Conundurham: The Minds Behind The Mystery

By

You will have seen them around; that secret band of Durham students behind Condundurham, the satirical newspaper launched at the end of last term. You will have seen them around, but have been entirely unaware of who they were, and what they were up to.

Look to your left. Look to your right. Are they sitting right next to you?

“We don’t acknowledge each other outside of the office,” The team told me, “When we occasionally meet in public, it’s never as a whole team. We use code words for the paper to ensure that our anonymity remains intact.

“The aim of Conundurham is to question… mock… even tease. We saw the gap in the market and decided to do something about it. Websites like [Durham] Overheard are so popular because people love laughing at the farce of everyday life: the big personalities; the college stereotypes; the red chinos. Conundurham takes that theory and puts it in print.”

Mystery figure from the back page of Conundurham's first edition, originally from Facebook.
Mystery figure from the back page of Conundurham’s first edition, originally from Facebook.

This is a watertight operation, masterminded by a small group of individuals. Thus far, their identities have been mere speculation.  As I had expected, at exactly midnight on the arranged date, I received a telephone call from a withheld number.

This in itself had been incredibly difficult to arrange; having scoured the paper for clues, my only option was to email the team and request an interview. I was unsurprised when they declined to meet me in person, but I leapt at the offer of a phone call.

I had to agree to certain rules: I would not record the conversation; I would not divulge the number or genders of the speakers; I would be alone.

On speaking to them, there was a calm and relaxed atmosphere; it was evident that they are in control of this game.

“The aim of Conundurham is to question… mock… even tease.”

“There’s no need for you to know our names. If you knew our identities, you might read the paper differently; people tend to project their prejudices onto the writing if they know the individual. This way, your opinion of Conundurham can only be based on the writing, and whether or not you think it’s funny.”

They have a point. It is inevitable that someone will always take offence, despite the (usually) harmless intensions of satirical journalism. They can be seen to mimic Palatinate by using the same typeface and plate size, but, surprisingly, I didn’t feel threatened by this. On talking to them, they made it clear that I should not see this as an attack.

“It is obvious that these are not serious articles. We don’t wish to offend anyone. We are merely pointing out the humour in life. We are sorry if some people can’t see that humour, but the hugely positive response to the first edition shows that most people received the paper in the way it was intended.”

They explained that the first edition was checked by lawyers before its publication, to ensure that the content was not illegal, however racy it may have appeared.

Nevertheless, despite the success of the premier edition of the publication, the anticipation of the next edition may be extended, due to a shortage of funding.

“We desperately need some sponsors to continue to fund Conundurham. If anyone knows of a potential sponsor for us, please ask them to get in touch at notpalatinate@gmail.com.”

Who are they? What do they study? From where do they operate?

Perhaps it will never be revealed. Perhaps asking is missing the point.

Photograph: Facebook

4 thoughts on “Conundurham: The Minds Behind The Mystery

  • Conundurham is obviously Palatinate in disguise. It’s layout is completely the same and it references Palatinate far too much to be independent from them; no one else cares that much about them.

    Also, Conundurham/Palatinate is merely muscling on on already established Durham satire comedy publication’s patch. Flipside (http://flipside.thebubble.org.uk/) is the original and the best, guys; check it out!

    Reply
    • Lol sausage.

      Reply
    • As part of the Palatinate editorial team last term I can confirm Conundurham is not by Palatinate! Everyone was completely puzzled as to who was behind it, though we had theories. If any current Palatinate editors are involved it’s in secret and they have great poker faces!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.