Today, I truly felt like I actually am a student. It’s a moment of realisation that dawned at 9:45am, while standing with some of my friends from the course.
…we were waiting for the pub to open.
Colloquially known as Newsroom 8, The Shed is one of the main student pubs and over the last few days I think I’ve been in there so many times I might as well start claiming second home expenses on the place.
It became the ‘go-to’ place for my seminar group to recover from the thankfully now passed module known only as ‘News Theory and Analysis’. The name of the module is the only piece of information from the 3 months of work there that I actually cared about enough to remember. It’s one of the few things of the module that actually was understandable, too. That Tuesday 10am tradition has now passed on to our revised timetable, but with a change of room meaning a shorter walk for the pub leaving us outside there for 15 minutes before it opened.
It’s not even 15 minutes before we can by alcohol at that point, as we have to wait another hour for that to happen. In a split second of thinking “what is going on”, all student stereotypes became true.
I have three favourite things about The Shed. Ok, four, as it’s got a great proximity. One, depending on where you sit you can just about get on to the University Wi-Fi. Two, they have loyalty cards for hot chocolates. Three, the TVs aren’t just for sport.
We’ve seen on occasion them tuned to kid’s TV in the mornings. Nothing is better than sitting in the pub while Sonic Underground is on Pop. Well, except playing “Guess the Ads”.
Children’s TV is quite amusing to watch as you get such a ridiculous range of adverts within one break, normally ranging from a new DVD to Ocean Finance to the latest thing available in Argos. It might seem odd to see a group of highly serious Journalists (none of those words are guaranteed to be correct) shouting out “HOME INSURANCE!”, “TOY CAR!” and “COMPILATION CD”, but it’s a perfectly reasonable way of predicting the next advert in the sequence. Truly an example of play-along-at-home fun.
Other times when we’ve had our highly serious meetings (breakfasts) in The Shed, there’s the chance of more fun TV games as the wonderful Challenge TV was on. It’s one of the few things I miss now that I don’t watch live TV. Sure, you might have to put up with a few episodes of Golden Balls (which makes no sense as it is, let alone without sound) but it’s worth it for the double bills of Catchphrase, Wheel of Fortune, Brucey’s Price is Right and Family Fortunes.
The lack of sound considerably improves those shows, as you spend more time amused about the considerably retro fashion sense everybody seems to have and how they’ll happily spend five minutes waving with the world’s most ridiculous grins on their faces.
There are also the odd roles of the assistants to laugh at. Not just the glamorous gold dress wearing leggy ladies, you’ve also got the person who has the odd job of standing waving arms hopelessly around in the prize pit of washing machines and cars that can’t have looked good back then. The best of these was on Wheel of Fortune, where a man who looked like both male modelling and acting careers had failed him, was left to girn aimlessly as he demonstrated how not to use a video camera, a microwave and a dishwasher. Curiously, all of these seemed to involve licking his lips.
Considering how old these shows must be, you’re left wondering what those people are doing now. Is the blue-shirted prize monkey still posing? Or was he sitting at home watching the same episode as us with a bottle of Jack Daniels in one hand and the other in a bag of crisps while shouting expletives?
The world may never know. Probably for the best, that.