28 May 2016

Sex and Scandal on the River

Well, Eights Week, the annual Summer Bumping Races on the Isis, is now over. Nothing changes; the accents of upper-class girls from New England (and I don't mean the one in New South Wales) as ubiquitous as ever. The usual male undergraduates who, having Pimms taken, loudly try feebly to cap each other's feeble jokes to impress women undergraduates ... why is it that the girls never even hint by word or body-language their contempt for all this pathetic male preening? Shall I ever understand Sex?

But, this year, a Scandal. Let me tell you about it. In the final race of the top Division, the Scone boat, with effortless superiority, came first out of the Gut. It was followed by the Judas eight, now renamed Amoris laetitia, and greeted by the traditional undergraduate cheers of  'Dobson, Dobson'. Close behind in third place was the Simon Magus boat. But as the Judas cox steered his boat over to the Green Bank, he went too close, and the eight came to a juddering halt tangled in the undergrowth. This enabled Simon Magus to bump it spectacularly, indeed catastrophically, seriously damaging the entire stern of the Judas boat. Thanks to what seemed then to be a supernatural premonition, the Judas cox had already leaped out of his seat onto the bank, and so escaped injury.

The fourth boat out of the Gut was also going strongly; 'DLS' painted on its bow, and the familiar domestick cat design of Shrewsbury College on its oars. It avoided the melee; and careered onwards at such a speed as to catch up with and to bump Scone (the crew of which, having seen Judas bumped, had foolishly slackened their pace). So Shrewsbury ended up Head of the River!

The scandal? It transpires that the Judas cox had been bribed with money and the lure of "Irregular Relationships"; the Senior Common Room at Simon Magus, led by Mr Provost himself, had organised it all!! It seems that my lord Chancellor has been called in. Rumours abound about how Mr Orator Jenkyns will allude to the episode at Encaenia in his Creweian Oration. Will he quote the Pro Caelio? Or mention the death of Agrippina?

But how endearingly old-fashioned that the Magus dons should even care about the fortunes of their College Eight! Clearly, a college with a real sense of historical continuity!

Apologies to faithful long-time readers who recognise this piece as partly recycled. The original thread included a very just protest from an alumna of S Hilda's at the mere thought of Miss Hillyard's College being co-educational.