The laughter behind him was raucous. Everyone seemed to be talking about Professor Kaiser. Alan looked at the girl with the loudest voice. Her hair was short, died tartan. A matching red, blue and yellow butterfly was etched into her throat. He took a deep breath. 'Who's Professor Kaiser?' he said.
'Oh, you mean Professor Mackay!' said the girl. 'Kaiser's his pet name. He doesn't know, though!'
'Who is he?' said Alan.
The girl looked at him as if he were an imbecile. Or senile. 'He's the main lecturer on the bemuse course?' she said. She sounded Australian, via Bearsden.
'The what?' he said.
'The bemuse course,' she said. 'Bachelor of Music. BMus?'
'What?' Alan laughed, and cast an eye over the audience. 'Is everyone here a music student?'
'Yes,' she said. 'So what?'