I’m walking through the deserted campus of Wolverhampton University on my way back to Belfast after spending three mind blowing days at the BSC Annual Conference. “Criminology on Trial” the main event. I must add at this juncture from my experience of being in the dock the only person who may have survived would have been Paddy Hillyard. Although Prof. Maruna was the star of the show I feel he may have been annihilated if, heavens forbid, there was a real deal. On hindsight I may be wrong as these men and women can hold their own in any circumstance.
For me, I sat there looking at all these minds, these glorious sponges who have more stored knowledge on the subject of criminology on the tip of their little finger than I do in my whole repertoire. So my question to myself was more of a statement really “Oh my God what have I done and do I have the right to be in this room?” You see I’m used to being the big cheese, the boy with the books under his arm and the wee black Open University attempt at a brief case. Where I studied this was a status symbol and also a form of ridicule by those men and women in the white shirts who have completed their education and ended up in a job for life, namely HMP.
I felt like a minnow, a fledgling, an unspoiled virgin and then that’s when it hit me. We all started out as virgins but at some stage of our lives we became unvirgined – (fucked) and many of us relished this new status and exploited it to the fullest and some even honed it to an art. Therefore I realised I’d become a mature virgin (maturely fucked) with the experience of thirty odd years of acquired “life knowledge” outside of academia to bring to the table.
I’m on the train to the airport now so I’ll have to take a break until I get to the sanctuary of a cafe and hot tea. This high speed train freaks me out – spatiality and the world whizzing by blows my socks off as I’m so used to looking at walls; now I’m flying past hundreds of em. Trains in Northern Ireland don’t do this speed and the rush of adrenalin has woke me up a bit. It’s scary too and I’m glad it’s a short journey.
Wow, that was mad! I’m now ensconced in Witherspoons with a fry up and lemonade and the least stressful part of the whole SECURITY check was getting a very thorough rubdown coz my hair band made the machine beep. He never checked my hair band, funny ole world innit. What’s got me juices flowing is that over the past few days the term ‘making adjustments’ kept cropping up when I mentioned my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – had a wee attack on the train but this one seemed to pass quickly. For me, the word adjustment means doing what I just did – changing my position on the seat to allow me to eat my fry and type and to then loosen the buckle on my belt after eating the fry. Not the psychosis that invades my daily negotiations of normal life events. This is my point the only thing I felt normal with was the security check and I could hear everyone around me grumbling, moaning, tutting and sighing under their breath.
There were people at the conference who know what I mean and ironically theirs was the most rewarding of all the presentations I attended as ‘they’ spoke ‘my’ mind. So, in conclusion to answer my question:
“Yes I do have a right. It may be a minor right at the minute but it gets me through the door and if I take onboard the advice and experience of those already established then one day soon others can learn from my right of passage. “
Still scared the beejesus out of me though!