Saturday, June 11, 2005

Slowly Walking Down The Hall

Slowly Walking Down The Hall

Number of times asked what my plans are for next year: six.

Number of times I had to mentally remind myself to call Paddy Marber Patrick: four.

Number of chocolates (with St Anne's crest on) eaten: four.

Number of glasses of alcohol consumed: I don't remember.

And so my final ever St Anne's commitment has passed. It began with champagne and brightly coloured fish-based aperitifs in one of the gardens, moved on to mountains of food and wine in the new Ruth Deech building and finished in the college bar with a former tutor here (who is genuinely called Paddy) buying everyone drinks whilst "Champagne Supernova" played in the background. There was also a bit of a car-crash Foo Fighters moment during the 'Party Piece section' which proved that party pieces, tutors and alcohol soaked finalists to not a good combination make.

It was, though, slightly worrying to hear from my personal tutor [PT] that she's spent the last fortnight marking 150 Shakespeare papers. I didn't dare ask if she'd got the low or the high numbers, since my candidate number is very much on the low side. I'd drunk enough wine by this point, however, to voice my dissatisfaction with the paper and its stupid-changing-format-all-critical-quotes approach. I was somewhat pleased, and a little unsurprised since I'm aware that we have a similar take on literary criticism, that she thought that it was a bad paper too. And even felt the need to apologise, giving me the name of the person who set it. I hope he's feeling my bad vibes tonight.

I was quietly pleased that over the course of the evening no one thought that I was ridiculously insane to be pushing the writing thing next year. PT was particularly encouraging which, given that I respect her opinion enormously, was rather brilliant. But then I have her to thank that my record that will forever remain here at St Anne's has the phrase "Corinne has the very rare gift of writing beautifully" in it to balance out the "Corinne is intellectually arrogant" phrase. The writer of the latter comment was also present, as he'd been invited back having taught the rest of the English finalists in their first and second years. I was mildly surprised when, in the midst of discussing the acting aspirations of one of the Englishists, I was tapped on the back and greeted with a "hello you" from him. I was even more surprised when he commented that he'd heard about SSoB and asked how it had gone. Maybe he's mellowed, maybe the fact that he hasn't had to teach me for the last three years has softened his memory. I'm not sure. But it was nice that it ended on a positive note. I also got to inform the somewhat overdressed and slightly sloshed Rhodri that I didn't expect that he'd be buying me a bottle of champagne any time soon.

But the evening had, for all the questioning of the future, a rather wistful quality to it. In the first speech of the night we were informed that "You don't know it yet, but you're never allowed to leave St Anne's; you're simply moving on to a higher plain of connection". As touching as that was, and as true as I know it'll be given the fact that the development office want your money when you get rich, we are leaving, we are saying goodbye. So there was talk of those who'd gone before, of the fact that PT taught Helen Fielding but can't remember her despite the fact that Fielding tells a particularly amusing story about her, of the cycle of St Anne's students and their futures. And the oddity of all those female writers that have popped up throughout the college's history. In the end, finishing the wine, it fell to myself and Sara, an English/Spanish student who matriculated the same year as me given her four year course, to wistfully talk about those we considered to be 'our year'. I think we were both rather glad that there was someone from the 2001 contingent there to share the memory. For, as lovely as the rest of the Englishists are, they're not the ones we plundered through fresher's week and mods with. Who we got drunk with, had tutes and classes with, argued and partied with in second year. I've come to see that taking the year out was the best thing I could ever have done but last night did make me a little sad that I didn't get to experience this final bit with the people I started the journey.

But, as PT said in the overiding metaphor of her speech [for she'd broken a tooth on a Werther's Original earlier in the day], life may be a bag of sweets but you'll still get the odd tooth fragment thrown in with them.


Nik said...

i LOVE champagne supanova, i also love champagne but i'm guessing you didn't steal me any :(

Fin said...

adorable pix!