An Interview with Beloved London Professor, Dr. Richard Maguire

Oct 9, 2018 12:30:00 PM / by Maisie Haney

During a field trip to Camden Market, Maisie interviews Dr. Richard Maguire, professor of CAPA London course "Postwar British Subcultures," about music, his thesis, and more! 

I spoke to Professor Richard Maguire about our class, Post-War British Pop Culture turned Post-War British Subcultures, his thesis titled “The Last of the Queer Romantics: Mourning and Melancholia in Gay Men’s Autobiography”, and throwing noodles. Here are some dialogues, that read just so. These are simply snippets of conversation you were not present for, on our class walk to Camden Market. Expect nothing out of this “interview” but maybe a slight chuckle, a warmed heart, and a recommendation.

Camden CanalThe canal by Camden Market

MH: I took this class because I really like music, it is kind of my thing. You also like music, as I have seen this Blink 1 8 2 shirt for the second time.

RM: (laughs)

MH: What other music do you like to listen to?

RM: It depends on what I’m doing. If I am running or exercising, I listen to rave and trance music. Lots of trance music that is coming out right now.

MH: Trance? This is exciting.

RM: I download two podcasts a week, but trance music. One’s British trance, which is, uh, three DJs called Above and Beyond and I listen to Amin van Buuren. He’s more kind of -

MH: Oh! I have HEARD of him.

RM: - commercial trance. He doesn’t just play his own records, he plays other records as well. In fact, I have a good idea of what’s going on in the trance scene. So when I run marathons as well, for me it’s the perfect kind of backdrop.

MH: Running music. Okay. So if you’re not running?

RM: When I’m not running - at home - I tend to listen to kind of more, um, melancholic pop? I guess? (laughs) Like Depeche Mode, that kind of thing.

Guitars in CamdenGuitars in a shop in Camden

MH: Maybe some New Order?

RM: Yeah, kind of, I like New Order’s new album. Quite poppy, but not happy pop.

There’s some music that I’ve only gotten into by teaching this class, if you know what I mean. Grime, we’re going to talk about grime in the final week. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten involved in the grime scene, but listening to grime I hadn’t done until it was apart of the class.

MH: (laughing) To clarify, you do not consider yourself part of the grime scene?

RM: (laughing, as these are subculture jokes) I am too white and I am too old.

ModfatherA display outside the Modfather, a mod shop.

MH: Your thesis,“The Last of the Queer Romantics: Mourning and Melancholia in Gay Men’s Autobiography,” can you describe it in five words or using a common idiom?

RM: You have done your research! Only five words?

MH: If you choose the idiom I’ll let it be longer. You know what they say, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

RM: Mourning’s a way of forgetting. [Was this his five words??? I truly do not know, but I’ll give it to him because then he just has a really impressive five worded answer with excellent academic support. What’s not to love?]

MH: Is this something that you argue, mourning is a way of forgetting? People seem to always want to connect this with memorialization.

RM: Mourning is a way of forgetting that people have died. Queer mourning is a way of trying to hold onto those who have died.

MH: That’s very interesting, and such a put-together way to weasel your way out of an idiom. I need to read this thesis. Is there a way to do that?

RM: Not yet, but I could send it to you. It’s quite long.

MH: I can read long things.

CyberdogThe outside of Cyberdog, a rave shop in Camden.

MH: Any documentaries that you feel are essential for young people to be watching, or just all people for that matter?

RM: I DO recommend Paris is Burning, obviously, it’s a great film [we briefly spoke about it early, as in I asked have you seen it and he said yes]. But there’s another one, I can’t remember the name! Something like, “United We Stand,” and it’s produced and directed by ann AIDS group. It’s all about ACT UP, the AIDS coalition to unleash power… “United in Tongues?” I really can’t remember. [It is called “United We Stand: A History of ACT UP.” Well done, Richard.] I took some younger friends to see this film and they asked me, “Is this what it was like in the ‘80s?” This is what I went through. And they just couldn’t believe it, and they were crying, realizing how lucky they were not to be around in the ‘80s.

I asked Richard to DJ my party (a good question, kindest regards to you, Richard), and he simply said that the progressive trance music of today is pretty banging. A playlist curated by myself and Richard Maguire in spirit; a blend of trance, house, PC, and experimental bangers:


Thanks, Maisie!

Maisie Haney

Maisie Haney is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An Art History major at Rollins College, she is studying abroad in London this semester.

Maisie's journey continues every Tuesday so stay tuned.


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Topics: London, England, International Education