It was standing room only at Queen's University Belfast, the latest stop on the 'Articulated Laurie' lecture tour by The Times Higher 's columnist.
Professor Taylor confided that he had sought to develop a lucrative consultancy career. He had written to many big companies, but they had lost all interest once they discovered he was a sociologist.
But there was enormous interest from the crowd as Professor Taylor outlined Queen's vision for the 21st century. 'I can feel the vitality coming back at me. You're people with a vision,' he said.
He revealed that Peter Gregson, the new vice-chancellor of Queen's, made wooden toys while his wife made marmalade. 'So they may already have their escape route marked out,' he noted.
Professor Taylor will be at Aberdeen University on March 3 and at Exeter University on April 28. For details, or if your university is interested in hosting this event, email firstname.lastname@example.org