Fear and Loathing in Exeter

Exeposé 553 (the first editorial of my stint as editor-in-chief. God knows what I was thinking, one can only imagine the bemusement of the student population of Exeter. Please also note the “effortless” shoehorning in of a message towards the end of my rambling, purposeless tract. I seem to remember Give It a Go Week bombed somewhat spectacularly. I like to think I had at least something to do with that)

Exeter summertime is a strange and ghoulish carnival of terror and loneliness. No doubt if you are reading this you will know exactly what I mean – campus is but an embittered husk of its usually lively self, populated exclusively by weary-eyed students grasping frantically-tattered reams of now-worthless notes or, alternatively, musky bottles of white lightning in brown paper bags. The birth of this frightening Ghost Campus is a monstrous metamorphosis which only serves to traumatise students remaining at University until the end of term proper and is a beast well worth examining.

Indeed, often one wonders just how effective the University is in occupying our time after exams. After all, catered accommodation in particular makes a point of encouraging students to stay until the ultimate end of term. Though this means an extra week or two of free laundry, unlimited lavatory paper and decent porridge it does, however require the endurance of the apocalyptic era of decline and despair which impregnates the proceedings.

For one, the library becomes a sick gallery of the damned. Bereft of the plethora of presentation preparation meetings which pervade this fine establishment during the earlier months of the year, what the library descends to is a specimen of pure, unbridled madness, resembling a twisted Daywalker version of its equally surreal night-time state. Depraved individuals prowl through the shadows, exchanging nervous glances with unwary book-seekers and making surreptitious calls ordering pizza, making the age-old legends of unlucky individuals living there exclusively – like the fabled Mole People who live in the earth beneath our feet – seem all the more plausible (and terrifying).

However, this is not a problem confined to first years residing within the fortified confines of campus accommodation. In theory, though, second years should have it better: after all, their landlords are hardly gong to barricade them in their houses and force them to live there until the end of their lease like some sick imitation of Big Brother conducted by insane Clubeasy employees. And yet it is always the case that one’s housemates skip the country as soon as they finish their last exam, inevitably resulting in one person remaining in a cold, Victorian terraced house with nothing but DVDs and the stray cats outside the window for company.

This writer, for example, has recently bid farewell to his housemate who is departing for the exotic, alien shores of Denmark and sits now in pyjamas and dressing gown eating some despicable combination of spaghetti and blue cheese whilst watching old ‘90s cartoons on the internet and cursing the progress of modernity, an inner ear problem lending things a Lynchian air of nightmarishness as the walls start closing in and the floor spins furiously. I’m a bottle of scotch and a war wound away from becoming a sick cliché. And, as the good Mr. Barclay will below attest, those poor few who remain – much like sinners after the Rapture – are doomed to endure the manic-depressive eccentricities of Exeter weather, which threatens to scorch or drown your hide in equal measure. To venture outside of one’s walls is to sacrifice oneself to the whims of nature, and she is a cruel mistress.

However, redemption from this vile domain is available. This week sees the advent of Give It A Go Week, wherein one can sample tasters of what the University can offer you as a student, with a complete listing of events available later on in this very publication. Certainly, this is a welcome haven for the lost and lonely interested in something new and can certainly start fuelling the hunger for the all-consuming madness of the fresher’s squash come October. Though those versed in the doctrine of sarcasm such as myself may happily poke fun at the University during a lull (see paragraphs one through four for a reminder if necessary), the opportunities are available to curtail this. Though GIAG and its plentiful bounty of activities and letters required for abbreviation may present last-minute entertainment, at any point in the year one can engage in an array of extra-curricular activities, including not only societies but also our very own Xmedias, all of whom are operated exclusively by students for students. In this way, one really has no excuse to not get involved in University life.

So, next time you’re sauntering through Cornwall House slugging ironically the Dragonfruit juice sold in Keystore and recording witticisms on the decay of campus life in a moleskin notebook, perhaps you may consider scanning an AU notice board, picking up a flyer or even thrusting aside the weighty doors of the Xmedia Office and getting involved in something great.

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