Tag Archives: paddy fitzpatrick

Public Intellectual is not a dirty name – Suzannah Lipscomb at Swindon Festival of Literature

17 May

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Given the reaction of the tabloid and ‘quality’ press front pages during the election, you may be forgiven for thinking that today’s public intellectuals are Katie Hopkins, Jeremy Clarkson and Russell Brand.

Happily, you’d be wrong on two counts and you can argue the toss with me about Russell. The term ‘public intellectuals’ sit uncomfortably with the British public, too self-congratulatory. The French are fine with it. But, boy, do we need them.

According to historian Susannah Lipscomb at the Swindon Festival of Literature last Friday, public intellectuals are the clever people who emerge from quiet libraries; they don’t endlessly research a particular point that only five other people care about.

They arm themselves with encyclopaedic knowledge, for sure, have a long hard rumination about all of it – then they get out there, tell people what they know and have an opinion about it: “They use knowledge and learning to change our shared world,” says Suzannah. Continue reading

Boxing Handsome at the Swindon Festival of Literature

8 May
Matt Holland, Anna Whitwham and Paddy Fitzpatrick

Matt Holland, Anna Whitwham and Paddy Fitzpatrick

For me, this was the most fascinating event of the Festival so far.

A lecturer in Masculinity at Royal Holloway University. A boxing trainer.

One with a refined accent, defined cheekbones and flowing clothes.
The other, dapper in a pork pie hat, glittering wrist watch, Irish.

Both were considered.

While I won’t necessarily watch a boxing match, I’m drawn to trained fighting; the Muhammad Ali ideal of ‘dance like a butterfly, sting like a bee’, the marriage of grace and intelligence with brutality. Blood and brains.

The eye-opener about boxing, as seen by trainer Paddy Fitzpatrick, is the universality of successful boxing – the rules can be applied to anything. I’ve heard the same said about dancing, mindfulness, overcoming anxiety, virtuoso musicianship, performance and success in any walk of life. Politics, especially politics. Continue reading