London Newspaper Group KNP 24-11-1978
By Christopher Long
The life of the reporter is not an easy one.
"Go and cover a demonstration at Imperial College," they said. "Someone reported there's one on this morning."
The vast South Kensington campus was remarkable for a lack of any sign of dispute in the sunny autumn air.
A group of students discussing the merits of an indisputably powerful motor-bike could not help. Looking around in all directions they could not see anything approaching a demonstration. "But," they offered helpfully, deducing volumes from my inky fingers and tatty reporter's notebook, "we could give a comment on the National Front. Or the Fascist Regimes?"
Not to be deterred I approached the main reception desk.
"What can I do you for?" asked the commissionaire, politely.
"I'm looking for a demonstration."
"Are you from the press?" he asked. "Where was it?"
"I don't know", I said.
"What was it about?"
"I don't know," I said.
"You don't know much," he said, reaching for an official looking document and running his finger down the list of entries.
"Well, here's one," he said. "Foreign students meeting at 8.30 this morning going to Manchester busload going to complain about discrimination against foreign students."
"I don't think it's that." I replied.
Walking round the block I met another group of students who seemed amazed that I couldn't find a demonstration. "Which one do you want," they said, as if I had only to open my eyes to see a dozen.
Not deterred I walked past an impressive-looking building with cars parked outside. On the windows were stickers.
"Negotiate Now!" demanded the stickers, which seemed to be directing their bright red wrath at the Rector.
"Ah ha a demonstration!" smelt my reporters' nose.
Another commissionaire stepped forward. He was obviously well-informed on all matters concerning disputes.
"Yes," he said. "ASTMS Technicians. Demonstrations about negotiations with the Rector."
"Where, where?" I asked, my pulse racing.
"Ah!" he said, "you've missed it!"
In the brisk autumn air, surrounded by hundreds of academically towering blocks, housing thousands of keen, questioning even rebellious? minds, was it unreasonable of me to feel that someone might have put on a demonstration for me?
After all, I was there.
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