Last night saw the University of Sheffield Student’s Union Centenary Award presentation ceremony take place. I nominated my friend Will Christophers, who is in a way responsible for that first fateful meeting between *Cough* and I last September… although I didn’t actually nominate him for that reason – I nominated him for these reasons.

It was, I must say, a really nice event. Very cosy, food and drink provided, lots of familiar faces present, including students, Union staff and the Pro-vice chancellor whose wine I accidentally stole from right under his nose. Not a wise move – let’s just hope his power doesn’t extend as far as exam results.

Following the intro DVD, which was cringeably long (I felt embarrased for the girl, Jo, who made it, as sniggers slipped out during the section on which she focused on baked potatoes, but just kept on having to tell myself, “It’s not my problem, not my problem”), the award ceremony itself got underway. That was all jolly nice – amazing what those 6 students have achieved. It was great to see Will receive his certificate and medal (even though they spelt his name wrong on the latter!), I was mightily proud, as were his parents who had come up for the event.

I must admit though, throughout the ceremony I was a bit distracted by the two gentlemen sitting to my right. I was later to find out that one of them had been the President of the Student’s Union in 1947, making him about 78 years old by my calculations. His friend was of a similar age. They were there to be presented with special awards in recognition of the amazing work that they did back in the era of postwar Britain, when there were only 2000 students at Sheffield, and women were a rarity. The stories they told made me realise just how much we take for granted these days. The Union just “is”, you never really think about how it got to be the biggest in the UK etc… listening to them talk about the battles they had with the University and Government to secure funding etc was a bit of an eye-opener, as were the tales of what they got up to in their spare time, such as cementing toilet bowls to the tops of cranes. Makes us modern-day students seem so docile.

Mind you, it wasn’t what they said when on stage that really caught my attention.

No, it was the conversation the two of them had just before they went on stage. I only overheard a few sentences. Bear in mind these are two seemingly respecatble 76-year-old alumni:

“Oh, yes, and you remember all the oral sex!”
“Yes, they loved it didn’t they!”
“Mind you, there were a lot of people with syphilis then weren’t there…”


That was a bit of a shocker. Thankfully once on stage, mic in hand we weren’t subjected to further details. The furthest they went was

There’s two female dogs standing on the street.
One turns to the other and says,
“oh, let’s sit down, here comes that bulldog with the cold nose”

…a joke that was published in the student rag, seen by the Mayoress who then demanded that the publication be withdrawn, thus sending the price of the copies that did remain in circulation rocketing, and raising a lot more money for charity.

And with that, I must sign off, although I do have a lot more to tell you. An essay is banging on the door, and I can no longer afford to avoid it.