Eheu Fugaces

I spent a few hours today on an information stall for the Queensland Democrats at the University of Queensland orientation day for new students. It wasn’t until I arrived that I started recalling the orientation day I attended at the same campus at St Lucia as a new student just out of school. I’ve been to a fair few of these days to sit on various stalls many times since then, so it took a few minutes reminiscing before I had the sinking realisation that exactly 25 years – a quarter of a century! – had passed since that first one.

One very clear memory I have from that day in 1982 was seeing a bunch of boys gathered around reciting Monty Python scripts very loudly, no doubt feeling like they were being hugely witty and cutting edge. Like many such memories, I have no idea why that one stuck in my head. My other main memories from then were seeing a bunch of guys running around wearing togas, and also feeling a bit let down at how tame it all seemed, given the horror newspaper headlines of the time about how students would be subject to depravity by being given sample bags telling us all about sex and drugs and condoms and the like (maybe the togas had something to do with it).

I didn’t hear any Python being quoted this year, but I saw and heard a few things that seemed like a 2007 equivalent, which made being a bit older not feel quite so bad. And there was some good feedback and interest at the info stall as well – much better than some of the responses at the same stall 5 or 6 years ago – which always helps.

Considering how much time has passed and how enormously universities have changed since that time, it was actually not all that different a scene. Although clearly some other places have changed a lot more. One Uni told us that Orientation Day was a “corporate event” and not really suited for general political information stalls – but if we still wanted to do so, if would cost $1100 for the day.

Just to cap off that feeling of fleeting years slipping by, when I got home tonight, my wife had got out a DVD of some episodes of the original Starsky and Hutch for me to watch – after she found an old poster under the house that I used to have on my bedroom wall as a kid. They don’t make them like that anymore. (actually they probably do, and I just don’t watch them)

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  1. I like the way you began the post pretending to be restrained and aloof from the nerds quoting Python, then end it by bellyflopping into the admission about the Starsky and Hutch poster.

    I have one word for you Andrew, and I think you know what it is. Starts with “N…” and ends in “iiii!”


  2. Don,

    “J’accuse?”. No way, man, you’ve lost your cutting edge! Soft! You even posted before midnight, as if you’re about to log off and go to sleep. You’ve gone from a “J’accuse” to a “Jacuzzi!”

    And “Eheu Fugaces”?

  3. Andrew Bartlett:

    I didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition!

    Don’t worry, all your supporters are rushing to the quemodero right now with fire-extinguishers and buckets of water to put out the fire ….. especially after your statesman-like comment on ABC Radio about the federal goverment’s lack of housing policies and its suggested handout to the rich-and-greedy by way of rent subsidies.

    A university that charges One Thousand One Hundred Dollars a day to put up a display or stall for the type of organization that is a traditional part of orientation days in universities all over the civilized world? That was an orientation week prank, wasn’t it? Surely they weren’t serious, were they?

    A fanfared public donation of $10 or $20 to the Indigent Students’ Drinking Fund would have been appropriate for the occasion ….. but a charge of $1100 by the university itself? No way.

    I do hope you responded by adding several zeroes to that amount and asking them exactly how they were going to make up their next triennium’s funding shortfall of that amount?

    That’s one of the few times when the threat of abusing political power would have been roundly applauded by the whole community. What a pack of dills! I hope the vice-chancellor has been sacked over it.

  4. So I take it that you are not a Python fan Graham?, ‘sallright, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.
    I work at a NSW uni, and the new fresh faced kids are owwing and arrring all over campus. And yes, I feel older than ever.

  5. I always get nostalgic for the Uni campus when the Jacarandas come out in bloom.

    They were still quoting Python 6 years later when I started and the politcal stalls were a strong presence and added some of that air of student activism that seems to be universal. Terrible to think that even orientation has been corporatised at some institutions. I wonder if that fee applies to even small student organisations or interest groups?

  6. it would seem we all really are all prograqmmed from a young age, whether nature or nurture who knows, probably both.

    I went to three diffenret Unis, thoroughly enjoyed them but only once, the first time 1976 naturally, ventured to wander through the stalls on the lawns outside the great Hall and found them all somehwat tedious. Most of the students there, a certain Health Minister one of them, were eitehr refugees from Room 222 and particualry needy types or obnoxious and pushy types and I never ventured back to any of them again.

    Most of them probalby haven’t chnaged nor i suspect have I.

  7. This has bored me toay,I guess not being multilingual means I cannot handle the thought of the University educated.Then again it maybe people like Cheney,remind me of how obnoxious the design of the world has become since nearly all government everywhere,even,Zimbabwe, is choc a block with the strange result of the empowering education.We will undoubtedly see the workings of Howards mind with Cheney and be in awe of these Gods.The society driven whose doing it for me and democracy means there is no escape,whilst the contests of boredom to represent the people everywhere continues.I guess it is undemocratic to say,Cheney should not be here.Howard should retire,he only won the election and not the vote.And I didnt vote because there are endless numbers of these bastards,doing it for me when elected.Universities produce these morons ad infinitum.

  8. Yes. Couldn’t have put it better myself!

    Although large numbers of fresh faced undergrads turned out for the ASIO graduate recruitment seminars last June at UQ, seems like some of those youngsters still have a sense of humour (I mean students, not ASIO folk):

    I suspect this is not the work of international fee paying students!

    Cue ‘Courier-Mail’ hysterical rant about privileged med students on “wasteful rampage at taxpayers’ expense”!

  9. NOBODY expects the Democrats to Win! Our chief weapon is suprise…surprise and fear…fear and surprise…. Our two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency…. Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to Natasha…. Our *four*…no… *Amongst* our weapons…. Amongst our weaponry…are such elements as fear, surprise…. I’ll come in again. (Exit and exeunt)

  10. Dodgyville: I wish to make a complaint!

    Owner: We’re closin’ for lunch.

    Dodgyville: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this political party what I joined not two years ago from this very computer.

    Owner: Oh yes, the, uh, the Australian Democrats…What’s, uh…What’s wrong with it?

    Dodgyville: I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my lad. ‘E’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it!

    Owner: No, no, ‘e’s uh,…he’s resting.

    Dodgyville: Look, matey, I know a dead party when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now.

    Owner: No no! ‘E’s pining!

    Dodgyville: ‘E’s not pinin’! ‘E’s passed on! This party is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If we didn’t have six year senate terms, ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig! ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-PARTY!!

    (Sorry, that was the last python post today, I swear! BTW I think the party is anything but dead, I was making fun of the media…)

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