The Stand’s publication of a shortlist of ‘big names on campus’ two weeks ago attracted a lot of attention, most of it negative. One need only peruse the comments left by the many people perturbed by the article in question to see just how badly the whole exercise went down with the assumedly ‘small names on campus’. Perhaps they have a point. Perhaps The Stand are reinforcing the current status quo in town where douche bagging is revered, and the modest and inconspicuous are left to rot somewhere in the Badlands. Who knows? One certainly has to ask questions of those responsible for the competition. “What on earth were they thinking?” might be a suitable start. At the very kindest interpretation, the editors knew that a controversial piece like this would get their website plenty of hits, and plenty of hits mean more advertising revenue.
But let us not get caught up in petty grievances with The Stand’s editorial policy. Instead let us learn just what is needed to become cool, through a closer look at the BNOCs themselves. For many of us, the art of being cool has been a complete mystery since childhood, known only to the select few. While we may have tried and failed at times to replicate their talents, never before have we had such an objective analysis from which to study and assimilate what it is to be cool. So let us thank The Stand for finally making it so easy and see what exactly makes us cool.
1. Double-barrelled names
“James Calder-Smith”, “Patrick Leigh-Pemberton”, “Tarleton Watkins-The-Third”. Is it a coincidence that three out of the four finalists have such long-winded names? Of course it isn’t, dear readers. To be a BNOC, one must have a BNOC. Unfortunately this means the delightful Amy Heather immediately fell behind in the race, but it is not too late for you to escape the same fate. Head to your nearest Post Office and immediately add an accoutrement of your choice to your surname. The more ridiculous, the cooler you will be. Nothing is off-limits, as the “Baker-Bakers” and “Wellesley-Wesleys” will very well tell you (both genuine surnames I have come across). Then get ready for fashion season baby because everybody will want to know what you’re wearing.
Whether it’s trying your hand as the amateur financier, strutting down a catwalk or maintaining a slightly too familiar relationship with Tesco’s biscuit aisle, all our BNOCs have serious commitments. It would seem you can’t make it anywhere in this town without your diehard allegiance to one “charity event” or another plastered all over your Facebook page. If you’re going to take this advice on board then I strongly suggest you opt for the corporate route and follow in the footsteps of the hiring, firing and perspiring Ms Heather. Being an SNOC, chances are that you, like me, are far too ugly to pout your way into one of the many fashion shows knocking about town, and as we all know, to make it in this life you either have to be good-looking, or rich. Once you’ve weasled your way into GIG’s upper echelons a glamorous life rubbing shoulders with “CEOs and Chief Execs” (are these not the same thing?) is yours to call your own. Congratulations, you are now one step closer to the coke-fuelled asphyxi-wank suicide that awaits you.
Don’t play them. Despite their (mostly) chiselled physiques, our BNOCs lead a far too exotic lifestyle to muddy themselves with the common man on the gritty playing fields of East Fife. Sport is for plebs, not for the avant-garde of modern-day culture. If you’re going to adopt the life of a BNOC, the occasional cardio session at the gym, (or tactical vom after dessert) will have to replace your once rigorous exercise regime. But fear not, your new diet of quinoa and red cabbage will keep you trim and wonderfully regular to boot. Unfortunately that means no more Wednesday night socials for you either. Last time I checked they don’t sell Moët & Chandon at Sinner’s Sport, but maybe I’m wrong. Instead your Wednesday nights will consist of a couple of cocktails at No. 40, where you can chat amongst equals about literally fuck all of any interest.
So there we are. Follow these three simple steps, throw in a pinch of narcissism and you will soon find yourself talk of the town. It’s that easy. The BNOCs themselves might tell you there is much more to it but don’t listen to them. They are simply trying to maintain the illusion that being cool is something you cannot learn.