It began as a blog about completing a thesis, it became a blog about everything but completing a thesis, it ended with a complete thesis.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Shane has moved next door. He's left a key under the matt - help yourself to tea, biscuits and the DVD player.

Oh, right, yeah. I had my viva a few months ago. It went well. People asked questions and said nice things. I felt a bit odd afterwards - realised I'd been doctored. Just re-packaged my blogself. Thus:

There's something happening here:


...but what it is...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Africa II, or, Whatever happened to summer, or, ‘Discourse and the Psychological Politics of Education’

I was just about to zone out with Natalie Portman when the phone rang. At first I thought the caller was some crank. No number had been displayed on the hand-set and there was a lot of background noise. ‘Public payphone, how quaint’, I assumed. No-one spoke. Just at the point of hanging-up, there came the shout of an old chestnut.

Ken: Well done, old bird!
Shane: Oh! It’s you.
Ken: Ok, I can just about hear you, but I want you to repeat that – try sounding pleased this time.
Shane: Ah. (Louder) ‘Kenneth, my sweet! It’s you!’
Ken: Much better.
Shane: Thank you dear. The traffic is very loud.
Ken: (Shouting very loudly) Actually, this isn’t going to work – there’s too much traffic, I’ll call you from the hotel. Give me ten minutes.
Shane: Ok.

‘Oaf’, I thought. Again, the phone rang.

Shane: Hello?
Ken: That’s better. As I was saying, ‘Well done’.
Shane: Thank you again.

The Thesis, of ‘The Thesis Chronicles’

Ken: You handed the thesis in?
Shane: I did - eight chapters, many words, and a few good ideas that will no doubt have a huge cultural impact-
Ken: No doubt-
Shane: No doubt, and that will ultimately change the way in which psychologists and society as a whole really, come to consciously construct what we mean by ‘education’.
Ken: (pause) Sounds hilarious. Are you pleased with it?
Shane: I still think it’s interesting, which is pleasing. It also includes a chapter written as dialogue.
Ken: Which means what exactly?
Shane: There’s a chapter that’s a bit like a serious version of Shane and Ken, on the blog.
Ken: You mean ‘Ken and Shane’, on the blog.
Shane: I probably do, though ‘on the blog’ sounds a bit too much like ‘on the
bog’ - and that wouldn’t do.
Ken: No. Did you actually use me?
Shane: ‘Use’ you, Kenneth? Remember, there is you, and there is your name.
Ken: Alright, does ‘Ken’ appear in the thesis?
Shane: No.
Ken: Someone else?
Shane: Er, I suppose.
Ken: Who?!
Shane: Kenneth! Be calm. Your tone is unseemly – note that I am likely to use this conversation for the final blog post.
Ken: You’ve dumped me, haven’t you! “Readers - or ‘reader’ - I feel like I’ve been dumped. In my absence, he’s been dialoguing with another…” Is it a man or a woman?
Shane: It is ‘George’ – not a real person.
Ken: Unreal indeed - you have another man! The shame!
Shane: I didn’t say that George was a man.
Ken: I still feel cheated. Cheater!
Shane: (Amused) What if I said, ‘I was with dialoguing with George, but I was thinking of you’.
Ken: And what if I said ‘Shane, you can fuck off’-
Shane: Alright, that’s a bit hardcore – like I said, ‘final blog post, Kenny boy, final blog post’.
Ken: Forgive me, I saw red - ‘George’ (effects mock spitting noise). When’s the
Shane: Don’t know yet. I’ve asked that it be arranged for before Christmas, but we’ll be led by when the examiners are available – could be anything from two to six months, from what I’ve heard.
Ken: Bloody hell. Still, you’re so close.
Shane: All being well.
Ken: How do you feel?
Shane: Tired, relieved -
Ken: Relieved - maybe ‘on the bog’ is appropriate then.
Shane: That’s poor, even by your pitiful standards.
Ken: Forgive me again, I’m relaxed and I’m having fun.
Shane: Good. Say more.

Ken is having fun

Ken: Morocco is hot and sunny and not at all like London, and, (conspiratorially) I have a new friend.
Shane: Ah bless you, oh hapless wonder-boy.
Ken: Would you like to hear more?
Shane: I suspect you’re about to tell me more.
Ken: I met her on the beach. She commented on my pile of books.
Shane: Sounds sweet.
Ken: We got talking, and then I loaned her my
Bel Canto.
Shane: You’re such a lad.
Ken: We met at the same spot two days later – that was Friday. Good day all round, Friday. Spent the whole day, and the next, together. And I’m meeting her again later tonight.
Shane: A fine romance?
Ken: And some!
Shane: The term ‘blimey’ springs to mind. You are no longer a man for messing about, are you? You got over the Portsmouth fiasco quickly.
Ken: That was a… that was only ever… that… that doesn’t matter now. ‘
Ships that pass in the night’ and all that. The point is that this one’s different – in a good way.
Shane: Mm-hm?
Ken: I know it might sound a bit cringe-worthy –

Shane senses that Ken is about to spook him

Shane: I’m feeling nervous here, Kenneth, I’m sensing ‘not goodness’.
Ken: No, no, it’s fine. She’s clever, very clever – and seems totally sincere, and, get this - she looks like
Pamela Anderson.
Shane: (Sharply) Jesus Christ!
Ken: What?
Shane: I just spilled tea on myself.
Ken: My fault?
Shane: Pamela’s. Bollocks, that hurt.
Ken: Dab yourself.
Shane: I’m dabbing, Kenneth, I’m dabbing. You were saying?
Ken: What was I saying?
Shane: Pamela Anderson – doesn’t really fit with my image of ‘Morocco’.
Ken: She’s called Kim. She’s only 20-
Shane: Whoaaa!
Ken: I know. Her Dad’s working for the government – she was a bit vague, but it sounds like he’s some kind of economist. They’re Belgian.
Shane: Belgian?! Kenny, what are you doing with a Belgian, and a very young one at that?
Ken: (Laughs) Well! Let me tell you! After we met up again, we came back here –
Shane: Enough! My stomach is delicate, and a romping Kenny would be too much right now. She does sound very impressive though, and you sound happy.
Ken: I am.
Shane: Good. And very much because of a girl with political connections – interesting stuff, the sort of thing that would go down well, I imagine.
Ken: (Sniggers) Good choice of words.
Shane: Eh? Oh, vile creature.
Ken: (Amused) Enough about me – what’s next for you?

Imminent whatnot

Shane: I’m travelling back up to the
proper job tomorrow, then I’ll be dropping back into the Midlands - approximately monthly - for the arts council work.
Ken: Still busy then?
Shane: Very much so. I’ve had a couple of other jobs suggested to me, but I just want a fairly ploddy couple of months – need to recharge. It’s been a heavy summer.
Ken: But you’ll be having a break, now that you’ve handed-in?
Shane: Not properly, not yet. I’m at Emma’s. Young Alex is livelier than ever - quite sapping, though he’s becoming quite a wit. He’s good at arguing – which can be a nuisance, but it’s highly entertaining - in a ‘five year old politico’ sort of way.
Ken: Spending time with Emma – must be the first time in quite a while.
Shane: Yeah, we’ve hardly seen each other over the summer.
Ken: Trouble at mill?
Shane: Milling feeling quite unfamiliar.
Ken: Maybe a break would do you both some good.
Shane: Maybe it would.
Ken: Or a break-up?
Shane: Whoosh!
Beat not about the bush, eh?
Ken: ‘Show me the spark’, that’s all I’m saying. Choose life. Choose Morocco.
Shane: Thank you, Professor Ken, I will bear your
Baywatch-inspired teachings in mind as I ‘chase the spark’.
Ken: I’m back on the first of October, I’ll come up and see you, if you like. Are you still at the shared house?
Shane: Yeah - still sharing with the Polish chemist, Bosnian engineer and bloke from Liverpool. They’re not quite Pete and Marie, but they’re good eggs. I’ll be there until the end of the job contract - January or February.
Ken: Then?
Shane: I’ll be relocating. Don’t know where yet.
Ken: No rest.
Shane: ‘Regular positive change’.

That blogging business

Ken: So if you make a blog post out of this conversation, will that definitely be it for blogging?
Shane: In terms of ‘the thesis chronicles dot blogspot’, yes, barring perhaps a post-viva one-liner. The blog was originally set-up in relation to an incomplete thesis – that’s now sorted – ironically, part in thanks to a big break from blogging.
Ken: You did what you set out to do.
Shane: Mm, I suppose I did.
Ken: We can call that a happy ending.
Shane: ‘We’, Kenneth?
Ken: You know you sound very domineering when you talk like that.
Shane: And I think that’s a ‘Goodbye Kenneth’.
Ken: (Laughing) Good timing. I need to prepare myself - I feel that a very special evening lies ahead.
Shane: Give my regards to Pammy.
Ken: I will. I’ll let you know when to expect me.
Shane: Ok, see y’.

And that was that.

Thank you for reading, and thank you to those who left comments here in the past - they were hugely appreciated.

Good wishes to you.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

One Year Later (the last-but-one post… and at 1578 words, it's far too long)

Ordered as per their arrival in the comments box (ish) (see previous post):-

Was it something we said?

Whether that’s the blog-royal ‘we’ that you refer to, or not, the answer is no.

Will you still read (and pass comment on) other blogs? (Yes yes, it all *has* to come back to me)

I will read, commenting will be rare.

[Huw...] Assuming you were fairly ignorant of blogs 12 months ago, what are your overall impressions now, what (if anything) will you take away, what (if anything) did you learn? Do you have any blogging regrets? [And from the Lord…] Do a blog related post - what you learnt, whether it changed your view on anything, that sort of thing.

I was blog-ignorant 12 months ago. Blogging, I can now take or leave. At one point, probably about 6 months ago, I was spending far too much time doing the blog thing. I imagine that 'personal blogging' whilst out in the sticks is a very different experience to blogging in the city - a subtle point related to sharing social and environmental reference points with readers.

What do I take from having blogged? I regard blogs as very useful tools that can serve many various personal and professional ends. And the reason for that? The people behind them.

What did I learn? A lot. Learned stuff about myself (a bit Freudian, a bit personal development-ish - or at least 'barriers to...'). Learned stuff about social attitudes. As a massive corpus of blogs, I used to find the north American 'stay at home mom' blogs to be fascinating, peculiar and spooky. It's often hard to avoid guessing stuff about bloggers beyond what they write. It's also interesting to me to consider the massively diverse reasons for, or functions of, blogging (see previous paragraph). And as with everyone else, whilst good writing is good writing and a that is a that, there are genres of blog that I hook into more easily than others.

Regrets? A few minor ones. There were a couple of occasions earlier this year when I - yes, gentle I - should have taken more care when conversing with unfamiliars far far from here. I think I 'mis-perceived' one blogger's comfort with regards to their receiving direct questioning on sensitive subjects. Needless to say, I well and truly offended them. Not intended, not good. They hollered, I thought 'Oh b****cks' and replied, all was well again. Other than that, there were times when I wished I hadn't set out with pseudonym and there were occasions when the fairly hit-and-miss attention-deficit style of writing here was perturbing. But hey ho, it's nice to draw an arc through all of this in a way that marks exactly one year of writing. I've a mini-history of yearly cycles... horse-riding, piano lessons, NVQ witchcraft, you know how it is...

[Huw...] How will Ken react to his life no longer being chronicled do you think? Is there any scope for The Vegan Files dot blogspot? Or is he not like that? [And from Hoss…] I, too, would like to know what's to become of Ken. And are you going to South Africa? [And from Steve...] Will Ken Survive without lots of people reading about his personal life, and will he change his mind about Gabriela?

‘Kenneth Kenneth Kenneth!’… Now there’s an appealing Blairish mantra!

With Ken, I discussed these issues (very much the appropriate term!) last night.

Despite himself, I do think he will miss the quiet silliness of my chronicling his general whatnottage. I can’t imagine such chronicling not being experienced at some level of ego-boosting (not to mention 'gross ethical inconsideration' - his words). I’ve enjoyed writing about him. But then, he has made it easy for me.

Ken is aware of the weblog phenomenon, and I do like the idea of 'The Vegan Files', however, I don't think this world wide web business does very much for Our Hero. And as he would have pointed out had he not forgotten, 'But Shane, you're so much more eloquent and witty than I could ever dream of being, my chronicling just wouldn't hit the mark... and besides, I've got more important stuff to be getting on with'.

Whatever happens, Ken will continue to be Ken, but who knows, maybe not always as I/we have come to understand him (nb/ that's not meant to sound like code for 'he's gonna have a sex change').

On the Gabriela front (and my what a fine front etc etc), I don’t know what will become. Since Ken’s previous (dismissive) action towards her, she isn’t someone who I’m inclined to follow. That said, their paths are bound to cross, so... When it comes to close personal relationships, I’m entirely confident that Ken will be a very interesting character in the weeks, months and years to come.

And Hoss, South Africa is on.

Tell us where we can find you.

But my kneecaps are very important to me.

[Hoss...] What of Emma and you?

This relationship has been, and is, many things - some good, some bad. Being brutally honest, I can see ways in which each of us are ideal for one another, just as I can see ways (fewer) in which each of us are far from ideal for one another. Most importantly: we are together, by choice, and we continue to work on finding space for more quality time (not a euphemism). I'll update on this in the final post too.

[Steve...] What is the thesis about and what made you think blogging would help it?

I thought the blog, through force of social pressure, might help me to write. A naive and erroneous fool I was. The three main academic disciplines that my thesis can be related to are (in alphabetical order):- Education, Psychology and Sociology. The precise title and issues being addressed will be mentioned in the final post.

[Hoss...] What do you really do, and what are your long range goals?

What I really do, is a very small amount of teaching at a British university (if you can call it that), my PhD research is registered with another university. I also work on research projects and consultations that, in no particular order, cover the following areas: arts and cultural development, lifelong learning, school change, and social and emotional well-being.

Recent collaborators have operated out of two universities, one in the north, one in the midlands. Other recent stakeholders, funders and collaborators have included football clubs, housing associations and government departments. For the first half of 2006, most of my paid work will be with schools that are seeking to raise creativity across the school curricula (I'm very much looking forward to this).

For now, that is as much as I can say on what I do. As for my long range goals, gosh!... Thinking work-wise, as a 3-part list:-

1. Post-doc, to negotiate a happy path between academic and non-academic work
2. To develop my paid arts-based work, and thus further blur the researcher/artist distinction
3. To collaborate with existing researcher pals on shared interest projects generated by self, and them

Non-work long range goals, as a 3-part list:-

1. To further extend the social circle, or 'family of friends'
2. By my own design or orchestration, to regularly experience something close to the Christmas Day dinner scene at the end of the film 'About a Boy' (and no, that does not necessitate more frequent Christmas Daying)
3. To continually feel more and more settled - in all matters

[Steve...] Will we ever hear the Shane play for today on Radio 4?

On Radio 4, not likely. More likely to find a version of it in a 'provincial' theatre. Relationship-building and intelligence-gathering has begun towards the goal of forming a production company of like-mindeds.

[Steve...] Has Emma’s mum ever commented about reading your blog again?

Interesting question, to which the answer is no. I suspect she was probably scared off… it occurred to me that there was a good chance of her having read of the precise context in which Emma and I first ‘bedoinked’ (pron. b’doynk’d – rather than ‘bed-oinked’… nothing to do with pig sex – well, not from my perspective *frowns* *ponders*).

[Steve...] Can we see the portrait of Emma? Or even the real you? Or a pic of Ken with all his piercings? (Well perhaps not all)

I'll consider a gallery for the final post.

[Poor Steve...] Will Crewe Alexandra Football Club stay up?

For every one of the previous 10 seasons I’ve thought ‘Crewe for the drop this season’, and I’ve been wrong each time. My view this season: ‘Crewe for the drop’, along with Millwall and Brighton.

[Huw...] When you are gone, which one post would you like us to remember The Shane Blog by?

Bloody hell Huw! Funereal tone what!… In answer: At the time of writing it, I mentioned to a very good pal that this post had been pleasing – it was at times wry, at times serious and it thoroughly cast me as some kind of god-figure. It was also very close to the actual conversation (there has been occasional ‘license’). Bit of a shame that some very pleasing comments on that post seem to have disappeared (pre-Haloscan days perhaps, can't remember, hey ho).

So there you have it.

I will be back, but only once.

Much wellness to you all, and the others...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

What is this melodrama? Give the man a slap, an earl grey and make sure he doesn't miss breakfast in future!

On December 20th 2004, following a chat with a good pal, I started the Shane blog - originally it was titled 'New Town, New Love, Unwritten Thesis'. I blundered into it really, not much forethought went into it. Bit of an arse that the url never matched the title - an oaf, I too can be.

Originally, I had romantic illusions of the blog being a useful device for helping me complete the great PhD tome. Truth is it wasn't. For a long time, the blogosphere proved to be a pleasant distraction from more important life-directing matters. In the past few months, I've done much less distraction. I've written and read less blog stuff, more 'other' stuff, and I'm getting interesting contract work.

I will make two more posts to this blog. The second of these will be some time in 2006 (non-negotiable!) and will be the final word on what happened to the great tome. This will mark complete Shane blog closure. If I was a bookmaker, on this I'd be offering odds of: Happy ending 11/10, Happy ending with amendments 4/7, Goddawful ending 100/1, Bullshitter never came back to make that second post 66/1.

The first post of the two posts will be made in a couple of weeks. If you've any subject matter or query/ies (however general or personal) that you would like to see featured, let me know. Otherwise, you leave it to chance - a bit like that 'NEXT BLOG >>' button in the top right hand corner, and you wouldn't want to go there, would you?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Shane sighs, shortly after hearing a BBC Radio Five Live presenter ask the nation 'Does Stanley Tookie Williams deserve to die?'

There's many things that I find amazing.
The passage of time is one of them.
Or, changes in individual and social politicking, if you want to put it like that.

I've no doubt that Stanley T. Williams has changed over the years, we can all see that - from convicted murderer to Nobel Peace Prize nominated educator. I think that's kind of besides the point though.

Anyway, the man awaits a Hollywood ending... gulp!

Now, I must switch the radio channel... my physical and mental distance from the Williams and Arnie situation was comforting. Callers to the BBC are eroding that comfort...

And then, in a moment of wryest juxtaposition, a new radio feature begins. I hear Morgan Freeman intone 'In the harshest place on earth, love finds a way...'. Beautiful eh... until he says 'March of the Penguins'.

* * *
Update I (Monday, 3:28pm GMT): '... Convicted of four murders, Williams, 51, will be executed on Tuesday unless Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger grants clemency or a federal appeal succeeds.

Mr Schwarzenegger said earlier he was agonising over the clemency request.

...Mr Schwarzenegger held a clemency hearing on Thursday and has until midnight (0800 GMT Tuesday) to make his decision.

...Williams is scheduled to receive lethal injection at 0001 (0801 GMT) at San Quentin prison, north of San Francisco.'

'The most advanced nation on earth'?

* * *
Update II (Monday 9:50pm GMT): "...After studying the evidence, searching the history, listening to the arguments and wrestling with the profound consequences, I could find no justification for granting clemency," Mr Schwarzenegger said.

"The facts do not justify overturning the jury's verdict or the decisions of the courts in this case," the governor added.

* * *
Bollocks, the most advanced nation on earth!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A brief post in which Shane evidences his preparedness for Christmas...

Marie: You remember that Jon and Dee, and Dee's daughter - Anna - will be joining us for Christmas don't you?
Shane: Yeah. How old is Anna?
Marie: About 12, maybe 13
Shane: Right
Marie: Mm, it'll seem unusual having a kid around
Shane: Yeah. (Pause) So will she - the kid - be doing present-receiving and so on?
Marie: Yeah, and we will too
Shane: Uh?
Marie: Adults can exchange gifts too y' know
Shane: (Appalled at self) Oh god! I genuinely forgot about that... it's because of all the TV ad's for kids' stuff
Marie: So you're not fully prepared then?
Shane: No
Marie: Has Alex been asking for much?
Shane: Yeah, every time there's adverts on TV it's 'I want that, and that, and that, and that...'
Marie: And your response to is?
Shane: I pour scorn on the rugged boyish toys and wait for a very pink Barbie-type thing to crop up, then I heap praise on it and say 'Oh that looks good - I'll get you that', at which point he appeals to his mother for assurances
Marie: The spirit of Christmas eh?
Shane: Absolutely. And besides, I'm telling myself that I'm doing him a favour by not heaping 'stuff' on him. After all, surely that's what guilt-ridden parents are for
Marie: (With raised eyebrow) Mm... and people with money
Shane: (With ill-hidden frown) Oh yes, and people with money.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

'Show me how it feels' she said

So after a moment's thought, I said...

Still, better to have plates than no plates at all. That'd look stupid... think 'stick-holding supremo'.

Y' know how it is.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A baffling conversation in which the Ken I never knew is revealed... or at least hinted at

So, nothing was ‘doing’ with Gabriela, Ken was irritable and I was knackered. Fair to say the next 48 hours were looking like a long 48 hours. That said, I wasn’t going to give the cretin an easy time. In anger, he’d used the f-word, something was clearly up. Like I said earlier, ‘Euro brush-off’ was the obvious answer. I’d soon find out.

After food at a posh pub in Pimlico, we said ta ta to Ian and Foxy, and headed tubewards… with Gabriela. The term ‘almost gooseberry’ sprang to mind. The atmosphere between the three of us was a little awkward. I was guessing that her slightly numb expression was about feeling uneasy in the almost intimate company of Ken (post brush-off). I took Ken’s apparent sleepiness to be a crude veil of his feeling like a bit of a Ken. Gabriela left the tube one stop before us and at this point Ken woke right up.

Ken: D’ y’ think she was upset?
Shane: She seemed distant
Ken: I felt like a bit of a shit
Shane: Don’t – she’s the one who should be feeling like a shit
Ken: Why?
Shane: She comes at you with all of her Italian charm, then leaves you high and dry. Does it need anymore explaining?
Ken: Yes
Shane: Don’t make a victim out of her
Ken: She was amazing
Shane: Kenneth, be not a fool – sorry to put it like this but I am tired – she dumped you, therefo-
Ken: Eh? No she she didn’t
Shane: Look, I wasn’t having a go, there’s nothing wrong with you – nothing seriously wrong – it's just that she’s clearly one of those people who likes the idea of being able to string along-
Ken: No, y’ don’t get it – I told her that (pause)… I wasn’t ready for… anything serious
Shane: (Astounded) Uh?
Ken: What?
Shane: You blew her out?
Ken: God no – we didn’t even snog
Shane: No. I mean you gave her the brush-off?
Ken: Oh, yeah, I suppose
Shane: (Perplexed) Unbelievable – just unbelievable
Ken: She was – is – really nice
Shane: What’s wrong with you?
Ken: You said there was nothing wrong with me
Shane: I was wrong, I’ve changed my mind
Ken: It wasn’t right, she is amazing – gorgeous, clever, funny – but my head just wouldn’t have been in it
Shane: Quoi?
Ken: I saw Zoe on Friday
Shane: Uh?
Ken: We’ve been emailing a lot
Shane: Zoe Who We Don’t Talk About In The Sense That You And She Once Did Something That We Don’t Talk About?
Ken: Yeah
Shane: Oh (pause)… what’s that got to do wi- whoooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
Ken: Yeah
Shane: But she’s off to Africa
Ken: Yeah
Shane: You’re not planning to see her again are you?
Ken: Not in the near future
Shane: (Shocked) I’m… shocked
Ken: Me too.

And after a moment’s quiet:

Ken: I read a lot about hedonism a few years ago, I just never believed in it.
Shane: And this relates to?
Ken: I’m thinking of just - y’ know –
Shane: (Pause) Nope
Ken: - just relaxing and… letting things go a bit
Shane: (Pause) You’re not the real Kenneth, what have you done with my Kenneth?!
Ken: (Laughing)
Shane: I have money; I am able to pay a small ransom. I demand Kenny be returned.
Ken: How much have you got?
Shane: Approximately eight pounds, a travel card and several papers on research methods
Ken: Get me a double brandy at the Coronet and we can discuss terms from there
Shane: Okay, but you'll have to prove to me that he's alright!
Ken: The brandy first!

Ken's version of hedonism was yet to materialise as I left London, however, reports of the past weekend speak of 'clubbing' and 'excess'. Fair to say I am left a little confused by this turn of events.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A minor outburst - most unbecoming of Kenneth, the oaf.

So, the deal was that I’d land at Kenneth’s early Sunday afternoon, we’d then trog down to Tate Britain. There, and really - ‘what chance of this!’ - we’d bump into none other than the pleasantly gadding-about Ian and Foxy Chloe, and Gabriela! Hurrah what! But no…

A Kenneth-shaped text lands (as I’m on the train!… oh so many expletives deleted), and it says: ‘Have headed off to the gallery, meet you down there at 4pm, hope your bags aren’t too heavy…’ Yes, it was brief and it was flat. I immediately called him to find out what was happening. Couldn’t get through. Peeved – it’s fair to say – I headed straight to the gallery, half-thinking ‘I hope I don’t interrupt anything!’ (((Shudder)))

I land at the gallery an hour early, and deposit bags at the cloakroom (indeed, a glad tiding). Still, Kenneth is unreachable. Okay-. So I text Ian, and ask where they are. Not around, but meeting us at the gallery at 4pm is the answer to where he and Foxy are (at 3pm). The shit. So, without a Kenneth (and related entourage) in sight, I do the Turner Prize thing. Speaking of which:-


Simon Starling – most intellectually engaging.
Darren Almond – most beautiful / relaxing.
Gillian Carnegie – straight-edge subculture.
Jim Lambie – colourful, but without hooks.

I’d plump for Starling or Almond, though I think that it’ll go to Carnegie – one in the eye to the mockers of the Turner Prize normative radicals.


Anyway, like a scene from some modern adaptation of that classic western… er-… Shane?… we have four guns blaze over the horizon - or at least into the Tate café area - at exactly 4pm. All seem well and chatty, having coincided on the walk from the underground station (exactly who originally walked with whom is not clear). I note that Kenneth has a slightly distant look (beyond the standard oaf look). Maybe the others didn’t spot this, but I did. As it was my first meeting with Gabriela, I had to ensure that I didn’t seem blithely disregarding. Kindly, she seemed a chappess around whom ‘blithe’ would rarely be the spirit. Captivating. Anyway, mentioning that I’d done the show already, they say they’ll quickly skip round then we can grab food before Ian and Foxy head off for an evening drive back to Cornwall. As they all depart exhibitionwards, Kenneth makes a polite nose-powdering excuse for hanging back. Soon, he privately confers:

Ken: There’s nothing doing with Gabriela.
Shane: Ah. What happened?
Ken: Nothing happened. There’s just nothing doing.
Shane: Why?
Ken: (Irritated pause) It’s just not right. There is no big ‘why’.
Shane: What does that mean?
Ken: Fucking hell! There’s just nothing doing, ok.

Indeed, ‘Step away from the edge’ thinks I. Kenneth stomps off exhibitionwards, and I’m left guessing ‘Euro brush-off’. As I'd be around for a further 48 hours I decide that we can return to this moody blue later, and so we did…

Monday, November 21, 2005

There was a crisp winter mist over the lake, a heron made flight from the water's edge.

On Saturday, I learned of a bereavement that had befallen a friend. That mystery of modern blog science, the Hoss Gene, is a landmark in my view of the blogosphere. Like the several others who I call upon, the flavour of Gene's writing is wry, dry and rapturously warm; most fundamentally human. It was saddening to consider the sense of loss that would be experienced by Betty's kith and kin.

I mentioned this bereavement to Emma as we walked by this lake (pictured) on Saturday morning. Recalling the endeared tone of my previous comments about the old guy, Emma commented, 'I hope he's alright'.

'Yes' I replied, as my mind turned to the likely wisdom that Feelgood Haines would impart at this time.

Thoughts, and familial strength.