Chapter 5 - Oxford, September 2015, the next evening
The principal villain celebrates his win.
Big Harry and Brownnose Bob were contentedly sipping their whisky sours. "Your presentation was superb Harry," remarked Brownnose. "It's an important paper."
'Thanks Bob. It's an idea whose time has come. There will be quite a bit of scope for development. I'll probably write a couple more papers before turning it over to the boys in head office. Should be a few dissertations in it, leading to good contracts."
"What should we do about publication of the conference proceedings?" asked Brownnose, eager to put into motion the usual machinery, to produce a book of readings edited by Harry and himself.
"This lot should go into a journal Bob. I'd better set it up though; it won't be easy because the papers are mostly pretty lousy. Kurt's new journal might be our best bet. He's been getting a lot of crap so far and he might be prepared to publish four or five of this lot reasonably quickly."
Bob was disappointed at missing the chance to edit yet another book. He wondered if Harry was doing this to pay him out for handling things so badly. That didn't seem too likely, though, because the kids had behaved themselves at the seminar yesterday. Just proved once again that if you take 'em by the balls their hearts and minds will surely follow.
He decided that Harry's main motivation was to get the paper published as quickly as possible, and a book might take too long. "Good idea Harry," he replied. "I'll tell the authors that they have a month to revise their papers. It will be Dino, Alex and Dunlop I guess. Do you want any of the others?"
"No, the fewer the better for this deal”
Sally-Anne and Watson were dining at the Cock & Bull that evening. This splendid establishment was a popular haunt for Oxford’s GradStudes. It was a late 80s imitation of a seventeenth-century London pub. It featured the standard dark wood panelling, sporting prints and excessively dim lighting.
The fare was also traditional: steak and kidney, pork pie, spotted dick, faggot and ploughman's dinner (with imported cheese!). It sold 17 varieties of beer, including all the standard types of weak and warm pommy piss (Watson’s description) as well as ice-cold Fosters. Above all, it was cheap, and had an underground tunnel into the safe zone lived in (separately) by Watson and Sampson.
The GradStudes were having one of their interminable and increasingly unfriendly arguments. Sally-Anne had agreed that they should send their paper to Kurt's journal with the idea of getting it published as quickly as possible. But she was trying to persuade Watson that they should do some practical work based on the underlying idea.
"I've shown you my letter from the Jamaican government," she argued. "They are looking for advice on their chronic monetary problems, and we could have the answer. They're so hard up that they might take a chance on us. And if we could report a successful application, it would differentiate our product from Harry's. It could make for a really important paper. Alex would probably reprint it in a book of readings some time."
"That's fine in principle, Sally-Anne," Watson replied, 'but delivering the goods in Jamaica won't necessarily be easy."
"That's your problem," retorted Sally-Anne. "You're the expert in that area. And I've already told you what the main requirements are. You should try it out during the summer."
It won't work there, as I keep telling you," Watson "there are too many problems with the Jamaican economy. A bloke could get strung up. You try it if you want to risk it. But, in any case, our paper already includes some empirical evidence, based on the Blair government’s snafus. We just have to be careful not to claim too much for it."
“The fact remains that the main criticism of the paper by the reviewer was that the empirical tests were not sufficient. And that is your area."
With the issue unresolved, Sally-Anne went to work for a time in Paris, with the aim of polishing her French and adding to her already extensive wardrobe. Watson was left to negotiate with Kurt and his reviewer.
Sally-Anne was having too much fun to answer e-mails which reported proceedings. This didn't worry Watson, since it meant that untold hours were not spent haggling over particular small changes. Would the paper be accepted? That was the vital question, and the GradStudes did not have to wait long to learn the answer.
Chapter 6 linked here.
Return to index here.