Ha, ok, so the college-movie state was ironically referenced in that title. But there's nothing like a bit of Freshers' Week action in a very small city as an unwilling student Unionist to make you feel that there should be a punk-pop whiny soundtrack to all those little red bricks.
Essentially, what with one thing and another, I've spent the last four days in Newcastle not actually ticking off anything on my to-do list because I keep bumping into people. Which is really nice, but after spending half an hour trying to get from the Union building to where Joan, my bike, was locked up 200 yards away I'm starting to worry about doing any kind of academic work at all...
On the plus side, the other thing I'd forgotten about Newcastle was quite how brilliantly Geordie it is. Sounds stupid, I know, but three months in the south clearly has some impact. I had to slowly wheel Joan down Northumberland Street it was so blimmin' busy. Mainly because there were a group of "cheerleaders" grinding, quite ironically I thought, to dance music containing the lyrics 'I don't mean to be disrespectful'. When you'd got past those there were the Greggs queues, the old lady trolleys and buggies and Primark bags and buskers and the rest. How I'd underestimated the lunch rush I've no idea.
Anyway, onto the market and even before I'd got in a guy came out of his white van to tell me I'd locked Joan up wrongly, as "you'd just have to loop it o'er tha seat, pet, and you'd be haway, like". He was, of course, quite right. However it was most disconcerting to find my independence vanishing before my eyes as he watched me chain her up, only to give his approval from the van afterwards. See, things like that just don't happen in the south. Not in cities, anyway.
This was followed by people taking great interest in my bike basket as a shopping receptacle - the grocery guy packing it for me, whilst saying 'whey aye', a lady half my size apologising as I strode around the market with it, and a few comments on how pretty it was. Joan was touched.
Thus, I cycled home, sweaty after a three month cycling break, in the September sunshine, full of that yummy feeling of Geordie acceptance. Everyone should be as nice.