Tuesday, 1 March 2011

A curious business

It takes me a day to compile a lecture that will last at best an hour and a half. After twenty years doing it, this is either extremely stupid or extremely, perhaps perversely, conscientious. I suspect the universities would like to roll out lecture courses just as they like to obsessively document them and then just count the money coming in, but this particular product is just not like that, sometimes it appears even more complex than cooking, which at least assumes the chef is alive and on the job, and not half dead on a production line. The truth is, the more you go on, the more complex things appear to get. It is not so easy to assume the connections between this and that that you rely on, it makes for difficulty. AJP Taylor, the great populist historian, used to make up his lectures in his cab to the BBC, but I bet he put a lot of thought in beforehand, 'umming and arhhing' this and that, generally irritating himself, until the moment of the cab's arrival forced him into decision time. Still, that sort of thing keeps you alive (and possibly kicking).

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