Iain Cameron's Diary
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2006-09-13 - 7:25 a.m.

Its an exciting week (by my standards) – there’s the Institue of Directors dinner on Wednesday at the Birmingham Botanic Gardens. Its black tie and I need to buy a dress-shirt and cuff links. Then on Saturday I am off to Bath.

Monday night I found myself in the Holiday Inn in Norwich with a disrupted sleep pattern listening to Radio 2 in the early hours. There was good programme on Radio1 just before midnight on the hip-hop response to 9-11. In particular it unpicked how the combination of Condoleeza Rice and Powell on the one hand with bling MTV rapstars on the other, had persuaded rafts of the middle east underclasses that the black community was 100% behind the neo-cons. This illusion began to unwind with images of Katrina which illustrated to the wider world the extent of social division in the USA.

I had driven over to Norwich after lunch – it was not a route that I fancied during the rush hour – Norwich is in the middle of nowhere. I just let Ms Smith’s Trampin cycle in the in-car entertainment. When arrived I was quite tired so I decided on a nap which went on and on - to the extent that I completely missed the 8pm rendez-vous point. I surfaced just before 11pm and managed to find some co-conspirators in the bar. The conference is on niche vehicle engineering and is hosted by an engineering institute and Lotus – in a new engineering centre.

It seems to be this year’s thing - this morning I was reading about a Swedish government technology spin-off that has new method of making dies and fits into a network around Volvo and associated niche assemblers. The deeper I dig the more there is to find out – you might think that vehicle bodies were a low-tec domain with little scope for innovation. Not so – indeed one of the secrets of niche is to select the right body technology and design eg steel/aluminum/composites or some combination for the market size.

The Kolakowski intellectual history has arrived – over 1000 pages but its well set out and one can dip into the bits one fancies. I have been looking at Lucien Goldmann’s adaptation of Lukacs and his use of 17th century ideas about tragedy – also about the link between ideas and party policy in the USSR.

I feel as if I am missing the flute practice - most peculiar.

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