Bonfires, Ballrooms and Boris Johnson: Photos From the Last Days of the Old, Decadent Oxford
It would be silly of us to even start trying to name off the list of distinguished folks who attended England’s most prestigious and “ancient” university, but a quick glimpse at the school’s notable alumni shows that there’s a reason why Oxford is the most coveted name in academia (unless you’re a Cambridge person, in that case we apologize). From heads of state to dozens of Nobel laureates, Thomas Hobbes, T. E. Lawrence, Stephen Hawking and countless other names that you associate with shaping culture, literature, science and politics for nearly 1,000 years, it is an institution that simply has no rival.
And yet, there’s a certain special something about Oxford in the 1980s, the decade that serves as the bridge between what was and what is. A sort of last gasp of a certain kind of youthful decadence that might seem tame today, but back then was considered scandalous tabloid fodder, featuring a cast of young characters from Hugh Grant to future P.M.s David Cameron and Boris Johnson, all taking place in the years around the release of the hugely popular 1981 adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, possibly the most famous Oxford-connected novel of the 20th century.
And there to capture it all was photographer Dafydd Jones. Now, his documents of the time have been collected in one lovely book, Oxford: The Last Hurrah. What follows is a sneak preview of the debauched, patrician scenes that he survived — and indubitably relished in.