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issue 8, epiphany 2008



BROWN SHITS ON THE missions that could ultimately provide

WHO MADE THIS? alternative fuel sources or reveal extra-
Editors: Tom Walker, Magnus ENLIGHTENMENT terrestrial life. We need to re-align
Taylor, Siddharth Khajuria Gordon Brown, minister for grunting, ourselves with today's shallow and
Editorial Consultant: Anton stuttering and looking dour, today vacuous society."
Lazarus announced that conversation and witty Nick Collins
Sub-Editors: Robin Morris, Thom discourse would be subject to a bold
Addinall-Biddulph, Cordelia new system of "assertive socially SKINS ‘SEARINGLY
Graham, Charlotte Spencer-Smith, responsible taxation." ACCURATE
Nick Collins, Richard Hadden, Chatting, arguing and chinwagging PORTRAYAL OF
Chris Williams, Rachel Rutty, have long been kept an untaxed
Maxime Dargaud-Fons, Jack privilege of the intellectual classes due
Logue, Rachael Revesz, Katy to their cultural importance. Popular teen comedy-drama ‘Skins’ has
Fitzpatrick, Luke Blackburn, Dan Brown declared, "Screw the been praised for its “searingly accurate
Dyer Enlightenment. It’s not like speech is portrayal of British youth”.
Cartoons: Tom England, Anthonie really free at the moment anyway. The Ofcom president Brian Sufferton
Chiu, Philip Probert, Ben Whittle only difference is that now we’ll be able commended the show’s convincing
Chief Copy-Editor: Claire Turner to fiscally define how necessarily un- dialogue and realistic-looking actors.
Copy Editors: Lucy Davies, Matt free it is. Give it five years and you “Skins has exposed the myth that British
Hopkins, Nikki Morris, Lucy won't even realise it's happening." teenagers are innocuous, bland and
Eldred Magnus Taylor sexually unimaginative,” he
Finance/Logistics: John Corcoran commented. “It reminds the small
Marketing: Alaric Green, James BLAIR CONFESSION minority of boring adolescents that their
Bowers Former Prime Minister Tony Blair is to more popular, invariably scantily-clad
Distribution: Izzy Arundell publish extracts from his school diaries mates are getting up to better, more
Designed by: Siddharth Khajuria in which he talks about his doubts over watchable things every night.”
Printed By: Sharman & Co: his own sexuality. Whilst never He also applauded ‘Hollyoaks’, considering himself homosexual, he did ‘Echo Beach’ and ‘Torchwood’ for their
wonder whether he might have been “gritty realism”. ‘Ashes to Ashes’,
Ben Whittle bisexual. When asked by David Frost in ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘See Hear’ were
an interview yesterday how homosexual criticized for being too unrealistic.
he was on a scale of one to ten, Mr Blair William G. Pilgrim
replied: "Look, I'm a pretty straight kind
of gay".
Richard Hadden
PASCAL’S TRIANGLE, WHICH IS Vojislav Kostunica, Prime Minister of
Serbia, has announced plans to throw a
ALTOGETHER MORE party for newly independent Kosovo in
BENEVOLENT IN NATURE response to overwhelming public
support. The event, dubbed ‘The Spring
ALSO IN THE NEWS... Ball-kanization’, will be the summation
of weeks of celebrating, which many
ARCHBISHOP CUTS OFF concede has been over-enthusiastic; an
impromptu party at the US embassy
OWN HAND AFTER several weeks ago even saw fireworks
STEALING BISCUIT being set off.
Shut up and kiss me Mr Kostunica has the backing of Mr
CAT LANDS ON HEAD Putin, adept at using his resources to
COW TO JUMP OVER organise events for smaller nations.
BRYSON TO SHAVE FEET MOON Indeed the area has a rich and sociable
FOR CHARITY history, with key players on the local
In an attempt to rekindle public interest social scene sought after to this day. It is
in the space programme, NASA has widely expected that Kostunica’s plans
CHEERLEADING SQUAD announced that it will, in addition to the for the region will ripple around the
DESTROYS PATRIARCHY usual six astronauts, be sending a cow memories of party goers for decades.
along on its next flight, enabling the Of the invitees, Kostunica had this to
MALE STUDENT DENIES animal to literally 'jump over the moon.' say: “We just hope the U.N. doesn’t try
URINATING IN BEDROOM NASA president Troy Hoffman to gatecrash man; they’re totally lame.”
SINK explained: "The public’s bored with Luke Blackburn
ESOL CONNECTION CHRISTIAN UNION news conference. "We have a lot of
experience with failing businesses and
DOWN: ITS IN NEW TESTAMENT inconceivable short falls, and we believe
CRISIS SOCIETY OBLIVIOUS we are the right people to turn the Rock

Thousands of students are said to be in

TO ACRONYM around."
It has been alleged that to sweeten
shock yesterday following the IT Waves of bewilderment have spread the deal all the shareholders of the
Service’s admission that the popular through the Durham Christian company have been offered free entry to
ESOL network has been experiencing community at the uproarious reception planet of sound. A spokesman for
problems. The Service’s public relations they have been given wherever they go Northern Rock refused to comment but
organ ‘Message of the Day’ was quick to whilst wearing their New Testament did suggest the bid was "promising".
reassure distraught users that measures Society hoodies. However a representative for small
would be taken to address the problem. In lectures, going shopping and shareholders said that they were
especially whilst flyering they have disgusted with the deal. "Our members
been besieged by gasps from the weakly are not pleased. Many of them have
constituted and giggles from the more described it as sweaty, loud, unpleasant
immorally so. and overpriced even when free".
"It's bizarre," said one member, "we Chris Williams
got an email today saying we had been
entered in the annual Comedy Hoody SOCIOLOGY
Slogan Competition and have been
shortlisted along with the Tyne and
We are all going to die Wear Annual Teaparty Society." DECONSTRUCTS
Cordelia Graham HIMSELF
Campaigners have, however, A Student is in hospital tonight
threatened to riot should ITS take the ‘SCONE’ OR ‘SCONE’? following a gruesome accident in the
controversial step of rolling out dual The Durham Union Society has short loans section of the university
boot to CG66 and CG68. The action will continued to flourish this term reaching library. The student, who can no longer
see students unable to use ESOL an all-time high at the historic: “This be named for conceptual reasons, is
between 06:43 and 06:45am on Sunday house would pronounce ‘scone’: believed to have been in his final-year at
9 March. 'It's the only time I can it!’ said ‘scone’” debate last Friday night. Collingwood but has cast doubt over the
one activist. 'Just how do they expect us concept of his unified self as well as the
to live without ESOL? How?' dichotomy of Collingwood and Grey.
Tom Walker One witness to the deconstruction,
library staff member Joseph Habermas,
LGBTa PRESIDENT blamed the incident on the student
ADMITS: ‘I DON'T himself: “he thought it was clever and
he could impress with some of this
KNOW WHAT poststructuralist nonsense; students
TRANSGENDERED IS’ need to be aware that reading Derrida
will cause problems: academically and
Durham’s transgender community was anatomically”.
in uproar this week following the Members were turned away from the Anton Lazarus
revelation that LGBTa president Sam debating chamber on Palace Green as
Finn (Bisexual) was unable to provide record numbers flocked to attend. The
even a basic understanding of proposition failed as many in the room
‘transgendered’. While quashing earlier preferred ‘scone’ to ‘scone’, the winning
reports that she didn’t even know what team concluding that: “‘scone’ or
the T stood for, the president was forced ‘scone’, ‘either’ is as good as ‘either’”.
to admit that she could not define the Tony Dyer
term. MH (Metrosexual) printed out a
Wikipedia article and supplied to the
president. It led to a look that can only ROCK BID
be described as: ‘disgust’, a physical The DSU unexpectedly waded into the
recoiling, and a playgroundesque shriek debate over Northern Rock last week as
of: “Oh my god, that’s disgusting! Why the President, Flo Herbert put forwards
would anyone be turned on by that? a surprise bid for the stricken bank. "We COOL BEANS
Yuk, yuk, yuk. It makes me sick.” think our offer of £300,000 is very
Emily Dukakis reasonable," stated the President at a Katy Fitzpatrick



Durham's demon and ghoul population nationwide are also said to be expanding He has been managing Durham's last
are said to be delighted by the news that their range of affordable pentagrams and surviving locally owned Hellmouth,
the newly-opened Tesco Express on goats' heads in conjunction with the which is located in the SCR of St. John's
North Road is one of many stores announcement. College, for over 15 years.
internationally that will provide a direct A new advertising campaign is also "This just isn't right. I'm forced to pay
portal to hell. likely to accompany the grand opening, exactly the same damnation tariffs as
Financial analysts were stunned to which will replace the popular slogan Tesco, and they are a multi-billion-
learn that Tesco stores have always 'Tesco: every little helps' with 'Tesco: pound international conglomerate. It's
contained hellmouths, but the plc firm from beneath us it devours." just not cricket!"
has only recently won the license to Local 'Hellmouth' owner Ian Rumours that Tesco plc is also
commercially profit from these McApocalypse is worried by the severe seeking a strip club license remain
dimensional gateways. The threat this poses to his small business. unconfirmed.
development explains the impending
sense of doom which has been
experienced by many Tesco shoppers MIRACLE TOAST
since it was initially founded in 1919. RON PECORRY GAZES INTO THE DOUGHY ABYSS

Excitement is growing in the Northern flocking to Huddlesfield to catch a

England town of Huddlesfield glimpse of the scientific relic.
following the news that a local man saw "I have always been an atheist, and
an image of the Big Bang in a piece of to see my life choices validated on a
toast. Atheist Donald Chapman, 36, told piece of toast is truly astounding," said
local newspaper "The Huddlesfield one guest at the Huddlesfield Arms
Express" that he was sitting down to eat hotel.
breakfast when an unusual toast pattern To the surprise of many, the UK
caught his eye. National Atheist Association has asked
"I was just about to spread the butter its members not to pay attention to the
when I noticed a fairly typical small story despite its potential to inspire less
Aisle three: next to the eggs hole in the bread surrounded by a burnt faith. "Given what the religious believe
black ring. However, the direction and already, this is an easy sell," said one
Tesco Chief Executive Sir Terry splatter patterns of the crumbs as well disgruntled activist who said he was
Leahy issued a statement, "We are as the changing shades emanating going to Huddlesfield anyway, noting
unstoppable and there is nothing you outwards from this black hole were that "seeing is not believing".
can do to escape it! Soon we will control very clearly similar to the chaotic-
everyone you love and cherish. dynamic non-linear patterns that one
Mwahahahahahaha!" However, he later would expect following the Big Bang.
retracted his comments based on legal It's the beginning of the world," he
advice. added excitedly.
As well as providing a direct link to Ever since news of the discovery
hell, the Hellmouths will also allow made national headlines, local hoteliers
users to travel internationally to other have been overwhelmed by an influx of
Tesco stores. 'Tesco Express' stores atheists from all over the country Loaf your neighbour



It's 3am, the night before my deadline, offset of conditional factors. I don't even
and I'm having a few dissertation
problems. But everything will be fine.
know what that means!
I turn my head and find Diana Ross
Even if my flatmate Alistair is hopping sitting next to me. What the hell is Diana RECRUITMENT
around in front of my door, having a Ross doing here? She smiles at me and
dissertation crisis on my behalf, letting releases a balloon into the sky, and it POEM
out little yelps of anguish and explodes into millions of black crows Results published by the 2008
developing an unpleasant stress rash, that turn into little pieces of post- Times Online Student Survey:*
everything will be fine. Everything will feminist nonsense and Ariel liquitabs.
be fine. Everything will be fine. God appears, in a yellow tracksuit, and Monday’s child went to KPMG,
Everything will be FINE. Breathe. This eats them all. Fuck! It's already light!
is not the single piece of textual work I've got 7000 words to write and the Tuesday’s child saved the world, at
your life has been leading up to. thesis of my dissertation is flat, BP.¹
meaningless chud. What the fuck are Wednesday’s child went on an
“My sister texts intermediary variables? Who gives a
damn? Seventeen years of formal
me. She says if I education for this? For fucking
To be vaguely defined but well-paid
at Accenture.
don't get at least a intermediary variables? I don't care. I
don't sodding care. All I want to do is Thursday’s child Taught First, he
2:1, no one will run outside and wander around on the ran off on Friday to HSBC. ²
want to have sex A690 in my dressing gown, lobbing bits
of ham at motorists and exposing
Saturday’s child pursued self-
with me.” independence; ³
myself. Christ, this is how mad people
happen. My whole life I've laboured And on Sunday they all went on
All the schooling and your parents inside the system, for this, and all it will anti-depressants.
feeding you and protecting you and ever give me is a management position
chasing Mr Wokolski off the street for at Woking Borough Council and a Additional information:
giving Nestlé chocolate to second-hand Mazda. * The identities of individual participants
neighbourhood children and stuff, all for Diana Ross has reappeared in my remain anonymous.
this one little dissertation? Right? Oh bedroom and started singing 'Baby ¹ “Alternative Energy Department”.
God, what if I don't hand in my Love' and I'm not even asleep! ² Having established a flourishing extra-
dissertation on time and I fail my degree Ahahahaha! I'll give you intermediary curricular Latin club for former ten-year-
and my college will look at me the way variables! I'll give you 'dissertation'! I old heroin addicts.
the whole school looked at Chrissie delete everything and start typing. A ³ Question 21, option c: ‘further travel’.
Smith when she got pregnant and my moment of sanity hits me - is this
gran will die of heartbreak because I plagiarism? But I press on. I don't think Lucy Davies
haven't fully seized the educational their little text-checking machine will
opportunities for women that they pick up "Ooh baby love, my baby love / THE MODERN
simply didn't have before the war I need you, oh how I need you / But all REVOLUTIONARY
because university is a privilege, not a you do is treat me bad / Break my heart Orwell is my uncle,
right, and my parents have to perform a and leave me sad / Tell me, what did I do
uniquely middle-class honour-killing wrong / To make you stay away so Said is my aunt,
and put me in a special green recycling long", followed by the word "fuck", Derrida cooked my dinner,
box for children who have become footnoted (1). Foucault says I can't,
right-wing or don't want to do a I upload to DUO and press 'submit'. be a modern revolutionary,
Masters? Hmm, will this need binding? I'm ready because I don't know shit,
My sister texts me. She says if I don't to go and do the dance of St. Vitus on the
get at least a 2:1, no one will want to motorway now, but first, first, I'm going about anything by anyone,
have sex with me. Shit. She's right. I to lurch into bed and fall into a deep, Gladstone or William Pitt,
mustn't spazz out. Don't have a spazz. heavy, black sleep, before waking up to I want to shout out slogans,
I'm not having a spazz. Shit, I'm having realise exactly what I've done. to Che and Chairman Mao,
a spazz! Compose yourself, think Goodnight. but 'cos I'm just a student,
clearly. Ok - the intermediary variables
set forth a framework from which we ¹fuck I don't know fuckin' how.
can analyse and assess the anticipated Magnus Taylor



The Dr Rowan Williams has always Lord or two along the way – into their way as, say, the Soviet Union), an active
intrigued me. I admit I’m fascinated current state. So Christianity may have – almost hyperactive – pursuit of
how elements of his beard seem able to been the basis of British law, just as secularism. The droit à l’indifférence
mobilise themselves without any small squishy sea-dwellers were (the ‘right to [religious] indifference’)
perceptible movement from the probably the basis of humanity, but we bans the displaying of religious symbols
underlying muscles. Though more likely have moved on a little from that. in public. Whilst this system is
it’s due to the way he comes across – undeniably fair, it is not without some
clearly a scholarly and intellectual chap “Christianity may quite obvious problems, most of which
– as, well, not quite as Christian as one surfaced in the row in 2005 over the
would suspect for someone who is the have been the possibility of making an exception of
Archbishop of Canterbury. In this
context, I found his – in my opinion,
basis of British allowing Muslim women to wear
headscarves. Allowing this would,
quite measured – comments on Sharia law, just as small logically it would seem, not be fair. But
law in Britain not at all surprising. the only way to be really fair is to ban
Not at all surprising either is the squishy sea- scarves altogether.
response from what we might consider
the “likely suspects”. All of these were dwellers were
quick to trumpet things about the “law
being the same for everyone”. The
probably the basis
unsurprising comments came from the of humanity.”
normal raft of people (the BNP and
various others of their ilk) who maintain On this basis, there is no intrinsic
adverse views on multiculturalism and reason why “some elements” of Sharia
immigration; according to them, Sharia law are intrinsically incompatible with
law (even elements of it) is incompatible British law. Except, apparently, the fact
with British law, because British law is that Sharia law has a bit of a bad
based on Christian principles and reputation. Then again, lots of laws in Room for Sharia in British Law?
values. Nazi Germany had a ‘bit of bad
reputation’, but that does not necessarily Thankfully we live in Britain, where
make every single one of them our secularism is nicely passive, people
incompatible with British law (I are tolerant, even accepting, of
imagine, for the sake of a glib argument, difference – and seeing difference on
that Hitler did, and Gordon Brown will display rather than having to hide it
continue to, legislate that citizens drive away. People are not offended by seeing
on a certain side of the road). Just as this a Muslim headscarf or a Christian cross,
does not preclude the introduction of the or offended by Christian Laws or
more unsavoury Nazi edicts, most Muslim laws. The 'cost' of this, if it can
sensible people can probably fathom be seen as such, is that we have a state
that the “elements” of Sharia to which religion, albeit one that respects its
Dr Rowan Williams referred were not privileged position.
the ones that talk of chopping hands off, Neither I, nor Rowan Williams, are
cruelty to women or honour killings. suggesting that elements of Sharia law
The other argument against Dr should be introduced (at least not any
Williams is that this undermines the more or less than any other law thought
notion that the law be the same for up by any politician or think-tank or
everyone (anyway, it isn’t – see newspaper columnist) - and, lest we
The Beard of Canterbury ‘Monarch’). And it doesn’t, either. At forget, neither of us is in government.
So it very well might be: Britain, least it doesn’t depending on how we But the Archbishop of Canterbury
unlike France, has not yet got round to choose to implement this principle, talking frankly and honestly about
having the revolution that sweeps away especially in the field of religion. Sharia law shows an intelligent
all the old apparatus of government and Let us return for a moment to Christian, leading the state religion in an
replaces it entirely (after quite a few France, where, in a moment of high otherwise secular and tolerant country
false starts) with something written from wrangling, the State was divorced from and recognising the fact that the
scratch. Instead, our institutions have the Church. The upshot of this is, if not position of his faith brings
evolved slowly – shedding a prehensile state atheism (at least not in the same responsibilities along with privileges.

In August 2004, Barack Obama

addressed the Democratic National
Convention in Boston. It was an
astonishing moment. This was the
state senator from Illinois, the little-
known skinny kid with a funny name
who hadn't even made it to
Washington yet. Four years on, he's
still delivering the same message:
Hope, the Audacity of.
Unlikely tales of hope underpin
most of Obama's speeches: stories of
slaves singing freedom songs and
pioneers wandering west, civil rights
activists sitting-in and naval
lieutenants patrolling the Mekong
Delta. "Yes, we can!" proclaim the
crowds who've queued for hours to
hear him speak. He struts on to stage
accompanied by U2 and
metaphorically stage-dives away into
the night.

“His speeches are understood in the early words of the man than the silverest of tongues?
Obama's 2004 keynote in Boston: Despite professing a benevolent and
sprinkled with a "My parents…shared an abiding optimistic patriotism there's a nagging,
liberal dose of a faith in the possibilities of this nation. everpresent fear that lurks in the back
They would give me an African name, of the mind. Is Obama's actually just
deep-rooted Barack, or "blessed," believing that in another power-hungry campaign
Exceptionalism: a a tolerant America, your name is no
barrier to success.
clinging to the latest rebrand of an
American dream that leaves its inner-
belief that his "They imagined me going to the cities plagued by Third Worldly
story is uniquely best schools in the land, even though
they weren't rich, because in a
poverty? Is it really just the sort of
cold, calculating, cynical politics he
American.” generous America you don't have to be claims to have disavowed?
rich to achieve your potential.
"Don't tell me we can't change," he "I stand here knowing that my story “Is there more to
tells his audiences, "Yes, we can
change. Yes, we can heal this nation.
is part of the larger American story,
that I owe a debt to all of those who
this man than the
Yes, we can seize the future." A came before me, and that in no other silverest of
politics of togetherness and unity; it
sounds delicious. But false choices
country on Earth is my story even
underpin nearly all political His speeches are sprinkled with a I hope it isn't. But if he secures the
campaigns. What's the alternative to liberal dose of a deep-rooted American Democratic nomination, McCain's
hope and unity? The audacity of Exceptionalism: a belief that his story campaign will not let themselves be
cynicism? Disunity and despair? Not is uniquely American. That only in the labelled cynics to Obama's optimists,
likely. Blair was a past-master at the United States, with a belief in the dividers to his uniters, Washington-ites
game, "I did what I thought was right." purest of meritocracies, can you work to his outsiders. They're far too clever
Cheers mate. your way up society's greasy pole - if for any of that. And at some point
Despite the stirring, inspirational, you're poor, homeless, and destitute, along the road to November's general,
mightily watchable rhetoric Obama deal with it. American voters might ask for more
puts on our plates daily, there's also a His unwavering belief in the power than a pleasant sounding Mid-West
glimpse into that patriotic American of those who 'can' is delightful for the twang that tells them to believe.
dream-mongering which underpins observer with a roof over his head and They'll wonder what it is exactly
most elections stateside. It's best pesto in his fridge. But is there more to they're being asked to believe in.



I’m sitting in the library. Level Three. I’m not actually working doesn’t stop of rudeness. “Excuse me, would you
Not the nice desks facing the Cathedral my blood from boiling. I can’t believe mind taking that call outside, people are
with the diversion of the New Inn and that she’d be so selfish, so rude, so trying to work”? That seems somehow
the crossroads to stare at for hours on arrogant. What sort of person would do condescending. Perfect: she deserves it.
end, wondering what it would be like to this? Come on soldier.
stand naked in the middle of the traffic Something should be done. Quiet
shouting: “I won’t do it anymore, I’ve and superior words must be had. This is “This is it, my
had enough, I don’t care about to what
extent Marxism challenged
it, my chance to make a difference. I
may not believe in the essay but I’d die
chance to make a
enlightenment ideals…” or whatever for my right to write it. I stand up. The difference. I may
other nonsense has been brewed up by a air is filled with a stiff-upper lip, put-up
lecturer who seems to be more bored of and shut-up attitude: it’s up to me. I start
not believe in the
life than you are of his endless list of to stride towards her. Big, man-strides, essay but I’d die
futile essay questions. I’ll tell you to like some great leader bravely placing
what extent… to some extent you stupid himself in the line of fire for the sake of for my right to
old fart. That’s what everyone’s going to his comrades. write it. ”
say: X effected Y to some extent. How I’m less than a metre away. She’s
really, very, bloody interesting. still talking. I think about my friends “Excuse me” I whimper “Would you
and family and the boring essay and the mind…”
“I don’t care about British institution of silence in a library, I reach past her and pull out a dusty
to what extent all the things I have to live for: all the
things that making a stand like this
1967 anthropology periodical. She
smiles a patronising smile and continues
Marxism protects. her conversation. I take the book and
Standing next to her I open my return to my desk, safe in the knowledge
challenged mouth, she looks straight at me, the that I was closer to being a hero than
englightenment sound of her friend’s voice on the other everyone around me.
end of the line filling the space between What would happen, I wondered as
ideals...” us. Eye contact. This is it. My mouth has my eyes scanned pages looking for
I don’t know why I’m on level three; been open for an ever-increasingly patterns in the words, if I set fire to this
the books I use are never on level three. inappropriate time. What to say? “Shut book and then just didn’t stop
This is my ‘library-routine’: I enter the up!”? Too blunt: don’t sink to her level screaming…
building, feel a little lost, head for the
stairs. I get as far as the door to level
three before succumbing to the urge to
spread papers over a desk in a
rudimentary form of territory marking: a
student equivalent of a dog pissing on a
I’m not working on this stupid essay,
nor am I likely to start. I’m thinking
about stopping traffic with a nudity-
based mental breakdown. I’m sitting
here thinking: I wish I was out there, I
wish I could run around like a carefree
child, or at least have a window desk so
I didn’t have to twist my spine like a
corkscrew for a taste of natural light.
I snap out of what at this point has
become a bizarre fantasy. The sound of
a girl talking loudly into a mobile
phone. What?? On her mobile phone in
the library?? Bitch, Bitch, BITCH! I
know I’m just sitting here wondering if
I’d make the front-page of palatinate:
“Nude’s in at the New Inn,” but the fact Dan Dyer


We’ve got another free subscription to Private Eye to Durham doesn’t have too many well-known alumni –
give away. unless you count an ex-England rugby captain who
To enter, come up with a caption for this: may have shagged ‘The Queen of our Hearts’™ or
park-bench debaucher Piers Merchant – so you might
expect the ones that the university does boast about to
hold a generally favourable view of the place. Not so.
“It looked and sounded precisely like the opposite
of real life,” states the autobiography of one graduate.
“Boys with stripy scarves lying floppy and lifeless
over their shoulders like the dead weight of tradition,
and girls in quilted green jackets wandered from
lecture to college seemingly oblivious to the world
around them."
Who is this disgruntled alumnus? An embittered
Greggs’ employee? A (whisper it) Local Student?
Unfortunately not – none other than George Alagiah,
whom, we are incessantly informed, once edited
Palatinate, and of whom the University are so proud
that, last October, they appointed him ‘Doctor of Civil
Law’ in the Cathedral.
Entries should to be submitted to Another opinion: “Durham was not just an ivory by the end of
March. Winner to be notified next term. tower, but a small, isolated, very amateurish one, cut
off from the real world, and all the real talent." This
one from Hunter Davies – yes, you guessed it, also an
ex-editor of Palatinate. This all sounds worryingly
familiar, despite the fact that the Durham they
describe dates from the 1970s. Has the university
really changed so little since then?
Most of the fuss about the University’s
modernising drive rests on the argument that it will
alter the university’s traditional ethos and location
within the city, which will, in turn, put its current
target market of students off studying here. Perhaps
that’s a good thing.
Durham is squarely and unavoidably white middle-
class. The student body’s make-up is so
unquestionably homogenous that you barely even
need diversity statistics to support this statement
(around 94-95% of Durham’s students are white. And
that’s including Stockton).
This hasn’t changed since the 70s largely because
of the traditional and elitist image Durham presents to
prospective students. We might want to keep tradition,
but there’s a good chance that it’s that tradition that
puts those who differ from us off applying. All this
relocation and re-branding might seem excessive, but
it’s a move in the right direction. Alagiah wrote:
“[Durham] jolted me out of an uncritical ambivalence
about the role race – and class – played in the shaping
of English lives.” Maybe it should jolt us too.

As I found my seat at Comedyfest, I here. All in all, good times – but the Fifth at Agincourt. Though possibly
had a minor epiphany. It suddenly nothing that couldn’t be handled by our that was just me getting carried away.
occurred to me that the Durham Revue Revue's droll band of brothers and As the Durham Revue were
can offer us something we’re sorely sisters, I was sure. headlining, the Oxford Revue opened
lacking up here on the Wear: a sense of the second half. The strongest student
identity. In a university defined as comedy I’ve seen has tended to feature
much by its attempts to be Oxbridge healthy doses of pop-cultural
North as anything distinctively references, and throwing Pokemon and
Durham, we really don’t have much Poddington Peas lyrics into the context
which we can share and call our own. I of Shakespearian tragedy instantly won
began to wonder if the Revue might be the Oxonians some fans. As their set
our last and best hope for inter- ended, things were dramatically poised
collegiate small talk. for our own Revue's grand finale.
They’ve been around forever,
they’re lodged in the university’s
consciousness and they’ve got “When the girl in
‘Durham’ right there in the name. Need
a sense of belonging? Send in the
front of me
clowns. And where better to send them interrupted a
in than Comedyfest, headlining a show sketch referencing
featuring The Cambridge Footlights
and the Oxford Revue, the sketch the war poets to
comedy personifications of our ask who Wilfred
overachieving Oxbridge cousins.We
might not have got in, but at least we
Owen was, I felt
can vicariously outshine those who did. obligated to give
Completing the bill were The Penny Second up, and bringing in the the back of her
Dreadfuls, an act composed of former
university comics who have now ‘made
interval: The Penny Dreadfuls. Here
my hopes of our lot leaving the rest of
head a truly
it’ and have got a series on BBC Radio the bill in the shade rather dimmed; vicious glaring”
Seven. You can’t even get that on FM - their experience showed as they lit up
by God, boys and girls, give them one the Ballroom with a distinctive brand of Out they came; our heroes, our icons. I
from me. what might be best described as gave them each a proud nod, full of
unhinged post-Victoriana. Even with camaraderie, as they walked onto the
“If I was to pin this deliberate stylistic constraint, they stage. It seemed to go unnoticed -
my sense of never seemed to lack ideas, producing a
series of sketches grounded in strong
presumably they were deep in
concentration. They didn't sweep the
belonging on our concepts and punctuated with excellent competition before them in a blaze of
very own lines. If the Footlights had charisma,
the Dreadfuls had it by the (wrought
sketch-based glory, but they did get the
laughs we expected, and when they
comedic crack iron, nineteenth-century) bathtub. didn’t it may have been because their
This led me on to a corollary to this sketches were a bit highbrow. When a
troops, I wanted whole “uniting Durham” business; if I girl in front of me interrupted a sketch
to be pretty sure was to pin my sense of belonging on referencing the war poets to ask her
our very own comedic crack troops, I friend who Wilfred Owen was, I felt
they were going wanted to be pretty sure they were obligated to give the back of her head a
to come out of it going to come out of it looking good. truly vicious glaring.
Comedyfest didn’t come at the best English degree-based cleverness,
looking good.” time for the Revue. In recent months some wonderfully awful puns and an
they’ve seen the departure of their element of pure physicality proved to
The Footlights were first on, exhibiting longest standing member, a slating in be a potent mix. By the end of
impressive charisma and confidence. the pages of Palatinate and, rumour Comedyfest I was proud to be a
Perhaps a couple of their sketches may would have it, some tensions within the Durhamite. It was the Penny Dreadfuls
have benefited from an extra pinch of group. As the interval ended and we who stole the show, but, fortunately for
concision, but my frankly inadequate headed once more unto the breach, I our egos, the hometown favourites
attention span might well be to blame was reminded of the task facing Henry stole our hearts.



I'm so excited that I have had to borrow comes, that it would have once given me body mists I had at 12. But no, it is
my housemate's asthma pump. Tonight, I a panic attack. Not now. It's beautiful: magic. We are suddenly in a cinema. Our
am dining at Gourmet Spot - G-spot to scallops with squash puree and liquorice air smells like fun and dates and 1950's
its friends - Durham's foray into foam. I've had M&S scallops before - the drive-ins. Maybe I'm high off the fumes,
molecular gastronomy. Its head chef is ones off the TV, so pretty ritzy - but these but this is the pudding highlight of my
Sean Wilkinson, the self pro-claimed are a different breed. They're like fruity life: crunchy, creamy popcorn brulee,
pysceDelia Smith. I have been perving sea lychees, caramelised on the outside. weighty white chocolate ice cream, and a
over his menu for weeks. Some things There's a nest of greenery above them, an scattering of warm popcorn. It is
baffle. Beetroot clouds and balloons of arc of grapefruit to their left and they're unspeakably good.
earl grey tea. This is not Bella "bon a- underscored with wasabi caviar. I've had When it is over, we want to be left
per-tee-toe" Italia. four mouthfuls and I'm already a alone, on chairs that resemble wombs, to
woofter. just be. To feel post-coital and write
“The desserts I'm also, normally, a woolfer. I finish poetry and give away all our earthly
menu is in comic first and stare at other people's plates 'til
they surrender their last mouthful. Not
possessions. We ask if we can thank the
chef. It's pycheDelia's day off, so we talk
sans, the typefont here. I have never eaten so attentively in to Steven, the sous-chef, who's
my life. Especially when heady, unassuming, commanding, and only 21
of sex pests” burgundy Venison, so tender you could years old. Same age as me, yet while I'm
We enter. I'm a bit nervous; Man is cut it with a fork, arrives. With it, a fannying about at Elvet Presley, he's
wearing jeans. They might banish him. drizzle of dark chocolate sauce - producing fine art.
But no, we are ushered straight to our perfectly unsweet: thick and Mexican
seats without even being asked our like Frida's eyebrows. The asparagus and
names. Press donchaknow! Finally, the braised venison pudding evolves as I eat
recognition I deserve! The wine glasses - soft at the start, crispy as it cools. And
are gargantuan, the dining area there's a crosshatch of baby roast
microscopic. Each wall has a different vegetables so baby they make me
theme. To my left, stylised Victorian, to broody. I smile so hard my cheekbones
my right, Chinese-y ceramic flowers. In change position. I try, tactlessly, gamely,
front of me… a head-height plasma fire. to explain the allure of bloody meat to a
I think of Borat: "that one, not so much". vegetarian. I suck on my steak like it's a
Which brings me to the restaurant's Werther's Original. Man is talking
Durham’s best viewing deck
name. Gourmet Spot makes me think of animatedly as I compose my last We then talk to Sue, the maitresse d',
long-life sandwiches at a motorway café. mouthful. I make him stop. I must not be who's charming, voluble, honest. People
And the desserts menu is in comic sans, distracted. It goes it. I shut my eyes. Oh have flown from Italy to eat here; people
the typefont of sex pests. We observe our my. have left after one glance at the menu.
fellow clientele. "The Epernay crowd" She tells us about the "soundtrack of
says Man. Shaven-headed men (Rolex “Only white was swearing" in the kitchen, and Sean's
rather than Ross Kemp) and their bintim.
There is one other student twosome.
right: bread, pasta, former restaurant. What went wrong, we
asked. ‘It was in Middlesbrough. People
They look like cellists. This would be and if my parents kept on asking for fishfinger sandwiches.
fine, but they, like the others, don't really got curry, I used a I wanted to say "Go across the road to
talk. At all. Cutlery clangs against china McDonalds. I mean, actually do. There's
and it sounds like they're emptying colander to wash the actually a McDonalds across the street.”’
dishwashers. We feel we have to (In the end, Sean made fishfinger
whisper. Everything rides on pysceDelia.
sauce off” sandwiches, but with fresh fish goujons
The complimentary amuse bouche, a For the finale, Vegetarian and on homemade bread).
"deconstructed bloody Mary", served in Vampire overcome their differences and I scrub our plates with my finger and
an ashtray, is a mixed bag. Tabasco foam share. A beautiful union, mostly because realise that despite its olive oil candles
is fluffy and devilish, but the vodka Man's dessert is better than mine. My and shifty name, G-spot is not
sorbet tastes a bit like fridge. But who dark chocolate and lavender pannacotta pretentious. You can pronounce scallops
am I to judge? Until I was 15 ¾ I was a looks a bit druggy. There's a line of white wrong without feeling like a human
militant food racist. Only white was chocolate cocaine, and the dried Ferrero Rocher, and you can leave a
right: bread, pasta, and if my parents got lavender looks like weed and tastes like changed person. When I get home, I try
curry, I used a colander to wash the sauce Ambi-pur. Man's comes with a spray to to eat a Lindor ball. I had once thought
off. My mum thought I was going to be a infuse the air around us with the aroma they were haute cuisine. After G-Spot,
sociopath. I realise, when my starter of popcorn. I think of Natural Collection my bouche was not amused.



The revolution will be televised. You’ll a revolution, read about a revolution and
see it stretched anonymously across the desire a revolution. I’d like to be a duck. Every time I see
rectangular flatness of your TV screen. The revolution will be televised. If one paddling contentedly in the river
You’ll read it, condensed and cheerfully the revolution is not televised then I will the desire returns stronger than ever.
edited, on the all seeing, all knowing not know about it. The human world rushes past, the
cyber-vastness of the BBC news I want to be part of the revolution, world could end up on the riverbanks,
website. You’ll hear about it, stuffed into even though I don’t know what it means. but the only thing that matters to a
the radio friendly soundbite of your I’m concerned that the revolution duck is pecking at a leaf or eating a
radio friendly radio news. may have already happened, but I don’t worm. Short of getting off my head on
The revolution will be televised. It know about it because I was watching a drugs there must be no more effective
will have taken place to someone, or different channel. way of cutting off the outside world
some people, somewhere, where you and its dull trials and tribulations
aren’t, won’t know and won’t ever be. (whatever a tribulation is). I could bury
Something will have happened far out in my head in the sand, but I do not want
the bright spaces far into the other side. to be an ostrich. An ostrich is simply a
There will be explosions in a city and giant feather duster which runs in a
death somewhere cold and dusty and ridiculous manner somewhat akin to an
full of ragged children smiling at a overinflated pigeon. Now there’s a
jolting camera. pointless bird, the ultimate rebuke to
The revolution will be televised. But fans of intelligent design. What
will it be the real revolution? Will it be purpose did your God have in creating
the right revolution? Will it be THE them, unless He really was intending to
revolution? How do we know if what design a mobile cigarette-butt eater
the fathers of information tell us is what cunningly disguised as a mangy
we really want to know? What we really winged rat? Ducks on the other hand
should know? are handsome, with a nice slash of blue
The revolution will be televised, and shiny green heads. You wouldn’t
because if it isn’t televised then the even need to cook, because every now
revolution will not have happened. The and again a child would come along
revolution makes great TV. The people and throw some bread at your head. I
love a revolution, the people will watch Look at my flag! (and baguette) suppose the one disadvantage of being
a duck would be the swans. Swans are
the actors of the bird world; beautiful
to look at but with a tendency to attack

when disturbed, which most of them

are. But watching one land is a simple
joy, like a Boeing 747 coming to rest
on an ocean except the swan glides to a
halt and planes break into a million
pieces thus rendering the whistle on the
lifejacket somewhat pointless. Ducks
do not have this Larkinesque
pessimism, which leads me back to the
first line of this paragraph like a barn
owl on a treadmill.
Younger turtles always dreamt of earning their wings



I saw Marten swotting up in the library large percentage of conversation. Often, Two, however, pertains to what is called
earlier today. I approached him noisily comments entail value-judgements; "opinion."
by stamping my feet on the floor as I consider the following dialogue If Akbar did see the football but did
trod, but he was evidently too engrossed between Akbar and a Hypothetical not enjoy it because he believed that the
to notice me. Then when I got closer, I Football Enthusiast: defending was “absolutely diabolical”*
realised why. Old man Lamoney only Hypothetical Football Enthusiast: and consequently responds “no,” HFE
had three books open in front of him, “Good morning, Akbar. Did you see the might quite reasonably ask Akbar to
side by side, and was trying to read all football last night? Don’t you think it explain why he did not enjoy the
three simultaneously. was very good, or what!? I like football experience of watching the televised
When I cleared my throat to break very much and I think it is a worthwhile football game. If Akbar uses a well-
the silence, he quickly closed two of activity in which to engage, do you chosen footballing term of art correctly,
them and said "Oh, hello. I'm just sitting agree?” he might gain the trust, respect, even
here in the library, doing some reading... Did you manage to spot the odd one friendship of HFE who, though he may
You know how it goes. Just reading out there? Look closely. The first disagree, as a typical football enthusiast
these different books independently and question is straightforward; it is called holds to the Voltairean ideal of defence
separately of one another; one brick at a “closed,” or sometimes “binary,” of free expression. Here are some
time." Then, realising it was me, he because it could be answered only in possible responses:
changed his tone: "What the fuck do you two of the three following ways: Comment I: “No, I thought the
want now, Brodsky? Oh, take this if it'll Akbar: “No.”/ “Yes.” / “An defending was absolutely diabolical!”
keep you out of my hair." With that, he Albatross!? On the Fifteenth– you’ve Comment II: “Diabolical was the
handed me one of those waterproof got to be shitting me, Larry!” defending! thought I absolutely? No...”
plastic wallets for moisture-absorbant Comment III: “An Albatross!? On
documents. the Fifteenth...You’ve got to be shitting
I've transcribed the contents as me, Larry!”
faithfully as possible. Inside there were Read these three comments quickly,
three letters attached to the file: One then stop, then read them over again–
from Cape, an outright refusal. Another this time, more closely. Which response
from Virago explaining that regretfully would have proved most advantageous?
they would not be taking on his project That’s right, Comment I. Here, not
as they felt that there were already too only does Akbar make an intelligible
many farm-yard based political satires and germane comment, but he does so
on the market, and a third from utilising a term peculiar to the field. This
enquiring whether he would like to Like butterscotch you didn’t! might result in HFE raising his
renew his subscription to Melody Did you manage to spot the odd one eyebrows meaningfully, shaking Akbar
Maker, which looked remarkably like he out there? Look again, this time more firmly by the hand, or even feeling
had written it to himself. closely: Akbar could have responded in compelled to buy Akbar a drink.
It appears to be an extract from a either the affirmative or the negative; he If you answered Comment II, do not
textbook that he's working on. had either seen the football or he had not worry too much. Here, Akbar’s
*** seen it. Had he replied with the third comment is relevant and also does
Chapter One: Commenting. option he may have disconcerted contain the specialist term, albeit in
Sometimes we are called upon, when Hypothetical Football Enthusiast. The somewhat scattershot form. However,
conversing with other persons, to object of a conversation is to cooperate Akbar, in this situation, is required
respond to propositions. Our response is verbally with another person in order to simply to make a short comment, not to
sometimes called a “comment.” The reach a mutually-beneficial conclusion. embark on a lengthy equivocal Jacobean
comment is designed to reveal an To disconcent is counter-productive to soliloquy.
attitude or evaluate information– this is this end, and should for this reason be If you answered Comment III, it
why people who wear their Parkas over avoided. might be useful to reconsult your notes
their heads, instead of their arms and If Akbar did see the football, he must on the subject of disconcertion and
torsos, whilst scurrying blindly out of proceed to the next question. Now maybe draw some flow-charts.
the magistrates' court, often say: “No things become more difficult. The * This is a footballing term of art and
comment.” Which is to say, they wish to second question is of a different variety. does not mean to suggest that the devil,
conceal something, and commenting is a HFE cannot contest Akbar’s answer to as embodiment of evil, had had any
poor choice of medium through which Question One – if had commented: involvement, but merely that the
to do this. “Like butterscotch you didn’t!” he may defending was of a poorer standard than
So-called “comments” account for a well have disconcerted Akbar. Question expected.
farms, no CO2 controls, no extra trees,
little bit of carbon offsetting.
COUNTER. little. Perhaps an MP with a penchant
for dominant, latex clad prostitutes and
EMPLOYEE: Hello! What type would orange-based asphyxiation?
you like? AP: (LOOKS AT A LIST) Rent boy?
sure... interest you in any cookies...or female
EMPLOYEE: You know sir, the bread MPs?
and butter of your manifesto. Red, blue, When the going gets weird, the weird
yellow? (PRODUCES COLOURED start recruiting. Greeted by blank faces
and offerings of strange, tasteless fruit,
the mad men meander onwards blindly
AP: I want to say this is hard towards the coming Armageddon and
EMPLOYEE: It doesn't really matter. their own inevitable destruction.
AP: Oh, if it doesn't matter...yellow. All MH’s current editors leave for the
EMPLOYEE: Okay. What type would terrify bleakness of the outside world in
you like? june, so the paper has to get its hands
AP: Oh. I'm not sure... Which is the on fresh new talent to continue.
most popular? Mostly Harmless needs you, because
EMPLOYEE: Spin of the Day you are talented individuals capable of
perhaps? great things. You have fine cultured
AP: What's that? brains and mysterious talents we didn’t
EMPLOYEE: It's Tuesday: Have your
even know existed.
So drop us a line, tell us what you can
picture taken near some disadvantaged do and we’ll find a place for your
youths. talents in the MH ‘family’.
AP: (HEARTY LAUGH) I don't think We want people who can make MH
so. better in the following areas:
EMPLOYEE: Would you like some AP: (NOW LOOKING IN HIS WALLET. Writers: Funny stuff, serious yet
education? DISMISSIVE, WITHOUT LOOKING exciting comment, strange
AP: Definitely. Yes, that's very UP) No, no. (PAUSE) Oh, okay, so how observational ramblings, engaging
important. much is that? reviews. We want to read it all, so
EMPLOYEE: Would you like single or EMPLOYEE: Just an undisclosed please send it in.
double? bribe. Cartoonists: To draw cartoons.
AP: Oh, erm, double please. AP: Right. Do you accept peerages?
Designers: We need people who are
EMPLOYEE: Okay so that's: EMPLOYEE: (SLIGHT LAUGH) No, clever with computer design programs
education, education… it needs to be something of value. like Quark and Indesign and can help
AP: Throw in an extra one for good Money preferably. us make the paper look better than it
EMPLOYEE: …Education. A CHEQUE AND LEAVES. ANOTHER Marketing people: To help us sell
AP: Sounds quite good. MAN ENTERS DISCREETLY. the paper to advertisers and formulate
EMPLOYEE: Greens? EMPLOYEE: Ah, Mr Cameron! Back an imaginative and attractive
AP: (LOOKS DOWN AT ARRAY ON again so soon? marketing strategy. We need to
persuade the people who matter that
they should advertise with us. This is
very important. With no advertising
money MH cannot exist.
From: College President
To: All Students
Re: Get excited!

We like to keep you informed of everything that happens in the college

- whether or not you give two shits about somebody's iPod being
nicked because despite repeated warnings they left their window open
while they went for a wank in the bathroom opposite.
College spirit demands your concern, so if those responsible for the
theft of the iPod, the three missing dining-hall glasses, the setting off
of the fire alarm at 4.30am, the July 7th bombings, the Holocaust,
religious fundamentalism, the Rwanda genocide and Jo Whiley do not
come to my room by 6pm today everyone in the college (regardless of
whether you ever come up the hill because you think college food is a
load of guff and you'd rather stick forks in your eyes than come to
another shoddy themed formal with a half-arsed representation of
Mickey Mouse on the wall for which you paid £8 a ticket) will be
whipped with the porter's willy until you show a bit more college spirit.
Do not be late for the formal, as we are a giant community and the
lack of respect shown to your brethren is akin to paedophilia.
A minor JCR celebrity who didn't get the presidency but did get bar
steward, and seems to have been around since 1973, writes:
“For an evening of homoeroticism head for the bar which will as
ever be packed to the rafters with the rugby crowd waving their dicks
around and singing gibberish, serving a range of at least 2 different
alcoholic drinks at least one of which will be spilt on you by a fresher
shoving past to what you hope will be his untimely death at the hands
of Freddy Krueger.”
We finally dredged the college pond at the weekend. If you've
recently lost a key, a wallet, a silver necklace, a submarine or Tony
Blair's sense of shame please contact me in Room 261.
Get excited, it's the informal ball next week and you know you
want to come! Oh, you've slit your wrists. Bit extreme, no? Not much
college spirit there!

(did anybody notice?)

Across: Down:
1) Changing the shape of a wombat for 2) What you would normally do with an
larks (6) owl (8)
5) A juggler, or your jugular? (8) 3) Legally brunette (but illegally
9) Michael Howard sleeps in a pigpen for prevaricating) (8)
lunch (8) 4) Playing the fool, Rhubarb of course?
10) Half way to the moon with its cheese (9)
(6) 5) A man in a hat (generally no ears) (15)
11) Not a real Jeffrey Archer novel (8) 6) A small county for immature people (7)
13) Gary Lineker and crisps, 7) Bleak cottage (Not Hard but
masturbating? (8) unspeakable) (8)
15) The fastest man in the world won't 8) Owwch! That hurt, yesterday not today
dig this spacehopper (4) (8)
17) Ambiguity on the Orient Express (4) 14) The feeling you get when you eat a
19) A stationary Gulliver for once (8) navel orange (9)
20) David Cameron, goat fondue 15) Why don't we do it on the pavement?
accidental (6) (8)
21) Brief but only briefly (8) 16) Sometimes this works out better than
22) Second on the right next to the dandelions (8)
aubergines (6) 17) Help me! I'm not a real crossword
23) You must be shitting me Larry (8)
24) I'm a fucking carrot you fascists (8)
clue. (8)
18) For the love of God stop this DIANA INQUEST LATEST:
25) Goodbye and thanks for all the
invertebrates (6)
macarbre charade (8)
19) I wish I was dead. (So does
everyone) (8)