Back in the Information Commons today, aiming to get through a lot of ‘stuff’. The university website project deadline is just a couple of days away now, so later on I’ll be pulling the remaining loose threads together and hopefully creating a nice neat package to pass on for review on Monday, before it goes live later in the month.

The prep for my presentation on The Three Gorges dam in China is going well – it’s been really interesting. Once again, it strikes me just how easy it is to educate oneself about something in a relatively short period of time. Perhaps it’s just me, but when talking with people about something about which I know nothing – say, the flora and fauna of South-West Vietnam – I tend to feel that as I don’t know anything about that, I probably never will. But that doesn’t have to be the case; we can educate ourselves about anything about which there is written material available, and given time can even become experts. That’s easy to forget in a world in which we are constantly confronted by things about which we know so little.

I’m looking forward to my 3 Gorges presentation, and will no doubt spend a ridiculous number of hours creating a Keynote presentation. I have some cunning plans to make it more exciting…

My big brother is up for the weekend – he has a workshop in Leeds to attend, and is using mine as a crash-pad. Great to see him again, it’s been over 15 months. Last night, after a couple of hours of him attempting to break my Mac (he has this knack with computers to make them just stop working, a result of years of using Windows which has caused him to have an antagonistic relationship with any machine whose keyboard he lays his fingers on), we headed out for food. Piccolos, the little Italian restaurant on West Street with the big pepper grinders was our choice – I like it there.

By about 11pm we were ready to dance, and so headed to the union to get tickets to see, er, Wild Beasts. Arriving at the box office we found the foyer packed full of drunken students – this was the first time I’d been out in the evening in Sheffield in over 2 years, and I found myself a bit shocked by the breasts falling out all over the place, and the bum cheeks showing through the ultra-short skirts. So much sexual energy oozing about the place – I felt relieved that I wasn’t one of the young men accompanying them, hair meticulously styled with great splodges of gel, competing for attention Ra Ra Ra.

Making our way to the underground venue, we were struck by the length of the queue – it was non-existent. “Oh, come to join the other 3 people in there have you?” said the bouncers on the door.

The support band, or support-mad-person as he would more accurately be described, was doing it for therapeutic reasons I think. As he heavy-breathed into the microphone, he didn’t seem to be aware that he was actually performing in public. He clearly had a lot of stuff to work through – it was a shame that he chose the University of Sheffield Union as the place to do so.

Wild Beasts were great! Fantastic voices – harmonious opera singing, with a drummer who sometimes didn’t bother with his sticks at all and instead just clapped his hands.

The assembled mini-crowd stood there, pints in hand, supportive, yet not quite sure how to react. A couple of drunk people joined my brother and I, uneasy as they observed us gradually loosen up and start to work our wiggy. I was later told that I caused quite a commotion, one girl standing there just pointing at me. It was great though, to feel that music flowing through me, wiggying my arms and legs, expressing the drama through rapid little foot maneuvers, looking like a monkey on steroids.

The gig came to an end just after one, leaving me feeling contentedly shattered and ready for bed. The glass of red wine I’d had some 5 hours beforehand had really gone to my head, the feeling of rejection my stomach had felt when I’d taken my first sip having never quite worn off.

It’s good to go out once in a while. Not only to dance, which feels wonderful, but also to reassure myself that going out more often is not really my cup of tea.

Anyhow, time for me to tackle this final text book, The River Dragon Has Come – The Three Gorges Dam and the fate of China’s Yangtze River and Its People.

xxx joseph