May Day is quite a big deal up here. But if you’re struggling to understand what’s so special about high-pitched, early morning singing or strangely dressed middle-aged men rattling tambourines, fear not. Our sort-of-but-not-quite-and-really-rather-lazy-A-to-Z- guide should give you enough knowledge to assert your May Day credentials at will. We can’t, however, guarantee this won’t make you look like a gargantuan bellend.

Anyway, let’s start. Awareness. Sadly, it’s something many May Day revellers at this university lack in relation to their choice of attire for the evening. No, a shirt with a naked woman on the front doesn’t make you look “cool” or “summery”. It’s just a bit pervy, and jars with the whole “We are the Village Green Preservation Society” vibe that an Oxford May Day is marketed around by Discover Oxfordshire.

Then again, neither Brookes students, nor the organisers of May Day boat parties care for tradition either, even though both have become fixtures in the calendar of May Day eve events. Ideally, the phenomena of Brookes and boats should be combined; the former being left permanently stranded on the latter after May 1st. The end result? Think The Hunger Games, if it was sponsored by Hollister and its characters possessed an in-depth knowledge of Keith Lemon’s TV shows.

It’d feel wrong not to pick choir for C. Specifically, we’re talking the Magdalen College choir. Their madrigals are something else – apparently. Not that I’d know, since I spent 6.00am on May Day morning 2015 lying in a pool of my own vomit.But who really knows who’s vomit it was? They can’t dust for vomit. 

Dial D for Durham. Those red-chino-ed dullards are always trying to copy us, and the latest in their lengthy history of imitation is celebrating May Day. That Wikipedia notes this version of May Day has “patchy observance” does little to undermine the claim Durham is a low-rent Oxford. Guys, you’re embarrassing yourselves here.

Essays; something conveniently forgotten about by most students on the night of April 30th.

F equals festivals. Lucky us – we’ve got two major ones this year: the Forbidden May Day Festival and This is May Day. 0/10s all round for originality of names. The choice facing students then is this: £30 for shit hot dogs, a ferris wheel, and inevitable bumper car chundering, or day time drinking to the strains of Stormzy’s “shut up”? However, seeing as the residents of North Hinksey were successful in forcing Stormy et al to the periphery of Cornbury Park, most students will be thinking with their wallets. That said, given that most of Stormzy’s fans are public schoolers who regularly ram-raid JJB Sports for its source of “edgy” caps, This is May Day’s turnout shouldn’t be too drastically affected.

G – gone. That’s the word that best describes your state as the Carfax Tower bells herald in May Day.


The only time you get to listen to choir boys whilst trying not to vom.

H – hungover. Anyone with an understanding of cause and effect knows that May Day causes hangover in extremis. But it’ll be that sort of “wow, did I seriously neck 15 shots in 3 minutes?” hangover you won’t get for another 365 days – unless you’re Scottish.

The mid-to-latter letters of the alphabet didn’t really make for interesting May Day-related information, unless you seriously wanted to know more about the Oxcentrics. After extensive (minimal) internet research, we now know they were a University College jazz band formed in 1975, and made a habit of playing on May morning. Arguably the best thing to come out of Univ since Clement Attlee, but we reckon he’d have been more a Stormzy man anyway.

The final few letters, however, provided richer pickings.

Wahoo is our W representative. So despite all the hype coming from the guys down at Shuffle about how “wild” Forbidden May Day is going to be, we’ll all be going to boring old Wahoo for the so-called “after party” we’ve all witnessed a million times before after Friday night formal. Basically, think your mate failing to pull to the Skrillex-ed strains of Carly Rae Jepsen.

Finally, we have Z-list bookings. Who even are B2B, Shuffle?

Don’t despair, though. Given the high incidence of entries related to alcohol, May Day is happily dominated by drinking. On a serious note, let’s just pause to consider the true meaning of May Day – to use it as a big, boozy stick with which to beat Brookes, Cambridge and Durham with. Obviously.


This article has 2 comments

  1. 1) this did not provide any menaingful information
    —-a) you neglect to even make the feeblest effort at investigation
    —-b) any scraps of fact imparted are common knowledge

    2) it was neither witty nor funny

    3) therefore not journalism

  2. “Durham is a low-rent Oxford”

    Durham is Tesco Value Oxford

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