Will McAdam

Why ‘Durex’ is not a suitable sheath to the UL’s phallic symbol.


My fringe visibly wilted when I heard they want to rename the UL. It then visibly frizzed and curled when someone thought it’d be funny to suggest the ‘Durex’ University Library as a comedy name. 


 ‘Trojan’, however, would be far more appropriate for an establishment as esteemed as our own Victorian porn-hoarding phallus.

Durex is far too mainstream for those quirky fly-by-the-seat-of-their-panters, who work in odorous solitude on North Wing 5, before tootling down so fast to the cafeteria for some hard-earned caffeine that their less-chic-more-geek-they’re-definitely-not-Clark-Kent’s-glasses-glasses slip consciously down their copper noses.


Oh come on, I thought. Definitely Trojan.

And in a link as seamless as one of said brand’s indelible sheaths, I will now draw your attention to the man who would be King of the UL en Troie

He is a man you will all know, and at some point (some very very earth-shatteringly tedious point, a point you thought might never end – and by Christ it almost didn’t) you will have been stuck behind him, glasses slipped/not slipped, nose as copper as the Queen’s. 

This man is the one whose name no one knows, but who walks really bloody slowly, particularly when you’re in a rush. For the sake of ease, let’s call him Joe. For the sake of unrestrained mirth, let’s call him SloJo (like SuBo and BoJo but with less public acclaim). It is this lack of recognition that I’m seeking to address right here, right now.

Before I go on, I’ll just highlight the utmost respect I hold for this guy. He’s obviously a committed academic. Every day he gets to the UL when it opens at nine. He has reached his Reading Room desk by half past.

But he truly is the Priam of our Troy. He may be old, he may be slow, but my God: getting stuck behind him is to an undergrad what an ASBO is to yo momma: it is a badge of honour like no other. And we should wear that badge with pride, sisters.

There isn’t an old man in the land who can inspire such anger, such irritation, such an undying sense that, for once in our day, all we really want to do is get back to our sodding desks, switch on the circa 1920s lamps and put pen to goddamn paper.

As a good friend of an eminent Classicist, I can say with some confidence that this is exactly how Hector felt before going to battle with Achilles. And just look at how that turned out. I rest my case. Like getting stuck behind the man himself, this analogy could, quite frankly, not be any better.

So let’s not object to the renaming of the UL; let us support it, let us win it for Troy, let us, dear countrymen, win it for SloJo.

If walking slower than any man has ever walked (including on the moon) does not deserve a memorial library, I really, dear reader, don’t have a fucking clue what does.