Chewing my keyboard

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Time to say goodbye...

Well, not quite yet. I am leaving Thursday morning, long before Charles Kennedy takes the stage since I have to ensure that I have reviewed some final edits made to an academic paper before 'first thing on Friday'.

I rushed down to the auditorium first thing because of the singular, apparently controversial debate on financing of the BBC. The debate itself wasn't controversial but the amendment to abolish the licence fee was (I should really stop complaining about debates not being controversial; conference is there to make policy, not provide me with an amusing sideshow and if every debate was controversial and close fought then we would probably have a lot of policy members were unhappy with which is obviously NOT good).

After that, I went into town for coffee with Neil from Aberwysth Uni (spelling, tut, tut) who I spent a fair bit of time hanging around with and who was excellent company (thanks Neil) and who had interesting opinions on a wide range of issues... I then trailed about the exhibition for a while before heading off to a fringe on Wind Power given by the Renewables industry. Jokes about Deflatine apart ("The public loves wind"), this fringe was distinguished by its hot buffet, use of power point presentations and the fact that due to there being only 2 reasonably interesting sounding fringes going on (Poverty and wind power), the fringe was packed out... Or it could have been the free buffet advertised. I do have a perfectly good reason for attending rather than being the stereotyped cheap student who tries to save money on food by 'grazing' buffets all conference... Despite people claiming to manage the feat of not having to buy anything but chocolate bars all conference, most people I know end up either missing a lot of meals (in which case I normally take charge of them and march them somewhere to eat) or do what I do (popping out to buy food in free periods) [For the serial thinkers, that was an aside]. I have to teach students sustainability stuff for their open units and picked up various bits from the fringe. I can always get them to try to critically assess the literature as being the output of a lobbying group for the wind industry. Cool, huh?

After the fringe had finally finished, I rushed to a Stress Management fringe. We discussed our Stressor Drivers and learnt how applying diluted lavender oil to the back of the neck in the position of a classic tension headache can relax you. The sound of the sea or running water is reputed to be very therapeutic. Also, your hand can move involuntarily if you are holding it up and switch from a pleasant to an unpleasant/stressful memory. You should, I guess, ideally try to remember a pleasant memory about running water to destress... No lavatory jokes please...

I was then supposed to be manning the LDYS stall but several other people had had the same idea. I thus ended up discussing Britain's nuclear deterrent, who is a war criminal under interational law and issuing orders to submarines all afternoon. This was absolutely fascinating. It wasn't the heaviest conversation I've had here; I distressed everyone in Crash that morning by getting onto whether if you had a plane the size of the universe if it could crash... Okkkkkk... I interspersed this by trying to beat someone to death with an inflatable 'loan shark' (and Lord Rennard took this opportunity to visit the stall).

Once the exhibition shut, there weren't many fringes that floated my boat. Most of Wednesday evening is aimed at well lubricating people before Glee Club. People either love Glee Club or hate it. Enjoyment-wise, I rate it someone around having to eat your own extremities. I hate bad singing at the best of times but an entire room of it is like scraping nails across glass. Yep, I sound like a complete fogey and my general Victor Meldrew quality is reinforced by my alternative option which was to read the Orange Book in bed. Unfortunately, by the time I had located food and ambled along the promenade back to Crash appreciating the therapeutic value of the sea, I fell asleep on page 7. This is a function of my being tired and not a discredit to the authors of the Orange Book.


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