Daniel: "Oh yeah, I've had that. I was cycling along Stevensbridge Road towards the roundabout in the outside lane because I was going right at the roundabout, and this van in the inside lane decided to change lanes. No indicator, no check in the mirror, or if he did see me he decided to just pull out and let me hit the side of him. I hate all road users. Pedestrians, drivers, other cyclists."
Alex: "But do you hate yourself?"
"There are almost certainly enough drivers who hate me already. You have to assume that every other road user is trying to kill you. It's usually true. There's plenty of hate to go around."
Mike: "I think they should just pedestrianise the whole place."
Alex: "They are. I heard they were going to do that. All the way up to Lower Long Street."
Mike: "No, I mean the whole UK. We should pave the whole place with cobbles and walk everywhere like the Romans. Starting with the M25."
Alex: "Where the speed limit is already effectively fifteen miles per hour in any case."
Adrian: "I suppose you could wait for civilisation to collapse and we all go back to horses and carts."
Alex: "And actually paint parking spaces on the London Orbital Car Park."
Mike: "Well why wait, let's just overthrow civilisation. It's the end of the year, are we any closer?"
Daniel: "I doubt it."
Alex: "I reckon we could overthrow the College. I have some contacts."
Naomi: "You 'have some contacts'?"
Alex: "I reckon. I reckon, I reckon. Get some people in the right place at the right time. Theoretically I could nick Sanjit's office keys and get in there any time I liked. I've been in myself enough times, I know where the box is for the rest of the keys to the rest of the building. Also, if I wanted, I could just fake emails from anybody's account so I could send something saying 'Hi, I'm abdicating, Alex is in charge from now on'. You'd be surprised."
Mike: "That's not surprising, it just means you have some keys. You haven't got a good reason. You need a motive."
Naomi: "Yes, let's all think of a motive for Alex to break into the College offices and trash them. He already has means and in another half hour he'll be ratted enough that he has the opportunity. The perfect drunken crime."
Adrian: "Didn't you already do that once?"
Naomi: "But you've been in protests and demonstrations that got a bit violent, right?"
Alex: "The worst thing I've seen happen was the riot in Trafalgar Square when XXXX was visiting, that got to national news."
Adrian: "But that wasn't you."
Alex: "That wasn't me, but I was standing next to the guy who threw the can of spraypaint that exploded. I mean, as soon he threw it. After that I basically grabbed my girlfriend of the time and we got the heck out of there and hid in a pub for the rest of the day. We were going before it hit the ground, basically. I mean, once people start throwing things, it's time to go and hide in the pub. My Mum says she did actually see me on the news but she forgot to tape it."
Adrian: "But what about the Foundry Way incident?"
Alex: "Uh. Uh. Well, basically: uh, that's a complicated story. Do you want to hear it?"
Mike: "Yeah, I want to hear it."
Adrian: "I've heard it but I want to hear it again because it's a good story."
Alex: "Oh nuts, drink! Aah. Okay. Foundry Way story. So a bunch of friends of mine from the XXXX group who don't go to college here were talking about coming up here to the science labs on Foundry Way. Now that's where the ChemEng labs are and it's also where the Biochem labs are. And you know the biochem students there do lab work on rats. (Students of all levels, not just the Ph.D.s and research students.) And they'd heard that they were also working on dogs and parrots and chimps. Now I don't like the work on rats. I think, as you know, that rats have as much of a right to life as any other living creature. But I had heard nothing about anything about chimps until, basically, a bunch of guys in a van turned up outside my door, and rang the bell downstairs. (This was last year when I was living elsewhere.) Now I had no idea who they were so I didn't open the door, and they buzzed it again, so I went down and asked them what was up, and they said they were from XXXX and wanted to come inside. Drink.
Alex: "I mean, this was in the middle of the day on the weekend and I had just come out with my keys and no coat or wallet or phone anything. And most of these guys looked like pretty serious guys. They had the hair and the clothes that you'd expect from the kind of people who-- well, they explained that there was this chimp inside the Foundry Way labs and they were looking to borrow my key."
Daniel: "Did you let them inside?"
Alex: "No, this was all out there in the yard. And basically I asked them why they wanted to borrow it, which was a pretty stupid question because I was just stalling because I was trying to figure out what to do. And there was no point claiming that I didn't have the key because stupidly I was standing there with all my keys in my hand and they were all looking at it.
"And they're serious-looking people and they're basically saying things like 'Come on, you're part of this' and 'We heard that they're going to vivisect it tomorrow' and 'You said you were okay with this earlier'. And I can't think but I am pretty sure that if there was a chimp in the labs somewhere I would not know about it because it's not something you broadcast. So I cave and I have to give them the real key because I don't have any keys which look real other than my door key. I mean it's that or the key for my bike lock or the lock on my store cupboard in the kitchen up the hall and they don't look right.
"So I hand that over and go inside and go upstairs and think: hang on a minute. Uh, drink."
Alex: "That's drink, drink. I thought 'hang on a minute', not 'drink'. Actually I did think 'drink', but that was later. I think, 'what does anybody at XXXX know about this?' and I check the groups and the forum and the mailing list and there's very little other than a guy called Alex who does actually study at the Foundry Road lab and they must have wanted him instead, but looked up the wrong address in whatever directory they looked it up. So I phoned campus security and told them what was up, and then I phoned the reception desk at Foundry Road, they weren't in, so I left a message, and campus security phoned the police and caught them all trying to break in that night, and took them to court. I gave a statement to the police but didn't have to turn up in court and they basically got about six months each."
Mike: "So you didn't actually fight them all head on? I was hoping for a fight scene."
Daniel: "I was hoping for something clever, like you went with them and locked them in some room and then phoned the police."
Alex: "The number of things I thought of doing afterwards. I mean, I could have just led them in and gone 'whoops, there's no chimp, maybe you were misinformed'. I was tempted to go with them and say 'I'll stay in the van' and then steal their van and call the police."
Alex: "Drink. So at the end of it all I guess I care more about university property than poor exploited chimps."
Mike: "Then you're no use to use for overthrowing the world. You could, but you wouldn't."
Alex: "I would! But not for the benefit of crazy people."
Mike: "What would you overthrow the world for?"
Daniel: "I think the world will probably overthrow itself if you give it long enough."
Naomi: "The world is a continuous state of overthrowing itself."
Daniel: "That's what I mean."
Alex: "Yeah, but when's the next revolution in this country? Basically never, right?"
Adrian: "Probably the robot revolution."
Mike: "Highly unlikely."
Naomi: "Why not?"
Mike: "Oh, there's a million reasons why not. Pick one."
Adrian: "Artificial intelligence is much further along than you might think."
Alex: "Artificial intelligence has been fifty years in the future for the last hundred years."
Adrian: "No, weak A.I. is around now. Strong A.I. is getting very close. Ten years from now computers will be fast enough to simulate a human brain properly."
Mike: "Sure, if by 'computers' you mean 'the total of every microprocessor in the world'."