An inspiring antidote to student rejection

David Nyhan

David in Oxford

Thousands of British teenagers will get bad news this month.

The late David Nyhan wrote this column for the Boston Globe in 1987. It was intended for American high school students but its appeal is universal.

It is so brilliant that the Globe published it year after year.

But, better still, you can hear the great man reading it himself here:

Somehow, the evocative power of the human voice has been forgotten in recent years. We all create pictures, videos and words on mobile phones and other devices.

But the simple voice delivers so much more in its inflections, timbre and resonance.

I’m glad that the oral history movement is redressing the balance. A deep and lingering regret for me is that we didn’t hang on to the reel-to-reel recordings my dad made of his accountancy lectures. Once lost, they’re lost forever.

So I am eternally grateful to WBUR, the Boston public radio station, and Boston University which keeps the Nyhan archive, for broadcasting David’s talk in the first place and for digging out the link  last week so that another generation of students can hear it.

I think it was recorded in late 2004 shortly before David’s untimely death. He had pals around the world – including the dozen or so international journalists on the Reuter Foundation programme in 1996.

An unreconstructed Irish-American, Dave enriched us all with his sense of humour, genuine warmth and generosity of spirit. He was a born newspaperman and extraordinary champion of ordinary people – the downtrodden, disadvantaged and dispossessed.

Naturally he renamed our local pub, the Eagle and Child as the Bird and Babe and he also liked the term Dreamingspiresville whenever Oxford got above itself.  Dave was trying out the then new-fangled email. He really missed his family back in the USA and it was a good way of keeping in touch – particularly on the Globe account.

A great man.

It’s great to hear him again.

Categories: gems from the archive, history on the web

Tags: , , , ,

1 reply

Leave a Reply to Afi Scruggs (@aoscruggs) Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: