Bernard Levin Award

So, there’s this award at my uniiversity, the London School of Economics, that requires you to write a little piece celebrating all the beauty and benefits of said education institution. I entered this competition and won. Oh how nice! I got £500 which I have spent on a green suit, and a 2 week internship at The Huffington Post, to which I will wear the green suit.

Anyway, after considerable high demand (which basically entails approximately 2 people casually requesting it) I have decided to upload the winning piece. I hope you enjoy it and all pretend it’s better than it is and say things like ‘well done mate’ when really you’re thinking ‘Christ, how did that win?’

🙂

Stairway To Heaven

Considering that all the conventional benefits of LSE, such as the cultural diversity, academic ambition and high-powered debate will be covered by some other intelligent, well-read, serious student; I have decided to celebrate another tangible benefit of LSE. This factor gives us pulsating thigh muscles, and calves like chicken breasts; this factor of LSE provides us with a much needed cardio-vascular workout; it leaves us breathless, and probably sweaty if we’re being honest with ourselves. The factor that I wish to celebrate and revel in, is one that has single-handedly left me with legs so toned, muscled and rippling with hidden strength that Usain Bolt would be deadly jealous of them.  Jealous enough to try to kill me. Hence the use of the adverb ‘deadly’ (analytical!). Anyway, what I wish to celebrate is the stairs.

On a Monday, I have a lecture in Clement House, seventh floor. Did you get that? Seventh floor. That’s one, two, three, four, five, six, seven flights of stairs. Of course, as is becoming of LSE, the lifts are always full with eager attendees of classes, lectures and strip teases, so I have to scuttle up all seven flights of stairs like a little squirrel scurrying up a big old tree. Except this little squirrel has a rucksack on his back, weighing him down, and in this rucksack is a laptop, laptop charger, pad of paper, numerous pens and 9 tangerines.  He likes tangerines. A lot.

On a Tuesday I have a lecture. Guess where? Clement House. Guess what floor? Sixth. Did you get that? Sixth floor. That’s one, two, three, four, five, six flights of stairs. Of course, as is becoming of LSE, the lifts are always full of eager attendees of……well you get the bloody picture. Essentially, it’s very tiring work. Now, I realise that this might seem like I am moaning, complaining and stamping my feet at this nefarious punishment LSE has dished out to me. Well, I’m not. I’m celebrating it. You should see my legs. That’s all I can say.

On a Thursday I have a class in Tower 1. The Towers are LSE’s answer to the towers of Isengard and Mordor. If you get lost in the labyrinth of passages, rooms and stairs, well expect to return, but just not as the same person. They do things down there in those towers. Strange, dark things. Anyway, I digress. On Thursday I have a class in Tower 1, fourth floor. Did you get that? Fourth floor. That’s one, two, three, four flights of steps. But I’m not complaining, I promise, I’m celebrating. Not only does LSE provide internationally renowned academic prestige, but it also inadvertently keeps us in shape. I personally think it’s a ploy by the directors. A very cunning ploy. They have our best interests at heart, and they know how much time we spend reading, studying and writing, and how little time we spend running, walking and playing, so they’ve subtly introduced a subversive way to keep the students in tip-top condition. And if they do need to unleash a small army of well-read, pseudo-intellectual, would-be-world-leaders, well they can, and what’s more, the army will be physically refined.

Now, I move on to what is undeniably the finest staircase on campus, and I’m going to celebrate it like there is no tomorrow. This staircase; oh, it’s something special. Is it a set of stairs or are they steps? Is it a set of stairs or just a series of small ledges? Is it a set of stairs or a form of punishment, meant to eradicate any hope one had of wandering effortlessly around the library looking cool, disengaged and generally superior? Because, this staircase I have in mind, drags us all down to the same level. We all struggle up them: one step…and a half. One step…and a half. One step…and a half. Repeat ad nauseam. It’s even worse when you’re trying to overtake someone. One step…really fast little half step. Oh, you’ve banged your shin, or even worse, stumbled slightly to the poorly concealed amusement of onlookers.

If it’s not already clear to you, the staircase I am rejoicing is the one that snakes up through the heart of the library (otherwise known colloquially as the ‘heart of darkness’). The spiral staircase of doom, broken dreams and suffering. The spiral staircase that chews you up, and spits you out again red-faced, embarrassed and disgraced. These stairs have a peculiar design, and it’s definitely to keep us all fit. Not close enough together for one all-encompassing stride, but not far enough for two conventional strides, instead what one has to employ is some sort of hybrid one stride, two stride, shuffling dance. If you ever want to look like an epileptic horse then jog up these stairs. Or down them, it’s totally up to you. These stairs are fantastic, and I really would like to celebrate how great they are for me on a personal level. Before I came to LSE I only knew about the classic one-stride/two-stride choice, but now I have another weapon in my arsenal when it comes to stairs. I have the one-and-a-half stride awkward shuffle, method. LSE is already really good for meeting attractive people of the opposite sex, but these stairs really just take things up a level because one can’t help but drip with sexiness when clambering up and down these stairs in the middle of our ethereal, liberating, library.

Now, this may seem like I’m complaining, moaning and stamping my feet about assorted flights of stairs in the LSE. I’m not; I’m celebrating them and what benefits they’ve had for my personal health. And I do absolutely love going to the LSE as an institution, I genuinely do.

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