Frankly Vulgar Introduces The 9 People You WILL Meet At University

1)  The Wierdo

The weirdo inhabits a tragic Quasimodo-ish world of social anxiety, unwanted reclusiveness and permanently bad hair. I can guarantee that one of the first people you meet will be a weirdo and they shouldn’t be as easy to identify as they are, because there is usually nothing that physically identifies them (admittedly they often smell pretty bad). But identify them you undoubtedly will. The real mark of the weirdo is their ability to kill conversation stone dead simply with their presence. You could have a room with four best friends enjoying some high level roistering until the sudden appearance of the weirdo dissipates all the joy in the room. Large parts of your first year will revolve avoiding roaming weirdo’s who will attempt to befriend you inappropriately.

Famous Example(s): Dementors, Uriah Heep

2)  The Wasteman

(via The Telegraph)

(via The Telegraph)

There is a strange paradox at the heart of the wasteman. Wastemen literally do nothing at all: they don’t do any work but they don’t go out and have a good time either. They are just sort of there like that unshiftable antique armoire in your great aunt’s house. This raises the paradoxical question: surely the absence of effort requires effort to maintain? It can’t be easy to do no work at all and get away with it can it? Plainly the vast web of lines constructed by the wasteman means that he might be less of a waster than he appears. If only he could use that energy for good eh?

Famous Example: Nick Clegg

3)  The Northerner

It's cold 'oop North (via

It’s cold ‘oop North (via

As a Londoner, pretty much anyone who hails from north of Watford is both a strange and fascinating creature. Imagine my delight then, when the first person I met at Uni came from the barren post-apocalyptic wastelands that surround Leeds. Seriously though, northerners are great and by far the best kind of people on this list. Raised on a diet of glassing each other, wearing shorts in winter and pronouncing bastard as basss-ted. Northerners are not only generators of pure mirth but also make handy bodyguards when you start a fight in the local takeaway. Keep them close at hand because they are destined to eventually die in one of Blair’s oil wars.

Famous Example(s): The 9th Doctor, John Snow and DCI Gene Hunt.

4)  The Gym Guy

The reason you go to the gym is to do this one day.

The reason you go to the gym is to do this one day.

One of the more boring brute facts about the slow Americanization of our culture is that everybody has to look like a fucking Californian nowadays. The only way to do this is to sweat it out at the gym, which used to be the sole preserve of those fat public school boys whose latent homoeroticism leads them to beat each other up ‘playing’ rugby. Now we’re all in there, although beyond being relatively healthy I’m not sure I understand why. All gym guys seem to want to be, in Clive James’ imperishable phrase, ‘brown condoms stuffed with walnuts’. The paranoia and lack of basic satisfaction with life that the gym guy has is all a little bit sad really.

Famous Example: James Haskell

5)  The Toff

Draco finds out that Daddy just lost his job. (via

Draco finds out that Daddy just lost his job. (via

Toffs are incredibly defensive nowadays. Speak to any of them (they’re easily identifiable by their large jowls and un-ironic presence in the VIP areas of the worst clubs) and they will reveal this. It’s not fair whines the toff: Not fair that my parents have more money than yours! Not fair that people hear my accent and shout ‘rich nob’ and ‘wanker’ at me! Not fair that nobody takes my subscription to the New Statesman seriously! It’s just so tough for them. I guess the toffs will have to console themselves with all their money, their country hunting lodges (hurrah for killing small animals!) and their inevitable invitation to Prince Harry’s wedding to whatever Tattler-fodder he ends up knocking up.

Famous Example: Draco Malfoy

6)  The Private Schoolboy

The most slappable face in show business. (via

The most slappable face in show business. (via

Social status, shit loads of money and the far-reaching benefits of nepotism aside, all private schoolboys know that they are basically fucked. They are doomed to one day wake up aged 50, look glumly into the mirror and see Nigel Farage staring back at them. Unlike the toff who welcomes this fact (and has a hard on just thinking about it) the private schoolboy spends his time at university trying to hide from the inevitability that their career will involve fixing the stock market and fucking over ‘povo’s’. All the retro 90’s gear, the ‘Urban Renewal Trucker Mesh Snapback Hat’s’ and the pointless drug habit can’t obfuscate the bottom line here: privately educated men are c***s (trust me I’m one of them). Most private schoolboys have supported Chelsea since 2007.

Famous Example(s): Chris Martin, David Cameron, Michael McIntyre

7)  The Poser

Arguably the most dangerous character on this entire list and not just because they are the hardest to spot. The poser is that person who comes to university to finally be a proper ‘grown-up’. This results in a slew of tawdry certainties: drinking shit white wine makes you better than people who drink lager, incense is brilliant and anything French is the height of sophistication (I reckon this is how the poser justifies serial infidelity). Slightly less knowing than hipsters, the poser is mired so deep in self-parody that his/her life is nothing more than an unceasing satire, like the violence in a Paul Verhoeven movie. The poser usually studies languages or the humanities because those are the subjects with the most space to emit their special emulsion of bullshit and self-delusion. As comfortable in their own skin as a miniskirt salesman is in Tehran.

Famous Example: The guy with shit hair in the clip above who gets his ass whooped by Matt Damon.

8)  The Alternative Sports Guy

A classic case of a guy who enjoys alternative sports.

A classic case of a guy who enjoys alternative sports.

Before I arrived at University I thought that the only people who actually played darts were born before the start of the First World War but apparently this isn’t the case. You’re highly likely to meet alternative sports guy, a man who can only be dubbed ‘insane’ at pointlessly shite pseudo-sports like pool, table tennis and squash. Alternative sports guy’s ability in any given sport is in direct proportion to just how unpopular said sport is – the more shunned it is, the better he is at it.

Famous Example(s): Jesus Quintana, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ronnie O’Sullivan

9)  The Stoner

Arnie loves a spliff. (via

Arnie loves a spliff. (via

Christ stoners can be boring if they want to be. Seriously only when gym guy starts banging on about his dietary plan and how ‘whey protein isn’t what it’s cracked up to be’, does shit get as boring as when stoner’s tell you about how the hemp industry will change the world one day. Fuck off. And I don’t want to discuss the hidden symbolism of ‘Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle’ either because there is no symbolism in it. The best argument for the legalization of cannabis is that it will stop these guys from droning on about it sub specie aeternitatis.

Famous Example(s): Stone Cold Steve Austin, Steve Stone, Oliver Stone, Sharon Stone, Emma Stone


Shower Sickness

Films and television bombarded me with various clichés about university life, giving me certain expectations: that by December I would be eating cold Aldi value beans with my bare hands, that a year later there would be more drugs in my system than some shuffling nutter roaming the corridors of Broadmoor. What I didn’t expect was the shower. No feeling I’ve had matches the sheer vertical cliff face of hatred I feel towards the ‘Mira Sport’ shower in unit 4a’s bathroom. Mira is the Hamlet of the shower world, a whiny teenager vacillating between oxymoronic temperatures of arctic frost and uncomfortable ‘shouldn’t have worn this jumper by the log fire’ warmth. If Mira were a person this would be their awful first impression, but an actual conversation would reveal their greatest flaw: water pressure. Akin to having a pervy giraffe lasciviously swatting flies off my face, on a good day Mira might rouse itself to the water pressure equivalent of a heavily medicated old man dribbling slowly on the top of my head.

I’ve always had a deep suspicion of showers – the skin blanching heat and the banal inevitability of the accompanying full-length mirror that forces confrontation with the frank inadequacy of the human body. Yet showers are constantly thrust at me as acceptable as with Nando’s, reading on a Kindle and collaborations between Jay-Z and Kanye. Just like Amin, Gaddafi and Mao, shower lovers create a ‘regime’, a regime that orbits entirely around showering in the same way that a Catholic Mass revolves around chanting nonsense incantations whilst simultaneously playing Simon Says. Its no wonder that Bret Easton Ellis had his charmingly sociopathic serial killer protagonist Patrick Bateman slavishly following a strenuous showering regime in ‘American Psycho’. Showering is the kind of maniacal, narcissistic activity that Charles Manson and Ted Bundy enjoyed. Now, don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with good personal hygiene but my preferred method of washing – the bath, has been cast into cultural purgatory along with four piece guitar bands and thinking the Royal Family are vile. Still, I’d probably rather drink bleach than get back in the Mira Sport.

“I like it here can I stay” – 5 Random things I noticed during Fresher’s Week

1. “The House Always Wins”  

It’s an aphorism for a reason. Casino’s are far from what Hollywood led me to expect from them. There are no suave George Clooney’s and Daniel Craig’s or quivering, red-eyed Alan’s from “The Hangover” pushing around vast mountains of chips. The reality of the Casino is a hotel lobby-ish room filled with dead-eyed, mainly Asian pensioners whiling away what must be hideously empty lives.

What the hell does this have to do with Fresher’s Week you might ask? After many hours of clubbing, inebriation exacted a heavy toll  as I and a few others tumbled into the welcoming arms of Bristols charming Gala casino. Drunkenly claiming my free (the only free thing a casino will ever give you) registration/electronic membership card, which now needs to be destroyed as quickly as possible, we entered a wretched hive of scum, villainy and other similarly confused drunkards. Despite accruing a small fortune (or not), gambling deserves its reputation as a mugs game. I refuse to add more to this section simply because the very thought of the Casino now makes me angry.

A terrible place to do your banking.

2. “Hey Sexy Lady” 

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has labelled it a “force for world peace”.  Tom Cruise, Britney Spears and 100 other celebs from the acceptable to the mediocre have shared it with their followers. Maroon 5 had the chutzpah to cover it. People across the world are making an embarrassment of themselves aping the dance in nightclubs. I naively thought I wouldn’t hear it more than 15 times last week. It was played at least 50. Thats right – Gangnam fucking Style – the unlikely soundtrack to Fresher’s Week. As a bedroom dwelling, Morrissey loving ascetic “Gangnam Style” ought to be the kind of vulgar, trashy and (God-forbid) popular smash hit that I love to whine and moan about. But it really really isn’t.

Please be my uncle PSY. Please.

As an almost offensively viral uber hit “Gangnam Style” has all the usual infectious ingredients of a smash pop song. However what makes it so difficult to deride is that it contains an air of irony to often missing from massive songs of recent times. Listen to “We Found Love”. Rihanna is just a barrel of LOL’s isn’t she? Thought not. The over-blown video of ‘Gangnam Style” is an antidote to this kind of po-faced trash and  brilliantly satirises the alienating “more is more” culture of whole swathes of popular music. PSY’s tongue is so firmly in his cheek that is practically burrowing out of his face. According to the artiste himself:

“this song is actually poking fun at those kinds of people who are trying so hard to be something they’re not”

Such a sentiment isn’t particularly alien during Fresher’s Week.

3. Outsourced

On the first day at Badock room 4136, unit 4a (next door to me) was notable for the complete paucity of life within its boxy, pockmarked confines. This empty room has been the closest university has come so far to the sparkling wordplay, excruciating sexual situations and frankly unrealistic drug use seen in Channel 4’s superlative “Fresh Meat”. The (non) resident of 4316 was our very own Paul Lamb the invisible man.

He is actually quite shit at playing the guitar not going to lie to you.

Except this person wasn’t a Paul Lamb, for a start they actually appeared and secondly they were about as cool as an Indian foreign exchange student  can possibly be.  Reuben is a sort of 17 year old, Indian Bill Clinton (guitar instead of saxophone though) who fulfils most classic Casanova stereotypes. Within 12 hours of arriving Reuben had found a girl to “hold hands” with him. This seemed quite incredible given the utter foulness of the mango chutney Reuben forced upon us, but hey he does have a bit of an “aura”. Anyway, Reuben is so cool that he even has his own sidekick, the diminutive “MS”, very much the Robin to Reuben’s Batman she is believed to spend most of her time doing his laundry and waiting for him to take her to the circus. There is much more that could be written about Reuben’s exploits based on the last week alone but I’ve decided to save it for a rainy day.

4. Fat Bastards

ZaZa Bazaar is the United Kingdoms largest restaurant/trough, potentially seating 1000 customers/greedy ****’s each evening. The latter will gobble 60 chickens and a lorry load of vegetables every day for the foreseeable future. During Fresher’s ZaZa gave away free meals in exchange for the mobile phone numbers of a great deal of Bristol’s student populace. It represents a sort of “industrial moment” in the business of eating. Just as mind-melting mega blockbusters like the inane, misogynistic and frankly dull Transformers 3 pollute the soul, ZaZa represents a calculated assault on one’s stomach. That isn’t to say that its not somewhat enjoyable to eat 10 plates of moderately tasty food from 5 continents or whatever the advertising people try to spin it as. No, its arguably fine at that bovine, unthinking level.

60 chickens a day. 60. Chickens. A day.

Yet amidst all the gut busting, hunger pummelling, belt undoing feasting, yes actual feasting – Henry VII style, it is above all a vacuum of personality that one experiences at ZaZa. As an experience during Fresher’s it just didn’t work. In lieu of the incipient saps of friendship or blooms of conversation inside ZaZa was instead the sound of clattering of plates, the scraping of the sweet and sour sauce bucket for the last inch of cornflower-coated-pork-flavoured gristle. ZaZa left me confused then, at one level eating like a pig from neon lit troughs was quite fun, on another level it represents a horrific development in our entire approach to “going out” for food. With the expectation of very little in the way of conversation/human contact/joy I will go back to re-evaluate* my feelings.

*Gorge myself at the Chinese counter.

5. Epilogue – “coughers”

Coughers. In my lectures the week after Fresher’s. What are you trying to prove? That you drank excessive amounts of alcohol and  fumbled around unsatisfactorily with a member of the opposite sex? Yes? Good for you, good for fucking you but please, please stop coughing in my lectures. You are not even ill are you? Your coughs are so theatrical, so affected that they cannot possibly be real. I’m starting to wonder if there is some kind of cash prize for the biggest cu-, sorry cougher in the lecture hall on any given day. It’s actually driving me on the wall. It’s driving me Liam Neeson. And it only seems to be getting worse. 


Going To University

When going to Uni, the two real issues are money and what, if anything occurs after we roll out of the place. Thanks to Tweedle Dave and Tweedle Dumb over at Westminster both latter and former take on an increasingly cartoonish aspect. The economy resembles a skateboard riding, arthritic waiter hurtling towards a closed door carrying an offensive number of dirty dishes on one finger. The economy was bad enough in 2008, when forensic photos of Gordon Brown’s fingernails were considered news. If he were still PM the poor bloke probably would’ve chewed off his own arms by now. Money is the smaller pain anyway, it’s one of those things you need ‘enough’ of, like sex, food and sanitary products.

The future is the scary thing, the one people don’t really like to talk about and put up strained white flag smiles up for. Morosely the future limps into view. If the media is right – and lets not kid ourselves it always is – in four years time I’ll either be Mark Renton or Patrick Bateman. Maybe I’ll be both. Maybe I’ll be camped in a Milton Keynes squat huddling for warmth over a charred pile of worthless fivers. Probably not. I mean there are few limits for a possessor of a History degree right?