Most people draw the line at shit in a can

What is the best method for revision?

I don't think I have a set method, really. I just envisage re-reading what I've already made notes on, maybe make fresh notes on those notes, and hope that they stick. I've only got one exam this year, three hours divided into two one-hour essays and a terminology test. The terminology is all literature-based and is fairly commonplace stuff (metaphor, bildungsroman, assonance, genre, hyperbole. Those kinds of things). In theory what I need to revise for the essays should be some of the texts that we covered (over twenty texts for this year-long module) including the ones I've already addressed in essays, as long as they cover the main sections of the module.

The module is called The Tale, and covers pretty much the entire history of 'tale-telling', from classic antiquity (The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Iliad, Ovid), the middle ages, the Renaissance and Baroque periods (The Decameron, The Canterbury Tales, The Pentameron), Romanticism (the Brothers Grimm, Ludwig Tieck), 19th century (Hawthorne, Poe, Gogol), and the 20th century, including modernism and post-modernism (Kafka, Borges, Cortázar). We also read a lot of theoretical works; I found Tzvetan Todorov's theory of The Fantastic to be particularly interesting, especially when applied to such great works of supernatural fiction as Henry James' The Turn of the Screw (made in to The Innocents (1961), one of the best British ghost films I have ever seen) or M.R. James' Oh, Whistle and I'll Come To You, My Lad. Being such a varied module, I cannot deny that it was continually stimulating . Other modules (such as Spoken English - a hardcore examination of phonetics and theories of speech analysis) felt intense, yet never all that stimulating.

Whilst attempting to get on with reading, my revision partner Becky and I began discussing art and what exactly art is in these ambiguous times. Yeah, yeah, here we go, I hear you bemoan at the monitor, another bloody post by some blog-tapping titface who reckons he can bang on about art in these cynical, post-modern times and still bring something fresh to the word, when we all know that there is nothing fresh to bring to the word and we're all going to hell. Yes, well, if you'll just give me a second, I will bring something fresh to the word ART. I am, after all, here to save the Internet.

Basically, in its most immediate association, when you say art at someone's ears, they usually envisage a painting, or maybe a statue, right? Okay, so this means that with stuff like paintings, sculptures, statues (ie 'traditional' art forms) you usually have people who either like it or don't, yet all call it art. But with modern art (from, say, Warhol to the Chapman Brothers to Damian Hirst), you have people who either like it or don't, but you also have people who consider it art and people who don't. This actually doesn't necessarily mean that people won't like it however, of even just appreciate it for.. well, just existing, really. Becky said that if an artist literally produced shit in a can for a gallery, she wouldn't call it art, but she would like it. I felt that I agreed with this; it would be amusing definitely to see something like that in an art gallery, but most people probably would not call it art. Most people draw the line at shit in a can.

In the past, there were probably less artists, but more people accepted these artists output to be art. In these times, it seems there is a plethora of artists yet only a choice few who consider their work to be art (as in their work speaks to the viewer or experiencer as being a work of art).

Anyway, back to the revision, we said. The German sociologist Niklas Luhmann devised what he called a "second memory" through the use of index cards (or system notes), which he wrote on almost continuously throughout the day (it ended up being a lifetime's work). Luhmann considered the collection to be his "collaborator" rather than an archive. There were surprising connections made between seemingly random cards placed together, and the results went places where linear thought or chronological memory could not.

That being said, I remembered how lovely it is to write on bananas with a Biro earlier..

I think index cards would be easier to pin to the wall around my desk, however.

Had a traditional Japanese sushi meal round Ayumi's later. ちらし寿司 (Chirashizushi) she made tonight was with rice, mange tout, prawns, mushrooms, dried seaweed and raw salmon. The raw salmon I could do, the prawns are something I am getting used to (can't usually stand the curly pink bastards). The dish is traditionally eaten on March 3rd (known as Girls Day, or Dolls Day). In a similar praxis, it is also Japanese custom to serve up red bean rice ( 赤飯; Sekihan) at the time of a girl's first period.

Red. Bean. Rice. Served to celebrate a girls' first period.
Can't imagine it catching on in the UK.

On the Jukebox today; Pink Flag by Wire (1977). Contains all the sneering energy that made '77 such a monumental year for punk (don't worry, I'm not going to claim I was there to see it, because I wasn't) but still to this day manages to contain elements which transcend any kind of rigid categorisation. Reuters kicks things off with a trudging pace. Just brilliant and loud, then Field Day for The Sundays and Ex Lion Tamer bare their vintage punk teeth, as does pretty much half the album. Whenever bands acknowledge Wire as an influence, you've already seen it coming. Connection by Elastica downright lifted the opening from Three Girl Rhumba (to create a good pop song anyway), and you can hear echoes of this album in more modern indie, like The Veils (especially Nux Vomica (2007) and even early Longpigs. Wire saw about three stages of activity (including a currently productive line-up), but Pink Flag and the subsequent two albums (Chairs Missing (1978) and 154 (1979)) are just outstanding. Many consider Chairs Missing to be perfect, but for me you always look back to the beginning. This is the kind of album that will be liked by anyone who doesn't claim to like 'punk' , it's that good.

Okay, that's it. Keep on boatin'.

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