The Good Student

I’m a good man. And tonight I had proof.

Just spent an evening with a friend, nothing fancy, just noodles and Sauv Blanc. Forgot completely I’d had a load of laundry tumble drying in the block opposite, so went out to get it at 12.30am. I’d been ready for bed for some hours and groaned as I headed downstairs again.

On the way over, there’s a girl arriving at the block’s other door. Leggy blonde, boobs and bum half out of sequinned minidress, the usual thing. You can’t help but look; I mean, whoa.

She’s behaving a little strangely. Keeps doubling up, dropping things. Not unusual around this time on campus, although not an everyday occurence on a Monday. After the briefest of pauses I head towards the other door, bundle my bone-dry clothes into my bag, and head for home.

She’s still there. All tits and ass and legs, in a giggling heap. I ask if she’s okay. She is by the happy undergrad standards – i.e. paralytically drunk – but not if she wants to get home. While campus is safe enough, I don’t want to leave a vulnerable teenager in a doorwell.

I offer to get her home. (My key fits this lock thanks to the laundry access.) I pick up the bundle of tits and ass and legs and support it on my shoulder, trying to get her to talk (it seems like just drunk, but if it’s drugs I’ll be able to tell once she’s talking.) She talks, giggling. It’s just drink.

“I’m Jess.” Giggling. Oh hell and damnation, the bare arms are going around my neck. The face is startlingly beautiful, model-girl even. I ignore it. I’m a good man.

She doesn’t know where she lives. I support her more. She remembers it’s on this floor. Walking down a corridor I notice ‘—— JESS!’ on a door. Whew. Now all we have to do is find the keys…

She’s on the floor again. I sit her against the wall. The minidress barely covers her backside and there’d be nothing left to the imagination, if I imagined it. Concentrate, Worth, concentrate. You’re a good man.

The problem here is that the evening out put half a dozen units into me, just enough to affect judgement and oh bloody hell she’s kissing me. Stop. Stop her. I stop her. This isn’t what I expected when I went to collect my laundry. Keep it together. Her breath’s on my neck and the long legs are – you’ve got nieces this age, Worth. In fact, you’ve got 501s this age. Concentrate. You are an adult helping a young girl home. That’s all you’re doing.

We open the door. She nearly falls. Blast and buckets of blood, that means I’ve got to go in. Take a deep breath.

It’s an undergrad room. In other words, it’s just about possible to see the carpet under the jumble of towels, sheets, clothes, underwear, bags. “I leave in two days!” she mumbles among the jumble. Yeah, sweetheart, and I’m leaving in two minutes.

I don’t even want to think about what’ll happen if security walks down this corridor. I know exactly what it’ll look like. This is bad. I ask her to take a few steps forward, to her bed and sanctuary. She reaches around and DON’T UNZIP YOUR DRESS DON’T UNZIP YOUR DRESS I stop her wriggling and manoevre her to the ‘bed zone’, a mountain of assorted blankets under which there’s probably a mattress. I lie her down. She won’t let go. Her arms are around my neck and I’m horizontal. Let go. The breasts are popping out and my resolve is hardening. I escape her honeyed grip.

She’s on the bed at last, lying on her side, best position if she vomits in her sleep. She’s peaceful, breathing evenly, not in danger. She’ll wake up with a headache, but no worse. I force myself not to linger for a look, and leave.

My laundry bag’s in the corridor where I left it. I shake myself and head across the lawn to my block and home.

I’m a good man.

There Will NOT Be a waterfight! See Below –

And supposedly mature MBAs will definitely NOT be attending.

“Right, as some of you may have heard, the recent attempt to organise “Warwick Water War 08” was cancelled due to “health and safety” issues. The university has said they do not wish for any alternatives. So, furthering on from that particular group, I bring you a warning:

-There will NOT be a waterfight held in warwick to mark the end of the summer term.
-It will especially NOT be held on Monday 16th June.
-It will NOT start at 2PM and end whenever people wish it to.
-It will NOT take place in the field behind Tocil Woods (or anywhere else, subject to change or better ideas), especially in such a place where it will be hard for security to notice anything going on and get to quickly, and where it is easy to run away if any trouble does occur.
-You SHOULD bring your student cards just in case any trouble does start at a waterfight and security asks for them.

I urge you all to forward this warning to as many of your friends as soon as possible, to make them aware of this. Suggestions welcome.

Many Thanks,


DISCLAIMER: For “Health and Safety” reasons – By joining this group, you agree that if you just so happen to attend any waterfight that just so happens to occur as a result of this group, despite my warnings to the contrary, and you just so happen to somehow inexplicably injure yourself, then you promise not to sue me, or anybody in this group, the student’s union or the university, blah blah blah etc.”

June 5th, 2008: the perfect day

I want to preserve this day. Wrap it in gauze and keep it in a wardrobe like a wedding dress. Dry it gently in the breeze next to a new-mown lawn, then fold it lovingly to the dimensions of a rosewood drawer, then slide it shut to keep it crisp and fresh forever.

Today is the perfect day.

The sky’s been bright but the sun not unstinting, stretches of sunlight interrupted by dreamy clouds breezing by. Warm but not hot, no jacket required. The perfect weather.

Preparing my dissertation, I’ve been drifting from Arts Centre to Learning Grid. The structure of my summer project is becoming clear. The perfect work plan.

I’ve paused only for coffee with beautiful women, conversation and frisson more sophisticated than you’d expect on a university campus, outside on the benches while the highly diversity-aware trees sway slowly, listening in. The perfect coffee break.

I’m needed. The need to be needed is perfect, too. Yesterday I was at Lord’s with clients; tomorrow WBS itself wants me on another Open Day; recruiters have started calling. The perfect sense of belonging.

In the sunken central plaza, every step is occupied by groups of laughing students, drinking, smoking, doing things students do. A living place. The perfect plaza.

If only I could store days like this. Open a drawer and spritz a single cloud of lemon to bring this day back, late in the year when outside is scuzzed with slush and a million moist noses report sniffles season. One a week is all I’d need. To experience the perfect day once again.

But doing so would kill it. Value departs when available in infinite measure. And it’d kill me too. For living the perfect day, again and again, would make further progress down life’s path meaningless. So I’ll just appreciate this day while I can.

And so… I near the end …

– of my perfect day!

Database driven life

One of the really impressive things about Warwick University is its databases. Or more to the point, the way its databases connect to the student intranet and let me, slumped in my study bedroom, collect pretty much everything I need to write my assignments and dissertation.

Take just now. An article referenced in one of the readings for a Strategy module caught my eye. It’s not in the readings, although it’s a seminal article on the globalisation of business from the 1980s. This is probably a test: the course director may have left that article in plain view, referenced in the folder’s readings but not actually in the folder as a handout, in order to see which clever buggers would spot it and look it up.

So I look it up. A few clicks and searching into the library, the business section, and a subscription index. A search on author and title. And – within a second – it’s there: the full-text article, not in ASCII but an actual scanned page of the Harvard Business Review from 1983, complete with foxy-edged pages and the imprint of someone’s pen pressed too hard on a previous page a quarter of a century ago. Brilliant.

In the vastness of the Internet, I inhabit a more tightly-clustered node: an ordered space of indexed scholarship, given shape and form by subscriptions and module structure and the sheer buzz of a campus wired for desseminating knowledge. From my little room here, I’m wrapped in a warm, comforting coccoon of information plus the means to make sense of it.

I’m going to miss this place.

The name’s Worth, Chris Worth…

Of all the ridiculous things a year as a student has allowed me to do, attending the University Sports Ball as a member of the Skydiving Club is probably the funniest one so far. (Just booked my tix today.)

Now the next problem: sorting out a dinner suit.

It’s been several years since I last wore black tie; I’ve completely forgotten the whole culture around it. For example, a ‘tuxedo’ technically means white jacket, which is pretty hard to carry off outside the Caribbean anyway, and at a ball where the dinner involves tomatoes it’s completely out of the question. Black jacket, definitely. But whose?

I mean, I have to overcome a natural disadvantage here: since it’s the summer ball of the university’s sporting clubs, there’ll be a large number of physically imposing males in the tent (well, in addition to me, obviously) and it’ll take a lot to look impressive in that crowd. I’ve scheduled in daily swims and sessions to get myself back in shape after a few weeks of lumpen deskbound-ness, but that’s only half the problem. The other half is the suit.

There’s no way – no way – I can go for the standard Moss Bros rental like everyone else. I need the kind of suit Daniel Craig gasped at in ‘Casino Royale’ when Eva whipped out a tailored one for him, after he’d protested he already had a dinner suit. That’s what a truly great suit does: make you go ‘whoa’. But how can I get one?

There’s got to be a way. Discounters, vintage shops, and friends (of my height and build) are on the list to call next week; one of them will have something truly sensational in my size. It’ll be the perfect way to make the evening go with a bang.