I’m singing ballads at this event in Manchester.

John Rylands Library Special Collections Blog

The 31st October is a date which you might notice in the diary – perhaps an evening you mark with a ghoulish costume, or by taking the children trick or treating, or even staying in and watching a film that makes you want to hide behind the sofa. Hallowe’en has been marked for centuries as the feast of All Hallow’s Eve, preceding All Souls Day in the Christian Church calendar, absorbing the Celtic festival of Samhain.

A woodcut image of Luther being played, as an instrument, by the devil. A contemporary image showing a monk (possibly Luther) as a literal instrument of the devil: popular print shows both fierce opposition and support on all sides during the Reformation. (Woodcut pasted into R9935)

This year, Hallowe’en marks an extra special date. 500 years ago, according to tradition on 31st October, Martin Luther chose this festival to publicise his complaints about the Roman Catholic Church as part of an argument for reform. His actions…

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Lately, I’ve been in the final stages of putting together the manuscript for the book.  As I came to the very end of the project, I spent a couple of days writing a few new bits for a reworked introduction.  I’d never been entirely comfortable with the fact that the first chapter was the introduction, and on the advice of a couple of people who had read the whole manuscript, I made a (rather last minute decision to) change!

Then there were the fiddly bits of things that needed sorting out – making sure that the figure numbers were correct on the files; cutting the manuscript up into its constituent parts; checking that the footnotes were consistent.  All done…

I’m pleased to say that I managed to send the manuscript to the publisher two weeks ahead of schedule.

Can vice-chancellors ever really know what it’s like for emerging researchers and precariat postdocs? I was reading two vice-chancellors discuss how to take pressure off young academics the other week and it made me increasingly ragey. Set-ups like this are doomed in many ways because you’re asking people with incredible privilege and a fair whack […]

via Nowhere to hide — The Research Whisperer

There are several points in this excellent post by Tseen Khoo that I’d like to echo – the assumption that all ECRs are ‘young’, for a start, and that they all can and should be mobile – see my posts on contemplating the future and transitioning out of academia from several years ago.

During the summer, we went to Rufford Old Hall‘s family fun day, where we had a go at archery and visited our friends at the North West Reptile Club (someday I hope to be able to take Dave along).

To be honest, I wasn’t going to bother going round the house this time, as we have been so often before and there was plenty to keep us occupied outside, but someone pointed out that the Tudor Great Hall was being restored, with its concrete and brick being replaced with traditional wattle and daub, so we had to have a look at that.

IMG_20170821_150939262This is the second of two short posts about my summer holiday in France, only this time it’s not really about anything historical.  I was just blown away by Le Grand Éléphant at Les Machines de l’Île in Nantes.  Unfortunately, we arrived too late in the day to have a look round the workshop, but we got a good look at the elephant, the carousel and the prototype branch of the Arbre aux Hérons.  If we go back to the Loire in a couple of years, this will be top of our ‘to-do’ list!



Spotted this!  It’s exciting to see it on the web…

Since my children returned to school the push has been on to complete the final stages of my book manuscript.  It’s due to go to the publisher at the end of September, so I’ve been doing all the tedious things that come with completion.  Things like making sure all the images that I am using were sorted out.  Unfortunately, I my application for a grant to pay for several broadside images was declined, so I’ve had to think very carefully about what I was going to use as illustrations.  I couldn’t afford to self-fund as many broadside images as I would have used if I’d been given a grant, because as well as the cost of paying for high quality digital images, there is the payment of permissions to consider.  So I’ve settled on two high quality images of broadsides from the British Library, one of which illustrates my first major case study about the production of broadside ballads and the other is the first English broadside ballad to appear with music. On the plus side, the fact that there won’t be so many bought-in images means that I can concentrate on scores. I’ve always wanted to include as many musical examples as possible, so I’ve been able to use those extra images to provide settings of several more ballads, including a couple of conjectural settings.  These show that some of the broadsides which look like ballads but don’t include a tune direction could easily have been sung.

There are other tedious things that I’ve been doing.  I’ve had to check that all the entries in the footnotes and bibliography are consistent; that spellings which aren’t uniform in the period are nevertheless uniform in the book text; that the spacing between paragraphs and quotations is correct; and even things as simple as renaminng image files with their figure numbers.

Then I reached a bit of a dead end.  I could continue to tinker with the text, because it’s there and it’s easy to do.  But I’m not convinced that it’s getting any better!  I can’t send it off to the publisher yet, because I’m waiting for a friend to read through the whole text and get back to me with any howlers, typos, repetition, ugly prose, confusing bits – all the sorts of things that when you’ve been working on the same text for several years, you can no longer see!  So I’ve put it to one side and I’m looking at a couple of other things, and there will be more on those later.