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Life and PhD and general priorities have interrupted plans to go and properly record the Greenwich riverwall inscription – I’m now thinking that RTI might be the best way to go, although the wooden brace in front of part of … Continue reading
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A peculiarity in staging classical tragedies is that they are too frequently judged by how close the performance is to how it would have (supposedly) been in antiquity. The risk is that this critique consigns these works to connoisseurship, or … Continue reading
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There’s an especially fun-sounding area of archaeology termed ‘experimental‘, which pretty much means actually trying things out to see if your ideas about how things might have worked might actually be right. I don’t get to play though, as my PhD … Continue reading
Again and it seems I’m writing anything but my thesis. Although that’s not quite true – I’ve about double the amount of words I’m allowed for the upgrade hurdle that all PhD candidates must clear to get from MPhil to … Continue reading
As I continue to study for a doctorate, I’m uncomfortably aware of how little I know about most things outside my field. So much so that it feels almost wrong to stray away from my subject and write about three … Continue reading
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This week, after a lot of planning and persuading people to get involved, I ran a Wikipedia editathon to create and improve the pages of women who have been important to classics disciplines. (And I mean disciplines – philology, archaeology, … Continue reading
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On Sunday, wanting to escape both research and the furnace-blast of London’s heat-wave, I walked through the woods at Kenwood House, recently of Hollywood fame as home to Dido Belle, daughter of a slave, Maria – and niece of the … Continue reading
A short while back I met up with my Granny to go to ‘Roman Empire: Power and People’, a much-publicised exhibition that is stopping off at Norwich Castle Museum as part of its UK tour. The exhibition was as showy … Continue reading
Went last night to the excellent ‘Sappho in the City’; came home to a pile of catch-up editing for Wikipedia.* In an odd coincidence, translation was at the heart of both these activities. (Even if Josephine Balmer’s translation of Sappho … Continue reading
Sometimes I think archaeology is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle – one that’s missing half the bits and with no picture on the lid to tell you what it should look like. As well as worrying about the bits … Continue reading
I confess: I am an archaeology volunteer and, after some of what I’ve encountered recently about volunteers in archaeology, ‘confess’ feels like the right verb. But should it? After all, according to the standards set out by the Institute for … Continue reading
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Another FROG trip today, less formal than Greenwich, just three of us catching the early low tide to see what the foreshore by Trig Lane riverstairs was up to. This stretch of the river is quite different to Greenwich – … Continue reading
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Went today to see the lovely Roman ruins at St Albans, or Verulamium as it was known from C1 AD when the Romans were rampaging about making a nuisance of themselves/in cahoots with the locals (depending on which academics’ arguments/the … Continue reading
At the moment it seems as though the arts* and humanities are being put on trial and found wanting. Unlike science, technology, engineering and mathematics, these are not disciplines that can cure cancer, explore distant galaxies or even invent faster … Continue reading
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Some real archaeology this weekend – joining fellow ‘frogs’ on the Thames Discovery Programme to survey the ancient timbers at Greenwich. Lots of washing mud off the medieval jetty – and scrubbing the weed from the riverwall…to uncover some curious … Continue reading
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St Mary-at-Lambeth church now hosts a garden museum which (as I visited today during lunch) I hadn’t time to look at. The grounds were pretty though, and felt like spring – and had some interesting graves in them. There was … Continue reading
As part of the far too random reading I’ve been doing for my dissertation I stumbled on a fascinating detail of ancient history: apparently* elephants took part in the siege of Colchester in AD43. Somewhere outside the town, the Roman … Continue reading
Today I shall do as I am paid and write words for other people to claim that they said. Even though we allegedly take great care, marking words off carefully with speech marks to denote what, exactly, someone actually said, … Continue reading
Lunch over, our house-guest packed and off, finally I made a nice cup of tea and settled down, the afternoon blocked out for a good patch of study. Immediately the phone rang. Against the background din of a bus, my … Continue reading
I’m not persuaded by the ‘one history of one little island’ that Michael Gove appears to be pushing. Not least in that anything so appealingly simple must appeal only to the simple-minded; technology is pulling the threads of the world … Continue reading
I was trying to concentrate on an MA assignment I’ve to write on Greek tragedy and a quatrain started woodpeckering round my brain in that way, procrastination, deadline, or no, you just have to go google it. The lines were: … Continue reading
Books are my vice, I read and hoard and hope to read and maybe will one day have the time to read, the yards that stretch, lining up in wait on bookcases. Like my time, my shelves are not endless … Continue reading
Went to see UCL student’s production of Lysistrata tonight. It was good – their opening night and it felt as though it still needed to gel a little (it’s a three-night run so hope that it does). No masks, some of the chorus spoken, some sung. Characterization was in large part great – and there was some fab comedy with swords doing duty for the phalluses that would have been…prominent…in the original. Not sure which text they were using however some of the rhythms felt ‘authentic’ enough, and there was some dance and singing. It came alive at those points.
The performance struck me as seeming very much of modern times, which is how we’re not supposed to understand it, from what I understand of the scholarship. I do wonder if it says something about our modern age that something written by men, for men, and of women, can still seem to have so much to say to us.
There’s an interesting little book called Gobbledigook* which bemoans the corporate jargon that has invaded public language like a platoon of tanks and is encroaching on language at large. It argues that jargon itself is meaningless, and worse, grinds into … Continue reading
I took down this blog for a while, in part due to the theft of my lap-top, in part due to wondering if saying what I think makes me mouthy as well as ignorant, so I ought to stick to what I know, ie, not very much.
No matter. I happened on a piece that I am evangelical about sharing. In fact, I’d like anyone who has to deal with writers to be locked in a room and made to read and agree with it, just so you understand what we’re trying to do. The piece is called A manifesto for the simple scribe: the 25 commandments for journalists. OK, the title says ‘my’ and I’ve changed it to ‘the’, so sub me.
Or, better yet, tell me what you think about it.
This post starts with two paragraphs of back story which if you are a thoroughly post-modern Millie, feel free to skip; it’s included for readers who wonder which planet I hail from. How we look at literature (or any other … Continue reading
That past fortnight I’ve been busy writing my novel and very remiss with this blog. In the time that work doesn’t gobble up, I am trying to squeeze in more reading as I think that it does improve my writing. I … Continue reading
What is it about? That’s the first question that pops into mind when I see a book cover, or a magazine article, or the blurb for a film. What is it about? And that ‘about’ pretty much determines how interested … Continue reading
Not much time for blogging as have been putting wordcount into my novel. Words by the sackload of them. Or something approaching that. In between times I was re-reading Wild Fang (Jack London)* who I think is underrated as a … Continue reading
I’ve loved words ever since I could speak them, love the way that they sound, how they roll around in your mouth and carry ideas, thoughts, emotions that can connect people even in their absence. If you ask me why … Continue reading
I’ve been painting my flat which has rather taken me away from writing. I picked out muted kind of pistacchio green, a little paler than a good gelato, for the walls and think it looks fab. There’s a persian rug … Continue reading
Stumbled across a piece by Gertrude Stein on commas. It’s a blocky bit of text on screen but bear with it and hear its measure in your head as it is worth listening to in even the complex and unpunctuated … Continue reading
This week hasn’t started well so I’m hoping it improves. Like so very many others, I’m writing a novel, and like so very many others, I have the usual convinced I can do it/plagued by self doubt see saw. Valuable writing time is grabbed in a cafe along with a junk lunch most days (the guaranteed table and swift service is the draw). According to God himself (aka Stephen King, on writing at least), this should encourage the muse to show up. She’s been a sulky bitch this week, standing me up whilst I sit there writing lines upon lines of drivel. And deleting and rewriting.
Still, with some of the rubbish out and off the page now, perhaps something better will appear. Going to the Proms last night with Regular Phil*and listening to the little short of angelic violin playing of Hilary Hahn, I hope may help.
*A pseudonym. Obviously.
Read a great piece today in the Telegraph on how people talk at work. It’s so so so true. I’d use more ‘so’s and an exclamation mark but enough already, you get my enthusiasm. Now, I work as a … Continue reading
On Saturday I went out getting some attention to fight a pub that wants to be open all hours opposite my flat. Easy enough to do, went round and knocked on a few doors and persuaded some neighbours to write … Continue reading
A word that always bugs me is ‘mandatory’. Not in its proper sense, but in the way that it’s used by every little oik behind a customer service keyboard and generally in a sentence including the phrase “company policy”. This was … Continue reading