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Issue No 4 Friday November 16 2007 travisty.co.uk

The Independent Trinity Newspaper since 2007

an open letter from the dean 3

CHRISTMAS haiku COMPETITION 6

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IN BRIEF

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FEATURES

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SOCIETIES

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Scholarly Excess

When it comes to our drinking habits, how many of us actually take alcohol seriously? Ellie Reeds asks Self-harm, drug abuse, smoking, over or under-eating: these are all common forms of self-abuse into which students may fall. None of them are really deemed socially acceptable: upon discovery, you’ll usually be sent to a doctor; to the police; or, in the case of smokers, to sit on the wall outside Great Gate. But curiously, drinking is positively encouraged by university culture: you’d be deemed a little mad not to accept some port for your nerves before performing at Magpie & Stump. Excessive drinking becomes anti-social only when it has by far passed the highly dangerous stage; when, in fact, the drinker loses complete control. Even that is deemed more appropriate for photos in a Facebook album named “Embarrassing Drunken Incidents” than a cause for genuine concern. The papers and the government use the phrase “bingedrinking” so often that it seems to have lost its force. We all know perfectly well that it isn’t wise to imbibe an entire bottle of wine during a Formal Swap. We know how much damage regular, excessive drinking can do, and yet, with a few flashes of the penny, suddenly we’ve downed an entire bottle of Blanc de Blanc before we know where we are. Using the drinkaware.co.uk units calculator, a bottle of Montana Sauvignon Blanc (unfortunately, college wine is not on the list) contains nearly 10 units of alcohol. 2-3 is an acceptable daily

amount; 6 is a binge drinking session. Even if you’re a lad rather than a lass, you’re still drinking 2 units above the “binge” level every time you consume a bottle of wine in Formal. Few recognise the implications of the units system (an example I found personally shocking was that there are 3 units in a pint of Strongbow); but, as a student whose ‘duty’ it is to adopt a ‘fond’ relationship with alcohol, one may ask – do we care? Of course it’s a part of being young and stupid that we don’t take care of ourselves properly (we’d be boring and adult if we did that all the time). Our parents did the same thing when they were young, and they look back and chuckle, remembering the good times. But you have to wonder sometimes – have we gotten too accustomed to using alcohol to enjoy ourselves? continued next page

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2 IN BRief Continued from Front Page

When was the last time, if ever, you went to formal/Soul Tree/Cindies/Life sober and actually enjoyed yourself? At Cambridge there is a tendency to use alcohol as one of two things: a social lubricant and/or a pressure valve. And we do it often. A good night out always involves alcohol – god knows formal swaps would be nearly unbearable without it. There are few of us who would imbibe in a non-social setting (although there are some) but the point is this – when does our drinking become unhealthy? When we know we’ve had too much but we have another one anyway because it puts off having to deal with the pressures of the Cambridge hothouse just that little bit longer? The specifically Cambridge context of all this is the institutionalisation of

Friday November 16 2007 travisty.co.uk

drinking. Few other universities have a system where you can put bottles of wine on the end of term bill. Pennying, as a Cambridge phenomenon, has reached dizzying heights of complexity when it comes to rules (something that most certainly caught me out at Fresher’s Formal!). The Cambridge lifestyle, with its “work hard, play hard” ethos, leads to students – whether or not they are aware of it – using drinking as a form of escapism from the unquestionably high levels of pressure put on us. That said, it’s not college’s responsibility to police our indulgent habits, we should be able to do that ourselves; but after the ‘drunken incidents’ this term college is taking a different view of things. This may all sound like a clichéd and patronising telling off. But I’m not channelling the Dean. Preaching to you all about a social, enjoyable activity

could cause resentment and have the effect of you not lending me your ears or attention. I drink. I most definitely binge-drink. I probably am not going to stop soon. But the fact remains that this is an issue which for too long has been shrugged off with a cry of “oh, but we’re students!” Yes, we are students: we’re the people who are supposed to be running the country, pushing the boundaries of research and entertaining the populace in a few years. We can’t do all that if we have been slowly poisoning our bodies for years. A burst bladder; or HIV scare after drunken sex; or, as recent events have shown us: bans from Formals; social humiliation; porters policing Magpie & Stump; and the other College attempts at limiting our drinking - perhaps far overdue or just ultimately futile - should give us food for thought even now. (See the Dean’s opinion over the page)


Friday November 16 2007 travisty.co.uk

In Brief 3

An open letter from the dean This Michaelmas Term has seen an outbreak of drunken and disorderly behaviour in Cambridge which has not been witnessed before – extremely rowdy formal halls, vomit-strewn floors, physical and verbal abuse directed at college staff, inebriated profanity in public meeting rooms, mindless vandalism of expensively provided college facilities, and – sad to say – much worse. The uniting factor within this dismal record is clearly drink. Trinity is not alone in experiencing a wave of alcohol-fuelled mayhem. In past weeks other colleges have suffered similarly from the gross misconduct of a few over-privileged morons. Of course, some fool can always turn up a report of a medieval street brawl between students or a vivid account of some Hogarthian excess for the purpose of arguing that things have ever been this way in Cambridge. But those of us who belong to an earlier generation of undergraduates will confirm that, although fun was had, it was never squalid or sordid in the degree seen recently. With extremely rare exceptions, members of the college community practised a mutual respect and exhibited an underlying regard for the essential norms of civilised community living. This is, I believe, still the case in Trinity. Most junior members are exemplary collegiate citizens – but a small minority have proved the exception to the rule. Even more distressing is the fact that this minority have attempted to persuade the rest of the community – and in particular the new freshers – that their own degenerate standards are ‘normal’ behaviour within Trinity. But this would be to make several mistakes in one. Trinity College will simply not allow its premises to be used for oafish, intoxicated and highly offensive misconduct. Those who think otherwise have chosen the wrong college and, possibly, the wrong university. Quite apart from that, somebody is going to end up getting badly hurt. For some it will end in tears. The College has a clear duty of care. As Dean of College, I speak on behalf of the silent majority of junior members who find utterly repellent the kind of behaviour we have seen at various times during this Term. I speak on behalf of those who wish their college experience to be underpinned by mutual regard and by a tolerance of diversities of background, race, religion, life style and sexual preference. I speak, too, on behalf of the taxpayer who still funds a large part of the cost of our existence in Cambridge. I speak also on behalf of potential donors to this College, upon whom will increasingly rest the financial burden of supporting equal access to the tertiary experience. Judged in both educational and financial terms, the damage done by alcoholic excess is quite incalculable. But this, of course, means nothing to the perpetrators, for theirs is a self-concerned world of rights without responsibilities, a life of short-termism and opportunistic self-promotion. Perhaps the most pernicious aspect of the last few weeks in Trinity has been the creeping suggestion that episodes of drunken idiocy somehow don’t really matter – that they are merely emanations of harmless youthful exuberance – and that the College is in danger of over-reacting. But it all does matter – immensely – and the consequences of ignoring or acquiescing in drunken disorder of the kind we have seen are profoundly damaging for the College, for the sense of community within it, and ultimately for the future of this community itself. The wider implications are enormous. These are some of the reasons why the College has taken the events of this Michaelmas Term so seriously. We want junior members, during their all too brief time in Trinity, to share with senior members the intellectual, moral and social challenges of coexisting in one of the most wonderful institutions on the face of this earth. But the extraordinary privilege of being here connotes correlative responsibilities – not least in the matter of consumption of alcohol. Kevin Gray, Dean of College


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What’s Hot >> Early Christmas Christmas is, according to the lights up all over town, already upon us; rather than bemoan the annoying commercialism of it or its undue arrival, we should embrace this jolly red and green festivity. Christmas Formal tickets are on sale from Monday, so get ready to enjoy Christmas dinner a month early with all your friends. By the time December 25th rolls around, you will have forgotten it and be ready for more! >> English Loaf According to a report by a consulting company, Britain has more geniuses per head than any other country. Of the top 100 living geniuses almost a quarter is British. The list included our neighbour at Caius, Sir Stephen Hawking and Sir Paul Mc Cartney. Go us! >> The Ten Commandments Not the religious ones but those new – and improved (?) – courtesy of the Italian Mafia. The list was found during the arrest of Salvatore Lo Piccolo, the reputed new boss of the Sicilian Mafia, and includes such rules as ‘wives must be treated with respect’ and ‘when asked for any information, the answer must be the truth.’ Maybe the Mafia aren’t so bad after all... >>Deep Purple Only the very wealthy could afford it in Ancient Greece and Rome so it became the ‘imperial’ colour; now it still carries a rich and regal feeling. From violet to lavender, indigo to lilac, mauve is the shade to brighten up these dreary days!

Miss Advise...

Friday November 16 2007 travisty.co.uk

Travisty’s resident agony aunt

Dear Miss Advise

I find myself in a quandary and I turn to you in desperation. I came to Trinity expecting, of course, to do more work and hard graft than my old schoolfriends who had taken up their places at other universities. However, I also believed that this additional strain on my brain would not come at the expense of any social life I hoped to lead. My fellow College students solve this problem simply by eschewing the work, throwing away the pen, and hitting the pubs and clubs to test the limits of their wallet and alcohol threshold instead. I, unfortunately, cannot do this. Every time anyone invites me to the bar or to Formal, I decline: my workload simply will not permit anything more than half an hour for lunch and dinner. Now, since those who once asked me to join in their exploits outside the library know that I will invariably say no, I do not even receive invitations. Has my eagerness to succeed academically crippled me socially? Please help! Bemoaned in Blue Boar Dear Bemoaned in Blue Boar I must confess that your social ostracisation is somewhat self-inflicted – a fact of which, I am glad, you seem to have become aware. Far too often, the lonely have written for my advice, intent only upon blaming others and settled in their bitter ways. With little changes in attitude and small shifts in your manner, you will soon go from solitaire to socialite. Realisation should, by now, have dawned on you that there is no ceiling which you can reach as regards work in an environment such as Trinity. You have fallen into the age-old trap of seeing every item on every reading list as mandatory. Learn to fine-tooth comb only what is most useful, skimming those that are more peripheral to the topic. That way, leave yourself some semblance of time in which to blossom into a social butterfly. When you next hear of a room party or cannot-be-missed club night, make an effort: go along and find those who used to make the effort of inviting you to such occasions. Seeing you will be such a pleasant surprise that I’m sure they will welcome you with open arms! Do this a few times, you will be well and truly re-established in the social scene. With best wishes, Miss Advise


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Friday November 16 2007 travisty.co.uk

Call in the Military Fan Yang Features Editor

Cambridge, and especially Trinity, is no stranger to accusations of elitism and stiff-upper lip snobbery. While the academic world is left to battle allegations of clinging, with more than a faint whiff of desperation, onto the anachronistic concepts of high society and old money, the realm of fashion is snubbing the hoi polloi and embracing the haut monde with characteristic disregard for the changing face of the realities of society. The officer class has been called to attention. ‘Military,’ for many seasons past, was a term used to describe the much more gritty and grimy side of fashion. Models marched down the catwalk in dirty greens and muddy khaki; their faces dominated by kohl-rimmed eyes and blood red lips, looking as though they had just returned from the front line of the most glamorous conflict ever to have been fought throughout centuries tarnished by the devastation of warfare. This year, however, the soldiers lining up on the runway were the crème de la crème of the Army: officers clothed in black wool coats with red piping and gold braided buttons. On their shoulders were sharply-cut epaulettes, a sign of typical military precision. Their boots were black, flat and highlypolished. This was the most tailored and elegant, not to mention rakish, battle-force ever to have seen light of day. Dresses too kept to the regulated and meticulous mood of the barracks: frivolities and frills were enemy territory. Soft feminine shapes made way for hard, structured silhouettes and blunt necklines. So answer the calls of the battle-hardened bugle – the charge of the light brigade revives in the grounds of Trinity!

The Travisty Committee Editor ............................................... Joanna Heath Deputy Editor .......................... Adam Blacklay Features Editor ..................................... Fan Yang

This Issue’s Contributors Tom Coker Charley Bates Natalie Dixon Letty Thomas

Georgia Hart Valerie Nunis Ellie Reeds David Charles

What’s Not >> Cold Turkey Not the leftovers you have on Boxing Day, but rather the alcoholic version. College has banned drinking at Magpie and Stump following the questionable behaviour of a few individuals a couple of weeks ago. It is, I think, a step too far: punishing many for one disappointing incident is an unfair limitation on our freedom. >> American Beauty’s best scene At least 50 towns in the UK have announced plans to bin their plastic bags in favour of paper ones. These impractical carriers break come rain, wind or any heavy contents! It seems that mesmerizing scenes like that ever so peaceful yet slightly mystical one in American Beauty are to be a thing of the past. >> Lack of Good Will Everyone was dead chuffed when Radiohead put their album on the internet to download at any price we wanted, but, to my utter disappointment, recent updates say that 3 of out every 5 people downloading were not paying a penny! In this season of giving, put on your generous face and give a little! >>The Bob Mary Quant, 60’s fashion designer and icon, made her short, sleek cut the style to have: looking back now, I just cannot see the appeal. Rihanna is currently selling this look, and she does look amazing; but the only reason is because she has people preening her every day of the week! A bob is high maintenance, high risk and takes AGES to grow out: this look is only for the brave.


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Friday November 16 2007 travisty.co.uk

Aunty Letty’s Family Recipes Each week your kindly Welfare Officer Letty Thomas takes you on a culinary journey - within the limited confines of a Trinity kitchen, that is

>> EASY-PEASY PAELLA

Ingredients 1tbsp of olive oil or equivalent 1 leek or onion-sliced 110g of chorizo or pork/chicken 1tsp turmeric/paprika 300g long grain rice 1 litre/1 3/4pints of chicken or fish stock 200g frozen peas 400g frozen seafood mix- defrosted

1 Heat the oil in frying pan and soften leek for 5 mins. don’t brown it. 2 Add chorizo and fry until oils are released, stir in spice and rice until coated by oil 3. Pour in stock and bring to boil, simmer for 15 mins, stir occasionally 4. Tip in peas and cook for 5 mins. 5. Stir in seafood and heat for 1-2 mins or until rice is fullycooked 6. Season as desired and serve

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Rating system: Only the Treasurer ’s got the capacity for this one... Leaves the President scratching his head Gets the Ents officer all of a tizz The Access officer ’s left twiddling his thumbs

CHRISTMAS COMPETITION Fancy winning £20 worth of Fopp vouchers? Send in a Christmas themed Haiku (three-line 5-7-5 syllable poem) to travisty-committee@ srcf.ucam.org

Out and About

The Pink Party, held last Thursday at the River Bar, raised almost £1200 for Breast Cancer Care - and didn’t we feel classy doing it


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Friday November 16 2007 travisty.co.uk

First and Third Trinity Boat Club >> UNIVERSITY FOURS

How hard is winning? My mantra is that every race is harder than the last, and it’s never been more true. So let me begin a tale of sorrow and woe. In the first term we row in fours rather than eights. A boat half as big needs twice as much refinement and subtlety. It’s a challenge, and many crews fall apart (or worse). At the start of November, the top colleges race in the coxless four, steered by a rower looking in the wrong direction. Trinity, naturally, has the only person in the university capable of doing this. The trouble was that Dan had spent his summer drinking and surfing rather than training, and had to be relegated to the second boat, a coxed four. So we got the charming and affable Bryn to do it. The preparation was careful, with much time spent distinguishing “left” from “right”, andcalculating how to fit his unusually muscular physique into a narrow racing boat. The race itself is pretty simple: 2800 metres head to head with St John’s. We’d established a lead of 5 seconds before finding out what Bryn had up his sleeve. Rejecting the usual convention of rowing in the middle of the river, he preferred to take short cuts

>> QUEEN’S ERGS

‘Eye of the Tiger’ starts blaring. The novices are sat ready to go, nervous but excited. Their LBCs are poised to scream encouragement and Fitzpatrick Hall is packed to the rafters with supporters willing their club members on. Attention…GO! This can only mean one thing – Queen’s Ergs. For the non-boaties amongst you, this is an 8x500m relay race on rowing machines (ergs), the second biggest indoor rowing event in the country and the first intra-college competition of novice term. First and Third Trinity Boat Club got off to a flying start with W1 coming 4th in their heat and so qualifying for the final. Not to be outdone by the girls, M1 then qualified for the final as 3rd in their division. M2 also raced in the 1st men’s division and were the 10th fastest college 2nd men’s crew. W2 put in some great performances, including several PBs, and were placed 8th in their division. M3 and M4 both raced in the 2nd men’s division and came 12th and 26th respectively. At 10:15pm W1 lined up outside, trying to keep warm in the freezing air, then filed into the Fitzpatrick Hall for their date with destiny… a little melodramatic perhaps but this is the kind of thing LBCs come up with in their

through a 50 tonne barge and the railway bridge. The latter was more controversial, and resulted in a boat stopping crab, which left us firmly in second place with only 800m to go. The response was devastating, a lung busting sprint to the line at 37 strokes per minute. We won, but only only just. Dan’s coxed four was more convincing, winning comfortably and stylishly. Celebration over, we were left to ponder the irony that swapping the two men would have made both boats faster. - Tom Coker

pre-race motivational crew talk! The girls really stepped up to the challenge, and after fantastic performances from everyone and a nail-biting finish we came 2nd with an average time of 1:54.91 (anyone who doesn’t know how awesome this is try a 500m sprint on an erg next time you’re in the gym and see how it feels!). It was then the turn of M1, who again gave it everything and with some true beasting came 5th in the final with an average split of 1:34.26. All of the LBCs were delighted with how our novices performed, everyone did fantastically (special congratulations to those who pulled a PB) and we’re so proud of all the competitors. Now we need to take this forward into the rest of novice term and show that we’re the best on the water too. - Charley Bates


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Friday November 16 2007 travisty.co.uk

The Christmas Curry King Karnival Monday 26 th November 2007

We couldn’t have a formal dinner at Trinity, so we went for the next best thing – a festive curry. Tickets - £10 Book your place by Sunday 18th November by sending an email to: magpiety@hismajestythebird.co.uk

Magpie & Stump – and a bucket of vindaloo… www.hismajestythebird.co.uk


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