8 Things you’ll only understand if you’re a CHH-er

Part of the select group of students who live at Clifton Hill House? Holler!


The mysterious Clifton Hill House…

1. The mystery of CHH

Clifton Hill House seems to be protected by a magic spell. It’s invisible to everybody apart from those who stay there. Bizarrely, people always know Goldney, but are unable to identify CHH, which is actually right next to it. Whenever the typical introductory conversation of “where did you go to halls?” comes up and you answer “CHH”, the typical response is “Erm…sorry where the hell is that?” or, in one particularly aggressive case, “Fuck off, that’s not a hall, don’t lie to me”.

2. The world’s faultiest, noisiest and creepiest lift

Not only does it look like something out of a horror film, the noise it makes is quite unbelievable: a slow, mechanical, grinding, which makes it sound like you are descending into hell. I can only imagine the terror of being locked in there: perhaps the Senior Residents will adopt that as a new punishment for playing music at 7pm (yes, we were once warned about that).

3. The hut

This really is peculiar – a decaying, smelly old pit located somewhere in the gardens. When we first spotted it I was expecting to stumble in and find a gathering of goblins or a portal to another world, but in true University style it was transformed into a secret drinking den. The scenes that ensued were like a mixture between an excerpt from a Tolkien novel and an exaggerated Daily Mail article warning of the dangers of alcohol and featuring images of collapsed students lying in vomit.

4. Constant piano playing

One thing you’ll find in CHH is almost everybody is a pianist, ranging wildly in experience and skill. One minute you’ll hear a brilliant performance of a Mozartian classic, the next your ears will be permanently damaged by a truly appalling rendition of Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’. This became quite irritating during the exam period and provoked a friend of mine into telling someone to “shut the fuck up” after his revision was interrupted for the umpteenth time by a dreadful attempt to play a Billy Joel song.

5. ‘Christian Hill House’

The Christian Union were really nice people, but being a CHH resident involved regular attempts to lure you in with offers of sweets, crisps, toasties (bizarrely at about 3 in the morning) and barbecues. If you like food and you’re at Clifton Hill House, then this is certainly the society to join.

6. Overly enthusiastic JCR Presidents

Forget the White House, it’s all about being CHH JCR President…

I remember my second day at Clifton Hill House. The JCR President stood up and delivered a speech so long it rivalled a Meat Loaf concert. ‘Change’, ‘yes we can’, ‘realise your dreams’ and ‘believe’ seemed to be the overriding messages. I think she thought she was Barack Obama: the trouble was, almost everybody was hung over from the night before, unable to be convinced that the office of President of the CHH JCR was a particularly influential role.

7. A warden who loves his wife

The warden’s a nice bloke who loves his wife, but I have to say I did find his introductions of “I’d like to hand over to my incredibly beautiful wife” at formal events (parents’ meetings and open days) slightly cringe worthy.

8. The futility of open mic nights

At the beginning of the year, everybody’s mega-enthusiastic about these. It’s the classic student wannabe singer-songwriter’s dream. By the end, however, nobody seems to care. They’ve discovered the wonders of Lizard Lounge. As for the Open Mic night, you’ll get the odd person DJ-ing in an empty hall.