I was saddened to read about the death of David Lockwood on this website. I still remember his seminars. He would sit us down on low armchairs in his office, and glare down at us from his desk chair. “I know what he wrote” he would snap “now tell me what *you* think”.
Having the courage and skills to say what I think has held me in good stead over the years. After Essex I spent a year earning money to finance an economics course at Kent, and then did a Ph.D at Warwick under Simon Clarke (see Roll Call) which, at the height of Thatcherism, was rude about economics. This was followed by succession of lectureships throughout the country, and a number of publications all of which were critical of economics. I guess I learnt to say what I think. I now work as an associate lecturer for the Open University.
I still carry the scars of Essex, both literally (I got a bit tired and emotional after my second year results and cracked my head open), and figuratively – Essex took a precocious school leaver, and gave him a direction for his life. I remember the endless discussions in the Union and Top bars, endless hours in the library, the parties in B/R 12 (I sort of remember them), the union meetings and constant protests, combs-and-prunes in the union shop (stock ordering was a bit hit and miss), an amazing film society, tea from the coffee shop you could stand a spoon in. Most of all, I remember a sense that what we learned mattered.
Essex gave me something else also. One winter just after the millennium many of my family and extended family were ill, some terminally. I was looking out for four households by myself, and feeling depressed. I decided to skip sending Christmas cards that year, a chore I never liked. One of my Essex friends – Gill Leighton – phoned to see if I was okay, which I wasn’t and neither was she. We kept in touch, often several phoning several times a week. We met up a couple of years later, and it was just like old times.
Reader, I married that woman. We have been together about 12 years now, and are now grandparents.
Essex gave me a career, a calling and a wife. And I got given a grant to go there and have the time of my life. Those really were the days.