SANGER INSTITUTE BURNS NIGHT, February 2017

Another great ceilidh at the genome campus. We’ve lost count – over twenty anyway – they were still sequencing the fruit fly probably when we began with them way back in the eighties. The campus is now a space age university, with security so tight we had to be inducted on arrival. Not sure we got the answers about appropriate footwear entirely right …

Very enthusiastic and diverse audience of research scientists and friends, as always – and old friends from previous years. As usual, an inverse relation between the number of phds and the number understanding Greg’s instruction to rotate the set of four through 90 degrees (to be fair, most audiences struggle with this …).

Here they are stripping the willow in the Virginia Reel.


John the piper piped in the haggis and delivered the Address to a haggis, as in previous years, his performative elucidation of Burns’ Scots dialect as expressive as ever, particularly the Crocodile Dundee flourish of his sgian dubh!

The supper was very tasty, as ever – haggis, neaps and tatties, sticky toffee pudding with whisky custard. 

We heard a couple of new jokes from Greg. We enjoyed – “There are many versions of the eightsome reel – and this is no exception.”

Andrew gave a spirited rendition of Paddy McGinty’s Goat in the Belfast Duck hornpipe; then fell victim to a violent fit of the giggles calling The Willow Tree, after joking that the dance formation of the willow tree bore an uncanny resemblance to the real thing. 

The crowd danced till midnight, finishing with the Drops of Brandy. It gets faster every time. No time for Auld Lang Syne …

And a very nice couple bought two CDs! Happy Burns Night! And thanks as ever to Neil – lovely to see you again.

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About Andrew Burn

University College London Gower Street London WC1E 6BT
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