Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Fear and Loathing on the Hustings Trail: FSFC Elections Day Two

(DISCLAIMER: This is an observational piece and is no way endorsing or promoting Thomas Howell's campaign for Charity officer. If anything this would persuade you not to vote for him. I mean seriously, he's a moron.)

Yes, she is dressed as a shark. Yes, she is rapping.
Photo - Lewis Shaw

The second day of hustings came and went with rapping sharks, copious amounts of booty shaking, a general acceptance that performing is okay if you're running for Performance Officer, and a surprising amount of really good female rappers. Current President Russell had his cult followers in the audience (The words 'YOU'RE NOT RUSSELL' were shouted every time someone who wasn't Russell went on stage) and the words 'Do your eyebrows!' were also yelled at everyone, but I'll get back to that later.

However, today was different in a number of ways - firstly I was able to actually get into the pit to take photos - secondly, I was able to get into the pit to take photos because I was following around one of the candidates for the day.

Tom Howell, who was running for charities officer, let me interview him and follow him around for the day, in attempt for me to get an insight into what it was actually like to do the hustings, and to answer some of the rhetorical questions put forward in yesterdays post. Namely, 'Do you think this is a good idea?'. I asked the hobo-clothes clad chap that and several other questions as he hopped off his moped this morning:

We are out in the cold morning to emanate the response you will probably get from the audience. You are running for charities officer – what is your general husting tactic?
Try my best not to sh*t myself on stage.

Tom trying his best to look nervous first thing in the morning.
Photo - Lewis Shaw

What are you doing when you get up there in front of the masses?
I’m going to get my legs waxed by the audience. They’ll have to pay a little bit to do it, and the money will go to charity, so it’s killing two birds with one stone.

Do you think it’s gonna get you the votes?
Hopefully – I think the whole point of hustings is bloodlust and pain, waxing is painful, so I’m just going along with that.

Is there anything you’d want to change or do differently if you got elected?
I want to get everyone else more involved and hands-on. At the moment you just get told ‘It’s pink day, wear something pink’ and that’s it, there’s nothing else to it. I’d be more ‘What do you want to do? Well let’s make money out of that.’

After the interview, a kind lady whose name I don't know joined our conversation, assuring Tom that it would certainly be painful, and that there would most probably be blood as well. Thank you lady.

I thought about things as the day rolled on and continued to get more and more nervous for no apparent reason. I had a read through Tom's manifesto - the words 'dedicated' and 'motivated' were repeated several times, and it made sense - considering that in all of an hours time he was going to get strangers to wax his legs on stage to gain the approval of a blood thirsty crowd.

When I got to the arena CafĂ© D, Tom and the other candidates were there, as well as a slowly increasing crowd of people. To give an impression of how nervous people were, let me simply say that the words 'sh*tting myself' as well as 'bricking it' were said by at least every candidate, and I'm no mind-reader, but I'm sure many people began considering alternative careers as brick layers. I had a quick word with Tom:
You’re going on stage in about ten minutes – are you beginning to sh*t yourself?
Yeah, there are so many people here. It’s starting to get to me.

I’m not even speaking and I’m bricking it right now.
I’ve just realised that there is also the danger of me pissing myself, and I’m wearing ¾ lengths so let’s hope that doesn’t happen either.

You’ve got all your equipment with you – waxing strips and paper cup. Looking at it makes me nauseous, what about you?
My hands are shaking. It’s like I’ve got dildos for fingers.

Tom didn't need to fake nervousness the second time round.
Photo - Lewis Shaw

Tom's subsequent take to the stage was a complete roller-coaster of emotions - he was first on, and so was booed rigorously as soon as his foot touched the stage. The audience seemed unsure about the leg-waxing, and then slightly disappointed when he didn't scream with pain. Someone at the back yelled 'DO YOUR EYEBROWS' at the top of their lungs, and before long, the audience was baying for his eyebrow hair. Did he do it? Let the next photo explain.

Denial, pain, acceptance, pain, denial, pain, awestruck audience.
Photos - Lewis Shaw

How did that go?
That was interesting. Went up to get my legs waxed, came back minus some eyebrow hair. At least they’ll remember me for something.

How do you think they took it?
They started chanting everyone to wax their eyebrows. It’s like I became an icon of eyebrow-waxing. I ended up waxing my competitions eyebrows.

Do you think that was really a good political move?
They’ll remember me as the guy who started it, so hopefully it’ll all work.

Best of luck, we’ll see how you will do on Friday!



  1. did you take all of these, including the first one? I wish I was at that Hustings man :( sounded lols, haha the eyebrows thing, glad that didn't happen to me! xo

  2. Would have liked to have heard a little more about the other candidates aswell, doesn't seem to be anything on Learning Experience Officer or Environmental Officer. Sadly couldn't actually tell what was going on from watching on the screens in Time Out so would really like to know what other candidates got up to.

    1. To be fair, it's hard enough to know whats going on when you're actually at Hustings. The shouting is pretty much as loud and bloodthirsty as I make out, and there isn't much to say about most candidates except whether they got booed or not. Bit of a weird system, and I'll be looking at that more later.


  4. YOU'RE NOT RUSSEL! so yeah that was me.

  5. YOUR NOT RUSSEL !!!!!!

    (From The Russel Cult)

  6. Very entertaining! Would LOVE you to do this for all the candidates!!

    1. So would I! This was just a cheeky peek into the experience. Doing this coverage has been some of the most fun I've had on this blog, but it's also a lot of work. Part of me wants it to carry on, the other half of me just wants a break!