My crazy old job
As some of you may now, I once had a job teaching English as a second language at an ultra-extreme summer school run by fascists. They were very severe about their rule of "full immersion" in English: you could get booted out of the programme at your own expense for speaking your native tongue. Anyway, their hardcore antics have made the news:
Globe and Mail: Quebec native Yvan Tessier was only too happy to sign on for an English-immersion course in New Brunswick this summer. But he hadn't anticipated that his guide dog, Pavot, would effectively have to take English classes too. Now a storm has erupted at the University of New Brunswick over its iron-clad rule that no one -- not even a dog -- may be addressed in a language other than English.
The conflict stretches Canada's bilingualism conundrum to new lengths, since Pavot is unilingual. Trained to understand commands in French only, he responds to "Pavot, reste!" but not "Pavot, stay!" Mr. Tessier, 39, blind for 20 years because of a degenerative illness, wants to file a complaint with human-rights officials, arguing the university is discriminating because of his disability.
P.S. I learned from my flatmate Christine that it even made the news in Germany! Check out Spiegel Online.
Posted by matt at 11:57 AM
Mergers and Mercurys
The EU has given the go-ahead to let Sony and BMG, two of the world's "Big Five" record labels, to merge. That means that 80% of the world's music sales will be controlled by four companies: Universal, Sony-BMG, EMI, and Warner. Scary? I haven't decided yet. Check out the details here.
Also, the Mercury Music Prize, which judges outstanding albums made by UK or Irish artists in the past year, has just released its nominee list. Click here to find out who's hot.
Posted by matt at 03:17 PM
It's been a heckuva week. I just attended my first ever academic conference. The topic was poetry and sexuality, and I gave a paper about the use of music in erotic poetry and popular song lyrics, if you can believe it. You can read my abstract here.
Highlights included spending time with a lot of interesting people, having guests from Canada, catching readings and speeches by the likes of Sharon Olds and Germaine Greer, chowing down on a huge haggis dinner and dancing myself silly at a ceilidh in Stirling Castle (pictured above).
Posted by matt at 11:51 AM