Where My One Demented Reader Has Been Visiting From
Hat Tip: EU Referendum

Comments

Mary said…
Hi Martin,
I've been in the UK for a little while so your Aussie stats would have been down. I did look in on you from my brother's laptop though. I spent a couple of days in Oxford. It's still a good place to visit. I'm back in Sydney now, a little jet-lagged and ever so slightly homesick.
Martin Meenagh said…
That's the emigrant's life, though isn't it--and you are in a stable, young and ultimately hopeful country.

I was in Oxford for fifteen years, and have many good friends and nice memories from there. I had a nice flat, good enough jobs with bright students in schools and colleges, and a fantastic last summer in 2006, teaching for Berkeley at Merton.

However, I always felt out of place and deeply angry there, in a way that coloured me at the time. It's one of the reasons, for all its expensive madness that I love London. I've stood or fallen here on fair terms, mostly.

I always got the impression that Oxford's non-transient population divided into a small group of the contented, a noisome group of ignorant resentful, a ridiculous group of political poseurs who sought moral validation in political extremes, and a bunch of networked Anglicans and secularists who had their own upper-middle class world sewn up and who didn't want to move on.

That's not what the place is, of course. It was an impression at the time. Oxford gave a great deal to me.

I have no reason for bitterness; I had a good time as an undergraduate and got a first when it meant something, teaching saved me from the graduate slough of despond and I did the associated lecturer thing for a brief time. I read my way around Balliol library. These are things to look back on. I got fat and thin and drunk and sober there.

I returned there recently and spent a lost afternoon in the Bodleian, lost in some books, and revived a couple of memories elsewhere. Most people I know who had anything to do with the university have feelings like mine, I think, unless they were passing through.

The great thing about blogging is that, done properly, you can come across people who get your references or who sympathise in some way, in manner if not in the form of ideas, and who challenge you. I like it. I wish that I had had more of that for real during my Oxford time.

Anyway, welcome back.

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