I am sometimes a little suspicious of those with whom I interact in the virtual space of the Interweb. And I’m sure some of them have serious doubts about me. So it’s always reassuring to meet a blogger in the flesh and discover that he or she is a relatively normal human being with all the bits in the right places, and pleasant company in real life.
This is certainly the case with Dr John Carter Wood of “Obscene Desserts”, who I met yesterday for a couple of jars in a pub near Euston Station in London following my union branch meeting*. John is in real life as well as the blogosphere a cultured 30-something flowing with grace, charm, intelligence and wit.
John is an American from Illinois who lives with his German wife Anja in a sleepy town on the banks of the Rhein. Dr Anja Müller-Wood is a hugely successful and tenured professor of English literature at the University of Mainz (grrr!), while her husband works as a research fellow with the Open University.
An historian with a special interest in criminal history, John is in London this week carrying out research at the National Archives in Kew for a new project on serious criminal cases going back to the 18th century. It sounds fascinating, and, from what I was told last night, one can detect in the media reporting of some of these cases the beginnings of British celebrity culture.
So do check out Obscene Desserts, John’s Normblog profile and John and Anja’s other website. There is a not-so-subtle contrast between the styles of these two very intellectual writers, and this contradicts what one might expect from their respective nationalities and genders.
David showed us a portfolio of pictures from across the decades, and illustrated these with anecdotes of life as a snapper of the stars. What comes through strongly in David’s very naturalistic, flash-free pictures of the jazz greats is how warm and generous they were/are as people. This is in stark contrast to the egomaniacal pop stars of today.