Tag Archives: memories

Divorced from History

I see it happen way too often, the scientist and its subject become separate, divorced from each other through tools, methods and rigidity of thinking. The astronomer cannot see the stars through the equations on the page, the doctor cannot see the patient through the pharma bottles. Even the educator (yes, educating is a science or so I believe) cannot see the pupil through tables of statistics sometimes. But it is quite strange when a person cannot see the history through the day-to-day existence.
We have many different memories that the former students left in the archives and I find it entertaining to read each and every one of those memories. The one I’ve read recently are from 1911-1913, more than a hundred years old. And the story is quite similar to others in many places, a ‘country bumpkin’ found himself suddenly in the middle of London life. He describes the usual student shenanigans, the teachers, the rules. But today I want to say about this other thing that he recollects:
‘We cycled to Epsom and saw the two most exciting Derbies ever run. One when a grey mare Jagalie a rank outrider won 66/1 and the next year 1913 Emily Davidson the suffragette threw herself under the King’s horse and was killed. The favourite Craganour won but was disqualified after the bookmakers had paid out thousands of pounds.’
This memory made me think about the fact that we might not be the people that actively make the history, but by the very act of witnessing we are part of it. And nowadays we have more power to tell our point of view in history and be heard. And we should do that if we have the opportunity. Why? That brings me to my other point. Observe, how in his memories, he equates the day when there was a big pay-out at the races with an important moment in the history of the human rights. And that brings me to my second thought: can we really say what is important for the history? Or maybe we divorce the history from our daily lives because we simply cannot tell what would interest the future historians and we are bound to see our present just as that. Present.


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Filed under long time ago, musings, people

The most hated part of a computer(if you’re old like me)

Do you remember this?:

monitorThis old type monitor filter is something I dug out of a pile of stuff we keep around.I haven’t seen one of those for twenty years.When I was young I used to hate mine. Small monitors+low resolution+monitor filter= one dark picture. I wonder if they were even effective or really needed. Were the old CRT monitors so radioactive they needed those nylon mesh monstrosities? If so, why weren’t they included in the package when you bought your monitor? You had to buy and install one yourself. Sometimes they fell down. Maybe it was just a gadget to rake in some more money. Anyway, you can count on Marjon archives to bring in old memories.:-)

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Filed under artefacts, random stuff

Little Black Notebook

We have plenty of flashy things in the archives. We have portraits and microfilm-viewing machines; we have magazines and books, trophies and brass plaques. Among those showy things there is a very modest-looking black notebook. There is no illustrations or pictures, no famous people had it in their possession or put a signature to it. Yet it is the sweetest and one of the most interesting things I have seen so far. Picture this: it is a New Year of 1889, a young man named Swann, a fresh graduate from St Mark College, sends this black notebook to Mr Duthie who was his tutor for the past two years. What is the notebook? Just a compilation of stories, the memories of over forty young men, the class that crossed the gates of the college in 1887. Each of those men wrote a short story about one particular memory from his time in the school. There are stories about poaching vegetables from the West Garden (‘…a garden of cabbages intersected and bounded by gravely path…’), about being a new students and ‘…giving vent to their feelings by whistling Georgian chants.’, about studying Horace’s odes at 7AM. I’ve read how all of St Mark celebrated the Jubilee Day, June 21 1887, and how they had a day off- an event unheard of except for major holidays. The notebook even gave me a reason for further research: They called their principal ‘The Dad’, just as Coleridge was called when he was a principal and in 1887 it was somebody that was stomping around. His footsteps were like ‘…the clang of a war-horse hoof…’. Now I’m tempted to check who that was.:-)

Can somebody tell me what it means? It's all Greek to me:-)

Can somebody tell me what it means? It’s all Greek to me:-)

I have read some of the memories that the past students wrote and even published in the Year Books or elsewhere. But those are not the memories that were written after many years, tinted with nostalgia of passed youth. It is not St Mark College years on; it is the school as it was right then. Those guy just graduated and then produced these accounts. And they did it in just a few short months, remarkable considering they were from all over the UK with Swann compiling and coordinating the whole thing, And for the love of all that is holy, can somebody tell me what it is written on the front page? I can’t read Greek and the curiosity is killing me!:-)

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Filed under long time ago