Tag Archives: Royal Holloway

The Linnets – Singing for Editors and Proofreaders

By Sarah Patey.

The Linnets SfEP conference 2011Long ago and far away – well, Cirencester 1998, in fact – I was a Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) conference newbie and rather overawed. Conference newbies these days may feel the same, but at least the name-labels are likely to look familiar, thanks to the SfEP forums. The faces too, unless the wearer uses a cartoon avatar. I’d met a few people at courses, but not many.

Chick Linnets

I made an effort to sit with different people at meals, and quickly noticed that every table seemed to have at least one other choral singer (you can tell my small talk is limited). When I next booked a conference (Cambridge 2002) I suggested via the new(ish) SfEPLine, the email precursor to the forums, that a group of us might sing something before the conference dinner. The response was encouraging, and the medium caused one participant to christen us The Linnets (Line – gerrit?). Rather ambitiously, I got hold of an eight-part arrangement of Flanders and Swann’s The Slow Train, and those present tell me they still have fond memories of it.

Fledglings

I didn’t make it to Birmingham in 2003, but have been to every conference since, and the Linnets have become a firm favourite. Once conference preparations are well under way, the call goes out to ask if anyone coming would like to join in. Perhaps unsurprisingly, our demographic produces more sopranos and, particularly, altos, than basses and, particularly, tenors. Usually there are around fifteen or twenty of us, and the music is sent out in advance, as we only have very limited time to practise. The conference director obligingly arranges a room, and those involved sacrifice precious drinking socialising time for the two rehearsal spots – one for familiarisation and one for polishing. We’ve become less ambitious over the years in terms of complexity of music, but work hard to make the words clear. They are always worth it.

Home-grown talent

Most years since 2003, talented members have contributed entertaining lyrics on various aspects of our editorial life: stylesheets, SfEPline, our 20th anniversary, punctuation, deadlines, and so on, and of course the vagaries of Word. Musical arrangements have been provided sometimes in-house, and sometimes by friends and family who’ve been willing to have an arm twisted. Piano accompaniment, when needed, and conducting have also been in-house (well, by extension if you count spouses).

Breaking the pattern

In the dog days of 2006, a spoof poem ‘in the style of’ appeared on SfEPLine. The gauntlet was down, and from all quarters further contributions in all kinds of styles were sent in. We had clerihews, sonnets, haikus, new words to old songs, and so on. TS Eliot seemed to provide particular inspiration. It was a treat, as summed up (à la McGonagall) by one of our founder members:

O Beautiful parody thread of the SfEP Line!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety working hours were taken away
On one Novembry day of 2006
Which will be remember’d for quite a few weeks. 


In fact they were remembered for quite a few months, and seemed worth enjoying again. So in the Linnets spot in Brighton in 2007 we put on a poetry reading. Choosing which we’d have time for was not an easy task. We succumbed to music for the last item, The Twelve Days of the Schedule – no prizes for guessing the tune. It featured locked files, dangling clauses, misquotations, sexist pronouns, footnotes missing, fuzzy graphs…

Pedants, us?

Well, some might think so, but we’ve found over the years that there’s a lot of musical fun to be had on the subject. If there are any linguistic pedants with musical inclinations out there, perhaps you’ve just found your spiritual home?

(All names omitted to protect the innocent. You know who you are.)

If you’re heading to our conference at Royal Holloway this weekend and you’d like to sing with the Linnets, please contact Sarah Patey and let her know which part you sing (soprano, alto, tenor or bass). Please head your mail ‘Linnets 2014’.

Sarah Patey Le Mot JusteSarah Patey was educated in France, taking both International and French Baccalauréats, and subsequently studied languages in the UK. Initially a teacher of French and German, she joined the SfEP in 1995 to investigate editorial work and to benefit from SfEP’s excellent training courses and professional development. Now an advanced member of SfEP, she edits a variety of humanities subjects and educational material for teachers of French, German and English.
 Sarah’s website is: http://le-mot-juste.co.uk/


Proofread by SfEP associate Laura Morgan.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the SfEP.

London Royal Holloway - the venue for the 25th SfEP annual conference 13-15 September 2014

10 ways to get the most out of the SfEP annual conference

London Royal Holloway - the venue for the 25th SfEP annual conference 13-15 September 2014

The 25th SfEP annual conference takes place at London Royal Holloway from 13-15 September 2014

By Joanna Bowery

Whether you’ve already booked your ticket or you’re still considering whether to go, here are ten ways to get the most out of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) annual conference.

1. Set goals. Think about what you want to gain from the conference and how this links with an area of editing or proofreading you’d like to find out more about or want to get involved in. Look at the conference programme and write a list of things you want to learn, questions you’d like to be answered and people you want to meet. Once you’ve written down your goals, review them after the sessions at conference and again when you get home to see if you’ve achieved them.

2. Book early! Get in early to book your preferred workshops and seminars; online booking opens on 23 July and the sessions are allocated on a first come, first served basis. When choosing your sessions, don’t just go for the ones where you would feel most comfortable: choose one session that could introduce you to new ideas or subjects.

3. Prepare. Research the sessions and the speakers, to find out what they might be talking about and to help you come up with questions, both in the sessions and when you’re socialising. When you arrive, check out the delegate list. Is there a name from the SfEP forums or the SfEP social networks – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – that you recognise? Now is your chance to meet them in person. Familiarise yourself with the Royal Holloway campus map, to reduce the risk of getting lost.

4. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions during the sessions, especially if it helps you develop your knowledge of an area of editing or proofreading that you identified when you set your goals. Outside the conference events, asking questions of everyone you meet is the best way to start a conversation.

5. Be approachable. If you are engrossed in your phone or look grumpy, you won’t get to talk to anyone. Make eye contact and smile and you’ll soon get chatting to others. When you sit down, speak to the person next to you. If you’re nervous about ‘networking’, practise one introductory sentence about yourself and then have ready a couple of questions. ‘Where have you come from?’, ‘What have you enjoyed the most so far?’ or ‘What session are you most looking forward to?’ are easy openers that can get a conversation started. And don’t forget to hand out – and ask for – business cards, so you can follow up on your new contacts after the conference.

6. Join the conversation online. Use the #SfEP14 tag and follow the hashtag on Twitter. Chatting online before the conference can make it easier to meet delegates in real life. It can also be fun to discover others’ perspectives on the conference and sessions. Also, by talking about the conference on social media, you will be showing your professional contacts that you are committed to professional development by attending the conference.

7. Socialise. All work and no play can make for a very dull conference. Informal chatting to colleagues and potential clients helps to cement connections and makes you more likely to keep in touch after the conference. As well as going to the gala dinner or for a drink after the sessions, make an effort to eat with people you haven’t met before, and be confident enough to strike up conversations. One of the best things about the SfEP conference is that it is an opportunity to meet other freelance and in-house proofreaders and editors and to share experiences and advice. So make the most of the opportunity to make or catch up with professional contacts; this can often lead to future business opportunities and friendships too.

8. Think about what to wear. While you may be sitting down for workshops and seminars, you will also be doing a fair bit of walking and standing. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes, so you can focus on the sessions and on meeting new people and catching up with old friends, not on your throbbing feet after a day spent wearing new shoes!

9. Make notes. Remember to bring a notebook so you can jot down some notes about what you learned in the sessions and who you met. After the conference, compile your notes into a report. Why not share your experiences by posting a blog or contributing to the SfEP conference report?

10. Have fun! Enjoy your time out of the office, developing your knowledge, meeting new people and – of course – celebrating 25 years of the SfEP annual conference.

The SfEP 25th annual conference – Editing: fit for purpose – takes place on Saturday 13 –Monday 15 September 2014. You can book tickets until 18 July.

What advice would you add to help delegates make the most of the SfEP conference?

Joanna Bowery social media manager at the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP)

Joanna Bowery is the SfEP social media manager. As well as looking after the SfEP’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts and the SfEP blog, she is a freelance marketing and PR consultant operating as Cosmic Frog. Jo is an associate of the SfEP and a Chartered Marketer. She is active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. In her spare time, Jo enjoys rugby (although she has retired from playing) and running.

Proofread by Jane Hammett, an advanced member of the SfEP.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the SfEP.

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