Sunday, November 21, 2004

Another busy week

Monday. A day of truth – the MCR (college graduate students society) elections. Cast my vote, attend some meetings at which I discover I have not been elected President, dash off to play rehearsals for “Macbeth”, and zoom back for my last meeting as MCR Secretary.

Go out for a birthday curry with the Returning Officer and a chat with the current VP.

The RO later says: “I’ve never seen you and the VP looking so relaxed.”

The possibilities of a life unburdened by office suddenly seem rather charming.

Tuesday. Wake to discover I have been offered by e-mail a Considerable Sum to teach four seminars in international law to Singaporean high-school leavers at a Cambridge “winter school”.

Have a wonderful session with my supervisor (“I have nothing to tell you but keep going!”), which of course is death for my productivity.

Attend meetings, man a graduate union polling booth and write an ambitious winter-school syllabus in a mad rush instead of doing anything remotely PhD related.

Discover the joys of glorious sunshine, roaming about doing meaningless errands and generally enjoying the rush of not being swamped with meetings and responsibility.

Evening rehearsals. Banquo’s scenes coming along quite nicely.

Wednesday. After some considerable bus-induced delay, the Dutch-Canadian I met in Budapest arrives fresh from London job interviews. We manage a whirlwind tour beneath some spectacularly striated sunset clouds of the older colleges, before changing for grad hall.

We squeak into the graduate student seminar, an historian friend talking about whether the rise in scientific curiosity and rationality was as much a matter of bourgeois snobbery and the dawn of Enlightenment. A good talk, generously sprinkled with really amusing power-point slides.

Grad hall (a group of six with four bottles of wine, ending predictably) followed by salsa dancing at Wolfson College. I recall enough from 10 lessons, four years ago, to fake a meringue – aided in effect by a decent suit and a remarkably talented partner.

Thursday. Raining. Ick. Show the Dutch-Canadian around Kings College Chapel and the Fitzwilliam Museum (must go back for the Lucien Freud etchings exhibition). Attend two committee meetings (now that I’m not on the Committee, I’m perceived as having more time for lesser committees) – and then see my guest off before cycling to the station.

Train to London with a physicist friend to see Alan Bennett’s new play “The History Boys”: wildly entertaining, amazing cast, but a little clichéd in its inspiring-teacher storyline.

Returned to Cambridge to find it had been snowing on and off since 7 pm. Take a barrage of photos in impish excitement.

Friday. A beautiful clear day, with the snow remaining in a thin blanket across the ground.

Friday is “lecture day”, I attend the law and anthropology lecture at the department of social anthropology at 11, followed by going to the 12.30 free lunch and lecture at the Lauterpacht Research Centre for International Law.

The evening contains a play rehearsal, but is dominated by a mildly inebriated dinner-party. Played “Ex-libris”, the game where you have to come up with the opening line of a novel and vote on which is the real one. Surprising how poorly the real authors did some rounds.

Saturday. Feeling a bit tired and flat at play rehearsals, which go surprisingly well for the first time we’ve been in the theatre.

Collected my 400 flyers and 30 posters to do publicity. Proceed to pigeon-hole spam (snail spam? ah, junk mail!) my college. Proceed to yet another November birthday drinks do, return early and fall asleep for 11 hours.

Today (Sunday). Realised I was feeling a little throaty. Damn cold out. Collected groceries and stood on the sidelines of our sports ground to cheer on the Trinity Hall women’s soccer – sorry, football – team.

Macbeth rehearsals – finally got the Doctor’s voice and mannerisms down. The play opens Tuesday.

Don't expect to hear from me much.

Oh, yeah, I also get to dash from the play Wednesday night to scream into college on my bicyle (possibly still in costume) for a drinks party where Hans Blix will be introduced to a handful of graduate students of his old Cambridge college.

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