Written by Erskin Quint
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Thursday, 7 June 2012

image for Shuttlecock Row Divides Dorking Seat Of Learning
Limbering Up For A Game of Shuttlecock And Battledore: A Victorian Lady, Yesterday.

The University of Dorking has been rocked by a controversy that threatens to have major repercussions for one of its prestige Departments, writes Storm In A Teacup Correspondent, Will Slather.

This controversy, which threatens major repercussions, and these repercussions, which threaten to be major, could seriously affect one of the university's prestige departments, and the university itself has been rocked by the controversy, which threatens to have major repercussions for one of its prestige departments, according to a key Dorking academic.

'This controversy threatens to have major repercussions for one of our prestige departments, and, moreover, it has rocked the University itself', said Professor of Rampant Narcissism, Cronyism and Gobshittery, Rex Oedipus, yesterday.

The Department in question is the University's award-winning Department of Bubbleblowing, which has won several awards, the most prestigious of which was the Legend In My Own Lunchtime Trophy at the 2009 Mole Valley Young Farmers Annual Fund-Raising Fete won by lecturer Charlie Gobbe for his collection of 350 humorous articles with Dorking in the title.

Renowned throughout the Mole Valley and Jutland for its pioneering work in the study of Second Adolescence and Navel-Gazing, the Department of Bubbleblowing has traditionally been a haven for those of an eccentric or outre bent.

However, as Professor Rex Oedipus explained, this controversy has changed all that.

'This controversy has changed all that', explained Professor Oedipus, yesterday. 'What it was, or is, was, or is, this.'

Then he grew silent. A slight breeze stirred the cherry blossom in the quadrangle. A watery lemon light played upon the croquet lawn where one of the Department of Bubbleblowing's rising stars, PHD student Luke Inwards, was playing croquet without a mallet or any hoops.

Fearing a visit from our old friend Mr Hiatus, I prodded the Professor with a pair of stuffed pollocks that had fallen off a fresh load of stuffed pollocks which had been delivered to the University only that morning. The pollocks roused him, as they usually do, or so I have been informed.

'You see, some of the chaps have been running a jolly pleasant round-robin tournament of Pin The Snide Remark On The Smug Keyboard Warrior, and jolly excellent it has been, too, if I may say so, and that is not merely down to the fact that I always win. We have lots of G & Ts and wine and a Hamper from somewhere exclusive and back-slappers and ego-masseurs are laid on to boot.

'But latterly, a couple of our more stand-offish colleagues have been wont to cock a snook at our humble gatherings. The thing is, they've only gone and taken up shuttlecock and battledore - you know, the prototype of the modern game of badminton.

'Well, all we did was to point out how absurd, anti-social and simply retrograde this was. We wrote derisive articles in the Stinkwort, the University of Dorking Newspaper, we put up lampooning posters in every public area of the campus and we stood round and threw rotten fruit at them and called them names while they were knocking their shuttlecocks about.

'All completely reasonable and nothing that you would not wish to see in a democratic and enlightened institution. After all, who wants to see a two hundred-year old game in a modern University. They're utterly lowering the tone and they'll be putting people off. We have a reputation to uphold throughout the Mole Valley Young Farming community and North East Jutland.'

These were distressing revelations enough, but what was worse was the way the shuttlecock and battledore afficionados reacted to the criticism. Professor Rex Oedipus took up the story again (in actual fact, he never put the story down in the first place - or any other place - but I am forced to employ a literary device, as it were, or is).

'Well, if you had seen the way they carried on. They wrote silly articles in Stinkwort talking about Imperialist Thought Control, The Running Dogs Of Bourgeois Dictatorship and The Oppressive Forces Of Philistine Mediocrity. They assumed infantile noms de plume like Prickly Person and Irksome Squint and earnosethroatsurgeon. They put posters up mocking what they called our beer and skittles club. They disrupted our Hunt The Ego matches and built balsa wood effigies of us.

'This is the level of appalling juvenilia to which our Department has sunk. They have revealed themselves to be egotists who are unable to face the truth of genuine criticism offered purely for the good of the Department of Bubbleblowing. Do they think the Mole Valley Young Farmers will so much as look at us next time? The Buckland Womens Institute Poems About Cats Club will walk the Legend In My Own Lunchtime trophy.

After speaking to Professor Oedipus, I intended to meet the forces of destruction referred to in his account. I was to be frustrated, however. Prickly Person, a 60-year old punk rocker, was in Lithuania at a Gobbing Festival; Irksome Squint, a pretentious aesthete with a Thomas de Quincey complex, was fastened in a garret with a copy of Confessions of an English Opium Eater; and earnosethroatsurgeon had retired to a windmill in Hassocks, Sussex, to spend his days hurling abuse at passing crows.

So it was that I decided to speak once again to Professor Rex Oedipus, and to gain more information about this appalling schism that threatens they very future of the University of Dorking's Department of Bubbleblowing.

But I fell asleep on the train while reading my notes and ended up in Penzance.

World News

Two men were arrested yesterday at the Universidad Sancho Panza in Guatemala, after a ferocious argument broke out in the Geometry School. The men were arguing about which of two spheres was the more perfect. A University spokesman said: 'this is very unfortunate, for indeed this is an argument with no point at all.'

And in Uusikaupunki, Finland, two bald men were arrested last night after they began fighting over a comb.

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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