I’m not sure why I’ve started this blog. I don’t know how many people will read it, or become ‘followers’ (I have only two of those so far, and Kajsa had to be forced); and I’m not sure I care. It’s a way of getting certain things off my chest, I hope interestingly and stylishly. And of testing out ideas that I may later incorporate into books.
Academic historian, emeritus prof, author of many books, essayist, reviewer. Loving sambo (partner) of Kajsa Ohrlander, feminist and postmodernist academic. Living in Stockholm, Svartsö (an island in the Stockholm archipelago) and Hull, UK City of Culture 2017. Ex-wife Deirdre; three children, six grandchildren, two bonusbarn, and two bonusbarnbarn. Born in Hornchurch, Essex, but consider myself a Northerner by adoption; share all their prejudices against the South. Educated Ardleigh Green Primary, Brentwood School and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Resigned Fellowship there because of its admissions policy. Taught at the universities of Hull (the best), Newcastle, Yale, Sydney, Stockholm and Copenhagen. Ex-set designer for dramatics. Ex-painter. Ex-lots of things, in fact, but rather worn out now. Academic areas: modern British imperialism, xenophobia and -philia, spooks, Victorian architecture. Politics: ‘Old’ Labour. Religion: agnostic. Favourite philosopher: Karl Marx. Favourite music: Haydn, Berlioz, Elgar, Billie Holliday, Duke Ellington, Brenda Lee, the Housemartins, Ray Charles. Literature: Shakespeare, Ursula le Guin. Favourite painters: Turner, Klee, Botticelli, Frank Hampson. Other heroes: Jesus Christ (the ‘echt’ one, shorn of the ‘Christianity’); Barbara Castle; Bobby Moore; Graham Gooch; Desmond Tutu. Other enthusiasms: architecture, especially old churches; travel (in comfort). Favourite foods: too many to name. Hence paunchy. Supporter of West Ham United and Essex County Cricket Club for 60+ years. Usually much more modestly bearded than in the pic. But just as depressed-looking.
Addendum: October 2016.
Since starting this blog I’ve been diagnosed – well, not exactly diagnosed, as there’s no test for it, but all the symptoms fit – with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, otherwise known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME); which is why I find it hard to get up in the mornings – I never used to – and why there’s no chance of my ever writing another book. This blog has now turned into a therapy for me, to keep my old mind active, without needing to do any hard work. I’m living off the fat I have built up over the course of the twelve books and dozens of scholarly articles I’ve published since 1968, and what I read in the papers. If I don’t write regularly I’ll fade into pleasant oblivion. There’s no need for you to read it.
ME used to be dismissed as an excuse for laziness. In my case I suspect it was triggered by a tick bite I got on Svartsö two years ago; the one that can give you Lyme disease. A dangerous country, Sweden.