Am I the only one who hates Cambridge stash?
It’s a-stash-oningly bad
STASH, STASH, STASH… You would be forgiven for thinking it was some kind of STI, weed, or a distorted phrase in Chinese whispers.
But no, what I used to think of as either a abbreviation for facial hair, or a ten-year-old’s forbidden sweet collection at a sleepover, is now an unwelcome suffocation of badly designed, expensive and ugly clothes that seemingly sane people around me delight in.
Why is Cambridge so especially keen for stash? It’s almost as though the elitism wasn’t bad enough already and we’ve decided to multi-layer it with a new striped/colour coding system. Last year I realised the horrors of stash had been taken to the extreme when I was walking down Kings Parade and saw a shop selling baby-grows emblazoned with the logo “When I grow up I want to go to Cambridge”.
At secondary school, a rule was declared that no scarves could be worn in winter unless they were the school scarfs: as any sane person would, I decided to let my neck freeze instead of suffering such an embarrassment. Why is it any different at university?
Do people not realise there are no rules or uniforms anymore – you can wear what you want now and blow your student loan as you see fit – so why wear stash? When I see someone wearing a Cambridge University hoodie/sweater/t-shirt I just want to quote Damien from Mean Girls and yell, “She doesn’t even go here!”
So I thought I’d compile a list of the worst offenders when it comes to stash in Cambridge. Ask yourself how much stash do you own? If the answer is more than one item that you can’t be bothered to throw away because it has some use (other than wearing it) then ask yourself again what you have to prove and remind yourself that your secondary-school-glory-days are over.
As well as taking £9000 tuition fees (which for an English student works out as something hideous like £400 per supervision), way too much in maintenance fees (we don’t get ovens or our rubbish taken out and that’s just John’s), the colleges still try to lure us into spending more money we don’t have on stupid memorabilia. I was repulsed enough when I got a free pen on my first day that said “once a Johnian, always a Johnian”, I don’t need a £30 clashing-striped-itchy scarf in my life to add salt to the wound.
The only stash I accept is the kind your college actually don’t want you to have – basically the cutlery and crockery in hall. This is okay because a) it’s free. b) you can actually use it and not feel ashamed, and c) they make great presents (my friend’s mum has two cup and saucer sets on her mantle-piece and says they get complements all the time).
Most of the Tab Stash is just a way for the other students in Cambridge to single you out and hurl abuse at you. And no, changing the colours from red and white to black and (a questionable) gold does not make it any better. The only slightly redeemable thing The Tab have produced are their branded condoms. You can leave the wrapper there after a one-night-stand so the person you slept with can regret what they did even more. And, they actually work: a past Tab Editor even testified that she “wasn’t pregnant yet so that’s good”.
There really is no way I would ever want or need to know the year the union was founded (1815), let alone every time I walk behind a member of the committee (and there are so many of them).
I asked ex-Union president, and ex-BNOC Oliver Mosley for comment on the stash, and in a shocking move he actually agreed with me: “I’m using the free speech the Union kindly provides to say we all looked like dickheads. It takes a special kind of student to look at Voltaire and think “You know what he was missing? Tight branded t-shirts.”
CAMBRIDGE SATCHEL CO
It blows my mind that there are companies trying to be stash in a place like Cambridge which is oversaturated enough by the stuff anyway. If you own one ask your therapist why you need the word Cambridge on everything you own.
Though at first I called bullshit on this new fashion fact, apparently the sartorial word for blazer actually originates from John’s – specifically the Lady Margaret Boat Club. Their jackets were called blazers because of their ‘blazing’ red cloth. Cool fact aside, they’re still hideous and ridiculously expensive (that money could buy me a pair of black sequin boots which are in my mind more practical).The good news is that the boaties have a ceremonial ‘boat burning’ every year – maybe these blazing red blazers could be used as kindling?
My opinion on stash is ironically summed up on stash itself. Like the quotation on The Tab mug says, stash is “neither funny nor clever”.