Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Through a class darkly

One of my comrades wagged work today, and in the course of filling in for her in classrooms new, I had an alarming encounter with a mirrored wall. The Academie de La Trobiata names its edifices after disciplines (I, for instance, work in the Humanities 2 Building, where the humanities are a whole integer more humane than in the Humanities 1 Building). This mirrored wall was in a room on the bottom floor of the Social Sciences Building, and I was sore taxed to describe the role of a mirrored wall in teaching a young scholar how to graph her relative Gramscosity.

Meanwhile, there I was trying to impart oysters of wisdom to a group of students who wanted to know where I'd hidden their real teacher, and every time I adjusted my knickers or scratched an armpit (my own, please note), a mirror me up the back of the room stared self-consciously back.

Here's where my moment of glory happens. I said - oh my! this was funny! - I said, "So, how about we try a reflective exercise?"

At least I knew that I was hilarious. Sir Edmund Hilarious.* The mirrored wall redeemed itself in an instant.

I'm præternaturally sensitive to interior decor these days, what with my impending baronetcy and all, so I did think quite seriously about this mirrored wall business. Concerned parties will be pleased to know that between mirrors and the wallpaper of my heart, the wallpaper of my heart is still winning.

Here, by the by, is a portrait of the wallpaper of my heart.

It's designed by Florence Broadhurst, whose artistic progeny resides here. It costs a ka-squillion dollars, but it's worth it just to be able to ask unsuspecting young acquaintances whether they'd like to pop up and take a gander at my Florence Broadhurst.

* In the four hours since typing the words "Sir Edmund Hilarious", I've thought better of them, several times. They're staying, though, as a public homage to those who hear me say things like this on a regular basis and continue to feed me. You know who you are.

19 comments:

nailpolishblues said...

Gorgeous wallpaper. Er, will that be leading into the pink loo..?

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Na. It's just for the living room, but it'll be in close proximity to the pink kitchen. I was actually thinking of a pale green paint to go with the pink loo. That, or an even pinker pink.

Martin Kingsley said...

It isn't mirrored walls you have to be worried about, it's the mirrored ceiling. If there's also a detectable and quantifiable amount of Discoballium present, run. FLEE FOR YOUR LIIIIIIIIFE. It's obvious you've become trapped in some kind of lesser (wait for it, wait for it) Disco Inferno.

Pow, right in the kisser.

Martin Kingsley said...

P.S. So nice to see you up and about and taking poetry classes.

TimT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TimT said...

I aver and maintain that any lecturer who has a mirror on their wall must be an evil queen* in their spare time. The sort that, when the students are gone, turns to the mirror and cries:

Mirror, mirror, on the wall!
Who is the fairest lecturer in all matters pre-modern, post-modern, and post-postmodern of them all?


I wouldn't be surprised if they sacrifice a student every full moon, too.**

*'Evil queen', nowadays, is a wholly ambiguous term, and I think I'll leave it that way.

**They used to do this at Balranald Central School, you know. Really.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Nice to see you taking po-tree classes yerself, Martinski. And thank you for gallantly refraining from blowing my internetian cover.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

I don't want to sound intolerant, and far be it from me to criticise pedagogical strategies that have worked in the past, but I just can't hold with student sacrifice.

Eyrie said...

I haven't got a kazillion dollars either so I settle for having the computer desktop substitute. Ruskin built a little turret at the corner of his bedroom to get the light off the water, which I would also emulate (with the house in the Lake District, of course) if money was no object.

That mirror business would be very unnerving, although perhaps more for the students, since you can see them from the front and the back at once. Beats a panopticon, no doubt.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

A turret! Now you're talking. I had no idea my renovation plans (wallpaper, a new loo) were so humble.

eyrie said...

Well, you are on a second floor and have been promoted from Baron to evil queen. Modesty be hanged, it's time to consider gargoyle designs!

(I think Broadhurst wallpaper would give me bad dreams, given what happened to her).

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

She got deaded, it's true, but I have it on good authority that her death was in the presence of exquisite tea cups. And that, I think, sets a standard of elegance to which I can only aspire.

eyrie said...

I've always thought (albeit I've only begun thinking about it just now) that death among exquisite tea cups demonstrates the futility of all elegance in the face of the brute facts of fate and death.

I must say that the keepers of the Broadhurst flame are not overly generous with the width of their roles, but then my interior design philosophy (if such a thing exists) would be to blow the money on rugs and curtains, stuff you can take with you when you move on and which tends to dress up your furniture more.

lucy tartan said...

I love the wallpaper. Beautiful.

TimT said...

Couldn't you equally argue that carking it amidst a room full of exquisite tea cups demonstrates the futility of death amidst the brute facts of elegance?

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

And could I have my coffin lined with FB's Japanese floral print?

eyrie said...

Ah, shown up by Tim's wit, a common experience I dare say! I have some very nice bone china tea cups and even a three-tiered cake tray, but, in the event of my untimely demise, their elegance would probably be decimated by all the piles of books and papers all over the floor. So my messiness would be the one brute fact for me. I do not begrudge others their brute elegance though.

Alexis, is that burial or cremation in a sheaf of FB's Japanese floral print?

lucy tartan said...

oh my god, I just saw the price per roll.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Yes. I'm afraid you make a very good point, Lucy T.