Bobby Coral

first_imgFINE ARTS student Roberta “Bobby” Coral first saw the symbol on the wall of a Rad Cam toilet. It was alongside the tracks of a downward juddering bandwagon of homage to Pete Doherty. Drawn in aggressive pencil, it was a gaunt black triangle, its sides two-thirds up punctured with what could have been angel wings, or horns on a Viking helmet. Above it in jagged letters: HEADLESS. All the more striking was the dirty pearl of blank wall around it, six inches wide. It seemed the symbol was universally understood, among those who autographed toilets, to be sacrosanct.Bobby was eminently well-adjusted. If anything, that was her problem. It meant, as she knew, that she was rather supermarketbrand. Packaging like that of the market leader, only flimsier and in fewer colours. Hints of artificial sweeteners in that smile. But she did the job, with her shortcomings written plainly on the tin, and was not out to please an elite. So no ladders in her tights to lead you to snakes: the under-loved, the overindulged, the midnight quivers of a soul that needs always to be its own daydream. She was artless, no more, but no less. Not that she was wholly immune to itches for something more. She’d give herself an edge of walked through fire by charring her eyes with liner and mascara. Or stand in the Boots queue until it had tapered to only three deep, daring herself to go all the way with this blacking kit for her tresses currently reminiscent of weak tea.But that day, in the Rad Cam cubicle, she felt no such itch. So she refused to spook out, even if it was so weird that no one dared write near it (What if she did, right now? What would happen?). She restrained the same impulse on seeing the symbol again the following week, this time in chalk on Longwall Street, a little way down from the long-running “FREEDOM: NOT YET OUT ON DVD”.By her third encounter with it, her unease refused for a moment to get back in its kennel and howled clumsily through her veins instead. At The Sackler Library, a librarian whose stare at rest could disinfect a public toilet had told Bobby that ‘Aztec Premonitions of Modern Art’ was “naturally” on the shelf. Bobby searched for twenty minutes in vain. Then, at that point where it should have been according to its shelfmark, she noticed a tiny jaundiced tongue protruding from between two books. She prised them apart and pulled out a crumbling flake of card. There, drawn in ink that had purpled in antiquity like a bruise, was the Headless symbol. Paling, she took it downstairs to the librarian. “Book wasn’t there,” she told her. “But this was.” The librarian arranged her face into what she hoped was the highest madness antidote known to man. “So it was.”None of which prepared Bobby for the fourth time. Late for her tute with Dr Pynchette, she puffed up a blaze of rickety momentum across Pembroke, at last knocking on his door and flurrying in without waiting for his customary “Entertain me”. The curtains were drawn, drowsing the incoming sun so that it curled up at the feet of his bookshelves like an old cat lapping plaintively at dust. Amid this light someone was standing – but it wasn’t Dr Pynchette.Beside his desk, a woman upheld five feet, two inches of what they might tout as ‘Laura Ashley does Sexual Awakening’. She had her fingertips up on its oak, as though to takes its pulse. At Bobby’s entrance, she tightened with all the special force of a small woman and hissed: “Yes?” Bobby: “Dr Pynchette?” “He’s on leave. His students should have been told. Perhaps there hasn’t been time.” On leave? So abruptly? Bobby frowned: “Is it to do with the book he’s writing? Marginalia?”The woman edged around the desk and folded into its chair. She murmured, “I’m not sure what it’s to do with. As you can see, his phone was off the hook. I’m his sister.” It took a while for Bobby to process each of these sentences, like digits punched rapidly into a telephone. She moved forward into the smell of fried eggs that always hung over his desk like a builder’s daydream. The phone was still off the hook – his sister had touched nothing, as though this were his last fragile sandcastle.Bobby said, “He’s AWOL?” His sister flinched. “I,” she muttered darkly, “have three children, flowerbeds the dog waters and a suburban Jacuzzi of fellowship it sadly doesn’t. You know when I really wake up each morning? Raising the garage door. Shrieks like Bambi’s hit the blender and spits rust at me. That will always be so because I will never get round to fixing it. Yes, I have my frustrations too. Ray’s the only one who feels he can just disappear and come back if life rubs him the right way.”“He’s done this before?” His sister shrugged. “I was six the first time. We were in a Bristol supermarket: Ray, me, our mother. I leant closer to a fridge, my breath clouding the glass and his reflection. When it faded, he was gone. He’d followed the sound of a city seagull down the aisle and out the door. He called us later from a record shop to play some jazz down the line…”Bobby wasn’t listening. She was standing tremulously, having just had the breath whipped out from under her like a tablecloth in a show of tricks at a village fete. On a pad next to the phone, under the logo of the coffee-shop whose waitress he’d bullied it from and a feverish scrawl of ‘LOITERER’, was the Headless symbol.ARCHIVE: 0th week TT 2005last_img read more

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News story: Developing the next generation of services: apply for funding

first_imgThere are 2 competitionsThere are 2 competitions in this area. These are for: the competition opens on 18 June 2018, and the deadline for applications is at midday on 15 August 2018 projects must be led by a business, charity, public sector organisation or a research organisation and must include an SME projects must cover more than one of the target service areas and include regulators, users, service providers and technology providers we expect total costs to be between £2 million and £4 million and for projects to last up to 2.5 years businesses could attract up to 70% of their project costs the competition opens on 18 June 2018, and the deadline for applications is at midday on 15 August 2018 projects should be led by a business and must include an SME. Only SMEs can work alone on a project we expect total costs to be up to £400,000 and for projects to last between one and 2 years. Projects with costs of £200,000 or more must be collaborative businesses could attract up to 70% of their project costs large collaborative projects addressing sector-wide challenges across supply chains or regulators smaller projects looking specifically at applying AI and data techniques. Applications could be from a single business or a consortium UK Research and Innovation has up to £12 million to invest in projects that look at ways of applying artificial intelligence (AI) and data technologies to improve service industries.We are focusing on 3 specific sectors: Find out more about this competition and apply. Projects should show how they would address challenges that could delay or adversely impact adoption. This includes issues of ethics, privacy, bias and transparency.Themes we are particularly interested in include machine-supported decision-making, human concepts such as reasonableness and justice in AI, and combining social science with science and engineering.Large consortia projectscenter_img Find out more about the next-generation services challenge. Meeting challenges, becoming more competitiveIndustries such as accountancy, insurance and legal services face competition from overseas. There are also challenges including identifying and preventing fraud, meeting audit requirements, assessing risk and reviewing large quantities of text.AI and data technologies could help to meet these challenges and make services more efficient, productive and competitive.This competition is part of the next-generation services challenge, a £20 million fund to develop novel products and services that will transform the UK’s services industries.The investment is under the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. This seeks to bring together world-leading research and businesses in the UK to take on the major industrial and societal challenges of our time. Small projects accountancy insurance legal services Find out more about this competition and apply.last_img read more

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Student body launches #HireMe Scheme

first_imgThe Alliance for Bakery Students & Trainees has launched a scheme to help bakery students and trainees find jobs.The UK and Ireland-wide scheme is called ‪#‎HireMe‬ and is open to students and trainees who have finished their qualification or are studying. ‬‬It aims to benefit both the students and also bakery employers who are struggling to find people with the qualifications required to work for them.Students who are looking for a job in the baking industry can simply add their details, such as name, email, area of the country they wish to work in and a short personal statement on http://www.abst.org.uk/hire-me.html.This information is then sent out to bakery employers in the UK and Ireland, who can review everyone that is looking for work in their area, and contact them directly to arrange to see a CV or for an interview.The service is free for members.last_img read more

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