Tuesday, April 26, 2005


I met my tutor and fellow members of my tutor group. My tutor was a beautiful Indian woman attired in an elegant silk scarf that floated around her when she walked. This sounds mean but I find OU students insufferably earnest, particularly the supercilious South African young woman who glared at me throughout the entire session.

During the break I spoke to a thin faced, middle-aged man about my plans for the future. I told him I’d be content to be a student forever. My plan is to do an MA (yes, another one) in Creative Writing at the UEA (I’ll be sponsored. I’m confident that my ‘mentor’ will see to that and, with the results, fund my PhD).

‘Germaine Greer says Creative writing courses homogenise contemporary writing.’

Oh, really? And did she give any examples?’

‘Oh no, I didn’t read the article myself. I just heard it.’

I asked him if he’d read her latest offering: The Whole Woman. One critic called it a ‘polemical bomb’. I thought it was an unstructured rant. Oh, yeah, Germaine Greer can be liberating when you’re 15 and your father is a tyrant and you paraded through the house, clutching a copy of The Female Eunuch (‘Hail the Mini Dictator, the Conquerer of Rooms). Life was so polarised back then – rather like Germaine Greer’s world-view.

Needless to say, my interlocuter hadn’t read that either. Then perhaps you ought to explore her works more thoroughly before you presume to regurgitate her views with such pseudo authority. These words remained firmly lodged in my mind.

During the informal discussion afterwards I commented on how much Birmingham had changed. ‘Yes,’ someone piped up. ‘And it was such a dump in the early nineties.’

That was the last time I lived there on a permanent basis. I guess the city became less of a ‘dump’ after it had divested itself of my presence.


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