Category: DurhamOne



The glamorous side of paintballing

Heroic, gallant, virile. Students who pledge their thumbs to the digital deity Call of Duty are none of these and less. Because to waste such god-given militancy prancing round a pixelated wonderland, knifing the odd dissident, is a sin answerable to Ares alone. As any self-respecting war monger will tell you, true glory can only be won in the smoke and heat of the battlefield. Or in the case of an intrepid band of Durhamites, on the paint-spattered grounds of a Geordie forest that, come nightfall, boasts the North’s highest dogging rate. And that’s saying something.

The paintballing was an impulse buy. Besides a wave of regret that I hadn’t gone to Bristol, paintball tickets were the only thing I had picked up from the Fresher’s Fair. Students who’ve had Durham’s cultural zeal sufficiently caned into them need not concern themselves with paintballing and other soiled distractions of the ‘broleteriat’. True people of Durham wipe their arses with such degenerate filth, before it morphs gratefully into sheet music or a provocative play script on bi-curious terrorists.

Unfortunately I’ve still got some lashes to go and the paintballing base camp was a glorious two-fingered salute to the culture vultures, nested around Durham. Urine-soaked excitement hung in the air, courtesy of marauding bands of adolescents, while the more experienced participants menacingly stroked helmets, or any other SAS equipment they had brought from home.

As chance, or the vindictiveness of the organizers, would have it we were pitted against a crack squad of locals more than twice our number. Their sheer aggression and enthusiasm suggested they were on the back of a monstrous winning streak, including stints in Libya and Charlie Sheen’s pool house, and had been airdropped in for the occasion.

With a bamboo shoot for a family tree, the sorry-looking gaggle of yokels that made up the rest of our team looked more adept at holding a barn dance than a gun. Their leader was a man of deceptive size who looked like Bryan May and took to guarding our extreme rear. He was a paintballer who would not go down in history but, thanks to a gangly ponytail and a moustache that would put Ron Jeremy to shame, he would go down on your sister.

It would be a massacre.

The opening rounds proved true to speculation. Our natural survival instincts took over and led us galloping aimlessly through the foliage like twisted genetic experiments that had gone wrong and been released into the wild for the warped amusement of a Japanese game show. It was not long before we were hunted and felled without mercy by the well-oiled Geordie machine.  Based on that evidence, in Prehistoric times we would have been assigned the foraging duties.

From his entrenched defensive position Bryan May attempted a guerrilla resurgence but soon fell ingloriously in a shower of paint. With his greased locks he may have been the ‘Che Guevara’ in the cut-throat world of dry weather crop-harvesting but he was a 40-something playing paintball and I just couldn’t trust him.

I won’t bore you with the heroic tale of our comeback. For services in the field one of our rank earned the much-coveted ‘Top Gun’ award, which came with its own shiny certificate. Although later reports suggest that he had offered the Warden sexual favours for the prize and, failing that, his packed lunch.

All I will say is we may have been approached by Channel 5 and other mediocre broadcasting stations to televise the account and victory was achieved mainly through the use of paint grenades. Yes you read correctly, GRENADES THAT EXPLODE WITH PAINT!

Now if that doesn’t fire up the loins then we may as well just be done with it and drown ourselves, chained to our games consoles, in a sea of spirits, pederasty and Tesco’s 99p Curry. Or failing that, dress up as pirates and head to Klute. They’re equally degrading.

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As the debate on Durham’s nightlife rages on allow me to wade in, clad appropriately in Hunter Wellies that are the ubiquitous calling card to this fair city of ours. If, like me, you would rather see Lady Gaga in a Burmese prison than on the charts its difficult in Durham to find any music that ventures outside the top 40. Our headline act last term was Tim Westwood. The DSU, meanwhile, is attempting to resurrect their Saturday nights with a new offering called ‘Bad Habit’, but as the saying goes, ‘you can’t polish a turd’.

Perhaps the problem lies in our perceptions of a good night out. The main asset of living under the hallowed roof of St. Johns College is not the smugness of capping off a prolonged and fruitful visit to the college privy by greeting your unfortunate successor with, “if you’re going in there, may God be with you!” No, the highlight has to be the privilege of hearing every drunken chant that wafts up like room-clearing bouts of flatulence from the college socials on the Bailey beneath my window. It has been a downright honor.

After spending the early evening engaged in hardcore pre-lash, and no doubt cemented to their college corridor as if they were on leashes, these groups descend upon the Bailey with the manufactured rowdiness of a middle-class football firm. Their objective; to down each college’s specialty cocktail, which are often over-priced and some, like the ‘Skittles’, have the florescent color and texture of Mr. Blobby’s piss. Then, with new levels of liquid confidence, they charge down the hill crying God for England, Getting Lairy and St. Whatever-the-hell college they’re in. (Unless, of course, it is Josephine Butler, which sounds like a municipal leisure centre.)

Don’t let the knuckle-dragging exterior fool you mind, our uni compatriots in the Dirty South couldn’t hold a candle to these demonstrations of sheer ladestry. In fact, I would be prepared to personally sponsor a pub golf tour around South London as some missionary work for our unenlightened brethren. Just make sure to catch it all on camera, as the police may want the evidence from the ensuing bloodbath. You could at least sell the footage to Bravo.

Durham certainly holds a place in its heart for the chant, which I hold no aversion to. Neither do I have a problem with the fairer sex belting out the occasional rib-tickler. After all, there’s nothing like a lady with the mouth of a sailor to warm the cockles of the soul (and light a fire in one’s loins). However, this intoxicated enthusiasm was conspicuous for its absence when Durham was called upon by students across the country to demonstrate against the rise in tuition fees. Here, in true Durham fashion, the protest was not led by baton-wielding maniacs, armed to the teeth with knuckle-dusters and civil disobedience, but rather a jazz band called ‘Kinky Jeff and the Swingers’.

In order to truly gauge Durham’s rowdiness, you have to appreciate the socials in their natural habitat. This being locked in homo-erotic acts on the d-floor of one of Durham’s many night-time establishments. Fuelled by Tesco’s value trebles and equipped with a genidar (genital radar), they are led innately to one another’s private parts. If I wanted to do shots of lighter fuel and whatnot from betwixt my goalkeeper’s arse cheeks, I would have followed David James to the World Cup.

Also, unlike most rugger buggers, I’m not sporting a John Thomas that’s big enough to attack a city. So perhaps understandably, I’m not a fan of getting it out, willy-nilly. Don’t get me wrong, mine could probably damage a few suburban retail outlets but, as a rule of thumb, I keep Jabba in his hut… especially in the queue for Subway.

So if you’re not a born chanter, you leave stripping to the professionals and think fancy dress constitutes more than ripping a t-shirt and wearing a headband, what does Durham hold on a night out?

Newcastle anyone?