[Frank Cioffi] walked the few miles to the brutal architectural dystopia that was the University of Essex from his home in Colchester wearing an early version of a Sony Walkman. I always assumed he was listening to music, only to discover years later that he was listening to recordings of himself reading out passages from books. I remember him saying during a lecture that he was ‘not a publishing philosopher.’ This is not quite true, but although his books, like Wittgenstein on Freud and Frazer (1998), are fascinating, his rather tangled prose gives no sense of what it was like to listen to one of his lectures. They were amazing, unscripted and hugely funny performances, where he would move about over a vast range of quotations and reflections, his considerable bulk straining to control the passion of his thinking. Occasionally he would suddenly perch himself on the edge of a student’s desk, smoking a small, Indian cigarette (yes, it was that long ago). We were at once terrified and enthralled.