separation anxiety and long-term projects

My ongoing (and steadily increasing) thesis anxiety has had a number of clear effects:

  • Muscle tension, tension headaches and a sore right hip.
  • Irrational and yet themed snack-craving: layered wafer biscuits. Potato crisps. Indian sweets (thankyou, Brunswick Street @ 11.45pm).
  • Strange dreams about house-hunting.
  • Ob-con Buffy and Angel viewing. I think I like the structure. I know it’ll go on and on and on for ages, and I know what’s going to happen. No surprises. No completion or submission… hm. Maybe I should be watching The Simpsons or Neighbours instead?
  • A strange new interest in soccer (anything but editing I guess).
  • Napping. Excessive napping. 4 hours last weekend, 2 today. Between 11 and 1 today I was face-down in the matress, breathing through two nostrils worth of seasonal rhinitis. The Squeeze chose to assume The Position (prone, that is) on the couch between 4 and 6 this evening. If we could synchronise our naps our relationship would reach new heights. Or depths.
  • Cleaning. Yes, our house is clean. And there are no baskets of laundry waiting my attention in the loungeroom. The toilet is safe.

If you’re interested, I’ve actually got very little left to do on the thesis. So I’ll be done within the allocated time (4 years at my uni, but 3.5 years worth of funding from The Man. I’ll be done in 3.5). I know this makes me a freak. But it’s my fourth thesis (hons, MA, aborted PhD) so I should be pretty good at it by now. The Supes reckons I could be done in a fortnight. This pronouncement obviously prompted today’s Nap.
I have to write an introduction, rewrite Chapter One (formerly “Chapter One: Introduction” now “Chapter One: the Ill-defined But Probably a ‘literature review’ But Under Another Name”, rewrite the introductions to each chapter and redo my conclusion. Actually all very possible in two weeks for Thesis Demon. But I’m not really sure how I feel about this. I finally understand how I’m supposed to redo the introductions, so that will go quickly. But conclusion? I actually feel like I have no idea how it’s supposed to look. So I’ll try and we’ll see.
While I spent a delightful hour perusing the CAE (Centre for Adult Education) booklet today, planning language courses, pattern making courses, etc (yes, I am a big fat learning sponge), giddy with the thought of newly-won academic liberty, I’m also thinking about travelling. Goddess knows there’s very little actual work out there, beyond sessional teaching and exploitative short-term contracts. Hell, I might as well take up DJing full-time if I want exploitation. With a side order of industrial deafness.
I am suffering from separation anxiety already. Which is probably why I’m wondering what it would be like to have a baby. If there’s one thing three theses (and thirteen years at uni) has taught me, it’s how to handle long-term creative projects.

simple pleasures

The best part of looking at site stats today was finding my site was a hit for a search for “how nanna would make pumpkin soup”.
That pleases me.
I wish I had more to offer in the gastropod way of things. But I don’t. Buggered if I can remember what I’ve eaten this week. I’ve been so busy with the thesis, and I DJed three nights straight over the weekend (Thu, Fri, Sat), including my first after party. Which I was happy with, though I guess it’s hard to stuff up a 45 minute set, isn’t it?
My DJing issues are continuing with a search for a media player to which I can drag songs from itunes (using itunes as my library), but which also produces useful play lists. I mostly want to be able to preview songs on headphones before I play them, and for this you need two media players as macs can’t understand why you’d want to have two versions of one application open at any one time. Sometimes this rocks, but sometimes it sucks. This is one of those times. I think I’ll settle for a combination of DJ1800 (about $AU70) for previewing (no sensible playlist option), the usb headphones (plugged into the imic I need to buy from Brian, or into the usb directly) for listening to the DJ1800 songs, and itunes for actually playing to the sound system, searching, creating playlists, etc.
But if you’re looking for gastropod action, I have a little tub of nice bocconcini in our fridge atm, and some nice hydro tomatos on the window sill (I was in bed when the potato man came this week – 8am is TOO early!) and some sweet rocket in the garden. Make of that what you will. I choose to make nice salad.
I am also going nuts with mandarins and apples at the moment. It’s that time of year. We have a bowl full on the coffee table, and I push segments down The Squeeze’s neck every evening while we watch Buffy and Angel. Soon he will have strange Buffy-citrus dreams.
Meanwhile, I had a dream where I was stabbed by a platypus with its poison spur. It was also a dream about the house I lived in in Brisbane, and also about houses generally. I know that if I’m having house dreams, it’s anxiety season. And of course, the source of this anxiety would be the thesis. And the fact that my supervisor goes away 2 weeks from now, for 3 weeks. Arriving back one week before I’d planned to submit. Yes. Isn’t that nice?

busybusy

Ok, so I’m hitting another period of crazy productivity. Look out supervisor.
Today I finished off redraft5.2 of chapters 2 and 3. I had had some concerns about chapter 2, but I think I fixed it, even though it meant cutting out a sweeeeet section on the relationship between jazz and dance in the 20s and 30s.
That was really just a long-winded way of my describing the way improvisation is contained within social/community structures in African American vernacular culture. I’m using this as a way of describing how the introduction of new ideas and ideology and self-expression/representation (‘difference’) is managed by community/social/discursive structures in African American vernacular dance in a productive and creative way. In contrast, contemporary swing dance culture in Melbourne marginalises difference by discouraging improvisation, innovation and the representation of self by the emphasis on formal classes, rote-learning and routines. The bit I’m really interested in is how media figures in all this – how do AV media do this? How does DJing do this? And of course, what role do dance schools play in this? Finally, how does this sort of marginalising of difference work as a capitalist tactic, particularly in developing a market for commodified dance (ie classes)?
That’s my thesis right there.
But I do take time out in each chapter to look at resistance to and transgression of this marginalisation of difference. In chapter 3 I look at how women might do feminist work in partner dancing by doing ‘black’ switches; leading; solo dancing. In chapter 4 I consider… well, I’m not sure yet. I’ll get back to you. Anyhoo, I read this resistance as the utilisation of African American dance discourse themes/tactics/practices (eg improvisation) by contemporary swing dancers. Which is neat, because Af-Am dance was all about resistance, particularly in the pre-emancipation era and on into the 20s and 30s.
So it’s all going nicely. Tomorrow I wrestle with chapter 4 (AV media), then I meet with the supes on Thursday. I’d actually like to leave that meeting til the following Thursday… I’ll see what I can do.
Friday I will try to do chapter 5, but I don’t know – I have to DJ on Thursday so who knows how productive I’ll be on Friday. Anyway, I’ll finish off chapters 5 and 6 by the end of next week. Hopefully I’ll be able to go back through and make it all hang together. Chapters 2 and 3 are totally tight – the bestest best friends. Who knows what 4, 5 and 6 are doing. And the conclusion? I doubt it’s go anybody’s back, at the moment. But I trust 1 is ok. Just rough-edged and not really smoothing the way for the rest of the homies.
The Squeeze dreads these periods of insane, obsessively-compulsive productivity. Mostly because they’re followed by the inevitable crash as I wind myself tighter and tighter, tiring myself out with longer and longer hours. Hopefully I’ll get through redraft 5.2 before then.

thesis update

I am editing like a crazy person. Well, preferably like a clever, articulate and focussed academic.
I’m up to the 4th draft of Chapter 2 (Dance as public discourse: Afro-American vernacular dance). Actually, I’m mid-way with draft #4 of Chapter 3 (cultural transmission in dance: the movement of cultural form and practice as ideological and mediated process). This will be followed by the 4th drafts of Chapter 4 (AV media in contemporary swing dance culture: revivalism and the ideological management of mediated dance), Chapter 5 (DJing in contemporary swing dance culture: the collusion of cultural practices in mediated dance), Chapter 6 (institutions in contemporary swing dance culture: swing dance schools and the ideological management of embodied practice via media) and rounding up with a first draft of my conclusion. Then I go back to Chapter 1 (Introduction) to do its 4th draft.
Then I edit for typos/grammar/spelling and all that rubbish. Hopefully to submit in August.
It’s all going pretty well, and the supes gave me the thumbs up on my recent effort at making 6 seperate blobs of work one comprehensive ‘story’ about swing dancers’ use of media in embodied practice. It was a matter of juggling writing style, making each chapter support a key thesis (which I can’t articulate right now, sorry), and then each point in each chapter support that thesis.
So Chapter 2 is now looking pretty comprehensive (dance as discourse; how to discuss dance as discourse, theoretically and analytically; dance discourse as culturally specific; then considering Afro-American vernacular dance of the 20s/30s/40s as an example, paying most attention to the relationship between the introduction of new ideas/dance steps (mostly through improvisation) and community structures which regulate/manage this process. In other words, how is the representation of ‘self’ and individual identity (through improvisation, creative ‘work’) by individual dancers ‘managed’ by community structures (such as musical structures, social conventions regarding sexuality and public behaviour, etc etc).
I make the point quite clearly that individual self expression in Af-Am v dance (or the representation of self and individual interests and ‘difference’ in public (dance) discourse) is more flexible than in contemporary swing dance culture.
I see the formal heirachies of teaching and learning (esp in schools) as the reason why there’s less tolerance/opportunity for the representation of self/difference in contemporary swing dance culture. And teaching and learning in contemporary swing dance culture is dominated by ‘revivalist’ ideology – the idea that swing dances are dead, they were great, and they need to be ‘revived’.
I explore this in greater detail in Chapter 4, the AV chapter, where I look at the role of archival film in the revivalist project.
In Chapter 3, though, I talk about ‘cultural transmission’, and consider contemporary swing dance culture, noting how it’s a fairly homogenous culture, in fact a predominantly youth/consumer culture, a consequence of the formal pedagogic practices of swing culture. I take Melbourne as an extreme example, looking at how the swing dance school’s commodification of dance as a package to be bought and sold via classes has resulted in a homogenous ‘market’ for this product – white, middle class, hetero kids.
But this chapter is more interesting than that. I argue swing dances’ movement into the white American mainstream in the 30s was achieved primarily through the mediation of the form: film and dance studios brought swing dances to the mainstream (with obvious asides to stuff like Afro-American troops interacting with white women, though I argue that the segregation of the day prevented the wide-spread effect some dance historians argue for. I think film and dance teachers were significant – though it was a combination of factors).
I’m most interested in the mediation of swing dances in their movement from Afro-American communites to mainstream America and then into the internaitonal community. There’s plenty of work on this stuff, esp in relation to mambo and latin dance and their movement into mainstream America (admittedly in later years).
I’m interested in how film was important. Then I make the point in Chapter 3 that these films represented the racism and segregation of the day in various ways (ie some studios not showing black and white characters on screen together – segregation in-text; racist work-practices in the studios themselves). And then, that revivalist dancers cannot help but reproduce these racist and dodgy themes in using these films as key sources for reviving swing dances. The problem lies in their not critically engaging with these issues in their teaching/researching dance. In fact, I argue quite strongly that swing dancers today are notably reluctant to engage with issues of race and class in their discussions of swing dance history. Which concerns me, esp as 20s and 30s ‘Harlem’ and ‘slavery’ seem quite ideologically loaded terms.
Ok, so with all that in mind, I then introduce swing dancers as fans, through their media use, and through their class/age/etc demographics.
Then I say: ‘ok, so with all that in mind, what evidence do I have for all that in actual examples from dancers’ embodied practice? Where is this shit in the dancing?’ And then I do some neat analysis of actual dance stuff, in particular reference to gender and sexuality (because they’re key issues in swing culture). And I make the argument that just that fans are engaged in ‘textual poaching’ – tactical engagments with dominant ideologies and discourses, so too are swing dancers. It’s even more interesting when you read Afro-American vernacular dance as embodying tactical resistance to dominant American ideology and discourse of the day – hell, let’s be blunt. When you read Afro-American vernacular dance as the dance of people whose history involves racism, segregation, jim crow legislation, racial violence, etc etc. In that situation, of course cultural production will be resistant. Particularly dance, for people of West African descent.
So then I do some neat analysis, basically asking how sexual and gender differences are represented in contemporary swing dance cultures around the world. I look at how, for example, young women in North America use swing dance to explore ‘sexual display’ within a safe social context, where they may (beyond dance) be unwilling to do things like flash their knickers, wear suspenders for show, shimmy, etc. I’m also interested in stuff like women leading and men following as a way of subverting heternormative social forces. I’m also facinated by local differences – eg blues dancing in Korea and Japan, as opposed to blues dancing in Canada or Australia or New Zealand.
And of course, the most imporant part of all this the role media plays. How contemporary swing dancers use the internet, AV media, etc in all this. How important are swing discussion boards in the way young people in swing dance communities represent sexual and gender differences? I argue that media is very important, and provide some neat examples from different discussion boards, websites and email lists.
Then I move on to AV media in Chapter 4, where I talk specifically about media use in contemporary swing dance culture. I take AV media as an example of one key media form (and practice), and then DJing as an example of the collusion of different media forms and embodied practices – in swing DJing we see dancers using discussion boards, email lists, websites, digitial music technology (from downloading mp3s to DJing from laptops), to research, purchase, discuss and explore music and how to use it. Then I look at how all this stuff functions in embodied practice: how DJs’ media use actually functions in their embodied DJing for a crowd of dancers.
In Chapter 5 I look at how all this stuff – media use – is managed by institutions in contemporary swing dance culture. I focus on Melbourne as it has the largest swing dance school in the world, and is a local scene dominated by school discourse (which is, incidentally, capitalist discourse). And I look at how capitalist discourse functions to commodify what was once a vernacular dance – to sell young people a lifestyle product. And, most facinating of all, how they are also sold an ideological ‘product’ as well. I’m interested in how the ideology and discourse of schools in Melbourne reflect dominant social discourse and ideology in the wider Melbourne and Australian community.
Therefore proving my original argument, that dance = public discourse, where ideology is represented, and that this discourse is representative of the social/political/cultural forces of the wider community in which this community-of-interest is located.
I squeeze the fandom stuff in Chapters 4 and 5 in more detail, mostly to explain specific media practices.
Ta-DAH!

speed

I know, I know, I’ve not been around much any more. But I can’t help it! I’ve been editing like a crazy editing fool, and then I move from the computer to the bike to ride off to yoga or into the city or wherever the fuck I want to go – because I can ride my bike as fast as the wind, certainly faster than Commonwealth Games stalled traffic. And it’s much easier for me to get onto my bike than it is for a cranky commuter to get onto a tram these days as well (PT users city-wide are ‘amused’ by the little notes at the tram stop: avoid using trams during peak periods. Nice one – two thumbs).
Though I am worried about the disappearing bike lanes. Melbournians will be familiar with the Games Lanes marked in blue on on CBD streets. Not so many will have noticed the way several key bike lanes (a few-block section on Swanston Street, all of Queensberry Street) have completely disappeared. I’m paranoid – really worried – that they won’t come back after the games have finished. But this hasn’t stopped me speeding into town or off to Brunswick Street or to the cinema. 20 minutes to town (official time down 10minutes on previous personal best). Still 20 minutes to Carlton, but surely that’s a timing error? Yoga, however, is down to 10 minutes.
I am truly In Love with Blacky. Though its first service seems in order… how could we bare to be parted?
On other fronts, I’ve DJed no less than four times in the past three weeks. It seems there’s a bit of a DJ drought in Melbourne atm. My skills have necessarily taken a serious up-turn and I’m sure the groupies are moments away. They are no doubt waiting for a tram somewhere on Swanston Street.

yes, don Hamleoni

I have tired brain. I’m not tired physically, I just suddenly become tired when I start reading this chapter I’m trying to edit. The words sort of blur together and I realise how frequently I repeat myself. It’s humid and warm today and I’m hiding inside. It’s not really working, as my sinuses have reminded me that humidity is good for mould. Not Bob Mould, but the other type.
I have this chapter to finish, then the other difficult one (DJing) to finish, and all before the end of the month. 20 days, with weekends off. Meanwhile, the date for submitting my application for extension draws closer and closer (loom is the appropriate word here), my panic ebbs and flows. It’s given me strange dreams, a combination of the hardcore inter-species war being conducted in the Judas Unchained universe and my sudden Lost bingeing.
I hadn’t watched Lost ever before, but an impulse added it to my trawl at the video shop last week. I thoroughly enjoyed the first 4 episodes or so, but it’s kind of losing its appeal – it’s getting silly. I keep noticing things that could either be continuity errors or clever plot lines. If this was David Lynch, I’d be overjoyed and suspecting the latter. But it’s not. One thing I want to know: how is it I can never find half a dozen functioning bobby pins in my own home, when the blondey asthma chick can find at least 20 every day on a desert island? I also want to know how the Korean chick managed to explain to the black guy which type of leaf she needed to do a little eucalyptus naturopath action on blondey. And why she didn’t punch him when he came back with an armload of wattle* instead. That’s not to mention my disbelief at his success finding this particular type of indigenous Australian plant on a tropical island which does not show any other plants from the same family or micro-climte group at all.
Ok, so it could all just be woo-aliens or wooo-government-conspiracy, but please. Respect the bounds of my belief!
On another television front, I think I could be interested in Carnivale on the ABC, but seeing as how I only ever watch telly on DVDs now, that could be difficult…
Meanwhile, we continue the Godfather Experience with Godfather II this week, prompted in part by our delight with phrases like “would I make my sister a widow?” and threatening Crinkle with waking up with the severed head of one of her beloved bunnies in her bed if she gave us any trouble. And no, despite first impressions, it wouldn’t be just like waking up with your period in the night, it would be horrific and she’d scream and scream and scream. And then come on a night time revenge visit with half a dozen henchmen and a machine gun.
In our house, if you displease don Hamleoni, you’re offered a trip to Vegas.
But back on the thesis thing: surely I’ll find my focus again soon? Surely?
*it could have been a particular alpine eucalypt indigenous only to alpine Tasmania, but please.

a thesis outline sort of testy thingy…

If I do put the schools chapter last, I think I’ll use it in the following way:
I begin with Afro-American vernacular dance because contemporary swing dance culture itself ‘begins’ with af-am v dance. The ‘original swing era’ is a powerful myth in swing culture. It is used to justify many cultural and social practices, beginning with actually dancing itself – learning to dance swing dances is seen as a way of ‘reviving’ dances from this ‘original swing era’. The idea that these dances need reviving implies that they are in some way ‘dead’ or otherwise incapacitated. Literature discussing vernacular dances makes the point that they are continually changing and responding to cultural and social context as cultural discourse. For a particular dance step or dance style to be danced, it must retain relevance. In other words, dances ‘go out of style’ because they no longer appeal or embody the needs and interests of dancers. This is quite often related to changes in musical form – swing dances like the lindy hop were replaced by dances which were better ‘suited’ to the successive musical forms, and to the needs of successive generations of dancers.
The point is also made in much of the literature dealing with Afro-American vernacular dance, that particular moves or movements are not always wholly lost. The cross-generational nature of vernacular dance – it occurs in ordinary, everyday, cross-generational community spaces rather than in segregated ‘youth’ or other spaces – means that dance steps are more likely to move between generations than in generationally-segregated dance traditions.
The lindy hop, then is not ‘dead’ – it is still present in the movements and bodies of Afro-American dances today.
To declare that it is dead is to make an ideological statement about creative and cultural form. It is an act of power. It is also shifting the dance form out of Afro-American vernacular dance discourse and into middle class, urban youth culture. This shift is achieved through the use of a range of communications technology – media – and through institutional mediation of dance-discourse (schools or studios). This shift – this cultural transmission – is inflected by power and ideology and wider social relations. The ‘revival’ of swing dances in non-Afro-American communities is an embodiment of relationships between white-dominated middle class, mainstream discourse in the USA, Australia, Europe (and ethnically congruent groups in Korea, Singapore and Japan), etc and Afro-American people today.
The thesis, then, will begin with Afro-American vernacular dance, positioning lindy hop and other swing dances within a tradition of vernacular dance and identifying the cultural social uses and forms of dance in this context. Particular themes in Afro-American vernacular dance are identified in this initial chapter, and then attended to in later chapters. This thesis reads swing dancing as an Afro-American vernacular dance form which has been transmitted to another culture – another time and space and group of people. This approach is an attempt to question the centrality of white, middle class heterosexual cultural in Australian discourse. It is also an attempt to assess the processes of hegemony in the appropriation of a black dance form for a white community.
This first chapter also positions dance as cultural discourse – as a series of texts and positionings and relationships guided by ideology and instutitions – the ideas and beliefs of individuals and groups. It suggests that swing dance culture today – the embodied practices of contemporary swing dance communities – carry evidence of the ideological and social practice of its participants. The primary concern of this thesis is with the role of media in these practices.
Afro-American vernacular dance – though inflected by various media technologies such as radio, film and recorded music – is centered on face to face interaction – embodied practice.
Contemporary swing dance culture is far more heavily informed by media technology.
The second chapter pursues this point, noting the ways in which contemporary swing dance culture is mediated both by communications technology, and by insitutional bodies – the dance school or studio specificially.
This chapter also introduces the ways in which contemporary swing dance culture is a localised global community of interest. Afro-American vernacular dance is a product of African diaspora, carrying within it an embodied history of African culture, slavery in America, emancipation, oppression and finally movements towards cultural autonomy and freedom. Each decendent of that original African diaspora – each Africanist society – is unique and inflects cultural form in unique ways. There are distinctions to be made within the ‘Afro-American’ community, across time and geography – local distinctions.
Contemporary swing dance culture is a localised ‘global’ community. The community is not necessarily one of ethnic or genetic heritage – it is one of interest and cultural form. The links between local communities are maintained by travel and by media use and practice.
The second chapter introduces the notion of a community of dancers which is heavily mediated.
The third chapter begins an analysis of the forms of this mediation in contemporary swing dance culture. It examines the uses of Audio-Visual media in three periods in contemporary swing dance culture – the original ‘revivalist’ era of the 1980s, the rise of significant local communities in the 1990s, and the development of a locally inflected global community of dancers in the 2000s. The first period is characterised by the use of archival film in the revival of swing dances – footage of dancers from the ‘original swing era’. The second period is noted for the rise of videos produced by local communities and individuals in the promotion (and commodification) of local teachers and events. Specificially, commemorative videos for camps and exchanges and instructional videos. The third era, however, is characterised by the massive increase in AV media production, disemination and consumption in swing communities around the world made possible by the development of digital AV media technology. Here, dancers not only download and view clips filmed in other communities, they also film themselves and members of their own community to upload and share with the wider international swing dance community.
These three periods are broadly read as correlating with the face to face dance themes of immitation and impersonation; improvisation and innovation; and a later combination of the two, as dancers have increased access to both archival footage and images of contemporary dancers in their embodied dance practices, which they then film and disseminate.
The fourth chapter explores DJing in contemporary swing dance culture. The rise of DJs as a distinct role and identity in local communities is an indication of that community’s age and development of cultural form and practice. DJs not only make extensive use of digital media in their embodied practice – playing music for dancers – they are also making great use of digitial media in their acquisition, research and discussion of music online. Swing DJs have also developed an international community of interest which complements their face to face practices in their local community.
This chapter reads DJing in terms of impersonation and immitation in DJ’s choice of music and DJing style (specifically, in their intensely ‘recreationist’ ideology), yet also sees them as innovating and improvising in both their online and face to face practices. DJing in swing culture is seen not only as the ability to recreate musical moments from the past, but also as being capable of responding to the immediate needs and demands of the dancers on the floor before them.
Both AV media and DJing practice in swing dance culture are mediated by their relationship to – or place within – various discourses wihtin local and global communities. The final chapter explores the local Melbourne swing dance community as one which has increasingly become the preserve of one major institution – a dance school. This school not only manages the face to face events at which DJs work but also discursively manages the music DJs play and dancers’ responses to this music. This discourse is not only embodied in dance classes and at events, but also exists online in newsletters, websites and other ‘official’ discursive texts and forms. Schools also produce official AV media – videos and DVDs – though their management of ‘unofficial’ digital media is more complex.
The final chapter of this thesis explores the role of the swing dance school in contemporary Melbourne swing dance culture, and the ways in which it mediates embodied dance practice within this community. This chapter explores the commodification of dance – through classes and performances – and the twin imperatives of creating and sustaining a market which motivate schools’ social and cultural activities. Swing dance schools justify their activities with the revivalist myth that they are ‘recreating’ and ‘reviving’ a vanished art form and cultural practice. This notion is used to justify the commodification of dance, and the management of face to face practice in ways which impede the development of a contemporary vernacular dance culture in Melbourne.
This chapter is concerned with the ways in which pedagogy – as practice and ethos – is utilised in the commodification of cultural practice, and in the mediation of discourse.
This chapter sees dance schools as emphasising immitation and impersonation rather than innovation and improvisation in both teaching and discursive practice, and discouraging alternative forms of learning and acquiring knowledge which deconstruct challenge institutional heirarchies of knowledge and – consequently – power.
The thesis closes with this chapter as an examination of a local swing dance community where institutional discourse attempts to manage a local dance discourse in an increasingly globalised – or internationally networked community. Changes in this school’s internal practices and discursive practices are read as responses to these community changes which attempt to reposition dance as a commodity – a product to be bought and sold – rather than as a process of cultural production or a discourse which can be made or created or participated in beyond the bounds of institutional discourse or practice.

thesis update

A thesis round-up:
– I have completed a full draft of the thesis. Yes. My candidacy technically runs out on the 7th February, but I took a month or two (or 6 weeks?) of sick leave when mum was ill. So I guess I’m to finish up at the end of March? I’m thinking of applying for the extension. I have some completion anxiety.
Last meeting with the supes (or the meeting before), we decided to ditch the last chapter on camps and to replace it with a chapter on schools. Or institutional bodies, really. So the thesis will be:
intro
ch 1: afro-american vernacular dance
ch 2: contemporary swing dance culture
ch 3: AV media
ch 4: DJing
and then ch 5: schools
conclusion
But we’re thinking maybe the schools chapter should go after/before the contemporary swing dance culture chapter (it seems to make the most sense there).
We are having Big Question issues. We meaning me.
And I haven’t written that schools chapter yet (though it is so thoroughly planned). I have a little resumption anxiety. I don’t know if I can start that chapter again. Eeeek. I reckon it’s a manifestation of my completion anxiety: once I finish the chapter, I’ll be that one step closer to completing. And that is some scary shit.
So I’m distracting myself with the Ears Nose and Throat doctor I have to go to (bad ears, bad ears). I turned up there at 11.15 today to realise the appointment is tomorrow. Yay. So I’m going back tomorrow. More yay.
But maybe the schools chapter won’t be so bad.

this’ll be a piece of cake

it’s time to get into the chapter writing hardcore. no more stuffing around. no more reading exciting things. there are a couple of references i’d like to chase down (mostly stuart hall stuff, but heck. there you go), but it’s time to say Stop. Get On With It.

so i am. yesterday i wrote a chapter outline. today i’ve looked at the chapter outline. i know it’ll be a good chapter. i know it. now i just need to get into it.
this is the hard bit. starting to write. i know i can pull 13000 words out of my bum hoo-pah! no worries. but getting started… and i need to get it done because editing will take ages. it always does.

i’m also thinking about getting involved in this. the deal is that you write a 50 000 word novel in a month. not that hard for me, actually. that’s about 1600 words a day. piece of piss for me.
so of course, to procastinate over writing the thesis (55000 words or so left), i decide to write 50 000 words worth of a novel.
nice one, sistah. very clever.
maybe i should take the challenge and write my thesis’s 50 000 words in this one month? over november.
hmmm. now that’s likely. the mlx is on at the end of november, so i can write a week off there, what with visitors and dancing and all. my birthday is on the 11th, so there’ll be some days there where i’ll be 100% distracted. my mother is coming up to stay on the 14th or so. my dad is up on the 9th or thereabouts.
sure, this’ll be a piece of cake.