Mattress Watch

So many mattresses on the street. In the middle of the street, on the corners. Dumped, folded, crooked up and sat awkward. Each one a soul, maybe two, and then all change. Why do people obsess about changing the mattress? They’ll use the same sofa, same kitchen, same furniture. But change the mattress! So they go out on the street, the sign of rentiers extracting their blood like the leeches they are. Fuck you, mattress dumpers!

Boomer Hypocrisy

I think it is one of the things that I’ll never really get used to, is the sheer chutzpah of boomer hypocrisy. There is this sense of ‘do as I say, not as I do/did’ that rankles at every turn. Every ‘cost-cutting’ measure or statute of limitations or benefit denied. And yes of course, these were enjoyed in lavish quantities by the generation setting down the laws. They do it from their lofty positions of seniority and power : this is for everyone’s benefit, they say! Make do with less. Do more, with less (the myth of productivity).

Basically, boomers, go fuck yourselves.

Poem: “(Not) Out of Date Galaxies”

I wrote a short poem about my out of date Galaxy Cookie Crumble from WHSMITH in Coventry Station. I bought it for one pound, same as it costs IN DATE at Tescos and other leading supermarkets

Here are some pictures:

O Galaxy Cookie Crumble
How I love to eat you when my
Stomach rumbles
On the slowpoke
London Midland train
from Coventry To London Euston.
Rain
Falls now

Through darkening skies
And we cling to each other
Your pink foil and cookie pieces
Your out of date slightly stale structure
Coat my hunger
There is a rupture
From reality!
For a few seconds — then I realise
I am alone and soon I will be dead

Review : Walkers Lime and Black Pepper

The vending machine here at the Westwood Centre for Teacher Education (Warwick University) is a real blast from the past. Some classics : Fry’s Peppermint Cream, a Nestlé Crunch bar, a row of Rio canned fruit juice. It appears to have been stocked completely at random by a British office worker. It also featured one of Walker’s use it or lose it campaign with new flavours. The lime here is weak and reedy – like a dilute cordial – and the pepper also weak and chemical-tinged. Let’s be honest : this is mass-produced food as chemical engineering, and it shows. Pleasant enough but it seeks to replace Salt and Vinegar – not a chance, buddy.

2/5

East Ham Village Diary: Volume II

Some musings on East Ham.

GREATFIELD RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION

A change is in the air.  The mood in East Ham is one of flux.  Just off High Street South, the White Horse pub has been brought crashing down; the plot will be re-developed.  I am no great drum-banger for the pub – its St George’s flags draped over all the windows gave the interior a dark, gloomy mien, and the pub itself had a certain reputation.  It was of its time.  But in its place will rise some flats (of course) out of keeping with the Victorian redbrick surrounding it.

WhiteHorse

The flats will be a smaller sibling to the massive Upton Gardens development that has been so lustily plunged into by Barratt and Gallimard.  Money talks: and it is singing loudly in E13, the pace of the works carried out at the breakneck pace that is only undertaken when there’s a pot of gold at the end of the…

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Yacuum

 

 

We sat in the cold air for a while,

Talking.  As if talk was any good, at this point,

In this world, on this day.

Talk is no good, he says.

Yacuum talks to me and I stare into the sky

Thinking that perhaps if I concentrate

Hard enough

I might

Disappear.

Some Thoughts on Digital Platforms and Accreditation

TDW 

I recently spoke to an academic who is a Director of Research for a department at a sizeable institution.  Our conversation was broad ranging – from ideas for books to the notion of not having enough bookshelf space and through to Open Access.  Open Access always seems to come up, because it is, quite clearly, a huge issue.  It’s been over a decade since the initial manifestos and declarations in Budapest and Berlin.  In that time, the journals ecosystem has shifted hugely and the academic books world is now, at the time of writing, also undergoing seismic shifts.  We are seeing initiatives like Knowledge Unlatched gather steam, and fully open access presses like Ubiquity, UCL Press and White Rose University Press.

In the UK, we’ve had the Stern Review, published in 2016, and the Finch Report in 2012.  Both had elements that expressly dealt with open access.  The Finch Report recommended that open access become a central requirement of the (funded) academic output in the UK and the Stern Review dealt with the requirements of the next Research Excellent Framework and how open access might be mandated for inclusion.  So much, so familiar – this is has all been dealt with in so many places, and in so many ways, by the pro-open access lobby and the anti-open access lobby (that feels open access would be a bad thing for an already established publishing ecosystem).

Despite the tenor of the debate, even if the journal is open access, the path to accreditation at promotion panels is clear.  A journal article is put against someone’s name, and they become the Named Author.  An open access book is the same thing: people understand what a book is, and they know that, as long as the book has merit and is not vanity published or plagiarised, that it is a good thing.  ‘How good’ is matter that depends on the prestige of the press, the reception of the book in the outside world, the sales figures it accrues, the reviews it garners.  But we understand it.

What about a 8,000 word piece that goes onto an online platform (either free to access, or behind a subscription paywall)?  How is this rated, and how will this go down at panels?  In their rush to set these sorts of subscription platforms up, have publishers considered that academics might be wary of writing for cash payments, and for their work to be absorbed into a mass of millions of words?  Will these sorts of things be articles that are admissible to the research assessment frameworks that exist across the world?  How are the metrics of success to be extracted – clicks?  Numbers of subscribers (publishers are very, very reluctant to release this information)?  How is the reputation of the subscription platform to be judged – will we need some sort of ISI ranking for subs products?  They are incredibly varied, and it is case of compares apples with oranges for the most part.  This doesn’t even touch on the work that academics put in to MOOCs and online course materials.

I don’t propose to deliver answers here, but it is certainly something that I will be thinking about and writing about in the near future.  Please do get in touch with me if you’d like to contribute to that process.