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Phew.  What a year.  Thank you to all those students who have completed modules with me this year.  As ever, I’ve learned plenty from working with you all and thanks in particular to those students who have flagged up some interesting new case studies along the way; my favorite being the controversies surrounding Mastodon’s ‘Motherload’ video.

This year’s marking load has been particularly heavy, comprising forty six 15 minute group presentations; one hundred and fifty one 1,500 word essays on popular music in context; thirty three 2,000 word essays on audio cultures; twenty three research proposals and abstracts; twenty three class test papers; twenty three 3,000 word research essays on popular music in society and twenty one 10,000 word dissertations.

So it’s fair to say that I’ve spent more hours in May marking than I have moving, eating, drinking or sleeping, but the exercise bike can come back out of the cupboard now and I can remind my legs of the joys of movement once again.

Speaking of dissertations, I have had the pleasure of supervising some fascinating studies this year with titles covering: An exploration of fanzines and communities: a practical project to create a Scandinavian pop fanzine; Queering the hip hop pitch: a case study examination; The representation of Amy Winehouse in the British media; A day in the life of a female music journalist: an explorative short story based on primary research; A critical examination of music used as a form of torture in the war upon terror: music industry responses and reflections; The creation of post-hardcore metal; Musical representations of masculinity in the superhero film genre; Disposable art in an accelerated culture; The hidden discourses of K-Pop; Paganism, the Far Right and Black Metal in Post-communist Europe; The Loudness Wars: causes, manifestations and legacies; Emotional responses to sound and music; Melodic elements within drum-kit performances; The impact of the vinyl revival on the independent music industry; The effects of music technology and production techniques on writing and recording the blues; The relationship between developments in computer technology and the role of the sound engineer; Sound design conventions in the horror movie genre.

So what now?  Well, after finishing off a forthcoming conference paper I’ll be cracking on with the monograph which was reluctantly put on a back boiler at the beginning of the year to accommodate an additional teaching module.  I will also make some time to read through the many books which I’ve purchased throughout the year, but not had time to read, most notably Simon Reynold’s Retromania, Greil Marcus’ In the Fascist Bathroom, and Bob Stanley’s Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.  There’s some old conference papers to finish writing up for submission to various academic journals and I have a heap of ideas and materials ready to Tweet whenever I get the chance.  This year’s vinyl purchases need organising, not to mention listening to, and I keep promising myself that I’ll find some time to follow up some interesting research leads which may result in some published journalism pieces.  That should keep me busy for a while, and then it’ll no doubt be time to prepare next year’s lectures, meet my new groups of students and to hear of all their exciting research plans.  All in a year’s work….

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