(N.B. It’s advisable but not compulsory to read this blog update alongside Richard Strauss’s ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’ - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLuW-GBaJ8k Don’t Strauss out if you can’t, though!)
Houston. We have a problem. A procrastination problem. At 12:15 today, hungry and brain-fried from the morning’s writing session, an unnamed PhD student and EdJoWriWe-er gasped in panic. The reason for their distress was that an unmanned Russian Space Station was hurtling towards Earth. Within minutes, the G22 crew were using their combined language skills to trace the downward trajectory of the rogue spaceship. German, Turkish, Danish, Italian, Arabic, French, and Spanish were amongst the languages covered as we each tried to piece together quite what was happening and whether, as was suggested, said space ship would come crashing down on George Square. Soon, the more creative among us were making analogies between this piece of space hardware and our own PhD projects.
And voila! The most dramatic instance of Procrastination this week so far. Or, as Lizzy Robinson Self named it: Procrastispacestation.
I’m sure I don’t speak for myself here when I say that doing a PhD is probably the best thing you can do to refine and improve your procrastination skills. Amongst the usual procrastination undertakings (cleaning, making food...) I remember once spending a good few hours reading about the reproductive patterns of the Spanish Lynx and the different languages spoken in Kazakhstan. None of which have ever come to use, apart from in a Pub Quiz question about Kazakhstan.
Anyway, like most of you, I struggle with procrastination. For me, a couple of things have helped: (I hope the crescendo of ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’ is playing now...)
1) Downloading Leech Block onto Google Chrome – an application that blocks you from websites that distract you (for most of us social media, I’m sure) for a specified amount of time.
2) When attention is wavering, listening to a mix of ‘rain sounds’ on Noisli.com. (If I have my headphones on in the 50 George Square office, I’m generally listening to this!)
For the inhabitants of G22, this procrastination was mostly a way of giving tired grey matter a small reprieve before Urban Angel’s legendary sandwiches would sustain an afternoon of writing. A shout-out goes to Urban Angel here for making some truly stonking sarnies, and the EdJoWriWe team for providing us with them.
So, here I provide a countdown of the top sandwiches (may I suggest a change of music for this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bY85ET2gXGQ)
Homemade Hummus with Sunblushed Tomato, Rocket and Balsamic Reduction – A good, solid sandwich. A minor complaint is that I find hummus in a sandwich can sometimes make the bread a bit soggy, this was no exception. 7/10.
Beef, dill and pickle – Enjoyable. The dill was refreshing and livened up this classic. Pablo’s favourite. 8/10.
Free-range ham with mull cheddar + honey wholegrain mustard– A strong contender. The ham is clearly not of the wafer thin variety and has a rich, salty flavour. This is well accompanied by a generous slab of cheddar and a nice, peppery heat emanating from the mustard. 8.5/10
Portobello Mushroom with salsa verde – Now, I’m a big fan of the mushroom (quite a funghi, if you like), but there was an aftertaste with this sandwich that prevented it from quite reaching the dizzying heights of other contenders. Still, an immensely enjoyable lunchtime treat. 8.5/10
Goat's Cheese with Urban Angel Homemade Chili Jam, Roasted Peppers and Spinach – Now we reach the real humdinger of a sarnie. This goat’s cheese sandwich is little short of a revelation. The interfusion of salty goat’s cheese (always an idiosyncratic flavour) with the zesty punch of the chilli jam make this a sandwich like no other. The roasted peppers add to the colourful mix. The mixture of these vivacious tastes was particularly pronounced when the bread crust was a little burnt. Truly a treat for the taste buds. 10/10.
Now, I’m not sure what the point behind this blog post is. But I guess what I’m trying to say is that alongside the useful training exercises, EdJoWriWe is also just a lot of fun. Despite all our procrastination earlier in the day, the EdJoWriWe organising crew have really managed to create an atmosphere where even when work is not being done properly, we are still able to exchange experiences about writing or research problems in a friendly setting and over an exceptional sandwich. Indeed, very rarely are we invited to really reflect on the mechanics of our writing in the semester. For that opportunity, I’m grateful for this week. Even if I may move to the neglected silent room upstairs tomorrow…