Procrastination strikes back!

Except it kind of doesn’t. My defining personality trait for myself is probably ‘lazy’. Like if my choice is ‘eat meatballs for the next three days for lunch and dinner’ or ‘go to supermarket and buy food’… well, bring on the meatballs!

(seriously, never again. I didn’t know you could get so tired of meatballs.)

If there’s a marathon of Stargate Atlantis going up against an assignment, I guess I’ll be up til midnight! ‘Working’! And don’t even get me started on the lie-ins. Except, weirdly, I sometimes can’t sleep until 2 in the bloody morning and then I wake up at 9am weirdly not tired? What? Normally if I don’t get my 9 hours I’m just grumpy beyond belief. But today, it’s like “I am going to kick the arse of reality. with energy.”

So that’s why this weekend has been so weird for me. I set myself a list of tasks this weekend:

  1. MU1110 Exercise
  2. MU1112 Exercise 1
  3. MU1112 Exercise 3
  4. MU1119 Arrangement 1
  5. MU1119 Arrangement 2
  6. MU1117 Write up from debate
  7. MU1115 Reading
  8. Buy brownie ingredients

And I’m proud to say, I’ve done quite a few of those things. The brownie ingredients.. haven’t done that one. Given it requires leaving the flat, I’m not entirely surprised.

  1. MU1110 Exercise
  2. MU1112 Exercise 1
  3. MU1112 Exercise 3
  4. MU1119 Arrangement 1
  5. MU1119 Arrangement 2
  6. MU1117 Write up from debate
  7. MU1115 Reading
  8. Buy brownie ingredients

Are you proud? I’m proud. That’s…. 5/8 things. That is much better than my usual record of 0, or sometimes 1 if the task is ‘print this thing’. I guess when I just buckle down and do things I get a lot done. It definitely helps that the deadline for most of those things is next week. I know. I apparently work a lot better with a terrifying looming deadline.

now I will resume drinking buckets of tea

ah dammit I can’t. I’ve run out of sugar and tesco is 20 minutes away. #shit


Debates, apples, and too much soup


This morning I had to do a debate. Not just any debate, mind, but a marked debate. I had to say things. In front of poeple. This, in case you didn’t know, is something of a phobia of mine. Talking in front of people is basically, to me, what being punched in the face with a brick is to someone with a phobia of bricks. 

It’s that bad.

My problem is this: when I have to ad lib in a stressful situation, I repeat myself a lot. I mess up words (it’s amazing how many words you can mispronounce through being stressed. ALL OF THEM HAVE ALTRENERT PRORNUNTIONS). So, I basically have to write out exactly what I’m going to say on a piece of paper. And I have to make it good, be cause in times of stress I second-guess myself like nobodies business.

Which leads me nicely to the second problem. We aren’t supposed to read from a script. Even reading from notes is discouraged.

I can sort of see where that’s coming from. I mean, a room full of people reading from scripts and not looking at the audience is fairly boring to look at. But to be perfectly honest, I’m sure we all have much better things to be doing with our time than memorising four reasons why digital media is bad for musicians. And if I had to memorise it as well as say it I think I probably would just run screaming from the room. Literally, screaming. That’s just… nope

But in the end, it wasn’t actually that bad. Because it turns out nobody was listening. They were all on facebook, basically. Laptops, eh?

Apples and soup

Today I made some more soup. Vegetable soup is, as we all know, super-duper good for you and it’ll make you grow magic hair or something. But I’m pretty sure I’ve reached my upper limit on the soup front. I am now experiencing soup fatigue. Just eat the same soup ever day for about a month, and you too can experience Soup Fatigue! It’s great, you get halfway through the bowl and then you seriously start to contemplate throwing it at someone just to be rid of it.

Damn those vegetables.

AND I don’t even like pears. Like, I spent money on them, the least they could do is be as delicious as their appley cousins. Well, I’ll just make them into a smoothie. That’ll learn ’em.

Musicology is hard

Or is it just me?

The problem here may not be the musicology itself. I think it might just be the essays. (yeah yeah, I may be good at essays but I don’t enjoy them. so sue me) My specific problem, apart from the obvious can’t-sit-at-the-computer-for-ten-minutes-without-going-on-tumblr-/blogging-damnit, is this: perspective. I can’t use first-person perspective. And that’s fairly standard for essays, I know that much. I mean, I’ve only been writing them for… ooh, 8 years? maybe more?

This essay is a little different. Not only am I commenting on three very very subjective articles, I’m commenting on feminist texts, some of which are a little misogynistic and heteronormative, and it would probably be a good thing if I could announce my privileges at the door, so to speak. You know, “the views expressed herein are informed by my being female, white, ace, and I also went to a grammar school”. That way, anyone who hates the 11+ can just stop reading.

I jest.

Really though, how am I supposed to express my subjective opinion without use of the word ‘I’? ‘”This author believes that”? “The conclusion come to by this author is that”? It’s not really practical. And of course, it eats into my precious word count. For once I think an essay I write might be in danger of going over the word-limit, rather than being in danger of having too few words. Beige-prose. What can you do?

Uni is a very strange place

Sometimes when I’m reading stories I like to genderflip the characters to see if it still seems balanced. It generally doesn’t. A few examples off the top of my head include: The Avengers (4 F, 1 M), Harry Potter power trio (2 F, 1 F), LOTR (9 F, no M), the Hobbit (assuming we mean just the main cast, 15 F, 2M). What’s the moral of that little story? Partly that I can never just watch films/read books, but also partly that apparently there is way more M in the world than F, or that F is less inclined to adventure than M, and that it’s perfectly normal. #wtf

And then I started doing it in real life. In orchestra, in lectures, on my own in the kitchen, the results came back the same: more F than M. So… RL =/= fiction, that’s one conclusion we can draw from that data.

I even started breaking it down by section in orchestra:

Woodwind: 2M 6F

Brass: 1M 1F (Brass wins! yeah, go brass)

Cellos: 3M 1F

Violas: 2M 1F

Violins: 2M 7F

so overall that’s: 10M 16F

It’s a chamber orchestra, in case you were worried about the terrible attendance record at RHUL. “But Charli, there’s no-one there!” you might cry, anxiously. And I would reply reassuringly, “It’s ok, it’s a chamber orchestra.”

I even have a lecture where out of about 50 people only 4/5 are male. It’s kind of hard to say, because the rest just might not be turning up. I can’t imagine why, MU1115 is the best lecture we have. But it’s very odd, or seems odd to me, that music is so imbalanced when it comes to gender.


Now for something a little lighter, or, Bread

Today I did something pretty exciting! Well, ‘exciting’. Exciting for me, anyway. And hopefully really yummy. I made a loaf of bread.

And yeah, I know I did that last week (twice. we somehow used up the whole loaf in three days???), but this is the first time I’ve made bread in my loaf tin AND in my uni kitchen. The oven is a little unreliable, so I was worried it might not work, but it was fine! Actually, it was more than fine. It was great.

To start with I may have slightly over-risen the dough, because it was mega-bubbly when I took it out from under my radiator. (It’s the warmest place in the flat) And then it probably didn’t help that it was really sticky so it kind of stuck to my hands and I got dough all over myself. And maybe I should have kneaded it a bit before I put it in the tin to get that nice smooth dough-ball that I like to see when I make bread. Because I’m such an expert baker, you know? I should probably go on Bake Off next year. hahaahahaha

My major panic was that it wouldn’t come out of the tin because it had morphed into a weird huge tin eating disaster. It didn’t, fortunately, and I was able to slide it out with a minimum of fuss. And here it is, in all it’s glory.

photo (7)

I am more proud of this loaf than I have been of anything I’ve baked in a while. It’s kind of funny how you can tell where I was smearing bits of dough off my hand onto the loaf (just look at the texture on the top. awww) And I really like the crisp corners of it. You definitely don’t get THAT with shop-bread. And just check out the flour from where Neha floured the bread-tin. Very well done, both of us.

Heteroprivilege is a heavy burden indeed

Music is one of those courses where everyone basically just expects you to be doing constant musicology. As in, the study of musical scores, analytically. It turns out that that’s only a tiny little part of it. There’s ethnomusicology (the study of music within culture), theory and analysis (sort of self-explanatory), performance, creative performance, history of music, contemporary debates in music, and then my usual favourite, historical musicology.

I generally really enjoy the musicology module because it touches on difficult issues. Things like: where are all the women in music history? What’s up with the letter ‘B’? Why are all the famous composers dead? Why is it that even though there are only four guys in this lecture hall, they seem to be doing all the talking?

We tend to cover topics roughly by week. (not… roughly. Roughly on a weekly basis. We’re not rugby-tackling feminism, although that might be fun) Last week was feminism, this week was music and race, and next week is queer music.

On the face of it, that’s fine. And it probably will be fine. I obviously can’t comment on the lecture itself until I get to the lecture itself. And it could be pretty awkward, because the lecturer is my personal tutor.

It’s just this reading that we have to do. It started with her trying to avoid separating gender and sexuality, i.e. not discussing one without the other. And that’s the first place the Charlotte-train-of-utter-fury stops. Because … this.

What’s sexuality got to do with gender, exactly? Because what she’s actually saying is, I won’t not talk about these people’s sexuality without mentioning that they’re female. Just to emphasise that they’re lesbians. Well, first of all, how do you know they aren’t trans/genderqueer/agender/literally any other gender apart from the traditional gender binary? And therefore how do you know they aren’t bicurious/bisexual/heteroromantic and homosexual/other? You’d literally have to say “what gender are you?” and “what sexuality are you?”

So.. good start, I suppose.

Next, many of the ‘female’ jazz musicians were unwilling to come out to a random interviewer they’d only just met as lesbians and the author got huffy.


No seriously WHAT?

For goodness sake, later in the article YOU YOURSELF acknowledge that being recognised as a lesbian at that time would basically signal career suicide! If someone chooses to associate their sexuality with their music, ok, great! If they choose not to, also great! And if someone chooses to inform you of their sexuality, be honoured! And if they don’t, FOR GODS SAKE IT IS NOT YOUR OVERWHELMING RIGHT TO KNOW THIS.

And that’s when I stopped reading. Because I just couldn’t keep going anymore.