Alex Jackman: Week 5
This week, ALEX JACKMAN avoids talking about himself by divulging some nice little anecdotes from fellow Cantabs.
It’s Wednesday night, or Thursday morning. I have four draft columns and a decision to make:
Column 1, working title: “Breath-taking Arrogance”. An unsubtle satire on my own genius with advice on how to talk to Tab columnists without becoming too star-struck.
Column 2: A traditional Week 5 mental health article to piss off the Features desk and other columnists by scooping their ideas.
Column 3: A man’s patronisingly sympathetic take on feminism: “Aren’t gender norms just the worst?”
Column 4: Alex Jackman Tries: Being Derivative
I examine my conscience, and Tim O’Brien’s last column (I knew that CamFM joke in Week 1 was a bad idea), which makes the valuable point that self-absorption is pervasive, off-putting and promotes a culture of narcissism. Indeed. Then, I realise that the above ideas also show that my brain is rotting into a populist mulch fit only to grease the print rollers of the Daily Mail.
In desperation, I consider writing without using the letter “I” in humorous reference to the idea that I always talk about myself, while still managing to do so. It is linguistically possible; Georges Perec even managed a 300-page novel without using the letter “e”. Unfortunately, I am not an experimental French writer, and this might be seen as pretentious.
So in the end, I decide to stick with the traditional collection of anodyne, amusing anecdotes (alliteration!), but this time to involve other people. I asked trois personnes to tell moi une heart-warming story. All are true, none are heart-warming, and the names have been changed.
Adventures In CamTools
by Bandy Uchan
My physics lecturer started a competition to see which college used CamTools the most. Overcome with college pride, I downloaded a program to automatically refresh the CamTools webpage every three seconds, and left it running overnight with 30 tabs open. The next lecture, he opened the leaderboard. Most colleges had around ten to fifteen log-ons; Fitz had been somewhat more ambitious, and won with 16,000. I was permanently banned from the materials section of CamTools. The End.
They Day I Was Nearly A Terrorist
by Kayak O’Enson
I was going on a fieldtrip, but had to perform in a school concert the day I returned. This forced me to take my guitar and luggage to Barcelona, then back to London. I was three stops from school on the Central Line when I reached for my iPod and realised it was in my rucksack. My rucksack, which I had abandoned in Liverpool Street Station. “Alas!” I said to myself.
Hyperventilating, I changed Tubes and rushed back to central London. There, I learned that security had taken my bag to be a bomb, and evacuated six platforms before opening it to find a pencil case and a small model of Gaudi’s lizard statue in Park Guell.
On the bright side, my concert went rather well.
How I learned to stop worrying and love posing shirtless in Churchill’s back garden after Pav
by Wanky Tom
You can’t use that, Jackman. You can’t, I will sue you. You cannot put that picture in. And why have you randomly referenced Dr. Strangelove? God, I hate you. Get out of my room.
And the moral of these stories is, as usual: always write and plan columns in advance. And they all lived happily ever after.
Next week: I try cooking, and mix up my Nigella with my Foucault! Get ready for The Birth of Béchamel: Lasagne in the Age of Discipline.