On a cold winter’s night, the crowds pouring into the Examination Schools show that this is the only place to be in Oxford tonight. Simon Armitage is to give his inaugural lecture as the Professor of Poetry. The entire arts faculties and studentship seem to be here – next to me, a studious girl sits immersed in Racine’s Phèdre, her eyes never straying from the page; academic gowns dot the room. Hundreds of people are all buzzing with anticipation. This is Oxford University’s version of a rock concert.