It takes a particular kind of creative, self-obsessive, imaginative, observant and courageous person to bare their very soul on stage. It is not always funny either, the image of the sad clown and smiley face, sad face masks of comedy and tragedy are emblematic of the tortured genius that inhabits some of the world's greatest comedians.
Broken bones, crushed internal organs, limb loss, suffocation, dehydration, starvation, malnutrition, disease, chronic stress and fear. These are just some of the concerning injuries and conditions that are experienced by animals associated with wildlife trade.
A report by the Democracy Institute, an American libertarian think-tank, predicted that 385,000 people will migrate from Romania and Bulgaria to the UK over the next five years. This prediction was uncritically featured or cited in an array of newspapers... But the report is deeply flawed and should be dismissed as not credible until its authors can prove otherwise
It is ironic then that, as some on the right flounder around ignorantly in debates about intelligence, a man regarded as one of the cleverest living Brits breezes into the political arena to strongly criticise the privatisation of the NHS.
The national press have recently been obsessing with the election of Louis Trup to the presidency of Oxford University's student union. Trup is far from being a joke. Sure he's a hilarious guy. After all, writing a manifesto - sorry I meant 'personifesto' - completely in crayon was absolute genius. We cannot deny that LJ Trup is good fun - but he's no joke.
It seems that many UK students are suffering a sense of humour failure. Perhaps its been struck off our list of essentials and become an unjustifiable luxury since course prices have tripled. We need bread and milk; irony can wait. Apparently even cheap gags are a stretch these days, as it seems recently we have needed a lot of explanation over what counts as 'a joke'...
The Black Cygnets group from St Hugh's College, despite being officially banned from college premises, sent out invitations for their annual event earlier this week. Male invitees were told to dress in "hunting attire", while the female attendees, the many of whom are freshers, were instructed to come as "foxes".
If we're honest, we in Britain are still obsessed by our class system, and haunted by the idea that there are certain 'privileges' to which we are either born 'entitled' or not. But what we don't seem to realise is how self-defeating this is.
Blurred Lines confirms that Newton's Third Law is as accurate in popular culture as it is in physics. Every time someone plays the song, an article or blog post or Tweet will automatically materialise denouncing its flagrant sexism...
What are state schools doing if they fail to equip students to compete on a level playing field? Placing a bias and targets into the admissions process is to put a sticking plaster over a an ugly wound in the hope that no one will see what is wrong.
In my final year, I took a terrifying chance. Ever generous to students and young writers, Seamus Heaney offered to meet students for half-hour one-to-one tutorials, discussing poetry and the craft of how to write.
In a recent article , the New York Daily News reported that 11 of President Obama's innermost circle were educated at Oxford University... Nestled at the core of the Whitehouse and the Pentagon and wielding the power to influence policy worldwide, they are evidence of one thing: a degree from Oxford or Cambridge commands attention on an international scale.
Every year, it gets tougher - students become smarter, the competition, stiffer and the expectations, higher. Nevertheless, there are a few constructive guidelines that aspiring applicants should consider if they have dreams of studying in two of Britain's greatest universities.
Oxford is a place where people are paid to research, and write about a vast array of subjects, most of which are united in their irrelevance to society. A tutor of mine has spent the last few years on a grammar of ancient Greek - pointless not least because the zenith of Greek grammar-writing was reached in the 19th Century. But one recent piece of research might even have topped my tutor's efforts...
When the Oxford Union, or indeed any other organisation with a major platform such as the BBC, attempts to give airtime to rather odious right-wing views, there is predictably an almost entirely manufactured outcry. In these circumstances Unite against Fascism normally complains about giving attention to extremists, and this occasion has been no different.
The internet and the growth of online media platforms have changed the game. Private pasts cannot be obliterated and university scandals erased. Those involved in the latest union controversy may find when they come to search for those stressful careers their future employers are not so keen to offer them jobs.