Wear your political t-shirt and sacred college scarf, discussing the world’s situation but just for a laugh.
The voice of Terry Hall, lead singer of The Specials taunts me through my laptop speakers as I prepare to make the herculean journey from the far end of Osbaldwick (or as you will know it from your maps: ‘Here be Dragons’) to campus for another seminar at an unsociable hour before midday when we of a creative mindset have fully cleared away the fog of last night’s bottle and a half of Sainsbury’s cheapest merlot.
Yes, Easter Term is firmly in swing. You can hear the sounds of normalcy returning as the yuletide bells and essay groans fade into distant memory. The sounds of the guy at pre drinks who repeatedly assures you that he “has a 9am tomorrow” and then wakes up the following afternoon on a park bench in Clifton Moor.
The slow shuffling of the queue for the cashpoint outside Nisa Local, everyone apparently unaware of the one on the next level or perhaps the other one outside Vanbrugh 200 yards down the path, and, of course the sound of Terry Hall winding me up in the mornings as I try to drag myself out of bed.
It’s alright Tel, I think being a politics student makes me a tosser too. Although In my defence I’d never wear a political t-shirt, it would be far too casual for me. Plus it’s not actually a college scarf; my dad bought it me for Christmas.
It was this return to normal business however, that reminded me of one of my fondest University phenomena, which I am deigning to call ‘Davies’ lecture time bomb’. The bomb refers to a process of harrying a lecture to a close slightly before its due time, and has been the bane of many an educator of mine this past 18 months or so.
Yes that’s right. You can actually end your own lectures early through sheer force of collective will. Fabulous news isn’t it.
A lecturer may themselves step into the trap. Any mention of “next week” or “next time” can be enough to arm the bomb. Sometimes a lecturer may simply drone on or be dying so badly out front that the timer may start itself. It begins with the rustling of students clicking pens off or putting away note pads. Of coats and scarves and hats being fiddled with and put on. Some may even go to rise slightly from their chairs. The noise builds as the class becomes even more restless to depart. The lecturer begins to panic now, and from this point they have a shelf life of about 90 seconds. They start to talk faster, desperately attempting to rush things along to make the most of the last strand of attention they know they have. They throw away slides in a bid to hurry things to some sort of conclusion before finally giving up, and in an almighty wave, the lecture hall rises to claim its freedom.
It’s a wonderful thing to see, the spontaneous wrath of the mob achieving something tangible that we can all get behind. Plus it gives me an extra couple of minutes to spend doing something more productive, like drinking in the Courtyard. Whoever said that the people don’t have any real power.