Laurie Taylor Column

December 5, 2003

From: The departmental secretary

To: All members of department

I am writing with reference to the reformulation of the annual Christmas dinner.

As you will recall, the Board of Studies was asked to consider revisions to our traditional Christmas staff dinner in view of last year's low attendance (Professor Lapping, Dr Quintock, myself and the amiable drunk who joined us for dessert). Members were also asked to consider whether the cost of this meal (£312 inc VAT and old cognac) represented value for money.

After discussion, it was agreed that many of the problems associated with previous dinners (late arrival, early departure, assault and battery) might best be dealt with by changing the the meal from "real" to "virtual".

In accordance with this decision, a Departmental Christmas Dinner website has been established at

The site includes:

1. Christmas message icon. Press on this icon and you will be given a list of all members of the department and the names of their partners. Select the name of the person to whom you wish to send a greeting and then press the Message button. This offers the following choices:
a. All The Very Best To You And Yours
b. Festive Yuletide Greetings
c. I'm Sorry, But I Don't Do Christmas

2. Party icon. Pressing this admits you to a Christmas chatroom.
Members of the department are asked to "enter" the room at approximately 9.30pm on Friday, December 19 so that they can enjoy a brief period of virtual socialisation with their colleagues.

3. Tunes have been selected by staff members to provide background music for this site. Press the Music Please button to make your selection from:
a. Oh, Come All Ye Faithful
b. Away In a Manger
c. Street Fighting Man

4. The Vice-Chancellor's Traditional Christmas Message is also included on the site. This may not be available to those who are using anti-viral software.

Virtually yours,

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