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Issue No  39

Thursday 24th  November  2011



2 4 7

Travisty: The Nativity When we dress up on the Backs so you don’t have to

This year, we decided to recreate the Nativity Scene out the back of New Court. This gem was shot on location in the noticeably empty area labelled ‘FELLOWS MOTORCYCLES ONLY’. We have Ms Lassman kindly starring as the Virgin Mary, Nick Morrison as ‘looking wise is too hard’ Joseph, and of course Mr Weisz melding seamlessly into the role of Jesus. Around are assorted wise (wo)men, because this is 2011, two artfully-made sheep, and obvioulsy the Nativity Cat, without which no Christmas scene would be complete. Yep, this issue’s a Christmas-themed one...

Kindly sponsored  by


Thursday  24th  November  2011

And because Travisty is a multi-cultural publication, we simply can’t not mention the wonderful alternative Winter celebration – Chanukah. Also known as the ‘Festival of Lights’, Chanukah celebrates the triumph of the Maccabees (massive lads) against the Greek King Antiochus. In destroying their synagogue (or because Trinity stole the world’s supply in their ongoing protest against electric lighting. Even when its so dark you can’t even see your food. And some random boy comes up to you and says Hi because he thinks you’re someone else), there was only enough oil to light the sacred everlasting lamp for one day. However, the oil lasted to light the lamp for eight days. Miracle! Celebrate, sing ‘Dreidl, dreidl’ and get eight nights of presents. Another festival with a typical Jewish theme. They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat. L’chaim! P.S. A Chanukah joke for you‌ Knock, Knock! Who’s there? Honey! Honey who? Honey-kah is my favorite holiday! L.O.L. P.P.S. Embarrassingly I didn’t even make that up. It’s from a book called ‘Hanukah Ha-Ha’s’. - LUCY LASSMAN Santa’s Elves Happy Christmas, merry Earthlings! As my colleagues and I work to ready your presents, in the face of everdecreasing pension plans and ever-increasing labour hours, it’s time to discover who’ll be getting coal in their stocking this year. First up we have a particularly wicked biblio/porno-graphic encounter in a certain public, quiet workspace. Similarly, the underwear-as-outerwear trend seems to have taken its next logical step, with one, er, pioneering individual letting down her gard by simply removing the outerwear idea. Literally. Then of course there was the lawful encounter between a certain individual (now legless, although he certainly ^HZU[H[[OL[PTLHUKL]LY`VULZMH]V\YP[LLJVHJ[P]PZ[/HSMHUOV\Y[VJVUÄYTVULZZL_\HSP[`&=LY`T\JO JVUÄYTLK^L[OPUR(SZVSHKPLZSVJR\W`V\YJVSSLNLZVUZ!HJLY[HPUZVTLVULPZVU[OLWYV^SV\[MVYH very mary Christmas... (UKÄUHSS`HZ[HPY^H`[VOLH]LUMVYHJLY[HPUIS\LZLJVUK`LHY&0[OPURZV As a last note, we’d like to say we heartily disapprove of the would-be beards being groomed around college. 5V[L:HU[HZ!^OP[LÅ\MMZVTLHUKUV[PU[OLSLHZ[WHLKVWOPSPJ4HNWPLZ[HRLUV[L

Love the Elves xxx Letter from the Editor: What’s that? It’s Christmas ALREADY?? The Cambridge student may gradually have been aware RIDFKLOOSHQHWUDWLQJWKDWORYHO\XQLYHUVLW\EXEEOHOLNHWKHZKLŊRIPLQFHSLHVLQWKHOLEUDU\ DQG the happy sound of yelling by the librarian at said culprit). Last year, I went to Trinity Carol 6HUYLFHH[SHFWLQJDJRRGROGURPSDORQJWR*RRG.LQJ:HQFHVODVHWDORQO\WRÀQGWKDWPRVWRI WKHVRQJVZHUHWREHVXQJLQ/DWLQ+XQJDULDQE\VRPHRIWKHFRXQWU\¡VÀQHVWVLQJHUV1HHGOHVVWR VD\,ZDVKHDUWLO\GLVDSSRLQWHG7KLV\HDU,KDYHVSHQWWKHZLQWHUVHDVRQVXŊHULQJSHULRGLFÀWV of knitwear lust - you know who you are - and hoping that my excitement doesn’t peak too early. Have a happy Christmas, Tringlings! Love Freya xx


Thursday 24th  November  2011


When googling the question “Does Santa exist?” I came across a profound ontological argument which does an excellent job of summarising the matter at hand. WikiAnswers user dacoolistpersoneva posted [OLX\LZ[PVU!¸ZVT`MYLUK[VSKTLKH[ZHU[HPZUV[YLLSI\[PKVU[ILSL]LOPTILJ\aOV^J\KL]Y`IVK`S` SPRLKPZ^PMV\[L]Y`IVK`ÄUKPUNV\[ILJ\aKLYPZUV^L`L]Y`IVK`^\KKVKPZ¹^P[O(KKP[PVUHS0UMVYTH[PVU!¸Y\WLWLSQ\Z[SPRLT`MYLUKHUKYNVPUN[VVZH`KH[ZHU[HPZMHRLQ\Z[ILJ\a\^HU[TL[VILZHK¹ And who could argue with reasoning as sound as that? Now I am no philosopher, but since when was it true to say that not seeing something proved it doesn’t exist? We don’t see gravity – mind blowing, I know – and similarly, no matter how hard you try to stay awake to capture old Saint Nick, it’s never possible. And the explanation is simple enough. Santa is obviously so much more than a mere mortal and is thus endowed with certain powers beyond human comprehension. He knows when you are awaiting him; he will outsmart you. Hence very few people have laid eyes on the big guy. But just you wait, Mr Claus, just you wait. Soon is the winter of your discontent. It is inconceivable that so many parents would voluntarily lie outright to their naïve little offspring – as hilarious as it would also be – going through the rigmarole of spinning an intricate web of deception, the ]LYPZPTPSP[\KLVM^OPJOPZJYLH[LKI`LTWPYPJHSL]PKLUJL!OHSMLH[LUJVVRPLZLTW[`TPSRNSHZZLZHUKWYLsents under the tree “from Santa”. Unless we want to acknowledge the horrible and lying ways of our elders, we really have no choice but to believe that the kind, all-knowing and powerful entity does visit our houses for nothing more than a glass of sherry and a biscuit. (Seriously, what’s up with the adult world?) But let’s be sensible. It would be absurd to think that Santa visits every house all in the same night. He obviously needs a trusty business strategy, meaning that his elves carry out much of the practical work – being CEO of all Lapland is really more of an administrative role of course, and it would be naïve to think otherwise. Perhaps to an uneducated eye this doesn’t seem the most sustainable of business models, but let’s not forget that cow’s milk and cookies are hard to come by in the North Pole, automatically elevating their market value; those cunning wee magic elves and their jolly old – hundreds of years old – master are smarter than we give them credit for. All these impeccably waterproof arguments aside, why would you not want to believe that an overweight (presumably very sweaty, after a long night’s work) Finnish man with a beard descends ominously into your living room in the peace and quiet of Christmas Eve to distribute ‘gifts’ for the family? The very same Saint Nicholas who was patron saint of thieves in the Byzantine Empire? Or perhaps if you’re less lucky, one of his magical elves? Of course you wouldn’t want to deny yourself that pleasure. So it is perfectly clear that Father Christmas exists. Around 90% of Finland’s post in December each year is made up of mail to Santa; would so many well-educated people put such dedication into worshipping and appeasing a being whose existence can’t be proven by anything besides faith? Nay, what fool would suggest such a thing? The existence of the Christmas Spirit is therefore undeniably demonstrated. And besides, he visited my primary school once.


Thursday  24th  November  2011

What’s Hot Chestnuts – A lack of sweet chestnut trees in Cambridge results in my missing the foraging season. Luckily, most supermarkets work their voodoo and keep them (sort of) fresh all winter. 9VHZ[PUNVUHUVWLUÄYLJHUILYPZR` Sugar-addicts should buy Crème de Marrons de l’Ardèche and eat it with a spoon.

Jappy Christmas


Cripes! What’s not to say about Christmas in Japan? Perhaps it’s not altogether surprising that it’s a thoroughly surreal affair. Put aside such wonderful historical mashups as a Tokyo department store’s inThe Box of Delights –1VOU4HZLÄLSKZ MHTV\Zº:HU[H*YVZZZHU[HJY\JPÄJ[PVU$4,99@*/90:;4(: 1935 children’s classic turns the dullest and the nigh-on universal tradition of Christmas KFC dinner, and hols ever into a Yuletide caper, involv- you’ve pretty much got an ordinary day in Japan. ing gangsters, alchemists, phoenixes, seminarians and one nasty rodent. 1HT[HY[LU[O\ZPHZ[2H`ÄNO[Z[VRLLWH magical box safe from the clutches of the dastardly Abner Brown, and is always home in time for a posset. We’ve all been there... Knitwear – Continuing last issue’s modesty theme (and last year’s Molly Weasley fetish) wool/cashmere/angora/whatever really is very lovely. Two parts rugged, two parts comforting, shaken over practical. Also, Scandinavians wear a lot of knitwear, and Scandinavians are hawt. Skyfall – Yes, it was announced weeks ago and no, it’s not out until at least next November – but there is rumoured to be a snow-covered showdown, which conveniently links in with our Christmas theme. It also gives \Z[OLVWWVY[\UP[`[VWH\ZLHUKYLÅLJ[ on JUST HOW AMAZING IT WILL BE. I hope. Because it would be very upsetting if it were to turn out otherwise. Christmas specials (various) – Because Christmas is special. And so is Dan Stevens.

As the internet is quick to tell me, Japan is a multi-denominational society, where it’s A-OK to be Buddhist, Shinto and a little bit Christian whenever you fancy. Confessions and inconvenient commandments they can take or leave, but an opportunity for a festival is quickly sucked in and amalgamated like so much curdling *OYPZ[THZJHRLIH[[LY;OH[[VY[\YLKZPTPSL^HZKLĂ„UP[LS`^VY[OP[ because Christmas cake is the next gripe on the list. Tradition states that the father of the household buys it on the way home from work on Christmas Eve (or the mother, when the father is too busy at work), and they eat it merrily together, enjoying its soft sponge interior, cream icing and strawberry topping. Christmas in Japan is above all a time for single people to feel lonely, because despite having two valentine’s days already, Japan has turned Christmas into another couples’ day, where you give cute yet expensive presents (such as ‘Mrs Santa Claus dress-up sets’)      [V`V\YZPNUPĂ„JHU[V[OLY;OLYLÂťZ      HZH`PUN[OH[NVLZ!Âş>VTLUHM[LY 25 are like Christmas Cake – hard to sell.’ A Merry Christmas one and all!

He died so that we might enjoy overpriced luxury goods


Thursday  24th  November  2011

What’s Not

Sugar Daddy writes...


Dear Dad, I’m going home for Christmas soon and I’m worried I won’t be able to reintegrate with my old friends, with their two-syllable words and non-collegiate systems. Coming to Cambridge has basically proven that I’m better than them in every respect – is it possible to climb back down the social ladder for the holidays?

Brussels sprouts – Apparently they’re really healthy. Evidently they’re ghastly stink-bombs of horror. Just stick to red cabbage. Love, Actually – Cometh the Season, cometh this blister on the backside of Richard Curtis. Everyone falls in Love apart from Emma Thompson – who, for entirely different reasons, PZ[OLVUS`NVVK[OPUNHIV\[[OPZÄST (with the possible exception of Carl’s abs). (And Joni Mitchell.)

Alright you little tinker, clearly last weekâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lessons havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t stopped you EHLQJDFRPSOHWHWRROVRSD\FORVHDWWHQWLRQWRWKHVH'2VDQG'21¡7V and you might just avoid a smack when you schlep back up north. Try to avoid using Cambridge slang when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not in Cambridge. 1RRQHHLWKHUNQRZVRUFDUHVZKDWÂś+DOO¡LVÂśJ\SURRP¡VRXQGVOLNHD facility at Dale Farm. These things donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make you sound worldly, they make you sound like a prick. '21¡76$<Âś%RDWLHERSLQWKH:35²VWDQGDUG¡ '26$<Âś%HGGHU",EDUHO\NQRZÂśHU¡ %RDVWLQJDERXWKRZPXFKZRUN\RXGLGGXULQJWHUPFDUULHVQRFDchet when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re home. Just because you read 149 books, had a paper published and delivered a lecture series as well as being mixed netball captain and WITHOUT a reading week doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make you better than St. Andrewâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Sam or Loughborough Lucy. Everyone works hard, they just donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t go on about it. '21¡76$<Âś,KDGWRZULWHDWLPHGHVVD\DOOLQ$UDPDLFZLWKRXW DQ\QRWHVDQGP\VXSHUYLVRUSHGPHVR,KDGWRKROGWKHSHQ,10< 0287+¡ '26$<Âś-XVWDFRXSOHRIHVVD\VQRWKLQJWRREDG3UREDEO\DERXWWKH same as Leeds.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; )LQDOO\ DQG PRVW LPSRUWDQWO\ DOZD\V UHPHPEHU WKLV DOO RI \RXU friends from home are still much, much cooler than you. Even Spotty 6L ² (63(&,$//< 6SRWW\ 6L +H¡V SUREDEO\ Ă&#x20AC;JKWLQJ RĹ&#x160; GURYHV RI JLUOVLQ1HZFDVWOH<RXQHHGWRNQRZ\RXUSODFHDQGWKDWSODFHLVWKH bottom of the social barrel. '21¡76$<Âś6LPRQZDVLW"'RQ¡WUHDOO\UHPHPEHU\RXVRUU\¡ '26$<Âś2K6LPRQQHYHUOHDYHPHDJDLQ¡ Good luck, poppet. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s only four weeks. Christmas love, Dad.x

Christmas Shopping â&#x20AC;&#x201C; A particular problem in large families. You traipse around for hours wondering where all these people came from, whether Granny prefers lavender or rose soap, whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in charge of that shopâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s heating system, what the hell Mommy was doing kissing Santa *SH\Z PU [OL Ă&#x201E;YZ[ WSHJL 6U H Z\Jcessful trip the bags will start to cut into your hands. Otherwise, guilt â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and a few glossy magazines to assuage said guilt. Guilt or rage. Tinsel â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Soon to be appearing every^OLYL MYVT [YLLZ [V SPNO[ Ă&#x201E;[[PUNZ [V breasts. As a very wise young man VUJLZHPK[VHMH[ISVRLPUH[HUR[VW! â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re tacky and I hate you.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;


Thursday  24th  November  2011

Yves Santa Laurent


LUCY LASSMAN FESTIVE With Net-A-Porter commissioning their favourite designers to create their own interpretation of the Christmas Jumper JOLJR[OLTV\["[OL4VZJOPUVWLUN\PUVULPZHKLĂ&#x201E;UP[LMH]L(SILY,SIHaILPUNJOVZLU[VKLZPNU*SHYPKNLÂťZ*OYPZ[mas Tree this year and Jimmy Chooâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new diamond encrusted heels (TOP of my Christmas list), it seems even the world of fashion canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t escape the festive spirit. And with Christmas WPR round the corner, I thought now would be a perfect opportunity to offer some tips about what is and what isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t suitable to wear over the festive period. Christmas Jumpers A la Bridget Jones, who can resist a fantastically wooly, largely motif-ed, colourful knit? (Though to be honest I would fancy Colin Firth in anything). Preferably a Christmas pudding on the front or maybe go avant-garde and have an image of the nativity scene - the more inventive the better. Maybe even hold your own Best-Christmas-Jumper party with a prize for the ugliest one. Or else do what I did and wear a jumper with a giant reindeer on the front to JFK airport at 5am on Christmas Day and then insist on wearing it for the whole day. Even though it was 30 degrees when we arrive in Florida. Sparkle Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the one time of year when â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;looking like a Christmas treeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, is a good thing. Sequins are good, tinsel is even better. Do elegant with Marlene Birgerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s beautiful all-gold number (second on my Christmas list) or DIY it with a tinsel feather IVHTH`ILL]LUH[[LTW[^YHWWPUN`V\YZLSMQ\Z[PU[PUZLS&(U`[OPUNĂ&#x2026;HZOPUNPZHSZVNVVK :HU[H6\[Ă&#x201E;[Z We all know the famous scene. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve all tried to learn the dance moves (and been walked in on by the boys on our staircase) - Christmas simply wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be Christmas without YouTube hitting Mean Girlsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Jingle Bell Rock. The â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Mrs. *SH\ZLÂťV\[Ă&#x201E;[PZ[OLMHUJ`KYLZZVMJOVPJLMVYHSS`V\UN fun and single girls (donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t believe me, count them on Saturday nightâ&#x20AC;Ś). ,SMV\[Ă&#x201E;[ZHYLHSZVHNVVKHS[LYUH[P]L(UK\USLZZ`V\OH]LHNLU\PULILLYILSS` white beard and jolly persona, guy versions should be avoided if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re aiming to impress. Basically, any attempt to be inventive will be highly applauded. Type in â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;weird Christmas costumesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; in Google (like I casually did) and see if you can beat the woman who has a reindeer drawn onto her breast and a Ă&#x2026;HZOPUNYLKI\SIZVTL^OH[Z[YH[LNPJHSS`WSHJLKHZOPZUVZL0RUV^`V\ÂťYL now all checking this out). And if all else fails just put on a Santa Hat. See yâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;all at the WPR! 0ÂťSSIL[OLVULPU[OL:HU[HV\[Ă&#x201E;[6I]Z


LUCY PEACOCK PAELLA, ELLA, ELLA, EH A comforting thought as I was preparing for my year abroad was that fact that I was going to Spain. It wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Turkmenistan - then again, why would it be - it was Spain. Europe. Nothing too unusual. But I was truly surprised by how different I found the Spanish way of life. 0[Z[HY[LK^P[OHRL[[SL>OLU0YL[\YULKOVTLVULKH`^P[OHZOPU`UL^RL[[SLMVYT`ZOPU`UL^Ă&#x2026;H[0WYV\KS`WYLZLU[LK P[[VT`ZOPU`UL^OV\ZLTH[LZ0ÂťTUV[Z\YL^OH[YLHJ[PVU0^HZL_WLJ[PUNI\[P[KLĂ&#x201E;UP[LS`^HZUÂť[HUK0X\V[L¸PZ[OH[ MVY^HYTPUNTPSR&š;OPUNZVUS`NV[^LPYKLY!Âş[VTVYYV^ÂťPU:WHPUHJ[\HSS`TLHUZÂşZVTL[PTL^P[OPU[OLUL_[[^V^LLRZÂť" lunch is at 2pm and dinner at 10pm (!!!), fried egg features a little too strongly in the Spanish diet and there is a severe lack of chicken Kiev in my life (note the strong food theme â&#x20AC;&#x201C; I havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t changed). And yet, after two months in Barcelona, I no longer pine for hall at 5.30pm. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve stopped expecting anything to be done quickly, and I havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t eaten baked beans, marmite or ketchup for weeks. (Actually, that last bitâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a lie). Spain is still full VMZ\YWYPZLZÂśZVTLIL[[LY[OHUV[OLYZÂśI\[[OPZ^OVSLILPUN:WHUPZO[OPUNPZKLĂ&#x201E;UP[LS`NVPUN[VILM\U


Thursday  24th  November  2011

A Formal Apology 0V3IHIIHUDSRORJL]HVIRUKHU)RUPDOFRQGXFWWKXVIDU KATE PFEFFER INFORMAL It was with some sense of irony that I approached this article. Those of you who know me will understand that Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m usually the one being put to bed before Cindies, occasionally not even being trusted to sleep on my own. (At least I assume this is why I do on occasion get forced into my friends beds, otherwise this article may allude to more sinister truths). Those of you who donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know me - just remember the girl who licked/clawed/stared at you with disturbing intent whilst doing HĂ&#x201E;]LWLUU`@LHO[OH[ÂťZTL0ÂťKZH` Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not proud but thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be a bit of a lie and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re all friends here. That and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m probably too drunk to lie. Personally I blame my family - back when I was an fresher they pennied me into oblivion and my liver seemed to like it. Back in the day when I was still young and pure, and didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know that my college uncle and an impressive stock of pennies would be largely responsible for a lifetime of alcohol fuelled embarrassment. Mum, dad, I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t blame you but when my liver gives out I expect a donation. Since

then life has pretty much descended into a spiral of getting trashed, doing things I regret and getting more trashed to forget about them. Then getting other people to take lots and lots of photos so I have an excuse to re-start the cycle of self-loathing if I ever actually completely black out VULUPNO[:LSMĂ&#x2026;HNLSSH[PVUOHZUL]LY been so appealing. In the last year and a bit Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve taken a nap in a fellowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s room, been given multiple Gardies lollies for a being a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;very special girlâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and locked myself in a loo and for some reason thought pretending to be a Velociraptor would help me get out. It didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t, and neither did headbutting the door in frustration. I blame the incident for much of the mild memory loss suffered since - that and a wilfully selective memory. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve done things in the Fellows Garden which would make the baby squirrels cry. And developed a wariness of ill placed branches. I ate a penny once - not because it was in my glass, I just picked it up off the table and ate it because I was bored. It was like ingesting a symbol of my

own self-worth. At least unlike one particular friend I havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t followed the master into his bedroom and refused to let the poor man go to bed. On the other hand my dignity is probably still OHWSLZZS`Z^PTTPUNPU[OL*HTĂ&#x2026;VH[ing where I abandoned it during Octoberâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s various skinny-dipping sessions. For anyone who was traumatised by a vision of that creepy hand-eye monster from Panâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Labyrinth rising out of the deeps earlier this term, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t worry. It was only me. Now you can go rip your eyes out in peace. My dear freshers, there is really little advice I can give you beyond a plea not to follow my example. Yes, it would be fun, but thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really only room for one exceptionally hot mess over here. I do realise this was meant to be an article on how to survive Christmas formal, but the long and short of it is that I wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t and neither will you. If you really want a sophisticated night with comprehensive retention of memories then ask a Natsci. If not then grab that bottle of miscalleneous alcohol (Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be bringing vodka), enough pennies to house the homeless and get on down to the bar. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a-licking time.

Nativity or Calamity?

1DWLYLW\5HYLHZ&KXUFKRI6W0DU\&RWRQSP6WDU BEN WEISZ CHILD WATCHER It was with grim anticipation that this reviewer took his (rather unforgiving) pew for this annual spectacular. But that was the last adjective that sprung to mind over the course of a tortuous 45 minutes of feeble hand-waving (often literally) towards the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;real meaning of Christmas.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; ;OLZ[HMMHUKW\WPSZVM)S\LJVH[ZSVJH[LK[OLPYLMMVY[ZĂ&#x201E;YTS`IHJRPU[OL ZÂş(KVYHISLÂťYLHK!ÂşWYVK\J[VMHJHZ\HSS` racist costume departmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Mrs Allis has a lot to answer for) shepherds scuttled about like they didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to be there, HUKPUKLLKZL]LYHSI\YZ[PU[V[LHYZOHSM^H`[OYV\NO[OLĂ&#x201E;YZ[YLHKPUN^OLU[OL`YLHSPZLK[OL`^LYLTPZZPUN7VRV`V;OPZ reviewer sympathised greatly. Things could only go one way â&#x20AC;&#x201C; downhill, and rapidly. The immaculate conception was regaled in a far-from-immaculate fashion by Talulah Bagshott (year 2), who despite reading from a dumbed-down Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bible (after the Passion VM[OL*OYPZ[HU`[OPUNSLZZ[OHU[OLVYPNPUHS(YHTHPJMLLSZSPRLHWHSLPTP[H[PVUZ[PSSTHUHNLK[VĂ&#x2026;\MM\WZL]LYHSVMOLY SPULZÂśOLYLHYULZ[HZZLY[PVU[OH[[OL)SLZZLK=PYNPUWSLKNLK[VIL[OLÂşOHUKIHZRL[VM[OL3VYKÂťYLJLP]PUNZ\MĂ&#x201E;JPLU[S` many unintentional chuckles to completely kill what little atmosphere there had been. Musically, too, the production was a farce. Mrs Williamsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; plonking away on the battered piano, while necessary to keep


Thursday 24th  November  2011

the children in time, had enough violence to turn Little Donkey into the Flight of the Valkyries. The artistically-questionable decision to present the younger children with homemade pasta-shakers might have added a quirky ethnic touch, OHKP[UV[ÄaaSLKV\[ZVZWLJ[HJ\SHYS`PU[VWVZ[TVKLYUJHJVWOVU`:VKPMÄJ\S[KPK[OPZºYO`[OTPJYLSH[P]PZT»THRLZ[H`ing in time with Williams’ totalitarian piano-thumping that at least one choir member tried to pull a fast one and escape [OYV\NO[OL]LZ[Y`1VOU*HNL^V\SKOH]LOHKHÄLSKKH`

In-Advertently Speaking... $5HYLHZRI¶7KDW·-RKQ/HZLV$GYHUWLVHPHQW EM THURSTON CONSUMERAARGH Second only to counting the number of dubious sexual innuendos laced in the weekly Hall Menus, watching television adverts is without doubt my greatest passion in life. Who can deny that seeing Claude Van Damme in a cut away jean suit on a frozen peninsula embodies capitalism in its purest and most beautiful form? Despite my great respect for the Spiritual Lord of Advertising, His Desirableness Michael Winner, I have never been able to obey his entreaty to ‘Calm Down Dear. It’s Only a Commercial.’ So when the delightful Freya Berry asked me to review the latest John Lewis masterpiece, 0SP[LYHSS`WHZZLKV\[^P[OLJZ[HZ`/V^L]LY^OLU0^HZZ\MÄJPLU[S`YLJV]LYLK[V^H[JO[OLISVVK`[OPUN0X\PJRS`JHTL to the conclusion that this was in fact an attempt to undermine me professionally and emotionally. I have never felt such desolation in all my twenty Christmases as when watching this ad. It begins promisingly enough. A child apparently suffering from early onset existential angst counts away his futile time on earth against a background of increasingly grave relatives, who are too busy going about festive household tasks to stage an effective intervention. This miasma of depression and inner torment perfectly captures the Christmas spirit as experienced in Week 8 at Cambridge University, and I found myself developing a deep connection with the youthful protagonist. However, this iconic opening was undercut by a tragic twist. Instead of TPZLY`IYV\NO[VUI`[OLSVUNHUKKYH^UV\[^HP[MVY[OL[^LU[`ÄM[O the little boy in question has been waiting to give a heartfelt (if badly wrapped) present to his parents. John Lewis have been playing mind games with their audience, in the lead up to the hilariously unexpected tag line ‘Gifts You Can’t Wait To Give.’ So, instead of a problem family what we are in fact watching is the perfect child. The biological impact VM[OPZYLHSPZH[PVUVUT`\UWYLWHYLKIVK`PZKPMÄJ\S[[VJVU]L`:\MÄJLP[ to say that my ovaries spontaneously developed tear ducts and wept long streams at my failure to thus far produce such wonderful offspring. His gorgeous brown eyes, demure smile and future at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (check out the clock magic) stung like daggers in my heart. A sudden rush of hormones made me begin to aggressively mother the world around me, including a half eaten margarita calzone and a bewildered if NYH[PÄLKWVY[LY But once I had put my wet wipes away and stopped talking about the Very Hungry Caterpillar, to the relief of all involved, 0ILNHU[VYLÅLJ[VU[OLHK]LY[TVYLNLULYHSS`;OLT\ZPJMVYPUZ[HUJL¶[OLWVZZPISLVULZOPUPUNSPNO[VM[OLHK]LY[^HZ its use of The Smiths song, Please Please Please. However, visions of a dapper Morrisey as Father Christmas, effortlessly balancing a world weary cynicism on one knee and a tastefully thin six year old on the other are blown out of the water; the advert instead uses the silky voice of some warbling woman who’s probably never inhaled the industrial fumes of a Salford Christmas. Moreover, the ad is hardly realistic – the way that I count time passing over Christmas is through the accumulation of deadlines or the number of entire advent calendars I manage to get through in a week. In fact, if we’re OVULZ[[OLLU[PYL[`VM[OL1VOU3L^PZHK]LY[PZI\PS[VUHMHSZLWYLTPZL0MHÄ]L`LHYVSKOHZNV[OPZWHYLU[ZHWYLZLU[MYVT [OLOPNOJSHZZKLWHY[TLU[Z[VYLOLOHZ^P[OV\[KV\I[Z[VSLUP[¶HUKQ\KNPUNI`[OLZPaLVM[OLWHJRHNLP[^HZKLÄUP[LS` a preconceived and probably armed heist. This makes me feel better, as I put my law-abiding calzone to bed and kiss it goodnight, pulling out a stocking full of garnish for Christmas Day. Aw. Thank you, John Lewis.