Every year, on Shrove Tuesday, Brasenose College’s staff and students gather to celebrate a unique tradition: Ale Verses. This rather unusual evening dates back hundreds of years, to the days when Brasenose brewed its own ale, and members of College would huddle round braziers in Hall to keep warm. Ale Verses in 2017, however, looked a little different. The evening began with a three-course meal in Hall, including pancakes for dessert. Shortly after the food, students climbed onto the tables, sharing jugs of (optional) ale whilst singing satirical songs about the characters that live, study or work at Brasenose College, and various events from the past year. Dr Dave Popplewell presided over the festivities, while Christian Wilson, our Musical Director, and two fabulous Organ Scholars (past and present) gave some much needed accompaniment to the enthusiastic student singers.
Both Brasenose students and staff are encouraged to submit lyrics set to the tune of popular songs. This year we sung about the very-Oxford problem that is struggling to find a seat in the library in the style of Rebecca Black (“library, library/can’t find seats in the library”); we reminisced about the University’s annual ski trip (“Coming out of Val Thorens/And I’ve been doing just fine”) to The Killers’ ‘Mr Brightside’; we celebrated the Rainbow Flag being flown yet again to celebrate LGBT History month; and the HCR (our graduate students) piped up to the tune of Adele’s ‘Hello’ (“Hello from the HCR/You might not know who we are”).
The winning song, however, was set to the tune of the classic that is ‘Where is the Love’ by the Black Eyed Peas, with lyrics in support of the University’s portrait diversification project (“Women workin’, they’re attainin’/But for their paintings we’re still waitin’… Where are the girls?”).
The talented lyricist commented “I think Ale Verses is a unique event that allows students to voice their experience of college life in a creative, fun and comedic way. There is such a community spirit when we sing the verses together in hall. The evening really sums up Brasenose's character as a college"
By Miles Overton (Second Year Geography)