Forget Flouring

Finish with flouring, says ANDREW MUNRO – it’s anti-social and makes it look like we’re copying Oxford.


The pop of corks, the hiss of the spray, and the sting as the cava trickled into my eyes – that is how I will always remember finishing my Part II exams. There is no greater feeling than leaving your final exam to find a huge group of friends waiting to celebrate with you, and Cambridge tradition dictates that such celebrations require a thorough dousing with cava.

Wannabe Cantabs

Wannabe Cantabs

My good friend Juan de Francisco has already provided a guide on how the true ‘tab gives their friends a proper welcome back from the alcoholic desert that is exam term. I must disagree with him on one point, however: never pop the cork in advance, it wastes vital pressure; though I admit popping punctually as your targets emerge from the exam hall is a skill that marks out the experienced cava-wielder.

So this is not another ‘how-to’. Instead it’s a plea, a request, nay, a demand! Throwing flour is not necessary. It’s vulgar and wrong. Cut it out.

Are we really doing this?

Are we really doing this?

I’ve watched as this aberration has become more common over the last few years, being woven insidiously into the standard post-exam procedure. Though our time here is fleeting, it is our responsibility to pass down Cambridge’s fine traditions to the next generation, only improved and not desecrated.

This perversion seems to have been inspired by the deviant and crass practice of “trashings” at The Other Place. As we all know, Oxf*rd is inferior in almost every way, the Guardian agrees, and we all saw, or rather heard, their foul-mouthed cox at this year’s Boat Race (feel free to forget everything else from that day), not to mention the Oxford alumni who are busy ruining the country.

"You repulse me"

“You repulse me”

So why would we want to imitate them? That’s right, we don’t. Let’s maintain our superiority: more Nobel Prizes, punting from the correct end of the boat, and a better class of celebration.

It’s wasteful and it’s messy, and that looks bad. I’m not claiming that spraying cava isn’t a waste, but it’s invisible; you spray, they scream, you all go home leaving just a slightly sticky patch on the ground, which is easily rinsed away.

The Daily Mail has already got its knickers in a twist this year, and though we would be fools to think they would ever forego an opportunity for one of their regular reverse snobbery rants, their article would be less sensational if it didn’t have a gratuitous number of pictures of a powdered proctor. Even if we ignore The Fail (always for the best), leaving flour, or worse, flour-cava gunk, all over the pavements is highly anti-social. We’re in an era of austerity and town-gown relations are already strained, so let’s not make more trouble for ourselves by leaving visible reminders of our excesses.

Not a great look

Not a great look

Today we throw flour, but before long a veritable larder of perishables will be hurled at the exiting examinees. It has already started; I’ve received reports of young men being ambushed with glitter bombs and the like after completing their tripos. If we allow this to continue, we will soon descend into chaos and depravity. 800 years of history and tradition will be for naught.

So as the party’s latecomers finish their exams next week, I want to hear of good healthy cava drenchings – not Bollinger, that’s for drinking – and certainly not improper use of wheat products.