Deborah Lam: Lamentations

In which mourns the seven columns she will never write, instead of writing any of them

Lamentations crop
1. I’ve always wanted to write a really pretentious article on something disgustingly literary from the bottom of my Times Literary Supplement-loving heart. What would it be on? Probably something very uncomfortable like erotica of the Victorian period, once again proving that the more repressed you are, the grosser your sexual fetishes are, even by modern standards.

2. Following the theme of English student columns, someone needs to write an exploration of how we have to spend roughly £400 on books. Nothing against science students, but I’m quite sure that we pay for your degrees. I think that it’s only fair that we also graduate with a BSc so that we can get a chance at employment.

3. A list of suggestions of how to spend the summer holidays would be very timely and relevant, but I doubt ‘get sunburnt while you still can’, ‘read non-degree books’ and ‘try gardening/ plant homicide’ would go down particularly well.

4. The thought-provoking, personal article about my experience as an international student in a British university is quite possibly the most sincere thing I have the right to write about. Unfortunately, I have an aversion both to anything too personal and anything too sincere. I’m only half-joking about the latter. But it is hard to write about being in love with a country that might never fully love you back.

5. What might be a good swansong would be the epic retrospective look at the state of culture in the modern era. I maintain that although someone more intelligent may attempt this, there can never be nuanced enough an account on the enormity of such a subject. This said, if you want to read an examination of one of the largest institutions that shape contemporary art, I’ve written an article on this in the Arts section. I may be a bad columnist, but I’m at least a mediocre advertiser.

6. If I was the least bit funny, I’d write a satire piece hiding a critique of absurd university self-defeating practices that are detrimental to staff, academics and students. But somehow I don’t think satire will be any less painful than my attempts at humour.

7. The inspiring, un-clichéd final column reminding the seven of you who will read this (including editors and my mum) to remain critical, embrace challenges and be kind to others. I chuckled at the thought too. I’ll do you all a favour and say what we’re all thinking: how did I ever get a column?

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