Rex's colleague E. is in town to give a talk and hang out with the other specialists in their field. The last time we saw him was at a conference held in Italy last summer. The conference was apparently pretty good (I spent the three days looking at art, naturally) but the conference dinner was a bust. It cost 54 euros per head and was held at a fifteenth-century palazzo and garden. The setting was extraordinary but the dinner was a sad buffet of macrobiotic food served on paper plates (with earnest explanations of what tofu was: I'm not sure who thought it was necessary to explain tofu to a bunch of anthropologists and cultural studies people). We were not provided with any tables or anywhere to sit down, so everybody was milling about trying to balance their paper plates and their disposable wine cups. At one point E. came up to Rex and said:
"Fifty-four euros, Rex. Fifty-four euros!! For fifty-four euros, I want a PIECE OF MEAT, and a CHAIR."