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The Boat Race. Who Cares?

By londonist_alex2 Last edited 134 months ago
The Boat Race. Who Cares?
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In case you hadn't noticed, the Boat Race is taking place this Sunday. The 152nd meeting between the crews of Oxford (dark blues) and Cambridge (light blues) will begin at 4.35pm near Putney Bridge and will finish 17 minutes or so later at Chiswick Bridge. Around 250,000 spectators will line the sides of the Thames, cheering on their favoured boat, with the most popular vantage point being the 'Surrey Bend' near Hammersmith Bridge. You can find all the details you need here and don't forget that this year's Varsity football match will kick-off at Craven Cottage at 1pm on the same day.

Londonist is a sucker for tradition and history, which means we respect the fact that the Boat Race is going strong and is still taken so seriously. However, we do wonder if it really does have anything to do with London? The race is between the universities of two other cities who are using our river because a) it's a neutral location, b) it's nice and big and c) there are plenty of places along the route for people to get pissed up in. Don't get us wrong, we're not churlish about letting visitors use our river, we are in fact quite happy to have them along, we're just dubious about the idea that this is a great London sporting event. It is not. It is a great sporting event for Oxford and Cambridge universities.

If you are thinking of going, maybe in order to 'soak up the atmosphere', then we suggest you think again. There is little atmosphere to be had from waiting for ages to get to a crowded vantage point on a riverside thronged with braying haw-haw's, only to see 30 seconds of boat action. This is Formula One on water. Cack.

You might want to head out to a riverside pub for a 'genuine Boat Race social experience', but be warned, here's what our very own Hazel had to say...

Oxbridge gatherings like this involve only one type of girl: long, flicky, straight hair, mobile phone attached to one ear and rugby playing boyfriend attached to the other.

The only type of boy you get there are the rugby playing boyfriends in expensive cashmere jumpers who will be crashingly boring and drunk before the race gets to the final bend in the river and who will then proceed to piss in every doorway in Putney "because I don't live there and don't know anyone who does - all my friends live in Chelsea when they're not skiing or building schools in Vietnam".

Doesn't sound like much fun to us. Hazel did inform us that it can be quite fun if you know someone who lives in a big house overlooking the course, which reminds us of the Notting Hill Carnival, where the best seats are on the balconies. If anyone out there has a big house overlooking the course, can they have us round? We promise to behave.

So if you would like to see the race, see it on tv in a nice pub as far away as possible from Putney. You have been warned.

Last Updated 29 March 2006