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School's in

The summer school began officially this evening, with a faculty meeting for us tutors, followed by an opening dinner for all. This took place in St. John's college hall, with faculty members sitting on high table, and the rest of the hall completely packed out with students. With welcoming speeches, wide-eyed newcomers, and a healthy scattering of the sort of eccentric academics that I think only Britain can really produce, it all had a rather Potteresque feel to it. And I certainly enjoyed the thrill of eating at St. John's high table in an official academic capacity - even if only temporarily.

Now things are really kicking off, I'm feeling quite whipped up in it all. The students are all American, mainly from Rhodes College, Memphis and Sewanee, Tennessee. Those I've met so far all seem very keen - mainly in a freshly-scrubbed, jacket-and-tie sort of way, but I was pleased to spot one young lady with purple hair and all dressed in black at dinner! I hope she is on my course.

Meanwhile, my colleagues all seem very nice so far, although I do stand out a bit by being blatantly the youngest, and also the only one who hasn't taught on the programme before. Still, we had an interesting conversation about drag over dinner, which took in Bugs Bunny, Lily Savage, Vesta Tilley, Benny Hill and that 'yeah-but-no-but' girl from Little Britain. Got to be a good start.

Should I choose to, I can go on an almost infinite number of pre-paid trips and excursions over the next few weeks, taking in plays at both Stratford and the Globe, early cathedrals, Cotswold villages and even a weekend excursion to Ghent and Bruges complete with choral concert! How much I'll get involved in that side I'm not quite sure yet, since too much of it will very quickly soak up the small amounts of free time I still have left to do my own things and, y'know, actually see my friends a bit before I move away from Oxford. But I'll probably be tempted along for a few of them. And I'll certainly be attending the swanky black-tie dinner they're having on Tuesday to mark the Fourth of July. Time to get out my big purple ball-skirt, I think. :)

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
miss_next
Jul. 2nd, 2006 09:37 pm (UTC)
That is an exceptionally wonderful skirt, and I think if I owned it I would not need to have a reason to wear it. I just would. :-)
strange_complex
Jul. 2nd, 2006 09:40 pm (UTC)
I don't tend to need much of a reason, it's got to be said!
haematoma
Jul. 2nd, 2006 09:47 pm (UTC)
Wow, the skirt is beautiful! ^___^
I got a gorgeous dress in the same shop a few days ago, a sort of strapless, black silk thing with polkadots. For £12?!
strange_complex
Jul. 2nd, 2006 09:48 pm (UTC)
I know, aren't they ace? I think my skirt was the same price - something very near that, anyway!
missfairchild
Jul. 2nd, 2006 09:49 pm (UTC)
Good luck! Knock 'em dead :o)
strange_complex
Jul. 2nd, 2006 09:55 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I think I might have angry parents to answer to if I did that! But they will know a thing or two about Roman Britain by the time I've finished with 'em, that's for sure.
kernowgirl
Jul. 3rd, 2006 03:07 am (UTC)
Hope you enjoy it! I remember we had a few students from Tennessee, ourselves, including from Sewanee and Rhodes College. The men at least were terribly charming and absolutely delightful. At any rate, they were smart enough to butter up the secretaries. ;)
strange_complex
Jul. 3rd, 2006 08:00 am (UTC)
Yep, it's looking good so far. I had never heard of Sewanee until yesterday: in fact I find I'm feeling awfully ignorant about America in the face of all these students. I've only been there once, for a week in New Orleans, and while that doesn't stop me watching and enjoying Buffy etc., it still means there's a real sense of cultural gulf when I'm suddenly surrounded by 150+ real life Merkins.
megamole
Jul. 3rd, 2006 07:20 am (UTC)
Sounds like you're having fun, even if you are working hard...

Hope to see you on Friday.
strange_complex
Jul. 3rd, 2006 08:13 am (UTC)
Thanks, yes.

Re Friday, I'm afraid that, as I said ages ago, I'm not available that day, due to a) the summer school and b) the fact that I'm going straight on up to Warwick that day anyway after teaching, for an evening of Purcell.

However, I did spot a poster yesterday for a concert on the evening of the 7th which you'd enjoy if you have time to fit it in. Exeter College Chapel, 8pm - Charivari Agréable present 'The Three Countertenors' (= Stephen Burrows, Nicholas Clapton and Stephen Taylor) by candlelight. I would totally be going if I were around - I've been to similar concerts by the same team before, and very much enjoyed them, and am also very interested to see / hear Nicholas Clapton singing after enjoying his Moreschi book so much.
megamole
Jul. 3rd, 2006 01:52 pm (UTC)
Hmm, yes, may well do that; I haven't made it to the Handel House museum yet, but have ([/name-drop]) sung with Nick C (the Duruflé Req. at Windsor) and would love to drop in.

Enjoy your Purcell, and I'll see you around...
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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