[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.
However something stuck, and a few years later when he became normblog my interest picked up again. He had a wide range of interests, a generally engaging manner, would happily converse with you (even when he had no need to) and was entertaining in his thoughts. It became, as one other commentator has observed, a process of “what would norm say about xx”—from royal births to Thatcher’s death, anything Shayne Warne and of course politics.
For me, however, it was the book The Contract of Mutual Indifference that still moves me. It is a clear train of thought that clearly influenced his thinking on Iraq, to the point where someone today called him a neocon on Twitter—seriously!
I am still struck as to why many Marxists seem to be able to articulate about cricket better than others… Why is that? I’m still aiming for it, but his cricket books were superb.