Letter from an Occupant

August 28, 2009 at 8:40 pm | Posted in Blogging about blogging, Misc. | 5 Comments


To be honest, just the fact that I’m writing this is something of an achievement. Before this clearing house for over-caffeinated ramblings came into being, the longest I’d kept any sort of record was a 1997 “Top of the Pops” diary, which was kept for just two months & documented the details of my juvenalia: the popstars I fancied, the episodes of Star Trek I’d watched, the computer games I was playing & the trips my brother & I had made to Meadowhall. Looking back, it wasn’t the most compelling read.

When I opened this place in Feburary 08, I gave it a few months at best. I hadn’t a clue what I was doing, what my ‘voice’ was or what sort of stuff I ought to be writing about. I’m probably at my happiest when I’m arranging words into sentences, but have always had trouble believing I was any good at it. I must’ve spent about 6 months with my finger hovering over the ‘delete button’ before giving up and accepting my fate as a Blogger.

So now when I write words, some people read them, link to them & maybe even comment on them. Because that all seemed highly improbable when I started out, I thought it necessary to write a little bit about certain life changes which will inevitably alter the way this blog looks & operates.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be starting a PGCE at Warwick. For those averse to abbreviations, this means that in 12 months time I will (all being well) be qualified to teach in our Great British secondary schools. Judging it in the near distance, the prospect of teaching seems all different kinds of thrilling, daunting & challenging, but above all it’ll fulfill a longstanding ambition to use my education for some kind of social purpose.

I was the first person in my family to attend university, and one of a small number of folks in this bedraggled ex-mining town lucky enough to win a place at Cambridge. I had three exceptional years there: met some of the finest minds, was taught by scholars of international renown, and sauntered, swaggered & staggered in front some of the most beautiful architecture England’s ever produced.

With all the opportunities I’d been given to make something of myself, I knew that I wanted to end up in an occupation where I could help extend those opportunties to others. Of course, being young and muddled, I had absolutely no idea how to do it, and so ended up in a series of jobs which, whilst unfulfilling, at least kept me solvent. It was only when I spent some time working in a school that I realised not only was teaching something I could do, but something I wanted to do. That might come across as mawkish, maybe even narcissistic, but it is sincerely felt, no matter how badly sincerity translates over the internet.

Regarding what happens to this blog, much will depend on how well I manage my time, but I suspect a number of things will happen. First, the posting regularity should stay pretty much unchanged (and may even increase), but the posts will be shorter and won’t be as thoroughly researched or thought-out. There will be more ‘Selected Readings’ and more posts which amount to little more than hit ‘n run link dumps. The reason I want to keep the regularity of posting up is that I know there’s a danger that if I leave it dormant for a week, fortnight or month citing workplace pressures, the obligation to keep writing will gradually diminish. I really don’t want that to happen, so it seems the best way forward is to keep on posting, and hopefully you’ll keep reading in the hope that I’ll sit down & write something good every once in a while. Just bear with me, I’ll figure something out.


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  1. Good luck Neil!

  2. Siirrrrr? Excuse me siiirrr? What’s your take on the new Mountain Goats sir? (Be prepared Robinson, be prepared)

    • Haven’t heard it yet; I’ve got nearly a dozen records which I still haven’t got around to playing, and it’s going to come second to Blueprint 3. Can you recommend it?

  3. I haven’t heard it yet either; make sure you give the Jim O’Rourke a spin

  4. new M.Ward album. yesssss.

    Its a busy time. There’s a God Help The Girl EP out too. oh and those Sheffield boys have sommat out apparently. I blame Josh Homme.

    Also, don’t know if you’ve been following but Beck is doing a little musical experiment called the Record Club where he gets his mates round and they record an old album in a day (no rehearsal or prep). First up is the Velvet Underground and Nico (it features Nico appropriately). Next will be him, MGMT and Devendra doing ‘Songs by Leonard Cohen’. It’s bit ropey at times but quite fun. check his website.

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