GG's lecture was advertised to start at 7pm. At 5:15pm, while I was setting up the drinks and food for the pre-lecture reception which we had in the studio of Idlewild Press, I got a phone call from, I think, this man.* I can't honestly swear to the name but that was the organisation. As I struggled up the stairs of the Nicholas Building clutching trays of vegetarian sushi, phone tucked between ear and shoulder, images of Mike Moore's toupee swum through my head, interspersed with flashes of Steve Irwin manfully wrestling a crocodile, Diana being a devious moron, finished off with John Safran and Shane Paxton going through Ray Martin's rubbish bin.
I'm fairly confident the conversation went more or less like this:
ACA: So, Laura, this 'lecture' Ms G's doing today. It's OK for us to come and film it I assume?
LC: Oh no, it's not OK, you see, Professor G has put a great deal of work into her lecture and we want to preserve the integrity of her intellectual property in case she wants to publish it in some form in the future. There will not be any photography or recording allowed in the theatre. But I'd be delighted to see you there, if you have a ticket. It's sold out. All the seats are sold.
ACA: No ticket. But what about the other journalists who'll be there? They'll be recording.
LC: No, they won't. They might take notes, you know, Pitman's and stuff.
ACA: Taking notes is recording.
LC: No it isn't. It's taking notes.
LC: But thank you so very much for your interest in Jane Austen. It's really gratifying to know that a national investigative journalism program recognises the significance of Austen's writing for the modern world.
ACA: Yes. It's very unusual to not allow recording in a lecture, what's the reason for that?
LC: It's not that unusual. I don't let people record my lectures. Only the University.
ACA: But what's the point of having it if we can't film it!?
LC: ....Well.... the six hundred and fifty people who've bought tickets to come along and listen to Professor G speak for an hour on Jane Austen, they can probably see a point. It's not often you get to hear a world-class Australian intellectual discuss Jane Austen before her home-town audience. I think there is plenty of point. Not before Jane's home-town audience, I mean.
ACA: But imagine if six million people could see it, what about that. You're depriving them of their chance. Their only chance.
LC: Yes I suppose so. But how wonderful that you think six million Australians are interested in hearing about Jane Austen! She's popular, but I never would have thought she had that many fans! Do you think I should look for some extra tutors for the Jane Austen seminar next year?
ACA: Goodnight Laura.
LC: Goodnight! And thank you very much for your call.