I had a bit of a surprise this afternoon when I spoke with my sister Jenni on the phone.
“I saw that lecture you gave at the university, on YouTube,” she said.
Jenni sent me the link.
It turned out to be the one above, a talk given to the Institutional Web Management Workshop (IWMW) at John Moore’s University in Liverpool in 2016, on the eve of the infamous Brexit referendum.
There was an electricity outage at Lime Street station on the day we were meant to return to Scotland, so we hot footed it down to the Liverpool docks, hired a car and I drove back to Leuchars station where I’d parked my own car. Then I drove to Anstruther to place my vote firmly in the box that said: no I do not want to leave the EU.
Anyway, this was my talk, illustrated with a lot of LEGO-related slides.
One of the surprising things about going through a separation and divorce over the last three to four years is rediscovering interests that I had forgotten about. Two of these have been cricket and American football and in particular the San Francisco 49ers.
I was a Divinity undergraduate at St Andrews between 1989–1993, graduating with a 2:1 Bachelor of Divinity in Practical Theology and Christian Ethics. I returned in 2006 to work as Assistant Information Architect/Web Manager.
St Andrews is a fabulous place to live and study in, and a fabulous place and work.
I had always assumed that I would go to university in Edinburgh, but after an open day at St Mary’s College in 1988 that all changed: St Andrews was the place for me. It was small and intimate. The kind of place that a quiet, wee Scottish Borders lad like me could cope with, without feeling overwhelmed by a noisy, busy city.
I was reorganizing my images folders on my PC this evening and came across this scan of a former Practical Theology lecturer of mine, The Rev Steven Mackie.
If I remember correctly I scanned this in 1992 after I had finished my final exams and was looking for creative ways to fill my days until the end of term. The idea was to create some kind of Andy Warhol-style matrix of portraits and get some t-shirts printed as a fun way to say thank you to him for his support through the previous four years.
It never happened. I spent most of the week hanging out in the cathedral grounds with friends, or holed-up in the (then very new) computer room creating a satirical/nonsense newsletter.
Out of interest I ‘googled’ his name and discovered to my sadness that the Rev Steven Mackie died in October of last year, aged 82 years old. His obituary in the Edinburgh Evening News said this about his time at St Andrews:
Steven was offered a post at St Andrews University to teach practical theology at Mary’s College, a post he held for 21 years until he retired to Edinburgh in 1995. He taught theology in a fully practical sense, relating it to social issues of the day. He was a gifted lecturer who made a deep impression on his students.
He did make a deep impression on his students. I was one of them, and I don’t have scanned photographs of any other of my former lecturers on my hard drive!
The first thing that I remember about Mr Mackie is that the first mistake that almost everyone made when they started at St Mary’s College was to pronounce his name “muh-KIE” (sounding like sky); the correct pronunciation was “MAH-kee”.
The second thing I remember is that his interests seemed to lie mostly in ecumenism and Liberation theology. Two areas of Practical Theology (which I finally took my degree in) that I wasn’t particularly interested in as a 17 year old. I kind of wish now that I’d paid a little more attention each week day between 10:00 and 11:00 during 1990-1991.
I remember Mr Mackie as a kind, very caring man who genuinely seemed interested in his students.
I was we’d made those t-shirts now.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon him.