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800th Birthday Hash

December 11, 2009

cam.jpegMy alma mater, Cambridge University, is celebrating its 800th anniversary right now. If I were responsible for putting together the celebrations for such an auspicious occasion, I probably wouldn't do it the way in which the organizers of the Bay Area 800th anniversary party did it.

The ingredients of last night's soiree at the St Francis Yacht Club were not the freshest to say the least. The champagne quickly ran out at the two-hour-long party and half an hour before the end, the houselights were turned up and the waiters started coming around with glasses of water. The vice-chancellor made an exceedingly boring speech. Much of her talk revolved around saying how she wasn't going to ask us for money on this celebratory occasion. But the statement more or less amounted to the same thing as asking for money.

A particular low point of the evening was the playing of a short video made to mark the 800th anniversary. The video, which was unimaginatively shot and edited, featured a bunch of cheesy images of Cambridge (the Bridge of Sighs, the King's Chapel, people gliding down the River Cam in a punt etc). It also had a bunch of Cambridgey types looking directly at the camera and saying things like "Cambridge!" and "success!" and "cows!" It was all very embarrassing. I imagine this video is being played at 800th anniversary parties all over the world, which is a very sad thought indeed.

Still, I did meet a few nice people. And it was lovely to be part of the celebrations in some small way, even if the result was entirely half-baked.

On another note: I am heading out on assignment on Sunday and won't be posting again until Wednesday. Toodle-pip until then.


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