Somewhere amongst my souvenirs I’m sure I have a dusty photo of John Cleese but for now it is lost without trace and so I’ll have to make do with this one from Wikipedia. But this is how he looked in 1971, when I was still a first year student (yes, for those who like the lingo that’s a bejantine,) and he was installed as Rector.
The Rector’s role (I’ve only just discovered the position is unique to the old Scottish universities) is to represent the student body on the university court or governing body, but Cleese’ election, slap bang in the Monty Python era (previous incumbents being more worthy than hip) was a breath of fresh air and his actual installation yet another excuse for celebration and general mucking about.
In fact Cleese, as promised, took his role seriously and made changes that are still in place today. He also started a trend for appointments from entertainment and the media. The current Rector, Kevin Dunion is from the world of politics but looks to me to be doing all the right things.
In 1971 John Cleese still had Fawlty Towers and A Fish Called Wanda ahead of him, but I next ran into him in my first job when his Video Arts films were hot property for all our Business and Management Courses. Like Cleese himself, now on a U.K. Tour, they’re still around. And I bet they’re still funny.