Claudia Blunt: Week 4

CLAUDIA returns to action, recalling tragic tales of woe from the past two weeks of her life.

adc bar claudia blunt column columnist fire alarm Porter Sambuca week 3

Apologies, one and all, for the hiatus.

I’ve had quite a rocky few weeks since my last Tab blast. This began with accidentally deleting my dissertation just days before its deadline and having to rewrite the entire sodding thing. It continued with the boiler breaking in my house, meaning that I have been sleeping in full ski gear for a week and showering at the gym because the absurdly expensive en suite room-with-a-view my loan is paying for is somewhat redundant after seven days sans hot water. The outside air temperature is currently warmer than in my room.

In a moment of total insanity, I opened the piece that defines my academic career with a quote from those seminal political vanguards of modern time, Messrs. Jay-Z, Kanye West and Frank Ocean. After all, what is a King to a God? Following the marathon rewrite of this labour of love, I was woken after a particularly large Sambuca-fuelled celebratory post hand-in evening out by…a fire alarm test. I leapt from my slumber, totally naked and baffled by the fake inferno that might at any moment be blazing through my room – only to discover that I was still so drunk that I couldn’t actually stand, so flopped straight back down on top of the duvet in a scene akin to Bambi trying to walk for the first time.

Only at this point, Big Dave the porter came in to rescue me from the phony flames. The last thing I remember while hurtling under the duvet in a last ditch attempt to save my modesty is the burly porter’s booming voice: “I’ll have to lodge an official complaint.” What for, precisely? Refusal to attend a bogus fire rescue plan? Early morning drunk and disorderly behaviour? Public indecency?

A few hours later, I emerged from my den and went to apologise at the plodge. The Head Porter, however, called me into her office and explained that the last person who failed to remove themselves from bed for one of Big Dave’s early morning awkward inferno parties on the landing was fined £100. She hastened to remind me that I was lucky “Big Dave was in a good mood this morning.”

Oh really, a good mood? I wonder why.

We’ve also had a rogue case of a tropical disease sweeping through college this week.  Now, what happens when you tell a couple of hundred uptight paranoid over-achievers that their lives could be at risk? Total blind panic. I have never seen anything like it. Suddenly, so much as a small tingle in their limbs and m’colleagues are practically writing a Last Will and Testament, demanding hospitalisation and bequeathing their highlighter collection to their nearest and dearest. It is absurd.

The combination of all this melodrama, the lack of functioning boiler and now an increasingly volatile Internet connection is the nearest my university career has come to the ten plagues of Egypt.

No heating has meant that it’s too cold to sleep. It’s also too cold to work (- I also have a pathological fear of all librarians, so don’t try and suggest that) and so the last few weeks have seen me wandering the streets of Cambridge in my enormous coat, feeling very far from my usual fabulous self. I’ve spent the entire GDP of Zimbabwe on lattes alone in an attempt to sit somewhere where I don’t need to wear gloves to type an essay. Last night, in the dismal hope of finding somewhere warm, I strolled alone to the ADC bar like a homing pigeon in search of cheap gin and a few footlights to put a smile on my face.

It was here that a girlfriend declared that she was one cocktail away from maxing out her overdraft and that in order to solve my heating issue and her impending financial doom we should go into the brothel business. That way, she could profiteer as Madame and I would have a series of hairy old men to keep my bed warm. I can’t deny that there was just a tiny flicker of temptation.