Cheesy banana show whips up a frenzy

October 4, 1996

Booze, buddies, boogie and boredom. Alan Thomson samples the ups and downs of freshers' week. It's big, yellow and it whips young men and women into a frenzy. It's the latest in freshers' week entertainment. It's Banana Mania.

The show's star and driving force is 23-year-old Jonathan Fatimilehim, a former student executive member of North Cheshire College, who began a punishing month-long national tour of higher and further education freshers' events earlier this month.

His formula is part TV game show, part drinking competition, part karaoke, part comedy club and part 18-30 beach party. But whatever is going on, the audience must be involved.

He said: "The guiding ethos is to get students involved. I say we don't just break the ice in freshers' week, we shatter it. We take them from an initial apathy to quite literally a raging frenzy."

Parents can rest assured that their sons and daughters, many of whom are away from home for the first time, are actually enjoying this wild catharsis within the safety of a student union venue. Security and union staff are always on hand to deal with any problems.

In the real world, Mr Fatimilehim is a dance teacher at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, the so-called Fame School founded by Paul McCartney. His knowledge of the human body's athletic potential appears to help in some of his more outrageous games. "We get people doing handstands, supporting each other upside down and generally getting into certain risque positions. It's never crude, just risque enough to keep the interest up and the laughter coming."

Mr Fatimilehim believes that, over the years, students have been getting progressively more demanding when it comes to the entertainment unions have to offer, not just for freshers' week or fortnight, but all year round.

He said: "I know that many smaller unions lack the financial clout to attract big name, large-scale entertainment but the key to any freshers' week or any other entertainment is participation and involvement. If the students feel part of it then they'll have a whale of a time."

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns