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15 February 1996

English Archetypes

I went to a lecture where two people discussed the photographs of John Pattison Gibson. My friend John described how Gibson (1838-1912) made romantic, classic photographs of the Northumbrian landscape and Olde Thinges. John's smooth voice in a dark room after a large meal almost lulled me to sleep.

The calm didn't last.

John was followed by his old professor, Tom Corf, who lectured the crowd as if addressing his usual audience of inattentive students. Corf was like a drill sergeant who hadn't lost his ability to make the young recruits cower. I began to worry that the archetypal English school teacher would humiliate me by making me stand up in front of the audience and asking me a series of questions I couldn't answer.

Aside from my anxieties, I quite enjoyed his talk. It was inspiring to see someone apparently in his seventies or eighties with more energy than I've ever had. The best part, though, was that there wasn't a test at the end of the evening.

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©1996 David Glenn Rinehart