Marlene and co.
Soon, Artemis was surrounded by women.
She was being given free samples of everything.
They hung on her every word.
'And do you have spas there love? like the old baths we have here?
Artemis told them about Laura Mercier. About Stila.
About Saks Fifth Avenue.
She warmed to her theme.
The thing about Laura Mercier is they do cookie flavoured lipstick'
'No!' said Marlene.
Sensation in the lipstick counter at Cole Brothers.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Girly stuff: Karen in San Paradiso

Dressing for the Dean's party was exciting, but stressful,
thought Karen as she surveyed crumpled clothes emerging from the inevitable squalor of her suitcase.
Her mini student apartment (with bathroom)
deep in the Pinewoods looked out over the bay.
The sun was still bright in the sky.
Freshened by a nap, Karen felt ready for anything.
She pulled out her new Ghost dress (green embroidered, cut on the bias as described here), her Karen Millen heels (round toes, so contemporary) and put on her new red lipstick, bought in Cole Brothers but quite shiny, brushed her hair and looked at herself approvingly in the mirror.
The Campus sparkled, and Karen looked once again at her invitation.
'Dean's office' it read.
A huge Italianate building glittered in front of her.
In gold letters it read:
'San Paradiso University Dean's office'.
Nervously Karen stepped up to the front door (Embossed, huge) and pushed it gently...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Fake Tales of San Francisco: Fieldnotes chapter 4

Artemis was having a slightly bemusing time in Ruffield.
She had had one meeting with Stan, her new Head of Department, who looked gloomily out of the window at the rain (pictured here)

and, trying not to look at her Anne Klein ruffle blouse said,
'Er Artemis. Hope you'll be very happy here. Difficult times ahead eh?'
Artemis had no idea what he was talking about but nodded.
Stan then thrust a piece of paper with an email printed out out from one Kevin Grand and said,
'Way to go - look him up - SILY, joint work, local regeneration' and vanished.
Her colleagues in the department avoided her completely and fled from the staff room whenever she appeared, apparently over-awed by her American accent, Anne Klein outfits and sparkling teeth not to mention her lip gloss....
Neverthless Artemis was not isolated.
Far from it.
She was, in fact, hectically busy, as both Brian and Abdul
(who had exchanged details with Artemis in the taxi cab in order to helpfully introduce her to Ruffield life)
competed to take her to more and more football matches.
It being the end of the season, it was an intense time.
Every weekend, and sometimes in the week, she had to attend either the Ruffield Thursday match with Brian, or the Ruffield United Slides match with Abdul and his family which...
(the gentle and sensitive reader will now realise that there is such a thing as TOO MUCH INFORMATION, so descriptions of these matches will, at present, be left to the intelligent readers' imagination).

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Walk into splintered sunlight: Fieldnotes chapter 4

Clunk. Karen placed her Grateful Dead CD onto her walkman and looked around her as she travelled on the BART subway from the airport to Pineforest where the San Paradiso University campus was situated.
She realised she should have an Ipod.
Everyone on the train had one and sat tapping happily, music hidden away discretely.
The train burst into sunlight and Karen sat up dazzled as she saw tree-lined hills in distance, and, close by, a series of smaller hills with wooden houses clutching them.
It was 2 in the afternoon and to Karen it was midnight.
Karen felt that she had walked into a brave new world, (pictured here)...

full of light and trees and beyond, the Pacific ocean.
She was on the other side of the world.
She pulled out an invitation she had been nursing on the flight, which bafflingly read:
'A reception to be held in your honour.
All Faculty invited
Wine to be served
At the Dean's residence.
6 o'clock.'

With a start, Karen realised that this was today.
Surely not?
She re-checked the date and to her horror,
this was confirmed.
She would be attending a reception in her honour at 4 in the morning.