Laurie Taylor column

August 31, 2001

Gosh, Professor Lapping. Back so soon. You're looking well.

Thank you, Maureen. I caught a little sun while catching up on essential reading by the pool. But time to get back into harness. Any urgent logistical problems about next term? No over-size seminar groups? No shortage of first-year tutors? No over-crowded lecture rooms?

Not really.

Excellent. Any particular reason?

No students. At the last count we had 11.

Good God! What's old Odgers doing? I thought he was our admissions officer. What about clearing? Has he taken all the usual steps? Drastically reduced our minimum requirements?

We're down to one D and a cycling proficiency certificate or its equivalent.

And we've explained to every inquirer that there's no maths on the course and that nobody ever fails their first year and that the new sports centre opens in 2003.

All been done.

There's no alternative, is there?

I'm afraid not.

Pass me the phone and the directory. Hello, is that Mr Andrew Amble? Hello, Mr Amble. A pleasure to speak to you. May I ask if you're a graduate, Mr Amble? You're not. Have you ever thought about the advantages of being one? Better prospects. Better job. And who knows, one day, instead of plain old Mr Amble you could be Dr Amble. All you need is a teeny little degree from Poppleton. Do you have an A level? You very nearly got one years ago? Well, that's good enough for us. I can tell from your voice that you're degree material. Oh, right. Yes, right you are. Yes, I quite understand. Yes, thank you, Mr Amble. Goodbye.

Nothing doing?

Nothing. Uttoxeter University got there first. Said he'd thought about Poppleton but their thoughtful offer tipped the balance.

What offer?

Would you believe 200 Mars bars?

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