Rumour mongering has got to be my favourite kind of mongering. Unlike fishmongering, for example, it doesn’t require you to deal with nose-wrinkling sea-stench or develop fleshy forearms fit for ripping out fish guts.
One of the neatest things about Oxford is all the lore surrounding it; in terms of goss, the city is sashimi grade.
As a general rule I choose to believe absolutely everything I hear. I’m so impressionable that my Mum took it upon herself to sit me down at the age of 12 to break the bad news that Santa Claus isn’t real, for fear that I’d be teased at high school. Totally unnecessary – my mushroom-shaped haircut took care of that (I was the fungified version of football-headed Hey Arnold…‘Hey Mushroom Head!’). Anyway, whenever I overhear Oxford tour guides addressing groups with ‘According to legend…’ I collect their little gossip nuggets and pass them on like the Ronald McDonald of apocrypha.
My favies so far:
Bridge of Thighs: a few decades ago a student health survey found Hertford college students to be the heaviest. The college thus closed off this walkway to force the chubsters to take a longer, stair-packed route.
Beerly worth it: the Oxford Uni Exam Regulations state that if you turn up for your exams on horseback and clad in full armour, the examiners MUST supply you with a pitcher of ale.
Buckhunter: every Magdalen fellow is assigned a deer. When the fellow leaves, their deer is shot. (This goes some way to explaining the sporadic venison dinners at Hall).
All Souls Saddos: the crazy entrance exam for this college requires hopefuls to write 6 3-hr long essays on subjects like ‘Water’ and ‘Does the moral quality of an orgy change if the participants wear Nazi uniforms?’