New year, same me.

Oops, I didn’t realise my last post was in JUNE 2017 — sorry folks! Since it’s January, maybe I should give myself a goal of doing at least one more blog for you before June 2018…

So I’ve been a little busy lately. I have been working away setting up the Scottish Asian Creative Artists’ Network with my old pal Sodhi — have a look at our shiny new website! We’re also on Twitter. We’re doing some pretty cool work this year, thanks to Festival 2018 funding, more to come on that…

I’m still PhD-ing. 2018 will be the year I get close to the end. Not quite to the end, but close. I did have a nice long break from it though — if there’s one good thing about the current PhD system, it’s the interruption-of-studies-PAUSE-BUTTON.  If you need me, I’ll be swimming… in the hundreds of thousands of words I transcribed in 2017.

The biggest lesson I learned last year was the importance of looking after your mental health. I may have learned that the hard way, but now I know, and it’s going to be a priority.

Other things I’m going to do this year are…

  • be more green – I’ve slowly been making changes and I’m going to keep going
  • eat more green – I got a bit too into cheese last year, time to fit back into my clothes.
  • have more ‘me’ time.
  • take PhD breaks.
  • read more books – I ended 2017 by finally getting my borrowers card from Glasgow Women’s library, and I intend to use it well.
  • make more music – my band Velma also did our first few gigs last year, and we’ve been busy writing new music.
  • write more blogs – I’ll be doing a guest spot on a PhD blog in a couple of months, on support networks in academia, keep an eye out for that!

Still reading? I still have braces, yay (not)! We are into the 3rd year of that journey, so expect more braceface blog posts in 2018…

Being me: a couple of guest blogs.

This month I’ve had the pleasure of writing a couple of guest blog posts, first for WeTheHumanities, then for SGSAH.

In Identity Crisis I explore how people negotiate and internally and externally validate their identities as academics and artists.

My subsequent guest post, On being the only one, goes further to address my own identity journey as a woman of colour in the arts and academia.

Tug of war… in my mouth

Here’s a wee orthodontic update…

War GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Think of the person on the left as my jaw/gums. Think of the person on the right as the gold chain that was surgically attached to me a couple of weeks ago.  The wee dude in the middle?  That’s my tooth.

And so begins a slow process of pulling my tooth up, one link of the chain at a time.  There’s no telling how long that could take, so here I find myself in February 2017, preparing for #braceface to enter 2018.  Someone tell me what life was like before this? I can’t remember.

62 weeks, still craving apples…


Shh… don’t tell the flutes…

So, you might have read in my last post that I have been unfaithful to my flute. Yes, I recently fulfilled my lifelong dream of being a string player. There. I said it. Don’t get me wrong, I do love being a flute player, but had I had the chance, it wouldn’t have been my instrument of choice.

Dealing with braces as a flautist has been tricky – more so this time around as an adult trying to work as a musician, than the first time as a 12 year old who’d just started learning. I’ve had to re-learn a lot, constantly using new muscles every time my teeth have moved. Then there was the surgery I had last week – hello, beginner’s tone. So, knowing that this year was going to be tough on my fluting, I decided now was the time to chase that dream of playing the fiddle…

At this point, I’ll give a special shout out to Deirdre & Tim for lending me the fiddle (in the most amazing green mock-croc case) and Siobhan for the loan of a shoulder rest 🙂 thank you for helping me on this adventure!

Now, I do have another motive for going down this road…

Zoolander GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Ok, so it’s not quite as bad as Derek Zoolander’s predicament, but after years of playing flute and using the right side of my body, I have noticed that I’m really lacking flexibility on my left side, particularly when I try to turn (or rather, twist) left. I have also had some minor issues with my left shoulder, arm and hand, so what better way to try and remedy it than pick up an instrument that has the opposite posture to the flute?!

I’m already feeling the difference in how much more comfortable it is to hold the fiddle, and I’m pleased to say my coordination is getting better!  It’s quite a different type of coordination to flute-playing, where my hands have to be in complete synchronisation – it’s taken a bit of thinking to get use to anticipating the latency between my left hand fingers shifting position, and the immediacy of my bowing hand/arm, but I’m getting there.

So, now that I’ve started to see an improvement, I’ll leave you with some light entertainment – the first of probably many nursery rhyme videos, here is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star…


A #BraceFace turning point.

Today was a big day in my #adultswithbraces journey.  Right now I’m blissfully unaware of the pain that awaits me tomorrow, or when the anaesthetic wears off in a few hours, so I thought I’d share my update before that happens…

I had surgery this morning to uncover the submerged molar, so that the orthodontist can now pull it up out of my gum and complete treatment.  It wasn’t without its stress – no flautist likes the words “dental surgery”, but after my consultation with the dentist who would be working on me, I quickly gained a sense of trust (also helped by the fact that she is an adult with braces too).

I wasn’t worried about the pain of the surgery, it was more the implications for being a flautist, and the possible risks.  The reality is that I’ve had to turn down work at various points in the past couple of years because I had no idea what stage my orthodontic treatment would be at, or how it would affect playing, and this month is no different.  I also had to consider what I might do if it did all go wrong, because there is always a risk that something becomes more complicated. Thankfully the surgery at this stage was low risk, thanks to my unerupted tooth not being close to any nerves, and hopefully the tooth will get its act together and do the rest of the work without me needing more surgery.  It’ll be at least a few days before I can start playing flute again, so in the meantime I’ll be practicing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on the fiddle (explanatory blog post to follow) and eating lots of jelly and ice cream.

Fingers crossed I’m now on my way to the end of being #BraceFace, and by the end of it I’ll have an almost full set* of healthy teeth and still be able to play all of the flutes!  422 days of life with braces (again) down, hopefully only around 200 more to go… hopefully less?!

Being the workaholic I am, I opted for local anaesthetic only, so that I only had to take the morning off, so I leave you now to go and do some qualitative interview analysis, because #PhDlife.

In the words of DC, I will survive, keep on surviving…

Music Video GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY


*minus the molars I had taken out before braces the first time.


2017: Things I’m looking forward to.

Rather than making resolutions that are rarely resolved, I thought I’d make a list of things I’m looking forward to doing this year that will actually happen.

  • Enacting Operation Finish Line to get to the end of this PhD journey, with the Rory to my Paris, MC.
  • Wearing all of the shoes I forgot I had, and walking a few inches taller more often.
  • The next chapter of Snapcat adventures of Sheepus, Joyous, Tomkipomki and Pina Poppy Colada Louise, Queen of Snapcats.
  • Planning the Big BAAM Reunion.
  • Bringing more noise and havoc to Alison House with my Fofficemates.
  • Eating normal food once the braces come off. Which will be this year.
  • Being a #GlamAcademic & taking the conference circuit by storm with Kate and our travelling nail art.
  • Continuing to embarrass myself at conferences with my less-than-academic tweeting.
  • Embarking on literary and musical writing adventures with kindred spirits.
  • Brunchy time and rating the cheese toasties of Glasgow with my favourite Fox.

There are several other fun things in the works, except they’re TOP SECRET so I’m afraid you’ll have to wait to find out what they are…