The Vile Voyeur

A dilemma in disappointment.

columnist Easter Term Exams identity journalism the vile voyeur

Feeling my life to be mildly inadequate, adorned only with some copper-plated bling and an un-haunted childhood, I felt the need to apply a persona to this column. It’s the obvious thing to do. Semi-fictional columnists are catching on as quickly as a fire in a chemical lab. Everyone knows that an imaginary friend is better than a real friend, and the same is inevitably true with columnists. With the current drop in journalist employment, people are doubling up roles – a bit like when your maths teacher set down the axioms of personal hygiene in PSHE. For instance, every day, homosexual men are beset with the problem of writing patriarchal, family-man esque columns in weekend magazines. Housewife readers indulgently drool over Jonathan’s skill at carving the pork, his kindly way with his wife, his adoration of the twins Hilary and Henry. They giggle when he discusses his more louche escapades during the height of his midlife crises (‘you didn’t buy a guitar, Jonathan!’), and sigh when he encounters financial dilemmas. Little do they know Jonathan is actually Hugo, living in trendy Fulham with Alphonse. The couple generally ignores children, but they fondly nurture two inner city chickens, Edith and Eliza, who are kept in a space-age plastic chicken palace in the back garden. Eliza lays blue eggs… with speckles. Too divine. Therefore, rampant hypocrisy and general self-deceit are the only way forward. Yet, in choosing a new identity, I found myself at as a crossroads in my life. Reminiscent of when I played a signpost in a school play, with tights over my head to look like a real handmade prop, rather than a person infiltrating the role of a prop. So, yet again embodying the crossroads, I did some brainstorming (more like a bit of light drizzle). The personas that come to mind were almost all Asperger's sufferers and/or deceased politicians; the only people that ever seem to have any fun. (Exam term asks for desperate measures.) I rolled with being a John Major-esque character for a while, not that he’s dead, but you know how it is. This was fun, until I started eating my own face with boredom. The other potential personas were mainly Disney princesses, with painted eyes and plastic hair. Their speech, light and lilting, never short of bursting into song… Unfortunately this was too close to my actual self, having been asked to be part of Blackpool beauty pageants many times, so I had to ditch that plan. I supposed it was easier just to be vile; because it alliterated with voyeur. Voyeurism is an adequate occupation, as long as you are a fly just chilling on the wall being a creepy additional consciousness, and not one stuck to the wall with industrial fly-sticky paper. The type of fly who is likely to get distracted by a passing bluebottle, or by focusing on looking into its own eyes. So, I expect sometimes I’ll be vile, sometimes I’ll be mild, with elements of insipid. As summer pounces, rich pickings arise. People lose themselves in exam term. They either become so lost that they’re not really worth thinking about or, on the other hand, they might mutate into strange and dreadful versions of themselves, on account of a social awkwardness brought on by too much time spent with academics. These lucky few might become secret slags, or learn origami, or perhaps initiate a black-market of gel pens and Viagra. The choices of mutation are various. Although, often people just become really fat on account of revision snacking. Gross. Easter term is also pretty good ground on which to build a scandal. This has become a charmingly beneficial practice, giving people something to talk about in the same way as Jesus fed the 5000 on a couple of loaves and fishes. Invent something about your boyfriend sleeping with your best friend’s ex boyfriend’s younger brother, and you’re sorted. Unbeknown to most, its more often guys who feel the need to be the gossipmongers, thereby asserting a godlike omniscience whilst maintaining a snarlingly insistent attempt at charm. Never trust the ones with the cherubic faces and pointy noses, the type that are generally shout their own name during sex and expect you to groan ‘YOU’RE so so s- cooOL!’ whilst faking an orgasm. (Instant Vom.) Right, there’s the vile quota filled. So, here we are. Exam term, and little else to talk about other than homoerotic banter gone too far in the library, and whether or not you managed to bed your bedder. For novelty factor, you might keep a bear in college. It’s been done. A ferret? Paris Hilton’s got one. Maybe keep a wife/ resident slag in the attic. Old news. It seems that everything’s already been done. What more can we bring to Cambridge if not some mildly vile exaggeration? Try-hard is the new die-hard. We have the choice to Do or Die; Lie or Cry.