Originally published on The Poor Print (Oriel College Newspaper) on 27/10/2017.
I read the minutes, so you don’t have to.
Welcome to ‘Oriel News’, The Poor Print’s new roundup of everything big that’s going down in college.
As the rust has been scraped from the gears of the Oxford machine and Oriel life has restarted, students could be forgiven for thinking that it was a whole new Oriel they’d come back to: new freshers, a new JCR, new signs and – most importantly – new lunch trays. The bar has also seen its fair share of renovation, with a student project still underway to decorate the sliding doors using Sharpies. (Like all great artists, they have dismally failed to keep to their deadline.) In foreign affairs news, even the Fishbowl Common Room has apparently been redone, much to the annoyance of has-been Facebook meme page ‘Humans of JMH’. (Do they even go here?)
Turning now to politics, the JCR distinguished itself with a characteristic flurry of activity in the opening weeks of Michaelmas. The first open meeting of term saw an introduction from our new Junior Dean Serenhedd James, bringing with him a reminder that if we continue to steal at such a prolific rate then the tuck shop will be closed. Sadly the message seems yet to have sunk in: further items to have since gone missing include the newly bought tablet PC purchased for playing music in the bar and (bizarrely) a large number of yellow and black Sharpies. Controversy and confusion reigned over an unexpected (and short-lived) 30p hike in laundry prices, caused by an improper application of the college subsidy. (Prices have since returned to their usual extortionate rate.)
Second week saw yet another Bar Rep by-election, as Dan Strachan resigned for the 394th time from the role he created for himself. Best of luck to Francis Judd, our new Bar Rep, who saw off strong competition from Jack Blowers. Meanwhile, a charity motion plunged the JCR into constitutional crisis, as the bar’s best and brightest grappled with the question of whether it would be legal to give money to a body that was technically-not-a-charity-but-kind-of-was. Money was more successfully pledged over the first two weeks to the Pool team (£20, ‘to be converted to 20p and 50p coins for the use of the team’s games and escapades during the year’) and the Amazons Drinking Society (£74, for a freshers’ drinks event).
Vapers beware: the House Committee has recently decided that the smoking ban will be extended to cover e-cigarettes on account of the lingering odours left on room furnishings and overexcitable fire alarms. In other domestic matters, the JCR was alerted to two upcoming redevelopments over weeks one to three. The Doll’s House is due to be re-rendered this Trinity term, but examinees fear not – scaffolding and noise should be minimal. Mores substantial in impact will be the Brewhouse Project: a major redevelopment of Oriel slated to take place in a few years that may mean that Oriel students will have to eat Hall meals in a marquee in second quad for three to four years. (Plans for the project are currently on display in the High Street Building.)
In nature news, The Poor Print is sad to report (courtesy of the porters’ lodge) the passing of the beloved Oriel duck over the long vac, tragically hit by a car in Oriel Square while posing for a photo. This stalwart of Oriel – who even met the Queen in 2013 – will be sorely missed. Thankfully no such fate has befallen Beary McBearphace, who after a period of disappearance seems to have returned to us – washed, nonetheless. Second Week’s Open Meeting saw a motion passed endorsing the principle that the naming of ‘Beary’s friend’ shall somehow raise money for charity, in a manner to be decided at the discretion of Charities Rep Priyanka Nankini. And nature lovers will also no doubt rejoice that Open Meetings will be delayed from Fourth Week onwards, in order to allow us all to watch the new series of Blue Planet. Open Meetings will, for reasons that seemed like a good idea at the time, also commence with a short synopsis of the episode just broadcast, relayed to us by motion proposer James Somerville.
Moving on to arts affairs, the coming term holds a variety of excitements in store. Tuesday of Fifth Week will see Oriel Choir decamping to Temple Church in London to promote their forthcoming album of Christmas music in a special concert. Fifth Week will also see The Lieutenant of Inishmore – a Northern Irish black comedy by Martin McDonagh – being put on at the O’Reilly Theatre, with substantial involvement from Oriel’s very own Georgia Robson. And Robbie Boswall is rumoured to be running a museum trip at some point in the near future, which has potential for entertainment in more ways than one.
A third of the JCR has apparently already died in Entz’s game of ‘Human Assassin’ as of Sunday, and by my reckoning the other two thirds have come down with fresher’s flu. But hey, if anyone’s left to read this, the only thing left to say is to keep buying tickets for Oriel Ball!