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Tuesday, October 12, 2004  
Term-time wonders


Students, especially male ones in their first year, are a bizarre breed. The most bizarre ones are... Well, it seems almost as if some of them have a list of bohemian student things to do, like

Monday - watch a French New Wave film, preferably a black & white one
Tuesday - listen to some Bob Dylan
Wednesday - ask the library guy if they have any black & white photography [like wtf?! just randomly?! not "photographs of X" or "photographs by X", but just "hi, yeah, do you have any, like, photography in the university, like, a collection? of black & white photography? it's on my wannabe-boho-student-boy itinerary for today": so say I "we have some slides of photography", and wannabe-boho-student-boy picks an LP of the poetry of Ted Hughes as read by Ted Hughes instead OH JOY
Thursday - listen to some Frank Zappa
Friday - watch a Kurosawa film

I was never like that. I really wasn't. I never went in the fucking library in the first year, for a start.

I guess they're just lonely. Or maybe idiots. This one is wearing a black trenchcoat and is very well-spoken.

Also, wtf is up with people born in 1985 wearing Nirvana tops?

NJS

10/12/2004 01:07:00 pm

3 Comments:

Blogger kye - 10:30 pm

Ha ha, I know what you mean - I'm a frosh this year. It's ridiculous what humans will do to belong, superficially, to whatever subculture beckons them. I admire people who don't give one shit about whatever's in fashion at the moment. But who knows, maybe that trenchcoat guy just wants to look at some pictures, maybe he is genuinely interested in photography and just doesn't know where to start, or what resources the library might have that he is completely ignorant of, but might as well take advantage of - that's what he/his parents paid for. Random things make the day better, more vibrant anyway.
I'm not a "wannabe-boho." I'm glad to find that there are a sizeable number of students who aren't. I am probably an idiot, but I'm sick of being so self-conscious about it. I try not to worry about what other people think of me, but it's only human to do so. And so I'm on the fence when it comes to judging people like you do here. On the one hand (the "judging is good" hand) judging is also a human thing to do, so why don't we just admit it and stop being so fucking nice to each other when we really don't mean it; also, don't TAKE EVERYTHING SO SERIOUSLY (which I do all too frequently, I'm well aware). On the other hand, why not strive to be that (seemingly) rare find that is a kind person? The dismissive, scornful attitude is one of the most disheartening shitholes I have ever come across in the quagmire of human encounter. (I hope that awful metaphor made you laugh instead of vomit.)
I'm not saying you're disheartening, Nick, okay, and I realize you were just making a comment on something you were thinking about. I'm just reacting out of the loneliness, frustration and utter lack of direction I feel overall at university, so far (not that I was expecting it to make everything better). Just next time you come across the Ted Hughes reader or any stranger for that matter, why not smile or somethin'. It just might make their day.
P.S. I hear ya about the Nirvana tops. Or any concert/band tops, for that matter. I don't like them all that much, but if people want to wear them, what the hell.

 
Blogger Ian - 1:12 am

Hey, some of us wear band shirts because we don't know what else the fuck to wear. I will say except for a Who shirt my Dad got me I've seen every band I own a shirt by. I don't know if that's a mitigating factor.

 
Blogger Nick - 8:44 am

I guess it's the "doing things in order to have done them because one should have done them as a sensitive young man at university" schtick that gets me, because I didn't ever do that, really. Partially this was because of the university I went to, which didn't have the kind of resources or student population to facilitate that, and partially it's because I don't like doing things because one should, liking things because one should. Hence I've seen an armful of French new wave films, for example, and thing they're boring arse. Hence I've listened to plenty of Dylan, The Doors, Led Zep, Zappa, etcetera, and found them to be boring arse as well. And hence the kind of people who seem to bite a big chunk out of the myth that these things are intrinsically good, intrinsically the best, (as some people seem to do ) irritate me, because it looks to me as if they're liking something just because they should. Of course they may get something out of it that I simply can't or don't for whatever reason, and maybe it's wrong of me to judge them negatively for that, but it's just... so easy to fall into that pattern, into that box of smoking a spliff twice a week and listening to Dylan and wearing black and being into black & white photography and thinking it's somehow more authentic or cooler or more meaningful. I guess I just like colourful things (he says, wearing brown/grey/green cords and a black top today).

But the thing about where I work is that some people, students, don't now how to react to me (and the other staff here) and just use us as a conduit for exploring these boxes they imagine they fit inside. The ones who are the most interesting are the ones we actually get talking to, the ones who ask us a question that isn't redundant, who address us as human beings rather than authority figures (I guess the school-university authority bridge, from Teacher / Pupil binary to something much more fluid, where everyone is a student or researcher in some way, practically [or so it seems] throws people in at a deep end where they need to learn a whole new system of ettiquette in order to talk to people).

Kye, I had an AWFUL first term at university, really, really horrendous. I've mentioned it briefly in the past on here but never really addressed it because it was so foul I don't want to go back over it. But nevertheless the one thing it taught me was that I should have spoken to people more, fellow undergrads, lecturers, the cool guys in the library, whoever - I wish I had done.

 

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Nick Southall is Contributing Editor at Stylus Magazine and occasionally writes for various other places on and offline. You can contact him by emailing auspiciousfishNO@SPAMgmail.com


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