[first published on John’s blog Obscene Desserts]
Like many other people, I was very saddened last night to learn of the death of Norm Geras.
I was about to write something like ‘I didn’t know him personally’, but then it occurred to me that in some way I did. What I mean is that I only ever communicated with Norm electronically—via our blogs and sometimes through email and Facebook—since we ‘met’ some time after I started this blog in 2006. (I forget now how it happened: it might have been at about this moment, in August of that year.)
[first published on Chris’s blog Chriscellany]
I was very sad yesterday to learn that Norman Geras had died. As a lot of people have already said, I felt it as a personal loss despite having no personal relationship to the man. Although he was never part of my exterior life, Norm’s voice has been a regular feature of my interior world for the best part of ten years. When he started blogging in 2003 I was yet to turn twenty, and his death yesterday came just a day after my thirtieth birthday. That’s an important decade for a young person. At the start of it you’re still clambering free from the confining solipsism of adolescence, just starting to avert your gaze from your own navel toward the world around you. By the end of it, you should be properly sobered up from youthful affectations and illusions of invulnerability and ready to approach life’s lessons with the appropriate humility.
[first published at dovegreyreader scribbles]
Having flown in a plane the size of an Airfix kit, (I swear I could see the glue on the propellors) it was quite a relief to land in Edinburgh from Orkney on Thursday, and the Tinker and I were pleased to have two hours to recover while we waited for our connecting flight to Manchester (in a slightly bigger Airfix kit) and thence to Exeter. Virgin very kindly supply free airport wi-fi, so it was out with the iPad and a quick catch up with the world.
Writer and knitter extraordinaire Adele Geras and I have been in regular email contact in recent months as her husband Norm took on the mighty beast that is cancer, and I knew that Norm's time left with us was limited, but still how sad I was to read a message from Adele, taking a break from the hospital, to let me know that it wouldn't be long now. There is nothing like news of that calibre to focus the thinking as we then took to the skies, rose up through and above the clouds, feeling very small as we caught glimpses of the earth below, deciding that this must have been Cumbria… maybe…
Holding Adele and Norm and their daughters Sophie Hannah and Jenny in my thoughts wasn't hard, they have all been there a great deal in recent weeks, and readily so as we headed back to Devon, full of the spirit of Orkney. Whoever or wherever your 'God', Orkney is very much a Nearer My God to Thee sort of place, as in it speaks to your soul… and Norm would doubtless have had something very sensible, kind and polite to say about that ethereal thinking of mine.
And then to read the sad news the next day of Norm's death at the age of 70 in the early hours of Friday morning.
[first published on Ann’s blog Bookwitch]
Norm Geras died yesterday morning. He’d been ill for some time, and earlier this year when I asked Adèle how he was, her reply wasn’t the one I’d hoped for. So I knew what to expect, but you still feel sad when it happens.
He was such a widely respected man, and I was extremely flattered when asked to contribute to his Normblog profile early on in my blogging career. That someone like Norm would consider me “grown-up” enough to contribute felt astounding.
[first published the Flesh Is Grass blog]
At 70 this bright, clear, solid Marxist professor and teacher has died—Engage summarises how he got between the Jews and their foes. Neil D recalls his blogging beginnings. Haroon Siddique plots its rise. Martin in the Margins pays tribute to the man who started him blogging. Norm was a great profiler of less well-known bloggers. He had a whimsical side, attempting emails with Rosie using only one vowel. Nick Cohen calls him uxorious. Harry—the actual Harry—blogs about his methodical patience when dealing with people who could drive saints to mass murder. Ben Cohen, whom Norm taught, remembers him as patient, kind, and sympathetic to his students. I hear that tomorrow there will be a Guardian obituary worth reading.
[first published at Kuneblog]
In the mid 90s I attended an interview at the University of Manchester for a PHD place. I was waiting outside the room of one of the academics who was having a very heated debate on the telephone. This academic (I won’t name him) was clearly losing the argument, which was about of all things football. I was kept waiting while two Academics debated football. At the time I felt confused, and it probably showed. The winning academic was Norman Geras, who at that stage I knew only for the article about Marx and Justice.
[first published on Citizen Sane]
Like so many, I came to Norm via the excellent Normblog, which I first read in 2005. I was a sporadic blogger at the time and read a piece in The Guardian called “The new commentariat“, a profile of the prominent UK bloggers making a name for themselves on the web and directly challenging the editorial authority/hegemony of the mainstream press. Also profiled was Oliver Kamm, another of my favourite bloggers (who now works on the editorial team of The Times), Harry’s Place and several others. Normblog became required reading for me on a daily basis, up to and including today.
[first published on Chris’s blog]
Country music (including but not limited to Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Allison Krauss, and its relationship to suicide) — Marxism — The war in Iraq — The case the British government made for the war in Iraq — Media coverage of the war in Iraq — Differences between British and American media coverage of the war in Iraq — Dead socialists (including the question of whether or not Paul Sweezy was in fact dead: he wasn’t when we began corresponding on the question, but later he was) — Favourite novels — University admissions — Boycotts of Israelis — Blog technology issues — The paradox of democracy — Paul “The Thinker” Richards — Defamation law — French headscarves laws — International rugby partisanship — New Zealand and whether it is a dull country — Amnesty International — Italian anti-war demonstrations — Christopher Hitchens — The precise distance from Boulder, CO to Birmingham, AL — My Normblog Profile — The number of Red Sox supporters who have Normblog profiles — Where the Wild Things Are — Bob Dylan — Continue reading
[first published on Tim’s blog Where Worlds Collide]
UK political and cultural blogger Norman Geras, of Normblog fame has passed away after a long illness.
I am very sad to announce that Norm died in Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge in the early hours of this morning. Writing this blog, and communicating with all his readers, has brought him an enormous amount of pleasure in the last ten years. I know that since writing here about his illness earlier in the year he received a lot of support from many of you, and that has meant a great deal to him, and to us, his family. The blog and all its archives will remain online.
[first published on the Shiraz Socialist group blog]
RIP Norman Geras,
25 Aug 1942–18 Oct 2013
It shouldn’t have come as any surprise: after all, he’d warned us in so many words, that he was headin’ for the last round-up. But it was still a shock today, when the news came through – it felt like losing a a best friend or even a family member with an illness that you’d known all along could only have one ending. This despite the fact that we’d never properly met and only ever corresponded by email or via his occasional BTL comments here.
I will be writing more in days to come about this complex, inspiring human being. His pioneering blog, brim-full of gentle humour and searing honesty, remains as a permanent memorial. But for now, I’ll simply recommend Nick Cohen’s heartfelt tribute at the Spectator‘s website…
… and play some jazz (a shared enthusiasm, though Norm loved all sorts of music, including – to my horror – country ‘n’ western):
This version of ‘Ghost of A Chance’ recorded by tenorist Illinois Jacqet in 1968 was Norm’s gift to me, when I had the honour of being the subject of one of his many ‘profiles’ of fellow-bloggers. I’m playing it now, and thinking of him.
NB: http://normfest.org/ – well worth a visit, and you can leave a message there as well.