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By Ian Cheong
Scouts were greeted by sand on the stairs and vomit lining bathroom bins in the Penrose accommodation block at Somerville College on May Morning.
Freshers took full advantage of their first May Day and left their mess in every bathroom along with sand strewn up and down the stairs. The building is mainly inhabited by first years and has around 30 rooms.
A student living in Penrose said that the sand came from the fire extinguishers in the building and that residents were involved in the spilling of the sand.
Thomas Allsup, the Somerville JCR President, sent out an e-mail the next morning stating, as regards the vomit in bins: “Such an unsolicited donation to the college isn’t the most helpful of gifts and isn’t respectful of the scouts and all of the fantastic work they do.”
He went on to call the spilling of the sand “totally bizarre” and “a rather weird thing” to do, which added to the scouts’ workload. But he put the incident down to being “a one-off May Day occurrence”.
He told The Oxford Student: “On May Day this year a few students in one of Somerville’s accommodation blocks decided to celebrate May Day in rather unusual style and put sand on the block’s stairs. […] Hopefully this was just a oneoff May Day occurrence and won’t be happening again.”
With most pubs and clubs open well into the early hours, many students took full advantage of extra-long drinking hours to pass the time before the 500-year old tradition of Magdalen College singing at 6am.
Ellie Wilson, a second year at St Hugh’s was at the Head of the River pub watching John Otway, the Buckinghamshireborn punk-rock and folk singer, perform.
She said: “[Otway] apparently performs for May Day every year. His shows are so hilarious in the best punkpop way and the pub was populated by a fundamental refusal to acknowledge the time: everyone had a pint in their hands as though it were the other 7′o’clock of the day!”
Andrea Jansson, a second year at Univ who attended Itchy Feet at the O2 Academy, said: “There was a nice atmosphere and the music was great, but [the promoters] should have sold fewer tickets as it got too crowded in the end.”
Alex Margolis, the Oxford Jewish Society Meals Officer, took an alternative approach and brought in May Day with cheese and crackers stating: “Th cheese complemented the festive atmosphere at May Morning rather well, one of Oxford’s oldest traditions which has been practised from age to age. People said the idea was ‘absolutely crackers’ but everyone who came certainly enjoyed the dairy goodness.”