The Loneliest Jukebox

Graham Barnfield's weblog, being gradually replaced by his Twitter feed -

Graham Author Page

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Reconstruction; anti-construction

The latest issue of Reconstruction - Class, Culture and Public Intellectuals - is online now, with my co-editorial fingerprints all over it. It was a long haul, but I'm very pleased with the content (and the form: thanks Justin and Sean).

Meanwhile a return to the UK presents me with public life that seems to be a caricature of itself. Being away means missing the mediating links, but preoccupations with body image, plastic bags and cycling abound. In my old stomping grounds, a patch of industrial wasteland - the former Halex factory - will not be turned into flats and a supermarket, ostensibly in order to preserve the character of the area. Ironically, if the Halex factory was back in action, environmentalists would oppose that too. At least the residents of Rosia Montana are hitting back against the industrial counter-revolution; when are Brits going to do the same?

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Beyond my comprehension

(Austrian) kids these days. How do we test their grasp of English? Have them interview me (see p.2). Weird.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

A foxy calendar story

Not content with dealing mucky books from under the counter, I am also curator of an obscure object that doubles as a guide to a parallel world. I refer to the Leicester City 2008 official calendar, which in its own way explains why my home town side is circling the drain.

Take January, which shows Jimmy Nielsen - left on a free having never played for the club - and Marton Fulop - probably kept us out of the drop zone, now back with Sunderland. Skipping over Paul Henderson to February, we find the perennially transfer-listed Elvis Hammond alongside Darren Kenton (contract terminated by mutual consent), now with Leeds - as is "Mr. April", Leeds loanee and free kick specialist Alan Sheehan. To add insult to injury, this month also sees a snap of Mark Deep Freeze staring back at me, now firing blanks with Dundee United. Presumably they didn't have a photo of an abyss to use, or at least Leicester did not sign one in time for the calendar photoshoot.

The quarter is not up yet, but the calendar embodies the key reasons for City's decline of late: instability in the squad and players who simply aren't good enough. Hammond and Kenton first came to Leicester on loan spells where we worked out they weren't very good, but they got contracts anyway. And so it goes on.

Let's just say there's a strong chance of this calendar leaving on a free transfer before the year is out. (At least the dates are accurate.)

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Bear with me, I'm the new moral guardian

In my February blog entry, I reminisce briefly about being comparatively slim in 1983. Over on Facebook, my profile has attracted some fanmail about my current build: "nothing wrong with being chunky mate, I've always liked men who are chunky. Bald is very attractive too, but the biggest turn-on in that pic is to see just how hairy you are - lovely!" and "your [sic] just such a handsome man with a stunning furry body :)" Using a bare minimum of gym time, it seems I have made the transition to being a UK bear.

Which in a roundabout way brings me to comment on a current role for academics, that of protecting students from themselves. Picture the scene: on arrival at a new teaching post, I was given a new responsibility. Mine to keep under lock and key, to be let out to third year students in connection with dissertation research only, are ... four academic tomes on the history of sexuality. Is this the Closed University, with a "do not feed the bears" policy?

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