WHO I AM
A life-long love of dogs, bikes and
planes. A newly-evolving digital
artist. An academic who loves teaching but resists the neoliberal university and will soon retire, to ride across the US on a motorcycle for three months and fly vintage jet fighters
I'm an academic hobby-artist. I like to make images in Photoshop that use metaphors or abstraction to get the brain engaged and active. The images are sometimes derivative; I'm not as creative in that way. But they are accessible and used daily in my teaching and I share all my work for free with other academics
Squadron Leader Norman Rose was the Boss of my local Air Experience Flight at RAF Woodvale in the mid-to-late 1970's. He led a a crew of World War Two RAF pilots, some of whom had flown Spitfires, Hurricanes and Typhoons, others in Mosquitos, Lancasters and Stirlings, all of whom we revered as living Gods. In a world of household abuse, there was no place safer than being in a vintage airplane over a freezing sea with a geriatric RAF pilot. Those pilots volunteered their time to fly air cadets in Chipmunks at weekends, and this needed Staff Cadets (me and a dozen or so others trained to rotate kids through aircraft flights at lovely RAF Woodvale). It was the only place my stepfather couldn't reach me and I revelled in every second of it. I still have my logbook, almost half a century on. Noman Rose, The Boss, took me under his wing, knew about my criminal record, got me on special flights, paid me to take care of his garden when was unemployed and did pretty much everything a real father would do. He also gave me the reference that got me into University and changed my life after years of stagnation and drinking. I rewarded his faith in me by getting a PhD 8 years later
Stephen Riley was a second father figure provided by the universe, presumably to say sorry for my biological and step-father. Norman got me to Stephen, as if they'd somehow known how I could best be helped and
developed. Stephen became my tutor of choice as an undergraduate. He was much loved by al of us, with wonderful idiosyncrasies I treasure today. He fuelled my focus on structural injustice -injustice caused by rules we unthinkingly follow - and then agreed to supervise a PhD. I was his greatest challenge - still a late blossomer. Had he not died in 1998, I think he would have been rightly pleased with what I have become intellectually. He laid all the groundwork by asking all the right questions and being such a well-travelled scholar of Africa. I am forever indebted to his wisdom and patience. His legacy continues to echo loudly in my teaching and research.