Cultural reflections


I am becoming used to my new status as a finalist. Not very used to it, mind you. I still spent far too much time in my  collections looking at the pretty colours in the stained glass windows in our hall (they’re so pretty during exams). In comparison, a finalist who was serious about his subject would have got properly stuck into the differences between Homeric and Mycenaean Greek, scribbling against the clock, making his fingers bleed from the heat of his furious pen, and then collapsing into a well-earned bath to muse on the relative strengths and weaknesses of the arguments he could have made for the rest of the evening. That person is not me, but I have started dwelling on all the things I shan’t ever do again.

No more  throwing copies of Cherwell at confused-looking freshers during freshers fair (I was thinking about apologising publically here, but it was just too much fun), no more getting new keys off the porters, and no more Michaelmas collections (there’s probably little diff erence between a collection in Michaelmas and one in Hilary or Trinity, but it’s nice to be able to cross off nasty things). And I’ve started thinking about things I shan’t have much chance to do again – like going to see student plays. Our new drama officer’s emails certainly come over as enthusiastic. They swarm with hyperlinks, and one email was so exciting it came with an addendum. Production teams are looking forward to hearing from me, and everyone seems to want all levels of experience. Ain’t that nice?

There was a time a couple of years ago when I used to go to plays that didn’t star or even involve friends of mine. It was very strange – no one does this in Oxford. Despite the way the theatre committees like to ask potential producers how they’re planning to sell their play, every Oxford thesp (even thespini such as myself) know that the only way to sell a play is to beg every last friend you have into coming to see it. The result is that theatres are filled, even if last friends are lost. But for some reason I bucked this trend and got so obsessed with student plays that for about half a term I’d be going to one most evenings.

But now, older and wiser as I am (fun fact: Cherwell’s final staff-list of term tends to slander me as “wiseman” or something similar. Look through the archives in the Union if you care), I’ve lost my desire to spend time and money on student drama. I want to go and see theatre with flamboyant costumes and moving stages. I want theatre with phenomenal acting and beautiful scripts. Perhaps it’s just shallow, but I’ll be heading off to the cinema this term – at least you get decent landscape shots.

Oh and did I mention I’ll be starring as assistant number 17 at the Ashmolean’s LiveFriday next week? It would be really awesome if you could come.


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