Tom Davies 10/06/2014

Photo credit: Jack Western
Photo credit: Jack Western

The words that follow comprise my final column of this academic year. It’s been a constant pleasure and never a chore to serve as York Vision’s house columnist for the past 9 months or so, and I hope to return to the job in October (reselection willing, looking at you, Eds).

What this column symbolises, though, is that my second year at university is very nearly over. In a few weeks time I will be, for all intents and purposes, a third year student, and thus approaching the final part of my three stretch at the University of York.

Getting all the clichés out of the way early, it really does feel like only yesterday that I turned up here, with a head full of dreams and a heart full of, well, barely concealed misanthropy, but that’s beside the point.

The point is, here I stand, nearly two years on from that fateful day in October 2012 when I sat on my new bed in Derwent College reading, of all things, the fresher’s magazine of this newspaper, wondering what my new life had in store, bereft of my worryingly encroaching beer gut and with clothes which almost never smelt like a stagnant mire in the Fens.

I’m still alive, just. But am I enriched? Have I grown as a person? Indisputably. I’ve invented my own sport (Potato Cricket), learnt how to avoid paying the TV license fee and, after running out of socks one fateful day, discovered what wearing a pair of women’s tights for a day feels like (it chafes, oh god how it chafes).

Academically speaking, two thirds of the way through my Politics degree I feel that I now have a real appreciation for Thomas Hobbes’ conceptualisation of the state of nature as “a war of all against all”, but enough about Revs on Sunday nights.

Anyway, regardless of what’s come before, what follows now for the precious remaining weeks of this term is the end of exams hubbub, which traditionally involves more utterances of “FREEEEDOM!” than a screening of Braveheart at an SNP party conference.

You’ve got your choice of big events, such as Project D, which is a kind of brutalist Woodstock. Or the Summer Ball, which if it’s anything like last year is essentiall going to a gig/carnival at a racecourse in a suit.

For many though, these three or four blessed weeks of university freedom before we return home will consist of the peculiar routine of coming home from Willow in full daylight and introspectively questioning whether this was quite what we expected when we triumphantly collected our A-level results.

What am I getting at with all this? Well, ladies and gentleman, that this is your life. Or at least it’s mine. This is my Uni Daze.

Rolling from place to place like I’m in some sort of faintly surreal dream, everything blurring into one, never really stopping long enough to consider the meaning of anything that happens. I’ve done some things I’m not entirely proud of this year, and had some successes and moments that I’ll cherish till the day I die.

I ended my first column of the year with a message of hope, looking forward to what the next three terms would throw at me, and I’ll try and end on the same note, with the vast majority of those three terms now having come to pass, Alpha and Omega, beginning and end and all that.

When all’s said and done, I’m still here, and so presumably are you if you’re reading this. We survived, got through it, made it to the finish line, and the term isn’t over quite just yet.

Once again, as I said in my first column, university is ultimately transient in nature, and that airport terminal of higher education arrivals and departures will soon fire into life. We’ll lose some old faces in a few weeks with graduation, and we’ll gain some new ones in a few months when the latest crop of freshers arrive. But I’ll be back in October, and York, as always, endures.

….

Tonight, or tonight in the sense that it will be tonight when this comes out in print, is the annual end of year knees up of this newspaper, formerly known as ‘Big V’ and this year renamed ‘Project V’, to mimic the similar rebranding of its Derwent counterpart.

As much as I’m sure the evening will be enjoyable, I can’t help but be filled with a certain underlying sense of dread, as I know the punchbowl will not even be half empty before some braying over-sharer suggests the playing of that most dreaded of drinking games. ‘Never have I ever’.

‘Never have I ever’ is one of those things which really highlights that in our modern, sexually liberated society, the stuffy, the shy and those possessed of delicate, effete sensibilities have basically been told to do one.

Is it really so old fashioned, so Victorian, so anti-fun, to not want to hear the minute, intimate details of other people’s sex lives.

Honestly, I have practically zero interest in who once had a root vegetable stuck up their arse at a farmyard orgy. It’s all a touch gloaty, let’s be fair.

Call me what you like, call me Peter Hitchens. Infer I’m just jealous, you may have half a point.

But please don’t leave me drinking awkwardly in the corner whilst you regale your threesome stories, and don’t give me a round of abuse for not playing. It’s just the way I was wired. Sorry.

….

I was recently forced to bite the bullet, load up my Netflix and watch the esoteric, strong cheese nightmare masquerading as a children’s cartoon that is Adventure Time as research for my URY show.

I’d always sworn to myself I’d never touch the show, deriding it as being the preserve of hipsters and stoners in the same league as the kind of people who thought it was cool and ironic to still watch SpongeBob Squarepants at age 16.

Despite my preconceptions, though, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.

Granted, it’s an occasionally deeply disturbing piece of work, with such themes as a kind of lovecraftian pantheon of cosmic deities and a whole post apocalyptic mythos which heavily infers the Land of Ooo has emerged from a post nuclear war earth and that the various giants, wizards and “candy people” are all essentially irradiated mutants.

Having said that, its humour is layered, clever and wickedly adult at times, and it’s genuinely well done as a piece of television.

I was also amused to discover that the dog in it is played by John DiMaggio, of Bender from Futurama and Marcus Fenix from Gears of War fame. Presumably one of the numerous nods to the show’s large older fan base.

Ultimately, I find it bizarrely cathartic when I’m hungover, so it gets a thumbs up from me.

….

This is a personal message to David Truscott, the man who was jailed a couple of weeks ago for threatening to kill a family who attempted to stop him acting out his fetish of rolling around in cow slurry on their farm in Redruth, Cornwall, near where my Father lives.

I would like to thank Mr Truscott personally, for the string of Facebook tags I received regarding the story, usually accompanied by comments of ‘only in the West Country’, and for setting back the cause of those of us from the West Country who are attempting to rehabilitate our image as a bunch of half mad, inbred, turnip eating, moon fishing, cider swilling rubes back by about five hundred years…

….

MY SECOND YEAR BUCKET LIST

1) Finally have all of my clothes washed at one time.

2) Stand around on the Osbaldwick village green and see what actually happens all day.

3) Drink a whole bottle of Gordon’s Gin in one night rather than the usual two thirds.

4) Learn to have bigger dreams than the above three entries.

Tom Davies
Tom Davies is a York Vision columnist and generally unpleasant, self pitying human being.