Every term the same thing happens. I come in bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, about as close to that description as I get anyway. I arrive back from my purgatorial holiday existence with a list of things to do, clean clothes, a clean conscience and some degree of physical fitness. By now, as we approach the midpoint I’m feeling like I’ve gone ten rounds with George Foreman, before he started selling grills.
I exaggerate of course, but this term really doesn’t help, it’s autumn term, when the changing of the seasons perhaps best reflects the descent into the slog of university. The days draw shorter and the cold sets in. If one heavy night out turns into one particularly bad hangover, then for several days I can catch little more than a fleeting glimpse of the sun.
And what’s more, our new house – god bless it – is that wonderful mix of new and old former council house which is both well enough sealed to keep the moisture in and with poor enough ventilation to mean we essentially reside in a miniature Eden Project.
Everything in the house is damp, and due to my arrival in the property a month before my competent housemate/full time carer Sean – and me spending the vast majority of that interim in the throes of a wine-soaked stupor – we had, until today, absolutely no idea how to turn the heating on. This has since been rectified through the age-old technique of pushing buttons and aiming kicks at pieces of complex machinery until something happened. If anything it’s too hot at this point, but at least you might be able to find a dry towel in the house now.
This grim scene was of course all played out against what seems to be the almost perpetual twilight as my housemates and I – a trio of third year former reprobates – strut and shuffle through our final hour on the university stage. The darkness – that cruelest of mistresses – has finally come to claim me, poetically mirroring the reality of the darkness of the outside world preparing to make me confront the uncertain future of the rest of my life. When I will be forced to discover whether or not I actually ever had any talent or whether my friends and relatives were just humouring me.
With that in mind, it was, upon googling the name of my street in Tang Hall that I discovered the tale of the house ten doors down which was raided as part of a North Yorkshire police narcotics sting called “Operation Hawk”. My first thought (well second thought, after giggling to myself at the logo of Operation Hawk, a picture of the eponymous creature staring directly at you above the slogan “we’re watching you”) was that of “there but for the grace of god go I”. Because, as we all know, every Russell Group university student needs at least three work experience placements and one friend of a friend to avoid a certain life of drugs and petty criminality and playing craps in the sewers with a young Marlon Brando.
Look, I’ll square with you, because I can’t keep the pretense up anymore. I’m way too hungover to write something even vaguely well-crafted for you this edition, which is the explanation for this string of loosely connected anecdotes, just smile and laugh and for god’s sake and don’t tell my editors. “The night is dark,” says The Red Woman, “and full of terrors.” But it’s nowhere near as terrifying as having a column deadline fast approaching and realizing you have absolutely nothing to write about. Nothing has happened, not really. The days are getting shorter and we’re at war with Lad Culture, and even that is nowhere near as interesting as it sounds. Give me something to write about Sam, or one of you down at YourSpace, lest I have to fill all my columns for the rest of the year with maudlin rambles about how I’m a third year and have a minor case of seasonal affective disorder.
So what’s my message for this edition? There’s normally a message, I at least usually try and force one in somewhere like trying to put on a damp trainer sock (an experience I’ve been all too familiar with over the past few weeks).
Oh right, I remember now. Don’t bother considering a career in journalism, I’ve only been trying for a few years and look what it’s fucking done to me.
There are very few things in life that are certain. Death, taxes and the fact that miserly NIMBYists who hate young people always choose to live next to schools and universities.
Now look, I’m not saying under any circumstances that we can’t be a pain from time to time, even a menace, and that stories like the one on page 3 of this newspaper about bins aren’t inherently reasonable things to get annoyed about. But, having had my fair share of encounters with the kinds of ridiculous people who buy houses next to places of education, of any level, and then go crying to the council or rant on the local newspaper BTL comments section every time some byproduct of where they live moderately irks them. I’m actually left with very little sympathy.
Where I lived last year in Osbaldwick, we had the pleasure of a local councillor essentially elected on an anti-student platform. And I’ve heard tales whispered in hushed tones about the kind of reception our kind get in Badger Hill.
My point, residents of the York suburbs with sizeable student populations (and I’m by no means generalizing that you’re all like this) is that maybe, if you treated your student neighbours with an ounce of respect and kindness, and not as a kind of unwanted untermensch class, the students just might return that respect to you.
Do people get fraped less these days? Is this just me? I remember those crazy days of yore when you could barely move on Facebook for your friends and acquaintances declaring how much they liked willlies. At the very least they’re getting less extreme, I fell victim to one last week which just pointed out that I’d left my Facebook logged in.
Have we finally given up on this most ridiculous of social media past times? I really do hope so, if anything it might be a faintly encouraging sign that social media is coming out of its awkward, puerile adolescence, maturing with the generation of people who drove it forward.
What was it even about? No one really seemed to know. Was it about causing genuine embarassment or making it unbelievably ridiculous?
Crucially, why would you want to do the first and what is the point in the second? Anyway, good riddance to it.
I’ve decided, having perused the collection of foodstuffs available in YourShop this morning, that there should be a line of snacks for people who feel like they should eat something but are afraid they might throw up if they do. Maybe some ready-made dry toast or something, I reckon it has legs.
THIS WEEKS LIFE LESSONS
1) Don’t drink the night before you have to lay up your column.
2) Don’t drink the night before you have to lay up your column.
3) Seriously, never again. Never, ever again.
REVIEW: THE MARMITE QUEUE
This was originally going to be a review of YUSU’s Glasshouse Willow pastiche night Marmite (d’ya geddit?). However, I got there at about midnight and couldn’t get in, so I’m going to review the queue instead.
I enjoyed my half an hour in the queue, and in fairness if I’d wanted to go inside I probably shouldn’t have hatched a plan to attend this night on the back of a fag packet twenty minutes before the thing was due to start.
If anything, this is a testmanent to the popularity of what is probably quite a good night, but I of course would have no idea.
So well done YUSU, for organizing what may or may not be a good night.