Finalists celebrating the end of their exams at Wahoo on Friday were treated to an unexpected sight: an appearance by world-famous actor Hugh Grant.
Grant had been attending a dinner at New College, and was persuaded by students there to accompany them to the newly-reopened Friday night clubbing venue. He purchased 10 tickets from college Entz Reps.
The actor spent a brief time in the club, as well as stopping off for a drink at the Kings Arms pub on Holywell Street.
Grant, who was an English undergraduate at New College between 1979 and 1981, ate dinner on the High Table there earlier in the evening.
He has donated generously to the College in the past, although his name does not appear on any of the public donor lists. He is thought to have been invited to dinner in recognition of this contribution.
Following the dinner, Grant went with students to the college bar. He was quickly surrounded by large numbers of undergraduates, and remained in the bar for over an hour.
Despite previous incidents of conflict with photographers, he appeared amenable to the attention he received in the bar. He bought drinks for a number of students and posed for photographs with many of them.
Andrew Symes, New College Bar Rep, said that after about half an hour Grant handed him his bank card and said, “From now on, all drinks are on me”. However Symes was forced to refuse the offer, because the bar can only accept cash or Bod cards.
At one point Grant was ‘pennied’ by second year Modern Languages student Hursh Mehta.
Mehta said, “I asked ‘Are you familiar with the concept of pennying?’ He wasn’t.
“After a brief explanation, he responded ‘That sounds like good fun.’ ‘Oh, really?’ I said and dropped a penny into his pint of bitter.”
Grant then obligingly downed his pint of White Horse to a rousing chorus of “We like to drink with Hugh”.
Some students expressed embarrassment at the behaviour of those crowding around Grant. One second year at New College said, “I just found it slightly pathetic how all these girls who want to be treated with respect turned into fawning sycophants who would definitely have let him have sex with them there and then if he’d offered.
“One of them was heard saying something along the lines of ‘Let me make you happy, Hugh’. It was disgusting.”
Matthew Kain, JCR Entz Rep-elect, and Oliver Greening, Bar Manager, approached Grant and offered him tickets to Wahoo, which they had been selling in the bar before Grant’s arrival.
Greening said, “We asked him if he was coming to Risa [Wahoo’s former name] and he replied ‘Yeah, why the f*** not!’.
“He asked how much the tickets were, and we told him they were £5. He whipped out a fresh £50 note and said, ‘I’ll take 10!'”
Grant’s visit to New College bar came on the same evening that the College welfare team were holding ‘Pee for a Pint’, an event designed to encourage students to take a chlamydia test in return for a free drink.
Grant was apparently offered a test kit, but declined to take it.
However his presence in the bar meant that the event was far more successful than previously anticipated. Over 130 students received vouchers for their free drink.
One of the students organising the event said, “It was a lucky coincidence definitely.
“We used up all the tests that the screening programme gave us because so many people were in the bar, although at the moment he walked in the people who were about to do the test ran off screaming to see him!”