Laurie Taylor Column

October 13, 2006

Is everybody here? Sorry, we're a little cramped this morning but our usual lecture room is currently awaiting refurbishment.

No need to stand at the back. There are still a few empty chairs here at the front. That's right. The front. Down here. In front of me. That's it.

And could we close the door now? The door at the back. That's the one.

Could someone close it? No, anybody can do it. Yes, someone near it. That would be ideal.

Now, let me introduce myself. I'm Professor Gordon Lapping, head of the department of media and cultural studies here at the University of Poppleton. And my very pleasant task this morning is to welcome you all to the beginning of your undergraduate career.

Let me say straightaway that you're going to find life here at university a very different kettle of fish from your time at school. Oh, yes. Gone are the days of spoon-feeding and rote learning. University is all about taking responsibility for your own learning and for exercising your own initiative.

I'm sorry but it looks as though some people are still outside. Could those in front of the door move away so that the latecomers can get in? That's right. Those who have their backs to the door. That's right.

Now, as I was saying, my pleasant task this morning is to welcome you to your new undergraduate career.

You want what? A window open. Could someone please open a window for us? Preferably someone who is near a window. That's right. Yes, open it. Open. That's it. Well done.

Now, as I was saying, my task this morning is to welcome you to your new undergraduate career.

I'm sorry. But before I go on, do you think we could possibly cut out the chatter? That's better. And, while we're at it, could everyone face forward. That's it. And sit up straight.

And those two boys in the third row. Yes, you know who you are. Wipe those smiles off your face or I'll have to wipe them off for you.

Now, let's start again, shall we? Good morning, first-year undergraduates. I'm Professor Lapping. All together now:

GOOD MORNING, PROFESSOR LAPPING!

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