The kindness of academic strangers

A reflection of what academic life is really like – likeminded people working together.

The Trickster Prince

I’ve spent much of the past fortnight being reminded that I’m getting old.

First up: I started a lecture on our second year History in Theory and Practice course by playing Billy Bragg’s 1991 ‘Sexuality’. As well as being a great song it sets up interesting questions around the politics of sex and the tensions between subjectivities and governance. Cue Foucault vs. Billy Bragg mash-up PowerPoint slide:


Strong and warm and wild and free


Your laws do not apply to me

What do you think, Michel?

I was pleased with that one.

When I asked if anyone knew the song the response was a resounding silence. Nobody had heard of Billy Bragg; or Johnny Marr; or Kirsty MacColl. Why should they, when ‘Sexuality’ was released a few years before any of them were born?

As I approach 40 the perils of playing the popular songs of my Scunthorpe-Baths-Hall-indie-kid…

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