Blog Archives

New Year’s Resolutions 2014

  • Write more blogs

I’ve fulfilled this resolution just by starting this blog post…it has been a little while since I’ve written anything on here…been busy!

  • Come up with a new career plan

My original career plan – if I ever had one – ran out at the end of my first degree. I was offered the incredible opportunity to ‘bolt on’ a PhD, of course, but then chance took me on to teacher training. I’ll admit to feeling I was finally on to something near the end of 2013, in terms of a new career plan – “this is it…I’m going to be a science teacher!” – but in today’s world especially, nothing is certain. I did join the world of employment briefly, but it was only a short-term teaching contract. Now I may be rejoining the academia ‘track’ after all, and I’m quite looking forward to it, though I’ll miss teaching…or maybe I’ll get to do a bit of both in 2014?

  • Read the magazines I’ve subscribed to

Only I could subscribe eagerly to the Times Educational Supplement (TES) shortly after starting my teacher training, and then never get round to reading the things. It’s getting embarrassing. I don’t want to end my subscription as my reasons for joining haven’t changed, but at some point I really must open the plastic bags in which they arrived through the letterbox (yup, I haven’t even opened the packets!), shred and recycle the job newspaper bits (since all the jobs will almost certainly be out-of-date), and keep the magazine parts, giving myself some interesting bedtime reading for the next few months to keep the teaching part of my brain ticking over. Do you know what’s even more embarrassing? I haven’t opened up most of my Physics World (IoP) magazines either. And I call myself a physicist…

  • Dance

Not sway imperceptibly, DANCE…like nobody’s watching (even though they are). I think the teacher training has helped me immensely with this too: it necessarily forces you to stop being an introvert, even if you’re putting on a front and it’s all an act. As you practice, and practise, it becomes less of an act and even starts overwriting your previous behaviours (the amount of times I’ve found myself picking up dropped items for total strangers, before they’ve even noticed it’s hit the floor). I recently taught the topic of Forces and Motion, and I know it sounds silly, but the combination of having gotten used to being watched, and using myself as a visual example when explaining concepts, seems to have been the key to unlocking my ability to dance! New Year’s Eve going into New Year’s Day was a revelation! So many have tried and failed to get me on to the dancefloor in the past, some of them using quite a lot of force and they’ve still failed…or they’d get me on there under duress and I’d dance like a musical statue when the song had been paused. However, it wasn’t for nowt…all these years, I must have subconsciously been observing and noting and recording and thinking…2014 saw me hitting the ‘play’ button on all that stored information. I think my legs actually ached the next day – they’ve never moved so much! Even ‘worse’, now I seem to have the bug…

  • Sing

Oof…this is going to be a tricky one. I don’t sing. Then again, I don’t dance…and…well…now I sort-of do. It’s not that I can’t sing, but I won’t sing. I’ve been through this process of not being shy (to the point of being precocious, so I’m told, when I was younger), to being unwilling to play a single note in public on my violin, to finally realising I was missing out on enormous amounts of fulfilment and fun by being too reticent, which was the first step on my road to ‘recovery’ and beyond. I’ve even managed some really wild moments on the violin, and I want more! So why is this not the case for singing?

I’ve not sung for so long that my voice is a complete unknown to me, whereas even if I was given someone else’s fiddle to play I’d have a fair idea of the sound that will come out when I move the bow. You need no words when you play an instrument, so I’m not used to the concept of performing notes and lyrics at the same time, especially not with the alien instrument that is my own voicebox! I used to sing in school choirs, though, loud and proud…so I used to be able to do it…but if I try and sing like that now, I find that some of the notes are missing. I guess my voice must have broken, after all…(!)

I need to take this slowly, and it may be a resolution for next year instead…but something inside me is brewing. I shouldn’t allow this self-made strangle-hold to continue, especially if it would give me a bit more weight in the music world. I’ve had lots of great experiences, don’t get me wrong, but every now and then something hits you for six. Maybe if I’d been a singer as well as a musician in 2013 (and before), these negative musical experiences would have played out very differently.

  • Get a show on BBC Radio Wales / Radio 2

OK, now you’re just getting silly, Jamie. Even the singing is faaaaaar more likely to happen…but we can all dream!