Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The “at risk” writer, an earring crisis and another review

Sent round the poetry review email for “A Stranger’s Table” (http://www.poetrymonthly.com) this morning to the usual suspects and have had one promise to buy (hurrah!) but no actual sales as yet (groan). But the University Arts Office want to have a picture and some blurb for their summer calendar, so I’d better make sure my parting is straight and my teeth are in. Talking of looking nice, as a special treat, I have put new pictures of happy, cared-for students on the Student Care Services site as I was bored with the same old faces. Ha! That’ll fool ’em …

And at lunchtime, we had our special Vice-Chancellor chat (warning to those not in Education – never, ever attend a V-C’s chat expecting good news; it’s like being in the army in a war zone in the ’90s and seeing Kate Adie reporting. You know you’re in deep shit …). Anyway, he told us we were all basically “at risk” and even those who hadn’t yet got their gloom & misery letters (ie me) would be getting them shortly, probably. So it looks like I might be a “Phase Two” loser and have to reapply for my job sometime next academic year. But it’s hard to tell – as his delivery was so fast he could probably have taken off and reached Mars without the aid of a touch-paper or a naked flame – especially as in one breath he said that Student Care Services would have very few changes and then in the next breath he said all admin staff were pretty risky. Hell, we knew that anyway. In so many ways. Anyway, it does beg the question whether the Government will one day introduce a system where somewhere between the ages of 40 and 50, you actually have to take time out and reapply for your own life. Hmm, such a measure would certainly give many pause for thought indeed. Ah well, in the meantime, I shall lie low and wait for my letter. Or the Great White Hunter. One of the two. But where, oh where, will I find another part-time job that pays so nicely and keeps me in floppy disks? Lord, how I hate change!

Ooh, and it’s also interesting that the V-C gave his spiel whilst flanked by the entire membership of the Executive Board. Did he think we would riot and tear him limb from limb? Hmm, perhaps we should have... And I’ve never seen such a terrifyingly similar contingent of middle-aged, middle-class, white-haired, grey-suited gents all at one table. Don’t they offer executive posts to women at all? Or to men without M&S expense accounts? Just as the University is about to embark on the Gender Equality survey too. The mind boggles …

But, far and away today’s worst news is the fact that I have LOST AN EARRING. This, for those of you keeping up with my psychotic earring traumas, is one of my gold hoop ones that I was given when I had my ears pierced on my 16th birthday – a present from my mother whom I’d been nagging for years about it. On the day, she’d even arranged specially to bring out of retirement the man who’d pierced her ears when she first moved south to marry my father. Which basically meant that my ears were pierced by a silver-haired, trembling-handed 120-year-old corpse who could barely see the chair he was sitting on, let alone my ear. My mother’s always been such a romantic at heart. I of course was terrified. Still, I have to say that he did do an ace job, and I’m extremely sorry to have lost one of those earrings now, over 26 years after getting them. And I’m especially traumatised as it now means I will have to wear other earrings which aren’t them – and I’ve (for reasons I still can’t explain) been wearing these gold hoop ones for months now as I can’t bear the thought of putting others in. I shall definitely get some replacements though as they’re the ones I also sleep in, as they don’t prick my neck like dangly earrings or studs, and I can’t not wear any overnight as the hole is then in danger of closing up, particularly if I’m ill. And how Lord H hates the sight of me rejabbing my ears if the piercings ever do close up – he has to leave the room and sit groaning quietly in a corner for a while. Still, at least I have the unlost earring, so I should be able to match it fairly well.

Ooh, and at home, the lovely Andrew Taylor (http://www.andrew-taylor.co.uk), award-winning crime writer, has kindly given me a few words on “A Dangerous Man” (http://www.flamebooks.com): “The novel was very interesting and unusual, a dark and chilling parable about art, love and murder.”

Thanks, Andrew – I really appreciate that. Hugely.

Tonight, I’m planning to watch the second half of the wonderful “Instinct” on TV. I was utterly gripped by it yesterday and am desperate to know what happens. Love the two main characters too – can’t imagine what the critics meant about them not being likeable. Utter tripe – they’re great!

Today’s nice things:

1. Nearly selling a copy of “A Stranger’s Table”
2. Laughing at the Executive Board clones
3. Andrew Taylor’s review of ADM.

Anne Brooke


Cathy said...

I'm glad I'm not the only person who suffers earring crises. I've already lost two this year (but not from the same pair, of course!)

Anne Brooke said...

I've found it, Cathy!!! I've found it!!! Rejoicing in the flat this morning!! Will blog it properly later ...

Hope you get to replace yours too though ...


Lover of Books, Films and Good Coffee Shops Everywhere! said...

Hi Anne

Blimey I think all College's and Uni's must be going through upheavals at the moment. As you know we are merging with another college and the consultants are in looking at both Colleges to see which departments can be rationalised (ie. shrunk!!).

As to being made to re-applying for your own job – I always think that is so humiliating and unfair (but it’s totally legal). It would serve them right if everyone said “actually I don’t think I want the job anymore” and all went elsewhere – then they’d see what value their staff contributed to the place. What process is your place going through to warrant all this – is it a merger too?

Anyway, my sympathies are with you and it will be horrible when the process starts and good friends start disappearing. I’ve been through the process twice before and it ain’t good for staff morale I can tell you. The days of the big ‘payoff’ are gone unfortunately – otherwise I think, like me, you’d be off like a shot and starting up a business of your own with your redundancy payment.

So glad you found your earring though - all is not lost!

Irene Black said...

Good news about the earring, Anne, I have so many single earrings that I should string them together to make a necklace.

I've tried in vain to e-mail you to tell you that ADM blew my mind but your e-mails bounce back.Tried through GW too. Are you getting these? Could it be that ADM is so lethal that the mere mention blows the e-mail system?


Anne Brooke said...

Thanks, Sue & Irene! No, we're not merging - but (in a rather amusing little throwaway phrase in the 101-page document we've all been given to read) the cost of the last restructuring was so expensive that we're having to restructure again (ie get rid of staff) in order to pay for it before we all implode. I am indeed in a particularly bizarre Monty Python sketch ...

And I think an earring necklace will be great - trust you will be wearing that next time I see you, Irene. And thank you soooo much for those wonderful comments about ADM - much appreciated indeed (I got the GWs email!). I suspect Michael may indeed be tampering with my emails. Naughty boy. Are you sending them from/to the Goldenford account? If so, this is my fault as I have 6 zillion emails in my Goldenford account and am trying to thin them out ... Sorry!