Sunday, 28 February 2010

'But, what do you mean your parents can't pay your fees?'

Despite actively avoiding the massive stack of Sunday Times (of course it's the Sunday Times they ship in, it is Jesmond) in Tesco this morning in a vain attempt to do real work, the magic of the internet alerted me to these musings on the invasion of 'Rahs' to the North East's brightest city.

The Times did the same thing nigh on three years ago, when I was applying to study up here. On a near-scientific diagram of a 'Rah' they diagnosed that your average Imogen was likely to study English Literature at Newcastle. Upon arriving, I saw that, like Geordies being friendly and the Toon Army being real, the presence of Rahs in my first ever lecture was true to stereotype.

After overhearing a few corkers to use in the inevitable Rah-bashing conversations that ensue after Freshers' Week ("I'm so glad I broke into that twenty") and chucking out most of my pashminas, the Rah-infiltration has become pretty much part of daily life in Newcastle. Yes, from an outsider's view it's odd that there are hardly any people who aren't white (or orange), it's definitely weird that my local shop is a organic deli, surrounded by three boutiques crammed with Chloe, and it's frankly hilarious that the woman who does bikini waxes knows the ins and outs of everyone's social lives as much as what's between their legs. However, like any other kind of university demographic, you're used to what you know.

Giles Hatersley's amazement at the situation is nothing new - my Mum finally realised the grounding behind my Rah-gripes when walking through Jesmond this autumn - but it does mark the downside of putting such weight on the influx of public school kids. The majority of students at Newcastle aren't from public school, are all pretty skint, and, contrary to what the article may suggest, are Northern. The outcome of Hatersley's comments is probably not dissimilar to that of the mentioned 'Overheard at Newcastle University' facebook group - an embarrassing demonstration of prejudice from kids who are similarly middle class. I found it particularly amusing that the reporter's first name was Giles.

In the meantime, just to set a few facts straight:
- only people unacquainted with Newcastle call trebles bars 'triples bars' - it stands out like a sore thumb.
- Secondly, Eugenie has been seen rolling around outside Cosmic Ballroom, according to popular rumour. The fact photos haven't been printed, should they exist, suggests something about the censorship of the media.
- Thirdly, I've seen the aforementioned Princess wandering around both the library and outside The Grainger Market, both times without bodyguards. She does, after all, look like your standard Newcastle student - surely the big guys would give her away?

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Only fictional people can make my day better

adidas couldn't have asked for better product placement

Nobody likes to hear how you've had a crap day. Especially when the things that make it crap aren't really that big a deal. For example, sitting in the office of your student newspaper for too long, or the said office being full of hungover screaming people indulging in in-jokes that aren't you; or a five o'clock lecture on American identity, or the fact that two creme eggs eaten in quick succession can't improve matters much.

Whiney whiney yawn. However, the result of all these minor tragedies is that I can justify some self-indulgent onesie-wearing, milka-eating, and 'treat blogging'. What's even better than this magically restorative trio is the fact I have something totally amazing to blog about. That something is the fictional person Sue Sylvester.

Ever since I discovered Glee a few weeks ago, my Monday nights have been transformed. Sure, the cheesy harmonic covers and 'mash-ups' of pop songs are good, the High School setting intriguing and the outfits of neurotic staff highly desirable. But the real glee behind glee is the one-woman, one-liner behemoth that is P.E teacher and leader of the Cheerios, Sue Sylvester. Since seeing her vulnerable side after an alcoholic anchorman rejected her (in a ZOOT SUIT, no less) swing dancing ways last night, I think I love her a little more.

Not since I was seven and wanted Dick King-Smith's horse-riding, farm-loving Sophie of Sophie is Seven fame have I longed so much for a fictional person to appear in my real life. Actually, that's a bit of a lie; when I was fourteen I would've given the majority of my intellect for The OC's Seth Cohen to take me out on a California boardwalk so we could talk about the merits of Ben Folds. Once again, I have fictional-people-I-wish-were-real cravings. Ironic, really, as when P.E teachers were real and highly terrifying creatures in my life I would have done practically anything to avoid them.

What has really kick started this insatiable longing is finding Sue Sylvester's fan page on facebook. Like all good phenomena, her fan page is regularly updated, and, furthermore, in a manner that is suggestive of her real-life existence.

Now I don't have to wait for a whole week to establish how Sue C's it, I can simply sit on this page, day or night, and learn her opinions on all sorts of matters. Like, for example, on Valentine's Day she announces that "all these Internet dating sites are LOUSY with fatties, not that I've been looking". On 4th January we learn that "by sheer force of will, I've managed not to move my bowels in over a week". Stati like that just don't come with real people. Plus I'm one of 140, 331 Sylvester fans. Should I start making an icon of her, that's when people can get worried.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Spending time with documentaries and onesies: Valentine's Day

Not unsurprisingly, I am entirely ambivalent about Valentine's Day. Not bitter, not angry about consumerism, not miserable, nor loved-up, but entirely ambivalent. It's surely just another day, made into a giant beast of pink and red trash which results in a whole load of disappointment, not least when you walk past reduced boxes of Milk Tray and bunches of roses. Why the hell should I contribute when I am, in general, a well-rounded and happy person?

So, as a result, I carried on as if it wasn't happening. Spent a few hours on a train with some mini eggs and postmodern literature, got home, got into a ONESIE and watched the latest VBS documentary about heroin addicts in Swansea. The perceptive of you out there would appreciate two links in the last sentence. That's because there are two really ace things in it.

Yes, the onesie dream has finally come true. Months of wishing, hoping and dreaming has resulted in around 300 grams of ribbed jersey pleasure, making me feel like a giant baby able to conquer the world. It was only fair that I spent Valentine's night with it. If Bowlface was a style blog, which would involve me:

a) having far more hair
b) having far less podge
c) being given free clothes
d) feeling comfortable with taking photos of myself and writing about them

then I'd post the photo taken in pure joy and excitement by my buddy in the American Apparel changing room.

However, none of the above apply, so you'll have to make do with the previous link. That's clearly what I look like in it. The till-man asked repeatedly if I 'could rock it', which I don't quite understand, but yeah, I'm in love with it, and turned down drinks last night just so the onesie and I could have a little more special time.

The other bit of ambivalent romance came in the form of the aforementioned Swansea Love Story. I remember trying to look at the photos of this on the library computers a little while back. They were so awesome they made the computer crash. I don't even want to know what watching this on them would do...possibly corrupt the entire university network with its brutal honesty and load of cool that the average Newcastle type probably wouldn't know what to do with. Then I'd get a massive fine and wouldn't be able to pay it and not graduate. So yeah, watch, get a onesie, and stay away from the library.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Autism, it's like, the latest craze?

Autism is a socially debilitating condition. It's hardly the most fun thing about, and yet, recently, it seems like everyone wants to have it. I can kind of understand - it's always been kicking around in the Bowlface family household. Not that any of us officially have it, but we're occasionally so close to the mark it became a kind of funny joke. My brother would send me texts explaining himself with the sentence, 'I have autism'. Mummy Bowlface insists that at least three children a year in her class have it. I've even given family members books about it on festive occasions. Yes, we do know how to party.

However, autism broke out of the Bowlface Shire residence and into the mainstream last week when Channel 4's 'Embarrassing Illnesses' did a special feature on it. Ironically, really, as, sure, autism could be a tad embarrassing, but the sufferers probably don't care because, well, they're autistic. For such an incredibly high-cringe factor programme, it would appear plenty of people watched it because at the weekend I had about five conversations with people about autism. Furthermore, two of these people had taken the autism test and could run around excusing their rudeness much like those brotherly texts of yore: 'I have autism'.

Then came the literature. At the library at the weekend I was checking out books next to a little old lady who was checking out the same book on autism I gave to a family member three Christmases ago. THEN the book I received in the post, Speaking With The Angel, a collection of short stories published for charity purposes and edited by famous Father-of-an-autistic-child, Nick Hornby, had a ten page introduction all about it. Autism was coming through my letter box in a jiffy bag.

I took them all as signs and did the test. I got 16. Much to my amazement, this makes me .4 less autistic than the majority of the population. Who would of thought? Now there's not even a medical reason for my bitter cynicism. Maybe 'Embarrassing Illnesses' will expose all tomorrow night.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Newsagents: helping me on my way to obesity

It certainly wasn't the first time I've been aided in lady-business by a middle-aged Geordie of a stranger. However, much like the aforementioned, I certainly did not expect such a dialogue when guiltily scooting into the cosy newsagents to buy a Dairy Milk yesterday afternoon after some gallery action.
The Geordie-Asian accent combo is probably one of my favourites. However, this sage of advice and salesmanship had thrown in a little twang of Jamaican, just to make it really special. To keep things short, Bowlface is going to turn temporarily to scriptwriting:
Bowlface (B): peruses confectionery selection. Notices an absence of normal, 6-block Dairy Milk Bars and becomes a little distressed. Um, excuse me, do you have any normal sized Dairy Milk bars?
Newsagent (N): No, but we do have these big bars for 99p, which is really great value for money when the small ones cost 65.
B: Well, yes, the value is undeniable. However, I only want a small one.
N: adopts a Jamaican patois. The lady deserve some chocolate!
B: Evidently. However, not quite that much...
N: But you can eat a little now, and put half in the fridge?
[both N and B look at each other, B looking increasingly guilty, until a moment of dawning revelation]
N: You'll eat it all at once, won't you?
B: Yes.
N: Turning to a horribly-reminiscent GCSE Maths-style strategy of selling. But a chunk this size would normally cost 65p, so you're getting all the rest for about 25p.
B: Hands over a quid. Thanks. See you later.

If it wasn't bad enough to be seen maniacally scoffing one acceptable hand-sized Dairy Milk bar all the way through town, trying to subtly snap little bits off a giant bar whilst on the go was considerably more difficult. Thank God for the many and varied pockets of a Barbour Jacket. Needless to say that a mere seven squares remained by the time I'd reached my lecture theatre.