Iain Cameron's Diary
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The Highveld Project

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2005-06-27 - 9:52 p.m.

Saturday morning I drove over to Cambridge. Yvonne had driven up from Guildford and Vita had been there since lunchtime Thursday esp for the Newnham garden party and various other celebrations. We loaded the cars with James’ stuff and drove south for 7m or so to Melbourn where Rob and Wendy live. Earlier in the year Vita and James went to the Snow Ball at Selwyn and there is a picture of the two of them in some college mag looking tres elegant. I find this ever so slightly odd. James will be president of the college JCR next term - as I have said a few times before - not like my young day. His girl friend besides being a rowing blue has just been in the team which won the bumps so she will have two oars as trophies for the rest of her life.

Rob and Wendy’s son Laurence has got a job working the lights at the Junction which is a music space to the south of Cambridge where about 10 years ago Rob and I saw Jeff Buckley. Laurence was talking about the standard Friday night music programming for the mass market - James agreed that that was how most of the clubs in the centre of town worked. For most students, he said, the girls want to dance and the boys kind of tag along - as he put it - they want to dance to the pop music of their early teen years. One of his mates is the music critic on the student newspaper and he mainly writes about indie. Few students share James taste for rap and hip hop.

Laurence has reached the stage where the music he listens to is mostly the stuff he and his circle produce. I have mentioned his early Korg synth - he now has a Roland 606 drum machine and an Akai sampler plus a 48 channel Behringer mixer which he can use some of the outboard stuff I have given him with. Very kindly he let me have a CD of his latest stuff - which I think I will be plundering.

Rob is walking the Grand Union Canal from the south and has got as far as the Northampton spur. He hadn’t realized that he is now close to Leamington - probably two days walk away. We fixed a date in July when we would meet up at the Watford Gap and use two cars to mark out a days walking. This will probably take us to the part of the canal where it meets the Oxford canal going in the other direction - and across the upper Leam.

I saw Ciaran on Sunday morning - looking thinner and very sun-tanned. His team of 9 riders did the Race Against Time - see button at top of the page - in five days last week - and between them they will raise some 25 thousand pounds for the Bishop Simeon Trust with their journey from Lands End to John O Groats. He has got to the point where there is real momentum behind the idea - several more people want to do it next year - and he has got different groups involved along the route. This is very impressive. I also bumped into Eike whose husband is thinking of growing plants to sell under the Music for the Highveld banner.

Race Against Time progress reports are here:


I wont see James for another two months - he is going to St Petersburg next weekend to spend four weeks learning Russian - he is thinking of specializing in modern Russian history. After that he and some chums will fly to Peking and take a train across Mongolia to Lake Baikal which is said to be very beautiful and also very pure. Then they will take the trans-Siberian railway to the town in Siberia where his girlfriend Louise who is studying Russian and German will be spending part of her next year. Then he and a mate will continue along the railway to Moscow.

We had a quick conversation about Marx and Hegel - he suggested that the destination of the Hegelian drift of thought was not Marx but Stirner - a transcendental egoist writing in the 1840s. I have never read Stirner. I said I thought there was more to dialectical materialism than most people realise these days and that it was a good idea to think about the idea of a class for itself. This happens to coincide with the views of Terry Eagleton whose Against Theory I am reading at the moment.

Something about Derek Ridgers’ book - When We Were Very Young - on KK News.

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