Another summer, another festival of chin-stroking underway in a municipal building near you. Or summer school, as they’re more loftily known. Or loada shite, as they’re more colloquially known. I’m all for rubbing the worrying proliferation of hairs beneath my lips whenever the opportunity arises. Why, I’ve even been known to unwittingly stroke my imaginary beard at a sandwich counter; back when it was imaginary. But enough of this labouring the introduction to a post I haven’t quite decided what it is to be about yet.
Just once, I’d love to look around at one of the terriblay seriarse panel discussions on offer to see a mix of locals among the audience. To my relief, but mostly my insatiable need to complain, they’re a no-show. For now, I’ll just have to make do with the travelling sisterhood of retired teachers. Cultra-accented bespectacled women clutching programmes as proof of their impeccable cultural credentials. And me. And a troupe from the local historical society. And the over-eager post-grad student high on a worrying lack of cynicism. And the town eccentric who looks like the eccentric of every Northern Town, what with the Doc Martens at 60 and an androgynous look that has others wondering with a mixture of awe and horror how she has the balls to wear them with such a severe haircut. And then there’s the obligatory American chair who has been making an academic living from The Troubles (“that unfortunate euphemism” nervous middle-class titter) longer than European funding has been single-handedly keeping the peace industry that followed afloat. And shining not so much as a match-stick of light on them.
So the narrowtive of these things goes.
I only came on here to tell you about Alice Milligan. But, anything can happen when it comes to summer schools.
I do hope I’m not going to continue with this semi-italic business. It’s so annoying.