There's a good reason why John Burnet is the most community-based hall in St Andrews. Not only are we the smallest hall, with 146 places, but our rich background of tradition also adds to the community spirit. This website is here to promote these traditions, as well as help future traditions reps remember their duty.
Back before it was turned into a hall of residence, John Burnet was called the Atholl hotel. In recognition of this, inhabitants sometimes refer to themselves as "Athollites", and people who used to live in hall but have since moved out are called "Ex-Atholl." This is also the reason why hall clothing comes with ATHOLL written across the back unless you change it - hilarious if you buy the sweatpants.
Awarded at Valedictory meal for the biggest fuckwit of the year. (For more information, see FUCKWIT.)
The story goes that once upon a time, long ago in the 90's or something, a certain young man came home drunk to find that he had lost his room key and the door was not on the latch. Not wanting to wake his roommate, he did the sensible thing and snuck out to the shed in the garden and grabbed an axe. He then proceeded to hack down his door in order to get back in his room. His roommate woke up, startled, at the noise. He had watched the Shining earlier that day and so he was rightly terrified when he realized that someone was trying to hack into his room with an axe. The axe has since been passed on to the person who does the stupidest thing over the course of the year. Thus the legend goes.
After formal meals, all students should stay in the dining hall for some alcohol related fun with the wardens and the committee. Choose wisely which warden's team to join, for it may cost you the victory...This is a tradition which has been under some duress in recent years because freshers tend to be boring and leave before the boat races. To prevent this, ensure that you bring much more alcohol than you initially plan to drink so that you have enough left.
By the time you get to university, you should know about coining. If you don't, however, here is how it works: if you see someone foolishly holding their drink (if it is a pint that they just purchased 27 seconds beforehand, even better) surreptitiously pull a 1p coin (2p's and 5p's also work well: I even got coined with a pound coin before, but this is overkill) and drop it in their drink. They then have to down their drink (SAVE THE QUEEN; THE QUEEN IS DROWNING) to a rousing chorus of the following song:
WE LIKE TO DRINK WITH [NAME]
CAUSE [NAME] IS OUR MATE
S/HE DRINKS IN MODERATION
AND THAT'S WHY S/HE'S OUR MATE!
Repeat the final words of the song with increasing desperation until the drink is finished (hopefully before the end of the song). If they take a long time, it is permitted to sing SEE IT AWAY, SEE IT AWAY in a regretful tone to embarrass them further.
NOTA BENE: Formal meals have a special rule to cause extra carnage, which is that anyone may be coined at any time, as long as they have alcohol in their drink and you manage to fit a coin in it. Unlike normal rules, in which the recipient of the coin MUST be touching their glass in some way, at formal meals you can be at the other end of the dining room and still get coined. So be wary!
See Also: FORMAL MEALS, SONGS
Donald has been working at John Burnet since the 1960's, when it was still the Atholl Hotel, when he was sixteen. Now he is head chef in the kitchens, always ensuring that students eat their vegetables and get their soup. His main priority is for the students. It is very wise to be polite to Donald (and of course, every other staff member).
Donald also knows everything. Nothing slips past his eagle eyes, and he is at the centre of a web of gossip in which the cleaners and the student members of the staff tell him everything he doesn't already know.
In the first week of term, all of hall (plus some ex-Atholl) get on coaches and travel 13 miles to a hotel near Cupar called Fernie Castle. There you participate in what should be much carnage, and "meet" many people you might not have the chance to have talked to before. (And by meet, I most certainly mean pull.)
But remember, kids, don't get fingered up against the wall. More people can see than you realize.
Nota Bene: Beware the nettles in the woods. They sting like a bitch.
See Also: SONGS
Formal meals provide some of the best nights of the year. The things to know about formal meals are as follows:
1. They are always on Thursdays. Don't complain, this is the way it is and always will be. Also Thursdays make damn good night outs as long as you don't plan on making any Friday 9am classes.
2. They are always at 6pm, which causes some hilarity when you watch the people who don't pay attention at announcements come in at half 6 like usual.
3. Most importantly, formal meals are the one occasion in which it is permittable to bring alcohol into the dining hall. Coining is both encouraged and demanded, especially to the wardens and the special guest.
There are several formal meals throughout the year. Halloween Formal Meal is (obviously) the Thursday just before Halloween. Christmas Formal Meal is the Thursday of Week 11 or 12. In the second semester, Burns Night, with a proper Scottish meal of haggis, neeps & tatties and accompanied by a rendition of Burns's "Ode to the Haggis" is (oddly enough) in late February, and John Burnet Birthday Dinner is a few weeks later in mid-March. The last (and best) formal meal is Valedictory, usually in week 10 or 11 of the second semester. At Valedictory, the graduating students give speeches and the Odes to the Lads and the Lassies are read out.
The source of all things good in John Burnet. People congregate here all hours of the day and night, especially after meals. It provides an excellent source of procrastination.Various antics of varying degrees of fun occur here, including board games, drinking games, blowjobs...
Frosty is short for Frosty Jack, i.e. one of the cheapest and foulest alcoholic beverages in existence. It is a faintly yellow cider that looks, smells, and tastes like piss. It used to be a longstanding tradition to drink Frosty Jack on Monday nights in front hall. One year, however, the traditions reps, being the gods among men that they were, decided to step things up a notch by hosting Frosty Olympics. This turned out to be a Bad Idea, and both Frosty Olympics and Frosty Mondays were subsequently (and unfairly) banned for excess vomiting and damaged property.
The fuckwit is two things:1. An award given out every Monday night for the most worthy (read: stupid/hilarious/embarassing) deed performed in the previous week. 2. It is also the physical embodiment of this award, a long thing, shit-coloured carved stick with various ancient etchings inscribed upon it.
WARNING: NEVER touch the tip of the fuckwit. It has been up some guy's ass years and years ago. No matter the length of time that has passed, it shall never be acceptable to touch the tip again.
A shiny golden knob handed down from senior student to his successor. Always hilarious when one of the two is female.
As the story goes, there was once a flagpole in front of hall, and it was a game among the young lads of the time to climb up the pole and touch their knob to the golden knob. One day a particularly beefy young man attempted to do this, but the flagpole buckled and collapsed in an explosion of splintered wood and bruised ass. The golden knob was saved as a memento and immortalized as a trophy for the senior students.
Also don't touch the tip. Like the fuckwit, it's apparently been up someone's ass.
See also: COMMITTEE, FUCKWIT
A more classy affair than Fernie or Traditions ball, Hall Ball has in recent years taken place in mid February, although it used to occur in late November. It is organized by the Ball Convenors.
See also: FERNIE CASTLE, TRADITIONS BALL, COMMITTEE
A simple game that has fallen out of vogue in recent years because many people are too polite or too lazy to engage in it.
If you burp, you must say MARION. If someone else says it before you, they have permission to beat you up until you touch a light switch. Have fun finding one in front hall.
If you fart, you must say BARRY. Again, if someone says it before you they can hit you until you touch a doorknob.
The more boring "excuse me" is also permitted, for decency's sake.
If you chunder and don't say ESMERALDA, you must touch a lamp-post (this involves going outdoors) or face the consequences. Obviously this is unpopular for many reasons, and very rarely used.
If you engage in any sort of PDA (Public Display of Affection) in front hall or the surrounding areas, people around you are allowed to shout JEZEBEL. This is different in that there is nothing to touch and you can't really be hit, it's just fun to call various girls Jezebel. It's like calling them a whore, but slightly more subtle.
100 means you're pure and holy, 0 is so depraved you should definitely be in jail. It is rumoured that the lowest score ever reported was 12. I have never known anyone to get below 20.
It also serves as an excellent indication to see just how many points you've lost at university, and in John Burnet in particular.
On special occasions, birthdays, etc (or if you just want to sing to a pretty girl) it is customary to sing the song from Top Gun (an excellent movie for its homoerotic volleyball, a practice followed at every male-volleyball interhall sporting event: jeans, aviators, no top. Nice. Also it has a super creepy sex scene.)
Anyway, here's how serenading works. Gather a few (male) friends, kneel down in front of the lucky girl and sing:
YOU NEVER CLOSE YOUR EYES ANYMORE, WHEN I KISS YOUR LIPS
AND THERE'S NO TENDERNESS LIKE BEFORE IN YOUR FINGERTIPS
YOU'RE TRYING HARD NOT TO SHOW IT, BABY,
BUT BABY, BABY I KNOW IT....
YOU'VE LOST THAT LOVIN' FEELING,
WOAH THAT LOVIN' FEELING,
YOU'VE LOST THAT LOVIN' FEELING
NOW ITS GONE, GONE, GONE, WOAAAH\
BA-DUM, BA-DUM, ETC
See also: COINING, FERNIE CASTLE
A tradition used only at formal meals, if a person leaves the dining hall, you (i.e. the person remaining, watching the boring person who is not staying for boat races leave) should alert everyone else to the fact by banging the back of your dessert spoon very loudly on the table repeatedly. This makes for a lovely little goodbye chorus to say farewell to the person who is leaving. It generally gets louder the more alcohol is consumed.
Unfortunately no cuddling is involved.
See also: FORMAL MEALS, BOAT RACES
In April, the last of the three John Burnet balls is organized by the Tradition's Representatives. It has a slightly different format from the other two. It is generally semi-formal, and charity also plays an important role in the proceedings of the night. For instance, committee members are auctioned off as a slave for a day, and the proceeds from the auction go to charity.
Other than that, however, it is a typical John Burnet night out of carnage. Excellent.
See: FERNIECASTLE , HALL BALL
There used to be a rivalry with Uni Hall over who was the best hall. It has been suppressed in recent years because of an unfortunate incident involving Christmas Formal Meal and alcohol in which the rivalry got a bit out of hand. However, friendly banter and the smug knowledge that John Burnet is far superior is understandably unavoidable.
Moose are not funny to Uni Hallers.
Organized by the wardens, Wine and Cheese, occuring once a semester, provides an opportunity to "meet the wardens", actually wear your robes, and scarf down a lot of free cheese and wine. The dress code is smart.
Whenever two members of the opposite sex leave the room together - whether innocently, accidentally, or 'cause they're going to bone, it is proper form to shout after them YIIIIP, YIP YIP YIP!! in the most piercing voice you can muster.
A variation of this is if two members of the same sex leave the room together, sing the Gay Bar song after them.