Monday, 25 January 2016

'No Amount of Aromatic Spice Poppadoms Will Hold Us Back'

Phileas Fogg: FTU 'invested heavily'
Here at Fundermental Towers University we've always strived to be the very best small university. Throughout our great and glorious history, stretching back for more than a quarter of a decade, we've nurtured a forward thinking, imaginative ethos that has served our students well.

Not only have we linked with similar small-scale centres of excellence in the wider Rochester area to form the R2D2 Consortium, but we have also launched the prestigious Latitude Prize to seek answers to the most pointless and irrelevant questions of our time. We've even sought to rename both our office holders and the institution itself. I do not wish to appear self-aggrandising, but I would suggest that we are probably the finest small university in the world.

Imagine our surprise, then, on opening up the latest copy of the Times Higher that we found next to the well thumbed copies of Punch in the doctor's waiting room. While purporting to list 'the world's best small universities 2016', there is no mention of Fundermental Towers University. Instead, they give top billing to those Johnny come lately upstarts, CalTech. Are they a member of R2D2? Did they launch a prestigious Latitude Prize? Have they indulged in some opportunistic renaming? I think not.

What does it take to impress those Times Higher ranking snobs? It was only the other week that we thought we were in with a shout to top the list of 100 Most International Universities. We'd invested heavily in a range of Phileas Fogg snacks, including the Aromatic Spice and Sweet Chilli Poppadoms. And you don't get much more international than that. All of our students were given free tuition in saying 'yes,' 'no' and 'these poppadoms are delicious' in a range of European languages. And all to no avail.

Still, we thought we were a dead cert for the Top 100 Universities Under 50. If all it takes is to be not very old, then surely Fundermental Towers excels. But no, once again, despite our language training and poppadoms, the Times Higher elitists chose to look the other way, giving the glittering prize to some Swiss upstart.

'It must be cause for concern that the fresh waves of British universities created since the 1990s have yet to make any mark in the global rankings,' remarked the Phil 'so-called' Baty, List-Maker in Chief of the Times Higher. 

Don't you worry, Mr Baty. We can bide our time. We know that it won't be long before you produce a list of the Top 100 Best Small Universities with Ready Access to Aromatic Poppadoms in the Greater Rochester Region. After all, you've done a ranking for pretty much everything else.

And when you do, Mr so-called Baty, our victory will be sweet. We will step up to receive our award with magnanimous grace. Unless those upstarts at Ebbsfleet White Horse (Unrampant) University get first place, of course. Then it will be all out war, and no amount of Aromatic Spice Poppadoms will hold us back.

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