Education: Tales Out Of School: Strange Stories from the Global Classroom

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The Independent Online
COURSES to die for (Vol VIII, No 2,345): First year students at the University of Leeds can rave on the intellectual roller coaster of late 20th century popular culture, with a module in pop music in the Nineties.

The party, sorry lecture, begins with the Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays in sunny Madchester, it then roves over ecstasy and the club scene before delving deep into the realm of Britpop.

There's Blur, Pulp and Elastica and the aesthetics of post-modern pastiche, issues of androgyny in Jarvis Cocker, Brett Anderson and PJ Harvey and there's the rise of girl power, from Madonna to the Spice Girls.

Bjork, Tricky and Beck also get a mention in a session on the popular avant garde.

There is no mention of practical criticism on the dance floor, but students, the course guide tells us, should "strive to keep up to date with current developments by reading magazines such as Mixmag, Q, Vox etc."

A 3,000-word essay is due by the end of the semester.

It's good to talk: Who ever said the spirit of intellectual debate is dead. The University of Southampton has done its bit to promote discourse with a new telephone system which has put 5,000 phones into student rooms. Calls across campus are free. The result: 18,000 calls a night - all no doubt concerning the finer points of that day's lectures and the next day's seminars.

Golden goose: A retired teacher in Alaska was astonished by what he found when he recently butchered a goose. Along with partially digested grass, Frank Kufel discovered glittering flakes of gold. He has found 12 flakes so far - about pounds 7-10 worth - some several millimetres long. Next spring he will try to find out where the goose ate the gold flakes. Originally trained as a geologist, Kufel used to mine gold and still goes panning. "I could work half a day and not get 12 pieces, he says.

Snorty Spice: A former professor at America's John Jay College of Criminal Justice has been charged with allegedly experimenting with heroin while conducting a federally funded study of the drug, and of using grant money to buy pop music CDs. The charges relate to a $3.1m federal grant awarded to the college to examine heroin use and distribution in the city. He is also charged with using grant funds for trips to Florida, Hawaii and Trinidad.

He allegedly bought CD playing equipment and discs by Mariah Carey, Abba, the Spice Girls, The Jackson Five, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and others.

Hamid allegedly said that he felt he was entitled to listen to music while working on his computer.