Political ennui isn’t the only reason I haven’t posted here much over the past couple of months. The other is a couple of spectacular smashes and their knock-on effects.
I’m in Gullane for the week on a writing retreat with colleagues. This was the view a few minutes’ walk from the house we’re staying in.
It’s too long since I’ve had a new photo gallery here, so here’s an easy one to (re-)start with: some photos of spring blossoms and cow parsley, taken in and around the Meadows in Edinburgh over the past few weeks.
A petitition is circulating to save Pacific Studies at the Australian National University from erosion through underinvestment. I signed it with the following comment:
I was a PhD student at ANU precisely because of the Pacific expertise concentrated in RSPacS/RSPAS, and benefitted enormously from spending time with staff who had studied the region for decades. In the early 1990s there was already concern that Australia’s attention was turning away from its Pacific neighbours, but at least ANU remained a crucial repository of knowledge about them. Climate change promises to bring Pacific concerns back to the forefront for Australia, and arguably already is. It would be incredibly short-sighted of ANU to lose its position in Pacific studies at that very moment—not to mention disheartening to those who have devoted much of their lives to maintaining it, and younger scholars who were hoping to.
My Nottingham friends and I spent Saturday night showing each other amusing YouTube videos. All of my links were ones I’ve posted here before—Matt Mulholland, the “Dancing in the Streets” musicless video, Adam Buxton’s Bowie clips, the Jurassic Park theme on melodica—but some of theirs were new to me, and we uncovered some more good ones:
The Brett Domino Trio had somehow completely passed me by. Their cover of Sexy and I Know It gives a good idea of their stuff. Buck Rogers (by Feeder). Jurassic Park Theme (with Lyrics). Hey Ya! on a Skoog. What Would You Do (If a Shark Started Eating You). How to Make a Hit Pop Song, Pt. 1 and Pt. 2.
And I don’t think I’ve ever linked this one here: Adam Buxton’s I Am James Bond.
Snow at last. Not a lot of it, but snow—the first we’ve seen since July. (Wait, what? Not here.)
In the summer of 2014, I introduced my seven-year-old son to Star Wars, which made him a few years younger than I was when I saw it at the Hoyts cinema in Hobart in 1978. And I do mean Star Wars—that is, Episode IV, the retrospectively renamed A New Hope. I’d picked up the special edition DVD with the bonus disc of the original (taken from old LaserDiscs) a few years before, so that he could see it as I had, a long, long time ago in a cinema far, far away. His first sight of Darth Vader Force-choking an underling freaked him out, but he liked the movie, and enjoyed V and VI when we watched those (again in their original forms) over subsequent weeks. The Ewoks, he told me, were his favourites.