Tuesday, January 29, 2013

old norse lightbulb

In the autumn of 1986 I was walking down Merton Street behind two particularly bulbous-headed scholars, when one turned to his companion and said:

"The problem with Old Norse is..."

And that was about the last bit of their conversation that I understood.

As I was sitting in the cafe in the Leeds art gallery today, I had a similar experience. My work iPhone buzzed in my pocket, and I saw I'd received a message from an academic I've been working with.

Tomorrow, I am travelling with a team from the University to make a presentation. It's a very exciting event, actually, and perhaps being a part of this project has been the best thing I've done here in this job. All universities sell themselves as world-leading and making a global impact and brilliantly innovative etc etc. But this particular research, coupled with the potential partner we are seeing tomorrow, will genuinely fulfil those numbingly platitudinous epithets. If it achieves what it sets out to do, this project has the capacity to affect everybody.


The message from the academic was entitled: So what exactly is (name of project)? I smiled as I read the message, which talked of finding that lightbulb moment in understanding something and was brilliant, deep, and totally over my head. I love being a part of something like this. It is frankly wonderful. In an instant I was transported back to Merton Street and my youth and those Old Norse scholars and their enthusiasm for something that I would never, ever get.

A moment later, another buzz from my iPhone. The team leader had replied. His precise words:

"Yes makes sense."

I think I'll just book the rail tickets, carry the bags & smile.

1 comment:

Kenneth Regan said...

Well, what's going on, Marcus?