Laurie Taylor Column

April 15, 2005

" Universities strengthen criteria for conference attendance " - The Times Higher, April 8.

From: The Office of the Vice-Chancellor.

To: Department of Media and Cultural Studies.

I enclose the adjudications of the Conference Committee on recent applications from your department.

1. Applicant: Mr Ted Odgers 2. Conference title: New Directions in Marxism 3. Place: Uttoxeter University 4. Costs: weekend saver return, £25; two nights in student room, £48; meals, £15.

Committee's report: This sounded rather less like an academic conference than another tedious get-together of bearded old Trots with nothing better to do with their time than have a collective theoretical moan about the failure of the working class to assume its historic revolutionary role.


1. Applicant: Professor Gordon Lapping 2. Conference title: Leisure Consumption in a Globalised Economy 3. Place: Keele University 4. Costs: Saver return to Stoke, £42; two nights in B&B, £60; meals, £23.50.

Committee's report: It was felt that Professor Lapping's claim that his own paper would "generate an important debate" was belied by his failure to attract any sort of audience whatsoever to his lectures at Poppleton. It was also felt that his request to reside in Stoke-on-Trent rather than on campus smacked of the Sybaritic. Verdict: REJECTED

1. Applicant: Doctor Piercemuller 2. Conference title: Stochastic Models in the Social Sciences 3. Place: Aix-en-Provence 4. Costs: business return to Marseilles, £429; five nights at the Chateau Castillon family hotel, £1,400; meals for five days, £750.

Committee's report: It was felt that this application was marred by the lack of evidence that Doctor Piercemuller had the slightest interest in "stochastic models". The committee also noted the proximity of Aix-en-Provence to the French Riviera and regretted that a red wine stain on the final sheet prevented full evaluation of Doctor Piercemuller's own proposed paper. Verdict: PULL THE OTHER ONE

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