Andrea Joanna Waddell
(18 Jun 1980 – 15 Oct 2009)
Andrea's life-story is almost unbearably poignant, and it will require a great deal of reflection and resolve to put it down on paper. Her brother Nick's wonderful tribute at her Memorial Service conveys the flavour of her unique personality, and the highlights of her life, but there is of course much more besides, and my wife Sonia's tribute published in the newsletter of the Quaker Concern for Animals society touches on many of those aspects too. In due course I will try to put together something of my own special memories.
Meanwhile, I do hope you might enjoy a series of fashion shots to publicise some very striking items then being marketed by a quite eccentric retailer (Unique Boutique) in Brighton, lovely people, gorgeous photographs, unforgettable model.
And a series of pictures, especially of Andrea, taken during a wonderful extended-family holiday in a farmhouse (Morboullou) on the 'Pink Granite' coast of Brittany in 2009:
From Andrea's friend Zach, the definitive picture of Andrea and a perceptive, heartfelt tribute.
On the way back from the smash edo protest 4-06-08 we met randomly and talked about the day, and our experiences and then went our separate ways.
Whilst I was going through the pictures I had taken from that protest and I saw Andrea in one of them (original picture posted from demo). It was weird cause the next day I was walking down the stairs in the building where I lived and I saw her again. I thought to myself nah it cannot be her...
Anyway a few days later I saw her again this time I was convinced to talk to her and ever since we became friends. Andrea was quite a charming person always made an effort to talk to you. She was good hearted. You could notice this from the smile on her face when she approached people. She always wanted to help and was open about most things. She was never judgmental or egocentric and she always gave the impression that she cared a lot about her listener. In fact she was a very outspoken person and honest about her opinions. Together we attended various Brighton social and political events and she seemed very considerate in terms of her social and political beliefs and ideas. She never wanted her physical condition to get in anyone's way so she never mentioned anything directly and only became noticeable when she wanted some help with carrying stuff around.
It was strange reading about her condition from the media after her murder. Even though I had knew her I really did not know everything about her. She had a healthy happy life going to the gym on a daily basis and whilst working in a therapy shop in the area performing body massage.
Andrea was a libertarian alternative mind and very mindful about what's happening in the world including foreign politics on top of all her animal rights activism. We spent time together in my tiny flat, listening to music talking about or lives whilst drinking tea and enjoying each other's company. Talked a lot about animal rights and vegan life as she was the first vegan person I had ever met. I was intrigued which lead to many interesting conversations trying to understand the reasons for being a vegan and how it impacted on her lifestyle.
Then there was the times when she was preparing leaflets for animal rights campaigns and wanted my opinion or some help. She never tried to push people to accept her beliefs and always wanted to discuss things when in a conversation and be open about it. She never considered herself perfect and saw life as an endless opportunity to experiment and experience with things. We had countless political conversations together and will never forget her passion and patience when talking with her.
Summer came and Andrea left to go travelling in Thailand Again I felt lonely because I really did not know anyone besides her in this new town I had moved to. I spent many days alone in the sea front waiting for some new friend or anything. Then after the summer Andrea was back I told her all about this lonely summer and straight away she offered me to go out and meet some of her friends. I was so lonely that initially I thought to say no, but she insisted. Then I got to know a whole new circle of friends through her of which I am still really good friends with. They all are devasted from the recent bad news.
Andrea was a loving person and I'm sure everyone who knew her must be empty about her tragic death. She was a beautiful person inside out and I feel really sorry about what happened to her and her family. My sympathy and condolences go to all her relatives and friends.
To the most enygmatic smile i've seen in life i will always remember you...
Anagrams and Orreries
The 1978 BBC TV programme “Now the chips are down”, which reportedly galvanised the Prime Minister, James Callaghan, into a new industrial venture (that sadly fizzled in due course) and the paperback “The Mighty Micro: Impact of the Microchip Revolution (Coronet Books, 1 Nov 1980)” by Christopher Evans, each had a considerable impact on the public at large.
Acorn Computers Ltd. was a British computer company established in Cambridge, England, in 1978. The company produced a number of computers which were especially popular in the UK, including the Acorn Electron and the Acorn Archimedes. Acorn's BBC Micro computer dominated the UK educational computer market during the 1980s. The first “home computer” that we acquired however (purchased from Boots the Chemist of all places, in 1983 when Nick was 8), was a Dragon 32 (ie 32K of RAM storage), and try as we might we never managed to track down a Dragon 64. In father and son mode, we explored the Dragon 32 capabilities – especially in regard with character handling and parsing the attributes of a possibly hostile entity in a home-grown version of Dungeons and Dragons! Of course saving WIP programs to tape at the end of a session was very tedious, and generally got deputed to Dad.
By the time that Alex showed a similar degree of interest in computers, at the age of 9 or so in about 1990, the family Dragon 32 had been retired in favour of the Acorn Archimedes, diskette-based and with its own monitor rather cannibalising the family TV screen. I can’t remember whether Nick by then had a BBC micro and Alex had the Archimedes.
I was astonished to discover the other day (Nov 2022) a couple of the programs that Alex had produced at the age of 10 (still at primary school) as entries to competitions set in the magazine “Archimedes”. I can solemnly assure you that I provided no assistance whatsoever.
"Hats off, gentlemen! a genius!"
This, in so many words, was the almost unanimous acclamation of Alex's arrival at Reading School. For the first two years all was plain sailing – in the End of Term reports and at Parents' Evenings the masters' assessments of his accomplishments at every subject, and potential in general, were glowing. "He's a flier!" one master exclaimed, as did the others in like terms.
There was a downside however – the bullying and ostracism that he suffered right from the start became ever more obvious and unendurable, both for Alex and for us. But the staff did nothing whatsoever to reprimand the ring-leaders; indeed in one early incident, where he was hit in the mouth and a front tooth broken, his form-master told us that the perpetrator shouldn't be punished because he had problems at home. Oh, so that was all right, then. And also, the master added, Alex was, after all, rather awkward socially and found it difficult to join in the rowdy banter and obsession with football that the other boys bonded with.
From the third year onwards his focus faltered, his efforts became perfunctory, he slid from the top of the top stream to the undistinguished lower depths of the bottom stream, though still a social outcast. On a school skiing trip, during which as an expert skier he should at last have been accorded even grudging respect for sporting prowess, the master in charge remarked to us later that the other boys resented his expertise, which he was naïve enough not to conceal. "He acts like someone much older than his years, like a little old professor," concluded the master, who obviously thought that Alex was the author of his own misfortunes.
Alex was to all intents and purposes an elf-child, not fully of this world but also of another, from which he could view this everyday one from an entirely different perspective – trailing clouds of glory, in the poetic metaphor. Lewis Carroll captured this brilliantly in his unaccountably neglected (though admittedly rather strange) Sylvie and Bruno books. And yes, we too often found Alex quite unfathomable, and his sense of humour was so recherché that even we were generally bemused by it.
But his insight into maths matters was quite extraordinary – always being several steps ahead, as though he knew what was coming – at least until his enthusiasm for such things was effectively extinguished.
As an example of his clarity of thought, and the confidence with which he saw the wider consequences and implications of a topic, you might like to see his essay on Tessellation, linked below, written as a holiday project at the tender age of just 11. (Click here for an interesting academic exploration of Escher's work.)
(I also remember an early homework for which a proof of (a2 - b2) = (a - b) * (a + b) was required, which he realised could be generalised for even powers of a and b, and modified for odd powers. His maths master at the time thereafter showed this to prospective parents to demonstrate what Reading School could achieve for their sons too. Hmm.)
He had acquired an immediate and effortless understanding of limits some years before, when I'd got him to calculate e(n) = (1 + 1/n)n for increasing values of n from 1 onwards, and seeing how the value in the calculator display soon stabilised, and that it would eventually stabilise no matter how capacious the display might be. Without any further input from me, he had soon acquired a working knowledge of differential calculus for algebraic functions.
Soon after the e(∞) enlightenment, he had thought up rather neat representations of (the first order of) infinity, and of the infinitesimal, as 9 dotted, and .01 where the 0 is likewise dotted. Purists might sneer (hexadecimally, for example, A dotted would be vastly larger and F dotted largest of all), but for a boy of 8 or so it was remarkable. He was well aware that a functional derivative was the limit of a quotient rather than the quotient of two limits, so to speak, but infinitesimal differentials do still rear their weaselly little visages in the Riemann integrals which are so essential in advanced calculus and the physical sciences, and it's undeniably helpful to have such a vivid notion of them.
I didn't try to fast-track him any further, particularly to integral calculus, feeling that it would be unwise to get too far ahead of the class, but he took to it just as quickly, when it was introduced as they progressed through the syllabus.
By the age of 12 he was ready, so his maths master (the same who later said Alex behaved like a little old professor) told us, Alex was ready to pass GCSE maths with ease. We didn't want him even to try: Wunderkinder have a habit of early burnout and social dislocation. He was already having enough of a rough ride from his contemporaries.
(Indeed, he had previously had a pretty rough ride at his primary school, which was perhaps due in part to the artisanal demographic of its catchment area. But Reading School was selective, with an overwhelming preponderance of boys from professional backgrounds – but they were just as nasty, if not more so.)
As 13 came and went, and 15 was approaching, we finally realised that he had sunk to the bottom set in a number of subjects. His school reports made no mention of this, as neither did those subject teachers at Parents' Evening. There was indeed a conspiracy of silence between Alex (which was understandable) and the school (which was unforgiveable, indeed scandalous). So we arranged outside tuition in the two most critical subjects, French and Latin, and he duly collected A* in both of them at GCSE.
Ironically in a subject – CDT (Craft, Design and Technology) – at which neither the school nor we had great expectations of him initially, he achieved the greatest triumph of all. He'd rejected the traditionally nerdy or macho science subjects, favoured by his tormentors, but had picked up the CDT ball deep in his own half, taken it down the wing past flailing opponents, then cut in towards the centre, jinked past a couple of desperate defenders, and unleashed an unstoppable shot past the 'keeper and into the back of the net. Yes, it was that surprising – you might like to see his Toy Project 1, 2 presentation, plus separate laminated Instructions.
It was graded as a B, which was of course understandable if other examinees had produced portable fusion reactors or ion-powered spacecraft, but we were, and still are, immensely impressed by it. Needless to say, there was no feedback (of any kind) from the school itself. Buoyed-up by self-satisfaction they thought that quite unnecessary.
Lightning was about to strike a second time, indeed a third and fourth time thereafter, but just as I too had done in an earlier era, Alex and Andrea gaily zigzagged between triumph and disaster, and back again, treating those two impostors just the same, sustained by an inner vision that long-term everything would be fine.
Gap Year in Prague
Still in her anterior ego as Alex, having left Reading School six months previously, Andrea went out by coach early in 1999 to become an English-language teaching assistant at a secondary school in an outlying suburb of Prague for the spring and summer terms. Her experiences were many and varied, and fortunately for us she put pen to paper on a variety of topics.
This picture was taken (I think) in the Clock Tower of the Old Town Hall,
with a view of Tyn Church beyond.
The school (the name of which may yet come to light) was equivalent to a British comprehensive, the pupils being correspondingly unruly, but the head teacher (Rosa Klebb personified) was an unreconstructed Stalinist, who clearly resented Andrea's intrusion into the autocratic school regime. One of Rosa's rules was that Andrea wasn't allowed to talk to the pupils or even the other English-speaking teaching staff, outside the classrooms. Andrea of course blithely ignored such petty restrictions, and found great delight in circumventing other prohibitions as regards access to school facilities.
Here are three surviving records of her experiences with the pupils themselves.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF A CONVERSATION CLASSROOM
Despite the liberal educationalist theories abounding as the dawn of a new millennium draws upon us – for instance, that a Language Classroom should be an all-singing, all-dancing community – it remains my humble opinion that Eastern European classroom politics remain grounded in power relations. "Do you have any brothers or sisters?" only gets one so far in spontaneous conversation on a Monday morning. Students will condescend to learn English when this suits their needs of the moment. When it does not, snogging one's boyfriend or girlfriend in the back row / squirting water / doing urgent Biology homework may. Do not stand for such self-serving hedonism. We are not at school to enjoy ourselves.
The Biology teacher may certainly be demanding. It is your duty to put Biology in its place. Explain that sheep cloning is a huge gimmick and has no future. English, on the other hand, is the world language and, all being well, should retain its pre-eminence over Chinese well into the next century. I'm sure that when the time comes, GAP/Vaclav Havel will be only too happy to kick the English 'lektors' out and install Chinese ones in lieu. But just think, when the whole world speaks English, British lager-lovers won't have to holiday in Tenerife or Ibiza year in, year out... There's something to motivate your classes!
The Czech communists may have moved out and the English Lektors may have moved in but, in contrast to the secret police of the former, the latters' arsenal boasts only a paltry five-day TEFL course. (Note – Respect to the TEFL course – It was the best fun I'd had in ages!) To conclude: it's a great feeling when students overcome natural shyness and suspicions of spoken English to trot out heartfelt opinions to your face. (Of course, before 1989 learning English did seem pointless.) You could almost hug them.
These start at the ungodly hour of 7 a.m. This is by no means a rule, just call me unlucky! Fortunately, the other twelve or so students are in the same boat, and are unlikely to be up for being a nuisance. (Some are just unlikely to be up!) Strong coffees all round are a far greater priority. Anything taxing is out of the question, if you value dialogue over monologue.
Yet there is still a feeling that your lesson should justify their missing that extra hour in bed on successive (apparently eternal) Monday mornings. Multiple games of hangman and word association do not necessarily justify their predicament. It seems that light-hearted discussion of life's injustices is best for the session. (Hey, we're in this together!, kind of thing.) That, and "Did you do anything nice at the weekend?" Even better, of course, is a test. This way, rebellious students can weigh up late arrival (the result of a glorious extra half-hour in bed) with a test grade not three lower than their sickeningly virtuous early-to-bed-early-to-rise classmates.
Setting a big test for your fellow 15-19 year-olds can trigger conflicting emotions within you. In a sense, it is the final proof that you have broken ranks with the classmates of your former school days, to throw in your lot with the teaching opposition. Do you remember that "How could you?"-feeling, when some teacher declared the need for a summary test on the previous 27 months' work or, as the case may have been, not-work! Well, giving a test is a beautiful expression of the stresses and strains of the power relationship between conversation teacher and riotous class. Student stares at test paper, and test paper stares back. Teacher looks out of the window and enjoys the fine weather. There is a satisfactory feeling, when the rude boy breaks out of his day-dream to find that the others – shock, horror! – are doing the test. Solidarity has been broken, and the only thing for it is – shock, horror! – to do it too.
Think long and hard before setting a class a test. It is against the spirit of the easy-going chit-chat they may have come to know and love. Or, of course, if you are running low on things to do, and are quaking at the thought of teaching them after your big night out on the previous evening, you can skip the thinking long and hard. Just appreciate that setting a test is probably like doing drugs. They may alleviate a short term problem, but those unmarked test papers will quickly come back to haunt you. Yet tests procure various pleasures. You may have heard on the TEFL course that you should not give a test that students can fail. It will reflect badly on the teacher. This is liberal piffle. It is your revenge on the smart-arse kid who doesn't listen to a word you say. If he passes you will fear that he has been justifiably arrogant, and this will never do. All going to plan, he will leave the test room a broken man. When marking, you must judiciously correct students' illegible, nonsensical ravings, as is the spirit of marking a test. However, it helps to remember that, though students will excitedly dart for the grades on collecting their papers, they will think nothing of ignoring your constructive criticism. It was just one of conversation teacher's foibles. Behaviour is akin to a small boy ripping open granny's birthday present, and forgetting to open the card. I merely observe!
TEACHING BOTH HALVES
In the beginning was a Czech class. And it was decreed that an English Lektor, young and TEFL qualified as he was, should only teach half the class at a time. And so one class bore two halves, as did the other conversation classes. And all the different halves were to be filled with willing and enthusiastic language students. But they were not to be found. This was not the end of the story.
For in times of great need (as when some fellow English Teacher desires a "sickie"), the respective halves of the whole were to be reamalgamated into a homogeneous whole, for the intimacies of conversation as usual. A doomed exercise, as any good evolutionist would tell you. But imagine! Boyfriend and girlfriend, once torn apart by the eternal ocean which separates the classrooms of English Grammar and English Conversation, restored to one another's loving arms once more. Impervious to the lesson being attempted around them. It is not my place to describe the scene.
To some folk games are the reason conversation lessons were invented. (From your point of view, you get to use trendy pro-active teaching techniques, and this is obviously a bonus.) Games such as Blockbusters and Pictionary can even evolve their own special politics, such as boys against girls. This arrangement allows the boys to take out their pent-up macho energies on the girls (rather than on the teacher), while the girls can claim a mutual sisterhood in a way that the penetrating onslaught of the teacher's questions tends to preclude. The teacher can even demote himself to the role of question-master and passive onlooker. All well and good. The students – bless them – can enjoy the feeling that they're not doing work, and learn the names of different household appliances at the same time (only the ones you can draw). If only certain classes didn't demand to play every lesson, or at least every Friday afternoon and whenever they're worried they're about to have to do some 'real' work! (That is, the sort where you, the teacher, tell them what to do in no uncertain terms.) In actual fact, some students, even whole classes, will look down upon games. They will find it strange that you've come all the way over from England to play Pictionary with a bunch of Czech kids.
TEACHING OBSERVATIONS OF CONVERSATION TEACHER
What time should the Teacher arrive for the lesson? Unfortunately, there is no hard-and-fast rule. You must look at the evidence ...
A LITTLE EARLY –
You can do this when you have a diabolically tricky lesson in store for the terrors. Shrewd ones have the chance to befriend you with sycophantic small-talk, in the hope that they will get off lightly. Simply watch for developments and then wham them with it. On no account arrive early because of feeling enthusiastically teacher-like and also moved to impart the beauties of the English language. It will end in tears. N.B. The author takes no responsibility for the kind of behaviour witnessed in pre-lesson time.
ON TIME –
This is best done by striding into classroom and slamming the door. Such shock tactics enable one to proffer novelty work sheets to the apathetic. However, note that arriving-on-time is essentially dangerous. Folk have previously failed to bat an eyelid (and continued being a nuisance) on the impressively prompt arrival of their favourite English conversation teacher. Remember, you cannot go out and try 'arriving on time' again. Please reserve this whole concept for special occasions – such as when you have a novelty worksheet.
A LITTLE LATE –
Repeated late arrival helps folk to understand that as a teacher you have more pressing concerns than the dismal futures awaiting most. An initial absence of teacher also has the interesting effect of raising hormone-levels all round for unknown reasons. Late arrival leaves you with the delicate task of constructively channelling this delightful exuberance of youth into educational outlets. Failure to do this, perhaps more often than not, compels you to choose emergency action. Either discard any hope of a structured lesson and sheepishly search for the thread of the general conversation. (Finding it is always an exciting moment.) Or busy oneself with pretend things to do, and meditate. Hope for developments.
GENERALLY LATE –
A peculiar thing happens after a certain degree of drifting-in-late. Throwing things and chasing each other around the room suddenly lose some of their appeal, and folk are left at a loose end. The previously-suppressed desire to learn some English may randomly surface in some of the unsuspecting. Be warned, though, others are just about ready for the early shower after the lesson's exertions, and may retreat to hide in the corners behind the curtains. Be assertive. Feign personal interest in these, and force them into gruelling conversation. Generally-late-arrival has the additional advantage of seeing less of them all.
KNOW YOUR STUDENTS
Look out for the following:
THE RUDE BOY
On first appearance, gauges his conversational ability by the number of expletives he can fit into a single sentence. Do not misjudge him. He is actually waiting to be taught an exciting range of alternative vocabulary. Chat to him about Czech beer and Czech girls and he will be in his element. He will forget that he is stuck in a conversation class, and will open his heart to you in a personalised pidgin English.
Listening to his walkman may appear rude, but it is in fact his own way of getting you to ask him about the new 'Offspring' single. Find a rude boy's hotspots. You can try asking the relative merits of 'Burton' and 'Simms' snowboards. He is dying to know that you take a personal interest in him. You can give him high marks because this will embarrass him in front of his less outspoken class-mates.
THE SHY GIRL
The shy girl often insists upon answering your carefully-thought-out questions with perfunctory yes's and no's. This may be disconcerting at first, but keep faith. She is simply under the illusion of engaging in intellectual conversation with you. She may also enjoy listening to the idiosyncrasies of your accent. Asking her to express an opinion straight out will cause her to feel faint with the responsibility of the task ahead. No. Incorporate the odd 'either/or' question, and she will unwittingly rise to the bait.
THE SHY GUY
The shy guy does not attempt to express his feelings within the four walls of the conversation classroom. This he leaves to the girls. Instead he reverts to 'alternative' means of passing the time. An uncontroversial question on week-end hobbies can elicit a smug 'no comment'. Do not feel stymied. Understand that he does not know a great deal of English, and is attempting to maintain a vestige of respectability before his more bilingual class-mates. Suggesting someone else helps him out with the tricky poser may goad him into conversation.
THE 13-YEAR-OLD GIRL
She is not as yet a conversation student, but will pop up in the lunch-hall from time to time. She is keen to speak with a 'real' English boy. She will declare her love of Prince William, for want of a conversational starter. Communication is quaintly simplistic, and she enjoys giggling. After a time the strain of the past participle may tell, and she and her friends may settle for saying 'Hi' in the corridor.
THE SECRET ACHIEVER
Usually female. Find her sitting quietly at the back of the class, reading great works of Czech literature. She has mastered the English language, just as she has mastered the finer points of Geography and Physics. She sees Conversation Class as an activity for lesser mortals, but is always happy to turn out intellectual comments on demand. Asked why people play sport, she will reply that it is a respectable substitution for the primitive aggressions of early hunting societies. She enjoys words such as 'demarcation' in discussions about East and West. She is always useful to turn to when the rest of the class is struggling to enunciate.
Usually male. Sees the conversation classroom as a battle-ground for the world's woes. He enjoys disagreeing with you, and hates grammar work-sheets. Remember, of course, that the expression of a coherent opinion is more important than a solution to the world's problems, and it is thereafter important to divert your attention to the opinionless masses. Saying that, you have pride at stake as the native speaker, and it will look bad if he gets the better of you in a discussion.
Chatterers are, quite obviously, the staple commodity of your lessons. Fortunately, they have largely uncontroversial opinions, and do not tire of extolling the delights of Czech culture and Czech youth. However, like any ostensibly homogeneous group. they have varied quirks. Some will interject arbitrary questions after periods of inactivity, for example, 'Are you coming to the pub afterwards?' Sometimes attention-seeking, sometimes doing their own little bit towards the success of the lesson, sometimes intriguingly more vocal later with you in the pub, often worrying about the physics test afterwards, chatterers come in all guises. They expect your classroom to provide a haven of peace and tranquillity from the stresses and strains of Physics and Geography. Just watch out for the last-minute revision.
She wants to au-pair in England, and sees you as her one chance for perfecting her English. She would happily speak with you all lesson, to the exclusion of others, but settles for forming controversial opinions in a variety of tenses, and accosting you in corridors. She will become distinctly anxious when you look as if you haven't understood. Soothing words of encouragement are the order of the day. She is uniquely concerned with points of grammar (something Gappers themselves have worried about before leaving Britain!). She may start talking rubbish when she runs out of conversation. It is difficult not to feel touched by the whole experience.
A man of high moral principle, of an impeccably Nonconformist background (which I strongly admire), Eboracus sternly disapproves of Demon Drink, but if challenged will freely admit that average teetotal longevity is less than the comparable figure for those who continue to indulge in the ethanolic Hippocrene, as it includes reformed alcoholics who only abandon their self-indulgent ways when already irreparably compromised mortality-wise on account of hepatic hell-raising, narmean.
Andrea too, at an early age, foreswore any future involvement with the brewers', vintners' and distillers' produce on learning that every ounce of C2H5OH massacred 'x' thousand of ones brain-cells (not to mention the liver damage).
But, during one brief interval, during that 1999 Gap Year in Prague, still in her anterior ego as Alex, Andrea contributed a rather fine article to the leading local journal of the cutting-edge civic scene, on the subject of cocktails, based on some pretty intensive in-depth research ...
(Click here to view the pdf version)
To gain maximum screen-display, click on in the Adobe Reader tool-bar (you may need to press F8 first to get the Tool-bar).
Philosophy at Durham
Alex arrived at Hild & Bede College, University of Durham, in Oct 1999 and duly took up residence in an absurdly cramped bedroom/study. It was the beginning of three very difficult years for him and for us, for personal, academic and logistic reasons. I would not like to relive them.
All I'd say at the moment is that the Department of Philosophy lived up to their billing, and were extremely kind and tolerant of his idiosyncrasies. And that, (I think) towards the end of the second summer term, in Jun 2001, he took charge of the Philosophy Society. In fact, resuscitated and reinvigorated it.
This he did by leaving behind all the epistemological and theological baggage that had preoccupied Plato and the neo-Platonists, the early Christian Fathers, the scholastics, the empiricists, the idealists, etc etc, in order to focus on the issues that have really bothered students down the ages, namely Sex and Death, which have (as far as I can tell) principally been addressed by French and German thinkers (see below).
And in order to gain the attention of the earnest Seekers after Truth in the Durham student body, he increasingly fine-tuned the notice-board posters advertising such forthcoming topics and visiting speakers. He did try very hard to encourage both Tracy Emin and Davis Aaronovich to address the Durham PhilSoc, but they both said it was too far north and they might be eaten by cannibals.
But overall it was very successful. The only, rather incomplete, records we have of all this are the following posters, salvaged from the shipwreck of time ...
- Poster #1
- Poster #2 (spot the vital difference
- Poster #3
- Poster #4 (autumn term 2001)
- Poster #5
- Poster #6
- Poster #7
- Poster #8
- Poster #9
- Poster #10
In 2002 Andrea began the course of study that would lead to her dissertation for the degree of MA in Social and Political Thought at the University of Sussex at Falmer, Brighton.
It was finally completed in 2006 after the University had granted numerous extensions of the submission period, necessitated by the years of illness she had suffered, and repeated major surgery she had undergone, since setting out four years previously.
She was extremely grateful for the understanding and compassion shown by the University authorities, and was immensely proud to collect her degree certificate at the Degree Ceremony in early 2007. The degrees were awarded by the University Chancellor, Sir Richard Attenborough, known to thespians and muggles alike as Dicky. He was in fine form, and enthusiastically kissed each of the girls who stepped forward to collect their degrees. About halfway through, he started to suspect that this was politically incorrect, and so he began to kiss the chaps as well. It was a very happy occasion altogether.
To view or study the dissertation content, click first on the Title link below and thereafter on the page links beneath it (to avoid an excessive delay during download of the text, the sections have been divided into groups of about 10 pages each):
|Title:||Logic In Context: Some Considerations Concerning the Philosophy, Sociology and History of Logic|
|p 2:||First Encounter with Logic: A Dialectic between Universality and Particularity|
|p 9:||Pathways to the Sociology of Logic; Pre-History of Logic|
|p11:||The Idea of a Sociology of Logic|
|p14:||Logic in Ancient China|
|p17:||Logic and Social Decay|
|p18:||The Logic of Concrete Reality|
|p20:||East meets West: The Geography of Logic|
|p22:||The History of Logic|
|p28:||Counter-History of Logic and the Controversial Significance of the Syllogism|
|p30:||Primer on the Structure of the Figures and Moods of the Syllogism|
|p36:||Pedagogy and Epistemology|
|p37:||The Significance of Induction|
|p38:||Conclusion – the Pedagogical Heart of Logic|
Alternatively, click here for the complete dissertation.
Sounds of the Soul
Some months after her death, when the Sussex police had completed their investigation into its tragic circumstances, we were able to retrieve Andrea's few belongings that hadn't been irrevocably damaged by fire and water.
Most important of these was her laptop, which the police had very efficiently re-passworded. Unfortunately, the new password had gone missing, as they do, so Andrea's brother Nick took charge of the decryption, and the retrieval of whatever could be salvaged.
Still intact on that soot-blackened hard-drive, gleaming like the golden mask of Agamemnon, were Andrea's poems, written between 2003 and 2007, and which she had always intended to submit for publication. Naturally, there was an immediate consensus that we should follow-through with this on her behalf.
As was so well put by another, instantly recognisable poet,
|Between the idea|
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
|Between the conception|
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
And so of course it proved with this idea – we didn't really know how to go about it, and so the project couldn't gather any momentum – until we had a collective Aha Moment (a kind of revelation once definitively explicated to me by the selfsame individual, a graduate in psychology, who knew about that sort of thing) – "Let's get Ed to do it!".
And from then on it all went as merrily as a marriage bell; Ed's company Scribbulations masterminded the editorial and publishing process, consulting with and advising us at every juncture, and the result, published on 21 Jun 2013, is quite simply magnificent.
In addition to the printed copies that we are giving to immediate family and friends, internet distribution by Scribbulations themselves has also been arranged. If you visit their website
there is a front-page panel currently featuring Sounds of the Soul and Andrea herself – click on the image of the book or on the Andrea Waddell link to proceed to profiles of the book or of Andrea respectively. (You could equally well click on the Authors option on the menu bar, which is probably the longer-term tactic).
Alternatively, you can visit these profiles directly by clicking here. However you get there, you can read all about the book and click through to buy it.
And so for the moment (Jun 2013) I'll content myself with revealing just the alpha and the omega of Sounds of the Soul, the introduction and the appendix of this slim but seductive volume, plus the first poem from each section.
Click here (html rather than pdf, due to incompatibilities between MS Word 2003 & 2007, and consequent difficulties converting to pdf, but wotthehell mehitabel, perhaps html is better for poetry anyway, as there are no page-breaks).
Many of Andrea's poems are readily accessible, of course, but there are others that require a certain amount of decryption, and engagement with her eclectic vocabulary. But the reward is well worth the perseverance – though even with the best-known of established poets comprehension is not always guaranteed: G K Chesterton recounted an old anecdote, possibly apocryphal, which described how a feminine admirer wrote to Browning asking him for the meaning of one of his darker poems, and received the following reply: "When that poem was written, only two people knew what it meant – God and Robert Browning. And now only God knows what it means."!
But above all, these poems perfectly capture the essence of Andrea herself – intelligent, original, perceptive, passionate, funny, outspoken – and immediately conjure up her very presence. They are an enduring testament to her.
Top customer reviews from Amazon purchasers
5.0 out of 5 stars: Beautiful writing from a woman taken away too soon.
By Stephanie Scott on 27 August 2013
Andrea was beautiful in so many ways, in her looks, her love of life, of wildlife and her family. These writings, found after she passed, show her beauty with words.
5.0 out of 5 stars: What a treasure.
By RuenaTGon on 27 April 2014
As a transgender woman on my own journey, I felt a connection with much of what Andrea wrote. The sentiment of this book adds so much weight to the words and I feel a lot of joy reading it. I feel like I am learning of a friend that I never had the chance to meet. My heart goes out to her family for their loss.
Paws for Thought
And now, June 2023, in Manchester’s beautiful Hullard Park, a new and more spacious seat in Andrea’s memory has been positioned just around the corner from the renowned Wildflower Meadow. It’s nice to think that Sally would have approved.