Someone reminded me that Grace Petrie was from Leicester. She played a gig here recently, and I missed it. Boo.

Here’s a recording of her singing ‘John Ball’ in Leeds last year.

With Petrie’s mesmerising voice it’s one of the best renditions of the song I’ve heard.

I went to Derby last Saturday, and got to visit the Derby office of the Indian Workers Association.

Derby IWA

There’s Lenin propped up on a radiator, next to two people I don’t recognise.

radiator portraits

While I was there, I met one of the co-hosts of a podcast I occasionally listen to. So that was a pleasant surprise.

There might be an Indian Workers Association office in Leicester too. I haven’t actually been to Belgrave road or anywhere around there yet. The campus really is a bubble.

Vijay Prashad was on Novara FM recently, and he referred to the Western Marxist tradition as ‘claustrophobic’. Here’s what I mean, I’ll quote him in full:

I’m trying to introduce people around the world to the theories of communist movements, left movements, outside the West. So that the debates are not always with reference points that are familiar - Luxemburg, Lenin, Bernstein, etc… But let’s see what EMS Namboodiripad was saying. Let’s not only talk about Trotsky, let’s see what Neville Alexander was saying in South Africa. You know… greatly inspired by Trotsky, but created his own understanding. So we need to see not only the width of this river, but its depth. Because the fact is that they develop their own theories. One of the sad ways that the left is thought about is that theory is made in Europe, and in the rest of the world you have people writing guerilla manuals.

The population of Leicester is a little different, and so the makeup of the left is different too, and I might fix some of those blind spots I have about the Indian workers movement.

I wrote an introductory essay about critical geography on Sunday. While it’s quite short, I found it frustratingly difficult to write. Critical geography is already a pretty vague concept. I was able to summarise what it means to be critical in three bullet points, but once that was done I didn’t know what to do with the rest of the essay, there’s no argument to analyse or engage with, just different ways of describing the same thing. I’ll see how well it goes down. If anything comes of it, at least I’m getting more and more comfortable with writing in LaTeX. Also on Sunday, there was a tragic helicopter crash at a football stadium nearby.

On top of the essay, I got caught out by the coincidence of a couple of different deadlines. Some seminar reading turned out to be a full-blown piece of coursework. Plus I had to summarise my reading for the past two weeks (I always need to do more reading). I turned up to one of my morning lectures tired and slightly panicked; spent most of the time trying not to yawn while also nervously searching for literature on my laptop.

Unfortunately I can predict this exact same situation repeating itself in… about two weeks. Next time I’ll be prepared, try to get work done way ahead of the deadlines.

I somehow lost my student card, and got it very quickly re-issued. The only thing is the new card won’t let me into the doctoral section in the library. I’m fine with that, it forces me out of my comfort zone to explore the rest of the building.

Will had a birthday. Happy birthday Will!

birthday desk

The university is going to do some building work on the car park between my student halls and university. This feels like it’s going to double my walking time to campus from ~5 minutes to ~10 minutes. So, I’ve started just cycling to the campus and taking the long way via Victoria Park.

This morning I hand-optimised/improved this picture of a soviet flag in Inkscape.

red flag

It’s a modification of a trace of a cropped scan of an old soviet book cover. Not quite an original work.

Lastly, I finally climbed up to the top of the Attenborough tower. Here’s the view over the city.

Leicester skyline

The old paternoster lift has been taken out and replaced with a new (normal) one. However, the new lift requires card access, so I decided to take the stairs.

Only 16 floors to go before ground level…