wingtips and squeaky toys

July 20, 2012 at 4:35 pm Leave a comment

Wingtips. Photo provided by our anonymous Oxford shenaniganner.

Wingtips. Photo provided by our anonymous Oxford shenaniganner.

Our anonymous Oxford alum sends us a second excellent shenanigan:

I’d nearly put this out of memory, but during the same period Doctor Quinn resolved to quiet the library (he’d have been aghast at the Half Naked Half Hour), and considerable effort was expended in the making of signs and in the consecration of so-called “Whisper Zones,” with (small) fines imposed upon those intent upon disregarding them.  This coincided with the discovery of a Pet Supplier in nearby Faringdon, who kept on hand a vast selection of very small “squeaky toys” intended to be clipped to the cages of Budgies, for the amusement of the birds and the vexation of their owners.

The wing-tip was the choice of the day for young gentlemen (and remains so in some circles to this day), and new stiff leather wing-tips will, before being fully “broken in” oftimes issue forth a squeaking sound, as the fresh, smooth leather rubs with each step – a sound not at all unlike that produced by a small squeaky toy placed beneath the instep, and muffled by one’s argyles.

We The vile perpetrators made a concord to speak not a word within the confines of the library, but instead to walk about as much as possible, usually in brief shifts, sometimes as many as a dozen at once.  The explanation, “new shoes” sufficed only a short time, and by the third day, new signs had appeared reading, “squeaking shoes must be removed when using the library.”  Thereafter, rows of wing-tips with paper ownership labels tucked in lined the entry hall; “squeakers” were placed beneath the sock, and the campaign continued unabated.

On the fourth day (or perhaps the fifth day – memory is unclear these many years now removed) new signs proclaimed “Students must be barefooted to access library materials.”  Undaunted, barefooted assemblages sat in mock misery, pocket squares at hand, blowing their noses with great fervour, each having taken a chill because of the draughts in the old building.  The following day, the library, devoid of all signs, recaptured its previous hum of muffled voices, and the matter was considered closed by both factions.

Entry filed under: academic libraries, perpetrated by students or patrons.

library shenanigan, 1970s Oxford style books in hollowed-out logs in Berlin

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