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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 17, No. 5. April 15, 1953

Legs, Arms, Bodies and Beer — Otago Wins Drinking Horn in Phenomenal Time of 14.9secs

Legs, Arms, Bodies and Beer

Otago Wins Drinking Horn in Phenomenal Time of 14.9secs.

Well, What of Tournament '53 and Dunedin? How did "We" get on, the traditional question. Well, everyone ran, leapt, swam, etc., here and there with the usual varying degrees of success. The results are recorded somewhere. Generally, however, the things that go unrecorded, except maybe over a passing cup of coffee in the caf, are the things which essentially constitute that mysterious word "Tournament."

Undoubtedly the most important newspaper commented that there was the drinking horn. A Dunedin event not listed as an official sport was "a Homeric touch" about the whole proceedings; whether this heroic ideal was in keeping with the beery tobacco-filled [unclear: atmosphere] reverberating with drunken shouts and songs at the competition is difficult to say, but the performances were incredible. Otago's defeat of Auckland in 14.9 seconds was almost miraculous, each man averaging 2.5 which is little short of the individual record. In comparison Victoria's fastest team's time was 22.4 Surely something can be done about bettering this standard for next tournament it would seem to follow that a university which was described at the welcoming address as "that hall of argument and debate" should naturally produce good drinking throats.

Dunedin itself is a curious place. The town seems to have a passion for statues and cathedrals, dotting the former around here and there in the most unlikely and improbable places, the sizes in descending order from a large pensive Bobby Burns in the Octagon. Perhaps there aren't as many cathedrals, but one always seems to be running into them, from the spirey one in the Octagon to the little edifice over the men's convenience in High Street.

Dunedinites themselves seem curiously martyr-like. Although the beer down there is unpalatable to any Wellingtonian brought up on the Northern brew, they actually seem to like it and moreover, drink it in such alarming quantities that often have I feared for their health, for it seemed to us down there that to drink of it at any length was to open the door to permanent poisoning and corrosion of various internal tubes, if not life-long insanity.

This was strongly brought home to me when I found myself at the "Rigger String" or rowing club orgy. I arrived rather late and at first sight all I could see was a medley of legs and arms, bodies and beer. At first I thought [unclear: that] our solemn predictions on the results of South Island Beer wore being manifest in the worst possible way, but on closer scrutiny I discovered that this was by no means an unusual occurrence, it happening every four years, that is when Easter Tournament is at Dunedin. The doorman apologised to me for the fact that it wasn't as good as last time, but explained sorrowfully that they'd only been able to get a hundred gallons of beer.

Incidentally, on the way down we stopped off at Christchurch long enough to speculate on the origins of the improbable architectural style of the railway station and to stare blankly at a local picture theatre which advertised its entertainment in foot high letters across its front as being "The whole gory story of dirty yellow Journalism."

Very apparent in Dunedin is the Way the whole city itself is interested and tied up with the University. Continually I was stopped in the street to be asked questions about Victoria what I thought of Dunedin and so on. Possibly because of this the city is tolerant of any thing called a student to an amazing degree; we could sing noisily and loudly with impunity in any bar or up any street in a way that would have fetched every policeman and police car for miles in conventional Wellington. And apparently, as at the Otago capping ceremony when a toast was proposed to "the old Burghers of Dunedin" or the Students put a horse down the spiral stairs of the stock exchange, everybody thought it a huge joke even those who had to remove the horse. In fact here, in all Its activities, we saw something approximating to what a university can and should be. They have a battered old band which turned up everywhere and thumped out tunes such as "The Tinker" and "Roll Me Over" (no words!) whenever there was a dull moment. A well organised haka-party kept things moving by putting on farcical acts like the contest between "King Kong Tarook, the Human Anaesthetic" and "Queen Marritwo the Opiate of the East" at the boxing finals. Possibly the best example of what a group of students can do when they get together was illustrated by the Sunday evening concert. All the items were first class and completely devoid of that uncomfortably "corny" atmosphere which so easily ruins a good evening. Many of the songs were made up for the occasion and were astonishingly good. One memorable verse, questioning the use of artificial insemination, eventually decided to fall back on the old proverb "'Spare the rod and spoil the child."

Many events must go unrecorded. I might mention J. McLaren's several attempts to reach the stage to be presented with an N.Z.U. drinking blue after winning it. Victoria's idea of winning the rowing eights event in a whaleboat, the curious hours in which Dunedinites take to drinking, despite the laws of the country, or the cryptic comment in a Dunedin newspaper when half the events had been decided, that Otago had a firm grip on the shield and Victoria could not be beaten (what delicate wording) for the wooden spoon. So I suggest that if you want to know all about Tournament go to the next one yourself.