British Peculiarities, Part 2: Binge Drinking on Public Transport. During the day.

Sometimes I really understand why people from other countries and cultures think British people are a disgrace. Not only is our public transport woefully inadequate and ridiculously overpriced; not only do we drink far too much far too often and resort to all kinds of embarassing - and sometimes violent or dangerous -behaviour, sometimes the two are combined.
On the Virgin Cross Country service from Edinburgh to Leeds yesterday, I witnessed what can only be described as several intimidating "hard birds" from Glasgow "dropping down real low" in skimpy outfits to the sound of various "choons" blared out from their mobile phones, whilst they drank vodka with straws from paper cups and flirted embarassingly. This was mid-afternoon. I think this says it all.

British Peculiarities, Part 1: Sunshine

Last week we got three whole days of it. The sun was out, the temperatures soared like crazy to... around 60 degrees farenheit. And everyone was happy. Work, cares forgotten. People playing sports, reading, hanging out, picknicking, and talking non-stop about this wonderful pre-summer "heatwave." There were even some crazy poseurs sunbathing. This is Edinburgh, and at the time it was still winter. I love to lay out and fry myself brown, but adding pneumonia to the cancer risk just doesn't add up for me. British people just go crazy in warm weather. Because we get SO LITTLE OF IT. Case in point number 2, after a subsequent week of the usual seasonal grey and wind to add a touch of pathetic fallacy to dissertation hand-in week, followed last night by temperatures of a less-than-balmy -1 celcius (30 F) back home in Leeds and today's sunshine sent my father out into the garden, sans coat, fairly early in the morning to bask. I later made the trip outside, and even with a coat, jumper and tee, I felt reasonably chilly. The sun is strong and warming, yes, but the air is most certainly not. But in Headingley the students (oh, to talk of 'other people' with a collective noun that can be applied to myself) were all out in force in flipflops and board shorts, not a coat to be seen. And it will probably rain most of the year until....well, next year. We'll get a few days of genuinely warm sunshine which will see the parks fill with half-naked bodies (and I shall no doubt throw myself into the madness) and people will complain "Oh, it's so hot, it's too hot..." Is this really what you want, oh Great British Public? Sporadic days of tolerable warmth to revel in in hope of a summer that, if it does come, you will then bemoan?


So it's time to be self-indulgent. It's my birthday. Twenty-two. The thought always terrified me slightly, given the whole societal obsession with being twenty-one. However, I really don't care this year. It's not as though I look or feel any older (though I'm sure someone cheeky will disagree with me on this) and really I'm looking forward to this next year. Big things could happen. I mean, they may not, but for the first time in my life, I've actually become an optimist. Yep, university will be over, but who says it's cast in iron that the "best years of your life" have to end here? Hopefully the next year will be full of travel (hello spain/new york/anywhere else...), new experiences, new people (but still my old friends...) and maybe a job? Oh to be paid to write about travel... or music... (or nightlife... or fashion... or literature...) ...well maybe one day. But for now, I'm going to enjoy a day of narcissism and look forward to the wide, wide world that is opening up before me.

Post-script: Just watch me turn 23 in a rubbish office job, living at home, broke.


Exciting times

The blog/article I wrote for the Guardian on life in Edinburgh is up on their website, woot!



Rant Time

Though I stated previously that I miss Grenoble - and I do - I wouldn't go so far as to say that I "pine" for university life in France. French life has it's pros and cons, like life anywhere, but I personally prefer the party attitude we have here in Britain (social conditioning, the youth of today, etc etc shoot me), even if it would be improved by collating it with French wine (at french prices). I wrote an article for my student newspaper about the comparisons between student lifestyles en France and over here, and on student's attitudes. I tried to make it balance, but the general thrust was despite some advantages across the channel, I'm a big fan of student life en Grande-Bretagne. However... when it came to print, the question mark in my title (La Vie en Rosé? - note the [removed] alcohol reference) was gone, and the subtitle suggested I pined for a french style attitude in the UK. Those who know me will know this isn't true, but the editing (of my admittedly overlong piece) basically made me seem like I was categorising us British as drunken and sexually immoral and the French as superior (which I'm sure is how they see us)... This was NOT my intent at all, I was trying to dispell the image of life in France as an ideal. Ah well. I guess we're all misrepresented sometimes, and it would seem petty to bring it up. So I'll just put it on the internet for anyone to read...


The Final Countdown

So it's less than a month until I finish my University course. I can't say I'm as horrified by the prospect as I thought I'd be, but I think that that's probably because of the ridiculous amount of unfinished work I have to do in the next three weeks or so. Uni has been amazing - seriously, amazing. But the massive party fun times are in the past already, so I guess it's time to move on and see some new places, and possibly earn some money or something crazy like that. I hate wishing my life away and I'm really going to miss seeing my friends all the time... but I just wish I could be done with my dissertation et al. It really hangs over me like some kind of massive raincloud. Oh wait, there's always a massive raincloud too. Eesh, I need to go somewhere hot and sunny. For a long period of time.