I noticed - flitting past me on Twitter the other day - somebody eyerolling at, if not codfishing, some bloke's plaint that watching Dunkirk had made him realise that The Modern Man does not have these Manly Challenges To Rise To -
And being a historian, I thought that, actually, there have been long generations, at least in my country, where most men were not being called upon to take arms and fight, and the general attitude to the soldiery was summed up by Kipling in Tommy.
And that thing about Challenges to Rise To always tends to be seen in a context which leads to e.g. the Battle of the Somme, rather than to being a despised Conscientious Objector, a decision which history may read entirely differently -
Which possibly links on to that thing I also saw flit past me on Twitter apropos of alt-history narratives which allow the viewer to believe that they would be The Resistance, which reminded me of that nasty piece of work Jimmy Porter in Look Back in Anger going 'where are the good brave causes?', and really, one can think of a few relevant to the 1950s, not to mention, we do not, ourselves, envisage J Porter going off to Spain in the 30s.
And the whole notion of Heroic Actions and somehow, not here, not now.
And I thought, did not my beloved Dame Rebecca say somewhat to this point in Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, and while this has the rhetorical universalisation and generalisation to which she was (alas) prone, it does seem relevant to this notion of some kind of masculine Rite de Passage:
All men believe that some day they will do something supremely disagreeable, and that afterwards life will move on so exalted a plane that all considerations of the agreeable and disagreeable will prove petty and superfluous.
As opposed to, persistently beavering away at the moderately disagreeable in the hopes that it might become a little more agreeable.
Today was unseasonably chilly. I was not properly dressed. boo.
Tonight was lovely, bedtime now. Night internets!
This involved a certain amount of faff and hassle about making sure we were buying the right kind of ticket for the train which would also give us free rides on public transport, ascertaining which platform the train in the right direction left from, etc etc. And then when we arrived a) finding the right stop for the tram b) missing the stop we wanted and being carried on to a point we didn't want.
Except it turned out to be right around the corner from Hundertwasser's Waldspirale apartment block, which was on the list of things to see.
After which we wandered down in the direction of the Schloss (which can only be seen by way of guided tours, we passed) and had what was a rather more leisurely lunch than we had intended at the Altes Rathaus before going to the Hessische Landesmuseum, based on the collections of the Grand Dukes, which has some nice stuff.
We then went out to Mathildenhöhe, which was where the artists of the Jugendstil Art Nouveau movement hung out. This includes a Russian Orthodox Church (not particularly Art Nouveau) and the Hochzeitsturm, Marriage Tower, which looks as if it might be the HQ of one of those somewhat spooky early C20th New Agey cults that crop up in mysteries of the period, and a rather small museum (but I think part of it was closed) of furniture and objects created by the artists of the colony.
And then back to Frankfurt, whence we flew home today.
And in other news, spotted this in today's Guardian: the strange world of book thefts:
“We caught a gent last Christmas with £400-worth of stolen books in his trousers and elsewhere.... As we showed him the door he told us: ‘I hope you’ll consider this in the Žižekian spirit, as a radical reappropriation of knowledge.’”As an anarchist friend of a friend remarked when his car was nicked, 'Property is theft: but so is theft theft'.
I also did a lot of knitting! Really all I want to do rn is knit, tbh. I'm super close to finishing a ball of yarn. And then I 'only' have 3 1/2 more charts on this project!
I need to finish my prelog for game next weekend, and I should work more on my galra exchange fic.
And tomorrow is work road trip, wooh! That will be....interesting. OTOH, I can sleep in.
Gonna move up to my room, I guess, where I can at least put away my knitting and look over my larp supplies... I usually come downstairs on Diablotin days to make it a bit more social.
I had to leave to go downtown to the Colombian Food Festival, at which many delicious things were consumed. Then we went over to a friend's place for board games (we mostly chatted for ages, then we played Personally Incorrect, which is...also what I played last night, so I'm ready for some variety ;p). It was fun! Then we went to try and catch a pokemon none of us had seen before (the evolution of Pineco), and pretty much everyone caught it but me. It ran away, because of course it did. *Sigh*
And then I had been considering going out to this month's goth night, but I was too tired. And also besieged by skunks. We took Jola out for all of 2 minutes and saw as many, and gave up the idea of a more prolonged walk after that. Fortunately no one actually got sprayed!
And now I am tiiiireeeeed and should go to bed. I was woken up stupid early by the kid's alarm clock (WHY IS THIS A THING! WHY DOESIT HAVE TO BE DIRECTLY ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WALL FROM WHERE I SLEEP!! ARGH!!!), then took the dogs for an extra long walk. So a pretty long day, all told!
Game tomorrow, so hopefully I'll get some knitting done. And then who knows!
Having a weekend with partner in Frankfurt.
Hotel perhaps overdoing the stylish minimalism: why does this always mean, nowhere to put stuff in the bathroom? However, good marks for the breakfast buffet.
On matters of modern design, am I the only person who finds themself waving their hands at a tap that turns on some other way, and vice versa?
Today to the Stadel- art gallery, very good stuff and lots of it. Among works observed, one C16th courtesan as Flora, with obligatory symbolickal bubbie displayed.
Also to the Arts and Crafts Museum, which has gone full-on poncey and eschews labeling in favour of composing curatorial 'constellations'. Though I could have spent more time with the shiny pillow-like balloons that one was permitted even exhorted to touch. (Sometimes I am shallow and frivolous.)
Some general flaneurserie, looking into churches, etc.
I am trying to come up with ideas of things I can write for the work blog It hasn't been updated in ages, and was never updated regularly. I'm not entiiiiirely sure it is worth it, but it would give me something to do. But the problem is that there isn't much going on, or not much I can post about, anyway :/ Monday I'm taking a road trip to the other facility, which should be interesting! Partly because it means road tripping with N @_@ I'm not completely sure what all we will be discussing, but it will be cool to see their facility anyway. They do more Hard Science archeology, like isotopes and thin sectioning and such. Anyway. It should be an interesting week.
Re the current hoohah about Boots the chemist charging well over the odds for the morning after pill, I was going to comment - when posting the link on various bits of social media, to go 'and Edwin Brooks must be spinning in his grave!'
Brooks was the MP who put through the sometimes overlooked but significant 1966 Family Planning Act: as discussed in that post I did some while back on 'why birth control is free under the NHS'.
However, I discovered from googling that - as far as one can tell from The Usual Sources - Brooks is still alive, but moved to Australia. I am profoundly shocked that the Wikipedia entry, under his political achievements, doesn't include that act. We wonder if, in the long history of reproductive rights, it got overshadowed by the more controversial 1967 Abortion Act, or, by the final incorporation of contraception into the NHS in 1974. If I had time on my hands (which at this moment I don't) I would go and try and edit that entry.
*I think this is a quotation from someone? but I can't find a source.
Knitting was great! I'm getting well into chart 10 (of 13) for Puled by the Sunset. It's very pretty
We walked home, which my hip tolerated, and I have been ding a few basic stretches before bed, which will hopefully help? It feels nice, anyway, though it actually has been making sleeping weird :p I feel like I should go to the doctor but also like going to the doctor is just going to be a giant PITA and maybe not worthwhile. I cant guarantee that any of the individual things bothering me will eb acting up, I'm terrible at describing symptoms, and I don't think there is anything they can do for me anyway :| Diagnosis: I'm old and have not been sufficiently gentle on my body. Probably they will also say I'm overweight and that will help :p pleh
Except some of it doesn't seem to be, o hai, I am now making an effort, it is more that various academic things (seminars, conferences, etc) that I had flagged up in my diary ages ago finally came up and were all within the space of a few weeks, I don't know, it's the 'like buses' phenomenon. And some of them I did do some social interaction at and others I just slipped in and out, more or less.
Have booked up, what I was havering about, the annual conference in one of my spheres of interest that I was usually wont to go to but have missed the (I think) last two because I was not inspired by the overall theme that year. And it's not so much that I'm not inspired by this year's theme, it's more 'didn't they do something very similar a few years ago and I did a paper then, and don't really have anything new to say on the subject', so I didn't do that, but I think that it would be a useful one to go to to try and get me back into the groove for that thing that the editor at esteemed academic press was suggesting I might write and talk to people (if I can remember how to do that thing) and hear what's going on, and so on.
Also had a get-together with former line manager, which between the two of us and our commitments involves a lot of forward planning, but it was very nice to do it.
Have also done some (long) and (a bit less) outstanding life admin stuff, which I both feel pleased about and also as if I haven't actually done anything, which is weird.
Did I mention, getting revised article off last week, just before deadline? and then got out of office email from the editor saying away until end of month. WHUT. The peeves were in uproar.
And generally, I am still working out what I do with the day when it does not begin with posting an episode of Clorinda's memoirs and go on with compiling the next one. Okay, there are still snippets to come, but they come slowly.
Other than that - the strategic planning session thing at work was good, except it went too long in the beginning and we didn't get time to do enough of the actual *planning* work. I still think it was useful - everyone is basically agreed that we need to hire an interpretive planner. there is something regarding the beginning of a plan to make a plan to seriously figure out what merging SA is going to be, though there are still some elephants in the room that haven't been addressed. I had/got to point out that the inventory system for SA is completely inappropriate for a museum because it doesn't have object tracking capabilities - you can only know where objects are if they are in a box. Not good enough. I got to hear N talk crap out of his ass and *also* talk high level archaeological theory and spot the difference ;p When he does the former I want to smack him - when he does the latter I often find myself agreeing with him, which is refreshing. Anyway - I think I'm probably a weirdo because I actually enjoy those sorts of things, except for the part where it is supposed to also be a networking thing and you should probably talk to absolutely anyone outside of the session about the things discussed, and not just run and hide in your office because you can. After a crazy start of the week, though, it's back to normal - not having a whole lot to do. :/
What I read
Melisande Byrd His Lordship Takes a Bride: Regency Menage Romance (2015), very short, did what it says on the tin, pretty low stakes, even the nasty suitor who molests the female protag in a carriage (the Regency version of Not Safe In Taxis) just disappears. The style was not egregiously anachronistic (apart from one or two American spellings) but a bit bland.
Janet Malcolm, Forty-One False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers (2013) - charity shop find. Some of the essays were of more interest to me than others, but all very well-written.
On the go
Matt Houlbrook, Prince of Tricksters: The Incredible True Story of Netley Lucas, Gentleman Crook (2016). I depose that somebody whose scams got rumbled and who was banged up in various institutions for his crimes is not exactly trickster royalty. He then went allegedly straight and got into journalism, partly writing up the inside stories of the crime world, but these are very much complicated by the author as to their authenticity and did he actually write them. While he was more of a career criminal than the opportunistic upperclass louts in the McLaren book mentioned last week, he did have claims to gentility, but again, so not Raffles The Amateur Cracksman.
I'm currently a bit bogged down in it, which may be a reflection of the author's own experiences in trying to write about somebody who lived by lying, had numerous false identities, etc etc (which are very much foregrounded).
Simon R Green, Moonbreaker (2017) - came out this week, I succumbed.
Also started one of the books for review.
There's a new Catherine Fox out tomorrow (allegedly)...
Work was fine, tomorrow is our Strategic Retreat, which is a little ominously named, especially since it has the potential to determine my future job prospects... And also the last day of filming.
We had a family meeting to talk about how we need to do better at keeping house... I guess we'll see if that has any impact.
Early bed for me I think. I'm wiped despite a mini-nap earlier.