“Being a dickhead’s cool, right?”
Here is a repost of an article I wrote for my student paper up at University Of Manchester, The Mancunion, a couple of weeks back. The response from fellow students seemed good so I thought I’d give it a repost here:
There’s no question that Manchester University and the surrounding city is wonderfully diverse in all aspects of life thanks to the wonderful people of this place who aren’t afraid to push the boundaries: we have an amazing music scene, great places to wine and dine and some amazing sites of cultural interest. All of these, I’m glad to say, many of my fellow students are happy to dabble in. But what happens to our fellow students when this dabbling goes too far?
And this sounds like an all too familiar routine for many. The day you pick up this paper, you will probably sit in a lecture surrounded by girls with the unformed look of unwashed hair and studded noses, and boys in wax jackets with curly hair adorning the top of their otherwise shaven heads.
You will probably witness many having lunch at a vegan café, telling everyone there how they hope the next Pangaea features this great proto-Ska brass-rap outfit they found online. Personally, I can’t understand why this appeals to so many students around campus.
If I were to recall one of my fondest memories from higher education, it involved sitting in a field in tracksuit bottoms, Subway in hand, deep in some inane conversation with four other lads. And that all happened at a different uni’s open day.
But is our university’s fear of being easy-going actually a problem? In some aspects, yes. Student politics will remain being avoided like the plague, Pangaea will never feature any acts you’ve actually heard of, our union will always fail to be the social hub for students that it desires to be, and we will all continue to walk around campus with that niggling feeling that you’re just not ‘cool’ enough to be there.
The message (hidden here somewhere) quite simply is: chill out, Manchester! Don’t get me wrong, I will be the first one to say how much I enjoy now and then seeing new bands, shopping in the Northern Quarter and a hidden cocktail bar or two. All the same, give me a casual outfit, a cheesy DJ and some unpretentious students in a bar, and I will be a happy man.