University Challenge

Miss Gold, the posh tousle-haired, speccy girl fronting the Kings College Cambridge Team this week, is just the sort the teenage Mingles might have fallen in love with. 


Being from a scummy council estate, I always dreamed of going to Oxford, and watching University Challenge always reminds me how it might have gone if I’d been intelligent enough, motivated enough and not off my face all the time on drugs.

I only took Higher Chemistry to get access to the big bottles of chloroform.  We used to nab them and then pour the quickly-evaporating liquid into a small glass ashtray trapped inside a white plastic bag and inhale the fumes. Despite this remarkable ingenuity, I got an F. Although to be fair, the standard in Chemistry passes was down in our school all over that year. Quite a few people failed the practical bit – apparantly some thieving little bastards had pinched all the choloroform.

It’s a shame really. Because I already had my Oxford persona completely worked out. I’d be the sensitive, quiet artistic one from the scummy council estate, whose fractured poetic soul you could feel burning into you whenever you met his gaze. I’d wear my black polo neck, cultivate my teenage stubble and smoke nothing but Gauloises cigarettes. Then there was my love-affair with 60’s French New Wave Cinema. And to cap it all off, I had the harrowing stories from my deprived childhood to make the posh girls swoon (‘Did you know he actually had to share a bedroom with his younger brother? How ghastly!’) I’d sort of planned to market myself as a cross between George Orwell and super-cool 60’s French movie star Alain Delon.

Inevitably, like just about everything else in real life, as opposed to tv and the movies – there was a flaw in my plan. You see, whilst I always ‘fell in love’ with posh, haughty, studious, young women like Miss Gold, the ones that got me light-headed with lust were always the big-breasted, giggly girls who lived in my street, and who I’d once played doctors & nurses with. They were always far more straighforward and they looked me in the eye as an equal. What’s more, if they fancied you they smiled at you in a particular way which said  ‘Go on. Ask me out. I’ll say yes, honest I will’  Of course, I usually dumped them in favour of the posh girls who showed me very little interest, but there you go. Attempting to reconcile this classic Madonna/Whore complex has been a lifelong struggle, but one which has along the way gotten me into some very enjoyable escapades.

I did eventually achieve my ambition and made it to Oxford – I spent five days on holiday there last year. (I’ve still got the certificate somewhere.) And there, in one of life’s more hilarious ironies, I found the buxom local girls to be just like the ones I grew up with. Except they had the added appeal of an accent which (to my Scottish ear) made them sound like sexy witches in a Hammer horror film. So even if I’d made it to Oxford, I’d probably have ended up dating nothing but barmaids.

Incidentally, King’s College won. I Hope you celebrate by letting your hair down Miss Gold. Remember you’re up against the local girls as well now.


2 Responses to “University Challenge”

  1. daveselectricblanket Says:

    That was a journey of a post, I must say. Me and it became great friends then it ended all at once.

  2. 2008 on the goggle box: Comedy « John Kell Vs Satan Says:

    […] but see what the captain of King’s College’s University Challenge team, Kat Gold, found about […]

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