Time another update. I fell at the first hurdle of may amazing timetable to full thesis draft. I didn’t get my data analysis completed by 2 June. That is no great surprise given that I was in Northern Ireland visiting family and attending a conference for a full week in the middle of that period, and given the fact that analyzing data is incredibly monotonous. But a there a few positives to come out of this… first of all, my supervisor is awesome and completely understood the situation, particularly given the other projects I have been boxing off of late. We were able to revise my schedule and things should hopefully stay on track. Secondly, my workrate has been improving day by day as I get into the groove of working like a normal human being… this has been greatly helped by listening to the back catalogue of Kiss on Spotify… God most definitely gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to me![youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1yvQV7J47o]
So, here is my revised schedule as it currently stands… additions in bold, changes scored through. You’ll notice that I have been accepted to attend an intensive 3 day writing workshop at Lancaster which will help me enormously in getting these chapters off the ground.
- 2 June 2015: Complete Data Analysis. (4 June Supervision). MISSED DEADLINE… but Kim and I had a very useful discussion.
- 15 June 2015: Additional Meeting to Discuss Data Analysis.
- 24 June 2015: Draft Chapter 5. Written descriptions of key discourses, plan Chapters 5 and 6 (26 June Supervision).
- 1–3 July 2015: Lancaster University Writing Retreat .
- 13 July 2015: Draft Chapter 6. Drafts of Chapters 5 and 6 (15 July Supervision).
- 5 August 2015: Re-worked Chapters 5 and 6. Structures for 2 IAHR papers (and potentially BASR paper). (7 August Supervision).
- 23 August 2015: Completed IAHR Papers. (Supervision/Meeting during conference in Erfurt, 23-29 August).
- 23 September 2015: Draft Chapter 7. (25 September Supervision).
And, in case any of you are interested in my bizarre motivational tools… here is how my data analysis chart is currently looking…
I’m not even going to attempt to explain it, but once both of those pages are coloured in, I am DONE!
Finally, I’ve also been rehearsing for what is shaping up to be an excellent concert of very challenging music. Saturday 20 June 2015, Old Saint Paul’s, Edinburgh… do come along if you can:
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege and pleasure of singing the part of “Nanki Poo” in a concert performance of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Mikado”.
A video of the Act 1 Finale has emerged as if by magic… and I post it below for you to do with as you please.
(Hint: I’m the bald one…)[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLwzb7EFZD8&t=802]
I was recently asked to submit a short, interdisciplinary research brief for an event that I am attending on Urban Super-Diversity next month. In the interests of updating you all on what I am up to – particularly given that this blog has not been updated in a horrendously long time – I have posted this information below as an image. You can also download it as a PDF.
I hope to get back to blogging more regularly at some point in the future…
Taking a leaf out of my pal David’s blogging book, I guess I should update you all on what’s been happening.
Academically, among other things…
- I’ve recently had a book chapter published, in Atheist Identities: Spaces and Social Contexts
- I’ve recently been appointed a director at the Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network.
- The Religious Studies Project continues to go from strength to strength. Now into our fourth year, I’ve been doing a bit more interviewing recently, including interviews on Bricolage, the Post-Secular, African Christianity in the West, The Emerging Church, Religion and Memory, and Geographies of Religion and the Secular in Ireland.
In my ‘real life’…
- The wonderful Lindsey and I got married in November!! Here are some photos…
- I continue to sing regularly in Edinburgh with the St Andrew Camerata, who are going from strength-to-strength lately. Check here for details of our next concert (21 March). And please follow us on Twitter!
- And probably much more…
Ciao for now.
More random tidbits from my research today…
The following extract appears in Mayfield and Fountainhall: A Short History (1962), which gives a history of the now defunct Mayfield and Fountainhall Church in Edinburgh. The quotation comes from a 1900 report of the Psalmody Committee to the Deacon’s Court, and suggests that there might have been a problem with some Gilbert & Sullivan creeping in on the organ…
Finally saw the film of Les Miserables. Really enjoyed it (if enjoyed is ever the right word for such a depressing show). A lot of the dull bits from the show seemed significantly less dull with the magic of cinema, and despite a Tom Hooper’s real fetish for close up shots which were quite disorienting, it looked stunning. The majority of performances were very good – Anne Hathaway in particular. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter were a bit disappointing – they didn’t really add anything special to their roles – and I actually felt myself wanting to get back to the depressing main characters every moment that they were on screen. As for Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe… Jackman did VERY well, and sounded pretty good, but I don’t think he sounded as amazing as many people are saying. And to all those Russell Crowe ‘haters’ out there… I think he played the role with just the right amount of stoicism, and although his singing wasn’t up to booming bass-baritone standards, he sang all the right notes in a perfectly acceptable manner for the context. Eddie Redmayne, however… hideous. You would never get away with that amount of flappy-jawed vibrato in an amateur production – why on earth would a director obsessed with close-up shots not nip this in the bud from the word go? Anyway, a solid 8/10 film that will be added to the DVD shelf and watched for years to come.
One of the things I do for research purposes (and sometimes for personal enjoyment) is listen to a few skeptical or irreligious podcasts so that I can keep abreast of what is happening in the field. One that I do not listen to for pleasure is the Humanist Hour produced by the American Humanist Association. I think it just grates on me because it might as well be called the “Atheist Hour” or even the “Anti-Theist Hour” and there is only so much of that I can take in a day… but at least it is only published once a month, and it sometimes has some interesting material.
This month’s podcast was about music… basically music for atheists… however, it did inspire me to look up one of their guests – a young singer-songwriter from Melbourne named Shelley Segal. She has an album coming out shortly entitled “An Atheist Album” and the tracks I have heard are really good… funny, intelligent, inspiring and with a cool kinda reggae feel in places. So… check her out on MySpace, Twitter, Facebook and her own website… and hey, why not even listen to the latest edition of the Humanist Hour. It’s just not really my cup of tea, but still worth a listen.
Here’s one of Shelley’s songs, “Saved”, from YouTube:
In preparation for going to see Bad Religion tonight in Glasgow, one decade after seeing them for the first time in Dublin when I was 15 (my first ever gig), I thought I would share my top 5 favourite Bad Religion songs with you. This is fairly mood-dependent, as these guys have so many amazing songs… but I shall just go with it.
It’s so rare to find a band with attitude that is so intelligent. If you have never heard them before, I hope this whets your appetite!
Firstly, “Modern Man”… I just love the lyrics to this one:
Secondly, “The Answer”… the message of this is pretty clear:
Third, “Generator”! I am sure this song has a message… but I don’t know what it is. I just love the attitude and the words
Fourth, “Sorrow”… a quieter, more contemplative number. And with a proper video… unusual for these guys!
And finally, “You”… magical memories of playing Tony Hawk’s II for hours on end as a teenager:
I have been pretty quiet on the blogging front for a while now… this is because I was at a reasonably useful conference on Young People and Religion at King’s College, London. This did mean, however, that I was able to catch with a number of good friends in London, and in Newcastle on the way back up to Edinburgh.
Upon returning to Edinburgh things pretty much immediately launched into the celebrations for the 50th Anniversary of the Edinburgh University Savoy Opera Group, a wonderful group with whom I spent many a happy year and performed in, directed or produced sixteen productions of musicals, operas and operettas between 2004 and 2010.
On the Saturday night, we had a fantastic Ball at the George Hotel, Edinburgh… with over 140 people dining, and many dozens more joining us later for a good sing and a Ceilidh. Below is a clip of us singing Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Hail Poetry!”, a regular party piece from The Pirates of Penzance. Some of us may have had slightly too much to drink… but what we lack in tunefulness we make up for in enthusiasm. And I don’t think the hotel will ever have heard such a glorious noise!
The following day we gathered a group of 60+ singers at the Reid Concert Hall, with one of the best hand-picked orchestras in Edinburgh and performed a semi-staged version of The Mikado, under the able direction of my good friend Vincent Wallace. Here, Vince and I rehearse the song “Our great Mikado, virtuous man…” the afternoon before I reprised the role of Pish Tush, which I performed in 2008.
It was quite an emotional weekend, both with seeing many faces from years gone by, and with realising that that part of my life is now gone… but it was very happy, and great to get a group of lifelong friends together and have the dynamic be identical to ‘back in the day’. Thanks so much to everyone who was involved in the organisation of this epic weekend!
Things are looking similarly busy over the coming weeks, with two weddings, paid employment, and the small matter of writing my thesis… but I shall endeavour to keep posting on the more serious stuff. There are interesting plans brewing for this blog in the post thesis world… watch this space.
And also…. do look out for me at the European Association for the Study of Religion’s Conference in Budapest this coming September, where I am thrilled to be presenting a paper! The nerves have already started!
On a lighter note…
Here’s some great music that I have just discovered that makes a perfect start to the day: