Hello, Good Evening and Welcome once again ;-)


Oasis at the University of Birmingham -

Oasis at the University of Birmingham –

NB ALL NAMES IN THIS OR ANY OTHER ENTRY ON THIS SITE ARE INNOCENT OF ANY CONTENTS HEREIN. GLORY SHOULD BE DIRECTED TOWARD THEM, ANY RAGE PLEASE SEND MY WAY (VIRTUALLY ONLY. IF YOU HAVE ANY PHYSICALLY ENRAGED REACTIONS PLEASE SIT QUIETLY IN YOUR BEDROOM TIL IT PASSES. A VALIUM MIGHT HELP.)

Yes: after a detour into the world of F(ine)Art, its heroes and demons, we return to the sunny climes of the Midlands, focus on the University of Birmingham (though I’ve never actually run a group in or at the clock itself it remains a handy focal point) and the topic of ‘Mental Distress’.I say ‘Mental Distress’ in preference to the normative heading of ‘Mental Health’… After all – does one go to work in a department titled ‘Blood Health’ when one is researching causes of Diabetes? Wouldn’t that be kind of… weird….?

Or would it? In fact maybe such projects SHOULD be called ‘Blood Health’ to assist the focus into how to bring bodies into alignment with healthful balance? I suspect that with Diabetes there are some unsurprising ‘discoveries’ in that direction, though not in the official language, which remains driven by DISease and INbalance and ILL health.

Be that as it may, I am primarily addressing the delightful students I met yesterday and today in one of the science blocks, working with Maureen Smojkis in delivering learning around families and solutions focussed approaches within Social Work practice.

Those of you who have seen us working together know that we have developed our act over the last three or four years (or more) and have now got to the stage where we accidentally lead the way in adult (and child) learning, since we are a ‘force to be reckoned with’…. we don’t talk at people, if we can manage it we don’t talk too much at all; when we do talk Maureen is the straight guy, I am the fall guy and everyone ends up having the minimum of a chuckle.

Is this naughty I hear you asking… Is this something the chancellor in his huge office; his vast piles of paperwork; his ambiance set, doubtless, by paintings, portraits of ex-chancellors etc, and luxury wallpapers with a vast and imposing work table (better known as an executive desk); with his secretary in her own outer office gatekeeping on his behalf and a further office of administrators busily ensuring that the central core of the university is all run according to ‘high academic and social standards’, ‘appropriate protocols’ and ‘unwritten rules’ – would be likely to welcome or abhor?

I couldn’t tell you. I’ve never had a tete a tete with the Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, although I’d love to have a coffee and chat with him, for some reason best known only to himself, he’s never rung to invite me.

To be utterly frank, I think I do know the answer to this mystery. It’s less a mystery than an entirely predictable state of affairs. He has never heard of me. He doesn’t know my name; he doesn’t know I work at the University; he doesn’t know what I look like, sound like, or teach like. He doesn’t know my history, my ‘track record’ or my ambitions. He doesn’t know my age, my gender or my height.

I tend to doubt that I am a detail he has ever needed to take any cognizance of.

I may leave it like that.

Then again…. I may alter that… it depends on what I find out about him. So far nothing. He could be a her or a pekingese dog for all I know, though to be fair if he proves to be a small dog I shall be asking serious questions – like – who put him in there? does anyone take him out for poos? does anyone make sure he doesn’t wee on the paperwork – it may sound unlikely, but my benjii frequently sits on a kitchen chair before I get home so I can admire how humanoid he’s becoming…

And – if the top dog of the University of Birmingham is reading this now and is thinking ‘what a delightful person this appears to be, I must contact him/her and invite h for a coffee: please don’t act yet. I need to find out what kind of animal you are first.

Anyhoo… I’ve written this in the hope that the students: Alix, Paul, Dave, Lucy, (I’m running out of remembered names guys, sorry), will get onto this blog and get commenting and opening conversations.. I’m so keen to shift this ‘blog’ from a ‘broadcast’ to a ‘conversation’ (albeit with me having the editor’s pen in my hand at all times and pushing out long monologues when the fancy takes me) –

And I ‘should’ write tons more ‘scintillating’ and ‘profound’ text to send you to sleep with…but I’m almost asleep already…so….

What kind of prize would tempt you to help me out? 🙂 ??

Love and Hugs,

Janie

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