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A very special Happy New Year from people you hardly know

Yes, that's right. In an exciting new venture, we are devoting this edition of The Poppletonian to New Year messages from some of those loyal servants of the university who labour away without the kind of recognition or thanks that we extend to better-known figures on campus.

Deputy Head of University Signage: Mike Doppel

Hello everybody. Last year was a big year for all of us at Signage. We dismantled the extensive "To the Philosophy Department" signs that littered the campus, and we successfully sandblasted the traditional "Humanities Faculty" inscription from the front of the newly designated Department of Marketing.

We were also responsible for greatly enlarging the size of the vice-chancellor's name wherever it appeared in pre-existing university signage and for designing the "Damas" and "Caballeros" toilet signage for the newly established Platos Fantasticos Hub in David Willetts College.

Let's hope that 2013 is another wonderful year for Signage and for all at Poppleton. Everything certainly "points" that way!

Extraordinary Visiting Professor: J.T. Bluntschli

I'm very grateful for this opportunity to address my new colleagues at your munificent university. In my role as SAREFB Professor (Specially appointed highly paid research excellence framework booster), I will of course have nothing whatsoever to do with actual teaching or administration and will never be physically present on your campus at any time during the next 12 months. But although this means that I will never have the pleasure of meeting any of you face to face, be assured that you'll be very much in my mind when I draw my extraordinarily large monthly cheque.

Happy New Year to everyone at Thing-a-ma-bob University.

PS. To the editor. I'm sure you'll agree that in the circumstances there is little point in enclosing the requested personal photograph.

Justin Fetterling: Head of Alternative Medicine

I very much welcome this chance to say "hello" to everyone. Even though Alternative Medicine remains one of the most popular undergraduate courses at Poppleton, we have made a conscious effort to stay out of the limelight following the bad publicity and spate of juvenile jokes that attended our decision to develop a master's degree in the fundamentals of colonic irrigation. But now that is all behind us, we can look forward to an exciting and "alternative" 2013.

One small point. Last week our departmental website published an alternative medicine cure for a seasonal hangover. An error in transcription meant that the amount of frog sperm required to accompany the leg of lizard was overstated by a factor of 100. I hope this now clarifies the recipe.

Poet-in-Residence: Marcia Flowering

Hello campus poetry lovers. My little volume of short verses, Pick a Peck of Poppletons, will be published by Solipsist Press early in the New Year, but meanwhile here's what my new live-in partner, Janet, likes to call "a taster":

December is fading away

There's a new year coming your way

All frustrations drowned

With the chill of cold around

As the New Year rises array (sic Ed.)

Everyone say hip hip hurrah.

You know, I think that says it all. Don't you?

lolsoc@dircon.co.uk.

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