Any questions?

Nene

This is me at Nene College, Avenue Campus, Northampton, at the end of summer term, 1984. Yesterday, I was back, wandering the same corridors, this time not as a student, but as … a visiting lecturer. The “journey” from pupil to tutor has taken 24 years. It’s now the University Of Northampton, having been upgraded in 2005, and those who’ve been following the story, will know that I was proud to be made a Fellow of the university in August 2006 (an honour I share with Jo Whiley and Bob Harris). Since then, I have been back to cut the ribbon on the new Heyford building, where the Foundation art course is housed. When I attended Nene, you could only do a foundation; nowadays, you can do your degree there too. (Perhaps if this had been the case in 1984, I’d have stayed in Northampton. As it was, I left for London, and never looked back.)

My day as a lecturer was split into two parts. I was met at the entrance by John Harper, a legendary tutor who’s been there at least since 1983 when I first walked, wide-eyed, through its doors. It was he who invited me, and he who oversaw my first project as a proper art student, which was to build a tent in the main hall of the college, along with my 50 or so fellow foundationeers. The only specification was that we weren’t to make any holes in the floor. Come the end of the day, the hall looked like a pretentious refugee camp. I made mine by lashing together some of Mum’s old sheets and an Oxfam raincoat with brown tape and string. I then stuck a plastic shark above the door and strung a red light bulb from the inside, with some photos of Marlon Brando around the flaps. John then made us spend the day sitting in our tents, drawing the space. This is how I recorded that head-spinning event in my diary of the time:

DiaryNene2

It was strange to be back in that very hall – now kitted out with tiered seating and a big projection screen – lecturing about 100 students, some of them fine art, others graphics and illustration, mostly the same sort of age I was in the mid-80s, a few of them mature students, and with a sprinkling of tutors, many of them called John, and again, quite a few from my day. As a visiting lecturer, and first-timer, I was called upon to talk about myself, or what Strictly Come Dancing contestants would call my “journey” from Nene to whatever the fuck I am now. I made up a fat portfolio of work, which ranged from a cartoon of Top Cat and his gang that I drew when I was about five, via a still life of some wellies and a carrot I drew for my Art A-level and the very picture I made from inside my Oxfam tent, to the crowd-pleasing smears I created whilst at Chelsea School of Art, where my natural inclination towards doing cartoons was looked down upon and discouraged, meanwhile paving the way to actual employment on leaving college. The theme of my talk, which lasted over an hour and a half, was Art versus Commerce, something that I hoped would pique the interest of both fine artists, who make art for art’s sake, and the commercial artists, who do it to order (as I did). Because I began my higher education in that very hall, I hoped I would connect with the students from the off, and I kind of think I did. They certainly seemed attentive and responsive (ie. they laughed at my self-effacing jokes and carefully placed swears), and nobody slept.

However, once I’d got to the end of my “journey”, and soaked up the applause, I threw open the usual Q&A opportunity to the students. After all, I’d covered an awful lot of ground, from foundation to the NME, and I felt it was time to respond to individual questions. Not a single hand went up. Not a single student, in the prime of their life, currently engaged in mind-expanding creative education with a view to entering the world via the door marked “Art and Design”, wished to know anything further. I must admit, I was shocked.

For the afternoon session, I was to hold a more intimate seminar in a smaller room, and John asked for a show of hands from anybody interested in discussing the issues further. Four hands went up.

Not an auspicious showing, I mused, as I ate lunch with the Product Design faculty and listened to their stories over bread and salad and pork pie and red wine (a Thursday lunchtime tradition, so I discovered). I really like the staff at Nene – as I shall continue to call it, Opal Fruits/Hammersmith Odeon style – although even though I’m 42 I still felt a bit like a student when sat among them! Having seen a lot of the students’ work last summer, I know that they’re producing some fine stuff in design and fashion and fine art, and that the still-young degree courses are punching their weight in an unfashionable town. But when did students get so shy and unquestioning? I’m not flattering myself that I’m the most interesting person in the world, but I’m an ex-student and I’ve been in the real world for 20 years and I was only there for a day, and I still can’t believe that nobody had a question. I don’t take it personally – I think it says something far more general about the next generation: perhaps they really have been beaten into submission by SATs and New Labour’s literacy/numeracy hours, too worried about passing tests to ask supplementary questions. When Rob O’Connor, the record sleeve designer, came to Chelsea to talk to us, my friend Rob and I were all over him, asking him everything we could about working in record sleeve design. (It’s actually his handwriting on the cover of Siouxsie & The Banshees’ Kaleidoscope album for God’s sake!) We had a visiting photography tutor called Ronnie Randall, who’d also had a couple of reviews printed in Sounds – again, we wouldn’t let him go! Tell us everything!

Anyway, about 15 students came along to the afternoon seminar, and it really raised my spirits. They were a mixed bunch, and after doing some more talking about the problems of being creative to order, and the way autobiography can inform your work (it certainly did mine!), I asked them all to reveal an aspect of their life or personality that feeds into the work they do. Not one of them let me down, although some were more shy than others. There was a fantastic mature student in there called Dave, who’s 65, and had an incredible story to tell. I hope he inspired the others. I hope just by being there and getting them to talk, I inspired them just a little bit. I’ve spoken to lots of students over the past ten years, mainly through the NUS, and it can be extremely rewarding. I can see why teachers do it. (Not that I would compare doing a day here and a session there with actual lecturing or teaching – I know my limits. I have friends who are teachers and I take my mortar board off to them.)

Universityentrance

Anyway, I really loved going back to Nene for the day. It’s a terrific School of the Arts and I’d happily do it again. As a postscript, one of the students in the afternoon seminar emailed me and told me he’d been inspired by the day, so all was not lost.

Now, any questions?

No?

Nothing?

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49 thoughts on “Any questions?

  1. Gosh, Ronnie Randall, now there’s a veritable blast from the past. I met him when he and I were extras in Paul McCartney’s Pipes of Peace video in 1983. A muddy day in Surrey pretending to be German soldiers, but a lot of fun. I’ve still got the trenchfoot as an aide memoire.

  2. Was your stint as a visiting lecturer a one-off, or are you going to do it again?Regarding your students’ lack of inquisitiveness, I hope you’re wrong about it being a generational thing to do with SATs etc. Sometimes people don’t ask questions because they’re not used to someone being prepared to interact seriously with them. If so, you’ve done something to counteract that. Maybe they really don’t have any questions. Worst case scenario: maybe they think they know all the answers!

  3. Can’t help thinking that ‘thanks’ to the internet, there is no mystery or magic surrounding anything or person now. Whatever you might wish to know, whether true or not, about anybody and their profession, is accessible just by typing some words into a search engine. I expect most of them decided they already knew everything. Which is a shame, because getting to meet a local boy/girl made good, who has taken your chosen career path, is great. Pre-internet, you’d have got some brilliant how, when, who, etc. questions. Although not a student of Nene (I can’t think of it any other way, either) I have a question for you anyway. Did you call into ‘your’ Sainsbury’s? They’re doing it up finally – no more brown and orange tiles….

  4. Can’t help thinking that ‘thanks’ to the internet, there is no mystery or magic surrounding anything or person now. Whatever you might wish to know, whether true or not, about anybody and their profession, is accessible just by typing some words into a search engine. I expect most of them decided they already knew everything. Which is a shame, because getting to meet a local boy/girl made good, who has taken your chosen career path, is great. Pre-internet, you’d have got some brilliant how, when, who, etc. questions. Although not a student of Nene (I can’t think of it any other way, either) I have a question for you anyway. Did you call into ‘your’ Sainsbury’s? They’re doing it up finally – no more brown and orange tiles….

  5. i was in the following year — we had to draw the inside of a paper bag – by feel only. most of my contemporaries couldnt draw their way out of a paper bag though – even if they could see the content!i still have the drawing somewhere – it’s very ‘RCA’

  6. Emma, I wasn’t in town long enough to visit the Grosvenor Centre! Next time, maybe. I’ve always been impressed though by how little my old Sainsbury’s had changed. I hope the cigarette kiosk is still at the front! (My Auntie Janice often worked there.)After the tents, Jades, we all had to run along, single file, around the college grounds, drawing the back of the person in front’s head. (Without leaning on anything!) Ker-azee! It was spooky walking back through those grounds again.

  7. Emma, I wasn’t in town long enough to visit the Grosvenor Centre! Next time, maybe. I’ve always been impressed though by how little my old Sainsbury’s had changed. I hope the cigarette kiosk is still at the front! (My Auntie Janice often worked there.)After the tents, Jades, we all had to run along, single file, around the college grounds, drawing the back of the person in front’s head. (Without leaning on anything!) Ker-azee! It was spooky walking back through those grounds again.

  8. Gawd! I haven’t been to Avenue Campus for years – I did a computing OND there in ’86-’88, and my brother works there in IT Services. Did another 2 years at Park in ’88-90 on an HND.We always thought the art students were weird…BTW, Andrew – I’m constantly impressed from your books and website just how willing you are to publish photos of yourself that others might decide not to. I’m not saying you look bad, but not many people are too willing to go back to a young version of themselves from 20+ years ago. And, the diaries and clippings you’ve kept – excellent stuff.

  9. Gawd! I haven’t been to Avenue Campus for years – I did a computing OND there in ’86-’88, and my brother works there in IT Services. Did another 2 years at Park in ’88-90 on an HND.We always thought the art students were weird…BTW, Andrew – I’m constantly impressed from your books and website just how willing you are to publish photos of yourself that others might decide not to. I’m not saying you look bad, but not many people are too willing to go back to a young version of themselves from 20+ years ago. And, the diaries and clippings you’ve kept – excellent stuff.

  10. Andrew, I’ve had a similar experience myself. For the past few years I’ve gone back to my old school for their annual careers evenings to give them the benefit of my, ahem, wisdom about the world of journalism. I’m always astounded by how few, if any, questions I get from those I talk to. These are students who have bothered to come and listen to me talk about a potential job path, but they can’t come up with anything to ask. I’d like to say that it’s obviously down to my comprehensive overview of the field, but I’m not quite that deluded. Very, very strange!

  11. Andrew, I’ve had a similar experience myself. For the past few years I’ve gone back to my old school for their annual careers evenings to give them the benefit of my, ahem, wisdom about the world of journalism. I’m always astounded by how few, if any, questions I get from those I talk to. These are students who have bothered to come and listen to me talk about a potential job path, but they can’t come up with anything to ask. I’d like to say that it’s obviously down to my comprehensive overview of the field, but I’m not quite that deluded. Very, very strange!

  12. I’ve worked with a range of art and design students recently and I think alot of them are getting less bohemian more mainstream. While working we chat and i am amazed at their conservatism, they aren’t interested in foreign language films (amelia is their most exotic choice), their taste in music is very bland (gwen stephanie is very popular). They seem very middle of the road I fear it may be the pressure to get a job weighing them down partly, also going to art college is now totally mainstream and ordinary. lastly even more so than when we were younger, kids are obsessed with being cool and sadly enthusiams isn’t cool.

  13. I’ve worked with a range of art and design students recently and I think alot of them are getting less bohemian more mainstream. While working we chat and i am amazed at their conservatism, they aren’t interested in foreign language films (amelia is their most exotic choice), their taste in music is very bland (gwen stephanie is very popular). They seem very middle of the road I fear it may be the pressure to get a job weighing them down partly, also going to art college is now totally mainstream and ordinary. lastly even more so than when we were younger, kids are obsessed with being cool and sadly enthusiams isn’t cool.

  14. As a student myself, I can confirm that questions rarely get asked in any kind of lecture environment, to the constant surprise of the academic staff. Reasons for this may be:a) People don’t feel that confident to speak in front of a large audience of their peersb) People are worried about asking stupid questionsc) People have very specific questions, so don’t want to ask something which isn’t relevant to everyone elsed) People who ask questions and interrupt lectures are generally seen as a pain in the arse.I know you opening the floor was at the end of the lecture, but students aren’t all the arrogant, cocky upstarts we get portrayed as. I don’t know how many people you lectured to, but I’d wager you’d have received more questions if the size of the group was cut significantly.Make of this what you will. I do realise it sounds the kind of 21st century, Americanised “why don’t we all talk about our feelings” ideology that I despise, which seems to think the reason teenagers often talk with an Australian inflection is due to their lack of confidence and questioning nature.Anyway, more importantly, good on you! It’s heartening that you take the time to go back and do these things, when many people in your situation would turn their back.

  15. As a student myself, I can confirm that questions rarely get asked in any kind of lecture environment, to the constant surprise of the academic staff. Reasons for this may be:a) People don’t feel that confident to speak in front of a large audience of their peersb) People are worried about asking stupid questionsc) People have very specific questions, so don’t want to ask something which isn’t relevant to everyone elsed) People who ask questions and interrupt lectures are generally seen as a pain in the arse.I know you opening the floor was at the end of the lecture, but students aren’t all the arrogant, cocky upstarts we get portrayed as. I don’t know how many people you lectured to, but I’d wager you’d have received more questions if the size of the group was cut significantly.Make of this what you will. I do realise it sounds the kind of 21st century, Americanised “why don’t we all talk about our feelings” ideology that I despise, which seems to think the reason teenagers often talk with an Australian inflection is due to their lack of confidence and questioning nature.Anyway, more importantly, good on you! It’s heartening that you take the time to go back and do these things, when many people in your situation would turn their back.

  16. Shendy, I am at one with the way I looked as a student. I had a lot of trouble with my mum at the time, who hated my backcombed hair and army trousers and tendency towards Oxfam garb – of course now I can see why she was so uneasy. I did look something of a state! But it was part of my self-expression. I was called a “poof” on many an occasion, but this seemed like a part of the struggle with identity. I have looked pretty conventional in my adult life – certainly since 1995, when I finally lost my shoulder-length “grunge” hair at aged 30. But I’m glad I experimented in those early years. I may look a dick in some of my photos, but that’s exactly what I wanted to look like. (I’m glad I kept all the photos and diaries. There would have been no books without them.)Office Pest, the pronunciation of the word “Nene” sorts out the locals from the outsiders. Of course I pronounce it Nen!Some really interesting insights, Joe. I have long since stopped thinking of students as “arrogant, cocky upstarts”. They seem subdued and frightened, a lot of them. I’m afraid I think the financial and vocational pressures on today’s students have taken the devil-may-care edge off them. This is a crying shame. No wonder they don’t march as much as they used to.

  17. Shendy, I am at one with the way I looked as a student. I had a lot of trouble with my mum at the time, who hated my backcombed hair and army trousers and tendency towards Oxfam garb – of course now I can see why she was so uneasy. I did look something of a state! But it was part of my self-expression. I was called a “poof” on many an occasion, but this seemed like a part of the struggle with identity. I have looked pretty conventional in my adult life – certainly since 1995, when I finally lost my shoulder-length “grunge” hair at aged 30. But I’m glad I experimented in those early years. I may look a dick in some of my photos, but that’s exactly what I wanted to look like. (I’m glad I kept all the photos and diaries. There would have been no books without them.)Office Pest, the pronunciation of the word “Nene” sorts out the locals from the outsiders. Of course I pronounce it Nen!Some really interesting insights, Joe. I have long since stopped thinking of students as “arrogant, cocky upstarts”. They seem subdued and frightened, a lot of them. I’m afraid I think the financial and vocational pressures on today’s students have taken the devil-may-care edge off them. This is a crying shame. No wonder they don’t march as much as they used to.

  18. I feel I may be letting the side down what, since I’ve been at university nearly three years now, and haven’t been on a single march. I don’t blame the education system for putting too much pressure on students, I blame the government for putting to much pressure on people within the education system. Everything seems to be related to targets, statistics and the like.Anyway, that’s a bit off-topic. Students adopting a “devil-may care” attitude are generally termed “lazy” within the education system, I think. Students do get pigeonholed, but anybody can pigeonhole anyone else from the age of about 12 upwards.I feel guilty now for using your blog as a vehicle to vent my frustrations – final year exams I’m afraid! So, I’ll ask you a question, two in fact.As a former art student, did you ever have any input into the art/layout of the magazines you’ve worked on?And, just for my own interest really, who has been the most memorable interviewee in your career in journalism?

  19. I feel I may be letting the side down what, since I’ve been at university nearly three years now, and haven’t been on a single march. I don’t blame the education system for putting too much pressure on students, I blame the government for putting to much pressure on people within the education system. Everything seems to be related to targets, statistics and the like.Anyway, that’s a bit off-topic. Students adopting a “devil-may care” attitude are generally termed “lazy” within the education system, I think. Students do get pigeonholed, but anybody can pigeonhole anyone else from the age of about 12 upwards.I feel guilty now for using your blog as a vehicle to vent my frustrations – final year exams I’m afraid! So, I’ll ask you a question, two in fact.As a former art student, did you ever have any input into the art/layout of the magazines you’ve worked on?And, just for my own interest really, who has been the most memorable interviewee in your career in journalism?

  20. Vent away, Joe, vent away!My first job in the media was as design assistant at the NME, so my apprenticeship was in page design (pre-computers – it was all Letraset, photocopying and sticking things down with Spray Mount). I actually laid out some of my first attempts at writing, while I straddled both design and journalism, then eventually left the art room for full-time writing and commissioning.I’d like to think my design instinct was useful at Select, Empire and Q, although I was lucky enough to work with exceptional art editors at all three, who really knew what they were doing. As a former designer, they let me make suggestions though.Most memorable interviews in journalism were probably Bob Geldof and Richey Edwards, for entirely different reasons. Geldof was the most famous person I’d ever met, and that can only be interesting. And I loved spending time with all the Manics – Richey’s subsequent disappearance has made the times I spent with him all the more precious. A truly inspiring and gentle individual. I once interviewed on his bed in a residential studio in Surrey, late at night. We were both drunk, but he was drunker, and he eventually fell asleep, mid-sentence.

  21. Vent away, Joe, vent away!My first job in the media was as design assistant at the NME, so my apprenticeship was in page design (pre-computers – it was all Letraset, photocopying and sticking things down with Spray Mount). I actually laid out some of my first attempts at writing, while I straddled both design and journalism, then eventually left the art room for full-time writing and commissioning.I’d like to think my design instinct was useful at Select, Empire and Q, although I was lucky enough to work with exceptional art editors at all three, who really knew what they were doing. As a former designer, they let me make suggestions though.Most memorable interviews in journalism were probably Bob Geldof and Richey Edwards, for entirely different reasons. Geldof was the most famous person I’d ever met, and that can only be interesting. And I loved spending time with all the Manics – Richey’s subsequent disappearance has made the times I spent with him all the more precious. A truly inspiring and gentle individual. I once interviewed on his bed in a residential studio in Surrey, late at night. We were both drunk, but he was drunker, and he eventually fell asleep, mid-sentence.

  22. hey, I was at your talk the other day, and attended the seminar group after. I thoroughly enjoyed both. i do think that Joe above is right about students asking questions. For me personally it is shyness, but for others there are many reasons, and unfortunately for some it is laziness. The seminar group was really interesting, not only because it was with a group mainly from different courses to me (i was one of the fine art 3rd years). Also it gives me hope that perhaps something will come out of me continuing doing what i love, not that I’d stop even if it was just for me. John Harper is still a legend among students! All the tutors are pretty fantastic actually and I’m glad I happened upon northampton because the art and design courses are fantastic for a place that unfortunately most people haven’t even heard of. Cheers.

  23. hey, I was at your talk the other day, and attended the seminar group after. I thoroughly enjoyed both. i do think that Joe above is right about students asking questions. For me personally it is shyness, but for others there are many reasons, and unfortunately for some it is laziness. The seminar group was really interesting, not only because it was with a group mainly from different courses to me (i was one of the fine art 3rd years). Also it gives me hope that perhaps something will come out of me continuing doing what i love, not that I’d stop even if it was just for me. John Harper is still a legend among students! All the tutors are pretty fantastic actually and I’m glad I happened upon northampton because the art and design courses are fantastic for a place that unfortunately most people haven’t even heard of. Cheers.

  24. Andrew, I’m not entirely sure we were any different 25 years ago. Having said that, what’s to get excited about accountancy? Not really the most thought-provoking subject area. As visiting lecturers go, KPMG’s CEO is not really in the same league as a guy responsible for Banshees sleeve design!

  25. Andrew, I’m not entirely sure we were any different 25 years ago. Having said that, what’s to get excited about accountancy? Not really the most thought-provoking subject area. As visiting lecturers go, KPMG’s CEO is not really in the same league as a guy responsible for Banshees sleeve design!

  26. Shyness is definitely a factor. I am not a shy person but at any seminar I am very reluctant to stick my hand up, and always have been.Furthermore, I have been on ‘Business Link’ seminars which are generally attended by other owner-managers and entrepreneurs. There have been genuinely interesting people presenting – Karen Brady, Chair of Birmingham City FC, Stellios’s number 2 from Easy Group etc – and very very few questions were asked.I think with students aged 16-22, if you made it interactive very quickly, it would a) be more interesting for everyone, incl you; b) you would know what THEY wanted you to talk about, rather than you having to guess what they’d be interested in; and c) in their minds you may have droned on and on, and they would feel either they wouldn’t want to detain you with questions or they’d have that awful feeling of ‘did he mention this…oh god I’d better not ask just in case’.Sorry AC but I suspect you gave them a lecture, and quite honestly they were probably hoping for something different from a visitor especially someone who was presented to them as a ‘celebrity’. They have enough lectures as it is.

  27. Shyness is definitely a factor. I am not a shy person but at any seminar I am very reluctant to stick my hand up, and always have been.Furthermore, I have been on ‘Business Link’ seminars which are generally attended by other owner-managers and entrepreneurs. There have been genuinely interesting people presenting – Karen Brady, Chair of Birmingham City FC, Stellios’s number 2 from Easy Group etc – and very very few questions were asked.I think with students aged 16-22, if you made it interactive very quickly, it would a) be more interesting for everyone, incl you; b) you would know what THEY wanted you to talk about, rather than you having to guess what they’d be interested in; and c) in their minds you may have droned on and on, and they would feel either they wouldn’t want to detain you with questions or they’d have that awful feeling of ‘did he mention this…oh god I’d better not ask just in case’.Sorry AC but I suspect you gave them a lecture, and quite honestly they were probably hoping for something different from a visitor especially someone who was presented to them as a ‘celebrity’. They have enough lectures as it is.

  28. JC, my brief was to do a lecture in the morning and group work in the afternoon. Thus, I was doing what I had been invited to do. The plan was to throw out the ideas in the morning, and discuss them in the afternoon. (Also – they’re art students; they don’t really get that many lectures at all. We certainly didn’t!)

  29. JC, my brief was to do a lecture in the morning and group work in the afternoon. Thus, I was doing what I had been invited to do. The plan was to throw out the ideas in the morning, and discuss them in the afternoon. (Also – they’re art students; they don’t really get that many lectures at all. We certainly didn’t!)

  30. JC: I’m with AC on this, the idea that everything needs to be interactive and easy to grasp is annoying. Lecturers can only do so much adult students have to motivate themselves to engage and learn. sometimes a lecture is the easiet way to get something over and in fact if people ask question it helps you give them the info they need. Also if a lecture is boring what would sate the jaded pallets(?) of today’s youth?

  31. JC: I’m with AC on this, the idea that everything needs to be interactive and easy to grasp is annoying. Lecturers can only do so much adult students have to motivate themselves to engage and learn. sometimes a lecture is the easiet way to get something over and in fact if people ask question it helps you give them the info they need. Also if a lecture is boring what would sate the jaded pallets(?) of today’s youth?

  32. James, you’re obviously not a student, as you just asked a question! Yes, buy, or borrow, my second book, HKIMN, if you want to know the answer. (It’s a long story, but it involves becoming disillusioned with commercial art and doing a fanzine, which I sent in to the NME …)

  33. James, you’re obviously not a student, as you just asked a question! Yes, buy, or borrow, my second book, HKIMN, if you want to know the answer. (It’s a long story, but it involves becoming disillusioned with commercial art and doing a fanzine, which I sent in to the NME …)

  34. Hey Andrew, I read the feature in the Word (April’s edition) that evolved from this blog. I’m an art student, and I found some of your views pretty conservative. I mean, like previous comments have said, lecture halls are sterile and don’t really encourage responses from those sat about thirty rows back. Intimate settings breed intimate relations. Also, more and more peeps fresh from school become students (especially art students) because uni is, effectively, a three year payed holiday. Going back to your time at uni, were there 100 people per lecture? And how many of them held genuine interest in the subject? I definitely agree that tests and SATS do numb any personal enjoyment people can get from subjects, but with a little more effort, it’s still possible. How about protests though? With reference to your article again, you say there are too few protests anymore. I’ve arrived at my own conclusion that protests and harsh politics are two sides of a coin called rage – a super unproductive coin. It’s like Ken Kesey said at the anti Vietnam war rally (at a time you were probably “brimming with naive idealism and spare time”): “just fuck it and walk away…” And I arrived at this belief on protesting because I employed the questioning process (albeit internal) you claim the net and new labour have blunted in todays students. The fact that above commenter Joe says he hasn’t been to a march while at uni, the fact he feels he should protest just because he’s a student shows that art students especially are still steeped in stereotype. And apologies if I read you wrong Joe, but remember, you can still protest when you ain’t a student anymore. I just don’t see why the two must be connected. Questioning works both ways, you know, you can’t grade a generation’s mental quality on how many protests they organise! There are still engaging and interesting students who care for their studies, they’re just piled under peeps looking for three easy years before finding a job.

  35. Yeah sorry, I said conservative for lack of a better word/thesaurus. I can appreciate that protests seem very romantic, I went to a climate change march last year, and the atmosphere, the togetherness was rich, you could feel it collecting on your picket. The thing is, I think that romanticism soon overtakes the issue at hand (i.e. what the protest is about). I don’t know, I look back through history and see revolutions turn into stale governments to be overthrown by revolutions. I guess ‘revolution’ does derive from revolve. There must be a way to break this cycle, and I see protesters with a passion so intense against what their protesting against, and it doesn’t not resemble the intensity with which dictators defend their actions. I think there needs to be a bit more tolerance, as the ‘I’m right you’re wrong and there ain’t no two ways about it’ mentality coming from either side of the political fence can cause damage. I think what Kesey was implying when he said fuck it was not ignorance = bliss but not to get roped into the whole angry revolving revolution cycle, and let tolerance breed tolerance. I’ve enjoyed sharing views Andrew, I’ll keep up with your site. Take it easy

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