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Comment and Features The Durham Bubble

Unwelcome in “He considered

America himself a romantic -
on bad nights, a
page 5 hopeless one; on
good nights, a new
Why I love Mugabe one.”
page 4 Short Story - page 11

mostlyharmless durham’s latest satire and comment

issue 5, michaelmas 2007

- University announces drastic move as part of 2020 Vision
- Castle to follow Palace Green Library and Old Shire Hall
- Prime Minister to embark on ‘courage’ tour
Matt Brown

It was announced today that Gordon

Brown will be embarking on a tour
of the country to prove his bravery.
The move has come in response to
accusations that the Labour leader
'bottled it,' failing to call an election
two weeks ago.
To show his courage, the
Prime Minister will be engaging in
sword swallowing, midget wrestling,
fire walking and knife juggling in “Bring it, Dave”
locations across the nation, whilst
simultaneously sporting a deeply the event as "a circus," but Brown
unsettling smile. 'Opposition' party, denied the allegations. "It's more of
the 'Conservatives,' officially derided a funfair," he said in a statement.

Rachel Rutty “I'd been putting a bit of
weight on over the holidays, but I'd
Durham student Fiona thought nothing of it. Then at 2:30
Hammelsbinworth yesterday yesterday it dawned on me - it was
Durham Castle, stone-by-stone, on its way up the hill declared herself "shocked" after nine months ago precisely that I
she gave birth to twins in Elvet went on that night to Love Shack,”
Durham University authorities have One such project, a 30-foot high any of them where they want the Riverside 142 during a lecture on she said. Fiona, who is now resting
announced plans to relocate the statue of former Vice-Chancellor castle to be, but so what? No-one social policy. in college, is the fifth female
city's medieval castle two miles south Kenneth Calman signing a title deed, even noticed when I sold Palace student to be impregnated by the
to a mysterious area known only as has created such a demand for stone Green Library. Anyway, those feral Love Shack Jacuzzi this year.
'The Hill.' The move, which was that Old Shire Hall, Old Elvet and beasts at Palatinate are only here for All the babies are growing
revealed yesterday by sexual health Palace Green Library are all to be a couple of years a piece. I'm here nicely, with the eldest already able
spokesperson and sometime sold, broken up and moved to 'The for the long haul." to sing most of the words to the
treasurer Emily Dukakis, is being Hill' to be used in the project. The DSU's President, Flo latest Pussycat Dolls and Mika
undertaken in line with the V i c e - C h a n c e l l o r Herbert, told MH that she was
numbers. The first, Michelle, is said
University's '2020 Vision' for the city. Christopher 'Just call me Chris' delighted at the news, describing it
to be "pleased as punch" at Fiona's
The relocation of the castle Higgins said: "There's been a lot of as: "just the sort of flagship project
births, and is currently designing
will not only increase the number of tiresome blathering from the media that student union presidents were
maternity stash. "Ten more
attractive buildings on the hill to one, about my view of students as a pesky born to disagree with. I might even
but will also alleviate the university's nuisance who get in the way of the organise a march." members and we'll have a society,'
chronic shortage of construction real process of governance. she cooed.
materials for new building projects. Codswallop. I may not have asked Comment: Page 7 Tub of love
MostlyHarmless | Issue 5, Michaelmas 2007 | Page 2
News in Brief
Community Service? MENTAL
Officials have In local political news, Durham MP
Siddharth Khajuria the region's "acute poverty". There Roberta Blackman-Woods has again
expressed concerns over mounting
are no delicatessens in Peterlee. denied reports that she has
numbers of asylum seekers, in
Durham University administrators Get over it. independent opinions, stating such
response to a recent report showing
want Gap Year students to put 3. Do not suggest to five year old scurrilous accusations were due to
that the nation's mental institutions
their new found skills to good use Timothy's mother that it would be are reaching full capacity. "I just "Eighteen years of Tory
in some of England's most a good idea for your family to don't understand it," said leading underinvestment". KK
deprived areas. So, whether you've adopt him and provide him a psychiatrist Ernest Perkins. "Most of
been well-digging in Dhaka or hearty, home-counties upbringing. these Zimbabweans seem perfectly O.J. Blamed for 9/11
teaching kids in Karachi, you'll be It will not be appreciated. sane to me." TW Evidence has come to the attention
able to use your experiences to 4. Do not try to use your TEFL of MH suggesting the involvement
make a difference to County qualification in Stockton. It will be SLOVAKIA “DONE” of O.J. Simpson in the 9/11 attacks.
Durham's worst. neither necessary nor helpful in the A Durham student is to stand trial O.J. denies any involvement,
The ever-helpful North-East. this week, facing accusations of although he is set to publish a new
University Security Office has 5. Do not bother sending group having 'done' a country over the book: "If I were an international
compiled a list of its five top-tips emails to all your friends about summer. Cyril Rhodes, who did not terrorist with a stick-on beard." ST
for aspiring volunteers: what an enlightening and wish to be named, has denied the
rewarding time you're having allegations, claiming in his defence KEEP THE CAP Durham
1. Do not pick up children of a helping all these children from that Slovakia was "asking for it." Students’ Union have launched a
different colour, photograph them, another world. You actually do live Mr Rhodes stated: "She'd 'Keep the Cap' campaign, amid
and upload the pictures to your in the North-East. It's not a done herself up all nicely with mounting fears that the protection it
Facebook album. You will be nightmare, nor is it a long-haul inexpensive transport routes and offers students is in danger of being
arrested. flight away. You'll see all your backpacker hostels - what else was I lost altogether.
2. Do not attempt to establish a friends in the bar that evening. supposed to think?" The case "Removing the cap could
charitable foundation to alleviate continues. TW cause an STD epidemic in Durham,"
commented a passer-by. CW


William G. Pilgrim be glad to know that our organs were university officials get caught digging
being used to help others after our graves it really distracts the students'
University officials are this morning own deaths. Ustinov didn't donate attention from the good work we are
reeling from reports that Durham his organs - I'm merely righting a doing: like cutting contact hours, de-
University Chancellor, Bill Bryson terrible wrong". cluttering the overstocked library and
(55) has been caught interfering with Police officials described investing the money we save in
the remains of his predecessor, Peter Bryson's visible disappointment at offshore bank accounts".
Ustinov. the state of Ustinov's remains: He Oli, Bryson's friend,
The unauthorized had hoped to harvest Ustinov's declined to comment.
exhumation is believed to have taken organs for donation but found little There is intense speculation
place at around 1am yesterday more than dust and bones (and one as to whether this slapdash necropsy
morning at the site of Ustinov's of those funny hats, a bit like the is the work of a babbling loon or a
burial in Geneva, Switzerland. ones people wear when they cunning and selfless promotional
One eye witness described graduate). stunt. Bryson, who was born in Des
with horror the sight of "a stocky, The news comes as a blow Moines, Iowa, had told his wife that
ginger man carrying the skeletal to Durham University executives, he was "just popping out for some
remains of Sir Peter Ustinov through who are presently celebrating the milk".
the streets of Geneva before 10th consecutive year of reductions It is believed that a deal was
conducting what can only be in contact hours for students. brokered between the US and Swiss
described as a D.I.Y post-mortem on Vice Chancellor, Professor governments by which Bryson will
the steps of St. Peter's Cathedral". Chris Higgins commented: "Here we escape prosecution but will, in
Upon his arrest, Bryson are working our arses off so that return, be forced to act as a 'UN
gave the following statement: freshers have more time to laze envoy for quips and witticisms'.
"Surveys show that there is about and less time actually doing NB: Donate your organs.
overwhelming support for the anything remotely educational, and Who knows where/who Bryson will
concept of organ donations and that then that Bryson goes and fucks strike next? Sign up at:
more than 90 per cent of us would everything up! When senior

Welcome to another year of Editors:
WHO MADE THIS? DUS: “We don’t do
MostlyHarmless. For those of you
that haven't seen an issue before,
Siddharth Khajuria
Magnus Taylor
Copy Editors:
Lucy Eldred
Kelly Humphrey
In an attempt to purge the Gough not Ramprakash in Strictly
you'll have figured out by now that Tom Walker Richard Jarrett university's oldest institution from Come Dancing.' MostlyHarmless
we try to be a mix of irreverent Rebecca Newsom the clutches of rampantly promises to cover further exciting
satire and comment. We're open to Sub-editors:
entrenched conservatism, reforming developments in the fitter, happier
most styles of writing, about pretty Thom Addinall-Biddulph Cartoonists: President Mr Ewan Chapwoman has and more productive DUS. MT
much anything you can literally or Cordelia Graham Dan Dyer recently banned all references to
metaphorically shake a stick at. If Alaric Green Tom England political parties, the EU, or his own
you want to get involved, drop us an Richard Hadden Clarice Holt personal hero, Norman Tebbit.
email. Nick Hyde
Chapwoman, a fiercely patriotic
We've also got a mildly Anton Lazarus Marketing Director: c h e a p - c a va - a n d - a - T V- d i n n e r-
diverting website which includes Zaki Moosa Alaric Green socialist, has accordingly altered his
new material on our regularly Thomas Rosenthal
upcoming program of debates to
updated blog and an archive of all Rachel Rutty Imaging: include the intriguing 'This House
our previous editions at Charlotte Spencer-Smith Sebastian de Lemos believes that cuddles are nice' and the Sam Toolan Jack Logue controversial 'This House voted for
Page 3 | Issue 5, Michaelmas 2007 | MostlyHarmless

The Peasant and

the Posh
The “one” and only
Will Shanks
Violet E. Bott answers to the ever present school
comparison. Chesney Hawkes was forced to sing
In response to worrying reports of Option A. Smugly spell out 'I am the One and Only' eleven times
spontaneity in this year's freshers’ that your education was STATE. at a recent concert in the DSU, as a
week social activity, the DSU has This will transform you into a hardy series of developments around
been forced to publish a student under-dog of cool. For extra points, Durham suggest that student
code of conduct handbook aimed at try to out-manouevre your colleague obsessions with cheese, frivolity and
assuring conformity throughout the by hyping up your grinding poverty. faux-irony have taken a turn for the
university. Although the guide is still Option B. Casually drop in nasty.
in its early stages, MH has been able the fact that your learning was Despite Hawkes' intention
to secure a sneak preview (by PRIVATE. In this case, a lengthy to play a varied set of songs from his
pinching it off Flo Herbert’s desk.) comparison of Debrett’s surnames is rich musical catalogue, the crowd of
“DSU Social Handbook: the most effective response. music aficionados were determined
a guide to assure safe and productive fresher In the unlikely event that that the singer should only perform
interaction: private and state interlock, keep calm. his number-one hit, 'I am the One
Learn this mantra, and The world will not implode because and Only'. Any attempts made by the
repeat daily: ‘There are local pubs, of an ill-chosen scarf or trainer. singer to play different songs were
and rah restaurants and never the Breathe deeply and do some greeted by booing, jeering and even
twain shall meet.’ appropriate feet shifting. Some specific threats of violence from
Upon fresher meetings choice ill-at-ease platitudes should certain members of the audience.
there are only two acceptable cover you to the nearest exit.” In the end, a visibly shaken
Hawkes performed the song nine
Durham College proposes times (before doing so twice more as
an encore). "I don't understand it,"
second papal visit said Chesney, "Why would students
demand such mindless repetitiveness
Matt Brown medium of song, repeatedly asking in their music? One kid said he'd cut
aides: "who the fuck are Hatfield me if I played anything unfamiliar or
The 'famous' Hatfield College of College?" This remains the official that took itself seriously as music."
Durham University has expressed Vatican stance on the college. As the performance began
interest in reopening "Due to papal infallibility, to fall apart (Hawkes clearly choking
communications with the Vatican I'm afraid that the line from our end on the suddenly bitter irony of such to a vacuous culture of novelty years. Faced with a student
through the new Pope. The last has to remain 'fuck off,'" a Vatican lyrics as "ain't nobody I'd rather be"), music and faux-ironic appreciation population increasingly turned-off
Hatfield visit to Rome ended in an official explained. "However, we quick-thinking venue managers of low-brow television is the only by any semblance of artistic worth,
unexpected and offensive would like to assure individual played recordings of 'Sweet Child o’ route to social acceptance, but that the leaders of Hild-Bede chapel
pronouncement by the leader of the Hatfield College members that whilst Mine' and the theme from Baywatch failure to bear the symbols of this choir admit that for many years they
Catholic community. "We thought he the Catholic Church does not know to distract the audience as the shell- culture invites sinister persecution. have felt obliged to use less and less
would be pleased to see us," a who the fuck they are, God Almighty shocked Chesney was bundled off The vandalism of a religious music and perform more
spokesman mused, "but instead of does. Now fuck off". stage. fresher's room in Van Mildert has self-consciously frivolous pieces,
welcoming us as pilgrims to the The new Pope, Benedict This incident only seems to been widely attributed to the fact such as the theme-tune to 'The Fresh
Vatican, His Holiness chose to ask us XVI, has made no comment on the confirm fears, which arose after a that he was the only one on his Prince of Bel-Air'. With the
to 'fuck off.' We thought this a little prospect of re-establishing links with troubled freshers' week, that corridor not to have a 'Super-Ted' Neighbours society already the
out of character." the venerable college. He has been Durham students' love affair with the poster. largest club in Durham, it seems the
Reports from the meeting too busy arm-wrestling Islamic cheesy and ironical has gone too far. A worrying phenomenon, message to other societies is: 'Get
suggest that the former pontiff leaders to prove his God is the real Not only does it seem that adherence certainly, but not one limited to first Ironic or Get Out.'
explained his reasoning through the God.


Northern Cock Bryson
Visit for further irreverent humour, cutting
edge comment and further forays into a world that is only ever mostly
Anton Lazarus half of steak-holders. This has been
blamed on a combination of failure
Mr William Bryson, Chancellor of
harmless. Articles include: Traders at Durham Indoor Market to harden in any niche and a risqué the University of Durham, yesterday
have been shocked by the news of an expansion policy, both set in a pronounced himself to be 'happy as
Fuck Bush?: ‘Student journalists all want to be taken seriously. So do I, for imminent collapse of Northern formally uncontrollable growth-area Larry' and 'full of the joys of
that matter.’ Cock. Explosive issues have left the that has now begun to subside. October.' The precise source of this
company in a sticky situation Northern Cock CEO Willy Strain veritable barrage of unrestrained
Bring it on Fatboy: ‘Let’s take on that smarmy bastard now, grind his flabby following failure to grow in the maintains faith in a “permanent
posh face into the dust and teach the boy a lesson. No one fucks with former premises of the Loft swelling,” but also made clear the
Gordon.’ Nightclub, Durham. possibility that “assistance could be
Events climaxed late last sought from the Wank of England”.
Britain Under Siege again! ‘You fellow-travelling do-gooder Islamofascist- night, as local residents were aroused The disappointment in being unable
apologists know who you are. And I know who you are too’. by plans to erect on North Road. to keep it up has undoubtedly
Members of the planning undermined the firm's long term aim jollity is unknown. It is believed to
Fathoming Trout Mask Replica: ‘This is not good enough’, my sub- department were quickly blamed for of growth down south. have occurred immediately after Bill
subconscious tells my subconscious, which belches loudly to my going soft with residents group had passed a particularly pleasant
conscious: ‘Take heed’. And so, on a sunny afternoon… I made it my leader Dick Hardon ejaculating: “I morning in which he ate a boiled egg
mission to find out about Captain Beefheart, and to try to get my head don't want this coming to my city - and made several amusing quips
round Trout Mask Replica, his most notorious album. not in my face!” Hardon's stamina about haddock. These were
though will be tested by the firm immediately snapped up by his ever-
Also, Features including a look into the American campgaign trail and Radio 1's when they move to courting next present entourage of student
Mary Anne Hobbs talking to MH about slavery, Durham's commercial drive, Ricky month in an attempt to beat him off. journalists, and are due to be hastily
Gervais and much more besides. A premature reaction has published in an 'I love Bryson'
lead to severe disappointment for collectors' edition of Palatinate. MT
MostlyHarmless | Issue 5, Michaelmas 2007 | Page 4

Features and Comment

Hail the Tin-Pot Dictator Freshers Fair Game?
How I learnt to stop worrying and love the Mugabes and Anton Lazarus Deloitte, the fact that you reformed
the accounting procedures in the
Castros of this world Roll up, roll up! Come one, come all, Ultimate Frisbee Society will prove
Magnus Taylor enjoy the freebie-filled, CV-filling, that you’re an organised team player.
multi-national bank-fuelled DSU As you desperately attempt to make
For some reason I have a strange Freshers' Fair! Come closer, you batch yourself distinguishable from the
and perverse affection for Robert of Oxbridge rejects and excited other ladder-climbers in the ever-
Mugabe. I know that he is what comprehensive-schooled immigrants, touted 'crowded graduate job market,'
might be termed 'a murdering and mingle with the keenest members you become increasingly like a
communist bastard.' I am aware that of the never-ending list of Durham desperate contemporary artist,
he is in great part culpable for the societies, from JewSoc to JihadSoc. ascribing whatever meaning you think
economic collapse of his native You can feel the enthusiasm you can get away with to your
Zimbabwe, and I accept the fact that in the air. So many opportunities to activities.
he is probably insane. However, I enrich oneself with extra curricular Besides the lure of a small
happen to like a rebel. Mugabe may activities… Was I just helping those addition to a CV, every stall-holder at
pinnacle of dictatorial impishness. 21st century rapidly spin by, we
be destroying his country, but he has disabled kids so I could put it on my the Fair is also certain to aggressively
Not only has he been in power for witness the steady decline of some
always acted in a way that says 'fuck UCAS form? No! I will change the champion the second reason to join a
nearly 50 years, but he has achieved of humanity's greatest revolutionary
world! Head over to the Student society is: “it's a great chance to meet
you' to a hostile world. I respect this this less than 100 miles from Uncle autocrats. Mugabe has dug himself a Community Action (SCA) stall and like-minded people and make
impulse. Sam's doorstep. Like Mugabe, he hole that even his fiery rhetoric sign up to be dribbled on by some of friends”.
Back in the 1960s, Mugabe also did quite a few nasty things cannot help him escape and Fidel is the North East's least pleasant A premise based on two
was hailed a revolutionary savior when he was younger, but, as you succumbing to the inevitable passage toddlers. Think how good that'll look terrible assumptions: firstly, that you
after he successfully fought the should have guessed by now, this is of time. But fear not - there may still on the CV. want to meet like-minded people and,
entrenched white racists who ruled something I'm prepared to be some hope. Castro's great South Because, let's face it, this is secondly, that being in a society with
this black man's country. Bob's temporarily overlook. American protégé Hugo Chavez of what the Freshers’ Fair is really here them will lead to deep and meaningful
popularity may have declined a little Fidel is a survivor and a Venezuela looks to be flying the flag for. We all came to University feeling friendships. Did we really come to
in the intervening years, but I have a fighter, and, best of all, he sports a for the league of eccentric dictators. a little unsure of ourselves - it’s university to meet people like us?
sneaking suspicion that there is an fantastically exuberant beard. It is He began his reign in fine style impossible not to when you’re forced Surely not. I, for one, wanted to meet
enduring respect for him amongst almost as if he has grown it through a combination of to re-cast and re-present a personal different people who thought
other post-colonial African leaders. specifically to stick two fingers up to democratic elections, land re- image from scratch. So, it’s all too differently, believed different things
On his day, Mugabe can be the clean cut politics of appropriation and fierce anti- tempting to join the CV-building and acted in a different way.
belligerently perceptive, a mad Americanism. He may unashamedly Americanism. Chavez, having process while you’re still in those first What one really needs to
Marxist who just occasionally hits run Cuba through a personality cult, recently passing a law allowing him few bewildering days, and when you learn from University is simply the
the spot. He once proclaimed: 'Isn't but underneath its squeaky clean to rule by decree for a year, seems to speak to those further up the experience of having been here, of
it obvious that Britain, under the surface, US politics is no less rotten have read the Dictator's Handbook hierarchy, joining becomes all the having played the game, just like
regime of Tony Blair, has ceased to more seductive. “I joined Tiddlywinks everyone else. Maybe that will be
- just look at Nixon's Watergate with great care. Even better, he
respect the charter of the United Club in just the same position as you joining a club (or even starting your
scandal or Bush's first election appears for several hours daily on
Nations?' Quite possibly, Bob, but are now, and look at me – a year later own – you only need 30 members!), or
'victory.' Whilst Castro proudly state television, presenting its
I'm Club President and I've made so maybe it will be sitting in your college
you're not supposed to mention it. proclaims the socialist message, flagship program !Hola Presidente! many friends”. bedroom and pissing in the sink.
Mugabe consistently and fearlessly bedecked in his military uniform, He's a sort of benevolent Durham Students’ Union University and your education is what
points the finger back at his former projecting the image of the Venezuelan big brother, espousing boasts that it has more student you make of it – it's not served up
colonial oppressor. 'So, Blair, keep perpetual revolutionary, more the delights of home grown coffee societies than any other university in delicious and piping hot at the
your England, and let me keep my conventional politicians repeatedly and housing reform in one easy-to- the country. The variety, though, is Freshers' Fair, it's the moves you've
Zimbabwe'. He may not be stutter platitudes concerning digest daytime bonanza. Lovely beside the point - the underlying made while playing the game. In prene
Zimbabwe's answer to Nelson freedom and democracy and then stuff, Hugo. system is the same. Get involved. else, we're all aiming to be different.
Mandela, but you can't deny that the use these flimsy concepts as Living under a dictator may Work hard, run for election, become Of course there is one other
man has balls. justification for almost any dubious for many be no laughing matter, but treasurer, social secretary or even see option; join MostlyHarmless, disagree
Another leader to gain my foreign policy aim. it frustrates me that little is generally your name in lights in the ever- with what all the editors think, not
enduring respect is Fidel Castro, As the opening years of the understood of the origins of such coveted role of President. Increase really make friends with any of them,
who has without doubt achieved the regimes. Dictatorship is a product of your work load for a year and then write this article in a vague attempt to
political, social and economic enter it on your CV in less than a complain about the sad inevitability of
instability. Men like Mugabe and hundred words. life, then sleep easy, safe in the
Castro didn't appear out of nowhere Why? Because when you knowledge that it'll look great on the
- they were created by their apply for that summer internship at CV.
environment. When dealing with Dan Dyer
such figures, it is largely unhelpful to
instigate a policy of ostracism and
political condescension. With figures
like Chavez, we still have time to
bring about productive and healthy
relations. However, for any leader
with socialist leanings, even daring to
ask an awkward question is enough
to turn them into a megalomaniacal
monster in the eyes of the
international community. This
instinct is completely
counterproductive, and in the long
run will only create more isolated
and desperate Mugabes, all intent on
doing exactly what the hell they
Page 5 | Issue 5, Michaelmas 2007 | MostlyHarmless

Welcome to America
A reflection on an encounter with U.S. Border Security
Asian Man in
Durham. Seeks
Siddharth Khajuria This was new, and not a "No idea, they haven't told Though there are new,
little worrying. But the Border me anything. I've been waiting here more worrying, questions. "What do Similar.
Protection Officer's got a gun three hours, I've missed my you do?"
A FEW WEEKS AGO, I took one holstered to his waist and you want connecting flight, and the next one's "I'm a student." University for
of the daily Continental Airlines to holiday in his country - you don't full." "What do you study?"
flights from Mexico City to Newark ask questions. This doesn't bode well. "History." Sale. Call Chris
Liberty International Airport in New I follow the man down a "Siddharth!" Another "Have you got any family in
Jersey. Immigration in the United corridor, around a couple of turns Border Protection Officer bellows Pakistan?" Higgins on 0191
States has usually been little more and into an unmarked elevator. We my name from behind his desk. I "No, they're primarily from India."
than a case of, "passport?", "what's don't exchange words. No approach him. The same questions: "What about the Middle East?" 334 2000
that purpose of your visit?" After explanation of our little trip is purpose of visit, previous visits, "Well, my father and
LOST! Music
CD. Please
9/11, the collection of biometric offered. The elevator doors open parents birthplaces. Same answers. grandfather grew up there, so there
data preceded the quick thud, thud, and we enter another section of the "Ok, sit down, I gotta do are probably a few distant relatives

Help! I only
thud of the necessary airport. In it are a hundred or so some stuff with a computer." scattered about, but none that I
documentation being rubber chairs and a handful of armed I do as I'm told, wondering know."

have one....
stamped. The process never lasted immigration officers. "Take a seat." I what it is that he might be doing with "Hmm, have you ever been
more than a few minutes. do. his computer. In the meantime, to Pakistan or the Middle East?"
This encounter started in a My officer disappears; my another officer approaches the "No." So what if I have?
predictably similar fashion. No idle passport and documentation lie in a American man next to me, "So, you haven't been to
chatter from the officer, just the plastic wallet behind a counter. apologises for the wait, and suggests Syria or Iran, or places like that?"
Call Andy
from Klute
usual questioning delivered in the dry There are four other characters in that he complain to his airline for not "No." Again. Though I
and superficially friendly tone. And the room: A scruffy, elderly Latin allowing enough time to clear wander about the implications
then some new questions "Is this American man and his wife; a young, Immigration & Customs. I want to inherent in 'places like that'.
your first trip to the U.S.?" (fair sharply dressed Middle-Eastern suggest that it's patently ridiculous to No more questions. She
enough, but you know from the gentleman; and, a couple of seats to suggest that airlines should be scribbles a few notes down on my
fingerprints and photographs on my left, an unassuming American factoring three to four hours to get form. Then, finally, thuds the entry Desperately
your computer screen from my two gentleman. one's passport stamped, but permit stamp in my passport. "Enjoy
post 9/11 trips that it isn't). With my curiosity now considering that mine has not yet your stay." Seeking
Then, "where were your
parents born?"
accompanied by a hint of anger at
the lack of justification or
received any sort of stamp, I remain
I most probably will. But
the immigration procedure is hardly
"Sudan and India", I
replied. A brief pause followed by a
explanation offered thus far, I ask
the man next to me if he has any
"Siddharth!" My name is
called again, this time by another
a friendly welcome to America that
the Homeland Security poster
Call NUS on
"Come with me, please." idea as to what is going on. officer. promises. I hadn't shaved in a month 0845 045
and I share the skin colour of those
who have committed many a 1069
terrorist atrocity. So I don't mind
subjecting myself to the odd
'random' search at airport security or So you think
on the London Underground. But
there's a harsh, almost fearsome, you’re evil?
approach taken by the U.S. Border advertisement
Security force. They don't tell you
why they're taking you somewhere.
They don't tell you why they're
asking you questions with inherently
prejudicial presumptions. And they
show no remorse for presuming that
you are a criminal until proven
I leave the security area an
hour later than my fellow passengers
on the flight from Mexico City. My
bag sits, alone, circling a carousel
which has been all but emptied by Anyone who's ever seen the funny
those who weren't made to disclose side of suffering, despair, and Klute
parental birthplaces, travel histories, (and who hasn't?) or who's ever
or the locations of their relatives. wanted to write about evil subjects in
Fair enough. There was a humorous fashion, or humorous
probably no need to ask the 80 year subjects in an evil fashion,
Mexican grandmother who sat this is your chance.
beside me if she had been to Next term the glorious,
Pakistan recently. But the tone with glamorous Cabaret of Evil will be
which I was interviewed, and the hitting the Assembly Rooms stage.
utter lack of justification offered for We're looking for sketches, songs,
the extra interrogation I was monologues, any kind of routine
subjected to left a bitter taste in the that might be sufficiently
mouth. The paranoia and insecurity sophisticated and wicked. The show
of the present climate are perfectly will be as varied as possible, any style
understandable, but there is a value of writing or topic that you think is
(and decency) in treating your guests relevant will be considered.
as friends until you know that they're All submissions, enquiries etc.
not. to Rob Henderson at
Clarice Holt
MostlyHarmless | Issue 5, Michaelmas 2007 | Page 6

Perfect for
binge shoppingBooks and prints to musical instruments
Homebrew to Home Cooking
Party Jokes to Party Foods
Shellfish to Shoes

You’ll be amazed at the variety, quality and value for money on a

vast range of foods and non-food items in the indoor market.
Ask at our stalls for any extra student discounts.

Open Monday to Saturday 9am - 5pm
Market Place, Durham
Tel: 0191 384 6153
Page 7| Issue 5, Michaelmas 2007 | MostlyHarmless

Money Talks
Is there any effective representation of the Durham student voice as
the University gradually seeks to compete with national rivals?
Siddharth Khajuria The University is at a in the language of 'consultation' and
crossroads, attempting to strike a 'careful planning.' But the process
University Treasurer Paulina Lubacz balance between its traditional feel will invariably be weighted against
has recently announced plans to and the competitive advantages of a the voice of Durham's transient
create a "Landmark Visitor Centre gradual departure up the hill. The student population. Each of us is
for the World Heritage Site, probably sale of one of the University's more here for a mere three or four years.
in Palace Green Library." If carried beautiful buildings, Palace Green '2020 Vision' sets its sights on a
out, the plans will see Palace Green Library, would seemingly fall into the Durham thirteen years from now.
facilities shifted to "suitable latter. It fits a pattern of progressive Long-term thinking surely
alternative locations." abandonment of the City Centre by makes sense. But at present, there's
The plans form part of Durham University, following last no effective representation of the
Durham's '2020 Vision' which looks year's move of the Politics student voice to rival that of the local
to "maintain student numbers living Department from Old Elvet, as well residents or the Vice-Chancellor.
in the city centre," whilst also as the proposed sale of Old Shire DSU Presidents are around for a Palace Green Library to make way for Visitor Centre?
protecting local community interests Hall. fleeting year. The journalists who appreciate their money. But who can forgotten is the students' unique
through enforcing "proper These moves are certainly write these articles will swiftly properly represent the University's insight into the nature of this
strategies" for the location and sure to generate significant revenue, disappear onto projects far away 10,000 students - all of whom will university's experience, which is vital
management of student properties. but at some stage, administrators from Durham. University students soon be paying upwards of £3,000 to the place's future. Right now,
Indeed, the plans sound perfectly must surely question what makes lack any real stake in changes that for the privilege of a Durham there's no effective way of making
reasonable in the abstract. What do Durham's student population choose won't see fruition until years from education? sure this voice is heard.
they entail though? Proper this University over its rival campus now. The administrators, the Sadly, it seems that in the
strategies? For whom? Protect local alternatives, like York or Warwick? The camera-clad day- local residents, the accountants: each absence of a Permanent Student
communities? Which ones? The The long term tripper will appreciate their visitor have their own ideas about what's Overlord, money talks.
students or the permanent residents? development proposals are couched centre. The local population will best for Durham. What is being

Subotica’s Stein
MH’s Sam Toolan meets Ben Stein, the man behind Subotica
Sam Toolan Loveshack? Kylie Minogue or The proper nightlife. I chose drum n'
Spice Girls and overpriced booze… bass, he says, because it's a genre that
It is the end of June 2007, and the Watching this process take seems to appeal to a wide range of
frenzied exam period of May is now place is illuminating. Unfortunately people. You can be talking to
just another docile memory. After for Stein, the cynic in me is correct someone who listens to indie or pop,
three weeks of languid lie-ins, liquid about one thing: his words are falling but they'll say that when they go out
lunches and lost evenings in Lloyd's, on deaf ears. While the music at his to a club they like to dance to
I leave my pit and make my way to event is hugely more challenging and D&B…
the DSU in search of Ben Stein, soulful, it is that age-old, ubiquitous Just over two weeks ago
promoter of this evening's dance Stein held another Subotica event.
music event, Subotica. Shy FX was headlining but I was
Stein - generally rather more interested in interviewing
hairy - exudes a rare sort of patience another artist, Radio One's Mary
that I quickly realise comes about Ann Hobbs. Hobbs and I had met
through an unquestionable on a few occasions before and I was
confidence in his ventures. He has keen to grill her on how things had
been rather precocious in his grasp been since then and how other
of the entrepreneurial. Growing up people in the industry were doing.
in Norfolk doesn't really strike me as What I didn't expect was that Mary
the sort of place where there's much Anne would talk so openly and
opportunity for concocting exciting deeply about some very challenging
club nights, but Ben assures me that and poignant issues. You can find
his teeth have been well cut on the interview in full on the MH
booking some highly esteemed website site, but, in brief, among
artists. other things, we talked about slavery
As we make our way and its relationship to Black Music.
outside, I get the opportunity to see It was a pleasure to talk to
Ben Stein
Stein's patience in action. A group of Mary Ann about such things, and it
people are huddled together in the allure of familiarity that will win. encapsulates what Stein's trying to
entrance way discussing whether to Your average Durham student cares do. There's definitely a didactic
go in to Subotica - which costs £8 - not if she has to spend an extra element. He's trying to show the
or to Loveshack - for £5. Stein three quid: she will be happy so long average Durham student, who could
politely interrupts and begins to as she can just leap up and down so easily drift through life firmly
explain what you get for that extra clinging to her mates in a fuggy, strapped in to their comfort blanket,
three quid. Do you realise, he asks, if soggy maelstrom. that the world has a great deal more
you wanted to see Fabio and Stein returns from his to offer.
Grooverider in any other club in any unsuccessful diatribe. He doesn't For those of you that
other town in the country, it would sigh and moan, he says, because he would prefer to get shitfaced in the
cost you about twenty quid? These knows what he's up against. He Shack to Chesney Hawkes, well, Fancy advertising here?
guys are the fathers of drum n' bass.
They'll be playing some really
chose to come to Durham - small,
traditional, redbrick - because he saw
good for you. I'll no doubt see you in
there from time to time myself. But
Drop us an email...
powerful and challenging music. potential here to help bring about I will be putting that on hold when
What are you gonna get in something it didn't really have: a Subotica appears. Keep an eye out!
MostlyHarmless | Issue 5, Michaelmas 2007 | Page 8

Dining out with Lamoney Transfer Window Found Thatcher named

as suspect in
Resident food critic Marten Lamoney
ventures into Durham’s La Spaghettata disappearance
Marten Lamoney Cucina with hands as quick as Carlo
Cudicini's. If I suspended my
There's a rule of thumb, (perhaps disbelief, which a dash of vino rosso Ron Pecorry
you've heard it?), to which everyone often helps, I could have sworn I'd
accustomed to dining out in a been transported to the Pensione Former Prime Minister Margaret
foreign city refers. This slice of Betrolini. Thatcher has been named as a
received wisdom advises that if there I opted for the Margherita (a money- formal suspect in one of Britain's
is a large percentage of locals saving student measure,) yet needn't most high-profile disappearance
amongst regular gourmands then the have because the pizzas are molto cases. Despite 300 months of
place is probably a safe bet for cheapo, rangin from £4.90 to £6.00. searching, there is still no sign of
authentic and affordable nosh. I waited for little more than five Alaric Green certain players have been seen simply Britain's lost manufacturing base,
However, this barometer usually only minutes, marinating, before my pizza climbing through this transfer and recently uncovered evidence
works when the food served is arrived. The Pizza may not have This week a shocking darker side of window rather than changing clubs points the finger at Thatcher.
indigenous to that region. conformed to the strict, not to say football has been revealed. The Lord in the usual manner. In the basement The story was broken by
La Spaghettata is an Italian fascistic, standards elaborated in the Stevens’ investigation into the state of FA headquarters, where all Carey Hunt of The Mardale Times,
Restaurant in Durham City Centre, Italian Bill of Parliament (yes, really!) of football transfers in this country football players are kept, some after he learned that British Special
just a few thousand miles North- introduced in the last decade which has uncovered the startling existence unscrupulous agents pointed out Branch officers had uncovered
West of Napoli. dictates that only pizzas produced of an actual transfer window. that the transfer window had been traces of a vibrant economy in the
And as your man from from quality ingredients, via certain Lord Stevens, an advocate left ajar, and many players promptly trunk of a ministerial Jaguar, used
London slouched beneath the green, approved methods may be called of the use of clichés in football, made their escape from their during Thatcher's reign in the 1980s.
arched portico entrance (a shade too "Jus' like a momma used to make," describes the window as “about two previous registration with rubbish Thatcher had been put in
emerald for authenticity,) having ahem, I mean: "traditional Italian feet by four feet, hinged at the side clubs. CCTV footage from the alley charge of the economy in 1979 and
ascended several appetite-building pizzas," but the mozzarella was and with poorly painted white shows Fernando Torres darting all seemed to be going smoothly
staircases, he caught a pleasingly delectable if a tad too chewy and the frames”. The exact location said through the window and hailing a until a few short months later, when
pungent whiff of garlic, and an tomato was satisfactorily sharp. window is on the ground floor of FA cab to Liverpool, Emile Heskey national assets were sold back to the
earful of equally pungent Geordie So, yet another pseudo-bistro or a Headquarters, Soho Square in getting stuck in the window, and public in numerous share scams,
murmur. This boded well according bustling enclave of Italy tucked away London, round the back by the Sven Goran Eriksson having sex public spending was confined to the
to the aforementioned rule. above Durham's cobbled streets? dustbins and Faria Alam’s ‘office’. with 4 different women. London area and Scotland was Poll-
Sheepishly aware that a More the latter, because although Stevens explained that Taxed as a punishment for voting
table for one was hardly economic certain superficial details miss the
for the Labor Party. It was during
use of the intimate, not to say
cramped, restaurant's space, I quietly
mark, the zeal with which the air is
infused is unmistakably Average Barristers Found this time that the manufacturing
base disappeared.
corrected "Per uno, grazzi" to the Mediterranean. Andrew Tickell distort competition. Figures in the
waiter's importunate "for two?" I was legal establishment quickly distanced
ushered sympathetically to my single A seeped internal report we stole themselves from this finding,
table, with its tasteful Sunflower from the Compartment of Made in however. Top barrister Sir
motif tablecloth (a refreshing Alesbury has discovered that average Humphrey Waxleft IQ, a Bencher in
change from the typical red and to poor barristers do exist. Flying in Grey’s Anatomy, commented: “any
white Gingham often used by most the face of hundreds of years of attempt by the Executive branch to
such places in an attempt to ape legal tradition, the top secret report, foist narrow egalitarian notions of
Italian simplicity.) exclusively reported in Mostly merit upon the legal profession
Seated, I opted for a glass Harmless today reveals that threatens the golden thread running
of the tangy yet quaffable house red, classification of all barristers as ‘top’ through the lamp of British justice
and I warmed to the artificial inevitably results in no bottom, and since the Magna Carta juries.”
Adriatic atmosphere; the excitable tends to mislead the public and
staccatto chorus of local voices, the Watch closely and you
endearingly unconvincing "Roman
exposed brick-work," and most
might even witness an usually
undemonstrative local, suddenly Facebook without Life
impressive of all the slick, efficient, possessed by Italian spirit, flail his
A small part of the
fortissimo staff, strutting here and hands erratically whilst talking (but
there, congregating briefly to confer don't look too closely because he population spiralled into chaos
on a plan of action, and delivering might just be spoiling for a fight….) yesterday as the Life Server was
temporarily shut down. Once the
Life Server was up and running again and things had calmed down a bit, a
consensus quickly emerged that
Facebook really wouldn't be the
same without Life.
In other news, James
Bridgewater updated his profile. He
edited his about me section and
profile picture. ST

Nightline in TV Fears
Durham Nightline has reported "It’s like they're members of a cult
that a number of freshers have been that I never joined," said one Thatcher, shown here with
left feeling lonely and socially anonymous first year from St PM Gordon Brown, remains
excluded because they never Aidan's. "The thing is, I don't even unrepentant and plans to use her
watched television whilst growing think 'Button Moon' or 'The Magic long-standing defense of whining
up. As a result they are unable to Roundabout' were on during our and surrounding herself with
take part in discussions on childhood - I think they are spineless sycophants who will do
children's TV shows: the sole topic reminiscing about the repeats!" WS very nicely out of the whole sorry
of conversation amongst freshers. debacle.
Page 9 | Issue 5, Michaelmas 2007 | MostlyHarmless

Hella-Vision The Diary of

Television’s latest venture, Channel 4+7 Esther Rudolph
It's the beginning of term and room. Jonathan, having slept with
Jonathan, Alistair and I have moved half the girls in the building last year,
into a new block of flats. Entirely will have to move to Orkney. What a
populated by girls. Seven flats of lovely way to move into a new
three. Twenty-one girls. And me. building - "Hello, I'm your new
According to Sophie Badrick, who neighbour. My flatmate fell asleep
says I'm incapable of embracing my on top of you last february. Here's a
sensual inner womanhood because I basket of fruit." Ouah! Bloody
refuse to go to pole-dancing lessons Jonathan, going around, pre-
in Newcastle with her, twenty-one emptively destroying all my female
and a half girls. friendships with his…
But yet again, I've managed I just wish his womanising
to land myself a flat-share with boys, was a bit less… urgent. Every
so for another year, I have to make morning of freshers' week has been
sure I'm fully clothed before I even like a grim carnival in our living
venture out of my bedroom to go to room, a different girl in Jonathan's
the loo, just like I'll have to do when yachting t-shirt, eating my bloody
I'm living in the old folk's home. If Shreddies, and Alistair going to
you can't wander around and make a increasingly bizarre lengths to
Marmite sandwich in your pants in entertain her. If you're going to do
your own home, then tell me Mr that with the promotional mini
Locke, what is the meaning of fridge, fine, but don't come crying to
private property? me when it rips the skin off your leg.
But twenty-one girls! Today it's Kirsty, 18, from Kingston-
Jonathan and Alistair keep eyeing me Upon-Hull (likes: Razorlight and
suspiciously. For three days I've been disrupting other people's household
Thomas England trying to convince them that the tap routines by hanging around the
Maria Namgana don't pull in the dim-witted, blind they graduate with a first? Will they water isn't going to decimate their living room, dislikes: macaroni
crowd that we're expecting there's ever be rescued? Will the world end sperm counts with abnormally high cheese). "Why don't you have a
At a time when confidence in TV is always the people that accidentally before they can put a stop to it? Will levels of oestrogen. The building house party?" she says through a
at an all-time low, two budding press 1 twice". they ever be rescued? And how is the doesn't have its own sodding water mouthful of Shreddies, gazing down
entrepreneurs, Bagpuss Nailer and In the fight for ratings, fat guy still fat? table, but the boys will still only thoughtfully at what appears to be a
Sodoff Malaria, have a vision to Malaria hopes to "mop up the The daytime schedule is not drink cartons of pop, and Alistair is pair of my comfort socks on her
restore your faith. Channel 4+7, to morons that tune in to catch up on currently finalised but leaked internal becoming a handful and has poured feet. "Sounds like a great idea!"
be broadcast 24/7, on Channel 11, their favourite 'Channel 4' shows 7 memos that we have got our sticky yoghurt all over the telly in a Ribena- chimes Alistair. "Neat plan, guys!"
will be the first foray into terrestrial hours later when they're channel little mitts on suggest that the fuelled episode. calls Jonathan from the bathroom.
television since Channel 5 belly- surfing after realising that 'Bus Pass channel will not sacrifice cost in its Still, they have a point. Thanks a bunch, Kirsty. And from
flopped onto our screens years ago. Boob Jobs' isn't actually on." quest for low quality programming. Twenty-one and a half girls. What if forth the vile bowels of hell on
Although not in any way The most expensive of the In a message entitled 'Sex Sells', we all start menstruating at the same ghastly steeds emerged the Four
affiliated with Channel 4, the new shows will be 'Honers', a 237- Nailer writes: time? Every third week of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse -
broadcasters hope to ride bareback part series about moderately "…so if we just flash up month will be like Apocalypse Now! Death, Famine, Pestilence, and
on the current advertising campaign attractive-in-a-booksmart-kind- words like ERECTION and Alistair will have to install a panic House Party.
for 'Channel 4 + 1' and entice ofway- until-they-take-their-glasses- HANDJOB and put a countdown
viewers who are either partially off-and-then-you-cum Durham on the bottom of the screen, people
sighted or so illiterate that they University based students from all will keep watching 'til it runs out.
cannot differentiate between the types of social backgrounds - from Then we can play nine minutes of
numbers 1 and 7. Hatfield to John Snow - discovering adverts, by the end of which
"We're quietly confident", they have special powers and delving everyone will have forgotten what
said Bagpuss, "because even if we deep into their mysterious pasts. Will they were waiting for…"

Cordelia Graham
Lohan versus Duff Siberia, I favoured Hilary for years. filth. I felt that all my life I'd been
Her heartfelt melodies and feel-good asleep but was now awake and on fire,
Little in life upsets me - I can deal no films won me over. Admittedly, I was burning aflame with the love of
problem with world debt, global left somewhat suspicious of her Lindsay's auburn locks and talented
warming and the war in Iraq; but character's assertion that she teen roles. Of course she had always
perpetually, the war in my heart preferred a 'Big Mac' to a salad in 'A been an icon for my twelve-year-old
between Hilary Duff and Lindsay Cinderella Story,' and even more so self, aware of her greatness in 'The
Lohan disturbs me. when her love interest declared that Parent Trap.' But now she had grown
Some might say 'why not he preferred a girl "with a good into a strong, untamed force - ready to
love both?' but I, like any other self- appetite." But I could never deny that be harnessed in catchy, yet under-
respecting lover of "tween" culture, Lizzie McGuire's soothing asides have publicised pop songs and sassy teen
can, and will not commit myself to nurtured me steadily through my flicks.
this. Their rivalry is so strong that to formative years: they've picked me up What to do with muses two?
swear allegiance to both would be like when I've been low, and her assured- I try not to think about it, so
declaring myself a Nazi Communist. yet subtle attitude has given me consumed I am by internal division.
A love for Aaron Carter would tear inspiration in countless moments of All I can do is look to the vision of
any friendship, let alone acquaintance crisis. the Olsen twins - different yet equal in
apart. Thus every day tears me apart Happy I was until the day honour - and cling to the hope that
in having to reject one or the other. Lindsay Lohan stormed into my life. one day, in the bounteous future,
Due to her unexpected She was everything that Hilary was Lindsay and Hilary will be teen idols
appearance in my life whilst living in not - rock n' roll, just so......sassy; pure together.
MostlyHarmless | Issue 5, Michaelmas 2007 | Page 10

North Road Loft Was the Serpent a

Tom Walker novelty in the North East. "Why (ay)
should I pay for that?" asked Saul
Sam Toolan and the lecturer continued. these paedophiles can be, don’t we?
Durham's new lap-dancing club is Gascoigne, of Chester-le-Street. "I
“But, what about the word Using the Internet to find their
struggling to get its feet off the heard they've got lasses in there with
Before university, I was encouraged paedophile ladies and gentlemen? It’s victims. I mean look at the name of
ground. Well-placed sources suggest skirts as long as 3 inches, like." North
by my teachers at school to take a a big word isn’t it? It’s made up of one of the biggest companies!
that the nightclub has only received Road's obligatory lack-of-a-dress-
gap year abroad so I decided to go to three syllables, and the middle one is Apple!
three visitors since being granted a code looks set to scupper the club's
America. I did all sorts of exciting “do”. Isn’t this the exact noise “‘God knows,’ says the
license in August. Two of these were progress.
things with lots of other charming Homer Simpson makes when he serpent to Eve, ‘that when you eat
a pair of rather puzzled Jehovah's With the present influx of
young people, but I think the best makes a mistake? And Homer’s the forbidden fruit your eyes will be
witnesses. students into the small city, however,
An exclusive BluLov poll the Loft's prospects appear somewhat thing was going to the Creation named after a famous ancient Greek opened, and you will be like God,
has revealed a lack of enthusiasm brighter. Male students are expected Evidence Museum in Texas. While I poet. The ancient Greeks believed knowing good and evil.’ Well, do we
among local residents about the new to flock to the venue, visibly salivating was there I was lucky enough to that there were lots of gods, so they want our children to know evil, ladies
venue. Respondents suggested that at the prospect of catching sight of a attend a free lecture called, Was the were obviously strange, and it was a and gentlemen? We do not! We must
the sight of naked flesh was no great female neck sans pashmina. Serpent a Paedophile? big part of their culture for older keep these evil serpents away from
This seemed like a strange men to pick out their favourite young them!

Blair Tries His Best

Anthony Blair is a pretty straight the things you thought you got right.
question to me. When I was a child I
used to go to church every Sunday
with my parents so I knew a bit
about the Bible and that sort of
boys. Need I go on?” By this point
sighs of disgust from the crowd
filled the hall, and the lecturer licked
his lips with glee.
“Now, ladies
gentlemen, have you heard of a

writer called John Milton?” “Yes sir!

Oh yes!” they cried. “He wrote a
forward sort of a guy. Not only did he Remember to use lots of red to fully stuff. My understanding was that the “Now then,” he said, long poem about the serpent called
recently triumph in a poll to find 'the convey the blood and flames crafty serpent managed to trick Eve raising his right arm above his right Paradise Lost. It’s a disgusting piece
best PM of the 1990s', but he has swamping Iraq and Afghanistan. into biting into a forbidden apple, shoulder to quieten the audience, of writing. Milton feels sorry for the
always vehemently proclaimed that he There are some points in life when and that led to Adam and Eve’s fall “shall we have a look and see what serpent. Can you believe it folks? He
has always 'done what he thought was you can't get away with just 'trying from Grace and all that. Yes, but I the good book says about this?” thought the serpent had had a hard
right.' Big deal Tony, why don't you your best..' MT didn’t remember anything about the To the enthusiasm of the audience life! And did you know that Milton
go and draw me a lovely picture of all serpent being a paedophile. he began flicking through the Bible was blind? That’s right, and because
The lecturer – a very thin until he found the correct page. of this he made his poor young

Prole Art Threat

A painting has been removed from swamped by a veritable plague of
red-faced man wearing a long
raincoat and thick glasses – started
by saying a prayer, thanking
“Now then, Genesis 3.” He began to
“‘The serpent was more
daughter listen to his filth and write
it down for him. Milton is just one
example of many who were clearly
the Baltic Art Gallery in Gateshead madly copulating paedos.' In a further Almighty God for granting us crafty than any of the wild paedophiles, just like the serpent they
after being accused of being development, 600 copies of freedom from tyranny and sin. Then animals…’ Well, we know how crafty all loved!”
'conducive for the development of Nabokov's 'Lolita' have been thrown he asked the audience, “so, was the
independent thought.' Police into the North Sea, as the authorities serpent a paedophile?”
Superintendent Bob Langham stated: attempt to purge all traces of artistic Now I knew this was one
'if we let every Tom, Dick and Harry expression from County Durham. of those rhetorical questions so I
look at such filth, it'll only be a matter MT said nothing, but some people at the
of time before the North East is front of the auditorium murmured,

Gore wins award

William G. Pilgrim Day's Goal of the Month
“yes he was!” The lecturer smiled at
this. “To those of you with any
doubt,” he said, “I’d like to start with
competition. the words themselves.”
Just days after winning this year's BBC executives have been “Now we all know what the
Nobel Peace Prize, Al Gore is criticized for politicizing the word serpent means don’t we ladies
celebrating after being awarded first Corporation and the game of and gentlemen? That’s right: it means
place in September's Match of the football itself. The decision has a snake. But, sometimes words have
raised concerns centred around the other meanings, and in this case,
BBC's 'flexible' definition of what that’s important.”
constitutes a 'goal'. Gore is said to be “Now serpent comes from
"elated." His wife, Tipper Gore, has the Latin word, serpere, which
expressed concern that they may be means to creep. Creep is another way
running out of room on the mantle- of saying steal, as in to steal a child’s
piece. innocence, and that’s exactly what a
Ladbrokes have Gore at paedophile does, isn’t it?” Now a
2/1 to win 'Best Newcomer' at next larger part of the audience made
year's MOBO awards. encouraging sounds of affirmation,

Dan Dyer
Page 11 | Issue 5, Michaelmas 2007 | MostlyHarmless

MH Short Story//The Durham Bubble

Donnchaidh O’Connail hitchhiking north after the Easter grant you…" students would live in a castle, just like
that it's real, and fool someone into
holidays. On the return journey, the "You serious?" going to it, and see how long we canin Harry Potter."
Pip had not only never considered it last driver had dropped him off a few Pip blinked at him. "I am like fool them!" "Let's give them a debating
possible, he had never even considered miles outside Durham. To Pip, it might an actor simultaneously playing parts A pause, while this society full of loud and confident but
it at all. Yet here he was - literally, in as well have been the dark side of the written by Oscar Wilde and Mickey suggestion was digested. ultimately deeply shallow and
the Hatfield bar, and metaphorically, in moon. He scurried to the nearest Spillane - in deadly earnest." "Are you suggesting… a unworthy individuals. And a vibrant
a quandary. It was the latter which hostelry to drown his terrors with a The barman beckoned one polytechnic?" yet cliquey theatre scene."
exercised his thoughts, of course - no quick glass of something liquid and of the old men, who turned to them "No, no… we need a "And a light opera group.
one in the Hatfield bar ever wants to medicinal. with the speed of an oak tree laying challenge… a grand old university, We can't forget light opera. What
think about being there. Philip Sidney, Pub. Interior. Darkness, down rings. institution of higher learning would be
with traditions and codes and all the
a man not often given over to illuminated only by electric light. Old "Jack, this lad says he's at rest of it…" complete without it?"
perplexity, was forced to admit that men nursing the pints they had started Durham University." "Like Oxford or A pause.
perplexity had him in its clammy in 1957. "Durham… University? Cambridge?" "Who will we send there?"
grasp. It was a new - and He ordered his drink. What's that?" "Well, yes, but let's not get Another pause.
uncomfortably moist - experience. "Long way from home." (It "No idea. Next he'll be carried away. How about we make it… "Where's Pip?"
was the barman who said this, telling me they have a university in the third-oldest, third-poshest, third "He went to change his
“He conceived obviously.) Bishop Auckland. Or Stockton." most prestigious university in socks. He was wearing the one pair."
"If you will grant me licence The old man had a fit of Another pause. Glances exchanged.
England? We'll set it in some historical
of his love life to slightly alter Tennyson's words… slow-motion giggles, which sounded Nods of agreement all around.
town in the middle of nowhere, invent
'In the springtime a young man's fancy like he was choking very gently. a history going back generations, with, He confirmed his suspicions
in indie terms - lightly turns to thoughts of revision'. "So what d'you study at this by interrogating one of his friends,
I don't know, inter-collegiate rivalry
Jake, an ectomorph from just to the
low sales, little south of Peter Kay, whom Pip
crossover reckoned was most likely to divulge
whatever the secret was. Sure enough,
appeal, but Jake cracked like a walnut in the grip of
a standard walnut-cracking implement.
critically Pip, struggling to believe him, went
further. He knocked on doors, called
acclaimed” in favours, wasted a good deal of time
on Facebook, but eventually found
Pip was dependently what he had most dreaded
wealthy. Extremely so (wealthy, not discovering: his life was a lie, or at least
dependent). His father owned a stately a very misleading version of the truth.
home, a frigate, two Poets Laureate, Durham University, the entire
and Devon. Pip would affectionately institution around which his life
refer to him as 'the poor one'. His revolved, had been created as a prank
father would laugh and shoot played on him by his friends.
something feathered, preferably a bird. Pip swirled his drink in his
For all this, Pip had avoided the worst glass and his options in his mind. He
excesses of his upbringing. could tell his parents, but guessed that
Ostentatious displays of privilege were they would be none too impressed to
not for him. He enjoyed eccentricity, learn that their money had been
fine wines and beautiful women, wasted on an elaborate jape. They had
sometimes in the one night, but no given him those funds to fritter away
more so than any other part-time on drink and cannabis in a real
student and full-time bohemian. He university, not some pseudo-academy.
considered himself a romantic - on He could always try to start another
bad nights, a hopeless one; on good degree somewhere else, but Pip was a
nights, a new one. His passion for the young man in a hurry, anxious to get
arts was genuine, a product perhaps of his degree out of the way and
his mother's fascination with still life commence the long drift through his
paintings of corpses. He had ticked all Clarice Holt aimless twenties.
the boxes of Durham's artistic elite - Suddenly, an obnoxious
directing plays, writing poetry, Union Society exec member sitting
cavorting on stage in a dress which Back up to uni after the holidays, don't University, anyway? Coal-mining? and nomenclature and practices that two tables away keeled over and died.
fitted him alarmingly well. He you know?" (Correspondingly, this Hairdressing? A bloody big make no sense to anyone but the This was the most enjoyable thing to
conceived of his love life in indie was Pip.) cathedral?" students, and…" have ever happened in the Hatfield
terms - low sales, little crossover "Whereabouts?" Pip reckoned that this was bar. Pip took it as a sign. If his entire
appeal, but critically acclaimed and "None other than that old neither the time nor the place to "Let's give life was someone else's idea of a joke,
maintaining his integrity. All he needed town that is good old Durham town." explain the concept of Combined why not play along? After all, his
was to meet a girl with the right "Durham?" The barman Arts. Besides, he had bigger things to
them a debating friends had clearly gone to great
combination of Gauloises, Oxfam paused. "I get it." worry about. society full of loud trouble to construct as ingenious a set-
couture and Sufjan Stevens. "Er… get what?" Three summers ago, his up as possible. Perhaps they had
One might say that Pip had "Durham… University. A school chums with whom he had and confident but established Durham University as a
spent his entire life preparing for his joke. You made a joke." smoked herbal cigarettes and drank reputable institution, whose non-
time in the Durham Bubble. The "Well… the facilities aren't Earl Grey and vodka (yes, together,
ultimately deeply existent credentials and worthless
home counties background, the gap that great, I'll grant you, but I wouldn't since you ask), and had played cricket shallow and degrees were, through sheer force of
year spent rebuilding ancient temples go that far…" and garage rock with (not together - ingenuity, actually worth something?
in Cambodia, the career guidance "It's a drinking club? Bunch don't be silly), and had generally u n w o r t h y Could they have been so thorough as
teacher who had urged him to "follow of you, up for the weekend, rent a fooled around with (not in that way - to fool the entire world, with the
his heart" - all could be seen as a house, go on a pub crawl…?" Pip was bohemian, but not that
individuals. And a exception of one tiny pit village? It
preamble to The Best Years Of His "Well, if by 'bunch of us' bohemian), had been sitting bored vibrant yet cliquey was worth a shot.
Life. How hollow it all seemed now. you mean several thousand, 'rent a stupid one afternoon, when someone Pip downed his drink and
He could pinpoint the house' you mean live in college halls or had the bright idea of playing the best theatre scene." left. He was feeling strangely elated.
moment where he began to realise that the Viaduct, and 'pub crawl' you practical joke ever, in the history of He had the rest of the joke to look
something was very wrong. It was all mean… well, yes, but we do some practical jokes. "Rowing. It has to have a forward to.
the fault of that wretched road trip he study as well. It's not a bad university, "Let's make a whole strong tradition of rowing."
had insisted on undertaking - Durham. Not quite Cambridge, I'll university, from scratch, and pretend "And a castle. The best
The Back Page
Charlotte Spencer-Smith more likely to die of lung cancer from smoking or be
shot in the head and have my skinned carcass farmed
(Two cows.) out to twelve different Angus Steak Houses?
Cow 1: (Cheerful.) Hey. 1: (Shock.) They shoot you?
Cow 2: (Flat.) Hey. 2: Oh, what? This is news now, is it?
(Silence.) 1: I can't believe it! We've got to do something! I don't
1: Whatcha doing? want to die! Oh my fucking god!
2: Oh, you know, cow things. I'm a cow. You're a cow. 2: Well moo-fucking-hoo! What do you want me to
What else do we do apart from eat, and hang out, and do? Write to our local MP? Set up a parliamentary
lactate? I wish you'd stop asking me that - whatcha pressure group? Or maybe we should unite with all
doing? What am I going to be doing? Watching Big the animals on the farm and conspire against the
Brother? Grilling a salmon steak? humans to build an aeroplane out of little bits of tin
1: (Hurt.) Hey, I was just asking. and fly our way to freedom?
2: Yeh, well don't. It's bovine. In fact, scratch that - I 1: But Nick Park -
take issue with the word 'bovine'. Yes, I'm a cow, I'm 2: I've told you before and I'll tell you again. Nick Park
stupid. I don't read Proust, I don't look like I'm is a clay moron.
reading Proust; let's not make a song and dance about 1: But I've got so much to live for!
it. Apart from cow number 45, who does actually read 2: What? What have you got? Are you waiting til the
Proust. end of the tax year to collect your P60? Is there a
1: Which one is she? mortgage you need to pay off ?
2: She's the one with a massive 45 branded into her 1: (Crying.) It's just such big news! Why do you have to
arse, what do you think? Oh hang on, there's a bloke be so harsh on me? You're just so mean! You always
coming. (Flat.) Moo. belittle me in front of everyone! I don't know what
(Man walks past.) I've done to deserve this!
1: MOOOOAAAHHH! 2: (Sympathetic.) Hey…. Hey there, little guy. (Cuddles
2: Moo. (Lights a cigarette.) 1.) I'm sorry. Look, I'm dealing with a lot of issues
1: What are you doing? right now and I'm just taking my insecurities out on
2: I'm having a fag. I stand around in the rain 24 hours you. And it isn't fair. Are you alright?
a day, 365 days a year, I eat grass, and if it's my lucky (1 nods.)
day, they'll put me in the pen to mate with Mitchell, 2: Tell you what, I know what will make you feel
who I think, frankly, is an idiot. If I want to have a better. Let's go down the bottom of the field and have
smoke, I'll have a smoke. I don't care what the little a shit, yeh?
label put on the packet by the government says. Am I 1: (Nodding.) Ok.


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