Skip to main content

The World Only Spins forward

So it’s been a while since I updated-a month in fact. Busy time, but you may be glad to know I’m a lot happier since the last time I posted.
I survived the Mphil viva, so now am officially on the second stage of the PhD journey (how many stages there are I think is an open ended question if ever there was one.) The viva itself was a very positive experience-that is the actual hour I was in there talking about it. Despite all the frustrations and my worries and concerns about reactions to my research or potential problems around it the discussion was supportive and constructive. I came out of the session with a clear idea of what I’d done and where I was going. I also felt that I had held my own and knew what I was talking about it and (say it very quietly) was in fact on the road to really being an expert in this area. One day.
Following this all the PhD students were asked to give a short talk in the School research seminars. Now frankly I’d rather have done the viva again. There is something incredibly intimidating about talking to your department colleagues in such detail about your research. The PhD research is much like, for those who write, like constantly working on a first draft-it’s incredibly messy, very personal and often you’re not sure what’s going on: and it’s not something you’d really want to show to the rest of the world. Also being one of the youngest in the department in both age and experience and laying out why you think what you’re doing is important and more importantly that you actually know what you’re talking about is frankly a terrifying experience.
Ultimately I’m told both were a success-I made some bad jokes in the latter, I also was very frank for once about my research: I  have mentioned how frustrated I get with the idea that I have to hide or sugar coat my research, saying in that room ‘What I’m talking about is Gay men and AIDS’ in those frank terms is one of the most liberating things I’ve done in a while. Even if it did lead to the question (thankfully in private) ‘Is it really ok to write a PhD about the gays and lesbians’. Yes well, least said about that comment the better.
I have also been doing finally what feels like some ‘real’ research, running away to the National Theatre archives last week. After months of running in circles, writing chapters and preparing the viva and not taking any forward steps to get my hands dirty (as it were) in the archives was better than a holiday for me (well that and I got a weekend in London out of it…) I took an assistant with me (a friend who like me thinks a day in the archives is a fun day out, yes there’s more than one of us!) and that too really helped my work-to have another set of eyes and asking all the questions that I’m too close to the plays and the topic to ask was brilliant.
So the PhD feels like it’s coming slowly to life again, that things are beginning to move and to quote one of my texts:
‘The world only spins forward’
So onwards at last!


  1. Well done you - I remember the hell of vivas and talking to your colleagues - when should I buy my outfit for your gradution??!!

  2. Thank you!

    Not for another couple of years! Plenty of time to buy a hat ;)


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Theatre Fangirls (here we go again)

There's some arguments that come around and you think 'really? we're still talking about this?' but also you're not really surprised.

So when it was annoucned Tom Hiddleston was teaming up with Kenneth Brannagh for a production of Hamlet, it was inevitable that the cries of  'Silly fangirls' began. Once again we're confronted with comments that girls 'Only want to see it because he's in it' and 'Aren't interested in the play'.

And because I am a woman, therefore incapable of thinking of him other than in terms of his he above with a cat looking cute.

But just like Mr H there is both petting a cat, reading a newspaper and looking brooding, I'd like to point out that it's entierly possible to be interested in more than one aspect of a thing at the same time. And secondly I say so what the audience is just there to look at his cheekbones?

I don't have a horse in this race. I think Hiddles is a damn good ac…

Why Elliott & Harper is the company I've been waiting for

I can never resist a good (bad) pun in a title. As the first production from Elliott & Harper opens its doors for previews tonight, it’s worth pausing to think what this new production company means and why indeed we need more like it. Something of a ‘power house’ company formed of Marianne Elliott and Chris Harper. Both coming from the National Theatre- as Director and Producer respectively- there’s a real understanding of both the craft of theatre and the audiences that do- and don’t- come to it there. And theatre made by and produced by theatre people, in the commercial realm. That’s potentially very exciting.

Firstly, the act of two theatre people who really love theatre, really understand theatre both from an audience point of view and an artistic point of view. Secondly, one of the UK’s best directors striking out on her own to make theatre on her own terms. Thirdly, and you bet it’s an important factor, a woman artistic director. It’s all exciting, and has the potential, …

Holding the Man (some thoughts, not a review)

This isn't a 'review' because I saw this too close to the end of the run, but some plays make you want to put pen to paper regardless. It's also not a review, as this is filled with the kind of personal anecdotal nonsense that people tell me doesn't belong in my blog.

Well screw that, this is my blog, and for this one I'm writing it how I'd like.

A little background. For anyone who doesn't know me, I wrote my PhD in what essentially translates to 'Plays about AIDS'. There's a far more sophisticated description. But for the purposes of today, that about covers it. For anyone who wants more of that nonsense, my side blog is here

I started my PhD in September 2010. In June 2010 (June 21st, I looked it up. Yes I keep a list) I saw 'Holding the Man' for the first time. I actually had no idea what it was about going in, I was actually just a bit obsessed with Simon Burke at the time so booked to see him (what of it?). And so by accident …