It is 25 years since Jon Connell, an old friend of John Bodie (C 44-48), founded The Week. To mark the occasion, Connell Guides has published Notes and Quotes, a collection of Jon’s favourite quotations, interspersed with a few longer extracts, the odd anecdote and the occasional piece of poetry.
One such fun anecdote features a visit Jon made to Bradfield to speak to a gathering of teachers held at the College.
My new series of short books is aimed at time-pressed autodidacts, people who want to learn but find the prospect of reading 700 pages daunting. So how to promote them? I visited schools with the guides to spread the word, and once went to beautiful Bradfield College, near Reading, to address a small group of Heads of English. On the grounds that showing beats telling I brought along a suitcase full of guides to impress them with.
Standing up to speak, I heaved the suitcase on to the table. But when I opened it, I was shocked, indeed amazed, to find that it contained not books but an assortment of women’s clothing – knickers, bras, shirts, trainers. Somehow I’d managed to leave the train at Reading not with my own suitcase but with someone else’s – one which looked identical. Whether my unfortunate fellow passenger ever retrieved her clothes from Left Luggage at Paddington I never discovered – but I owe her a debt. The teachers present still talk about the occasion. It was an effective piece of marketing but sadly not a trick I can repeat.