masters meeting

I’m in something of a celebratory mood. I had a meeting today with Alan about my MA prospects. I was expecting him to be more resistant than he was. He invited me into a quiet meeting room and we talked about my ideas on Metz, Barthes, and Ramachandran, and he was very encouraging. We did however, debate our contrasts in approaches to film – he is very Freudian, whereas, I am a Structuralist. However, we agreed that there is room for both approaches and said that I should proceed with my proposal, only advising me to consentrate on getting my degree before leaping into research. One must be able to walk before running.

It was thus a very good day, and I’ll start that proposal tomorrow!


My mum and dad are always telling me to put my heels down when I walk. A tight achiles tendon often makes me walk on my toes. I think I should show them this, pointing out that, despite my penchant for dancewear, my heel does touch the floor more than hers at least!


It was, perhaps, with a stroke of foresight beyond that of regular humans that jenny Harris and Jane Higgins suggested I choose a uni not far from home. Don’t get me wrong, I love uni, and see myself as at least semi independent of my parents, but there are instances where I need the surety of my birthplace and the two brilliant people therein.

Last night I had difficulty plugging my chair in. I just could not do it. The plug just would not make contact. After an hour of trying,, I gave up, lest I damage the ‘pod’. I was concerned about it, so I emailed dad. Later on, I was doing some reading in the canteen, when who should come striding through the door but m father? He was, as it turns out, able to plug the chair in first time (making me feel very guilty).. nevertheless, he offered to take me home for Sunday lunch.

After subsiding on canteen food and pizza for three weeks, nothing tastes as good as mum’s roast beef, or passing a blissful afternoon in the conservatory reading the papers. The cultural reviews in the Sunday times may be superficial when compared to the heavy theory I’m used to these days, but they take me back to countless Sunday afternoons, and to simpler times. Home is where part of me will always belong; it is where I know I’ll always be welcome, and that knowledge makes the world even brighter.

the special tee shirt

I often refer to myself as special as a joke. When chatting to my friends, say, or when trying to justify why I should have that last piece of cake, I’ll say ‘because I’m special’. Of course, there’s nothing special about me – I’m just an average student who happens to have cerebral palsy; I’m not particularly bright or clever. What makes me special.

It’s an odd word, really. It has come to refer to people with ‘special needs’, and can be used as an insult. Like many such insults, however, it has been reclaimed by the crip community, and we use it to refer, jokingly, to ourselves.

However, yesterday afternoon, I saw a bloke walking around campus wearing a tee shirt with the words ‘I’m special’ and a picture of south park’s Timmy on it. This fellow didn’t appear to have any disabilities, and for some reason I felt instantly offended. Had he been a wheelchair user wearing it, I’d have had no problem, and would have found it highly amusing. It was kind of like he was making light of disability and the disabled community. I almost felt insulted – but why? I like jokes as much as anyone, and that’s what this tee shirt is.

I probably felt insulted because this man would have known nothing of disability; nothing of what it feels like to be on the outside of society. Yes, I refer to myself as special, but the irony of that is me and my friends know I’m not! The joke works because of this irony. To the chap wearing the tee shirt, the joke was not in the irony, but a glamorisation of disability. Disability isn’t always fun.

I am not, however, in the tee shirt police. I’m also probably being too anal about this. but why the hell does it get to me?

filmic neuroaesthetics

I didn’t get round to posting anything yesterday because I was busy. In the morning, I went looking for an outfit for the Halloween disco, and got thoroughly soaked! In the end, I didn’t find anything which would fit me, and returned home empty handed. I decided to wear the fairy costume again – I’ve worn it before, but it’s still cute!

Anyway, driving about in Defiant gave me time to think. The ideas of Barthes concerning photographic punctum – the idea that one can be ‘pricked’ by a photo – are very reminiscent of synesthesia. Ramachandran and others have described how some images stand out. To my mind, there has to be a relationship between punctum and synesthesia.

I therefore rolled to the library. The link was obvious to me – so obvious others had made it. So I asked the librarian for academic literature on the subject, but to my great surprise there wasn’t any. This took me aback and I decided to take the librarian through my reasoning, to see if she agreed. She said she too could see a clear link – I wasn’t being stupid then.

After that I spent a merry afternoon going through camera Lucida and two or three papers over a cuppa tea in the wes, looking for correlations. Although I didn’t get too far – friends came to chat etc – I am now certain there’s a link. They might not be exactly the same phenomenon, but they must be closely related.

Thus, through Barthes, we can combine film studies and neuroscience to form a new field: filmic neuroaesthetics. This may even link with my ideas on filmic language, as I think filmic grammar may have a synaesthetic basis!

What great fun. Almost as fun as fairy costumes.

Leaving colin behid

Tuesday mornings are a hurry. Home Help comes at 7; Esther comes at 8 (usually knocking on my window as I am fed breakfast) We have to get the taxi at 8.25 to be in Crewe for 9. It’s hectic and I am barely awake when Alan starts the lesson.

Things were going according to plan today. Home Help came on time, so Est didn’t have to see me in my night attire again. I ate breakfast and had got ready; we were on our way to Crewe and then…..

I have very few problems communicating with those who know me well I can talk to Esther no problem. However, I cannot communicate with people who do not know me well if I don’t have my LightWriter. If I try I get tense my arms rise into the moro position and my chest tightens. This happens especially with authority figures, so you can imagine my complete horror when half-way to Crewe we realised we had forgotten it.

It’s so silly, how can anyone forget ones voice? Nevertheless, I got into a panic. I suppose it’s rather like a security blanket in a way with it I know I can handle anything. I have access to the entire lexicon of language – the most powerful tool ever. Without it I am limited to a few monosyllabic words. For one who prises language this is scary.

We got home at about 1.30 and found my LightWriter still on charge. I almost hugged it – I felt whole again, able once more to prove my worth, ad vowing never to forget it again.

call me matt.

Call me Ishmael. [why should I call you Ishmael? Your name is matt] Some years ago — never mind how long precisely [one o’clock this afternoon] — having little or no money in my purse [twenty quid, having spent the rest already], and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. [ you actually thought you would cadge a lift off Jim, who took you all the way to Congleton to get more money from nationwide. No water; no whales, and no silly quests for revenge. Just a very kind Jim, an afternoon off campus and a bit more money in my wallet.] If only mr. melville had heard of building societies…

good weekend

I feel good. This weekend, I’ve finally knuckled down to work. I’ve read the whole of camera Lucida and have already nearly finished my essay on it. Oddly, I’m most comfortable writing essays – dealing with ‘facts’, arguing points. I even prefer it to writing fiction, although, according to Barthes, all writing is fiction because it can never correspond directly to reality. Either way, it’s nice to have been able to sit down, read, and type – to get lost in argument, thought, and language. Mind you, whether my essay is any good remains to be seen.