It's not often you hear senior educationists coming out with references to late 1980searly 1990s youth culture. Maybe this is the beginning of a worrying trend.
The location was a converted aircraft hangar on the outskirts of Northampton, itself an unlikely venue for a conference on school improvement, and a source of comment among speakers.
One was Kevin Wallis, a development manager for the private contractor Edison Learning, which has just gone into partnership with Northamptonshire's schools and the local authority to try to raise standards. Mr Wallis said: "I'm from Sheffield. The last time I remember being somewhere like this was a barn just outside Doncaster, but that was for an illegal rave. I don't have any pictures."
Sadly, no one felt the urge to respond with the blast of a whistle or to wave their hands in the air.