Government departments have found that computerising things leads only to trouble. Last week, The Times Higher learnt this lesson the hard way as glamorous guests flooded to the party to launch the paper's awards at the National Portrait Gallery. Academics and politicians are, of course, trained to peer politely (or lecherously) at the badges on people's chests to work out who they are and where they are from.
On this occasion, things were a bit tricky. Times Higher columnist Gary Day from "The English Department" brought along Sarah Brown, labelled helpfully "Gary Day's friend", and Kevin Morris, "Gary Day's other friend". Among those they could mingle with were Rebecca Purvis from "Room 701", Rachel Flecker from "No 10 Brooklands Avenue" and the unusually named "Cotgreave Peter" from Save British Science.