Thursday, January 8, 2009

probably the pishest part of a PhD

I would’ve liked to have started the new year with a cheeky wee book review. A nice easy opportunity for diatribe. When I say that I mean wholly objective critical examination obviously. But I’ve not the time to read or even examine said reading.

I am currently embroiled in writing the confirmation paper for my PhD. You could say up to my alabaster scottish neck in it. (Aye, alabaster - I’ve not been out of the dark wee room for days).

It requires a great deal of thought, hard work, perspiration (I know. That’s exactly what I said. Nobody tells you about that bit) and, if I’m honest, gluttonous persistence – read: sitting in a dark wee room trying to write like an academic till you’re so far past the point of boredom, it’s back on the horizon because you’re about to Lance Armstrong lap it.

And I don’t mean lap it up. This is the penance for accepting a scholarship, the part where they get their money’s worth.

I tell you all this not for sympathy – my old man used to say sympathy comes between shit and syphilis in the dictionary. I tell you because the process requires a 'real life' definition. In the throes of understanding the parameters of the cosy little niche I’m attempting to carve for myself, I need to determine, beyond it being the umbrella that shades my blog, what football fiction is exactly.

Any definition would have to be simple because, let’s face it, I’m no really that clever. It would have to straight forward enough to withstand scrutiny of the definition police in attendance at my confirmation, and it will requires a great deal of flexibility or be hard enough to take the beating it'll need to fit into or, at least, get strapped onto my thesis.

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Any story with any degree of makey-uppy football in it.

There, simple, straight forward, hard and flexible. I went through all my posts to see if there were any I rejected on the strength of some spurious criteria but I’ve either been extremely discerning in my choices up to this point, too embracing read lenient or I haven’t developed stringent enough criteria. I can’t write that in my PhD though. I could try, but I’m pretty confident it won’t help my cause. It’ll have to be something more like…

Any work of fiction with a genuine and significant reliance on football as a central or substantive element of the narrative.

In the unlikely event that you feel a twinge of sympathy, a sense of altruistic good (bloglike) neighbourliness, or even the need to pour hot saucy scorn over the happy sandwich filler I've managed to process so far, please feel free to do so. Smashin'. Thanks.

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