Next Thursday, if I dare to venture beyond the Cowley area for a night out in the city centre, I will be unable to return home by my usual route. Instead of walking back over Magdalen Bridge, a fifteen-minute journey at the most, I will have to take a detour that forces me to circle Oxford, adding a ridiculous amount of time (at least forty-five minutes) to my walk home.
And why? Because once upon a time, some bizarre celestial committee decided that Oxford, with its college marriages and ‘time ceremonies’, just didn’t have enough stupid traditions.
Spotting the potential of the start of May, it concluded that a ‘pinch and a punch for the first of the month’ was in no way satisfactory for celebrating one of the more purgatorial times of the year. And so, we flock to Magdalen at the most god-forsaken time imaginable to hear a choir provide a soundtrack to the sunrise. A choir. In Oxford. As if we’ve never come across such a phenomenon.
Perhaps the idea of such an event wouldn’t be so abhorrent to me if it wasn’t for the closing of the bridge, which so inconveniences me and many others. Oxford City Council takes great trouble to make using the road impossible, and yet last year a couple of individuals managed it, a truly moronic group with no thought for their safety or, perhaps more appropriately, the well-being of their shins.
Oxford’s reputation for being stuffed to the brim with arrogant arseholes is in no way aided by the actions of such people, and if you’re going to attempt to leap into the Cherwell when its water-level barely reaches that of a Tesco Value paddling pool, then frankly I wouldn’t mind seeing your lifeless form bobbing past the Botanical Gardens.
Last year, the impending threat of English exams led my eager tutor to schedule classes which ran for two weeks, between eight and ten in the morning. However, such an arrangement far from dampened our spirits, and so when we stumbled into class that morning, the first of May, we did so after an all-night party and a trek down to hear the madrigals. Unsurprisingly, half of us didn’t manage to retain consciousness for long, falling asleep, head on table, one by one.
With Trinity perhaps the busiest term of the academic year, isn’t there a more convenient time to celebrate the first day of a month? What about February? Why is May any more noteworthy? Surely no month is worth such frivolities, nor losing one’s dignity by partaking in a quick Morris dance or maypole session. There are some pointless holidays in the world, a fact that most people acknowledge while ignoring this one, and it’s about time that our ever-so-self-consciously-kooky University realises this fact.
May Day may provide a fantastic opportunity to spend the night drinking and then watch the sunrise, but since when do we need an excuse to do such a thing – we’re students, aren’t we? I thought that’s what we were supposed to spend our loans on?
So if you must partake in such celebrations, for I’m sure that I can do little to dissuade you, then do refrain from spontaneous bridge-based gymnastics, and please ask the choir at Magdalen to keep it down. Some of us are trying to sleep.