Friday Funny

A while ago I had a conversation with colleagues, about creating characters for a new campus novel, We looked at some of the people that we worked with, and realised that if you described them in a book, they might be dismissed as not believable. Maybe the reality of who we knew was funnier than the fiction.


Humour is central to survival on a modern university campus. In class it’s a tool which if deployed properly can be an effective ice breaker with students – assuming that the none of the many lines are crossed. It’s equally important in committee to have a sense of humour, although probably it’s not always a good idea to share your thoughts with everyone else. And if you’re going to play lingo bingo, make sure the chair doesn’t realise.

But there seems to have been a dearth of good humorous campus writing recently. In the early 60s we had Kingsley Amis and Lucky Jim, followed by Tom Sharpe’s Porterhouse Blue and the Wilt series, and then David Lodge’s Small World and others.

Starter for Ten by David Nicholls took us back to the 80s, but this was campus life seen through the eyes of a student. And deeply embarrassing to read, if you could recognise your own 1980s self.

Satirising and finding the funny in modern UK academia is led by the inimitable Laurie Taylor with The Poppletonian, his weekly column in THE

However, to brighten up your day, here’s a couple of links from the blogosphere which made me laugh

Wading Through Treacle is a blog from the imaginary Burstan Central University (not to be confused with the University of Burstan). The writer is anonymous, but the observations are so cutting.

And a one-off. Registrarism (Paul Greatrix of University of Nottingham and once of this parish) has provided a great list of bands inspired by HE.