Column: Tom Davies


The Graduation Game: Or why I’ve just given up.

Let’s play the graduation game shall we? And it is a game, don’t have any doubts about that, a game of loans, a song of jobs and grad schemes, and other bad Game of Thrones jokes which eat into my word count. For me it’s been a decidedly predictable story which has shadowed my entire life, one of putting off preparing for the inevitable until the adrenaline kicks in, and then frantically running around like a blue arsed fly with a hastily written, reference light CV going: “oh boy am I fucked”.

This is the worst part, I’ve gone through my life so far assuming I’ll always land on my feet, and it does rather pay to keep up that optimism lest you just break one day and wander off in a fugue stupor, but I don’t rightly know for sure this time, and that’s something of a pisser.

For the first time in my twenty years on this fetid earth, the choice is not obvious. Until I got to this point, there was a clear path in my mind, I would get good GCSES, then good A-Levels, then go to a good university and get a degree. Then I would graduate and make MILLIONS! MILLIONS I TELL YA!

Doing what though? You’ll be glad to know I’ve entirely abandoned my ambitions in the world of newspapers, then salted the earth where I buried the remnants so nothing will ever grow there again. Here’s a joke for you, where is the highest concentration of poisonous snakes in the world? The answer – get ready for the ‘badum tish’ – Fleet Street (to my friends and colleagues currently on journalism graduate schemes I dearly apologise… kind of).

The good news is I now have a certain degree of options, the bad news is that I’m pretty torn between which one to fail at first. The thing about the good, interesting careers is it does seem that people in those industries really don’t want you to find them. Trying to get a job in some flashy, sexy industry in central London is like playing find the grad scheme in the haystack, only the haystack is made out of broken dreams, human waste and the bitter sting of rejection.

I have been briefly considering the graduate diploma in law, purely because being a lawyer is a fairly unoriginal way of getting to say “hey everyone I succeeded in life”, plus there’s the wig. Unsurprisingly my mother is obsessed with the idea. Of course, the whole process is – predictably – something of a bottomless money pit. The relatively new joke about postgraduate loans tells us we were the first class to have to pay 9,000 pounds a year in government loaned fees, and the last to have to deal with the preposterously regressive system of post graduate funding in which anyone who wants to study beyond a bachelor’s degree has to either raise some 10 grand themselves or else beg a string of quasi-sphinxian treasure guard institutions and private sector monoliths for funding. Oh yes, spare us a crust guv.

In the case of the GdL this ends up working out at about 10k plus living costs and accommodation, so call it 15, more if you did it in my preferred location, London, then I’m led to understand there’s some other course for specialisation so call it, oh god I don’t know, call it an 100ft statue made out of 50 pound notes and severed hands giving you the finger.

It might be worth my consideration to go and and at very least try to panhandle for funding in the various ways you apparently can. But I haven’t the foggiest clue how, do you know how? C’mon I’ll do anything to not have to go and live back with my dad in South West Devon.

My ambitions are fairly modest really, all I desire is to wear a mildly nice suit to work and get invited to flashy Christmas parties in the Shard. Is that too much to ask for a poor West Country boy? Have you got a grad scheme? Giz a grad scheme! Never mind that my CV reads like a man who has treated the first 20 years of his life like one big drunken faff about. I always just generally assumed there would be a time for doing big internships and gaining experience. But they all required sending emails and I never found the right time and they were all in London anyway and I had nowhere to stay and so on and so forth, excuses excuses.

Look, I’m special alright! I am, promise! Oh screw yourself!


I’ve always been something of an apologist for Willow against the holier-than-thou alliance of hipsters and would-be campus intelligentsia who turn their noses up at the seedy, filthy, health code dodging den of idiocy, iniquity and existential torment.

My intellectual riposte to this was normally something along the lines of: Yeah, whatever m8, why don’t you have another wank into the spine of your copy of the collected works of George Orwell or your Ghostpoet EP you fucking cliché.

Now, I must say I’m starting to see the argument. Over the course of writing this page, it’s occured to me in a sudden flash of realisation that I’d really rather that the lion’s share of my memories from university were not just hazy recollections from night after endless night in that fucking man’s  fucking nightclub.

Think about it, really think about it now. What was the last truly good thing you ever got out of going to Willow? What life-changing occurrence or deep, meaningful realisation has ever come to you whilst trying to dislodge your shoes from the dancefloor or sat at  the sambuca soaked top tables?

This is it this time, I’m through, I’m done. I’ll have no more truck with the place. There’s more to life than this, there has to be. I’m worth more than this.

Having said all that, I’ll see you in there next week yeah?


I read that YUSU have started issuing warnings about legal highs, let me add my own voice to the clamour: when I was about 16, some people who definitely didn’t include me bought a sort of experimental marijuana substitute called “Mary Joy”, which was tenuously sold as some form of incense.

Now, if you were to – just plucking an idea out of thin air – roll some of this substance up in a Rizla and smoke it, and I can think of no reason why you would, then you might find yourself experiencing some  horrifying hallucinations consisting of – and not limited to – believing you had predetermined that this moment would be when you would die of a massive heart attack, but only if you got up to get a glass of water. Another guy you know might spend a good few hours locked in a room in the dark in the foetal position softly sobbing to himself and a third fella might experience nothing until getting on the bus to go home and throwing up three times all over a pile of copies of the Metro.

I’m not saying any of that will necessarily happen and there’s really no reason why you should believe me, lord knows I have no first-hand experience of the stuff. But hypothetically the people in the story mentioned above – if indeed it ever actually happened – would recommend that you should categorically not fuck about with experimental pharmaceuticals stolen off the back of vans and sold on as popuri in back alley tattoo parlours.

They might even inform you that in their experience you can’t even make any money selling it on to some other local reprobate. Nobody wanted to touch stuff like this after the first four or five people descended into a lovecraftian dreamworld where ravenous shoggoths chased them through the deepest recesses of their own subconscious.

Just a heads up anyway, hypothetically speaking.

I must say, despite my rather empathic change of heart on the subject of Willow over the past few weeks, I can’t sing the praises of the termly Itchy Feet nights at the Duchess any higher from the rooftops.

The Hollywood-themed night on the 19th January was the second one I’d been to and it really is offering something genuinely different in terms of feel, style and genre of music played – without being just another dub-house-jungle-gurnoffyourtits-step nights which occasionally get trumpeted in our comments section as the only alternative to cheese pop and top 40 based clubbing.

Itchy Feet,  I salute you. There, I’ve done it, now where’s my free ticket?