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From the archives: hypnotists come to campus while student nearly loses tackle in deadly darts cock-up

Written by Editor's Picks, News

Grace Dean takes a gander at the highlights of this week in Newcastle’s campus history

2011 – honorary degrees blasted

The University attracted criticism after it was revealed that it had spent £14,656 between 2008 and 2011 granting honorary degrees. These included degrees given to a government advisor, a playwright, and Geordie football legend Alan Shearer. This figure was almost three times the amount spent by Northumbria University over the same period. Most of the money was spent on providing catering after the ceremonies, but it was £961 was spent funding floral arrangements.

In 2010, only three honorary degrees were awarded by the University, but these same to a total cost of £5591, including £329 for flowers and £4762 on catering. It was reported that additional guests were treated to a champagne reception and a three-course meal.

2000 – deadly darts cock-up

The Courier reported that a “lad had a lucky escape as his tackle becomes a balls-eye!”

Image: the Courier archives

Student Hugo Hills, described by the Courier as “cocky”, narrowly escaped death (or, at least, genital injury) when he accidentally “plunged a dart into his thigh and narrowly missed both an artery and his vital organs”. The incident occurred when Hills was tripped up by a housemate during a game of darts, who tried in “vein” to remove the dart – despite Hills screaming at him to go away.

Describing the traumatic incident, Hills said: “It really fucking hurt – I’ve never been in so much agony. Everyone thought I was joking at first – but then I pulled my trousers down and revealed the extent of the damage. It’s a good job my cock was hanging to the left, otherwise the accidental could have been a good deal more gruesome.”

If the dart had gone in an inch to the left then it would have penetrated his femoral artery, leaving him in serious trouble.

His housemate said: “It was horrific – Hugo’s legs aren’t the prettiest sight at the best of times. I felt quite ill”. These legs can be pictured left. Despite the ordeal, Hills ended up winning their marathon darts challenge.

That same week, students at Cardiff University had to remove an “I love porn” banner from their Union because it wasn’t in Welsh. The “20ft whopper” promoting a club night contravened the Union’s bilingual policy.

Image: the Courier archives

1993 – studying on Sundays

Students have the 1993 cohort to thank for long Sundays in the library as it was announced that, due to student demand, the Robinson Library would begin opening on Sundays from May 1993 onwards. The ever-poetic Courier reported that “panic-stricken finalists in the past have often pleaded for the peace and solitude of the library in their last, desperate days of revision”. While the Library’s Sunday opening hours would be limited to just 11am to 4:30pm, a range of exciting services would still be available to eager studiers such as the photocopiers, CD-ROM databases and computer workstations, although the Issue and Enquiry desks would unfortunately be unstaffed. The Courier concluded that “God may have decreed rest for the Sabbath, but there is no rest for the finalist”, as illustrated by the above cartoon.

1953 – hypnotists on campus

Image: the Courier archives

The Courier reported on the prevalence of hypnosis across campus in 1953. Third-year Dental student Arthur Wise was among the student hypnotists, and in front of an audience in a church hall he hypnotised colleague Alan Dunlop and persuaded him “that for the next 24 hours he would find cigarette-smoking very distasteful”. Though the student had previously been a heavy smoker, it was reported that the hypnosis was successful. The photo below shows Dunlop, who weighed 17 stone, with hypnotist Arthur sat on his chest.

Last modified: 17th March 2020

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