It’s that time again. Summer is coming and summer’s lease has all too short a date. To wit, the Guardian has published the lists of post graduate studies available to the fearful or work-shy. How times have changed. No PgD.s are available at LSE, it’s all MSc.s now. How ghastly.
I will never forget my interview with whatshisname of the Cambridge Appointments Board; I was sent for. A mid morning slot.
I told myself:
“This is it Maroon, you’ve been plucked, you’ve trailed your coat, been talent spotted and Britain’s imperial service are here for you (or Shell at the very least). Now remember kiddo, they’re not interested in the facts, just an ability to stick to a good back story.”
He was the most repellant individual I have ever seen. He drank tea throughout, never offering me a cup (rude) and he opened up his Kit Kat, spread the silver paper flat and methodically broke the fingers in two, placing the eight bits in parallel rows like soldiers. It was disquieting watching this. Distracting. He was like Joseph Mengele. He had horrible fingernails, I remember that much.
He took a while to get going.
“Any thoughts what you’d like to do when you leave here Maroon?” (what happened to Achilles, or even Ack?)
"Hmmm. Well, what are your interests? Which FIELD excites you?”
I had to stifle a snigger here, exciting fields; geddit? It’s electromagnetism!
“I hadn’t really thought…”
“Well OK. Here’s a list of courses you could probably take while you decide. Thanks awfully for coming in.”
Second top of the list was a safe berth at LSE. It was, I realise now, a contented, almost happy time. It was a little railway siding where old wagons were shunted, you know, off the Titfield branch line. I was surrounded by the kids of commonwealth diplomats who would go on to rescue Africa from financial ruin, in much the same way as political satire in 1930s Berlin cabaret, saved Germany from fascism.
Anyway, it looks as if Beecham made it to Houghton Street eventually.
Kids today can choose Gender Studies (we did that), Hospitality Management (did that too), even Celtic Studies (haven’t a clue). the difference being they are all Saturday’s children now, poor sods.