Issue No 14
Friday December 5 2008
The Independent Trinity Newspaper since 2007
>> Merry Christmas! 3
FEATURES 4 5
I don’t think Scrooge was a Socialist, but Jesus bloody was
The phrase ‘Christmas seems to come earlier every year’ is particularly apt in a commercial age when we are faced with the sight of Christmas trees and decorations lining department stores as early as in late September. Becoming disillusioned and irritated by the time 25th December actually rolls around is now part of the ‘joy’ of Christmas. Jack Lewars takes on the task of trying to re-ignite the festive spirit. It is difficult to criticise Christmas. Try it. Just mention the word ‘commercialism’ and then brace yourself for the shower of derisory mince pies, turkey legs and port that will come arcing in your direction. Yet, there is something vaguely disturbing about the giant corporate machine that can already be seen lumbering into action, just as December begins. Take, for example, the merry Christmasser’s weapons of choice – mince pies, 2 for £2 at Sainsbury’s; port, half price at £6.99. Thankfully, owing to Jamie Oliver and guilt by association, turkey legs currently have about as much Christmas family appeal as Joseph Fritzl. Give it time. Perhaps one of the problems for those criticising Christmas is their (our) mascot. Scrooge wasn’t exactly a PR success. Tragically, buying lots of presents isn’t really enough to rescue an image constructed through several careful decades of meanness. Perhaps if he’d let himself go a bit and invested in some reindeer; but hindsight is a wonderful thing. For those of us following in his footsteps, having someone yell ‘BAH’ in your face is unpleasant at the best of times. When you’re trying to make a serious point about the influence of money on society, it really rankles. Could Scrooge have been a socialist, however? Much as that may not be an especially redeeming feature in the eyes of many, it could at least give us hope that he had some red pyjamas. Well, not
really. Despite having never read the original, my impressions from Blackadder and I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Christmas Carol are that his principle solution for the poverty of Tiny Tim et al was to shower them with presents, thus elevating them to the status of the privileged middle classes at the expense of their peers, who remain locked in the inescapable grind of poverty, and who become relatively slightly poorer as a result. It’s all in the text if you look hard enough. From a distance. Using a copy of The Communist Manifesto to cover your good eye. But I digress. Disappointed by Scrooge, perhaps we-who-hate-happiness can look to the very origins of Christmas for support. Why is it that people celebrate Christmas anyway? I’m not such a recluse that I don’t know the story of the Nativity; but why is it really that we celebrate the birth of a 2000 year old Jewish boy with a penchant for good stories? Or, more to the point, why is it that we think that the best way of celebrating it is to spend money on that matching pen and pencil set that we know our parents never wanted? All of the above is particularly strange given that Jesus was definitely a socialist. The Christian Right may not like it (along with homosexuality, Darwinists and human rights) but it’s pretty obvious that he was well on the way to the welfare state when things got a little tricky politically. Kicking the money lenders out of the temple? Brilliant. Whack an extra 5% tax on all those earning over twenty shekels a year and Lenin’s your uncle. ‘It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle... if it’s been through a liquidiser first.’ (Matthew 19:2324... adapted). Frivolity aside, perhaps the origins of Christmas do give us something worthwhile to celebrate. I’m not entirely sure whether society started giving gifts to imitate the three wise Kindly sponsored by
2 IN BRief amigos, or to acknowledge the gift of God’s son to the world. But I know why I give presents. I give them because Christmas provides a welcome opportunity to show those close to us that we value and care for them; and, if we choose well, perhaps to give them something special. Socialist or not, there is a definite value in the giving of gifts as an emotional message. Ultimately, whatever your views on the veracity of Christianity, this has to be the reason that we still celebrate the birth of this carpenter’s son (and divine father or not, we all know who picked up the maintenance burden). It’s because, as a cultural symbol, he stands for values of generosity, love and compassion. And this is a status which actually endures regardless of whether you
Friday December 5 2008 travisty.co.uk
consider him the son of God or not. So as you buy Granny that scented candle, despite her longstanding anosmia, spare a thought for the message you’re sending and the motives behind your gift. In the meantime, I’m off to build myself a suitable shield from merriment. I can leave with you with one good bit of Christmas-related news, however. Westminster Council has banned Debenham’s from playing Christmas music in their store. One can only assume it was a decision taken on the grounds of good taste. All that remains to be said is... Merry Christmas.
Matthew Libling Head chef
INGREDIENTS: deboned chicken thigh/leg; salt and pepper; pistachios; olive oil; streaky bacon; sausage meat; parsley; oregano; marsala; chicken stock. UTENSILS: foil; frying pan; saucepan; fridge; hob. PREPARATION & COOKING TIME: 1hr 10 mins To begin, debone the chicken thigh or leg. You can get a butcher to do this for you, but not Sainsbury’s. It is fun to mess around with sharp knives if you back yourself to divide the chicken neatly. However, do be careful as it’s impossible without a very sharp knife, and you don’t want to split the meat into more than one piece per thigh/leg. Lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper, but not too much as it’d be better to season lightly throughout cooking rather than just to blast it by trying to season it all at the end. To create the stuffing, take your sausages - either plain pork or pork and honey work the best, especially Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference variety. Remove the skins and place the meat in a bowl with some pistachios. It is important to get unsalted pistachios as we are trying to highlight their colour and nutty flavour which are both slightly dulled by oversalting. Chop in a bunch of parsley and a few very fine clippings of oregano. Roll the mixture into a log and stuff inside the chicken - you should be able to just roll the chicken around the meat (assuming you didn’t hack the chicken apart when you deboned). Lay out the foil, drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper and lay the streaky bacon out on the foil. Place the chicken in the middle of the bacon layer such that it lies across the pieces rather than
Cake in a Cup
along one individual piece. Use one edge of the foil to wrap the bacon around the chicken and twist the ends of the foil to make a wonderful meat-filled Christmas cracker. Bring some water to the boil and poach the cracker for 25 minutes. Perhaps play some ‘Gears of War’ whilst you wait. After 25 minutes, remove from the water and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Once it’s sufficiently chilled, remove from the foil, but be careful not to damage its structural integrity. Bring the chicken stock to the boil. Heat some olive oil in a pan, season the meat with salt and pepper and colour the outside of the meat. Here, you are looking to crisp up the bacon, achieve a golden caramel colour and thoroughly reheat the meat. Then, remove from the pan and leave to rest. Deglaze the pan with marsala and reduce; add some of your boiling chicken stock and reduce vigorously until it’s nice and thick. If you’re feeling particularly decadent and want a truly rich sauce, you can thicken the sauce with a little bit of roux (butter and flour). To serve, slice the chicken log thickly (an inch to an inch and a half is best) and on the diagonal. This will increase the surface area of the cut and show off the rich green colour of the pistachios. Drizzle over the rich marsala sauce and serve with traditional Xmas veggies. Don’t forget those horrible sprouts and be sure to include some spuds. Postpone the ‘Gears of War,’ have some conversation and enjoy a great meal.
Jase Taylor SOUS-CHEF
If slaving away to create a Christmas culinary masterpiece doesn’t appeal, there’s an alternative that may be more your cup of tea - literally. The ingredients list is comfortingly short: 4 tablespoons of flour, 9 of hot chocolate
powder, 3 of water and 3 of oil, a little butter or margarine, and one egg. Simply take a large mug, rub a bit of butter all over the inside, then pour the ingredients in: flour, powder, egg, oil then water, stirring after each addition. Bung the mug in a microwave at full power for about 3 minutes, and enjoy the bizarre sight of a small cake rising out of the top. It’ll sink back down when it’s done.
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MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM TCSU!!!
To check out some more photos from our parties, visit TCSU’s new Facebook group, and the Ents page on tcsu.net for another fantastic video! A big thank you to everyone who made such an effort, and I hope you all had fun! So, until next term, have a great holiday and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
‘Just hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring ting tingling too. Come on, it’s lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you.’
While we may not have the weather for such frolics in the snow just yet, the arrival of December ushers in the Christmas season for the even most cynical amongst us. The photographs above are conclusive evidence, as if it were needed, that the festive spirit has truly swept over Trinity. In this issue of Travisty, we too have succumbed to the inescapable intoxication of Christmas. Matthew Libling and Jase Taylor on page 2 provide two Yuletide recipes for budding
chefs to enjoy. Christmas for others is all about show-stopping dresses and vertiginous heels - Victoria Kleiner, on page 5, aims to transform you into the belle of the ball. And, lest we forget New Year’s, twelve Trinitiarians spark jealously in the rest on the Comment pages by telling us how they’ll be seeing in 2009. Of course, aside from the festivities and celebrations, Christmas is also a time of goodwill and appreciation. On page 6, Peter Leggatt reviews one of the many concerts performed by the highly accomplished members of College. Meanwhile, Rocco Falconer on page 7 urges us not to take the beautiful grounds of Trinity for granted. Finally, and at the risk of being repetitious, have a lovely Christmas and see you in the new year!
>> white christmas I can’t remember a white Christmas Day in England since I was four, when I was dragged around on a sledge by my daddy in my 101 Dalmations all-in-one skisuit, and then cried when I couldn’t return the favour. They are so magical that they make the desperate chill we are all encountering at the moment not only bearable but enjoyable! Recently, my solution has been to go skiing over the Christmas period and this year, I am finally making the Varsity Trip YAY! I hope to see a lot of Trinitarians there, but whatever way you spend your holiday, don’t be downhearted if it doesn’t snow - the ephemeral White Christmas is always something to look forward to. >> experimental microwaving Sounds a little loony, but whilst you’ve got some time on your hands in this blissful 6-week holiday, why not try out something silly?! I’ve heard that if you put one marshmallow (not a mini one, I assume) in a microwave and heat, it swells and swells until it looks like you’ve stuffed a huge pillow into your useful kitchen appliance. Impressive, eh? No worries, however, as it shrinks as soon as you open the door. Just like magic. Something to keep little sisters, nieces and cousins entertained with whilst you are avoiding Christmas washing-up perhaps? >> recycled silk Eco-friendly, which makes it even sexier. It is the new range by Warehouse and the LBD is definitely worth a look. >> london’s favourite londoner Sir Michael Caine’s newest title - and I rather think the best. Ever-charming, ever-handsome and always a little bit cheeky, who else would we want to watch after Christmas lunch? He has even given the world a plausible ending for that magnificent film, The Italian Job, which even the Royal Society of Chemistry is pleased with! Spiffing.
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Travisty’s resident agony aunt Dear Miss Advise
I am what you might call a ‘mature student.’ I needed a little variety from my delivery job and thought starting a degree at Cambridge was just the change that was required. But the holidays are coming up. The busiest time of year for me. I have lots of preparation to do in the lead-up to Christmas; but, luckily, I have some help from my business... um... helpers. It all comes to a head on 24th December when I will be doing a lot of international travel. I am worried that I won’t be able to get my work done over the holidays and make up for the work I have missed during term. Any advice? Blue in Blue Boar
Dear Blue in Blue Boar, Multi-tasking is vital to surviving the Christmas holidays. Efficiency is key! There is no reason why you can’t complete your work... and your travelling. I would suggest trying to get some work done whilst you travel, but something tells me this is not possible. You know how you work best; however, my advice would be to plan. Even if you only have an hour here and there, you might be surprised at how much you can get done. Don’t forget: there is always the beginning of January in which to catch up. Enjoy the holidays as well! Christmas may be a mad time of year what with your work... and your delivering, but everyone should enjoy at least one hour of merriment after all the crazy preparation is done. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Miss Advise
The Travisty Committee
This Issue’s Contributors
Editor.......................Fan Yang Deputy Editor........Georgia Hart Photo Editor...........Jase Taylor
Andrea Dower Rocco Falconer Victoria Kleiner Peter Leggatt
Jack Lewars Matthew Libling Ellie Reeds Catriona Stephen
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Festive Fashion Victoria Kleiner Naughty or Nice?
Frosty air, the scent of mulled wine and pine trees, Father Christmas and his reindeer… Yes, Christmas Day is officially less than a month away. (By the way, does anyone else share my belief that Rudolph is unfairly praised and singled out in comparison to his eleven four-legged friends? Surely Dasher, Dancer, Prancer etc. must have feelings too? But I digress). Whilst it is certainly the season to be jolly, it is also the time of year when the choice of what to wear for various occasions becomes even more complicated. Christmas parties, carol services, New Year’s celebrations… What to do? Firstly, the Yule/Noel/Xmas season is the time to wear strong, vibrant colours. Combine the typical Christmas combination of red with green – perhaps a red dress with green shoes – to reinforce the festive message. Gold and silver can also be worn in moderation, although try to avoid full length in either unless you wish to emulate a piece of tinsel from Sainsbury’s. This is also one of the few times of the year when you can wear a subtle amount of sparkle on a dress or skirt – black sequins on black are particularly effective in a candlelit room… For a Christmas party, it is usually safe to assume that a cocktail dress or a suit can be worn, along with some stylish accessories (Santa hats or antlers do not count as such). If in doubt, you cannot fail to look elegant in a black top and colourful skirt, teamed with opaque black tights (very fashionable this year). For carol services, or any other similar event, try and invest in a cloak, ideally in black, brown or navy. This may sound slightly outdated, but
What’s Not >> TATTIES on trin st. Okay, this may displease quite a few of you, but I have recently been disgusted by this sad excuse for a restaurant. We went there the other morning for some post-lash fry-up and came away grumpy and grumbling. Not only did my sausages look like shrivelled baby fingers, but the waitress - one who had a marginally better grasp of English than the rest - voluntarily told me that they cook the sausages a day or two before and then just microwave them to serve, so they would all be like that. Reheated shit for £3.95? No thanks! To top it off, my friend found a little curly hair in his baked beans (dear Lord, Road Trip flashbacks). Unsurprisingly, we asked for our money back since the food there was inedible, but this seemed to confuse the cashier, who made us wait for 15 minutes while she stood staring at some coffee beans for no apparent reason before grappling with the problem we had presented her with. Never again.
this is certainly a purchase worth carrying out – not only are cloaks extremely warm, but they are also wonderfully stylish. Gloves and a hat are also a must – never underestimate how cold churches can be! A versatile coat is also an incredibly useful purchase – try and find a piece that you’re happy wearing both >> secret santa for every day and the most celebratory of Look, I understand the desire to give people presents: that warm occasions. For a New Year’s event, you might as well start 2009 as you mean to go on: by dressing both stylishly and comfortably – and, yes, it is possible to combine the two. Try and aim for real as opposed to synthetic fabrics whenever possible, and choose a well-cut piece that fits perfectly, and you will feel ideally equipped to celebrate the beginning of the year.
rush when they rip the wrapping - will they like it, do they already have it, will they enjoy it as much as you enjoyed finding it?! It brings out the charitable side in all of us. However, swapping £5 tat is not gift-giving, it’s just a nuisance. I also completely appreciate the need to save money during this period of generosity, so, therefore, why don’t we all just agree to give ourselves a treat for Christmas? I bet you won’t end up with another set of Snoopy pyjamas.
Most importantly, try and have some welldeserved rest over the holidays (between celebrations, of course) and have a truly wonderful Christmas and New Year! >> £600 Chicken
Overheard in Trinity...
>> Deceptively suave figure of Big-Boy Authority still in his stoner stage? Killer. >> Fresher/Third Year shenanigans are always a little controversial, but few are so, ahem... energetic, that an inhaler is needed on stand-by!
It’s stuffed with truffles, foie gras, white sausage and chestnuts, and on sale in Japanese department stores RIGHT NOW!! I assume they can only sell about ten though, and I bet it will taste just as good as the recipe on page 2 and won’t be nearly as satisfying, even if your version is burnt and crumbly. At Christmas, people should be in the kitchen.
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A Quartet for the End of Term (A Review for the End of Time) Peter Leggatt
A Joy to the World
Incarcerated in a German prisoner-of-war camp in Silesia, the French composer Olivier Messiaen wrote his epic ‘Quartet for the End of Time,’ creating a cathartic and serene counter-reaction to his oppressive context. Its parts represent the only instruments and musicians available; it is written for a violin, a clarinet, a cello, and a poorly maintained piano. In this composition, Messiaen contemplates the end of time with reference to the Book of Revelation, writing eight movements and creating complex theological and musical relationships between the sections. The conception of something so sweeping, so musically expansive and rhythmically diverse seems a direct counteraction to the confines of his prison, and Messiaen’s reflection upon the eternal from a point of such historical specificity is an astounding creative testament to a grand imagination and his unshakeable Catholicism. It was on 16th November 2008 that Rupert Compston, David Foster, Hanna Notte and Rosemary Taylor rendered the ecstasy and fury of this quartet within the relatively spacious confines of Trinity College Chapel, but there was nothing ironic or overly comfortable to this accomplished performance. When Rupert Compston strode up the aisle, I was just a little dismayed, although unsurprised, to notice his collar popped (apparently to keep his neck warm). However, this slightly chiefy idiosyncrasy did not detract from the otherwise immaculate presentation of the group, and it is no exaggeration to write that this is one of the most enjoyable amateur performances I have watched, in Cambridge or anywhere else. The difficult rhythms on the piano in the first section were articulated ardently, the whole quartet delivered expertly and passionately by our organ scholar, who performed with fervour and intensity. David Foster’s performance was stern and just as compelling; the ‘Louange à l’Eternité de Jésus’ carefully delivered with the almost unbearable slowness Messiaen advocates in the score. The composer’s intricate patterns are derived from ancient
Hindi rhythms, and David’s cello joined Rupert’s piano to provide the underlying pulse of the fifth movement with a continuous fifteen note melody. We witness Messiaen’s varied and flexible rhythmic system come to fruition in this quartet, in which he plays with additive rhythms the ‘time’ of Western music. The elegant violinist Hanna Notte half-played, half-acted her part, making her expressive performance a joy to watch, as well as to hear, as she commanded the ‘Louange à l’Immortalité de Jésus’ with a carefully controlled solo. Messiaen considered himself as much an ornithologist as a composer, and his representation of birdsong in the third movement proves an interesting and successful musical experiment. Challenging for even the most accomplished clarinettist, Rosemary Taylor played this beautifully and provided a very accomplished performance throughout the whole quartet. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Messiaen’s work is, for me, his synaesthesia. Messiaen’s mild condition meant that he ‘felt’ nonvisual colours in response to musical experience. I am subject to the same effect, and although the colours Messiaen ascribes to his own work, such as ‘blue-orange chords’ failed to match my own, I was surprised to find the piece more coloured than is perhaps usual. The piece was an astounding musical feat, and it is really too bad if you missed it as the performances are now over, but perhaps if you banter with Rupert, he’ll send you a recording.
Twelve Nights Twelve Trinitarians tell you how they’ll be celebrating when the clock strikes 12
I'll be laughing at a pair of passed out gay twins, while pulling an American over the phone at midnight.
I'll be preying on a straight Frenchy whilst slowly following the green Absinthe fairy on her journey towards the marvellous at my best mate's house in Paris...
I'm going to the Warehouse Project in Manchester to dance the night away!
Raaaving it up down south on a joint 21st/New Year’s Eve extravaganza extrordinaire. Berlin. Party with my brother's friends
Picnic. Beach. Island. Sydney Harbour. Fireworks. JOY.
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The Holly and the Ivy
In the last issue of Travisty, Soumaya Keynes waged war against the leaf-blower of Burrell’s. However, whilst the noise may be irritating, Rocco Falconer reminds us that it is the work of those unappreciated gardeners that provides us with the beautiful surroundings in which we live. With a little bit of luck, we soon won’t be able to see the leaves for the snow anyway... It would be difficult for anyone to dispute the beauty of our who work so incredibly hard to make our lives infinitely more College, with magnificent old buildings, expansive yet personal pleasurable and easy are treated that angered me. Imagine what courts, and the beautifully maintained gardens. Yet we think it would be like if the gardeners stopped – even for a week. The that this beauty is a testament to our own intellectual prowess large open spaces we so cherish would quickly go and turn into and general brilliance. It is not. We inhabit a place made and a muddy waste. There would be few flowers and the walk to and kept so beautiful by an enormous amount of staff who have from Burrell’s would be far from the delicious experience it is dedicated hours, days, years to the preservation and creation today. The buildings would quickly get assaulted by harsher ivy of beauties old and new. One only has to wander from Great and the roses would soon collapse, as they are wont to do at the Court to Burrell’s to be struck by the loveliness of the flowers end of summer without careful work. Think about how much around the fountain, changed regularly at cost and effort; the of an effect the gardeners have on our daily lives, and consider climbing roses on the walls (which have to be pruned delicately how much they think about ours! For once, stop, smile, and every year to make sure); the cycle of seasonal flowers in the even say thank you for the difficult and rewarding work they borders; the ivy on the Master’s Lodge; the immaculately do. Don’t think that ours is a granted right to stay here and that cared for lawns; the cyclamen and crocuses currently peeping they should be quietly handpicking leaves so as not to disturb alongside the Avenue: all this before we reach Burrell’s in its our ‘great labours’ as students: let us recognise the perspective abundant sweetness! and understanding that the University is trying to teach us. Yet who thanks the gardeners for their painstaking work? On the contrary - for their diligence in the difficult work, the most they can expect is a casual, appreciative glance at a flower from students generally too preoccupied to take any notice. Maybe we as Trinitarians should appreciate that raking autumn leaves prevents the grass from becoming mud, stops the danger of a bad smell, and makes the grass look immaculate rather than muddy, messy and unkempt. It protects the flowers the gardeners have worked so hard to nurture. I understand that Soumaya’s comments were meant humorously. But it is the lack of respect with which the staff
OF NEW YEAR New Year's in Singapore, champagne, family, stars, LOVE. Banyoles, Spain, celebrating my 21st birthday by going rowing Either at home solving the world’s problems with a G&T or skiing with old school friends.
Atop the Eiffel Tower.
I’ll be whisked away into an ethereal winter wonderland at a Narnia-themed New Year’s bash. I’m told there’s even a magical wardrobe...
Probably the usual party at my house... friends, family, neighbours etc, lots of champagne as standard. Good times.
8 Sports and Societies
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Women’s Football Catriona Stephen Football Fanatic
Apparently, a few years ago, Trinity was able to field not able to restore women’s football to its former glory and get one, but two women’s football teams. This is certainly a a full team together. source of amazement to the four or five of us who now appear to be the sole remnants of female enthusiasm for this sport. We’ve braved the trek up to Old Fields in rain and sleet, but even for us hard-core fans, there’s a limit to the appeal of football equivalents of ‘piggy-in-the-middle’ – not much else you can do with three people! But it’s still been great fun, and we’ve even had some coaching from a couple of very patient members of the men’s team. So come along next term – it’s a chance to get away from work for an hour or so on a Sunday afternoon and have some fun in a very relaxed atmosphere. Anyone who’s interested, please e-mail me at cs490. Who knows? We might even be
Lacrosse Ellie Reeds
Never LAX ABOUT Lacrosse
Lacrosse may be associated with public school trust fund girls (who are, of course, very welcome according to our male co-captain!) but Trinity mixed lacrosse is much more about bringing the sport back to its roots as part of Native American military training: fast and lethal. Well, that’s the plan... Lacrosse (or, as more usually known amongst the fans of abbreviation, just LaX) is the kind of game which is very easy to pick up (and, in my case, easy to then remain mediocre at for the rest of one’s adult life). We’d really like to say, firstly, well done to the current team (a rather loose concept rather than a specific elite) for playing excellently so far this year and secondly, why aren’t the rest of you joining us? In the past, Trinity had a great mixed lacrosse team, but it has fallen on hard times in recent years. This year, under the captaincy of Jack Gillett and Abbie Brooks, we have, however, had a great start – the Freshers, whether experienced or just enthusiastic, have been very impressive and our finest hour was when we managed to totally squash the Peterhouse team (even with one of our top players as ref and Jack off gallivanting at home!). Whenever we’ve produced a full team this term, we’ve either drawn or won, showing how the apparent underdogs often do have their day. We’d really like people to keep on playing or even start coming to play because it’s great fun and a good way
to meet people, both at Trinity and, of course, from other Colleges. The social side of things also includes Formal Swaps – we had some people from Christ’s here only last week If you’ve got some time on a Sunday to come along and practice or play on Jesus Green, please e-mail Jack at email@example.com to be added to the mailing list. Sticks (and some quick training for beginners) are provided and all we ask is that you come with a relaxed attitude – College LaX is definitely about putting the fun back into sport!