Cambridge Underground 1981 pp 2-3


What is an editorial?

An expression of one's opinions on current matters of import.

Well, I think the less I say about the state of the country the better; suffice to say, I think a cave in Yorkshire will be the best place to be when the balloon goes up. As for the politics of caving, I think I'll leave that to people who know more about it, and let them voice their opinions in Descent. Whilst the existence of the BCRA, CNCC, etc. is invaluable, and whilst as secretary of CUCC I supported and followed the rulings and advice of these institutions, that is as far as my personal desire for involvement goes. CUCC itself puts on a splendid show of democracy at work at the AGM, but the club benefits from being run by a small group of ultra-keenies. The only equality displayed in the club is in the communist round system at the pub (Oh, and mixed showers to satisfy the Equal Opportunities Commission).

Good grief, aren't real editorials boring. I think I'll follow the more traditional line taken by my predecessors.

Welcome to Cambridge Underground Volume Three. For no other reason than tradition, a new volume is started every ten years. This first number differs from the last few years by being in A4 format (this may arguably be its only outstanding feature). The journal is therefore a little slimmer than past years but is chock full of "real caving". The larger size is more convenient to produce, has less crowded photo and survey pages, and above all is cheaper to xerox (an A3 journal would be cheaper still, but perhaps a little impractical).

Most of my predecessors have moaned about the lack of financial support that CUCC gets from the University. I can only report that the situation is no better. There is no regular grant to the club, and getting between one and three hundred pounds a year from the Societies Syndicate for the purchase of tackle is a little like drawing blood from a stone. There has often been talk of starting a University-wide campaign to revise the grants structure. At the moment ninety-five percent of all the available money goes to the colleges for their sports teams, leaving a meagre sum to be distributed amongst all the University clubs and societies from caving to bridge, and climbing to tiddleywinks. The ineffectiveness of the Cambridge Students Union which is due largely to their lack of finance, lack of a say in many governing bodies, and until very recently complete lack of recognition by the powers that be; does not help the situation. It would be of great value to CUCC to have some ammunition, in the form of facts from other clubs, in order to get something done. So if you're reading this as a member of LUSS or LUST or UBSS et al, the president would be very grateful if you would drop him a line describing how your club is financed.

Back to this year's journal. As in the last few years many of the articles have been written by a handful of ExCS members; many thanks to them for contributing yet again. The perennial problem of getting chaps to write up their deeds of derring-do means that I already have several promises of articles for next year's journal, which failed to make the "deadest" of deadlines. Similarly the articles promised in last year's editorial, on Penyghent and Little Hull and various surveys are still not available because the exploration is still an on-going subterranean excavation situation.

There has been some suggestion that the journal be produced on a less regular basis. This would mean less frantic all night computer sessions during exams and worse still during May Week; it would also produce a thicker journal with a much higher ratio of heroic deeds of exploration to articles of general interest and frivolity. However, there is a grave fear that once the journal ceased to be an annual publication that it may well disappear altogether because of the rapid turnover of members resident in Cambridge and the consequent loss of the know-how and enthusiasm required to produce Cambridge Underground.

Next year's journal will see some new authors as the Austria Expedition in 1981 will be made up a new band of "Intrepid Speleos". I don't suppose that this will mean that the articles will be any more readily forthcoming, so I make no rash promises of the date of issue of Cambridge Underground 1982.

Many thanks to all those who contributed, helped with typing, proof reading and collating, Mr Bourne at Fitz., the IBM 370, the Department of Earth Sciences, Steve Roberts and Dave Gibson.

For those of you who didn't buy a copy of Cambridge Underground 1980 thats the one with the rather distinctive pink cover - there are some left, along with copies from the last six years all available at fifty pence each (plus p+p).

The club has a permanent mailing address:

c/o Dr J.C.D. Hickson,
Pembroke College,

Phil Townsend

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