I had just finished being grilled by Graham Fowler on my knowledge of Cultural Theory and now I was walking down the corridor on Mickleover Campus to meet the Sociology lecturer. It was the Autum of 1996.
I was transferring from the University of Central Lancashire and to my dismay I had to face the judging panel. I distinctly remember when I entered the room there was an air of annoyance. Simon had his back to me and seemed preoccupied. Again I faced a barrage of questions, this time about Classical Sociological Theories. This was my first encounter.
Simon always gave me a hard time. He pushed me and criticized me and made me expand and develop my Sociological knowledge. The comments on my work were often scathing and didn’t appear to match the grade I was given. For this I thank him.
I constantly questioned my work and was never satisfied. I would sit on the floor outside his office until he explained how I could improve and he did explain!
Often the teaching ended up in Fat Cats on Wednesday nights with Simon, Clare Knee, Sadie Parr, Nick Prior, Austin Harrington, Andrew Wilson, William Merrin et al! A force to be reckoned with and the breeding ground for insane discussions.
Over the years Simon kept in touch and introduced me to great music, usually French! I learnt about his childhood, travels and the changing mood of Sociology.
The University of Derby has lost a great mind and I have lost a complicated and thoughtful friend.
I was a colleague of Simon’s between 1996-98 and can say without hesitation that he was one of the most unique, perceptive, self-aware and bright people I’ve ever met. Truth be told I was somewhat in awe of him and the seamless way he seemed to draw on the world of literature, philosophy, social theory and the arts to bring the social world alive. But he was never showy with his abundant intellect and was always massively generous with his time and ideas. I was recently in touch with Simon as editor of a journal that he had submitted an article to and there’s bittersweet irony in the fact that we’ll be shortly publishing his marvellous article on humor in the near future. You’ll be sorely missed Simon, it was a real honour to know you.
Simon taught me so much but always with a wry smile. He was very kind to me and other students and always willing to help. All he ever asked was for us to do our best. He always did his best for us. I’m so sad he’s gone.
This site is dedicated to preserving our memories of Dr. Simon Speck. He meant so very much to very many people. We hope that you will choose to share some of your memories of him. We want this to act as a living book of memories through which we can visit him as he lives on in our thoughts. You are welcome to leave your thoughts as a comment on this post (link to the left or click here) but if you want to add an image or if you have more that you want to say then you are welcome to register as a contributor – it should only take two minutes.
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Over the Summer all the posts will be collected and printed in a book of memories. Thanks for reading this far and, hopefully, thanks for contributing,