Wednesday, 30 January 2008


I've been in the grip of a mild panic. I finally realised there's only sevenish months left for me to complete my PhD. It's not as though this was news to me as telling people how long's left has almost become routine. Scarcely a day goes by without someone asking. But it really hit me last week. I had every intention of knuckling down to get finished the ethics/methodology chapter that has been a part of my life for the last four months, but events just conspired to get in my way. The Keele Refresher's Fayre demanded I stand behind a stall for most of the day. This was followed the next day by a corporate affair, on which myself and Comrade F manned on behalf of Red and Green clothing. Then came admin, phone calls, "crucial" coffee appointments, UCU meetings, reading, more meetings ... all of it piled on top of each other like some mechanistic value-added model from the dull grey scientistic world of 50's American sociology. And the outcome? Stress. Not of the panicky variety. No, this species was far subtler, the sort that gnaws at your bones and creeps around the edges of every waking thought, the kind that could bring on fatalist resignation ... or kindly suggest it's time to get your finger out.

I met with my supervisor today and explained the situation. And the advice he offered was simple: become a hermit. So, that is what I'm having to do. Nearly. It's not easy making something that's not been a priority your very reason for being for the next seven months. It will be strange not doing as much Socialist Party stuff as I have been (now down to the weekly branch meeting and an occasional stall). I won't be taking on any organising role with regard to the SEMS dispute at Keele, nor any other group for that matter. I'm even thinking about heading into my office on Saturdays as well after next week.

Last but not but not least, there's blogging. Every blogger knows how it can devour chunks of your life. You start writing something you think can be knocked out in half an hour after lunch and before you know it the sun has sunk below the horizon and it's time to head home. There'll be no more of this, even if Elvis parks his UFO on the White House lawn. But I'm not going to stop like I did for a good slice of last year. Not a chance. Sad to say, blogging's the nearest thing I've got to a hobby, and we all need our ways to unwind. That could be be writing for writing's sake, base jumping, stamp collecting, or paying seven quid for sex and getting it broadcast on the internet. Whatever floats your boat. So AVPS will be carrying on, albeit at a gentler pace.

I may occasionally indulge myself and put some PhD extracts up on here once this chapter is out the way, if anything to see if the arguments I'm fielding make much in the way of sense. And some old school rave too. Just to annoy Darren ;)


Leftwing Criminologist said...

we've got our re-freshers fayre tomorrow, i'm trying desperately to get cdf stuff translated into welsh for it. how did yours go?

anyway i know what having tons of work does to you, i stupidly left all my essays until a week before hand in day and then had to write 6,000 words over three essays in a week (and go canvass halls against our su's governance review, write leaflets and debate with our su president!)

anyways, good luck - trying to work out what i'll do for my masters disertation myself

Imposs1904 said...


good luck with the PhD and I'll try to post some mp3s on my blog to help with your musical re-education. ;-)

steven rix said...

Life is all about choices and
self-organization is the keyword.
I love doing things if I can do them freely and lately I'm writing a book that will be finished in 2 years or whenever I feel like it, no rush. Time can be our enemy sometimes; a rabbit can lose a race but a turtle can make it happen (it's from Jean de la Fontaine).

Blogging can be addicting and it can suck your life out. I've been blogging for the past 6 years as a hobby but it's good to take breaks sometimes. Besides here we have to go to work 64 hours a week sometimes if we want to survive (i dearly miss my 4 months paid vacation in France), and work should only help you to spend time on your primary and secondary needs, so it's very hard to conciliate all of that. Add one wife, kids playing around in the house, and it's just hell. So trust me it feels good to live like a hermit. It would even feel better if we could live in autarcy.

Anonymous said...

young people today have no stamina. In my day ....

Seán said...

Good luck, Phil.