The Cambridge Eleven

Words of Wisdom: The top 11 things PATRICK SHERIFF learnt at Cambridge

ale bald chinos pervy Rugby smudger

University is supposed to be an enriching experience, and what could be more enriching than a place at Downing College, Cambridge. A hub of intellect and dubious social activities, Cambridge University has proved to be a place where new things are learnt and new experiences uncovered. Below is a selection of things it’s taken me three years to learn:


1. Everyone in West London knows each other.

Boys and girls with bleached hair, high tops, mates called ‘Smudger’ and trust funds are everywhere in Cambridge, and they all seem to split their time between the Isle of Wight, Val D’Isere and Crazy Larry’s. What aristocracy?


2. Real people ACTUALLY wear Chinos.

Either as part of the uniform for sports teams or as part of a casual daytime outfit alongside boat shoes, practical jumpers, a pipe and an aversion to poor people. Both equally depressing.


3. Real people ACTUALLY play rugby (and it’s not that bad).

I used to think rugby was a shit, dead sport played by the 5% of men trapped in the closet. I was wrong. Loads of people play it and it’s quite entertaining, if you like that sort of thing.


4. Some people are still religious.

Prayers, charity work, choirs, chapels, Christmas, abstinence. Fair play.


5. It was me all along.

I used to think my charisma and charm was wasted on girls that just didn’t have the intellectual capacity to understand me, and that once I moved in higher circles I would be knee deep in tits’n’arse. Turns out I was the problem.


6. Real people under the age of 50 ACTUALLY drink ale.

I thought only dads and cricketers liked things called Hop Hop Hooray and such like. So do students, apparently.


7. I’m not nearly as clever as I thought I was.

I’m not top of the class anymore. Wish I’d never bothered.


8. Rightwing politics is alive and well.

No explanation necessary.


9. Drinking lots fast is cool.

Nothing gets respect like necking 100 pints and then vomming them somewhere 'off the wall', like a Cindies urinal. And rightly so.


10. Being bald, pervy and old doesn’t have to stop you.

As someone who has been flirting with the first two since I was 12, I always worried that combined with the third they might be my social undoing. Luckily, my fears have been allayed by the Blues Rugby team. LIVING THE DREAM.


11. Boys are deluded.

I live in a house with 14 boys, a surefire recipe for rock and roll excess. Or so you would think. In reality, I spent my 2009 talking about my feelings and sipping Ovaltine. L.A.D.