The nights are drawing in. The students are back in town. And, let’s face it, it’s been a while since you’ve taken out your shatterproof ruler and protractor. Or, for that matter, sweated over an iambic pentameter. So don’t let these floppy haired interlopers outsmart you.

And by that, we don’t mean ‘play more Million Pound Drop online’. We mean actually use your brain.

This is the time of year our thoughts turn to night school – so, after a cursory glance at a few prospectuses (prospectii?) we’ve enrolled on a few after-dark activities to get our grey matter pumping again.

But, in our quest, a curious hypothesis emerged. And we’re not afraid to posit it. Seems to us, if you really want to understand where our city’s at, what our hopes are, where our real passions lie: you’ve only got to look at what we’re studying in our spare time. Let’s face it, anything that peels us off the sofa on a wet Tuesday night in October, and part with up to £400 has got to offer something more than a pub quiz and a pint.

Last year, a record 40,000 of us enrolled on some kind of evening educational. A nice little earner for our beleaguered educational establishments. But, increasingly, evening classes are teaching us more about who we are. Let’s face it, these courses only exist because of supply and demand. No enrollments, no Conversational Faeroese course.

Is it too much to suggest that, if you want to know what shape we’ll be in in five years time, just take a look at the following list of over-subscribed courses? Probably. We admit, as a theory it’s pretty flimsy. And our research methods are hopelessly anecdotal and sketchy. But, hey, we’ve cobbled features around less watertight material…

If you want us, we’ll be at the back, in The Internet For The Terrified at St Francis of Assisi College. Or Creative Writing for Beginners, at Calderstones ALC.

Cosmetic Make Up Level Two (including eyebrow and eyelash treatments)
Knowsley Community College

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Advanced Floristry (including an introduction to balloon artistry)
Hugh Baird College

Past Life Regression and Hypnosis
Tara School of Hypnotherapy  

A Total And Unmitigated Defeat? Britain and the Munich Agreement in 1938.
University of Liverpool, Continuing Education, Bootle

How to be a Psychic Investigator (Using your psychic senses to locate an item, body or missing person)
Sixth Sense Academy, Leasowe

Winning Awards in Nail Art Techniques (£450)
Park Road ALC

Hair Extensions, Level Three (includes sewing in and glued in wefts)
Wirral Metropolitan College

Artisan Bread (now featuring Jalapeno Chilli Cheese Chorizo Bread and Caerphilly and Leek Bread)
Liverpool Community College

Make Me Over (learn to be in control of your own personal style and create a capsule wardrobe on a budget)
Liverpool Community College 

Political Cartoon Illustration Workshop
Workers Educational Association
Nerve Office, Bold Street

Dog Grooming: Level Three, advanced (featuring hand stripping, parasites, and dying methods)
St Helen’s College, Newton Le Willows

We’re All Doomed: The Apocalypse in Science Fiction
Liverpool John Moore’s University

Welfare Benefits Law
 (appealing and challenging decisions)
University of Liverpool