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Introducing : Trenton Babbage and The Diary Of A Bacon Smuggler

Friends are found in the most unlikely of places and none are so unlikely as serial blog commenter, Trenton Babbage. He started out as a sort of casual stalker, but his dedication to providing me with amusing photoshopped pictures of Nigel Farage saw me finally relenting and accepting his friend request on Facebook. It proved to be a good decision, although my social media is now prone to outbursts of random filth, on occasion. In this semi-regular series, Babbage will be sharing with you all his epic tale of a couple of fool-hardy bacon smugglers. He has promised to keep obscenity to a minimum, but if you are my mum I probably wouldn’t read this…

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Introduction:

This diary was inspired by a comment conversation with one Lucy Brazier (hi Lucy!); I forget how it started, but it ended with an idea about bacon, and its undoubtedly transformative abilities with regards social harmony and ultimate world peace. As logically follows from this statement, bacon also has the power to divide people and nation states if its distribution is not universal, nor of the highest quality. So follows the adventures of the bacon smugglers Manfred Pear and Perl Ritorg; they also bump into Arthur Browne, because no-one should be going on any trips without a guide such as he; and Trent Lewin, because one isn’t adventuring correctly if one doesn’t come into contact with a crazy moose loving canadian such as he. Thanks to exhaustive research and my own patented algorithm, I have discovered that the optimum WordPress post length in order to achieve both comfort and retention, is 637 words. There will be no deviation. Enjoy.

The Diary of a Bacon Smuggler

The 3.16 from Chester – 3.24pm

Well the train’s late. But unlike a tardy menstrual cycle there will be no alterations to ones life plan resulting from this unwanted delay. I’m standing on platform four, the greatest of all platform numbers; all those famous movie scenes in railway stations? filmed on a platform four; the majority of welcome home and farewell smooches occur on platform four; a station hasn’t made it in the eyes of other stations until it gets a platform four, they look down on it, I’m not saying it’s right, just that it happens; more suicides have been prevented on platform four…although more suicides have been attempted on platform four, so that may just be a statistical thing – train’s here!

3.52pm

I’m on my way to Southampton; gateway to the world, mouth of the ocean, sphincter of the high seas. I’m going like so many have before me; to seek adventure, fortune, fame or infamy it matters not a jot to me, but I will make my mark! together with my partner in porcine crime; a striking blonde danish goddess of a woman going by the name of Perl Ritorg, she is perfectly unfiltered and has a particularly undefinable look in her eye, like a light bulb seducing a door handle…but better.

I am travelling from Cheshire and she from somewhere else, but we have agreed to meet in Oxford in order to blow up a co-op. Specifically the one at 42 Walton Street. The beauty of this store is that it is under a mile from the station: walk south – 220 ft; turn right towards Park End St/A420 – 141 ft; at the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Park End St/A420 – 279 ft; at the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Hythe Bridge St/A4144 – 0.2 mi; turn left onto Worcester St/A4144 – 0.1 mi; continue onto Walton St, destination will be on the left – 0.4 mi. The other convenience associated with the wanton destruction of this type of premises, is that all bomb making paraphernalia is located under the one roof.

No-one was to be harmed in the bombing, is was merely designed to rid the world of one more bloody co-op…bastards.

But before the delight of seeing Oxford alight could begin, I had to suffer the indignities of the buffet car: specifically the lukewarm muroidal faecal matter the server had the effrontery to call a bacon sandwich…I impaled it…the sandwich that is…on the seat next to me, in the manner of the late 19th century serial killer Johannes Pannerberg: not impaling as one object, but displaying it in its constituent parts; annotated in detail, the organs cursed with the genetic predisposition to fail; that which drove Pannerberg to save any destined offspring from suffering the same fate by butchering the prospective parent…my notes on the degenerative nature of the bacon were extensive.

The tone of the day is given the greatest possible omen as not just one, but both our trains arrive at platform four, twenty three minutes apart; one of the very best amounts of time between two things…but not dinner courses, or twins, or toilet trips. We embrace, tightly – unhindered by our ergonomically designed hats, specifically fashioned for a number of aesthetic and practical purposes, one of which being embracing – inhaling the smells of leather, skin, and of course, bacon. We double check the time and head out onto the mean streets of Oxford: we walk south – 220 ft; turn right towards Park End St/A420 – 141 ft; at the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Park End St/A420 – 279 ft; at the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Hythe Bridge St/A4144 – 0.2 mi; turn left onto Worcester St/A4144 – 0.1 mi; continue onto Walton St, our destination is on the left – 0.4 mi.

Tinned musac fills every aisle, and the pair of us die a little inside; just a

Up Close & Personal: Senior Bursar

The other half of the notorious Bursary department, Senior Bursar is something of an anomaly among The Fellowship at Old College. Although impeccably educated by way of Eton and The Other Place, Senior Bursar does not languish in academic titlery, being neither a Doctor nor Professor. Whereas Junior Bursar scaled scholarly heights from the humble beginnings of a local comprehensive, Senior Bursar mingled with the elite when he was still in short trousers.

That is not to say that his prestigious beginnings supplement his intellect – far from it. Armed with a double first in economics, the young Senior Bursar was itching to leave books behind and embark ferociously on making something of himself in the real world. Like any self-respecting young gentleman seeking his fortune, he headed to London with his sights firmly set on taking the Stock Market by storm. He spent most of the 80s in pinstripes and wine bars, steadily amassing a respectable fortune. Never one given to the vulgarity of excess, Senior Bursar eventually decided to make one final trade – that of the frenetic rollercoaster of city life for domestic bliss, in the shape of a charming ex-model-turned-philanthropist and two young sons swiftly after.

Now a family man, Senior Bursar sought employment that would offer both a vehicle for his great experience and intellectual prowess, and also allow him the freedom to be a husband and father. Inevitably, Old College found him and the rest is history.

A tall, powerful man, customarily swathed in tweeds of varying intensity, his cut-glass accent and booming voice quickly silenced any mutterings about his academic integrity. He has a particular penchant for biscuits and without doubt his pre-drinks reception drinks receptions are the absolute last word in refined debauchery. However, Senior Bursar seems to have less salubrious connections within the shadowy under-circles of Old College – which make him potentially a very dangerous man indeed.

The real Senior Bursar is a chap for whom I have tremendous respect. The quintessential English gentleman, he had a rare demeanour that balanced the sort of restrained gravitas one might expect, with a passionate intensity that occasionally erupted into quite unnerving outbursts. He would always apologise immediately and profusely for these often colourful disclosures, particularly to any nearby ladies who may have been caught in the backdraft. Undeniably brilliant, he held all around him to his own exacting high standards, but with a sense of fairness and decency that invariably left one with the intention of upping one’s game considerably. A remarkable fellow, without doubt.

UK EDITION

US EDITION

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Welcome to Old College… you’ll never leave…

Old College – A Visitor’s Guide

Straddling the ancient river of one of Britain’s most venerable cities, Old College is among the most esteemed Colleges of The City University. Even those with a firm grasp of the complexities of higher education are likely to be baffled by the anachronistic nuances of the academic elite, a world mostly unseen by those not permitted passage beyond those hallowed walls. A little light reading is required by any wishing to ingratiate themselves into College life, but it is well worth keeping in mind that even veterans of scholarly society don’t really know what’s going on. A quick glance at this visitor’s guide will have you swanking around like an alumni in no time.

Hierarchy

Ruled by a sort of benevolent autocracy, Colleges have at their head The Master of College. This role is usually taken by a person of great academic achievement and often also of high standing within society. The Master of Old College is both a professor of economics and a Lord of the Realm, which is fairly impressive. A somewhat sinister and distant figure, he spends a good deal of time abroad, avoiding his sex-mad, surgically enhanced wife who is sadly devoid of any notable talents beyond those bought and paid for in Harley Street.

Luckily, Old College is blessed with the formidable force of nature that is The Dean to keep things relatively on track in his absence. Previously an international lawyer with a dubious past in Kuala Lumpa, The Dean is fearless, tactless and prone to random violence. A handsome man in his mid-forties, Deputy Head Porter has held a candle for him since their first meeting. Fraternisation between The Fellowship and College Servants is not so much frowned upon as simply unthinkable, and his often frenzied approach to enforcing discipline and maintaining reputation make any union between them unlikely. He is ably assisted by the softly-spoken Senior Tutor, whose remarkable tolerance makes him perfect for dealing with students and Fellows alike.

The Fellowship

‘The Fellowship’ is a rather romantic title for the multifarious conglomerate of academics who make up the ruling body of College. Although there are some bone fide proper jobs performed by members of The Fellowship, a great deal of them seem to exist simply to occupy the dining halls and their only reason for being in College is that they haven’t anywhere else to go.

Keeping an eye on the vast sums of money passing in and out of College are The Bursars. Traditionally, one collects the money whilst the other spends it, although Old College is now down to one Bursar and even he is currently locked in a dungeon in a French chateaux.

Sitting firmly and distantly beneath The Fellowship we have the College servants. All the really important roles are covered by this somewhat pompous term – Housekeeping, Maintenance, Catering, Gardeners and, of course, the Porters.

Porters

Ensconced in the muted splendor of the Porters’ Lodge, the bowler-hatted jacks-of-all-trades are at the top of the humble servant pile. Although I am sure other departments might dispute that. The Porters, naturally, are not the carriers of bags but the keepers of keys. The role is so broad and varied it is difficult to encapsulate concisely. Always on hand (except when they are sneaking off for a smoke), Porters act as security, deliver the post and are called upon to deal with everything from lost property to broken hearts. But woe betide any who upset the Porters. Think of Porters as butlers with attitude.

lucy tiff queens for pops

Here I am, doing some actual Portering.

Bedders

Housekeeping staff whose primary priority is keeping the student quarters from becoming biohazards. Bedders keep the College spick and span whilst accumulating some of the more salacious gossip, which makes them great allies of the Porters.

Formal Hall

By definition, Formal Halls are formal dinners often used for the entertainment of College guests. As such they are governed by certain guidelines, customs and rules set out to ensure all College members behave themselves. Failure to observe these guidelines may result in punishment up to and including death, or something far worse than that – being sent to see The Dean. Eating and drinking (especially drinking) is taken very seriously indeed by The Fellowship and they expect everyone to attribute a similar gravitas to the consumption of victuals. Formal Halls are held once a week in full term and are seen as a way of keeping your hand in for the Feasts and Balls that are a common part of College life.

The Other Place

Among the upper echelons of British society, there are only two Universities given any consideration. Their annual boat races are a long standing tradition and the contention between them goes back centuries. It is considered bad form to utter the name of your academic rivals, hence the University that is not your alma mater is automatically known as The Other Place.

Punting

Punting is a prerequisite of proper City life. The art of gently steering a flat-bottomed boat with a twelve foot pole along the urban waterways is one which must be mastered by anyone wanting to be taken really seriously in College. Here in the City, we always punt from the rear of the boat, whereas The Other Place adopts the rather undignified practice of dragging the boat through the water, punting from the front. Heathens.

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Fairly frantic punting

(Bit random – but click here to see William Shatner punting in Cambridge)

This covers the basics of a complex and convoluted ‘organisation’ (I use the term loosely) that, despite ambiguous origins and esoteric arrangements, has managed to thrive for eight hundred years, becoming inordinately wealthy and more powerful than government or the church.  How the University wields its power is difficult to know, but how they maintain it can be easily observed. 

Welcome to Old College. You’ll never leave…

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First Lady Of The Keys – preorder NOW!