I’m in the middle of signing up to do some courses at the Open College of the Arts, which is a distance-learning establishment. I need to do so before September 1st to avoid a major hike in fees (approx 62%). Had I enrolled before the end of May, I’d have got the cheap rates all the way through.
When I originally checked out the site at the beginning of the year, one thing that struck me was that they encouraged students to exchange ideas through blogging. Blogging? I’ve heard about that on the radio. Some young girl had become a celebrity photographing and talking about her school dinners. But surely such virtual people couldn’t compare with chatting about art with real people, could it? No, definitely not.
Since then, and for totally different reasons, I have started my own blog. One of the first people I followed was Down by the Dougie, who lives in Wigan about ten miles from where I live in Bolton. He has introduced me to Abbot Hall and Blackwell, the Arts and Craft House which I have since visited in reality. I have travelled with him all over Britain, Ireland and even to the South of France with the Wigan Warrior fans.
Recently I’ve walked on the sandy beaches of Australia with Philippa; I’ve flown across the States for a wedding and to eat pierogies with Drew; I’ve sat in the garden with Rosie and Spartapuss, her cat; I’ve walked the streets of Nottingham with Andy and the streets of London with Richard. This is starting to sound like Dylan’s “Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”!
But what I’m getting at in a long rambling roundabout way is that now the thought of using a blog to exchange ideas with other students seems to be one of the most natural things to do. When I was at secondary school in the sixties, I had a pen-friend in France. I could write him a letter and within a couple of weeks actually get a reply that had travelled all the way from France to Britain. Amazing! as Brian Cox would say. Nowadays I can post my humble opinion on Mr Hockney, say, and within seconds get comments from Alaska to New Zealand.
That is the “small reflection” bit of the title. The rest is the “big thank you” bit. There are several awards for individual bloggers. May I suggest that the whole blogging community deserves an award just to say a big thank you to you all? I recently asked for advise about which direction I should take for my screenprints. Why? Because I value your comments and opinions. I spend a significant time in the Blogoshere rather than just sitting watching TV. Why? Because I regard you as friends and wish to spend time with you all. So thank you! Thank you!