Earlier today I donned the white bow tie and funny gown to do my bit at a University Graduation Ceremony. I rather like doing this. Its a grand piece of physical theatre. Hundreds of people clapping once every seven seconds for an hour, standing in a vast Victorian Hall with rays of light piercing the gloom. Every student getting tapped gently on the head with a bunnet made of John Knox’s breeches. The Principal making the same jokes twice a day for a week, and pretty much the same jokes as last year. The thirty second formal meeting of Senate just before we process in. Honestly, its like a cheery amalgam of Lindsay Anderson and Jerzy Grotowski.
Today we gave an Honorary Degree to Sir Keith O’Nions, Director General of the Research Councils. We were very good children. Nobody, absolutely nobody, called him Sir Keef Unyuns (its pronounced Oh-nigh-ons) , and nobody gave him a hard time for not giving STFC enough money. Well, not while I was there.
I am failing in my brown-nosing duties. Last night I had dinner at the Principal’s house with Lord Sainsbury (ex Science Minister) and other Heads of School. I only managed to say about eight words total to Sainsbury+O’Nions. I just couldn’t think of anything sensible to say about Knowledge Transfer, which is what you have to do these days …
If you check out this web page and read carefully you will see that Sir Keef apparently worked at the MOD for one thousand six hundred and four years. Wow.