Myths of Masterdom Thursday 13th January Sadly, the first day of the new half meant chapel duty. ‘Bread of Heaven’ was accompanied by the familiarly enthusiastic attempts of the house master in the next seat to me to demolish the eardrums of everyone within range. The choir, on the other hand, only got a small grunt of disapproval at the announcement of the anthem – the sad truth is that, for all their talent, the majority of the student body was either not listening or still asleep. My friend the housemaster approached me at the end of the service and spoke so quickly that, before I knew it, I had been signed down to chaperone the next E Social. There are only so many times you can ask him to repeat something before just giving up and nodding politely like when granddad starts talking about ‘those damn reds’.
Friday 14th January The smartarse scholars in my C Greek div have started passing notes to each other in some obscure Ionian dialect and seem to be perpetually smirking behind my back. I tried to make a point by asking the porky one with the pudding-bowl haircut when the battle of Marathon was. The smug sod replied that, as time was a non-linear quantity, ‘it could be tomorrow.’ I bloody hate Collegers. The one at the front with the enormous hair who doesn’t seem to understand any of their jokes approached me at the end of the lesson and asked me to help him found DubSoc because apparently he ‘just really bloody LOVES dubstep’. I said I’d get back to him tomorrow, largely because I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about but also partly because I want to. Later. On the corridors at bedtime, I had the misfortune to knock only once before entering one boy’s room. The telltale screen slam and look of utter shame followed. I can only hope he was gaming.
Arts Review - Lent 2011
Saturday 15th January I spent my longed-for Saturday afternoon attempting to umpire the only match of Field Game in which the boys knew even less than I did. The F League remainders, as we have become known, consist of boys who look as though a strong gust would carry them away – and the larger ones they seem to orbit. Every now and then they would turn to look at me as if something was outrageously wrong but, as far as I could tell, no singular moment of the 40 minutes of ball–chasing was any different from any other. That is until an absurdly large boy with a hefty beard who I was astonished not to have spotted before stormed the pitch and made for goal. Too late the weedy Long looked up from the copy of Fixtures he had illegally stashed in his sock for mid-match entertainment and, before he could make his panic-stricken leap for safety, the ball struck him clear in the face and he cannoned backwards off the pitch. After long consultation with the rules I decided that a ball can indeed be made rougeable off the nose but by this point everyone except our poor wounded player had gone. I am writing this in the San in between various repetitions of the story, each accompanied by most unprofessional howls of laughter from the nursing staff.
Sunday 16th January I returned home last night to find a crudely written note pushed under my door from the DubSoc Colleger. It said he wanted me to read his poetry because apparently I ‘just look like the sort of guy that would really GET it, you know’. My English teacher flatmate actually quite liked it: ‘If music be the food of love // Dubstep fits me like a glove: // Deep. Profound. Aggressively sexual.’ I’m not sure whether it’s meant to be addressed to me or not but I feel I ought to talk to someone about it...
Monday 17th January I met my tutorial group today for the first time, all of us having forgotten to turn up on Saturday. I thought that we would have a little debate to break the ice but, after having to fetch a globe from the geographer next door to prove where Tibet was – ‘no, sir, it’s one of those made-up places like Mordor and Timbuktu’ – it descended into anarchy. Try as I might, I couldn’t persuade them that ‘your mum’ was not a valid point of information and, eventually, I got so frustrated that I let them leave early to actual ‘woops’ of enthusiasm.
Tuesday 19th January There was a very embarrassing moment as I stopped a boy in the street to ask him to shave his scraggly beard only to discover he was in fact just a small History teacher several years my senior. Also, that strange Colleger has added me as a friend online. I didn’t see it could do any harm to say yes and I had been stuck on 499 for ages...
Wednesday 20th January The canonical rift in the Divinity department is apparently getting worse by the day. The Anglicans and Catholics have started going at it like religious turmoil was out of style. Rumour has it one of the Catholics has posted the 95 Reasons We Are All Going to Hell – most of which seem to focus on the clergy’s night–time habits – on the door of College Chapel. The Protestants struck back using a vicious smear campaign involving a senior Catholic chaplain and a toothbrush moustache to rival the propaganda used in James Schools’ own battle of Syracuse during the great coup of 2006. At present, they are arguing over who should get custody of the Jews, if it came to a separation, but there doesn’t seem to be any clear end in sight. My new virtual friend has been ‘poking’ me at all hours of the day and night and constantly giving me updates on his own thoughts and moods. I am in way over my head here...
Arts Review - Lent 2011
The lent edition of the arts review.