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?

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