Illustrations by Ben Beechener
What better way to meet the new team than through one of those dubious BuzzFeed-esque personality tests? Come on, I know you couldn’t have come up with a more perfect, more cultured idea!
You find yourselves in the midst of a work crisis, what’s your go to snack to help you power through those pages?
- Percy Pigs. They have their own dedicated pig shaped jar on my desk.
- All of them. Sweet and savoury is necessary to add some variety to the essay crisis that will always be subject to tedium.
- Ramen sandwiches. So much carb-y goodness.
- Maoams. Always.
- If it has chocolate in it, I’ll eat it.
- I’m snack-promiscuous, but a coffee and a biscuit always works for me.
- The amount of hummus pots I get through is worrying – but hey, free useful boxes?
- Any of the M&S speciality cheeses. Sounds pretentious, but they taste so good.
- A Greggs vegan sausage roll mid-essay always works as the perfect pick-me-up.
They’re beautiful, you want to take them on a date… so what’s your go to chat up line?
- Have you read Jane Eyre? (well, if you haven’t, you’re not worth chatting up #priorities).
- “Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk past again?” … I cannot claim credit, 15-year-old Robert Pattinson was inspired with this.
- You must be the Darcy to my Lizzie Bennett, because everything you say fills me with unbridled rage but you’re also annoyingly attractive.
- I could say that I wandered lonely as a cloud before I met you, but what are these Wordsworth if you won’t go out with me?
- I don’t date so to quote Hamlet, Act III, Scene III, line 92- “no”.
- Does anyone actually do chat up lines anymore?
- Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Because you’re hot.
- Have you read Keats? because La Belle Dammme you fine.
- Have you got a raisin? How about a date?
You find yourself preparing to perform an art heist, what painting are you planning to steal?
- Carel Fabritius’s The Goldfinch. Why, I hear you ask? Just read the book…(while also acknowledging that I absolutely would not follow Theo’s example by taking a million-dollar painting to a Vegas strip joint, duh).
- Monet’s Water Lilies. I would need the whole series as stealing only one would be wasteful.
- Degas’s Ballet Dancers, and I’d pull off the heist in full costume as a ballerina.
- Fallen Angel by Alexandre Cabanel because the *drama* of that painting is exquisite.
- If I was trying to be ambitious, I would steal the giant T-Rex skeleton from the Pitt Rivers Museum. Now that is a piece of art.
- Who said it had to be a painting? I’d try steal one of Monster Chetwynd’s sculptures or the entirety of the National gallery. If it was a one-man job, I could probably get away with a large role of Rose Wylie paintings.
- Gustav Klimt’s portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. The texture, the patterns, the golden intensity: *chef’s kiss*.
- I’d pull the uno reverse card and take back the Van Dyck stolen from the chch gallery.
- As much as I adore Kerry James Marshall’s work, I’d say the Mona Lisa, not because it’s my favourite painting or anything but because imagine being able to say that you stole the Mona Lisa. Go big or go home.
It’s your first time back in the theatre in months and the person behind you is kicking your seat. What’s your instinctive response?
- I once actually yelled at a man in the National because he told me I was interpreting the play wrong (I might just add that I was right and he was wrong); yeah, a stern shouting-at always works.
- I might take inspiration from what is taking place before me…I have always felt Scar was justified; Mufasa was rather irritating.
- Think very hard about yelling at them but ultimately choose to not embarrass myself and just sit in quiet fury watching Matilda.
- Mutter passive aggressively under my breath because Hadestown deserves my full, unbridled sobs.
- I’d probably use the super ninja skills I learnt from watching Marvel movies to make them regret their treachery.
- I would pester my friend to pipe up for me.
- Repress a glare and channel all my tension into unpicking the Shakespearean tangle of religious imagery and sex jokes on stage.
- Depends on who it is. Little kid? Let it slide — they’re just here for the culture. Adult? Kiss my teeth until they get the message :))
- Shoot them my meanest glare, quietly (but just loud enough so they’ll hear) comment about how annoying the people behind me are followed by a tsk-tsk, and then pray that that’s enough confrontation for one night.
What show is forever taking your attention away from, well, everything?
- It’s a Sin, watched it 5000 times and still refuse to believe the ending exists.
- Anything that does not fit with the Oxford stereotype – The Vampire Diaries or One Tree Hill regularly keep me up until the early hours.
- There is no greater show than High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.
- The Last Kingdom– I would offer my first born to join Uhtred and his pretty boys on their (often bloody) Anglo/Danish adventures.
- Doctor Who. Who can resist David Tennant’s smile?
- Apparently, at the moment there is a revival of Sex and the City but who knows because it honestly changes every week.
- Lupin. Hours of binging Miss Marple have led me to this stunning level up.
- Power. Seen it 100 times and ready to go again.
- No matter how many times I’ve seen it, I will never tire of watching Peep Show.
Quick, you’re at a dinner party and need to prove you actually went to Oxford. What book do you start talking about?
- It wouldn’t be a dinner party if I didn’t talk (well, cry) for hours about how Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life changed my little life while also giving me an (un)healthy hatred for red lorries, elevators, and fire escapes.
- The Hungry Caterpillar mustn’t be neglected given recent supermarket controversy and what dinner party is completed without such a heated debate?
- Anything by Daniel Defoe, because anyone asking is instantly bored and doesn’t ask any follow-up questions. Alternatively, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.
- Dropping a few fun facts about The Wanderer always makes me feel like I know what I’m doing in my degree.
- I love trying to recount the long history of mythological re-tellings so either The Metamorphoses or Percy Jackson.
- Anything to do with The Metaphysical poets.
- Name-dropping Proust is a must. My Madeleine induced existential crises and the essay tears can’t have been for nothing.
- “Books are cool. but let me tell you why music really reveals the linguistically inexpressible…”
- Anything by James Baldwin. That or pretending like I fully understand Ulysses.
Tell me about the song which soundtrack’s your main character moment…
- A single song?! baby I’ve got a whole playlist, just follow my Apple Music 😉
- I like to live on the edge and prefer to let the Apple Music algorithm tell me what I should be feeling.
- John Hughes Movie by Maisie Peters.
- If I Had a Heart by Fever Ray.
- Anything by AC/DC. It makes me feel like Iron Man.
- Head phones in and Mount Everest by Labrinth on.
- Because I’m Me by the Avalanches.
- Anything produced by J Dilla. Classics.
- This Must Be the Place by Talking Heads or Kerosene by Yves Tumor. If it’s winter, Flim by Aphex Twin.
A curveball to finish; what’s your hidden talent?
- Just about managing to fit rowing and journalism around my degree while still maintaining a personality…oh, wait.
- I know every single Taylor Swift lyric and can recognise any of her songs within the first five seconds.
- Being able to recite Katara’s entire opening credits speech from Avatar: The Last Airbender.
- Knowing all the dialogue to the first Twilight film.
- Communing with nature. I can fearlessly climb any tree in the world and charm wild animals into doing my bidding like a Disney Princess.
- Would have to be the fact that I can paint a series of 9 pug paintings in approximately 2 weeks.
- Can scale a wall and hop over a fence, skills honed over years of forgetting my keys. Entry without the breaking.
- Can unicycle. A true man of culture.
- I can catch a grape in my mouth thrown from anywhere in a room.
And now to the answers. If you’re…
Fabby! You cannot deny the Jess energy you radiate (do you row?). As a side hustle to capsizing a scull on the Isis you love to engage in all things cultural! Your favourite books, shows and programmes are gloriously dark and twisty – allowing you to fully (pretentiously) appreciate humanity’s ‘inner truths’ – and you have definitely commented (a little bit too much) on how they’ve ‘changed your life’ (translation: get a life). Bonus points if you then invested in a t-shirt or phone case to show your appreciation of these twisted texts, even more bonus points if you decided to learn a new language so you can read these stories ‘as they were meant to be read’. All your fav characters just happen to share your initial: Jude, Jane, Judith, Jill – I guess you are just that connected to culture. Well, duh!
You’re Katharine through and through. You appreciate both the high and the low of culture. While you may enjoy the nuances of Woolf, you also appreciate all six seasons of ‘Sex and the City’ for the great American novels that they truly are (go listen to the ‘Sentimental Garbage’ podcast if you require further information!). Never a bore at a dinner party you can battle the intellectuals with your defence of Taylor Swift as a modern Romantic poet and Love Island as a serious anthropological study.
You must be Lily! You romanticise libraries significantly too much for someone who never actually studies in them, and your obsession with Olivia Rodrigo is significantly affecting your ability to do your degree. The party truly does not start until you’ve spent 30 minutes talking about Jane Austen side characters. It’s always a hoot when you’re around, especially when you do entire quote-alongs to episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
You’re Hetta! You definitely prioritise a Netflix binge over your uni work and start an astonishing amount of Fantasy series you never quite finish. When you’re not dreaming of dragons and deadly quests (in which you are always, of course, a total badass), you’re singing along to Taylor Swift songs and eating far too many maoams than normal. Congrats, you’re winning at life!
You, my friend, are an Emily. You probably wanted to be a spy or a time traveller when you were a child, and when that didn’t work out you decided reading was the closest you could get to going on fantastical adventures. When you’re not eating too many sweets and watching tv you like going on long walks and lounging in the wild like a lost fairy. You don’t recognise any bands from the 21 st century but at least at least you got over that emo phase (mostly).
It’s Loveday for you. An artist and lover of pugs. If you’re not in the studio, you will 100% be in the pub, talking about some exhibition or another. You adore film and literature, but you always feel like you never get round to watching and/ or reading what you planned to in a term. Never mind, you always have those metaphysical poets to fall back on…
You’re Grace! Amazing. Master of productive procrastination, you too may have taken it upon yourself to learn Polish instead of finishing that pressing essay, or decided now (10 minutes before your tutorial) is the time to colour coordinate your bookshelf. You love long walks (not on the beach, as sand is coarse and rough and irritating, and it gets everywhere) and Star Wars references. Though essay crises may have lured you to the dark side of coffee, loose leaf tea still has your heart.
Congrats!! You got Ben!! (you have exquisite taste btw). Welcome to a hip hop culture that appreciates the classics. You’re here to see subject diversity among the sea of untold English Lit students 🙂 If you make a new playlist to get through each essay, you’re Ben through and through!
Congratulations! You’re Nic. Obviously, you’ve got lots of love for British satires and comedies, tens of thousands of songs downloaded on your phone and have just enough knowledge about the classics to blend in with the other English students (although 20th-century experimental literature has your heart). You can’t go a minute without mentioning how tall you are (6’8 btw) or promising that you aren’t a ‘preachy vegan’, but somehow both crop up in most conversations you have. You love nothing more than pausing an essay mid-plan to go on a walk to grab some (vegan) food, for an impulsive bike ride halfway across the city or to go on a tirade about your hatred for LinkedIn.