Archive | November 2013

Life Hacks: How To Get An Oxford Education

Getting into Oxford University is, like, really hard. And it’s, like, really expensive, too. But it must be cool, because David Cameron and Mr Bean went there.


… Let’s Hack it!

Option 1: The Brookes Blag

Oxford has another University. It’s called Oxford Brookes, which sounds a bit like Oxford. Especially to foreign employers. Even more so if you leave out the ‘Brookes’ bit. It’s also a lot easier to get into (though it costs the same amount in fees).

Total Cost: £9,000 per year.

The Pros: Oxford without the geeks. The word ‘Oxford’ in your degree. Life amongst the dreaming spires and all that.

The Cons: That nagging feeling at the back of your mind that whispers “you didn’t really go to Oxford, did you”.

Option 2: An Armchair Approach

While studying in Oxford is all very well and good, it has a fatal drawback: You have to actually be arsed to live in Oxford.

Why not use the power of the interwebs to watch lectures online? It’s like being in Oxford, except without the spotty geeks, three-legged pub crawl participants, hooray Henries and Cowley crack whores.

Total Cost: £0

The Pros: Learn from the greats at your own pace.

The Cons: It is an internet thing and therefore mostly ephemeral.

Option 3: A Scholarly Scam

It’s a not-very-well-advertised fact that members of the public can attend lectures at Oxford University. At the discretion of the college, you could attend a series of weekly lectures for as little as £60 per term. Basically, peanuts. Then you could buy a year’s subscription to the Bodleian Library, costing the princely sum of £38.

But what about the one-to-one tuition that Oxford is so famous for? Well, you could advertise in the Daily Info for a private tutor. You’ll find a PhD student or junior academic is willing to teach you one-to-one for £25 an hour.

The downside? You won’t get a degree. You’ll have nothing to show for your efforts except, like, actually knowing stuff.

Total Cost: £818 per year.

The Pros: An actual Oxford education, without the stress or the essay deadlines.

The Cons: No degree certificate, but then Oxford don’t give out degree certificates, so you’re fine.

Option 4: The Language School Lie

There are private colleges around Oxford which cash in on the ‘Brookes Effect’. You can spend a few weeks in Oxford doing a short course in anything from beginners’ English to advanced Calculus for a few hundred quid. And the colleges have names like ‘St Cuthberts College, Oxford’ or ‘Marlborough College, Oxford’. You also get to hang out in the Turf Tavern, go punting, pick up some received pronunciation and generally feel like an extra from Brideshead, Downton et al.

Total Cost: £200 for a short course

The Pros: A certificate bearing the words “Studied English at Regency College Oxford” or some such gubbins.

The Cons: ‘Con’ is the definitely the operative word.

Option 5: The Deuchars Deception

Sit in The Eagle and Child or The Lamb and Flag, wear tweeds and talk about Marxism. Soon enough, everyone will assume that you’re a Queen’s Fellow anyway.

Total Cost: £3.80 a pint.

The Pros: Beer

The Cons: Can’t remember. Whose round is it?

LIKED THIS?  NOW READ: How To Pretend To Be Great At Piano When You’re Not.

Why Rock Music Can’t Change The World


Sometimes it feels like a day doesn’t go by when my Facebook newsfeed doesn’t contain the words “When are the new Public Enemy/Sex Pistols/Rage Against The Machine going to appear? We need music with a message instead of all this meaningless pop crap…”… I find this sentiment so quaint. It’s almost cute to think that there are some people for whom The Pirate Bay never happened.

If Punk Rock taught us anything, it’s that people love to feel rebellious and will pay good money for ripped jeans, albums about fighting the power, Che Guevara posters and the $375 Urban Outfitters jacket pictured above. Teenagers love to consume the ideology of rebellion. After all, it’s so much easier than actually Fighting the Power. Remember in Withnail and I when the drug dealer complains that they’re selling Hippy wigs in Woolworths? It’s what they used to call recuperation in the olden days of Socialist yore. Or, as the Clash so elequently put it, turning rebellion into money.

What – let’s call him ‘Facebook Guy’ – doesn’t realise is that sitting on your arse listening to Billy Bragg is no more subversive than sitting on your arse listening to Justin Bieber. Whether it be Britney Spears or Bob Seeger, any major label record purchase is essentially an act of fellatio on a huge corporate penis. Facebook Guy thinks he’s rebelling by listening to Public Enemy, but he’s really sucking Vivendi Universal Music Group dick.

At the end of the day, Bob Dylan didn’t end the Vietnam war any more than The Hoff brought down the Berlin wall. The Economic machinations of the Geopolitical power nexus massively dwarf any ideological merit which accrues through someone – even the Lennons and Strummers of this world – writing a pop song.

If, like Facebook Guy, you are waiting for the next Public Enemy, I think I may have found them. It’s YOU. You can share, bootleg, steal, lend, swop, blog, give away, mashup and remix music. Become a producer instead of a consumer… (and you don’t even need to leave your armchair!). But if you can’t be arsed, don’t worry. Some kid from Hackney with Fruity Loops and a Twitter account is doing it right now.  Don’t say you weren’t warned.

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