Laurie Taylor column

June 7, 2002

For: THES

From: Professor G. Lapping

Dear Sir,

I discovered a reference in last week's THES to your current editor's impending departure. May I wish Auriol Stevens a happy retirement. She will, as our transatlantic neighbours like to say, "be a hard act to follow". I could, however, find no reference to her successor. If this means that the post remains vacant, then I would be grateful if you could treat this letter as a formal application.

Although resident at the University of Poppleton for the past 34 years, I have the sort of experience of other institutions that would stand me in good stead as editor. In the past five years alone, I have visited the universities of Leicester, Loughborough and Nottingham, and also had occasion to learn about regional higher education during a guided tour of the Aberystwyth campus that I undertook with Mrs Lapping during a vacation in mid-Wales.

Although my principal publications appeared in the British Journal of Cultural Studies , I have regularly contributed more journalistic pieces to the Poppleton Evening Press. (I enclose a recent example: "Top Don Brands High Street Loos a Disgrace".) My media appearances include regular contributions to Poppleton FM's "Saturday Soapbox", and I was recently rung up by a man from Channel 4.

My wide range of contacts also enhances my suitability. I was privileged to enjoy a glass of lager with Sir Peter Swinnerton-Dyer in 1983 and had the pleasure of acting as second marker for an undergraduate dissertation written by David Triesman (who has, of course, now gone on to better things).

My technical knowledge of editing is limited. I have no experience in the construction of eye-catching headlines (Last week's "Union urges local control for ex-polys" springs to mind). Neither am I trained in such matters as drawing lines down the page to keep the columns apart, or in the selection of the most appropriate photograph to illustrate Alan Ryan's regular column on the demise of UK higher education.

But I believe these are minor disqualifications when set alongside my formal credentials. If this letter arouses your interest, then I should tell you that I am available for interview at any time (except Mondays and Fridays).

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