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  The website of Aidan Foster-Carter. Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology and Modern Korea, Leeds University.
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NOT KOREA: CABARET

Yup, cabaret. But not as we know it…

Every so often (for example, a recent performance in Manchester), I don the mask of Jon E Remember, aka Dave Derrida (rhymes with cider: one who derides), and sing wistful acerbic self-penned ditties about what fun universities used to be, until mad managerialism got hold of them.

Do I obsess about this? Possibly. Anyway, here are some threnodies for a lost world. Feel free to sing them yourself; send them to your friends - better yet, your enemies; or even hire me to warble them, badly but con brio, at an appropriate conference or bar. (They've had a couple such airings at the British Sociological Association.)

Speaking of which, I also have a bulging back catalogue of specifically sociological ditties. One of the less in-jokey ones follows on.

An Elvis Triptych

1. You Ain't Nothin' But A Theorist                (tune: Hound Dog)

You ain't nothin but a theorist, jus' thinkin all the time                (repeat)
You never won a contract and you aint earned us a dime

They said you was high class, but that was just a lie                (repeat)
Cause you never got no result from your fancy paradigm

Ain't nothin' worth knowing, unless it make bucks
You can keep your pure research, cuz baby it sucks
You might as well-a make a bonfire of your books

Git up off your backside, better change your act,
Don't want no theories, just give us the facts.
If you can't play the game, better walk away an don't come back

Just give us the numbers [crunch! crunch!] that we can analyze
Take em to the government, coz that us what they prize
This ain't scholarship - this is enterprise!

2. Research Grant                (tune Wooden Heart)

There are tears on my face as I creep about the place
Great is my disgrace, coz I don't have a research grant

People point, people stare, they pretend that I'm not there
It drives me to despair, see I don't have a research grant.

I was never good at the real world, it was always books from the start
I can read, sometimes write, I think all day and night,
But that don't count for sugar, coz I don't have a research grant.

3. Fund My Tender                (tune: Love Me Tender)

Take my tender, fund my bid; give me loads of dough
Fund me, generous, give me more, and I'll love you so
Fund me freely, fund me now; fund me till I'm full
You give me the fatted calf - I'll give you the bull.



Got to Publish                  (tune: Nights in White Satin)

Ideas I've sat on, as long as I live
Lectures I'd written, vaguely meaning to give
Flashes of insight, I keep them in store,
But that's all over: it won't do any more

Got to publish! Got to publish! Oh-oh-oh
Any old stuff, any old guff, any old puff - just write

Content don't matter, neither does style,
As long as it's something you can add to the pile
Don't have to believe it; who cares if it's true
Nobody reads it - coz they're all scribbling too

Got to publish! Got to publish! Oh-oh-oh
Any old pap, any old crap; turn on your tap - and write



Relearn for Gender                (tune: Return to Sender)

I sent a paper to a journal, in sociology
About-a six-a months-a later, it came right back to me. She wrote upon it:

Relearn for gender! Delete him and he! Replace with person! Immediately!

I worked so hard upon my man-uscript, I put it in the mail;
I changed it all the way she told me, I thought I couldn't fail. She wrote upon it:

Relearn for gender! In content, dude! Your research subjects Are female too!
A-menÍ