More than ok, in fact: simply freaking awesome is more like it. This was my first trip to the UK, and as I told several people there, my impression is that the sun always shines and people know a helluva lot about Nietzsche. I’ll give an overview of my time there.
Last Wednesday I was supposed to fly to Chicago and then to London. But the plane in Chicago had some broken part it couldn’t do without, and there weren’t any replacement parts anywhere, so I was bumped to a flight Thursday evening. That gave me a day to trot around Chicago, where I found a great coffeeshop on Michigan Avenue, of all places:
The flight Thurs eve was uneventful, though I only slept for maybe 20 minutes. I arrived in London Friday morning, grabbed the bus to Oxford, and arrived in time to stow my bags, eat some bangers-and-mash at a pub, and attend the first conference paper, followed by tea, followed by papers in concurrent sessions, followed by tea, followed by another main paper, followed by dinner, followed by a recital of Nietzsche’s piano music, followed by a drink at the college bar. By the end, I had been going for about 30 hours, and I was beginning to hallucinate. The chapel in which the main papers were read started to transform, in my experience, into the lobby of a bank, with a revolving door, and there were images of little pickles chasing after a sandwich.
I’ll give a more scholarly account of the papers and conversations over the next few days. Generally, Saturday was chock-full of papers and teas, with a fancy dinner at the end, and more drinking in the bar. And Sunday was a shorter day, again with papers and teas. The conference ended at about 4, and I was unprepared for what happens in England on Sundays at 5pm: absolutely nothing. Everything closes. So I bought a ticket to see Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds. A masterpiece, with typically Tarantino grotesque hilarity and meaningless but fun blends of genres.
The next day, Monday, was mostly spent touring places (like Christ Church college and the Bodleian library), visiting as many pubs as possible, and walking along the Thames at dusk. Tuesday was a full travel day, and I made it home Tuesday evening at about 10, after only 20 or so hours of travel.
The numbers: 19 scholarly papers, 6 pubs, and maybe 5 new friends. I had an absolutely marvelous time, one I’ll remember the rest of my life, and my brain is jam packed with new ideas, insights, and knowledge. I’ll see what I can do to squander that capital over the next few months.