Saturday 19 February 2011


I've been wanting to go for ages but others have been going in front of me and even though I've been bursting I felt I was in a queue and had to wait. Now I've gone I'm really sorry Miriam and Jenny and Gill and Ben about it because now I'm top of the scroll and in fact you guys deserve it more.

Your piece, MIRIAM, on The President's House is a marvellous reminder of the way Americans still believe in their presidents and in their history in general and constantly seek ways of linking it up with their identity. And as you've shown, it's not just the Tea Party People who do such things but the Coalition Against Our Ancestors too. What great names! Can you imagine such a strong embrace and engagement with the national past in this country? Jill Lepore has just published The Whites of Their Eyes (Princton UP 2011) - a very snobby book about how the Tea Party People get America's history all wrong compared to how she, Dr Lepore, Of Harvard and Princeton no less, gets it all right. She says history should have nothing to do with identity. I wonder if the Right On Dr Lepore would say that to the Coalition Against Our Ancestors?

Your piece, BEN, could have metioned Britsih history but didnt. That's where we are these days after years of Tony and Gordon and Dave. Who are all PR and marketing guys at heart. They're against The Past, their own, your's, and everybody else's. That's what New Labour means, after all. The past is so old fashioned. It stops you having absolute power. But I hugely enjoyed the essay and it's northern honesty. Brains and honesty; that's what our politicians need.

Other stuff includes how well LEICESTER HISTORY IDOL went (never thought it would) and how, like The Red Arrows, thay all joined up in the end. Maureen's 17c Anglican ritual and regalia of authority and meaning met Miriam's Star Trek ritual and regalia of authority and meaning somewhere on the other side of outer Warwickshire, and her small face to face communities of early modernity met Ann's small face to face communities of post 1945 New Parks. Wow.

Who won by the way?

Then there was yesterday's gig with GILL and the MUSEUM STUDIES FIVE. Object lesson in how to open up history to the masses. Dont know about Julia Kristeva and, like MALCOLM, I wondered where the Walker's Crisp packet went, but I think we should have a LAB next year based on planning an ALTERNATIVE MUSEUM FOR LEICESTER, put it on site, and then send it to the powers that be with a little gentle mockery that doesn't rule out getting a job with said powers.

Finally, I want to warn LABS and LABBETTES that Paul Lay at History Today is still open for a piece from us in his brilliant journal and if you want to see how that journal goes - I've got a piece in this month called JIMMY'S BLOB. It's probably not what you think, and if it is you're wrong.