Hello and welcome back to a wonderful new semester at Leeds. You’re now in what the established figures at the University like to call ‘Re-Freshers Week’ – but you’ll probably know it better as ‘where-the-fuck-has-my-student-loan-gone-already-week’.
Looking around us at the current state of this lonely island we so lovingly call home, it’s safe to say your bank account isn’t the only thing going through a tricky patch right now. No confidence votes, protests outside parliament and John Bercow’s stuffy little face are a daily reminder that darkness may/almost certainly lies ahead. As HMS Brexit McBrexit-Face seems to be hurtling headfirst into an iceberg the size of the EU, the only thing which has kept me grounded over the past month has been frequent reconnaissances into the bizarre depths of my spam inbox.
‘Spam’: noun – “a tinned meat product made mainly from ham”, OR “irrelevant or unsolicited messages sent over the internet.” Whoever came up with these definitions clearly didn’t take as much joy as I have done scrolling through emails from sexy singles, dictators, and potential murderers. Some people have baths at the end of the day to destress. Some go for a run. And at the end of the day when all’s said and done, some people just like to organise their Gmail account by saving the very best spam emails in a neat little folder created just for them. As such, I’m going to share a few of the more colourful spam subjects I’ve received in the past month, in the hope that they may cheer you up from this winter cold too.
Knight of the realm attempts to glorify his achievements which belong to the Lord of the Rings. I mean, where to begin. Upon reading this email my imagination ran wild thinking about hobbits evacuating the Shire, giant eagles turning to cannibalism and Samwise Gamgee setting fire to Gondor all because Aragorn took the credit for fireman-lifting Frodo up Mount Doom. The possibilities of such an email subject were endless. Alas, in the end, the story was actually about some jeweller from Slough not paying his taxes properly – not quite the kind of story to send middle earth into a fourth age. Still sounds more exciting than the Hobbit films though…
You are my victim (pay me 400 euro in bitcoin). Now, I was intrigued by the open ended manner of this email subject, which was sent on behalf of someone called ‘Barbie Girl One’. Barberos Girlos numero uno turned out to be the owner of a dark web company which sold “all kinds of services – basically, all but the homicide”, a startling career change for the ex-plastic model, proof that times are tough for everyone in this world. Apparently, some “unrequited love” or “competition at workplace” had ordered my attacker to “empty acid in your face. Standard order – fast, painfully, for life.” This was a frightful fate which I could avoid if I simply paid the emailer 0.13 bitcoins. The email concluded “one day to decide and pay.” It has now been 31 days.
Hey The, my name is Bethanie. This was a confusing email, considering that Bethanie signed herself off as ‘Karen’. But as my mother always said, there’s nothing sexier than a girl you know you can’t trust, and I was intrigued. Beth/Karen had apparently been checking through the neighbouring area and “seriously liked the things I saw regarding you and your interests.” I wasn’t quite sure what interests she was talking about, but I assumed she meant listening to an unbearable amount of Coldplay and playing FIFA on legendary mode (that’s right, Legendary Mode) – in which case me, Beth and Karen have just booked ourselves in for a ménage à trois in Central Village.
What would Princess Diana do today? In fairness, “would the people’s Princess wear her hair up or down?” is the first question I tend to ask myself whenever I roll out of bed. This email argued that we should all make decisions based on their humanitarian and moral consequences, just like Diana would have. It was a lovely sentiment, and one I might take up myself. My recent philosophy when making decisions of dubious morality has been to ask myself what would my predecessor, Reece Parker, do? But since the answer to this question is always to lie back and rap along to the Blackpool Grime scene while dripping a gallon of Huel down your ‘stain-proof’ joggers, I think a change might be in order.
In these dark days of doubt we’re left with many questions: Will Britain ever leave the EU? Will Leeds be covered in snow the next time I go to sleep? Will Liverpool, god forbid, actually win the league? Who knows. I sure as hell hope not. The only thing I know is that what I’ve just written definitely constitutes a GDPR breach, and that I’m now going to lay low with Beth and Karen for a while until this whole thing blows over.