Tom Davenport’s Strictly Speaking
Reporting the news that everyone else missed.
There is growing concern amongst Cambridge town officials that the gradual improvements in weather conditions could bring with them an increase in the instances of unruly streaking in central Cambridge. After the shocking rise of such demonstrations last spring, University authorities in particular are under considerable pressure to demonstrate that they are taking action against what they call a ‘vulgar’ and ‘sickening’ phenomenon. A spokesperson said ‘we are doing everything that is within our power to curb the public presentation of genitalia by members of the University. We condemn it in the strongest possible terms.’
Mrs. Edith Bingham, an elderly female resident of Cambridge, suffered a minor stroke last year when she rounded a street corner near McDonalds to be confronted by a ‘completely naked and enormous youth.’ As misfortune had it, the encounter was late at night and the individual concerned was the only person in the vicinity of the site of offence. Billy Ashworth was returning home from some post-swap party games with the prestigious and respected intercollegiate drinking society, ‘Wastegash.’ It therefore fell upon Mr. Ashworth to escort the traumatized Mrs. Bingham home being, as she was, in no state to go alone.
The 90-year-old spinster, who served as a spy in France during the Second World War described the experience as ‘horrifying and deeply troubling.’ Such instances are rare but have in the past proved to be fatal. During the unusually warm summer of 1926 which brought with it a nationwide spate of streaking, no less than 12 people were said to have died of shock as a direct result of surprise encounters with streakers. ‘Streakers often have no idea of the damage they do to the social fabric of the city and of the danger they pose to the individual,’ an official was at pains to point out.
City and University authorities are said to be working with the police on the development of anti-streaking tactics. Reports indicate that the police have even gone so far as to place an order for a consignment of CIA-developed HF-90s in advance of the expected epidemic; ‘It may sound ridiculous,’ said Chief Inspector Bob Inglesworth in a press statement, ‘but shoot a streaker with a HF-90 foam gun and the principal elements of offence are neutralised.’ The Inspector added that ‘the ammunition we will be using in the HF-90s will be luminous such that the criminal has no way of slipping away without being noticed.’
Dr. Frestus, a Swedish expert on the psychology of streaking, and fellow of St. John’s College, expressed particular concern that ‘streaking could develop from being an irregular occurrence and become a normal and recognised mode of cooling down. This is particularly relevant as global warming has its wicked way with our climate.’ As she said this, a stark naked youth cycled past at high speed, books under one arm, evidently late for a lecture.