Laurie Taylor column

October 4, 2002

God dammit. Maureen! MAUREEN! Do you know what the devil has happened to my first-year welcoming speech?

What might it be filed under?

Maureen. I've told you before. Don't sound so damned imperious. All right? I only remember that the opening paragraph says something about congratulations to everyone on having jumped the hurdles of A level and reached the open plains of higher education.

Sounds irreplaceable.

And I've got to give the damned talk on Monday morning to nearly 50 people.

Fifty-three. We've gained another four.

Excellent news! A feather in the cap for cultural studies at Poppleton. Anything else that you have locked away in the recesses of your mind that I ought to know about?

It wouldn't be a good idea to call the register you have in your hand. There have been some slight changes in composition.

What are you talking about?

Well, let's put it like this. As a result of the regrading of some A-level students, 23 of our expected intake have been upgraded and decided to take up offers they originally received from other universities. But on the other hand, the same regrading has meant that another students who previously weren't going to be able to go to university at all have opted for this department.

So we've been left with the rejects?

That's one way of looking at it.

What other way is there?

You could say that we've ended up with the same students that we would have had in the first place if there hadn't been this A-level fiasco.

Maureen, did I ever tell you that you become positively infuriating whenever you slip into that self-righteous tone of voice. Try to avoid it in future.

I'll do my level best.

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