College, Humour, Prose

Operation Quackers

by The Yellow Feathers This is a transcription of an intercepted meeting of the 696th Airborne, the ‘Yellow Feathers’. Triangulation of signals places the location somewhere in the Hall rafters. Little is known about the covert division, although the code names of the commanders have been declassified for public release. The latest intelligence suggests that […]

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Comment, Prose

Musings on the Merging of Presents and Futures

by Ada Sevimli I learnt so much about the world around me, primarily that I know so little about it. In classes, seminars, and during revision, I filled a small but precious pool of knowledge and relished in its beauty. Took pride in the fact that it glistened like the foreheads of those who labour […]

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Comment, Prose

Nineteen Eighty-Nine

by Anonymous Victoria Park: on this site, in 2022, nothing happened. For thirty years, people had gathered at the park in Hong Kong in remembrance of those who died on 4 June 1989, at the hands of a regime that sent its military on its own people. Hong Kong had been the only city in […]

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Comment, Prose

A Word from the Editors: Future

by Monim Wains Hence, the future beckons, as it always does. With the last issue of this academic year, you move on, dear reader, turning a new page. But, I wonder, how big will the change be? Is the summer just a page break? Or a whole new chapter of life? Although the university seems […]

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Humour, Prose

Dear Beary… [15]

by Beary McBearface Beary McBearface, treasured Oriel mascot and JCR staple, is here to help you with your troubles. In this column, Beary will attempt to find solutions to your little college worries; trust him, he’s seen it all. To contact him, all you have to do is send an email to thepoorprint@oriel.ox.ac.uk with the […]

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Humour, Prose

Dear Beary … [14]

by Beary McBearface Beary McBearface, treasured Oriel mascot and JCR staple, is here to help you with your troubles. In this column, Beary will attempt to find solutions to your little college worries; trust him, he’s seen it all. To contact him, all you have to do is send an email to thepoorprint@oriel.ox.ac.uk with the […]

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Comment, Prose

A Word from the Editors: Unity

by Jerric Chong Behold, how good and joyful a thing it is: brethren, to dwell together in unity! Psalm 113:1 As I write this, Sam Ryder has just given the UK our best result in twenty years at the Eurovision Song Contest: a goodly 466 points to finish in second place. The victorious act (most […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

When We’re United, We’re Unstoppable

by Madeline Dougherty ‘Mages! Fica! We have done it! Only the cowardly Elite leaders remain of the Tenebrum army. Today you have fought hard and we have lost many valuable members. Some of you have sacrificed family members, lovers, friends, children. We appreciate the efforts and pain you have endured today and it will be […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Family Tree

by Monim Wains ‘Altitude, 200 metres … 100 metres … 50 … 20 … brace for landing.’ The constant hum of the jets got louder, fiercer as we got closer to the ground. Four beams of flame bore down on the land as the starship slowed to almost a hover before dropping for the last […]

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Prose

Memories of the Future

by Madeline Dougherty I will always remember the day I got in. The frenzied phone call to my mom; the worry I had misunderstood the email; telling my boss that I would be leaving; my family immediately driving 3 hours to celebrate.  I remember everyone telling me this would be a formative year, the best […]

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Culture, Music, Prose

Springing Out of a Fourteenth-Century Lockdown

by David Maw In his lengthy debate poem Le Jugement dou Roy de Navarre, the poet–composer Guillaume de Machaut related his experience of the Black Death. Celestial portents, earthquakes, and bad weather heralded its coming. It provoked processions of flagellants, conspiracies about poisoned water and air, and the scapegoating of Jews. Its victims suffered bodily […]

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Humour, Prose

Dear Beary … [13]

by Beary McBearface Beary McBearface, treasured Oriel mascot and JCR staple, is here to help you with your troubles. In this column, Beary will attempt to find solutions to your little college worries; trust him, he’s seen it all. To contact him, all you have to do is emailthepoorprint@oriel.ox.ac.uk with the subject line ‘Dear Beary’. […]

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College, Comment, Prose

A Letter to the JCR

by Emily Hudson There is a place for you here.  Oxford, and Oriel in particular, carries the weight of hundreds of years of tradition and stereotypes, not all of which are favourable, and not all of which have quite faded with the times. This is the message upon which I originally ran for the role […]

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College, Prose

British Sign Language Fact Sheet

by Joe Lever History 1576: First recorded use of a sign language in England (in which marriage vows were signed by Thomas Tillsye) with accounts of deaf people using signs going back even further to the 15th century 1720: Daniel Defoe publishes The History of the Life and Adventures of Mr Duncan Campbell, Deaf and […]

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Comment, Prose

Fear From Tragedy

by Gregory Davidson [Content warning: gun violence, school shootings, death, and suicide. This piece references the Heidelberg University shooting in January 2022.] For me, it began with an anonymous text on a group chat for international students in Heidelberg, Germany. It asked us to stay inside and stay away from the campus on Neuenheimer Feld. […]

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Poetry, Prose

Small Talk

by Anonymous I wonder who invented British small talk. ‘How’s it going?’ (I woke up this morning and I felt so anxious I couldn’t get out of bed for an hour and a
 half and looking at my phone watching it get later and later made it worse because 
every minute that ticks by is […]

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Prose

Cute Ideas to Spend Valentine’s Day (In Silence)

by Siddiq Islam The most romantic day of the year has come around again. It’s time to grab a partner and try something new. Here are some romantic ideas for you to spend your Valentine’s with your special one in utter silence. Cute Ideas to Spend Valentine’s Day (In Silence)Silent discoSilent filmSilent barbecueStudy session in […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Four Pitches of Silence

by Monim Wains Control It had been a crazy day. We had heard news in the morning that the data centre had shut down. Four hours of our services completely blacking out, losing I don’t know how many millions. Nothing like this had happened before, and none of us knew what to do. The boardroom […]

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Comment, Prose

What is Silence?

by Joe Lever Scary. Beautiful. Needed. Hard to find. Isolating. Healing. Rare. Here. Silence is scary. The silence of the night convinces us that something is lurking, waiting in the shadows; it is the frailest of protective veils at any moment to be pierced. In conversations silence hangs over us, drawn out second by excruciating […]

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Culture, Prose, Reviews

Sweeney Todd: A Review

by Jerric Chong Of the many celebrated musicals penned by the late Stephen Sondheim (1930–2021), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street doubtless stands out with its lurid and gritty depiction of 19th-century London. Inspired by Victorian ‘penny dreadfuls’, it tells the story of the convicted barber’s return and thirst for vengeance against Judge […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

It’s the Little Things

by Monim Wains On the podium There was uproar in the air! A deafening cacophony of miscellaneous noise. Cheering, jeering, standing on their feet. All for me. I could barely hear my own thoughts as I took the steps, one by one, to the top. As my eyeline rose above the horizon, the applause tore […]

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Comment, Prose

A Word from the Editors: Joy

by Jerric Chong A very happy New Year, and welcome back from all us at The Poor Print as we embark on Hilary 2022! ‘Joy’, like so many other utterances in this language of ours, arrived with the conquering Normans, and derives ultimately from Latin gaudium through French joie (also meaning ‘jewel’), which then became […]

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Prose

Goodnight, Sleep Well

by M. Davies (College Porter) [CW: corporal punishment] Before prayers at Friday’s house assembly, my name had been called; I was being summoned to be ‘on the carpet’. So, after the assembly, we would change for bed, but I would be having to answer for my misconduct before the House Master. The announcement was often […]

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Prose

Aptitude Test for Dyslexics

by M. Davies (College Porter) Sadly, it was never dyslexics who wrote the rules in education, but thankfully it is for Porters to interpret and enforce them in Oxford’s colleges. My school’s ‘Career Aptitude Test’ sticks out in my memory (information gathered on a complex form type questionnaire). The top three recommended professions that came […]

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Humour, Prose

Dear Beary … [12]

by Beary McBearface Beary McBearface, treasured Oriel mascot and JCR staple, is here to help you with your troubles. In this column, Beary will attempt to find solutions to your little college worries; trust him, he’s seen it all. To contact him, all you have to do is emailthepoorprint@oriel.ox.ac.uk with the subject line ‘Dear Beary’. […]

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Comment, Prose

The Illusion of Institution

by Monim Wains Institutions have always been interesting to me. There is a realisation that I have had as I have gotten older: they don’t actually exist, do they? As an undergraduate with barely two decades of life under my belt, you might already be switching away from this article, wondering what on earth I […]

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Culture, Prose, Reviews

Persephone: A Review

by Monim Wains [CW: mentions of mental illness, sexual violence, and miscarriage] A classic tale rewritten with lucid modern lyrics, sung fantastically throughout. That was a fun evening. Persephone is a story that has probably brought many a classicist to tears, with origins far back in Ancient Greece. But Emma Hawkins’s writing brings the story […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Lens of Love

by Madeline Dougherty ’Look, there, the way the sunset peeks between those buildings? Isn’t it beautiful?’ Her excitement, awe, is infectious. It would be impossible to disagree, but I look to where she’s pointing anyway. My breath catches in my throat – the sunset isn’t just beautiful, it is stunning. The sky all around is […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

In a Fairytale

by Monim Wains I can see the lights around me, sparkly and bright. And there is glitter on the trees, little fireflies flickering in the wind. Music and colour fill the scene no matter where I look. Here and there, giants curl over steaming hot drinks, smiling and laughing, all their noses bright pink. I […]

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Comment, Prose

Chicken in a Nightmare

by M. Davies (College Porter) [CW: homophobia] Fred Bickerton started at University College as an Under Scout (more specifically as ‘under bedmaker’) in 1897 and retired as Head Porter in 1950. I thought the following may be of interest from his published memoirs. When Fred first started in the Porters’ Lodge as an ‘under-porter’, he […]

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Humour, Prose

Dear Beary … [11]

by Beary McBearface Beary McBearface, treasured Oriel mascot and JCR staple, is here to help you with your troubles. In this column, Beary will attempt to find solutions to your little college worries; trust him, he’s seen it all. To contact him, all you have to do is emailthepoorprint@oriel.ox.ac.uk with the subject line ‘Dear Beary’. […]

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Comment, Prose

A Word from the Editors: Magic

by Monim Wains What sets magic apart – what makes something magical – is the surprise, I would suggest. It is the revelation of something hidden and unexpected, without any explanation for why it is so. And our reaction, good or bad, depends on what we know, and where the magic remains. When we are […]

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Culture, Prose, Reviews

Returning to Battles Past

by M. Davies (College Porter) Postponed due to the pandemic from the 7th to the 31st of October, a new play, Into Battle, is to make its first stage appearance at the Greenwich Theatre, London. Written by Hugh Salmon, Into Battle tells the true story of a student feud that took place within Balliol College, […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

The Cottage Looked Over the Graveyard

by Samuel Skuse I. Long drive home. Roads blur into hours. I pull over twice for coffee but I’m not really tired, just bored. Roads blur into hours. I said that already.  A name comes sharply into focus on an approaching road sign. A warmly smiling face in the crowd, the only face that makes […]

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Prose

Every Beginning Has an End

by Michael Angerer Every end is a new beginning, they say. I have always found that a little ominous – as if there was something not quite right about accepting an ending for what it is, as if we imperatively had to hasten on to the next chapter with no space for pause or respite. […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Out of the Jungle

by Monim Wains Weeds and vines caught  his ankles as he trudged through the undergrowth. He needed to stay quiet, unseen and unheard, but it was too difficult to slow his breathing. He panted and grunted through every step, drowning in the heat. The air had baked his lips dry and hard, but his skin […]

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Comment, Prose

The Optimisation Mindset

by Martin Yip Which do you prefer: apples or oranges? Suppose you had two pounds to spend on oranges and apples, eache priced at 40p. What would you do, assuming the money cannot be saved for later? Microeconomics studies, among other things, this sort of question that concerns consumer behaviour. It models consumption as an […]

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College, Prose

Cometh the Moment

by M. Davies (College Porter) The 7th of March 1949 is when it happened. See the photos and the man of the moment: Mr. Percy G. Sheppard – Oriel’s Head Porter from 1927 until he retired due to ill health in 1956.  If the room in the photos doesn’t look familiar to you, sadly at […]

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