One two, one two...


As a general rule, I detest using a microphone when giving a lecture. For a small person, I have a reasonably big voice when required, and I can project to the back of the lecture theatres we have at work without much problem. I hate the fading in and out of the volume when you turn your head, and the general ‘tinny' timbre of a badly amplified voice.

However, I've got a filthy cold at the moment — my voice has become a whispery, scratchy thing — so I decided that I'd better give in and use the mic. We have an unwieldy thing which hangs around the neck on a stethoscope-like arrangement, attached to the front desk by a long wire in which I was constantly entangling myself. The only good thing that came of the whole sorry business was my accidental discovery a fail-safe method of rousing sleepy undergraduates in a 9am lecture: simply cough explosively into the microphone without muting the sound. I must say that I was gratified by the response. About half of the lecture theatre instantaneously rose about half a metre off their seats. That'll learn 'em.