Monday, June 22, 2009

Profile: Derek Lovell

Here is another description of someone I work with closely. Hope you enjoy and hope you try Marmite.

Derek Lovell is one of my V.S.O. friends here at my site. He is incredibly youthful. In a month, he will turn 60 and, yet, I am constantly surprised at his ability to have an understanding of the world in a perspective that is both his own and that of any other age grade. For instance: when talking to Derek about music, Derek will tell you why his favorite recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is that of Nigel Kennedy and the London Symphony Orchestra. He can then go into a long discussion about why the Beatles, the Stones, and Zepplin were so crucial to the evolution of Rock and Roll. But in the end, I might say, “Have you ever heard of a band called Brian Jonestown Massacre,” and he will say, “Ah, yes I love listening to him… he’s a bit of a character on stage and this one time when I saw him perform in Brighton…”

This is the point where I stop and consider, “This isn’t just any ordinary person. And this certainly isn’t any ordinary Brit who can argue the importance of his country’s musicians.” Derek is into hip, little indie bands from the corners of America and actually has an appreciation for things both part of and separate from his own generation of pop culture. In addition to this, Derek drinks in information like water and processes it like no one I’ve ever met. He is much, much more long winded than I am and will sometimes even lose himself in his own track of conversation! To me, these characteristics are hilarious. I also think they are the signs of brilliance; and brilliance is what Derek radiates.

At first glance, Derek looks like the poster child for a British gentleman’s club. He even has that English sneer that indicates a glass of fine scotch, a smoking jacket, and a pipe. Even most of his lingo and southern accent make him sound like he belongs in an ancient, dusty pub watching golf and commenting on how important it is for England to continue using the pound. He has been a head teacher nearly his entire career as an educator, but when you engage Derek, you find out that he is so much more than the wonderful English fa├žade that decorates his exterior. For example: he has seen Led Zepplin in concert, served as a V.S.O. in Africa when he was in his twenties, hates Margret Thatcher with the passion of a thousand suns, loves watching independent films, is an atheist and a staunch Marxist, and has an incredible sense of humor. He is both refined and coarse in his character and the man can drink, period. Here’s a good way to illustrate his breadth of knowledge: in the same conversation, Derek is capable of dissecting Karl Popper’s theory of falsification, then go on to give you the name of our friend, Asim’s ex-girlfriend’s left breast (named Elvis), and end with, “I’m sorry, but I'm not at liberty to tell you what the right one is named.”

Derek is a constant form of entertainment and enlightenment. I cannot tell you how many times I have recalled one of our conversations and either laughed out lout or thought pensively about what we have debated. He and his wife, Trudy, have been volunteering here for a year. They have both been exceptional friends, surrogate parents, and extremely helpful at helping Tyler and I get our feet on the ground and then wet with meaningful work. I feel like I’ve capitalized on an excellent opportunity, and I’m learning British!

After tasting Marmite for the first time I told Derek it was the London Fog in spread form

1 comment:

Elana Grace said...

I absolutely love this. Cheers!