Thursday, July 03, 2008


I really am sorry for the inactivity in these 'ere parts. I have plenty to write at the moment, plenty of posts in progress, but I've been lucky enough to have had wonderful people distracting me with wonderful birthday celebrations during the last few days. Give it a few days and I should have something to say on the Thames Gateway, and on ideas of madness too.

In the meantime, we have a feast of lectures and discussions to look forward this weekend in the shape of Marxism 2008.

A while ago, I wrote a little piece for (get ready for this) the Ipswich Hospital Radio magazine (of which my step-dad is editor) about how much more exciting history would be at school if we employed older people to speak to students about their experiences during the twentieth century - that way, we might hear a bit more about real, lived history, rather than the sanitised version that makes up the usual syllabus. I suppose this would be called "history from below". Well, tomorrow evening Christian Hogsbjerg is speaking about how the journalist and Marxist theorist CLR James contributed to our ideas of "history from below". I know little about James (Christian introduces him succinctly here), but the idea of a rebellious middle-class Trinidadian writing and fighting in a Britain caught up by Mosley's fascists and the CP's Stalinism intrigues me.

Barring fire, flood, disaster or Lambeth Housing Services, DV and I will aim for an 11.45 start on Saturday to see Lindsey German, Sally Hunt and Melissa Benn discuss women's liberation - which should be interesting, given the recent facile debate about so-called positive discrimination (for more on this see here). I'll go to the debates on the Olympics and the credit crunch too I think. But alas, birthday celebrations (I spread these celebrations as far as I can, you know) will prohibit me from going to the John Hegley gig in the evening. John is really, really wonderful - if you're anywhere near SOAS this Saturday evening, go and see him.

A Federer-Nadal tussle and a woozy head are likely to disable me somewhat on Sunday. But debates on Bolivia, economics, abortion, Morris, Orwell, Chile and (oh!) Miles Davis will surely lift me from hungover self-pity.

The whole thing looks terrific. Looking forward to meeting kindred bloggers. Meantime, here's a hopeful-regretful-alienated-attached hit for the summer...

XTC, "King for a day


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