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.