Put on that tweed coat and let's rock

December 22, 2006

The traditional image of academics tends to be more Einstein than Elvis, but a Times Higher poll may be about to shake all that up.

It suggests that 13 per cent of academics are in a band and that listening to music, mainly rock, is their favourite pastime.

But, despite this, 20 per cent admitted to owning a tweed jacket and most seemed to eschew the rock 'n' roll lifestyle, with only 7 per cent consuming more than the weekly recommended level of alcohol.

More than a third of the 200-plus respondents to the online survey were aged under 30 and 5 per cent were over 55 years.

Nearly 80 per cent of respondents listened to rock music, from the Manic Street Preachers to something called Norwegian death-folk, and many who were not in a band admitted to having been in one in the past.

For Greg Walker, professor of English at Leicester University, the experience lasted only three weeks. "I was forced out when they discovered I couldn't actually play anything," he said.

While this has not stopped many wannabe rock stars, others surveyed admitted to slightly longer music careers.

Mark Griffiths, professor of gambling studies at Nottingham Trent University, was lead singer in The Vinyl Solution, a covers band that did songs by David Bowie, Black Sabbath and the Police. But he said that he had to leave the band when the drummer asked him to sing songs by ZZ Top.

Peter Knight, vice-chancellor of the University of Central England, upheld the ancient image of academe. Asked if he had been in a band, he said: "I am constitutionally tone-deaf."

Features, page 18

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