Fear not, more New York anecdotes will follow. But I am saving them. (And trying to remember them through the haze of jetlag.)
Today I have mostly been studying for a course I'm taking in a few weeks. Not very interesting, and indeed, I haven't even left the flat today. So, instead of regaling you with an exciting anecdote from today (mostly because there isn't one), I shall challenge you to a fight.
I would like to have a fight with anyone who believes university days were the best days of your life.
Yes, there were good points. Free Fridays, and one year, free Fridays AND free Mondays. Nice people. Gossip. Cups of tea and cake. Scrambled egg in hall on a Thursday. Student theatre discounts. These were all good things.
But there was a lot of rubbish too, notably the course itself. Clearing out my hard drive earlier today, I came across some university essays. As ever with essays, the ones you spent hours researching and carefully writing up got a low 2:1. Those which you rushed off and didn't really think about, usually through flu or a hangover tended to get me a high 2:1. Try, or don't try - it didn't really matter, and about 95% of us left the course with - you've guessed it - a 2:1.
I didn't mind the essays. I quite like writing. And I managed to choose a course with no exams, which suited me very well. However, would you please look at the following (genuine) essay title, set for one of my Shakespeare and Jonson modules, and tell me if I was naive in thinking it made absolutely no fucking sense:
‘The romances explore what it means to be a subject: an agent of the self, within the state, seeking for satisfaction. And so the epitomic figures are the ones denied their place at the centre, not only the rogues, slaves, fishers, and vagabonds, but the itinerant princes, and, crucially, the exiled women.’ (Palfrey) Discuss with reference to Jonson and/or Shakespeare.
What the buggery bollocks is "an agent of the self"? I tried my best. I gamely blagged with sentences such as, "Are any of us, even in ‘real life’, ‘agents of the self’, or are our desires and our search for ‘satisfaction’ shaped by Art and the ideals it upholds? "
I tried again later with, "Are we too being directed upon a stage controlled by some other author, our lives exposing dramatic ironies detected by an invisible audience? Can we be sure that we are ‘agents of the self’ and not, as Hitchcock might have put it, ‘cattle’?"
My Shakespeare and Jonson tutor was not impressed. I like to imagine this was owing to a clash of personal styles rather than him guessing that to this day I have never read a Jonson play in full.
Low 2:1. Fuck it. So, anyone want a fight about university days? And if you do - are you sure that you're acting as an agent of the self?