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  • Henry Michael

Writer's Block 9 - Going Out

Updated: Aug 30, 2018

As the Spring Term comes to an end, and with summer exams just over a month away, life seems to have merged into an endless cycle of revising throughout the day, going out in the evening, and people asking me to put my clothes back on because other people in the library are starting to feel uncomfortable.


Regular nights out offer a welcome break from revision, but in many ways they’re equally stressful. Getting served is a brutal example of natural selection, and one that can see me spend up to 4 hours thrust against the same bar, smiling hopefully at the bar staff and repeatedly asking the price of Carling in the hope that someone will acknowledge me. I usually return to find that everyone’s taken this opportunity to leave, forcing me to try and save face by miming the receipt of several hilarious text messages, then attempting to start conversation with an attractive girl nearby. She typically responds with vibrant unenthusiasm; perfecting the look of someone who’s only realised how much they were enjoying the previous five minutes since these ones started happening, and excuses herself to giggle excitedly as someone in a Spartan outfit farts and points at his biceps. This process continues to repeat itself like some kind of Greek mythological punishment, until the night finally ends as the lights are snapped on - a sentiment along the lines of, “look how ugly you are, now get out”, and there is widespread despair as all but the drunkest new couples come to realise the flattering effects of near-total darkness.


I often wonder if going out was more exciting when we were underage. Back then, evenings were based around elaborate attempts to hide the fact that you were 15, like trying to get past in a burka, loudly reminiscing about the Miner’s Strike, or borrowing the ID of ‘your brother’s mate from work’, a plan which might have worked had he not been bearded or Somalian. Somewhat laxer door policies saw you spend your time at hotspots of culture like Liquid and Q Bar, the kind of local establishments where everyone knows your name, as long as your name is ‘Gaz’. These places resembled the waiting room for Trisha; where middle-aged men leered indiscriminately across the dance floor, women resembled the later stages of the portrait of Dorian Gray, and the closest you got to a toilet attendant was someone trying to sell you smack by the urinals. Nights here either ended at the kebab house or the GUM clinic, but either way, you were sure to go home with some form of disease-ridden tubular meat.


Of course, this will all seem like a distant memory if you’re revising for finals. Your days will be mostly spent wrestling with MWE, the world’s first computer system with Alzheimer’s, or sobbing quietly as you browse through more pages of vague learning points than the Old Testament. Cardiff exams are always interesting, thanks to the now-annual tradition of catastrophic typing errors; trivial things like writing all the questions in Wingdings, or printing the entire exam paper in white ink. And even after this, it’s still a good 6 months before you’re able to trust that the results were added up correctly – until which time it’s perfectly possible to receive a letter explaining that you didn’t actually qualify as a doctor, and what’s more, most of your career will now be regarded as indecent assault. Still, there’s no denying that a degree from Cardiff can be an important asset, especially if you’ve run out of loo roll; and one that’s sure to open up your future to a variety of distinguished career paths, like being a hostage, or letting people punch you in the face for money.


But that’s the thing about university: you have to put in the hours eventually. Life can’t be all play and no hard work, or you end up like Charlie Sheen - rich, successful, and having sex with several beautiful women at once. I can’t remember my original point anymore. But either way it beats having a job.



Letters to the Editor – This week: No-one asks me how I’m feeling


Dear Henry,


I feel like I’m ugly. I’m always wearing skimpy dresses and high heels like the other girls, but no matter how much lipstick or make-up I put on, the boys never seem to look at me. Is it something I’m doing wrong?


Thank you for your letter Kevin. Sometimes it’s easy to feel like the odd one out, but everybody’s insecure about something - I’ve suffered from abandonment issues for a long time, ever since my parents sold me on eBay. The truth is, it’s not about how you look, but the confidence you exude; just look at Justin Beiber, who’s managed to achieve global heartthrob status despite looking exactly like Squirtle, and apparently suffering from the same backwards-infancy thing as Benjamin Buttons.


I read an article in the Gair Rhydd about new methods of identity fraud. Should I be concerned?


It’s a sad truth that as technology becomes more advanced, so do methods of theft. Most muggers these days now operate via chip & pin, and my girlfriend had her identity stolen online: it was later stolen offline too, and for several weeks I had to put up with a strange Nigerian man wearing her clothes, snuggling me in bed, and constantly berating me for not texting him enough. It’s important to be careful, as more and more internet scams are starting to target gullible people - I’m yet to see any enhancement in my penis, while my uncle lost thousands after signing away his details to someone claiming to be Nationwide, then discovering it was actually the Central Bank of Ireland.


My girlfriend of 10 years left me out of the blue. It feels like my life is over – what do I do now?


Life can be cruel, but the only way forward is to stay positive. When mum ran off twice with an amnesiac, my dad could easily have sunk into depression - but instead of giving up, he chose to lighten the atmosphere at home by involving us in loads of silly games, like reversing the family car into a reservoir, or our personal favourite, “cut daddy down from the ceiling fan”. Regular daytrips to the adoption home helped boost everyone’s spirits, even if he did often forget to pick us up again – and we soon came to learn that as long as you look for it, every cloud can have a silver lining. I don’t know why he left home.


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And finally, last week’s ‘spot the difference’ winner goes to June, from Cornwall - who correctly spotted that while the Queen’s hat is blue in the left-hand picture, the picture on the right is of a masturbating bonobo staring dead into the camera. Well done June.