11th january 2006
Current levels of conviction in own genius: 10. Hurrah!
Amount of creative activity acheived in last 24 hours: None, apart from small poem entitled 'PhD Motherfucker'.
Hair day: Fabulous!
After five and a half years of full-time teaching, lounging, contemplating, schlepping, and occasionally having wild spurts of abandoned creativity and going at a Murder She Wrote pace on Sibelius, I've cracked it and got the PhD. (Small cheers from the back.) I was, after a run-up of extreme aloofness, unaccountably terrified this morning, particularly after beginning to read through my write-up and spotting three typos almost immediately. I'm probably the only Composition PhD-er in a while who has carefully considered which top (emerald green with black tree print and pink ribbon) and which eyeshadow (aquamarine green, naturally) would really help my cause during the viva. But once I was in, and Gavin Bryars and Bill Brooks (my external and internal examiners respectively, which is less racy than it sounds, more's the pity. Arf.) began their avuncular and extremely informal chat, I knew I was on the home stretch and remembered that I am in fact an utter genius. Well, when you're complimented on how artistically coherent your portfolio is and how your notation is better than Faber's and how if you pursued your dream of becoming avant-pop singersongwriter starlet you'd probably be a very rich woman, you can be allowed a leeettle gigantic-headedness for just one evening. Gavin is clearly a man to know: after I name-checked my two pop gurus - Bjork and Tom Waits - the immensely successful composer who looks and sounds like a Yorkshire sheep farmer casually mentioned that he'd spoken to both of them just yesterday. No, really. He also tossed us anecdotes of his encounters with Le Waits all those years ago when he recorded Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet in Tom's old shed containing all his bone machine percussion. Sehr kool. Of course, I have to make a couple of minor cosmetic adjustments to my CDs and pay for the posho boxes to be embossed and go to graduation wearing the most shamingly floppy-assed hat ever in July, but from today I am offically allowed to call myself Doctor Andrew, or just Doc Kerry if you're really lucky. Of course, there will be no shameful flaunting of my title for any purposes whatsoever apart from on credit cards and hotel bookings and passports in order that I get the chance to be upgraded to first class on planes, as the medically-qualified are, apparently. Of course, that does pose the danger of being dragged to chaotic on-flight scene of man with heart attack surrounded by flapping stewardesses and having to try and cure him by applying a range of extra-vocal techniques including Mongolian-style throat-singing and tongue-clicks and mouth-pops before being booed into standard class, but it's a risk I'm willing to take.