Sorry, this entry is only available in Welsh
Sorry, this entry is only available in Welsh
This time next week I will hopefully be in my new room at Aberystwyth.
I will hopefully be somewhere close to being unpacked, the obligatory, but tasteful posters adorning the walls, a pink gin poured and slowly steeping and the leopard settled and not eating anyone. I will be in Trefloyne Halls. I will have my own sink. I am hoping for a larger cupboard than previously. And possibly a more robust desk.
I imagine by this time I will be installing the shrine to Mark Gatiss in an appropriate place. (Please understand that the term “appropriate” is entirely subjective and that thing you are thinking is not it.)
My whole life is currently in boxes awaiting this spectacular move and I have, due to a temporary holiday from sanity, signed up to play sports with people half my age.
Yes! I am doing Sports Week.
There was no such thing as Sports Week twenty years ago. Or if there was they kept it very quiet. I can’t say that I have no concerns about it. I still feel young but every so often the creak of protest from my bones tells me that the years are marching on. Bones break and take longer to heal. Knocks that were shaken off in youth now render you crippled for days. Time. Gets you every time!
That is why I am doing Sports Week.
I shall never be this young again. Neither will you. So my darlings, enjoy yourselves. It is going to be Faberystwyth.
Mattress Protector: This is to protect you from the mattress. They do not buy new mattresses every year in halls. You will be sleeping on top of the blood, sweat, tears and other substances of at least three other people. And my top tip: Under no circumstances turn your mattress over. Unless you have a cast iron stomach. Or are stuck for a biology research idea. If there’s a bad stain on the top of your mattress, imagine what the bottom of it looks like.
DUCT TAPE: There is almost nothing that you cannot fix with Duct Tape. You can also use it to make cunning items of fancy dress.(Black for Darth Vader/ Batman, Silver for Robots/ Spacemen, White for Mummies/ Stormtroopers. (Warning: do not use it on bare skin or paintwork.)
TORCH: Get a wind up LED Torch. Never needs batteries. Never needs bulbs. Keep it with you. Always know where your torch is. Very handy for walking home late at night and all the usually torchy applications. In halls if the unthinkable happens and there is a fire or a building collapse it might just save your life. (When the IRA blew up the Grand Hotel in Brighton, Margaret Thatcher, who always carried a torch in her handbag, saved the lives of several people by getting them out of the building in the pitch black by torchlight.)
DressingGown: For fire alarms, late night bathroom visits, and extra warmth. Preserve what little dignity you will have and invest in a bathrobe!
Flip-Flops/ Shower Sandals: Mostly for people sharing communal bathrooms. People pee in the shower. People wank in the shower. People have fungal foot infections in the shower. If you don’t want to be standing in all of that, get flip flops. Never walk around halls barefoot. The hygiene thing is obvious, but, especially in kitchens, there could be broken glass, nails and other nasties on the floor.
Co-Codamol/ Berocca: Double check you are not allergic to the ingredients. This is the best hangover cure. If you remember and are in a state to do so, take it before you pass out. If not. First thing when you wake up.
Beechams All in One: You will get Freshers’ flu. This is because every germ in the world has come for a holiday in your lecture theatre. It becomes like an evil United Nations for germs for the first couple of weeks. The germs all get together. Then they decide to go invade somewhere. That’s where you come in. Beechams All in One deals with headache, cough, sore throat and blocked nose. Also consider getting Olbas Oil, some Lockets, a jar of honey and a lemon. Don’t try to tough it out. Don’t be a hero. And don’t think that just because you’ve had it once you won’t get it again. You will.
IKEA Bags: The big blue things from Ikea. Seriously useful. Much better than cardboard boxes as they are waterproof, don’t have tape that can break whilst you are carrying stuff to and from the car, and when not in use you can scrunch them up out of the way. You can also use them as a laundry basket/bag, a sledge in winter and for toting shopping around. Possibly the best 50p you will spend.
A Coat: Not having a coat is not cool and edgy. It is stupid. You need a coat. Get one. ‘Cause you are not borrowing mine.
A spare mobile phone: You will drop your phone. Probably in a toilet. You will break your phone. You might even lose it or have it stolen. To make sure this event is not a disaster, bring an old phone and charger with you. Load all your important numbers on to it. Get a PAYG Sim for it. Then when tragedy strikes you will only be incommunicado for as long as it takes you to charge up your spare phone. You can also use your spare phone as a “Night out” phone so you don’t have take your expensive I-phone or Smartphone to the pub.
There are people starting University this September who were born the year I started University. This fills me with a bottom clenching dread for which there aren’t really any words. Mainly because it doesn’t seem like five minutes since my parents dropped me off at Keele University, it was 1994.
Apparently that was someone’s whole lifetime ago.
Back then the Internet was new and shiny and a Blog was the noise a backed up toilet made. Email was still done on Telnet and no one had mobile phones. If you wanted to talk to someone you had to, well, talk to them. Or write a letter. With a pen. And paper. And a stamp. I tried explaining this to my sixteen year old nephew; he nodded sadly with an expression that clearly showed he thought I was ready for Shady Pines.
In my second year at Keele, my mate Nigel got a PC with a hard drive of such capacity (Something like 4Gb) that we all went round to his room to look at it. No one believed such a thing existed.
I had a typewriter. My parents thought a computer was an unnecessary extravagance. Said it would never catch on. The same parents that have just bought me a brand new Laptop to come to Aberystwyth.
It seems the times, they are a changing.
So what Brave New World am I standing at the gates of? I’ve no idea. But I guarantee in 18 years time a new generation will be laughing at it.
I have a recurring dream/ nightmare. I get to Aberystwyth and am in the process of registering and then my course tutor tells me that I have to retake my GCSE Maths in order to be admitted to the University. I protest that I have already taken and passed GCSE Maths, but it falls on stony ground. I then retake the exam and in spite of answering all the questions correctly, they fail me. (The GCSE that has to be retaken does vary but you get the idea).
No idea what that’s all about. Something to do with a fear of not being up to the challenge one supposes.
Another Aber related dream is the one involving Stephen Fry. This is slightly different. Mainly because my grandmother’s spare bedroom has apparently been re- located to a non- specified hall of residence, complete with 1960s floral Counterpane (look it up if you don’t know). It is the day before graduation and my printer is broken. Naturally there is some vital thing that I must print in order to be able to graduate (possibly my graduation gown?) And then Stephen Fry turns up and fixes it. So what’s that all about?
A friend of mine says that celebrities in your dreams represent your subconscious telling you about yourself. So either I need to fix my own printer (which as far as I know is working fine, other than an occasional bout of paper jam indigestion) or I’m a national treasure or a little bit gay. Or all three.
And then there are the dreams involving Doctor Who. I’m never quite sure if in these dreams I’m taking part in the filming of an episode of Doctor Who, or whether Doctor Who is real and we really are stopping the Daleks. Naked (me and The Doctor that is, not the Daleks). Either way I think I have seen far too much of dream David Tennant for my own good. And his.
I’m hoping that last one is telling me that one day I will be writing for Doctor Who, which is after all, one of the reasons for doing a course in Scriptwriting in the first place.
Dreams. Strange old things.
“Dream like you’ll live forever. Live like you’ll die today.”
It’s all about the numbers isn’t it?
From the moment you emerge from the womb and are thrust blinking and screaming into the light, everything gets a number. You get a date of birth. You get a number on your birth certificate. You get a national health number. And so it begins. And it carries on throughout your entire life and sadly even when you are dead you are reduced to a numeric. A grave plot number. A date of death. Hymn number 67. Psalm number 23. Lovely.
Mathematicians talk about significance. I shared a flat with a Maths major as an undergraduate back in 1997. Believe me, given the opportunity, they will talk about significant numbers. And loathe as I am to admit it. They are right. It is the significant ones that matter, not the multiplications of the equations of existence that govern our everyday lives and order the chaos of world.
It doesn’t really matter that I was born on 02/03/1975 at 20.31. Or that I am 170.18 cm tall. My significant number of the moment is the one that landed on my doormat this morning. My Aberystwyth Student Number has arrived. A number that is the sum of all my hopes and apprehensions for the next year and will govern the numbers of the future.
“I am not a number”
Actually, I am. And I’m rather pleased about it!