Today, I started a new adventure: the joy of grant-writing. Well, I exaggerate slightly. By ‘started’, I mean that I looked at all the headings requiring to be completed, and sat in silent, awe-struck contemplation. (I think I’ll take my new book on the train to St Andrews with me: Carr’s The Nuts and Bolts of Grant Writing.) The’joy’ is a bit of hyperbole, too. It feels a bit like someone telling you that diving off a very high board for the first time is exhilarating and probably won’t hurt as much as you think. (Unless you bellyflop into the water?)
One thing was clear to me, however. The section where you have to put your research idea into layman’s language. If I was allowed to use a hyperlink, I could do that straight away! You know the IKEA advertisement where the T-shirts find their way home, despite freezing winds, booming ship’s hooters and sundry other adventures? (‘The Joy of Storage’, they call it. It’s for all the world like the triumphant end of The Lord of the Rings.)
Well, imagine the shirts are sheets of unbound music, and then play the video backwards. Scores of assorted pieces leave Stationers’ Hall in London, and begin their journey by land and sea, scattered if not to the four winds, then certainly far and wide to an uncertain future in eighteenth-century Britain’s legal deposit copyright libraries … that is what I want to research next. Where they all went, and what happened to them in their various destinations, from the University of St Andrew’s careful parcelling up and ultimate cataloguing, to Trinity College Dublin’s instruction that Stationers’ Hall was not to send them any more music, thanks. Very different attitudes to ‘The Joy of Storage’, indeed!