This is another silly and bizarre tradition in Oxford University
. This one is a song sung in Balliol College
. For some reason, going back to a boat race
in the dark ages
, Balliol has been at war with neighbouring Trinity College
for the last few hundred years. After sports dinners, bops
, etc, we all gather at the wall by the gardener's shed and sing this song. It doesn't seem so strange in the small hours of the morning
when you're drunk
Trinity presumable has some sort of equivalent, but I've never been inside it's gates, so I wouldn't know.
He's got a face like a ham
Cos' Bobby Johnson says so
And he should know!
Menaites once, Menaites twice
Holy jumping Jesus Christ
Flim, flam, wham, bam, oh shit
If I were a Trinity man, I would I would
I'd go to a public weir, I would I would
I'd pull the chain and disappear, I would I would
I don't give a fuck or a damn
Who the hell or what I am
As long as I'm not a Trinity man!
I'm a bastard, I'm a bastard, I'm a bastard yes I am
But I'd rather be a bastard, than a bloody Trinity man.
Trinity's burning, Trinity's burning
Fetch the engine, fetch the engine
Fire, fire! Fire, fire!
Pour on petrol, pour on petrol.
Goodnight Trinity. Goodnight Trinity.
We'd going to leave you now.
But before you go...
As for what it all means, I haven't got a clue. All I know is that it dates from about 1600, and the "Gordouli" of the title was an Italian student at Trinity.
The word "Menaites" is even more obscure. It returns no hits at all on Google, which is pretty amazing all by itself.
Trinity, historically an all-white college, would insult Balliol over admitting blacks and other such unthinkable people, and I think the slag was "What is nice clean Trinity doing with this dirty Italian student?". So, not very PC!
Amazing how little insults have changed in 400 years.
Well, I suppose a institution can't be around for a thousand years without picking up a bit of weird historical baggage.
Balliol boat club is also now called the "Gordouli Boat Club"