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Issue 483, 5 June 2002


More anglophilic than most natives

John Lydon
Biochemistry & molecular biology

I was sorry to hear of the recent death of my old friend John (Hans) Muller, late of the Procter department of food science. John had lived through interesting times. He recalled having his head patted, as a child, by Hitler and was the only person I have met who had seen V1 flying bombs at the beginning, rather than the end, of their flights. Like many European refugees who came to this country in the immediate post-war years, he became more anglophilic than most natives. With his tweed cap, Burberry jacket and black Labrador he looked every inch a member of the Bramhope aristocracy. One of his favourite stories concerned an episode in the 1980s when members of staff whose careers had been interrupted by war service, were approaching retirement and there was the question of enhancement to their superannuation to compensate for the years away.

The University eventually issued a detailed booklet identifying three categories: those who left University posts for the duration of the hostilities and then returned later; those who had been interviewed and given University posts, but postponed taking them up because of the outbreak of war; and thirdly, those who went into the forces straight from postgraduate work and who became members of staff at the war's end  (and who it was deemed would have taken up lecturing posts earlier if the war had not occurred).

What caused John so much fun was his subsequent tangles with the administration when he presented his old Wehrmacht paybook (issued when he was still a schoolboy), pointing out that nowhere in the mountain of verbiage was there any mention of a requirement to state which side you had been fighting on.

Seeing league tables in a new light

Philip Taylor
Communications studies

I hate league tables.  In your last issue, I was sufficiently intrigued at your reference to the latest Times league table being buried in the In the News section that I followed it up.  Was it a bad day to bury good news (or have I got that confused as well)? I looked at University of Leeds departments who made the top ten, and they make an interesting list given recent developments within the University. They are as follows, in order of height:

Geology 3=
Art & Design 3=
Education 5
English 5
Agriculture 5
East Asian Studies 5
Dentistry 6
Communications and Media 6
Physics 6
Food Science 7
History of Art 7
Geography 9
Middle Eastern Studies 9 (out of 9!)
Theology 10

So these are our Leeds departments who make the top ten in their respective areas?  Maybe I don't hate league tables after all.

The union bookshop stocks them all

Sylvia Federico
School of English

In the midst of this debate about cars, buses, and bikes, is the humble pedestrian trying to get to campus in a way that is safe, direct, and environmentally sound. Walking from Headingley ought to be an agreeable alternative to the impossible road traffic and the filthy, crowded, and slow-moving buses: it should be a nice way to collect or lose one's thoughts, and to stretch the legs as well. But there is a huge problem which prevents many staff from walking even when they live close in to the University: the dangers to life and limb encountered between Hyde Park corner and the western entrance to the campus.

This route – the most direct one – is made impossible not only by the absence of lighting in the park (an unsafe way home on a winter's afternoon) but especially by the extremely dangerous, unregulated four-point intersection at University Road. This intersection witnesses a steady stream of foot traffic throughout the day.

Without a light or a zebra crossing, people take their lives in their hands dodging speeding cars and turning buses. Surely something as simple as a pedestrian overpass could solve this problem.

We're a university not a burger bar

Chris Leonard
Union books

In reply to Mark Hill's letter (Reporter 481), a map of the cycle routes of Leeds is available. It was published in 1999 by Leeds city council department of highways and transportation, and can be bought from Union Books in the basement of the students' union at £2.95

Similarly, your review of Ethical Shopping by William Young (also Reporter 481) informs your readers that they can order the book from Fusion Press by phone or from their website. They do not have to wait that long: it is also available from Union Books.

Email or ring 710350.

Arrogant? Well, you said it, not us

Susy Braidwood
School of healthcare studies

In reply to Last word on public transport, by 'name supplied' (Reporter 482):

"The arrogance of so many contributors to your column (sic) never  ceases to amaze me …"

You said it. Not us.

The very, very last word on transport

Tony Hall
Residential & commercial services

So you're going to leave the last word on public transport to some fortunate individual who 'owns a number of horses'? A character who believes others to be arrogant, but presumably believes him/herself to be blessed with a fabulous wit.  Why no name? I know some cyclists can err on the fundamentalist side, but still!

I cycle four miles to work, mainly off-road through woods, parks and Meanwood Ridge, which is marvellous when you consider this is from the outskirts to the centre of a large city.  I believe this makes me extremely fortunate; my colleagues, however, believe I'm mad. Still, horses for courses – aha, that's it, of course – our hero is being ironic (or sarcastic or something)!

Our wit is probably one of those who gets in my way every day (in the 4 x 4?) as I cross five main roads, yet I don't add to his/her traffic jam or parking problem one iota. In fact, I help by removing myself from the melee. I can imagine how happy s/he would be, stuck behind a horse on the way to work (I know, I know, I didn't get the joke).

Who cares how everyone else struggles to work and then parks – just get on with it.  Quite honestly I'm happy to end the discussion as it's all been said, but please let's finish with some genuine wit who doesn't deride others!

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