I'm unaccountably full of warm feelings towards my fellow humans today, a most unfamiliar sensation. Normal misanthropic service will, I hope, be restored soon.
Why so happy? Well, I took a group of students to Warwick Arts Centre last night, to see a stage adaptation of Vile Bodies, the Evelyn Waugh novel of aristocratic vacuity we're studying this semester.
The student production was rather good - despite a tight budget and and the lack of experience which comes from being young (damn their eyes), they handled a compressed narrative very well, particularly the change from superficiality to disaster in the second half of the novel.
I think my students enjoyed the play. I'm not sure how many had been to the theatre before, nor how many had read the novel yet, but they seemed to appreciate the trip (and had the grace to laugh when I pointed out that they still have to read the book). Lots of the novels' themes are particularly relevant in the era of phone-hacking and the Leveson Inquiry: the power of the press, our simultaneous love for and hatred of celebrities, the divide between the pointless aristocracy and the public which demands both to be entertained and be moralistic at the same time. It really is a novel for our times.
They're also an uproariously funny bunch - the gossip on the bus was hilarious, though I did have to develop selective, diplomatic deafness now and then. It was also a good reminder of how much student life has changed - so many of them juggle full-time study with work: in schools, in supermarkets, cafés and shops. I may have struggled for cash as a student, but I had such an easy life compared with them.
Finally - I never realised what a bunch of old lags my students are: seemingly expulsion from school is one of the entry requirements for The Hegemon!