Hi internets! Once again, I have blogospherical anxieties, which is why you’re not hearing much from me. Sorry about that.
In lieu of serious blogular thoughts, let me tell you about one of the more fabulous activities undertaken recently by our new Centre director, Juanita Ruys. She, along with three other Sydney Uni academics from disparate disciplines (Classical Archaeology; Entomology; Sexology/Sexual Health), recently made her stand-up comedy debut – not in a tiny bar or comedy competition, as most comedians do, but to a packed house at the Sydney Festival.
The evening was loosely themed around sex, and I’d already heard Juanita speak at an Alumni function about demonic sex, so really, how could I not go? A grand total of four medievalists were present, against vast hordes of biologists and a small clutch of Health Sciences folk (no classicists in evidence, either).
I may be biased, but I’m pretty sure medieval demons are funnier than classical archaeology, insects, or modern sex therapy (although that last one runs pretty close, if only because Patricia Weerakoon is completely adorable and was taking such joy in public speaking you had to giggle and grin back at her). Juanita – who I normally know as a fairly shy person – was absolutely brilliant on stage, and is pleased to announce that she’s the first person ever to cite William of Auverne in stand-up comedy.
Many jokes of varying degrees of smuttiness and erudition were made. For instance, Juanita noted that the word incubus means ‘the one who lies above’, and asked the audience why a woman needs to go to the demonic realm to find a man who’ll fall asleep on top of her. Ba-dum-dum tish. We were all advised not to model our sex lives on those of insects, because it’s rarely a good idea to impale your prospective partners. Patricia Weerakoon told us all that she’s up for review during the current staff cull, and wonders whether sex is irrelevant to the University of Sydney, or if the university community is too good at it to need her advice anymore.
And from Dr. Craig Barker, who heads up the Australian excavations at Nea Paphos, Cyprus, we learned that there’s a particular spot at the back of an ancient Greek theatre which, if you fling your voice right, will make a massive vibrating echo all around the ampitheatre. Dr Barker was pleased to inform us that during his team’s excavation of the theatre at Nea Paphos, the first word in about 2000 words to be projected in that space in this manner was a loud and resounding “FUCK”, from the site cook, who’d dropped something heavy on his foot while crossing the stage on an errand.
The University of Sydney has been doing assorted things over the last few years to improve its profile in and integration with the community – I’m not sure who came up with this particular idea, but they deserve a pat on the back. Funny, nerdy, and in the heart of the Sydney Festival. My idea of fun, basically.