I went to see Eddie Izzard promote and read from his memoir/autobiography on Sunday night.
It was a refreshing night. A great change from hearing about Trump or how Farage isn't going to be the leader of the failed UKIP again.
I'm seeing the less than good effects of that break with Europe. (Yes, I voted 'remain' but anyway...)
It was a different and great night out. I went with a friend who's also a big fan of Izzard - we've both seen two of his live comedy shows - Definite Article and Circle.
He showed me how by sticking at it you can eventually get somewhere.
Well, I've done so many different things over the years but writing has always been there.
I look back at the writing I've done. The factual writing during my degrees; the lyrics I've written for music in the bands I sang in; the poetry I wrote during the jobs I hated; my short stories and of course my novels.
Oh the stories from things I've experienced and people I've talked with.
You know what?
There are too many AHs on this planet.
Think you know what the AH stands for.
Most of us have to deal with AHs in our lives because we've got no choice.
Too often we get several ruling our lives including those we mistakenly voted for.
Several times we have prejudices ruling our lives. Sometimes those prejudices can come from others ruling our lives.
Usually 'cause we were lied to so much we came to think we were being told the truth.
It can be hard to think of the actual truth.
I've had that so often. Doing things different from what were often done.
Get ignored or even harassed.
Then years later I get people saying, "You know, you were right."
Too bloody late isn't it?
I mentioned (as you do) I've sung in several bands. The one I sung in was an 'acid jazz' band. In our first gig (in Bolton) we played a mix of covers and original music.
We didn't know we were being spied on.
A friend had arranged a guy to view us. His views? He wanted us to play at London's Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club. THE UK jazz club.
What happened? The owner of the band split the group up. We weren't playing the music he wanted.
To play at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club and then play whatever mix of music we wanted not the other way round...
Not the only band that I sang in but broke up because of some self-destructive idiot. I was part of three other groups that broke up due to arrogance (or possibly weariness in one band).
Never due to me.
See this art piece? It's called 'Orca'.
I made it from pieces of CDs, CDRs and DVDs.
It gives changeable rainbow colours wherever you stand looking at it.
Environmental and Diversity awareness.
And I made that and several others like that.
I know they inspired several school children. Their teachers showed me.
I know these are unique and I know I can create custom art works made similarly.
I remember going to a commercial art exhibition at Urbis in Manchester in autumn 2009. It was loads of stalls hosted by various art galleries. (Urbis is now the National Football Museum.)
I looked at the art pieces on display for sale. Yes, they were nice except only two series of art pieces were truly distinctive and original. One lots was at a small stall run by the artist herself. And they were special and distinctive.
My art pieces were on display at the Royal Exchange Theatre at that time. I gave my business card to a kind of art lecturer at Urbis and he was totally disinterested in it and yet...
Those stalls at Urbis didn't make much nor did Urbis itself. Nor did his students being given prizes there. So I wasn't surprised it closed and the building was converted into the more profitable National Football Museum.
That lecturer was arrogant with no justification.
Do I sound bitter? Perhaps.
A lot of effort went into making my art pieces and seeing how unoriginal those other art pieces were at Urbis and how arrogant that lecturer was I think I have the right to be bitter.
In fact I learnt a few years ago that the market for extremely expensive art pieces is stationary if not decreasing. One documentary alleged it was due to the recession. For the incredibly rich, the recession wasn't affecting them.
(Get the idea about some documentary researchers are not doing their jobs very well?)
I think the main reasons is that the new art pieces are conventional. There's no innovation.
Well certainly amongst the insular art world.
As far as I'm concerned, my work is innovative but it doesn't fit in to the art worlds' stereotypes so my work gets ignored even though it might be leading to a new way...
Yeah, I got four degrees. Either I'm masochistic or __________________. You fill in the blank there I think.
So, first of all, I got a Chemistry degree. I certainly learnt a lot but not quite solely chemistry. Lets face it, for a lot of students at my age then, university was at time of growing up (getting an intimate girlfriend/boyfriend, getting high on various drugs [allegedly!], and, oh yeah, working). I'll not going into any great details about my experiences (largely because they're in my next novel... kind of).
Well, some of the lecturers were OK but some were so incompetent. Maybe I'll save bitching about them for another blog...
Then several years later I did my second degree in Television and Radio. I have to confess I worked more consistently in that degree. Perhaps I was both older and I was doing things I was really enjoying. So less on the... less than legal substances. (In fact none at all but I was smoking heavily during the stressful directing of two films, especially one I really cared about that later inspired writing my novel 'The Devil's Sister'.)
Several lecturers were very interesting. One became a mentor and a friend. She was responsible for me taking my next degree...
A Masters in Gender Studies.
This degree changed my life - for the better.
Basically I was studying philosophy and psychology. Effectively, I was becoming my own shrink. :-)
Don't get me wrong - a Masters is hard to do. It's so much harder than an undergraduate degree.
Then I made a huge mistake after my Masters. I began to study a PhD.
Now a PhD student has two supervisors (senior academics) who oversee the studies. You'll have to research something that's never being done by anybody else in the world.
So I was looking at gender diversity in the city centre of Manchester, UK. Effectively, it also meant I was looking at issues of hate crime in the centre. I was in regular contact with several police officers (some are no longer available due to the police cutbacks the government has enforced).
Well, one supervisor left the university (effectively no longer becoming my supervisor) but I didn't find out about that until three months later.
Nice to be not told anything.
(I know these kind of issues are quite familiar in various other industries not just in universities.)
It was one of the things that led to me leaving that university.
I took a year out where I wrote a novel. (It was one that was nearly published in 2009 but the recession made the publishing agency go bust - Later on, I dramatically rewrote and extended it to become a better novel - 'The Devil's Sister'.)
At that time, I also made several art pieces which led me to doing my first solo art exhibition.
I then restarted my PhD at a different university. I had two different supervisors (one from Sociology and one from Law). One of whom I had a huge respect for (and still do) but it's still all went horribly wrong.
I was given advice that counted the university regulations. (Yeah, it does help if supervisors actually follow the latest, up-to-date university regulations.)
One of my supervisors I hardly saw because, in his department (Law), three members of staff had apparently left the university (sacked/transferred whatever) so he was massively overworked.
I talked with a Sociology professor at that university who gave me recommendations without actually referring to the university guidelines. (If I followed his advice I would've lost two years of my work - I was doing my PhD part-time - and I would have had to do another year of new work which I didn't actually need to do.)
He's still working at the university there as a professor. And getting admiration and awards. Think what you like about that.
So when I was about less than two months from finishing my PhD another professor gave me correct guidelines that I should've been given years ago. So I had to rush to adjust nearly all of my PhD before submission.
Was I p***ed off? Too bloody right.
I've got my PhD but I wouldn't ever recommend anyone to do one.
Is my research in gender diversity innovative and helpful? Yes it is, but the universities ignore it simply because some transgender people, like Eddie Izzard, do not intend to permanently transition.
Basically the universities follow gender stereotypes. You're only being respected if you are permanently transitioning into a gender stereotype.
Remember my PhD was based in Manchester, UK.
Follow the clues about what universities I might be referring to.
So now What?
I'm here writing this, having a bitch fest.
I've written two novels both I've self published.
I know they are readable and innovative.
Get them and read them if you doubt me. I know my stuff.