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sqj.1931.0008

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MY
FIRST
COMMITTEE
LONDON STUDENTS' SECTION
Your attendance is earnestly
requested at aCommitteeMeeting to be held at the I.E.E. on
Tues., April 1st, 1981, at 6 p.m.
L. H. TOCKETT,
By
Hon. Ass. Sec.
TYRO.
I FOUND the above on my doormat on arriving down to breakfast the
other morning, my dog having apparently decided that it was unfit for
canine consumption. So this was my first summons to attend the
Deliberations of the Great as the recently appointed Student representative of those great engineers, Messrs. Flashover & Breakdown, Ltd.!
Punctually at the appointed hour, in a clean collar and with my face
carefully washed with P-lm-l-v-, I mounted the noble steps of the
Institution to play my small part in these awesome proceedings.
My attention was directed to a small room marked " Students'
Committee," whither I proceeded with trembling footsteps. Here I saw
a long table laid out in a very official manner with blotting-pads, writingpads, copies of Rules and Regulations, and other official documents.
Groups of men were standing about talking, while a rather harassedlooking individual who seemed to have something very particular to say
to nearly everyone, suddenly seeing me, came to me and inquired my
name. On telling him that I was Blenkinsop, of Flashover & Breakdown,
he introduced himself as Naltow the Secretary. Imagine my feelings at
meeting him in the flesh, the name so often seen in print and (I write it
with a twinge of conscience) so often cast into the wastepaper basket.
However, further honours were to come, for he led me by the hand and
presented me to a Person at the end of the table who said he was glad
to see me and hoped I should be an enthusiastic member. Looking at
him, I realized that I had seen his photograph in the Journal, and this
could be none other than our Chairman. I made a mental note that
his photo did him more than justice.
At the motion of the Chairman we all took our seats, I at the far end,
as befitting my humble station. On calling for the reading of the minutes
of the previous Committee Meeting the Secretary said that owing to
pressure of business and to his having attended a local function on the
previous evening the minutes were not as clear as he might have wished
them to be. The Chairman passed a few remarks to the effect that
business should never be allowed to interfere with I.E.E. work; the minutes
were then read and, after some discusston, signed. They were certainly
not clear to me, but judging from the expressions on the faces of some
of those present I was in a minority.
The next item on the agenda was the discussion of the season's programme. The Secretary announced the results of the Papers Subcommittee's decisions on the various papers submitted by members.
Several of these had to be declined on the grounds of insufficient merit
after careful consideration by the Sub-committee and co-opted experts
on the particular subjects. A paper on the "Efficiency of Glow-worms
— 125 —
MY FIRST COMMITTEE
as Sources of Illumination " was rejected on the grounds of undue
specialization.
The Secretary announced that the arrangements for visits had been
completed and full details would be available shortly. An analysis of
last year's attendances had shown that Saturday afternoon visits to
Breweries had been the best attended, closely followed by visits to makers
of small Wireless Components. The visits at which the smallest attendances were recorded were those at which tea was not provided.
The next item on the agenda was a suggestion which the Secretary
had received from one of the members of the Section. He apologized
for bringing the matter before the Committee without proper warning,
but it had only arrived by that morning's post and appeared of paramount
importance. The suggestion was to the effect that refreshments should
be served during Section meetings instead of during the interval. The
writer produced medical evidence of the
increased, activity of the brain during the
period of digestion and hoped that a more
adequate supply of Vitamin B would improve the present level of the discussion at
meetings. (Cherry cake contains only 0 • 5 %
Vitamin B.)
The suggestion was received with mixed
feelings by the Committee, the Hon. Representative of Tandard Selephones protesting that the attention of the audience
would be more on the waitresses than on
the subject of the papers. Mr. Weed of
the Macaroni Co. prayed the Committee not
to be influenced by the mundane outlook on
life as exemplified by Mr. Haws of the Tandard
Notes mai^by anther during S e l e ' p h o n e s . M r . R u n k b e r said he entirely
agreed with the suggestion, which he thought
would do much to relieve the monotony of many of the present meetings,
and he felt sure that it would increase the attendance. He assumed that
such refreshments would be paid for by the Institution.
So far I had not dared to say anything, feeling quite overawed by
the presence of so many whose knowledge of the aims and ideals of the
Students' Section was so superior to mine. I merely marked, learnt, and
tried to digest in awed silence. However, a lull occurred in the debate,
and, after pinching myself twice, I ventured to address the Chair to the
effect that the suggestion might be extended to include the provision of
Alcoholic Liquor during meetings. Instead of the frigid rebuke I had
expected, the Chairman actually smiled kindly, and said he personally
was all in favour of it, but that so much that was ill-advised was already
said in discussions that he hesitated to give his support to the suggestion.
Many more members spoke, some eloquent and some to the point,
until the past-Chairman reminded us of Rule XXXUA, Section (15),
which limits the duration of Committee to 4 h. 35 m. The Secretary
was accordingly instructed to bring the matter to the notice of the
Council.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned, and I returned
home, rather dazed but very proud; and so to bed.
— 126 —
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