Lecture: Jonathan Bate on Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life - UT Events Calendar
This is EXACTLY the kind of thing that I want to be doing, but haven't been doing.
One thing in the back of mind about this: There's a guy that I work in the same area with, whom I often chit-chat with while we're waiting for the bus. He's @60, always (ALWAYS) touting what "Austin event" he's just participated in the weekend before. He still goes to SXSW, he still hangs out at clubs, he participates in City Meetings (his idea, for instance, of a solution for the rent problem in Austin is to build 12 x 12 apartments --- how affordable!). Just last week, he was going on about the usual bi-annual "studio tour" in East Austin (where he's never lived, where I lived for a decade), complete with 19-year-olds floating fluorescent inner-tubes in a local creek. Sigh.
I like the guy, and I don't want to be mean, but... Why in the world are you still, at 60, "into" completely generic things like SXSW and "East Austin Studio Tours"? These were once stimulating 20 years ago, but today, they're barren hold-overs of an IDEA of Austin. They're not "Austin" any more at all, just something to say you did in Austin.
Still, he makes me feel rather inferior with all of his goings-on. I want to run into him the Day After Ted and, when he asks me what I've been doing, say snootily, "Oh, I was at a discussion of the latest Ted Hughes biography at the Harry Ransom Center. And you? (you glib, shallow, desperately-trying-to-be-relevant motherfucker!)"
A post-script: I didn't feel like going all day (too much trouble, I feel tired), but at some point in the afternoon I told myself: "Just do the fucking thing just to DO IT. Just to NOT go home and get on your computer for once. Do something different." And so I talked myself into it. About 40 people there, mainly 60 and over. (I overheard one lady in a group of friends as I was walking in: "I see the same faces.") Also 2 gay guys concerned with "Ariel" and Hughes's re-ordering of the poems years ago.
The author, Jonathan Bate, read the most obvious quotes about Hughes from his book. I didn't learn anything new about either his work or the subject.
Overall, though, it was indeed good to go out and DO something, be in a different environment for a couple of hours.