Welcome to the blog page : this area features occasional short text pieces that don’t fit conveniently into the main Texts area. It’s totally undemocratic – there’s no provision for comments although, if you would like to give feedback, you’re welcome to use the Contact page at right above. All the views expressed are my own and don’t represent the interests of any other person or organisation. Likewise, any errors are entirely my fault and I’m happy to correct any issues if you let me know about them. The images on this page have all come from Internet sources – you may like to guess how some of them connect with the post to which they’re attached (for example “Old fart at play” is a track on the Captain Beefheart album “Trout Mask Replica“). Please also note that, for complex technical reasons, posts prior to August 29 2016 may not show their correct posting date.

Happy reading!

 

Work in (perpetual) progress
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At long last the website is more or less finished and, hopefully, I can just tinker with it for quite some time to come. There are still lots of images to be added but I think the number of portfolios … Read More

Now you see it……
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When I was 9 or 10 years old, I had a routine medical examination at school. As far as I could tell, this showed up nothing of note – certainly, the doctor gave no indication that anything was untoward – … Read More

A cybernetic model of anxiety response in autism
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The mind provides a functional matrix or context in which external stimuli are received, evaluated and are the subject of responses. In the case of anxiety responses, these are physically manifested in the release of hormones such as adrenalin and … Read More

Old man going
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To some extent, the deterioration caused by age is inevitable – we simply have little a priori indication of how fast it will proceed or how much impact it will have. There is, after all, no question as to the final … Read More

Crystal ball gazing
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If you’ve visited this site recently (September 1 2016), you may have noticed quite a few changes: this is the result of the apparent corruption of a number of files which was detected by my service provider. Quite what the … Read More

A big thank you
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On a bright sunny French morning in early July, a huge weight descended painfully across my upper body and I suddenly felt very unwell. A few minutes passed but nothing improved and I realised that, completely out of the blue, I … Read More

Middlesex University RIP
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I left Middlesex University over a year ago but still receive enquiries from time to time. If you are such an enquirer, I invite you to read this post. The opinions expressed are entirely my own and, although I would … Read More

Ages of coast, ages of man
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Some people refer to parts of the Dorset shore as the “Jurassic Coast”. I’m writing this sitting close to the spectacular coast of North Devon. I use the term “spectacular” since, around here the rocks are tilted and twisted from … Read More

Travels with Max
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One of my favourite authors, the late WG Sebald wrote what some critics regarded as a spectactularly depressing book, “The Rings of Saturn” about his travels through Suffolk. However, as was so often the case with his work, all is … Read More

A question of sport
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The present English government has, as many will know, embarked upon a stern and unyielding programme of draconian cuts in public spending, citing economic neccessity as justification. While this may or may not be true, what is remarkable is the … Read More

Before the dream faded
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In my teens, I had an idealised view of university life, knowing, as did most of my peers, that we would be lucky ever to experience it at first hand. That said, some of us managed to get to the … Read More

Kings of the wild frontier
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How sweetly ironic that the Wikileaks saga is showing that governments in general seem unwilling to subject themselves to the same scrutiny that they demand of those they rule. Invasive body scanners, uncontrolled use of CCTV, electronic eavesdropping and the … Read More

The thrill of the chase
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There are forms and degrees of paradise and, in search of the transcendence for which we seek them out, we approach them with expectations that are sometimes appropriate but that are more often distorted by undue idealism, ignorance or insistence … Read More

On the turning away
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One of my favourite authors is the late Clifford Simak. He remains best known for his unique approach to fiction writing, combining some of the precepts of hardcore science fiction with a humanely pastoral approach to the ways in which … Read More

The magic notebook
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Many of those of us who, usually mistakenly, believe that our spontaneous thoughts are of some intrinsic merit, carry notebooks through whose agency our ideas are intended to be immortalised. Some of us even bear the conceit that, when we … Read More

The beginning of a great adventure
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In a few weeks time, my family and I are off to Australia for a couple of months of intensive cross-continental travel. This will be our third visit to this astonishing place and one in which we hope to see … Read More

A line in the sand
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I retired from my permanent academic job some two years ago and so it is that the last student cohort that I admitted is now on the verge of departure. This milestone represents a final severing of links with this … Read More

The blank page
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We often talk of “turning over a new leaf” with relish. The prospect of a fresh start is almost always an attractive one: the opportunity to renew one’s creativity is presented and indeed symbolised by a new sheet. Whether it … Read More

A long silence
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Sometimes there’s too much to say and sometimes there’s too little – excess verbosity oddly but easily becomes what we popularly know as “writer’s block”. The creation of content that has some limited but superficial meaning remains possible but content … Read More

Nobody told me I was terminally ill but ….
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As any hypochondriac worth their salt knows, expert confirmation of one’s condition is not normally necessary and is even more rarely desirable. The certainty with which he or she can diagnose a fatal illness should be the envy of every … Read More

Go not gentle into that good night
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I once wrote a post which began “no-one told me that I was terminally ill….”. As events have turned out, a piece that was about generalised fear and its origins proved to be prescient. Last week I was diagnosed with … Read More

Did he fall or ……
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I was taking our large and boisterous dog out for a walk the other day when he decided to greet the old lady who lives across the street. He greets people with tremendous enthusiasm and, since he’s  a powerful mutt, … Read More

Old fart at play
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There are innumerable literary perpectives upon the subject of autumn, many of them metaphorical. As the nights become earlier and colder the prospect of book and armchair becomes ever more alluring and the consideration of literary procedures becomes a seasonally … Read More

A man who fell to earth
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At a height of around 100,000 feet, the sky is pretty much black, the Earth is predominantly blue and the curvature of the horizon is quite apparent. To all intents and purposes, save for the continued presence of gravity, one … Read More

JG Ballard – a brief farewell
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Ballard was not quite unique but the company he kept is indicative of his stature. I don’t mean his connections with Alldis, Moorcock or Sinclair but rather his almost unique quality of adjectivisation: Shakespeare begat Shakespearean, Swift begat Swiftian, Dickens … Read More

Concerning French steam locomotives and Italian espresso machines
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French railway stations always seem to me to be of a certain age, younger than Victorian English ones but older than their shiny modern German counterparts. They seem somehow to be stuck somewhere around the 1940s with a few hastily … Read More

National treasures
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Consider if you will the words “worth” and “price”. On the face of things, they’re of quite similar meaning. “Worth” means the value and, by implication, what something costs ie. it’s price: “price” measures what we’re willing to pay for … Read More

Radio radio
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A recent radio news item reminded me of an oddly unsettling experience. In the summer of 2007, my book “Fundamentals of Sonic Arts” had just been published and was generating a gratifying amount of response. I was contacted by Michael … Read More

Speaking in tongues
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One of the advantages of having a day job in academe is the people with whom one gets to work – not the apalling managements but the genuine academics: the older I get, the more I find myself in awe … Read More

Psychogeography for dummies
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We think about places in many ways, most of them more or less based upon physical considerations (climate, distance from somewhere else, height above sea level, ease of access and so on). We may say that we like somewhere, even … Read More

“A broader palette”
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Some years ago, I began a line of research into how the development of sound technologies had impacted upon what their users did with them: how, if you like, the creative process was informed by the means used to facilitate … Read More

A cold day
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This post finds us very much in the bleak midwinter with temperatures of minus 5 and snow falling: the days of taking off a layer of clothing seem remote as winter takes its first full bite. How strange then that … Read More

Middlesex University declines into the gutter
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Further to my previous post, UK listeners to today’s BBC Radio 4 programme “PM” this evening (January 30 2012) will have heard that Middlesex University is diversifying its academic interests into the development of flying surveillance drones that may or … Read More