FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA'S Apocalypse Now begins with the world-weary Captain Willard prising apart the hotel blinds on his first morning back in Vietnam. 'Shit. Saigon'. he murmurs. Wdlard came to mind when about four years ago I woke up at two in the morning in a British university town. Outside there was drunken pandemonium worthy of Bruegel: neon, rain, vomit and violence.
Stanford University is in northern California's Silicon Valley. Its campus covers 2,300 acres in a eucalyptus forest. The palm trees are more striking: there are hundreds of them, imported, rumour has it, at $35,000 a time. The main quadrangle consists of hacienda-style cloisters, with fountains, and dozens of Moores and