Sunday, October 10, 2004

Come not between an Aussie and a flaming BBQ Posted by Hello

The end of the beginning

There comes a point where you can hear MCR Committee members chanting, “Freshers’ Week is o-ver, I can do some wri-ting” – which expresses both the sad lot of the later-year PhD student and the party fatigue of the first week of term.

Take 90 strangers from around the world, drop them in a Cambridge college, add them to an existing 140 graduate students, add a hectic and creative social calendar and too much free drink and leave to simmer for seven days.

The result is a surprisingly intense week which leaves people with new networks of friends and a strong group identity, and rather less fear of being in a strange institution with a scary reputation. It’s a great process to watch and participate in: I already feel like I’ve know a couple of the new guys for months.

Today was the final event of the week, the only one I was responsible for co-convening: the final BBQ. The amount people had drunk through the week was probably reflected in the fact that this was the event with the highest food to alcohol ratio and we still didn’t get through the two cases of beer on offer.

Indeed, doing the shopping run Saturday morning for the Sunday arvo BBQ it was hard enough to even enter the alchohol aisle of a mega-Tescos and lay hands on beer without experiencing convulsions. The situation was not helped by what seemed a half-mile long, garish two storey high wall display of what seemed to be the EU surplus of Diet Pepsi (labelled: “for display purposes only”).

Most BBQ attendees had the same attitude to it upon arrival.

Still, some of us Australians – having heard the election result and had a day to stew over it – needed a beer.

And besides, it’s so much more fun to play with a three-foot grease fire with a beer in one hand.

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