LinkedIn brought me a re-connection with a university flatmate from 1973-1975. He lamented the absence of mementos from the period, due to his ex girlfriend taking them with her after they split.
I brainstormed this list of memes reflecting life of a kiwi student in the early 1970s at Massey University.
Fresh sunday bread and honey
Great feasts…. When the TAB (horse betting) payoff to Ronald and Jones paid out bigtime.
Battered lambs brains … with battered parsnips and carrots.
The Goon show
… Tough? You think that’s tough! I remember when….
Monty Python’s Flying Circus
Stanley Kubrick movies
2001 A Space Odyssey
A Clockwork Orange
Let it be
The Massey drama society Shakespeare productions
Lord of the Rings
Black and white tv
Days of our lives
The glittering prizes
Roasting chestnuts on an open fireplace
The Massey Technosoc Scroll
B.Tech and The Technocrats
100 watt. Yamaha stereo systems
Pogus’ 3 watt valve amp (mono!)
Hitchhiking to Wellington for NZSO concerts
Mahler and Shostakovich
Herbert von Karajan
$2.00 for a Chinese dinner
Security intelligence service
Wanganui Police computer
End of national conscription
NZ exits Viet Nam war … a precursor to exiting ANZUS a dozen years later.
NZ opens diplomatic relations with China
Mao and Joe Walding
Death of Norman Kirk
Our first time voting in a national election
The Values Party (The world’s first ‘Green party’, according to Alvin Toffler)
RAS Rob Shirley and his territorial army/weekend warrior recruits
NZUSU sports festival
Blue jeans and tea shirts
A toilet glued down (with Araldite?) somewhere on the Palmerston North Square
Anarchic disruption of the Massey Anarchists foundation meeting
The Mini on top of the vet tower
The Austin Fairline? Sheerline? Whatever… A huge grey Rolls Royce-sized car that Mac owned?
Bob Doran’s PLI programming puzzles
Boxes of punch cards
Operating systems and compilers
Algol v PLI
Two brands of beer Lion and DB … and occasionally Tui
A flagon of port
Veluto Rosso wine
Montana Sauternes or was it McWilliams?
… And that was pretty much the choice of wines!
Bursary and schol
Summer work in the abattoirs or hay paddocks
The court hostels
Terms and finals
Jones and his once per term clothes washing expedition … home
Jones and his pet mouse
Crun and Pog
Gus the black samoid dog
Hoop, Helen and Noon. Alyson. Rob Kay. Nev Jeans. Pramda L. Ronald L. Phil J.
Pogic - Peter’s creative logic
Bachelor of Technology students at Massey University, 1973
(Author: top right)
I remember watching the series The Glittering Prizes on tv (Fredrick Raphael). (Clearly, whilst I was doing postgraduate studies in the late 1970s) Similar to the book I have just started reading (Faulks: Engleby) it was set in the then contemporary period of the fifties through the seventies following the progress of Oxbridge graduates get jobs. Get married. Have affairs. Have crises.Tom Conti was one of the actors. I recall the events seemed absolutely fantastic compared with our lives and how we imagined they might unfold. In the ‘unbelievable fantasy’ sense of the word. Incredible. Ten years later (I guess) I re-read the book and it all seemed far more credible and close to home! strange. I can’t recall any other tv programs we might have watched. Perhaps the tv blew up and or we didn’t watch tv much.
To start at the very top of the list you might recall that -music was stored employing scratches inflicted on disks of black polyvinyl chloride. When a student flat possessed 100 LPs it would arrange a continuous playing of the 100 said lps commencing mid Friday afternoon interspersed with grog and greasies (Beer, fish, and chips). At 45 mins per LP I estimate 75 hours. A long sleepless weekend! Perhaps just one side for each LP? Hence ‘thon’, an abbreviation of marathon.
I recall that for our thon held at The Wynd (88 Grey Street. Now flattened and replaced with an office block) I was restricted to play just one side only from my 14 volume set of Mahler Von Karajan symphonies. Can’t think why! Probably the fifth, since I was proceeding through all the great composer’s fifth symphonies at that time. Try it sometime!
I think we invented Multinational Monopoly during our thon. Multinational Monopoly required two Monopoly boards and required two full time bankers who adjusted financial parameters such as the salary level, financial transactions tax rate on each board and the travel fare between each board. Each banker’s aim was to increase the wealth of ‘their’ citizens as they traveled form country to country buying properties and collecting rents. We never finished a game as I recall.
Hope this brings back interesting memories for any Massey student from the 70s.
The ch**** mile.
Curious. My Zemanta blog-writing helper makes no connection with the NZ Values Party, Waddington’s Monopoly, Sebastian Faulks, Monty Python, or the Goon Show.
During the August holidays, I rested myself from the rigours of school by taking part in a course in Electronic Data Processing (EDP) in Auckland. The week, held by International Business Machines for 7th formers, was an introduction to the workings of the computer industry.
Our classroom, with all sorts of modcons such as whiteboards, air-conditioning, big, soft swivel chairs … contained our course manager (teacher), ten other males, and four young ladies from the upper-part of the North Island. We were certainly a mixed bunch: from the fanatic mathematician who had “swallowed” a book on programming, and who wrote computer programmes all day, to scholars of French and Geography. (A survey in the United States indicated that people with University Degrees in Latin or Music make the best programmers!).
Work began straight from nine o’clock Monday on an informal basis. Our mental and physical capacities were exercised in many ways: eating chocolate biscuits and drinking coffee, for example, as well as less important items such as theoretical and practical programming experience; looking at these MACHINES (intelligent morons), and their entourage of systems controllers, operators and engineers in operation; flow charting; the business aspect of the industry; a couple of films; and careers.
I enjoyed the week very much - there was a lot to keep me occupied. I came away with a five centimetre thick wad of computer printout from my programmes. (Free wall paper!) The people were a gay [!] lot. One person was rather upset when he found the words:
You’ve Boobed Again You Idiot
in his computer printout. (Remember the fanatic who was sitting next to me?) One of the girls received a prize for the most concise summary of the week:
What a Load of Rubbish
Other people devised programmes which would not stop until the embarrassed operator had answered in a particular way to such questions as:
I love the Programmer? Yes or No
The computer industry is a young industry: a rapidly enlarging and changing industry. Contrary to most businesses, two hundred million dollars today buys a lot more than it did yesterday. A computer engineer spends a fifth of his time learning and relearning about his work. Programmers, the people who tell those machines what to do must continually revise their skills as faster, more effective and efficient machines are developed. A person who goes into EDP will certainly not find a ceiling to his potentialities, nor a routine syndromic job, lacking in stimulation.
Considering myself, though, I cannot fit the job into my way of life. I’m a more come-and-go as I please type of person.
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I arrived for my first week at university following an eight-hour car drive with several school-mates. I recall my luggage and bicycle had been dispatched from the Cambridge railway station to Palmerston North several weeks earlier.
The second day of lectures was long. The day commenced with an applied microbiology lab at 8 a.m. and a biochemistry lab that concluded at 6 p.m. An engineering laboratory concluded the week which required a further five to six hours of Saturday to write up. Fortunately, there were just a dozen of these reports to complete through the year.
I recall having around 35 - 40 hours of contact per week: Eight courses with two hours of lectures and two or three hours of laboratories per week. Some courses, such as statistics and calculus had exercise tutorials. We technology students felt a little hard done in comparison with the arts students who had contact loads of about 20 hours per week. Their large reading and essay writing loads that meant little to us white-booted ‘techies’.
The computing course required us to submit our programmes on punch cards. Computing resources were strictly rationed with a focus on ‘getting in right first time’. There was a limit on the number of CPU seconds, line-flow, and program submissions. One campus computer. No Visual Display Unit (VDU) terminals for undergraduates. No personal computers. An electronic calculator in some laboratories. We used our engineering slide rule for conducting calculations for which we received several hours instruction. I purchased my first calculator for my fourth year of studies. By that stage, I had also been granted privileged access to a precursor to the personal computer: a Digital PDP-8 computer. “8” standing for 8 Kbyte of memory. I used this machine to assist with the calculations for my laboratories - and to program the matchstick game ‘Nim’.
The eight courses extended throughout the full year, broken into three terms. My academic mentor checked my progress towards the end of the first term. I suspect I reported I was on top of matters but felt it a bit unfair to have tests immediately after the two week study break. I now tell my own students the answer I received: that a ‘study break’ is a break FOR study.
At times the workload did seem daunting. However, I recall being reassured when I looked up at the ivy-encrusted Old Main Building in which we conducted our microbiology experiments. I thought of those students who had survived their studies, and I thought also of my inspiration, radioactivity scientist Marie Curie.
I recall some textbooks were useful in supporting our studies: chemistry, biochemistry, and statistics in particular. An added extra resource was available for statistics and calculus: the extra-mural study guides. Only in later years in my social science courses such as psychology and economics did I need to read the texts for exam purposes. For the engineering courses, all tests and exams were drawn from material presented in the course lectures. And lectures were not explicitly related to specific sections of the textbooks. Most of my texts were resold prior to the next year’s studies. I still possess my two engineering textbooks, a statistics text, and a quality control text. I do recall finding the university libary an uninteresting source of light reading: mostly Jane Eyre genre. Not like the massive science fiction library on the shelves of Massachusetts Institute of Technology that later impressed me during my post-doc in 1983.
Was my first year a typical university first year? Like many first year students at Massey I stayed in the on-campus hostels (City Court), meeting new out-of-town students, and discovering new genre of music. I pumped out my new discoveries of Mahler and Shostakovitch symphonies on my home-made single valve 1 Watt ECL-86 amplifier. We engaged in the usual antics: re-arranging a student’s bedroom into the courtyard and inter-hostel water fights.
I had little need to visit town as the campus was self-sufficient in food and a weekly movie. Usually $10 would need to last me the last two weeks of the term. For reference, a Chinese take-way meal was $2.00. I usually ate a huge breakfast and dinner, and scavenged leftover breakfast toast and jam for lunch. I sang in the Palmerston North Choral Society, and in a unique stage production - Te Papaoia - that recounted - apparently controversially - the history of the city and its surrounding districts. With a new-found musically-inclined friend, I joined his flat after the first term of my second year.
My first year was different in several respects from most students. Having gained a university scholarship, I requested and was granted direct entry to second year classes. Consequently, I joined classes of 20 - 50 students, rather than the larger first year classes comprising several hundred students. Most of my classmates were two or three years older than I was, but I soon became known as the swot of the class, gaining high marks especially in engineering, chemistry, computing classes.
Before I commenced my second year, I undertook a 12-week placement in a factory in Upper Hutt: Tasman Vaccine Laboratories (TVL). The plant manager loaned me the writings of management guru Peter Drucker and Douglas McGreggor. Those readings and various discussions with the senior scientist lead me to switch my major from biotechnology to industrial management.
The persistent pace and workload of my first year of tertiary study lead me to refine my already well-disciplined approach to study. I balanced time with recreational singing, social activities and personal music listening. I maintained fitness with an exercise programme similar to 5BX and squash, but did not engage in a sports team. It would have been quite impossible to hold a part time job, but I did take employment during the ‘study breaks’ and summer break. I worked in a timber yard pulling orders one year.
See also: How can students be prepared for Practice-Based Learning? A reflection http://pogus.tumblr.com/post/989695576/pbl
Peter J Mellalieu matriculated for a Bachelor of Technology at Massey University, Palmerston North in 1973 commencing a biotechnology major. In 1976 he graduated with first class honours in industrial management and engineering.