Wednesday, 10 October 2012


Montague Withnail: Laissez-moi respirer longtemps, longtemps, l'odeur de tes cheveux!
Ahhh, Baudelaire. Brings back such memories of Oxford! Ooohh, Oxford!!

I: [Voice-over] Followed by yet another anecdote about his sensitive crimes in a punt with a chap called Norman, who had red hair and a book of poetry stained with the butter drips from crumpets.

So much mythology surrounds Oxford, from the whimsical mutterings of Montague Withnail to Evelyn Waugh's glorious betwixt-the-wars tome Brideshead Revisited. Battling my way this summer through the multitude of international students and goggle-eyed tourists, I was lucky enough to spend one (admittedly draughty) night in the halls of the impressive Magdalen College (above).

Magdalen remains one of the wealthiest and most traditional of Oxford colleges, where black tie is still worn in the great hall for dinner and each student retains the services of their own personal tutor for the duration of their scholarship. Alumni includes the likes of Oscar Wilde and Louis Theroux as well as the doppelganger of *a certain notorious child killer who shall remain namelss for fear of a defamation suit* (just Google it, he looks exactly like him) and equally evil current Tory Chancellor George Osborne. Just jokes Georgie, old chap. No need to sue, I'm afraid I've not got thruppence to spare what with all your austerity measures, you privileged ponce.'s young dream?

The perfectly manicured quadrangles of Magdalen college were spectacular, as was the ancient stone architecture punctuated by medieval gargoyles and decaying golden archways (below). The easel randomly perched among the shadows seemed to just appear oasis-like in the middle of a production designer's wet dream. Whatsmore, the fine high-ceilinged room I kipped in (where students of Osborne and Wilde's ilk presumably 'slummed it') was at least four times the square footage of my entire London flat. Oh George! Why has thou forsaken me?

The infamous open-topped tourist buses pootle about Oxford's impressive town centre, the great unwashed masses admiring all the history, tradition and privilege they could never experience on a ticket they can barely afford. Not that we're bitter George.

The sweetest irony of all had to be seeing these right-on political posters (below) once so integral to the student experience in that antiquated pre-social networking fairytale world of yore. Presumably its all Tory Totty facebook groups these days, along with Spencer and Charles' real-time mad ketamine bender tweets. I mean...Marxism 2012!! George must really be tittering about that one.       

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