The tension is palpable. The players are lining up, flexing their equipment and eyeballing the audience. The ref holds them apart and checks the gloves for razors and lead.
Yes, it's The Hegemon's annual staff research conference. I'm in the audience this year, having rocked the lecture hall last time. In the first poule, these cerebral gladiators are contesting notions of identity and movements. BC is on the attack with a piece on cosmopolitanism, home tourism and Romanticism. He'll be followed by TD with a stunning piece of Total Academia on Czech identity, followed by what promises to be an athletic run at Marqués de Valero de Urria's Lost Library by GC.
Live updates throughout the day from Plashing Vole, Andy Townsend and Alan Shearer.