Apparently a Composer…

In a month when I’ve been out of action, it’s gratifying to have a flute composition premiered at London College of Music by Asley Westmacott yesterday – and today one of my songs goes live via Soundcloud performed by Ruth Carlyle & David Barton – Blueberry Enchantment

NHS November

I haven’t posted this month due to medical procedures affecting my family. (“How was your week?”, asked the anaesthetist. “Oh, I got the grant application in …. zzzzzz”, I said breezily.  Well, that had been the primary focus of my efforts up to that point!)

I hope to be back in circulation next week – appropriately for someone who’s a librarian more than half the time – providing the other recipient of NHS care is okay to be left in the house.  I haven’t had a whole month off since our youngest was born 21 years ago, and it has been a strange experience.  Even then, I wasn’t forbidden to drive for six weeks!

But more crucially, I may have kept an eye on my emails, but I’ve done absolutely no research for a month, and that feels quite odd.  I’ve read a couple of books – so far so good – and made a “note to self” about something to follow up.  But that’s it.  I didn’t follow it up.

The morning before my procedure, I wrote an Epiphany carol for a friend – she had translated the words from Latin in the hope that our choir might sing it early next year, so I really had to get something written if I wanted any hope of rehearsing it with them in December.  It proved not only to be a great distraction but – surprisingly, when I got round to revisiting it – I was rather pleased with it.  So, watch this space.  It was quite a high price to pay for inspiration, but on this occasion, at least something good came out of it!

More surprisingly, I spotted a request for a solo instrumental piece, on Facebook, and discovered I already had a composition which I was able to share with only two minutes’ tweaking effort, so that too will be getting a public airing in 2020.  Not bad for someone who is NOT “a composer” to trade.

Other than that – I have nothing to report right now.  But I look forward to getting back into things very soon.

Done and Dusted

Facing a rather demanding month, I decided I had to grab my deadlines by the scruff of the neck, shake them firmly and get them all neatly sorted.  By the 1st November, no less.  By dint of a bit of tactical rescheduling, I’ve got things just about organised to my liking.

This week, therefore, the research component of my work entailed:-

  • Submitting a grant application (it had gone from idea to submission in eight days flat); and
  • Editing a lecture and powerpoint, recording them for use in a month’s time, and updating a bibliography.

Additionally, the extended, dedicated special issue of Brio went off to the printer’s today.  Although I’ve been the guest co-editor for this issue, I can’t take any of the credit for the editing or proofing of anything except the bits I authored – I had more to do with commissioning the articles and chasing them up in time for the printing date!  Nonetheless, since it’s a major output for last year’s networking project, it is a great relief to know that it is on its way!

Meanwhile, I still had the larger part of my week to fulfil as a librarian, including some more user education – mercifully not quite as much as I’d done last week!  And the lecture, although I worked on it in research time, is actually one of those occasions where Librarian-meets-Researcher slap bang in the middle.  It concerns historical Scottish sources in the library.  They’re all there, and the students need to know about them – but I wouldn’t know any of the books’ history if they hadn’t been the subjects of my own doctoral research.

Moreover, I needed to play my own musical examples and get them recorded, too.  Now, I try to avoid EVER playing an instrument at work, because the students and their teachers are so blooming brilliant that I feel worse than overshadowed.  However, it was clearly unacceptable to contemplate playing CDs, on a recorded lecture that might end up online, so the only way to be sure there were no copyright issues was to record the examples myself.  Oh, the horror!  I tried singing to my own accompaniment last night, but I didn’t like the sound I made, so I resorted to playing what I could, and hoping it won’t sound too ragged for the student audience!  (At least I won’t be there to hear it!)

It’s a rather strange feeling, on the 1st  of the month, to know that – if I’m not actually ahead of myself – then I am, certainly, up to date with everything that should be done.

Now, about that list of church choir contributions that I promised to finalise this weekend …