Welcome to Oxford, the city of dreaming spires, racist Tories and overly-aggressive charity muggers- Chuggers to their friends. (I mean “friends” in the loosest sense of the word. It must be hard to maintain a friendship with someone when the simplest offer to get a round in is met with a sour look and a ‘really? That’s just so insensitive. There are three legged donkeys out there who don’t even have fresh water and you want to drink beer? Besides, prawncocktail crisps are offensive to the mollusc community”.)
Once easily avoided with a cheeky sidestep or a cry of “oh look! A posh-boy chasing a fox!” today’s chuggers are a new breed; stealth-ridden ninjas Darwinianly evolved to sniff out a guilty conscious like a spaniel in a Columbian airport. The moment your foot hits Cornmarket Street you are lost and they descend on you like a crowd of angry seagulls gangbanging a stray chip, buckets a-swinging and leaflets a-waving.
Now I don’t want you to think that this Malcontent is an uncharitable specimen- far from it. Charity is great, charity is love, contrary to popular belief it is not gravity but charity that makes the world go round and I thank everyone who does give their money away so unselfishly. Now as it happens I don’t, I spend it on vodka and shoes like any other self-respecting student, but that is not the point. The point is that if I’m going to not give my money to charity then I’m damn well going to not give it to a charity of my choosing, not whichever one some smelly random in a hideous tabard has pressganged me into on the street.
I have tried many techniques during my three years here –wearing headphones even when not attached to anything, the imaginary telephone, even the good old ‘me no habla ingles’- but nothing works. They cling on to you, limpet like, until sheer disgust at your own lack of humanity breaks you and you lob them a fiver and limp away. It is thus in the spirit of charity –nay humanity- that I implore you, good people of Oxford, rise up and reclaim the streets one ‘fuck off, I’m busy’ at a time.