Sunday, June 15, 2008

Suicide Sunday

That's the charming name of today in Cambridge: the Sunday immediately prior to May Week (in June, yes...) I suppose the title has something to do with the fact that the examination results will begin to be published in earnest next week. It also might have something to do with the fact that many of our fine students will probably feel like death before the end of the day.

That is because Suicide Sunday is a day packed full of garden parties (mostly involving drinking), punting parties (with drinking), breakfast parties (drinking) and the like. Many of the college 'sporting' (i.e. drinking) societies [1] will be holding garden parties today and a lot of students will more or less be doing a tour of these fine events, beginning around 10am and seeing how far through the day they can last. Addenbroke's Accident and Emergency department must love it.

The best advice is, unfortunately, to avoid central Cambridge from midday at the very latest. It is fortunately easy, however, to spot any potential revellers. The uniform, in force for at least the last 15 years is, for men, the following:

Blazer (perhaps a little soiled), shirt (at least one button undone), 'society' tie, shorts (kakhi and knee length), deck shoes or flip-flops, bottle of vodka, sunglasses.

The uniform for women is less strict, but is usually a dress which would not allow the lady concerned into the Royal Enclosure at Ascot.

In part, much of this is youthful exuberance and, for the most part, the students have been working long and hard for their recent exams. But I have in the past ventured out on this day and not enjoyed having to avoid large groups of wobbling students attempting to fill up at Sainsbury's. And there was a very unfortunate occasion when my parents came up to take me out to lunch and take home some of my stuff when we were treated, sitting at the Anchor, to an impromptu display of naked bridge jumping into the Cam... The chaps were terribly polite as they got out, but it was certainly enough to put you off your Ploughman's...

[1] The Facebook page for the relevant group from my own college is here. Just for information...

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