Column: Ed Greenwood


In some ways, being a skint and left-leaning student at Christmas time creates problems which solve themselves. You can’t afford proper presents for all your friends and family, and so combine the frustration this creates to a righteous scorn for the apocalyptic Potlach of consumerism that the ritual of Christmas has become. You deliberately choose not to even try to buy everyone presents. Instead, being a trendy student type, you decide to give these people self-made gifts – a free verse poem, an impressionistic drawing, or an all-purpose knitted cosy – something generic, shapeless and revolting. This makes them hate you and abandon you, so you don’t need to worry about getting them anything proper next year either. That’s twice the savings. And in the meantime you get to enjoy all the actual presents that your loved ones, with their relative wealth, have redistributed to you. The perfect anti-social socialist Christmas. Result.

Despite these savings, however, you find that your finances are barely keeping above water. [Are you really going to persist in using the second person for what is clearly just a relation of your own problems? Yes. I think I will, thank you.] You endeavour to make resolutions which will ease the strain on your wallet. You decide you will invest in a notebook solely for tracking ingoings and outgoings (only you can’t afford that so you don’t bother); you will look into getting a more efficient bank account (you have no idea how to do this); maybe you will quit drinking.

This is flawed. Flawed, flawed, flawed. You made this decision half-heartedly some day between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, when you thought you’d had quite enough eggnog for the moment, thanks. Only that feeling doesn’t last until midnight on the 31st, when you’ve already had a fair bit anyway so you can’t see the point in being sober anymore. And what if someone offers you a drink for free? Like if a friend buys you a drink in a bar, or your aunt offers you a glass of wine with a meal, or the shopkeeper gives you a free can of Strongbow when you buy the other five? You can’t just turn that away. No: booze will have to stay, as long as it’s only for a special occasion, or when it’s going for free, or cheap, or when you want to drink some alcohol.

Next on the agenda: acquire money. Get a job that will secure you in the short to medium term. Or maybe for longer. Preferably for life. Not just a part-time job, which you’ve probably had before and which won’t even cover rent. No no. This means investing in a career – a sensible step to take, you feel, one of which your parents would surely approve. And because the career you actually want to have (but have incidentally spent all of Christmas lying to your parents about because of course they don’t approve) is really fun, then that makes the investment a pleasure. Buying the books, easels, gadgets, instruments, DVDs etc that are necessary to research or equip you for your career only make you feel slightly guilty, which is nice, because without this completely perverted mindset, you know that making the exact same purchases would be unthinkably reckless.

Financially, you’re running on empty. You consider marrying Mr Darcy to secure his income, but decide against it on the grounds that he probably doesn’t exist. (You don’t know for certain, you never got round to all that reading you thought you were going to do during the Christmas break).

Eventually you come to the conclusion that new year’s resolutions are arbitrary. If you genuinely wanted to make a change to your lifestyle, you could do so any day of the year – why rush into it just because the Gregorian calendar tells you to? All that’s left is to accept that, much like last year, you are going to live in poverty and squalor, drinking more than you ought to or can afford, wasting money on tat to amuse yourself and conveniently neglecting your loved ones as you become more alienated and lonely, while another year of your life drops away like rotting flesh from an incurable open wound. Happy New Year.


As soon as I heard that there were plans to introduce a nightclub on campus I instantly revolted. I hate clubs and clubbing, and would much rather sit in a quiet bar with some friends and inflict my voice on them. Gradually, however, I’ve come to accept that a nightclub on campus may be a necessary evil after all. In Freshers’ Week, students are pretty much compelled to go clubbing, whether they actually want to or not, and they may as well do it in the relative safety of campus, rather than in the big scary city with the big scary locals and a very scary, dangerous river. But I wonder whether the club would be seen as a sort of molly-coddling playpen for youngsters playing dress-up and making-believe that they’re really clubbing like proper grown-ups, and as a result become either completely abandoned, or, more worryingly, an on-site Willow. However it pans out, I will be looking on from the safe distance of V-Bar and unfairly judging people.


Nibs like these are too small to fit in anything that resembles real news, or to discuss proper issues in any great depth or with anything like reasonable justification, meaning this is the perfect place to leave a lot of unsubstantiated facts which I will insist are completely true without bothering, needing, or being able to back them up.

The university knows Heslington East is not well-integrated with the rest of campus, because they’ve put it in a different time zone.
10 O’Clock Live was good telly.

No one knows what goes on in the Science Park or the Catalyst, and if they do, they’re in on it.

It’s strange that York St John’s graduation is in the Minster, whereas ours isn’t, but that the General Synod of the Church of England is held in Central Hall. But it’s not worth bickering over.


The stairs up to the library have been moved, an extra layer of double doors have been added, and on my last visit these only opened from the sides. Inside sources have it that the next phase in the ongoing plan to make the entrance to the J B Morrell library into an impregnable assault course is to install laser canons at the reception desk. Backwards-moving travelators will be built into the floor to make ingress slower and trespassing students easier for the laser canons to pick off, while the stairs to the first floor will be removed altogether, and replaced with a climbing wall. Sid and Elvis, the two monkeys from the children’s game show ‘Jungle Run’, will be employed to throw rocks at the climbers. Books taken out of Key Texts will need to be returned half an hour before being issued, and the Harry Fairhurst section will give up all pretence and be replaced with a bouncy castle.

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