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Vice Fashion - Elite Boys' Club Gang Rites

Cambridge University is renowned for its elite clubs and societies which offer exclusive rights to its members, as well as huge networks of alumni in the best paid and influential jobs in the country. These people run the world.
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Κείμενο Taz Darling
1.10.06

PHOTOS BY TAZ DARLING
STYLING BY ALDENE JOHNSON
CO-ORDINATED BY TOM LITTLEWOOD & ANITA CRAPPER

Tom wears Cambridge Hockey Blues blazer by Ryder and Amies, shirt by Oliver Spencer, Cambridge Blues cricket jumper by Ryder and Amies, Cambridge Hockey Blues tie by Ryder and Amies, trousers by Fred Perry, shoes by Azor and a Cambridge Blues cricket hat by Ryder and Amies

Cambridge University is renowned for its elite clubs and societies which offer exclusive rights to its members, as well as huge networks of alumni in the best paid and influential jobs in the country. These people run the world. If you gain membership to one of these gangs, you get instant access to Britain’s most important boys club. For example, Prince Phillip is the current Chancellor of the university. To gain entrance to these clubs, you have to submit yourself to initiation rituals that wouldn’t be out of place in a Hell’s Angels club. They involve piss-drinking, vomiting, hospitalisation and humiliation on a massive scale. We went there to talk to the leaders of the societies to find out how it all works.

Joe wears suit by Nerve, shirt by Taylor and Wright, Marguerites tie, watch by Black Dice and shoes by Kickers

NAME: Joe Marwood
AGE: 21
FULL NAME OF SOCIETY: The Marguerites Club
ROLE WITHIN YOUR SOCIETY: Women’s Officer Vice: What’s the Marguerites Club? Joe: We are Christ’s College Men’s Sporting Society, established in 1899, to uphold the sporting excellence of Christ’s College. We can be found on a social most Wednesday or Sunday evenings, with a flutter of fine young ladies keen on finding out what sporting excellence means. The club also throws parties in college each term, allowing students to escape from the stresses and strains of academia. Are there any special items of clothing worn by society members? Members are eligible to wear the club colours of maroon, navy blue and white. It’s not advised to wear them if you aren’t. What is the initiation into your society? New members are admitted into the club on “Suicide Sunday”, the Sunday before the world famous May Week. “Welcome drinks” are administered by three roving teams of current members, more than happy to visit each prospective member’s room unannounced, anytime between 7 and 9 AM. Each team is given creative freedom over the contents of their drinks, but it’s kept in mind that three pints of spirits before breakfast really makes for a unique day. The breakfast is definitely not to be forgotten. All members then proceed to the club garden party, held in the Fellows’ Garden for a few hundred guests. New members are considered not yet ready to talk to women, and doing so will result in fines. Does your society have any famous alumni? Most, if not all, of our past members have gone on to be incredibly rich and famous. This is a tribute to the type of distinguished gentlemen the club welcomes into its fold. We couldn’t of course name drop, for it would be improper to single out one or many Marguerites as “superior” to the rest, as needless to say, all Marguerites, past and present, are great men.

Andy wears blazer by Crow and Jester, shirt by U are U, Ferrets bow-tie by Ryder and Amies, Ferrets scarf by Ryder and Amies, trousers by Seal Kay and shoes by Azor

NAME: Andrew Middleton
AGE: 20
FULL NAME OF SOCIETY: The Ferrets
ROLE WITHIN YOUR SOCIETY: Grand Master Vice: So, The Ferrets. Please expand. Andrew: The ferrets is the university wide drinking society for guys with one common interest: alchohol consumption. Originally members were only selected from University athletes, but now that alchohol and sport aren’t believed to go hand in hand anymore we’ve had to widen our search. Are there any special society rules? Our scarves are not to be washed and you have to drink what’s put in front of you or down the funnel. On one outing a guy funnelled a quarter bottle of vodka, then later piss. One guy refused to drink piss so everyone else pissed on him later when he was drunk. Tabasco sauce or Dave’s Insanity sauce are a standard addition to any drinks. The only set initiation is at the end of the night. To become a Ferret you have to neck a bottle of port through a condom. You have to bite the condom but if you bite too much and you spill too much port then you have to do it again. Not everyone who is invited out as an initiate is given their port to do because we don’t like some people. For my initiation I was placed under a keg of beer and had to funnel until I vomitted. You will not be able to remember doing your port at the end of the night because you will have drunk so much beforehand. As Grand Master I like to enforce a lot of tequila drinking. The session will start at 10am and it’ss a case of last man standing. On initiate was told to impress the rest of us with a party trick so stripped fully naked and covered his cock in Dave’s Insanity Sauce—he spent the rest of the night trying to wash it off as it stung so badly. Most initiates either end up in hospital or in jail for the night. One guy fell onto a spiked fence and was in hospital for eight weeks. Does your society have any famous or alumni? John Crawley

Alun wears Downing Patricians blazer by Aitken and Niven, shirt by Taylor and Wright, cardigan by Fenchurch, trousers by Paul Smith, belt by Ben Sherman and shoes by Paul Smith

NAME: Alun Rees
AGE: 21
FULL NAME OF SOCIETY: The Gentlemen Patricians
ROLE WITHIN YOUR SOCIETY: To be very militant and booze hard. No official position Vice: What’s with your gang? Alun: We are gentlemen who love to booze but aren’t necessarily great sportsmen. What is the initiation into your society? You must drink a minimum of eight pints in two hours. This is called eight before eight. Vomiting is severely punished as the idea is to keep the beer down. Also, eight pints is the bare minimum and is really not very much. Any less than 11 is pretty weak. The president two years ago drank twenty pints in two hours on his initiation and only threw up once. The president’s initiation also includes the downing of a pint of Faal curry. Curry houses often insist on the signing of a medical insurance waiver. The Patricians do not go in for novelty initiations such as getting dressed up and eating stuff. A drinking society is for drinking—and so is the initiation. After initiations people have done the following things: woken up on Parker’s Piece (the large park opposite Downing College) the next morning, urinated all over their girlfriend’s room, ended up in France having taken the Eurostar in the middle of the night, tried to walk as the crow flies across the roofs of very tall buildings back to Downing from the centre of cambridge, done the City Kebab Challenge—neck a pint of Guinness, run all the way to the kebab shop, eat a special burger (a 1/2 pound burger with doner meat on top), run back to the pub and neck a second pint of Guinness. Does your society have any famous alumni? Michael Atherton Does your society open any doors in certain fields/companies? Many just end up in the city- banking, law, market trading etc. An “ex-pat” will always be keen to hire someone from the same club.

Mike wears Eagles blazer by Stuart, shirt by U are U, Eagles tie by Ryder and Amies, trousers by Fenchurch and shoes by Bamboo A

NAME: Mike Palmer
AGE: 20+1 (must be said or written like this at all times to avoid punishment of a pint finish)
FULL NAME OF SOCIETY: The Eagles
ROLE WITHIN YOUR SOCIETY: Big Bird (President) Vice: Tell us about The Eagles. Mike: We were founded in mid 19th century. It’s a society for the finest sportsmen of St John’s College, Cambridge. Once initiated into the club, members dine with girls’ societies that pass the social secretary’s stringent vetting criteria and are generally heroes around college. There is somewhat of a historical rivalry with The Hawks Club. The Hawks were formed in 1872 when a proposal to allow members of other colleges into the Eagles was rejected. This led to the Hawks’ being set up as a university-wide club and today is both larger in size and has its own building in Cambridge. It’s not really a rivalry. In terms of size it’s a bit like David and Goliath except in this case David is Goliath’s daddy. Each member must wear an Eagles tie during socials and after 6 PM on a Sunday. If a member fails to adhere to this simple rule, any other member who sees the offender without their tie may ask for a drink of their choice. Eagles scarves are also popular among members. Aside from standard drinking rules, there is also a rule dating from the college’s very foundation: a second is always followed by a third. If you’ve got a two pint finish you’ll be following it with a third. This is particularly interesting at initiations when those being initiated are expected to drink double fines as standard. What is the initiation into your society? Each person’s initiation may differ and to go into too many details might well ruin the fun for prospective members. In essence it involves heavy drinking at a session with the rest of the Eagles whereby the initiees are punished a little heavier when they lose drinking games or contravene simple rules. Have any important people been in your club? Rob Andrew, the ex-England fly half and current Director of Elite Rugby was Big Bird in the mid 1980s.

Charlotte wears shirt by Lacoste, Misfits tie, skirt model’s own and shoes by Levi’s Lydia wears, shirt by stylist’s own, Misfits tie, skirt by Fred Perry and shoes by Levi’s

NAME: Lydia Tong (right)
AGE: 21
FULL NAME OF SOCIETY: The Misfits
ROLE WITHIN YOUR SOCIETY: President Vice: Tell us about The Misfits. Lydia: The Misfits have existed since the 80s, though its precise foundation is shrouded in mystery. We are nice young ladies who get together dressed as schoolgirls for the purpose of dining with the pick of the university’s buffest sportsmen. Are there any special items of clothing worn by society members? All members are expected to wear their society tie on outings. There has also been a President’s Bustier (currently displaced). The girls wear “school-uniform inspired” dress on socials. This tradition developed after collaboration with the cheeky sporting gentlemen with whom we dine. What is the initiation into your society? Only the President is initiated. This happens during the annual dinner and is tailor-made to the President-Elect and is at the whim of the President-Emeritus. They involve alcohol, a little humiliation and some degree of skill, for example, the last initiation was to consume an entire raw cabbage and three pints of ale within three minutes. Does being in The Misfits make it easier to get a good job? Most actually escape from the frivolity of the society to actual serious grown-up jobs such as banking, medicine, law, and academia. Most would also make good geishas if these careers fall through.

Jez wears Hawks blazer by Redmayne, shirt by Lambretta, Hawks Member’s tie by Drummond, jumper by Armando, trousers by Fred Perry, belt by Ben Sherman, shoes by Kickers and a Hawks cricket hat by Drummond

NAME: Jez Hansell
AGE: 23
FULL NAME OF SOCIETY: The Hawks Club
ROLE WITHIN YOUR SOCIETY: Committee member Vice: Tell us about The Hawks. Jez: We were founded in 1872 by members of Cambridge University and created for those members of the university not allowed into the Eagles of St John’s College. The Hawks has now become a club for the elite of university sportsmen. Is there any rivalry between your society and another? The equivalent at Oxford are The Vincents. Although not such a strong rivalry there are annual sporting events between the two clubs that are of course fiercely contested. At any Hawks occasion like annual dinner or garden parties etc there will be a toast to GDBO— God Damn Bloody Oxford. What is the initiation into your society? The standard initiation to the committee is to down a yard glass. This is traditionally done on one’s knees in the main bar to ensure maximum pressure. It is timed and all times are recorded downstairs in the bar for all to see. The record is just under 11 seconds. Does your society have any famous alumni? Prince Charles, Gavin Hastings, and Rob Andrew. Does your society open any doors in certain fields/companies? The Hawks’ Club provides the classic “old boys” network. Many Hawks end up working in London and with an annual dinner there contacts are very quickly established just by being introduced as a Hawk or simply being seen wearing a Hawks tie.

Chris wears blazer by Nerve, shirt by Duck and Cover, Wyverns tie by JCH, Wyverns scarf by JCH, trousers by vintage and watch by Black Dice

NAME: Chris Morris
AGE: 21
FULL NAME OF SOCIETY: The Wyverns (aka The Gentleman Wyverns of Magdalene College)
ROLE WITHIN YOUR SOCIETY: Recently Superannuated (alumni) Vice: What’s the deal with the Wyverns? Chris: We’re an elite sporting and social society. Most of the time is spent responding to demand from female societies for our presence at social gatherings. The society is renowned for hosting the biggest Garden Party in Cambridge, held annually on “Suicide Sunday”. This used to take place within the beautiful backdrop of the Fellows’ Garden but is now held in exile, after that got damaged beyond repair. We’re also renowned for pissing in the drinks and paddling pool jelly wrestling. Are there any special society rules? We can never wash our ties. We have to dip them in the first pint after initiation. If the song “Tiger Feet” is played in the college bar, all Wyverns must have finished their drink and removed all clothing before the culmination of the song. What’s the initiation into your society? Potential members are invited to a sumptuous sit-down meal, hosted by current Wyverns and held in a small room lined with plastic sheeting containing several wheelie bins. Approximately 24 custom-made courses over the period of an afternoon and evening. Any food combination allowable and the more inventive the better (e.g. raw, whole fish or vinegar and chilli milkshakes.) All bodily excretions are retained and are taken everywhere by the initiee. It usually begins with something like a raw leek and is to be completed by downing a live goldfish. Some have been hospitalised due to unfortunate failure to appreciate allergenic conditions and when that happens, you’re judged not to have completed the initiation. Does this kind of stuff get you in trouble? Yes. In Cambridge we’ve been banned from The Maypole Pub, Old Orleans Restaurant, The Curry Mahal, The Baron of Beef, Curry King, Queen’s College, St John’s College and Sidney Sussex College. Does your society have any famous alumni? Samuel Pepys.