I transplanted the blog here for a number of reasons.
Sure, there have been things I’ve wanted to do — ways I wanted to organize material, both conceptually and visually — that I have had in mind for some time.
Next, we all know that I’m always this/close to shutting it all down, because, let’s face it, my life is a little complicated (as is everyone’s, in their own way), and I do have other things that I need to spend my time writing (er, tenure, anyone?). I started blogging as a non-academic outlet, a way to wind down from (feverishly) writing my dissertation revisions, to get things out in the ether that I wanted to communicate (but didn’t have the time or energy to pursue editors to publish), and to practice writing in less formal style (so as to loosen up my truly stultifying academic prose). (I do think it has helped.)
Over the past year, however, I grew concerned that blogging sapped energies that I should be devoting either to my academic writing or (more critically) to my family. (A family that needs to be as *connected as possible should not have a mom regularly tuning out on the laptop.) But I’ll tell you the reason I recently came this/close to checking out.
Two words: graduate students. (Hi, guys.)
As I devoted myself (utterly) to putting together my graduate course, I grew increasingly concerned about my academic persona (here and elsewhere) — you know, my “authority in the classroom” (that old chestnut). Remember, I don’t write anonymously (I hadn’t thought this through when I started blogging, about how it would matter once I was teaching again). And all I could imagine was the attention I would have poured over my profs’ blogs (if they had had them in the digital pleistocene era) when I started grad school. Grad students are, of course, a highly — and deservedly, in most cases — scrutinizing bunch. And while I’ve been very concerned to “get it right,” and know that any course, like a hypothesis, is a work in progress, subject to revision, I want to stand behind this particular course I’ve developed (more soon on that: what it is, what I’m doing with it).
In lieu of shutting the whole blog down, however (for fear my graduate students would discover . . . well, who knows, right? paranoia has no real foundations in reality), I elected to launch the new site with the formal features that I had wanted for some time, and to write posts that elevated the discourse somewhat, and were more befitting someone of my position.
Well, so much for that.
I was on MTV (Canada) this week.
If you recall, last weekend I had a birthday (and my anniversary is on the day after as well). I had initially hoped to go to Toronto for their music festival (Virgin Festival, or V-fest) on the 8th and 9th, to see a Montreal band, Stars, I like. Stars were playing on the Sunday (the day before the first day of classes — and a “school night” for the kids — ) and so I realized that that wasn’t a smart decision. Then I discovered that the band was playing that Saturday in Montreal for the Osheaga festival (indeed, that the Osheaga and V-Fest were largely trading Saturday and Sunday). But it wasn’t really going to work, for various reasons.
Hoping to discover another option, and googling the daylights out of Stars (you can imagine everything that comes up), we learned that they were playing a performance for MTV this very past Tuesday, and that getting tickets was a click away. We merely had to turn up at the Masonic Temple in Toronto between 5 and 5:30 on Tuesday.
Which we did. Were led inside. To see immediately that this wasn’t the “Soundstage” or “Austin City Limits” scene — that is, a speciously music- , and not personality-oriented, presentation of capital M music (that’s right: I want my MMMMMMM-TV!) — I was hoping for, but the Canadian equivalent of TRL. (Indeed: this was “MTV Live” on the Canada MTV. Carson Daly, with an eh.)
Preciously small set, under bright lights. Preciously few — if any — audience members over 20. And they seat us down front. Suddenly my anxieties about teaching my graduate class are nothing compared to my mortification at being televised on a national cable program amid high schoolers on their way home to finish their pre-calc problem sets. (No joke: some still had their school unis on.) As I told the floor manager — who, thankfully, looked as though she had also seen MTV when it launched in 1981 (I think “My Love’s In Jeopardy,” by the Greg Kihn band, was the first video I saw) — no amount of facial concealer was going to help me blend in.
I requested that we move somewhere off camera, to give someone in their intended demographic the face-time they no doubt sought.
Me, meanwhile, I’m the one who lets up a spirited whoop! and a clap in the background when Torquil Campbell (Stars’ male lead) makes a joke about a music festival open only to those over 40 (a girl’s gotta dream).
Stars performed four songs (only one went on live, though two others are online, including “Midnight Coward”) — and for free (save for the cost to my reputation).
Overall, then? Worth the trip.
Of course, that bottle of ’04 Barbera d’Alba at Bar Mercurio on Bloor Street helped the evening go down smooth — and funny enough, I didn’t get carded. . . (age does have its mellow, plummy, and full-bodied benefits sometimes).