The BNOCs of Gower Street

The Tab’s Big Names of 2012.

Doris Chen Isaac Quereshi Joe Dodd Michael Chessum popular students Tsukasa Tanimoto ucl UCL BNOCs UCL students Will Hall

We roamed the entirety of WC1E. We peered around every corner, from the depths of the Refectory to the obscure entrances of the Chadwick Building. We listened to the whispers in the Print Room Café, observed the glares on the Quad, heard the unintelligible slurring in The Roxy queue.

All to discover the chosen few, the almighty, the biggest of the Big Names on Campus. Although they are equally raised on their Thrones of Fame, their celebrity status is defined by individuality. Most importantly, these people have worked their way to the top, making a name for themselves with their brilliance, ‘humility’ and legendary ways. Therefore, allow me to introduce The Tab’s coveted BNOCs of Gower Street.

TSUKASA TANIMOTO

Dem glasses

Course: MEng Chemical Engineering with Study Abroad
Year: 3rd year
Societies: President of the UCLU Japan Society 2011-12
Most Famous For: Creating UCL Confessions and LSE Confessions. 

Is life hard being a BNOC?

Not really. Maybe because it has been anonymous so far. I also feel like a celeb when ChemEngers I do not know randomly come to me saying ‘Are you Tsukasa? Finally met you! Thanks for your work man!’ It’s pretty funny. I actually try to avoid the 4th floor (ChemEng section) now because of that. Can’t be arsed meeting random chavvy ChemEngers.

What do you think your defining moment as a BNOC has been?

When The Tab approached me for an interview, definitely. Also when LSE and UCL contacted me to shut down LSE and UCL Confessions. They suck.

So you started UCL Confessions and have over 2,000 friends on Facebook; any more plans for Internet Domination?

Haha, I wish I had studied Computer Sciences and I could have created apps and stuff like that. I actually wanted to but my parents did not let me do it. They told me there are way more geeky people out there. (Which is true ha)

Well, I actually created a new page called “Gower Street Confessions”, told my girlfriend, and decided to shut it down after a minute. My girlfriend made me realise that I could get in trouble; amazing girlfriend!

How long does it take you to down a pint?

I’m Asian and I’m the most light-weight person ever. Hence it would take me forever.

Everybody knows you but what’s one thing no one knows about you?

I’m actually Kim Jong-Un’s secret son.

 JOE DODD

Dat beard.                                                                             Photograph by Tirion Jenkins.

Course: Classics
Year: Second Year
Societies: Treasurer of the UCLU Music Society and a core member of the UCLU Musical Theatre Society (starred in The Producers and starring in How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying)
Most Famous For: Loud laugh and scaring people. And beard.

Is life hard being a BNOC?

For me, life is very busy. I spend pretty much every evening rehearsing for one society or another and the mornings after trying to work out why I went to the union the night before. Most weekends go into musical theatre, around 24 hours a weekend. Sometimes I even find time in the evening to not speak to anyone at all.

Does your beard give you BNOC powers like Samson?

It makes me more obvious. Lecturers have picked on me since I’ve had a beard. I also find people I don’t really know very well asking if they can stroke it, wondering what I do to make it so soft (it is very soft). I’ve been shaving since I was 11 so it’s just easier to have a beard.

What do you think your defining moment as a BNOC has been?

I’m afraid I don’t have one. Perhaps the Opera Launch party last March which ended up being a party of people I knew. I was Freshers Rep for the Music Society last year, which effectively meant I was the Social Secretary, so the Boat Party was the big event I organised. I knew pretty much everyone on the boat. Didn’t get very drunk though, I’m the person that picks the drunk people up. Although, at the Opera after-party I drank three bottles of wine, which instigated many exclaims of ‘Good God Joe’s drunk’.

How long does it take you to down a pint?

5 seconds. Although it was flat. I don’t do lager.

Everybody knows you but what is one thing that nobody knows about you?

Do people know that I can knit a hat in 45 minutes?

ISAAC QURESHI

Drink Tea, Forget The Roxy

Course: Modern languages – Russian and Spanish. 
Most Famous For: Writing THAT article on sports teams. 

Is life hard being a BNOC?

Life is good. It doesn’t have an impact on Uni life, just bumping into lots of people you know every day.

What do you think your defining moment as a BNOC has been?

Definitely writing the article on sports teams at UCL. Lots of people agreed, lots of people disagreed. For a moment I regretted writing it so harshly, but once something is done, it’s done. Nothing I can do about it now.

What would happen if you went to The Roxy?

If I wasn’t assassinated within 25 minutes I think it would be a pretty shit night.

How long does it take you to down a pint?

I wouldn’t know, I don’t drink!

Everybody knows you but what is one thing that nobody knows about you?

I’m a very proud Yorkshireman.

Doris (Dumbledoris) Chen

Legend.

Course: BA History
Year: Third and final! 🙁
Societies: President of Women’s Rugby last year, Volunteering Officer.
Most famous for: Asking people to vote for me. 😛

Is life hard being a BNOC?

You have no idea … But my Benthamite utilitarian principles spur me on to serve the greater good.

What do you think your defining moment as a BNOC has been?

When Malcolm Grant asked for my autograph.

What’s been your most memorable Sport’s Night (well, what you can remember of it anyway)?

I think you mean SportsNite.

How long does it take you to down a pint?

You can buy me a pint and time me.

Everybody knows you but what’s one thing no one knows about you?

My previous personal email was [email protected]

WILLIAM HALL

Yeaah

Course: European Social and Political Studies (Italian and Law)
Year: 4
Societies: Conservative and Debating
Most Famous For: Tory

Is life hard being a BNOC?

It would be were it not for the wonderful support of the UCLU. It’s so lovely that we have a completely sane and politically unbiased Union that cares for all students and not just Communists. Equally the way the Cheesegrater has so lovingly followed my involvement in student politics has brought a warm glow to my heart.

What do you think your defining moment as a BNOC has been?

Watching a generation of students being labelled as violent because of a few thugs at Millbank. Either that or tenderly hugging Michael Chessum when he passes a motion declaring the moon to be made of cheese.

How many more elections can we expect you to lose?

I’ve been banned from elections by my better half.

How long does it take you to down a pint?

5.6 seconds normally and 1.5 seconds on Sports Night

Everybody knows you but what’s one thing no one knows about you?

I think chocolate is OK. I think steam trains are BRILLIANT.

MICHAEL CHESSUM

The one and only

Course: History BA
Year: Going on for 5th
Societies: UCL Defend Education, UCLU, ULU, NCAFC, NUS, UCL Friends of Palestine
Most Famous For: Being a founder of the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts.

Is life hard being a BNOC/quasi-celebrity? 

The worst thing about it is that you get dragged into this weird reflexive student politics syndrome, whereby people see what you do on a daily basis (especially if you’re a full time union officer), a bit like if you were a politician with similar levels of state intrigue. The truth is that no-one outside of a tiny circle of student journos and fellow hacks actually gives a shit who you are or what you say unless you’re making a practical difference. So no, it’s not awful – as long as you don’t stop doing useful stuff – but it’s a symptom of a weird and tedious world of toytown ruling class “politics”.

What do you think your defining moment as a BNOC has been?

Definitely doing this interview.

What was it like being interrogated by Tim Willcox?

It was fine, though I was hungover and exhausted; it was just about slipping press lines in edge-ways whenever he decided to stop talking. That morning I’d done 3 interviews, one of which degenerated into a row between me and Michael Portillo.

Is writing for The Guardian as glamorous as you hoped it would be?

It’s writing – I mean, how glamorous that feels depends on limiting your expectations really. I feel lucky to be able to do it, especially when I’m working on something that needs press coverage and I can just write about, but glamour doesn’t enter into it really. Also, my profile picture on CiF is amusingly awful, and the abuse from commenters makes me feel all warm inside.

You live, eat and breathe Student Rights. What will you do with your life when you’re no longer a Student? 

Do a PhD, go travelling, or take up writing and journalism in some capacity. What I do isn’t at its route about student rights – I’m not a student ‘nationalist’ and my involvement has always been driven by something bigger.

How long does it take you to down a pint? 

Who cares?

Everybody knows you but what is one thing that nobody knows about you?

Well I’m obviously not going to tell you about that thing with the goat. But few people get that I’m Scottish (I am, honest); I once stood outside Downing Street carrying a giant papier mache boat and almost got arrested; I have symmetrical moles on both sides of my face; and I sometimes eat extra-strong mints despite having been a vegetarian for 13 years and knowing full well of their gelatine content. I hope none of that warrants a no confidence campaign.