I suspect, if you’re anything like me, new year’s eve now seems as if it was a long, long time ago – much longer than a mere seven days. In that time you’ll have cleared away festival-related clutter, dealt with the recycling, and settled back into daily life.
Broken any new year’s resolutions yet? (And THAT’s why I don’t make any...) One thing I have managed to do, even though as I explained last week, it was an aim rather than a resolution, is to stay off facebook. While I’m missing the people on it, I’m finding that as a result I’m being much more productive; and I’m also less stressed. Facebook somehow conveyed a necessity (to me at least) to respond to everything straight away; I find other social media sites far less demanding (although Twitter seems to mainly be a feed for people to constantly re-tweet their own adverts, as far as I can tell). Staying off facebook has also made my email inbox far, far easier to manage. I don’t intend to give up facebook entirely, but I think remaining clear long enough to break it as a ‘habit’ seems to be a good idea.
So instead, I’ve been using time constructively to start some proper research into my dissertation, which will be due this year. I’m planning to write about Victorian prostitution, which should be a fascinating subject; but I've found that googling for sources doesn't always give the results I'm looking for (ahem). At the moment, the main issue is narrowing the focus sufficiently to make the theme manageable as a dissertation. An interesting angle may be that the city I want to focus on, Lichfield, had a nearby army barracks. Although Lichfield wasn’t one of the areas specifically named under the Prevention of Contagious Diseases Act (which enabled specific ‘measures’ to be taken in garrison towns where armed forces personnel might be likely to avail themselves of local prostitutes) it might be interesting to see if the act had any repercussions there. I’ll be starting with reports of convictions for prostitution in the local newspaper archives, and local court records, and then working out from there. I’m looking forward to seeing where it all takes me - do get in touch if you'd like to discuss prostitutes!
In other news, Crimson Clocks now have a (mostly) repaired violinist – I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing Jo the best as she recovers from gall bladder removal (I’m hoping she’s been allowed to keep it so we can use it as a percussion instrument...).
And coming soon - in February, I’ll be at the Third Annual Surrey Steampunk Convivial, this time in my capacity as an author. Along with fellow author Steven C. Davis, I’ll be doing book readings and also something workshoppy – further details coming soon. Last year’s even was excellent; this year it has expanded to two days, so expect more merriment, madness and mayhem, masterminded by the inestimable Ben Henderson. Hope to see you there!