Tab Rates vs. Tab Slates: May Week Special.

Tab Rates

Pining. I was absolutely convinced I was going to marry Charlie Brooker. I don’t know how it was going to happen, and I don’t know why he, alpha male extraordinaire, was going to fall for little old me. But I was convinced. I'd be Mrs Screenwipe and the only complimentary reference in his acerbic weekly Guardian column. The fact that he has shacked up with Konnie Huq of Blue Peter - and embarrassing Olympic torch debacle – fame was a blow. It means that I have lost faith in men, in fate and in the cosmic order that was supposed to be bringing us together. I will now pine self-indulgently, for the beautiful romance that could have been, had he only known. Admittedly, I was also convinced I was going to marry Simon Amstell – last seen interested in men not women – so maybe my targets are a little off. I will enjoy wallowing.

Everyone else’s summer plans. So you’ve waited and waited and hinted and hinted but no one’s invited you to be a lad on tour in Shagaluf 2010, or to go to their Scottish shooting lodge, or even a vague, nebulous invitation to come experience a “Bangor night out!!!” at some point over the long vacation. All you’ve got to look forward to is a few months being used as a free babysitting service until your parents piss off to foreign climes and you slowly become a fifth Loose Woman and find yourself wondering what foundation Coleen Nolan uses and whether it’d look good with your colouring. Sooner or later, Facebook newsfeeds start filling up with ‘see you suckerssss [sic] in a month!!!’ statuses and none of your friends will text you back because it’ll cost them a bomb from exotic location X.

Personal Hygiene. Particularly difficult for some to maintain during this recent humidity (see: Others’ bodily effluents) but frankly I’m particularly jealous of those who are able to go home and lather themselves in warm soapy bubbles since my flat has been without hot water for three weeks now. The electricity has fused three times in as many days. There is a suspicious yellow sewage dripping from the kitchen ceiling. Anyone who wants to offer me a shower, a functioning power socket and a kitchen free of yellow sewage will definitely be invited to my wedding to my Charlie Brooker/(straight) Simon Amstell hybrid, otherwise known as my ideal man, otherwise known as a fictional construct.

The Contingency Alarm. All this regimented fun – Cambridge, wanting in spontaneity since 1209 – combined with excessive quantities of alcohol, makes the contingency alarm an absolute must, lest you forget [insert drinking society’s name here]’s garden party and miss out on an hour’s worth of supplies of Morrison’s Pimm’s substitute. Make sure you set an alarm, and then another alarm, with a capitalised and vehement message (e.g. “GO TO GARDEN PARTY!!!” To the point) so as to avoid a cock up of monumental proportions (otherwise known as attending a garden party with people to whom you ran out of things to say at the last event without having cocktail motormouth to provide you with conversation).

Tab Slates

Others’ bodily effluents. I don’t partake in many activities that cause me to perspire. I played college hockey this one time, but the sole of my left trainer detached itself from the rest of the shoe, and at that point, playing in a sock/shoe combination, and making the whole event look a like a Care in the Community sports day, I thought it was time to hang up my shinguards (which, admittedly, left a rather revolting sheen of sweat on my shins) and retire from the game. But at least that rather revolting sheen was my own brand of perspiration. Attending any of Cambridge’s stellar nightspots these last few idle weeks, I have left covered in the perspiration of others. Soaking; dripping, even, in the effluents of my cohorts. And while it’s one thing if I select a cohort in whose sweat I would like to be covered, it is quite another when a revolting specimen edges past you in the smoking area, and leaves your back steaming with their damp sweat.

Low flying missiles. Those of you who remember Tab Rates vs. Tab Slates back in the dark days of Michaelmas might remember the three or so consecutive weeks in which I complained about my stolen bike seat. Then again, those of you who do might not be reading this now because there is only so long that it is possible to complain about a stolen bike seat without completely alienating the large portion of the Cambridge population who don’t know you personally and/or don’t give a shit about you and therefore about your stolen bike seat. But I finally got a new one. It’s safe to assume (see: Alcohol and College events) that I am a particularly disastrous human being and therefore the fact that I am back on the roads is cause for the rest of you to go out and finally buy that cycling helmet Granny’s been nagging you about since Lent 09. But in my defence, the pigeons in this town are particularly audacious. If that seems like a bizarre non sequitur, please bear with me. My bike is particularly unwieldy and I am particularly ill-equipped to cycle it, but when pigeons will career into my head/bomb at the spokes of my bike/amble across King’s Parade, it is going to make it even more difficult for me to cycle anywhere safely. If Huppert wants to impress me, he could organise a mass cull of the pigeon community in the name of cycle safety.

Alcohol and college events. St Catharine’s College had a lovely May Week concert. The JCR splashed out on Pimm’s and portions of at least eight strawberry quarters (so two whole strawberries then) and what I believe is technically termed a ‘dollop’ of cream each. But in a disturbingly radical inclusion policy, the college permitted staff to attend, including many of those faces who dole out your weekly portion of intellectual ego destruction. So far, so school prize-giving: you get a little merry drinking the free alcohol and tell your English teacher you really like his tie. Except if you overdid it at Lady Orchids and fell asleep (generous – fell-into-a-comatose-state is more accurate) on the lawn in main court, in full view of the English fellows contingent, all of whom had parked up roughly three metres behind you. Except if you – apparently – at one point put your hands over your ears and scrunched your face up like a toddler with gastroenteritis. Except if you woke up, blanketed with someone’s coat and therefore can only assume that a kind friend had realised you were in comatose state in a position that meant that you were flashing aforementioned English fellows. Except if you awoke with a start, and promptly fell awkwardly onto your wrist, which now makes a pincer-like clicking noise whenever pressed into motion. As I’m pretty sure the wrist does not comprise a collection of pincers cased inside the flesh of the forearm, it can only be assumed that some kind of lasting damage was done.

Bathroom facilities. Obviously, one must factor in the token bathroom assistant a.k.a. best friend who must accompany all females to the bathrooms (that gem of casual and clichéd sexism is for you, boys). But Cambridge’s bathroom facilities continue to prove wildly insufficient, largely because all these lavatory couples choose to go at exactly the same time. If, like me, you find yourself able to urinate independently and without a friend with whom to gossip about men and emerge from the double doors, arm in arm and giggling knowingly (another ‘gem’), you just find yourself standing in a rammed bathroom, hopping up and down while some bint, who is presumably drowning in the U-bend, takes her sweet time, and these couples clasp hands territorially and block you from checking out your hangover in the mirror. May Week involves enough queuing as it is. Please urinate responsibly. That is without a partner and not at the same time as all the other partners.

Robert Green. The hand-eye co-ordination of a blind toad.