Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"The Future's Already Here - It's Just Not Evenly Distributed."

Looking at media headlines over the last few months, it's often seemed that we might, in fact, be living in the sort of dystopian future that 80s science-fiction was predicting. This week, the fact that stories about Iraq, global economic recession, and a child being murdered in Liverpool are taking second billing to two comedians making prank phone calls are only reinforcing the impression.

It's in this context that the photo below struck me when I saw it at the Daylife website. It is a view of the skyline from a shanty-town on the outskirts of Manila in the Philippines:


Thursday, October 23, 2008

"Around Him Images of Glass And Steel Bigger Than His Imagination"

More dispatches from the world of Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Unlike previous mentions in this blog, however, they're not here for straddling that line between really clever and really ridiculous that I like so much, but for having done something that's actually rather good. This is the video to "Dancerama" (1989), but the focus here isn't on the song (although, as one of the YouTube comments says, sounding a bit like the good years of Roxy Music is never a bad thing) but very much on the video, which takes the form of an homage to cult French art-house sci-fi film La Jetée (1962). My favourite element is the lines of text scrolling across the bottom of the screen.

Thanks to Tom for originally bringing the video to my attention.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008



Well, that's the thesis. We have no idea how good it is yet, but it is reassuringly thick. There's no date for the viva as yet, but the latest news is that it may be possible to do it in December rather than January, which is good.

I actually handed the thesis in on 26th September, my final deadline day. I've been meaning to post about it here for a while, because not everyone who reads this is on Facebook yet. Handing in the thesis is a strange thing: everyone other than you seems to be quite excited by it. Really for me it wasn't all that special, other than that I could stop working quite so hard for a bit.

People find this lack of excitement strange, so I should probably explain it a bit. It's not, of course, that handing in is not A Good Thing. It's just that, for people who are still keen on having a career in academia, handing in is really a minor step. Finding out whether I'm any good at research is more important, and that's what the viva will tell me. Getting a job is what it's all about, and as far as I can tell I'm as close to that as I was four years ago. These, for me, are the milestones that will count.

In the post-thesis phase, I'm staying busy, thanks mostly to the fact that I'm now lecturing in the ancient warfare module at the university. So far student feedback has been quite good, which is encouraging. The teaching of ancient warfare does, however, have some fairly unique problems, such as the fact that you find yourself having to repeatedly use phrases such as "thrusting strokes" in front of an audience of 18 year-olds.

Like Jen, I think i'm going to try and make a post a week here from now on. We'll see how that goes.