Monday, 22 November 2010

Spermbank Tower

Baroness Warsi knocked back the rest of the gin, swallowed, and belched loudly. I did the same. When I meet with people from other cultures, I try to observe their traditions. She snatched a fat rollup from the desk, and lit it with a clicky lighter. She took a deep drag.

“Aaaahhh”, she said. “’at’s the stuff, that is”.

She exhaled, and blew a thick fog of smoke into my face.

“As I were sayin”, the Baroness continued. “David’s finally gone and given me something. He says I’m Minister fer pretzels, homophobia and student sex-bloggers. Ee’s very keen on you bloggers. Says ee’s keen to encourage entrepreneurship like what you’re doing. You’re the engines of the recovery, some such shite. I couldn’t give two myself, but I get paid the same whatever.”

“You’re minister for pretzels? Isn’t that a bit pointless?”

“P’raps. But could it be more useless than Minister Without Portfolio? Fuck.” I caught a glimpse of her laptop screen in the window – “BigDog94” had pulled a flush on the river. Sayeeda (“call me Sy”) pulled out a credit card and started tapping.

She sniffed. “Anyway, ere’s yer grand. Just stick in a few more Coalition plugs. Say t’Big Society twatted a rapist, Milliband looks a nonce in that jacket, EMA shrinks yer cock. Anything really. When you need the other grand, go in’t Swan and ask for Big Billy.” She picked up another cigarette, lit and breathed. The smoke flooded all the corners of the room.

“Can I open a window?”

“S’a free country, duck.”

I did, and more smoke poured in through the windows.

“Well, fuck me backwards”.

A klaxon sounded; shrill screams rang through the air. The sounds of shattering glass. From Sy’s office five floors up, we could see twenty thousand students, all armed with fire extinguishers, using them to batter the two defenceless policemen below. Blood flew from the stricken figures. Hateful students dived in, claiming fingers or legs as trophies. Flecks of guts were flung in all directions. One found its way through the window, and onto Sy’s face. She licked her lips.

“It’s on.”

She clattered through the door. Crazed Tories ran up and down the stairs almost at random. One cowered, quivering , in a corner. Two stood by the blinds, as though judging their chances from this height.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a LOCKDOWN!”, the Baroness announced. “Everyone, please! Go back to your offices and await further instructions. These childish protestors will soon realise that direct action never solved anything and is never justified -“

“The Suffragettes?”, a staffer cut in.

“That was different. They weren’t allowed to vote. These 17 year-olds are just id-“

She was cut off by another fire extinguisher crashing through the window. Just as it did, there was an almighty crash against the fire escape doors. Three of the students had flung themselves against it. I noted their pallid skin and dark circles round their eyes. “EDUCATION FOR ALL”, they murmured. “NO CUTS. NO CUTS”. We stared in horror. One munched on the skull of a dead policeman.

Suddenly, another crash, and the door gave way. The students lumbered towards us. The Tories screamed, and threw themselves up the stairs. But I stood, fixated. One of them ran behind, flapping his arms, waving at the others.

“I command you! Stop this at once! By the powers invested in me as the President of the National Union of Students, I demand that you cease immediately! I –"

We both watched in horror as one of the students picked up a small kitten and bit through its spine. “NO TO ARTS CUTS”, he wrote on the wall with its blood.

I grabbed the President’s hand. Together, we ran into Sy’s office, and locked the door.


“You know, these aren’t bad people.”

“I know.”

“It’s just… being here. There’s something… it does something to them. To their heads. They…”

“I know! I saw. We just have to stay here, and hope – pray…”

“They don’t realise they’re undermining a largely peaceful protest!”

He sobbed. I took his hand, and gazed into his eyes. Something might have happened, but-


We gasped, and flung ourselves behind the desk. The only light now was through the cracks in the door. The doorhandle rattled. It kept rattling.

“They’re going to –“


I reached across, held him as close as I could, and kissed him passionately. He fell silent with surprise. It rattled again, and I gripped his cock. And then… silence.

“One day we’re gonna escape this, okay? We’ll be sat in the sunshine, yeah? Kids’ll be laughing around us. You’ll be drafting a letter to the Independent about library funding, and I’ll be polishing my 2010 Guardian Student Media Award for Digital Journalist of the Year. Just think of that. Just think.”

He looked up. “I love you, Mimi”.

“I know.”

Then a crash. The door was blown from its hinges. Ten of them swarmed in. Twenty. Thirty. Fifty. I swang a flaming Liberal Democrat 2010 manifesto at them, but for every one I hit, five more replaced it. Hands grabbed at me from all sides. I gripped the hands of the man I knew only as the President tighter than ever. Soon we were ripped apart. This is it, I thought. And…


“NO MORE FEES! NO MORE FEES”, I yelled. From the roof of the Millbank Tower, I could see for miles around. The glorious fires of student protest burned around me. Big Ben was reduced to rubble. The London Eye was a pool of molten metal. They’d managed to persuade me. How could I have been so wrong?

Nathan - the tallest - had put his lips around my neck. Then he’d kissed me all over, and we’d had sex a few times with the others watching. Then they’d joined in. The sex itself was some of the best I'd ever had. Uninhibited, non-obligatory, just forty-eight people who were happy to have each other. As I came, so too did my revelation. A minute later I had my very own fire extinguisher, and had flung it to the ground below, crushing five policemen and a disabled soldier all holding white flags as their young families watched.

“I’m going to burn some public property that's paid for with taxpayers' money!”, I yelled, and hundreds cheered me on. “We’ll burn it down!”, they yelled. “Anarchy! Anarchy!”

As we cast the limbs of junior Conservative policymakers into the fire, a helicopter rose in front of us. I saw the Baroness. She winked at me, and took off into the sky.

Monday, 8 November 2010



I opened my eyes. Black, with a tint of green.


I rolled over and threw up for what was probably the third time. I rolled back. Black, again, with a tint of green. And flecks of yellow. God, there’d been drinking; that I could remember. That was all I could remember. There might’ve been a bop. What was the theme?

“British victims of terrorist atrocities abroad”? No, that was last term. I’d have remembered that, it takes hours to look convincingly beheaded. I felt about gingerly. Was I wearing a nappy? No; lacrosse social was last weekend. I sighed with relief. “Sluts of the Special Olympics”? No.

“Nuns ‘n’ Nazis”? That was it. I staggered to my feet and made my way off the lawn, pushing over a couple of tourists who were stupid enough to obstruct me.

“You know, it’s a fifty quid fine for going on there”, said a fresher.

“Go fuck yourself.”

I flicked the last flecks of vom off my Waffen SS uniform. A photographer from the Mail on Sunday tried to get a picture of me, but I punched him in the face. Why were they always here after bop night? No doubt this one just appreciated my dedication to historical accuracy*.

(*I don’t think wearing a full SS uniform and jackboots to a bop was insensitive; after all, my great-uncle died at Auschwitz. He fell off a guard tower! That’s not to imply that he was a Nazi, though. He just happened to think that climbing the guard tower was the quickest way to escape, fell off, and was killed. Often when I tell this story people think I’m telling some kind of joke implying that my great-uncle was somehow a Nazi, which is a tragic insult to his memory. Anyway, it can't be offensive, it’s freedom of speech. Being able to wear an SS uniform in public is a right my great-uncle fought and died for.)

I stumbled into the lodge unable to remember my name or anything else about the night. I begged the porter to tell me what little he knew.

“You were with some guy, he said he was your agent. He said he couldn’t work with anyone who wanted full editorial control over anything she appeared in. Especially when that thing she was going to appear in was Babestation, so it was pretty much just a camera pointing at you anyway.”

I did remember this bit. I’d asked him if there was any way to make it avant-garde – maybe invert the colours, turn the screen upside down, or smash a rabbit’s head into the camera for a few seconds in a tortured metaphor for the commercialisation of sexuality.

“The shows on that channel are so mundane. Why won’t Babestation fund original programming?”

“They don’t want original programming.”, he’d said. “They just want you with your tits out.”

In short, control-freakery of the highest order. When a channel won’t take a risk and let you write Carol-Ann Duffy quotes across your bare boobs, you know TV has stagnated as a medium. I remember mouthing the words, “Jonathan Ross was right”.

I turned back to the porter.

“Then you said he couldn’t leave you, because you were in love with him, and anyway you’d already slashed all of the tyres on his car so he couldn’t go anywhere but to bed with you.”

The joke was on me; he’d slashed all my condoms so we couldn’t do that, either. Also, I’d forgotten that he was meant to be giving me a lift home. So this was sort of what’s called a “pyrrhic victory”. I walked away from the lodge, glad of the porter’s incredible observation skills. I walked out into an OUSU march against tuition fees, very few of whom understood the reasoning behind my costume, except for a few who thought I was making an incisive satirical point about George Osborne.

* * *

“Don’t you still want to be my boyfriend?”, I’d asked him.

“I never was your boyfriend!”

“Oh my god! I can’t believe you’d say that! We were together for two months, and now you’re acting like it meant nothing-“

“We were never together! You just kissed me once when you said you were rehearsing for a play! A play that you’d written!”

This much was true. A good method of pulling, I find, is to write a play in which two people kiss, then tell the other person you were rehearsing it. Just take inspiration from anywhere! Mine’s about a 1920s sex-diarist who falls in love with her boss. I wrote it for Marilyn Monroe – I know she’s dead, but a Marilyn Monroe impersonator would do the role just as well. On the downside, it wasn’t a very plausible excuse. On the upside, my play is beginning a two-week run at the Burton Taylor Studio.

Back in the story, I burst into tears. I ran into the bar as quickly as I could, desperate to show I was emotionless and over him. I made a beeline for Joseph Goebbels by the dartboard, but he ended up necking Mother Teresa. I collapsed into sobs. As I saw Rudolf Hess slide his hand up the Vicar of Dibley’s skirt, I cried out to no-one in particular: “Why are all the good men taken?”

I took out a gin bottle and a couple of shot glasses. I poured out two shots, and then I downed the rest of the bottle. Then I downed the shots. Downing the shots sorta wrecked the whole “physical comedy” vibe that I was originally going for, but it did make everything go blurry and the air taste vaguely of blood.

It was then that my natural popularity started to kick in: “You need to come with us”, went one group of girls, offering to carry me (that’s fame!). “You should really come this way”, said a man in a security guard costume - they always seem to find me attractive.

I turned them all down - I’d just been dumped! The last thing I needed was more celebration. Everyone kept talking about going to “The Hospital”, which for a minute made me think I was drunker than I’d thought, but it turns out that that’s actually a night at Kukui with £1 drinks if you only wear a lab coat.

With all this in mind, and having learned from another blog that “how-to” guides really help fill up space once you’ve run out of content in three posts, here’s:

The Belle des la'Oxford Guide To Surviving A Breakup

DON’T cry. Ever. Take the tears and force them back inside you. Men can smell emotion, and they see it as weakness. A soldering iron will take care of those pesky tearducts!

DON’T immediately get pregnant, give birth, name the child after your ex, and bring them up to dress and act exactly like the man who rejected you so he’s the partner you never had! (There’s always the chance you might give birth to a girl…)

DON’T threaten to kill yourself! You don’t want to get involved in “suicide chicken” where he ignores you and you end up on Magdalen Bridge at midnight begging him to take you back or you’ll just jump off and end it all. Even if you win, you look insane!

DON’T try to be friends. All you’re likely to do is end up with a long-term relationship of mutual trust and support, which won’t get you more than 10 blog views.

Stay sexually active,

Belle xo