It’s the Freshers’ Week time of year again and it’s got me thinking about how great going to uni was for me. I went in 1996, before tuition fees, since which students have become consumers of the product of education for a high cost. If I was eighteen now, I doubt I’d go to uni because I’m from a working class family that doesn’t believe in getting into debt.
A lot of my thoughts about uni made it into The Y2K Diary Of Cleo Howard. One of the big themes is her reticence about going. She has all the typical worries about being smart enough and being away from home. By the end of her first term she’s coped admirably with the change and made friends. She starts to love the city of Coventry.
Here’s an extract from The Y2K Diary Of Cleo Howard when she’s first in at uni;
Wednesday 1st November 2000 – A grey cloud looked down upon Lady Godiva’s nakedness as I walked past today. I wonder what bra size Lady Godiva is? When I came out of Woolworths blue sky heralded my reappearance. A flat puddle in the precinct was mightily upstaged by the nearby fountain’s projection of sparkling water into the chill air. I feel really detached today. It might be because I walked round town thinking about how I would describe the weather and scenery if I was a great writer. Am I really in Coventry studying English? Maybe I’ll wake up back in Reading before A Levels. When I saw the sandwich board advertising the BHS breakfast I suddenly thought that maybe a World’s Strongest Man contestant had once chosen egg, egg, egg, egg, egg, egg, egg and bacon. Or maybe there was once only seven eggs and a bit of bacon left at the time of day at which no more breakfast items were being cooked and displayed. I went and sat in the cathedral ruins for a bit after I’d been to Woolworths. It’s my favourite Cov quiet place. In Reading I like the avenue of trees in Prospect Park.
University always teaches much more than the subject you went to study. I gained confidence in my abilities every year I was there. I hope those starting this autumn have a wonderful time.
Snaggletooth has chomped a lovely lemon sundae, some peanut butter flavour Edinburgh Castle rock, some strawberry daiquiri jam and some rice pudding with golden syrup recently.
This week Snaggletooth has been chomping fruit rock (it makes him think of the seaside!), nibbling caramel shortcake, savouring a blackcurrant sundae and marvelling at my new culinary invention, the feta and olive potato waffle. The FO Waffle, as I’ve named it, is a fusion recipe taking something delicious from both working class and middle class foodstuffs.
This week Ol’ Snag has been eating crisps and desserts. He’s had fancy modern mango and passionfruit cheesecake (which didn’t exist when he was born in the 70s) and rice pudding with a big blob of strawberry jam (which has been delighting people since the 14th Century). He also had cheeseburger flavour crisps and sticky rib flavour crisps. Crunchtastic!
I’ve loved Danzig’s music for 30 years and last night I saw him at Brixton Academy! It was the hottest indoor gig I’ve ever been at, so hot that even when standing still everyone was sweating and you could have turned to the chap next to you and wrung out his beard. I stood in the same spot I stood in to see the Ramones in 1992 and had such a great time. I’ve seen Danzig at Wacken Festival, Download Festival and the Roundhouse in Camden but last night was somehow the best. He spoke to the audience more than at any previous gig I’ve seen and I defy anyone not to get goosebumps when they hear him sing “Mother”, “She Rides” and “Long Way Back From Hell”.
Danzig gets 26 mentions in the Eviscerated Panda Saga and 37 mentions in the Cleo Howard Diaries. Here are just a few;
“Cleo danced around her room to the sounds of her getting ready to go out playlist. This included AC/DC’s ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’, X-Ray Spex’s ‘Oh Bondage Up Yours!’, Flotsam and Jetsam’s ‘Hammerhead’ and Danzig’s ‘The Hunter’”.
“It was a chilly Monday morning in autumnal Reading. Glenn Danzig was singing loudly; ‘She rides, let loose upon the world, she is the night’. Cleo got up quickly, having set her iPod alarm for as late and as loud as possible”.
“Ian’s reply came in the form of a quote from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; ‘Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly hugely mindbogglingly big it is. I mean you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space’. He followed this up with ‘Don’t panic’ and pointed out that in another, parallel universe Jez and Cleo got married and lived happily ever after, but in this one they didn’t. In one universe they never even met. In one universe the Spira was never discontinued. In one universe Glenn Danzig is a tall man. In one universe Jason Statham is unable to say the word ‘trousers’ in a threatening manner. In one universe Gene Simmons is a shy man who doesn’t like to put his name to merchandise and refuses offers of casual sex. In one universe Rocky’s wife has a proper girl’s name. In one universe Ted Nugent is a pacifist vegan. In one universe bass players get all the chicks. In one universe Pete Steele has average sized genitals. In one universe furry pants wear Manowar”.
“Ian caused a tickle fight by saying that Danzig would have a willy like a fun size Mars bar. I couldn’t let him get away with that. Since last year Ian has got a lot stronger than me, Dear Diary”.
Since I was in Brixton I also took a look at the Bowie shrine.
This week Snaggletooth has mostly eaten things beginning with S (apart from fruit cocktail). Smurfs and Star Bars are very tasty but the spaghetti was a bit too al dente.
I’m surprised that my strange hobby of feeding things to Snaggletooth continues and I’m not even at the half way point yet (I’ve decided that I’m going to feed 666 things to Snaggletooth).
On June 25th Snaggletooth celebrated half Christmas with a Christmas pudding. It was a posh one and he enjoyed the candied clementine in the middle, however, he thinks calling it a hidden clementine is overdoing it, because he knew where it was, it was just unseen. Hopefully Heston will be calling this an unseen clementine Christmas pudding next year.
Snaggletooth has also recently enjoyed a custard slice. I used to always have a custard slice in Stewarts Garden Centre in Christchurch when on holiday with my grandparents. Some pineapple and a large sugary strawberries and cream flavour biscuit completes this set of four things Snaggletooth has eaten recently.
If there is anything you’d like to see Snaggletooth eat then let me know…
It’s been sweet and savoury for the Snagster this week. He’s had Twiglets (yes, you can buy them when it’s not Christmas) and a Topic, some Squares crisps and peach French Fancies. If only Mr Kipling had made them giant peach French Fancies, taking even more inspiration from Roald Dahl’s book.
I’ve now fed 288 things to Snaggletooth! He’s had caramel digestives because 29th May is National Biscuit Day. He’s had fish and chips because 1st June is National Fish & Chip Day. He’s had apple, celery and raisin salad (it can’t be all chips and biscuits) and apple with natural yogurt and honey. Thanks bees!
This week Snaggletooth has been eating things with a surprise inside. He’s had Happy Tattoo bubble gum, Super Tattoo bubble gum, a Kinder Surprise egg and a Fun Egg from Lidl.
He got some cool tattoos and toys.
I especially like the Japanese style fish tattoo.