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September 19, 2010

Comments

Richard J

Data point: I went to my college's Gaudy earlier this year for 94-96 matriculants, which is about the stage in life that you get a fairly good idea of whether it's turned out ok for them, and also a sample set that has a bias away from the extremes to the norm. It was actually quite surprising how many had recently (voluntarily or otherwise) quit consultancy-type jobs, and were now doing socially worthwhile stuff. Most people would have been in the higher-rate band, true, but only just.

(Looking at my two closest friends from uni days, one earns £30k-ish, t'other is about three bosses from the head of a very large investment bank. I'm definitely higher-rate, but much closer to the first than the other...)

ajay

Hmm. Seems like Richard was up at exactly the same time as I was. Gaudy for my lot revealed lots who had stayed in academia, which may involve power but not really money...

Cian

Oxford/Cambridge students don't really slum it though, do they? Compared to most students they are doing very nicely. Subsidised rent, food, beer. Excellent facilities. Good access to summer jobs. I think most students there are aware of this. And actually compared to most people their age, they are also very privileged. Even now with student loans.

My experience of having a Cambridge degree is that while it might not be a meal ticket exactly, it helps. Its tipped the balance for two job applications (for well paid, upper tax, blah, blah), and an application for DPhil funding. Its definitely an edge, and not really one I've deserved.

Richard J

What cian said - certainly the thought of paying for London living costs was what tipped the balance between UCL/Oxford for me.

(Also, to be fair, the 2 E offer.)

Phil

Cian? ajay? skidmarx?

Did anyone here not go to Oxbridge?

Richard J

It's always struck me that, more than any other field I know of, the UK political blogosphere has an enormous Oxbridge contingent.

ajay

It must be that legendarily unshakeable sense of our own superiority.

Richard J

I'd go for the tutorial/supervision system selecting/producing (which way round causality works I don't know) people able to bullshit fluently without knowing anything about a topic.

jamie

For the record: a couple of months in 1982 "studying" English Lit at UCL, followed by the Media Studies course at what used to be Polytechnic of Central London - the very same course that Charlie Brooker dropped out of a few years later.

Which means that to the extent that comments add value to a blog, then you're all working for Polytechnic Boy from Stoke.

Richard J

Which means that to the extent that comments add value to a blog, then you're all working for Polytechnic Boy from Stoke.

It's relevant to note, I think, that comments threads are most active during UK office hours.

Chris Williams

Jesus, ajay, you are wise beyond your years: I'd guess you're running at about 940 microharrowells at this point.

By the way, Richard, £30k ish puts you nicely up the scale of the UK's income distribution: 91% of the way up, says the IFS.

Richard J

By the way, Richard, £30k ish puts you nicely up the scale of the UK's income distribution: 91% of the way up, says the IFS.

God, yes. But in London it puts you pretty much bang on average... (Distorted sample set, I know.)

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_labour/ASHE-2009/tab7_7a.xls

Richard J

The huge median/mean distortion in London full-time male salaries tells its own story, I think.

ajay

I'd guess you're running at about 940 microharrowells at this point.

Thanks - with assiduous work I plan to make it up to a milliharrowell soon.

Richard J

If I've cyberstalked the man enough, isn't Alex significantly (ie. a few years) younger than most of us anyway?

ajay

Yes, ISTR him mentioning a 30th birthday fairly recently.

Cian

There's also the fact that 30K will buy you fuck all, housing wise.

Phil I went to Robinson college, so I'm not sure it strictly counts as going to Cambridge...

Cian

Yeah, but its all down hill once you get past 30 though. Eyesight goes, small kids means that you're lucky to get more than 6 hours sleep, you only have to so much look at a glass of wine and you get a hangover. Your wife asks you why exactly you have all those shelves filled with arcane military specs, and wouldn't this make a great playroom. And then one day you wake up and realise that you have no idea what Arcade Fire are, or why you're supposed to care. You got old maaan.

Seriously, I give Alex like six months and he'll be like the rest of us.

Richard J

Your wife asks you why exactly you have all those shelves filled with arcane military specs, and wouldn't this make a great playroom

Having spent this weekend weeding out 200 books to go to charity shops, I can attest to the truth of this.

Chris Williams

I'm 42 and thus in a position to warn you striplings that is the year that your knees go.

Sorry Ajay - for micro read milli, and blame my anti-numerate post-16 education, in which British culture led to the decline of my industrial spirit.

ajay

Chris, that's great news - would never have thought that my knees have another nine years to go after the grief I've given them...on the other hand, I've been asking things like "who are arcade fire?" for years now.

Phil

What is an Arcadia Fire?

Jakob

A non-Oxbridge datapoint from a lurker and very occasional commenter: Imperial and University of Manchester, and I apparently have a while yet before my knees give out.

ajay

Et in arcadia ignus, Phil. (chortles donnishly)

dsquared

I am but a poor barefoot boy from the London Business School. And Oxford, obviously, that goes without saying.

I think Coldplay were the first band that I went through the normal media cycle of having vague interest in, to ignoring, to actually hating, to making the contrarian case for a positive re-evaluation of, all without ever either hearing a note they played, or even considering the possibility of doing so. It's strangely relaxing.

Richard J

The Pete Doherty saga was my Coldplay, except with the last stage being replaced by a basic human sympathy, rather than a defense of the music (which seemed to be a meat and potatoes retrash of the Clash, AFAICT.)

Now, these days, I've got into 20th century classical and Wagnerian opera, which, to my delight, offers so many opportunities for indie-style oneupmanship it's unreal. Not only do you have the 'I like a more obscure composer than you' game, there's the next level of 'that's not the best recording', but, for advanced players, there's 'that's not [performer X]'s best version of [piece Y]'. 'Sall good.

Richard J

For 'retrash' read 'retread' or 'rehash', of course.

ejh

I hope your interst in twentieth century classical music stops at the point it became genuinely shit instead of merely challenging.

(Did anybody see that LRB piece about the first performance of 4′33″? Some chap got up at the end and said "folks, let's run these people out of town". Deserves to be as well-known as the cries of "Judas", except this time the heckler was right.)

Cian

Early bid for Ollie Kamm's crown there by Justin...

Touch sarcky I know, but there is more to late C20th classical music than John Cage, or Stockhausen, or whoever your villains are. Its a bit like saying that C20th literature became shit, and then being nasty about Finnegan's Wake.

Cian

I don't think I've ever heard a song by Pete Doherty. Coldplay on the other hand are so fucking ubiquitous that even if you think you're ignoring them, it seeps in through ambient sound in shops, adverts, tv programmes...

I've had problems with my knees since my teens. Yoga helps. Sitting at a desk really doesn't.

ejh

Funnily enough, in just a few minutes I have to perform Eric Carle's From Head To Toe.

"I am a camel and I bend my knees. Can you do it?" "I can do it."

They creak all evening afterwards, but I can still bend 'em.

Richard J

I think I draw the line (unheard) at Cornelius Cardew. The LRB article on him a year or two back tried valiantly to make him sound like a significant cultural milestone, but
really.

ejh

Its a bit like saying that C20th literature became shit, and then being nasty about Finnegans Wake.

Yeah, but Joyce also wrote Ulysses. Whereas the pretentious wankers didn't, and there were loads of them all over the shop.

Maxwell-Davies on Orkney? Not fucking remote enough.

dsquared

Harry Partsch is pretty much the cusp for me - "US Highball" in the Kronos Quartet version is good for annoying the wife, but "Delusions of the Fury" is just a little bit too annoying.

Pretentious wank?. I am not sure that your command of twentieth century music in general, or of the work of Peter Maxwell-Davies in particular, is actually as complete as all that.

Actually, thinking about it, this is a really bad example. If you don't like something like this then fair enough, but it's not something that could be credibly characterised as some wild and strange departure from a load of previous accessible classical music that you did like.

dsquared

Actually, even Cornelius Cardew ... I had never heard him either and apparently the improvised stuff is - well, it's like most other free improvisation. But searching through Youtube, that archive of otherwise totally unavailable stuff turns up a lot of totally unobjectionable piano pieces and this, which is rather nice I think.

ajay

It all started to go downhill with the invention of the pianoforte, to be honest. No one's done much of note since then.

Richard J

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kok-dZbOqUg&feature=related

(The one video I've ever uploaded to Youtube.) Strangely listenable.

Richard J

It all started to go downhill with the invention of the pianoforte

It's just occurred to me what a bloody stupid name the quietloud has.

Matthew

Back on income, I'm not sure how rigorous this study is but in the main it supports Justin, I think (only 4 years on, but £30k average)

http://www.careers.ox.ac.uk/?o=4900

I tend to agree with him on a personal basis, I'd think four/fifths of the Oxford graduates I know well enough to make a stab at guessing this sort of thing were HRT at the age of 30. But sex (mostly male) and degree choice (mostly PPE) probably means that's on the high side of typical.

dsquared

It's just occurred to me what a bloody stupid name the quietloud has

no dafter than the "little big viol".

ajay

Well, the average graduate earns £25k in his or her first job.
http://targetjobs.co.uk/careers-advice/choosing-an-employer/salary-faqs

So £30k with a degree plus four years' experience isn't exactly ludicrously high, is it?

ejh

Well, the average graduate earns £25k in his or her first job.

Not really what that link says, if you scroll on a bit (though having failed even to click on Jamie's link yesterday I'm not perhaps the one to say so).

Chris Williams

The killer fact from the Oxford Uni leavers report is this:

"89%-96% of Oxford graduates 2004/2005 were satisfied with their career during the 3.5 years since graduation."

OK, I'd need comparative hard data from Poppleton U to measure this against, but I would bet a tenner that Oxford lies at the very high end of the distribution for this question.

ajay

ejh: good point, I stand corrected.

Jakob

I don't know what the current stats are, but a couple of years ago the median graduate starting salary was £16K or so; given the state of the economy over the past few years I'd think it was still well under £20K.

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