Posts Tagged ‘penis’

messrs packham & vigars take greece

August 23, 2009

Oh, Greece. You awkward conglomeration of islands. You frail & fractured eastward gateway. The apex of the pyramid of the ancient world (would it detract from its greatness using an Egyptian construct as the metaphor? & anyway, the apex is the smallest, least grand part of the pyramid, so nevermind that).

Greece is funny. Just three thousand years ago; the height of universal edification & education. But too many wars I suppose have spoilt its broth. & it now appears to be like the dysfunctional family of Europe, as you hop nimbly between cities each one – rightly so – has its own feel, but it doesn’t seem much to hang together as a whole.

I’d been looking forward to going since Sixth Form really – that’s 2004 – & obviously didn’t turn down a fully-funded parent-led expedition to the Hellenic lands. Fer queen n’ cuntry, obviously.

Now. When you’ve been reading & writing about a country for nearly 5 years, you sort of somewhat, might, accidentally build up expectations. Greece takes on a kind of preemptive grandeur before we’ve even left the airport. & thankfully it lived up to these expectations. The ruins of Greece. The ancient cities. The temples. The stadiums. The labyrinths. The theatres. Even the fucking mountain ranges & crystalline waters. They are all perfect. It really makes you step back a moment when you think; somewhere along this dusty mountain path some grey & Sapphic wiseman may have philosophised – somewhere else a man with a beard might have written a play – was democracy first born, wailing & reluctant by that boulder? & that’s just the reality. Along this path Theseus wound his string – here the omphalos stone was cast & everything was suddenly centred – across those waves Odysseus was flung far from Penelope – from one of these crumbled houses Oedipus would one day return to Thebes. I don’t mean to go on, but I really could. Zeus. Cronos. The Bacchae. Apollo. The Titanomachy. The Gigantomachy. Heracles. Jason. Medea. Tartarus. Erebus. Icarus. Athene. Aphrodite. Poseidon, Helios & the Muses…  It really makes one swoon.

There is an immensity, a feeling that the scale of everything here was just vast beyond vastness, that I’ve never felt anywhere.

But. & yes, there is a But. & perhaps it’s because the ancient Greece is so unbearably great, but everything else just feels a bit off. Of course, I don’t wish to in anyway suggest that Greek culture & architecture is inferior to English or French or Welsh or German culture & architecture. But it just isn’t ancient Greek. Some of the sad, deteriorating buildings are just too close together – the coastal resorts tend to be a rather tourist-orientated venture – the roads & their ‘rules’, well, quite. In the middle of nowhere though, caught in the cross-eyed gaze of a withered mountain goat, with the timeworn mountains behind you, & the impossible blue of the sea, with its bounty of primordial genitals, & frankly, England can keep its poxy bits of stone in a circle.

So that is that, & that is Greece. & I wanted to talk about other places in this post, but I fear it already has plenty of length & material for you to masticate over in your skull-boxes.


& now for your amusement; a pillar with a penis.

(view it in its magnificent full-sized glory here:

& below, a proper photo, Delphi’s Temple of Apollo;

yes, it really is a really real ancient greek penis column

temple of apollo

hands up, who likes me; the playtime politics of the student union

July 22, 2009

“Hands up, who likes me?”, so said People’s Poet, Rick, from the student-based reality TV show, The Young Ones. And so say the few hopefuls in this years student elections. A time when some of the democratically-minded band together to share polices and ideas. Playing pretend politics. A popularity contest.

The run-up to the elections is a period marred with activists frantically stapling up irritating photo-shopped posters of smug Union-attendees. Shameless distribution of leaflets, plastered with repetitive, misspelt policies and dire slogans attributable to people with trendy names, like Moz or Nob. A commendable recreation of a real election campaign. However, apparently this is not enough to convince the student body they they literally need to vote for one of these awesomely desirably people. No. Next they feel the need to enter in on our lectures – our hours of learning, where some of us hope to pick up something about our degree subject, so that we may actually get a foothold in the big, bad World in a few years, from an actual qualified, flesh-and-blood lecturer. They come in, these preacher-men, and recite some turgid credos, designed to represent policies, and then waft away again, with nothing but their contented sense of superiority lingering. Like an unwelcome fart, that leaves the class feeling slightly uneasy and insulted.

I propose we skip this ‘sham’ – words not from myself, but one of the higher-ups involved in its delicate execution. Why not just see who has the greatest Facebook following. Or follow the example set by the deviant, Pentheus, and strip them naked and parade them, like giddy sheep, across the campus on the shoulders of their Bacchic horde; Thyrsus thrust aloft. Then we can choose for ourselves the one with the most handsome cock, or fewest venereal diseases. At the very least let us do away with the legions of henchmen placed strategically around the forecourts, in order to obstruct us from getting on time to our lectures. The people who, grinning, accost, cajole and generally bully us into taking part. Who force into our pockets their flimsy little gospels. This happens so often that the tables and chairs of all the cafes are mostly lost beneath mountains of screwed up pamphlets, unwanted and securing the campaigner’s undesirable omnipresence.

Childish humour aside, I find it despicable, the number of dirty looks and muttering myself and others get for denying the competitors my vote. Surely the right to abstain is just as important as the right to vote – and I certainly do not have a problem with those who choose to hand over their ballot paper. I do, however, object to the eye-twitchingly irritating sentiment that many have bandied about; that is, ‘how else will we get students involved in politics?’ – like this is some hellish indoctrination ceremony into the turbulent world of politics. We scrawl our little numbers into the boxes and, voila!, we are ‘involved in politics’. Personally, I am relishing in the knowledge that, at the next elections, I will be able to have my say in which party I believe will best handle the gargantuan task of running the country. The student elections, though, feel too much like a farce to get get my vote – a quick look at two candidates running for the same position with exactly the same policies only confirms this. There is too much companionship with the opposition. You can quite happily imagine them engaged in drunken orgies behind the scenes. Livingstone-Johnson? Cameron-Brown? No chance.

So, by all means, elect your representatives. But I have not made use of the Union since my first years freshers fair almost two years ago, I am only on campus for my lectures, so do not bully those of us who do not wish to take part into taking part. Perhaps next year we can have little red stickers to indicate our impassivity. I am quite certain that my opinion would aggravate Rick. But nobody liked him anyway.