We are currently in the throes of having our bathroom completely gutted and rebuilt. Not fun but bearable although being down to a lavatory pan, bucket and tap in the corner for several days was a bit of a trial — though better than many of our forebears would have had.
At the same time we have embarked on a massive house clearance exercise. (I was going to say "house tidying" but that is to underestimate the 30 years of rat's nest we inhabit.)
So yesterday we were going through the very top shelf over my desk and in the farthest corner I found my old notebook of quotations etc. started when I was a final year undergraduate in 1972. In it I found the following editorial from Phoenix, the then student newspaper of the University of East Anglia, dated 15 January 1976.
We're only three days into the Spring Term at this writing, and already the complaints about boredom are beginning to surface. On one level, this is within the realm of the perfectly normal, and something we accept without really noticing. On another level, the boredom and frustration students mention regularly indicates a problem that has been long overlooked. There is no reason for boredom, but the structured nature of teaching methods is resistant to change, and there is little immediate likelihood of anything new appearing.
We wonder from time to time about the rationale behind the endless booklists, tiring and too often fruitless trips to the library, and papers that demand not creative thought, but merely the cataloguing of odd bits of data from the mountainous collection of esoteric journals. If the university is to be something more than a cloistered society of pedestrian academics, it must stimulate students to think creatively and constructively, rather than mass produce a stream of individuals whose greatest accomplishment has been to take a degree without wondering why.
Scary that nothing changes and that students at this date were already aware of the futility of what some of their peers were doing.
What's even more scary is that I suspect (no real evidence) this was penned by one of my friends, three of whom — Pete Cadwallader, Ged Sursham (hope I've remembered the spelling correctly) and Joe Beals — were as I recall at that time the editorial and production team of Phoenix.
Oh and in the way of student things, the paper was called Phoenix because it had risen from the ashes of the previous paper, Twice, which had in turn risen from the ashes of its predecessor Once.