I went to University once!

Being at that tender age of seventeen, when life and all its mysteries start to unfold, I don't actually go to university, because I still can't legally do all those things that university is about: namely, drinking and submitting naked pictures of myself to Playboy (on that matter, those perverts still haven't sent back the samples I sent them). However, I do have two older siblings who have taken the plunge, that final decision dragging you down in a self-destructive vicious cycle of responsibility, nine-to-five jobs and neckties with nothing but a pension and a lonely old age to look forward to. But I digress.

My sister, being a bit brainy, is currently at Cambridge University. Cambridge is a possible university choice for me, so I decided to go up and visit her for a few days, to get an authentic feel of University life. It was a bright Sunday morning at 8am when my alarm went off; it was a bright Sunday afternoon at 2pm when I finally got out of bed. My parents decided to drive me down to Cambridge, in order to reacquaint themselves with their little chick that had flown the nest and to give her a few litres of wine, in the manner of all responsible parents everywhere. My parents eventually left, leaving me and my sister to plan my next few days. I had two main aims in mind; to see what authentic university life is like and to have a look around Cambridge. I was also hoping to see a few practical jokes. We have all heard of these legendary practical jokes, where someone has filled a bus full of helium balloons and left it floating above the roof of their college, but I can tell you that there are only three types of practical jokes at university:

1. Taking someone's stuff and hiding it;
- "Hey, guys, where are my shoes?"
- *muffled snorts*
2. Taking someone's stuff and messing it up;
- "Jeez, who took a shit in my boots?"
- *muffled snorts*
3. Waiting until someone gets absolutely pissed, passes out and then taking
photos of them in compromising positions, and emailing the photos to their
friends, families, teachers and parish priests.

Practical jokes are not all they are made out to be.

We were going to a Formal Hall dinner that evening, but we had a few hours to go before then, so we decided to go to her boyfriend's college bar (an excellent idea, every college has its own bar) in order to watch that fateful Manchester United - Arsenal game, where Arsenal lost their unbeaten record after 49 games. My sister and her boyfriend watched the match whilst I squinted at the TV, trying to make sense of the blobs as I had managed to forget my glasses. Three cans of beer each and 2 hours later, and the match finished. We returned to my sister's college, Newnham, in order to get changed.

One of the major reasons involving my decision to stay in my sister's college is that it is the only all-girls college in Cambridge, and also has its own Lesbian Society. Call me a sexually-repressed public schoolboy if you will, but the idea of showering with a load of 18-to-21 year old girls was highly persuasive. As it turned out, the Newnham of reality is nothing like the Newnham of fantasy. A large number of the girls have boyfriends, who like me wandered the corridors in hope of finding some girl-on-girl action. In the end, I probably saw just as many guys in Newnham as I did girls, but at least I did see a couple of girls making out in a corner, so at least I made a profit on the day.

Formal Hall dining is amazing. It is a black tie event, everyone has to wear gowns, you come bearing bottles of wine (they don't provide you with alcohol so you have to bring your own - what a rip) and take your seat in this amazing beautiful hall. A lackey (the word seems appropriate here) rings a gong and the High table enters. They say grace in Latin, and then dinner begins. After all this drama you are handed not goose, not caviar, but a school dinner by a waitress who looks suspiciously like one of the dinner ladies at my school, leading me to suspect that dinner ladies are not hired, but merely bought in bulk from a factory somewhere. And then you find out that on a table of 40 containing 30 bottles of wine only one person bothered to bring a corkscrew. Panic ensues, so I take the initiative and try to open a bottle with my teeth. The corkscrew quickly comes our way, so I abandon my futile attempt, and I collect the teeth that had broken off in the attempt. A brilliant aspect of Formal Hall dining is that it is the home of a lethal drinking game known as Pennying. If someone drops a penny into your glass you have to down the drink. It is a simple yet effective game, with but one aim: to get you horrendously wasted. As a competitive person, I quickly realised with Zen-like wisdom that the path to victory was through defeat, and I am proud to say that I lost real bad that night. After dinner, and we retire to the boyfriend's bar to get a couple more in before bed.

The next day passes without incident, until when in town looking around the shops I made an unfortunate observation: Cambridge does not exist. There is an idea of Cambridge, but it is no more than an idea. Unfortunately, I unthinkingly uttered this aloud, and the sheer power of this statement did cause Cambridge to cease to exist for a couple of seconds, until with a noise not unlike a desk being hit with a wet chicken the universe righted itself, and tried to pretend that nothing had happened. However, this existential wobble upset people by forcing them to re-evaluate their existence and by spilling their lattés, and they quickly realised that I was responsible. Reaching for the torches and pitchforks that are stockpiled in the event of such a situation, I realised that I was now in danger. So I did the only thing I could think of.

"BEHOLD!" I shouted, pointing behind the baying mob, "Jesus has returned!"

The mob turned and fell to its knees in prayer. My bluff had worked and I began to run. However, once the mob realised that He had not, in fact, returned, (and will not until people stop wearing crosses around their necks. Let's face it; do you think He is ever going to want to see a cross again?) the mob quickly gave chase, and the hunt was on. I planned to hide out in King's College Chapel and demand sanctuary, but it was closed that day so I was forced to come up with a new plan. I knew that Cambridge had an airport; if I could get there and catch a plane to Holland where free love still rules I would be safe. I leapt into a cab and shouted, "Take me to the airport as quickly as possible!"

The cabbie turned round, and I saw the hatred in his eyes. "YOU!" he shouted, and pulled out a machete. He swung at me, but by a thousand-to-one chance it glanced off my bling-bling and ricocheted back, taking out his jugular. I quickly got out and pulled him out of the driver's seat, got in myself and hit the accelerator. I then remembered to take off the handbrake and put it in gear, and the car roared off. I thought I was safe, but someone in the crowd was sporting a semi-automatic, and took out my tyre. The car went careening into a building, but I leapt out to safety just in time. But to what avail? The mob had me cornered. The only option remaining was to fall to my knees and beg for mercy.

"Please forgive me, I'm sorry! I'm a stranger to this city; I didn't know the effect my foolish actions would have!" I have never cried so convincingly, and soiling my underwear definitely added to the realism.

"Ah, it wasn't his fault. Let's leave the little bitch alone. He's sorry."

With these words the mob dispersed, and began to walk the walk of calm, honest citizens, instead of the enraged charge of an angry mobster, and I was left in street, amazed at my own good fortune.

A good fun few days indeed; and Cambridge is definitely worth a visit. Just remember not to disturb the space-time continuum, and you're sorted.

What do you think, did we get it right? Comment here...