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Random thoughts

In lieu of a proper post, some observations.

Signs of Spring on Campus

  • The campus is full of first-year geographers with theodolites (regular as clockwork, Thursdays in the second half of February every year). The area between the Staff Club, the Law building and the stream must be the most-surveyed part of Southampton (no mean feat, considering we're the home of the Ordnance Survey).
  • Students' Union elections are upon us. Again. I amuse myself by playing spot-the-crypto-Nu-Labourite, and seeing if they're at all distinguishable from the crypto-Young Tories. Sadly, the candidates are what you'd expect from a generation that were born under Thatcher, spent their childhood under Major, and their adolescence under Blair. MOREOVER, I HAVE NOT BEEN MISTAKEN FOR A STUDENT (not even a postgrad). V. disappointed.
  • The plaza outside the Students' Union is full of stands from the Big Four, with bright young things debasing themselves in order to lure in the gullible. Join KPMGPriceWaterHouseCoopersDeloitteToucheErnst&Young as a fresh graduate, travel the country, and dress like an eejit in a futile attempt to convince people that Accountancy Isn't Dull. Worst job seen in 2007-2008: the lad that spent all lunchhour with his head, arms and torso stuffed into a medium-sized suitcase (his legs were free so that he could walk around). I bet he wasn't told that the graduate recruit programme involved partial asphyxiation. Still, if you don't play the game, you won't make your way in management.
  • The deadline for Semester 2 exam papers starts looming.

In other news, there has been a regrettable outbreak of Ugg boots. This must stop. I'm sick of seeing undergrads wearing mid-thigh denim skirts, opaque black tights, and the ugliest sheepskin boots known to mankind. What's wrong with DMs? They at least give the foot some support - the Ugg wearers seem to spend all their time shuffling around (I've not yet told them to pick their feet up and walk properly, but that day will certainly soon come), and most of them seem to have feet that pronate so badly that their heels are half-off the boot heels.

Also, what's with the widespread wearing of University-branded clothing. As a student, I wouldn't have been seen *dead* wearing a sweatshirt with "University of Warwick" on it, and that seemed to be the case for most of my contemporaries (club/society clothing being the exception). I'd ask "have they no self-respect", but I don't want to sound like an embittered academic on the slippery slope towards middle age.

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(Deleted comment)
I don't have a problem with down-at-heel boots per se; I have owned boots in dire need of reheeling, mostly while a student. What I object to are formless sheepskin wellies which render the wearer incapable of lifting their feet clear of the ground when they walk. Riding boots are fine by me, as are Doc Martens.

I certainly don't have a problem with short skirts/minidresses, black tights and boots, given that that was what ias wore when we first met.

I do find uni/college hoodies mystifying, though.

As far as I can tell from their advertising, the student union candidates all have the same policy: "I have a name".

On the upside, at least my scowling has reached the level where I can walk across the concourse in a bubble of hassle-free isolation.

You're a student! Can't you explain it?

You are not on the slippery slope towards middle age, this is because if you are then I definately am - and I'm not... so there :)

I can top your ugg craze...

There is an ugg craze here.

I am in Los Fucking Angeles. The temperature during the day has at NO POINT been less than ten degrees centigrade. There is NO NEED to wear uggs in this weather. For much of the time, there has been no need to wear a *jacket*. Why is every other female I see attempting to melt her feet in a pair of uggs?

And what is it with crocs? They're plastic, and they're ventilated. No use in cold weather, no use in wet weather, no use in hot weather... why are they so popular? What insanity causes people to believe that effectively shoving your feet into plastic bags is good?

I need to do a Top Ten Really Bloody Stupid Footwear Decisions sometime. New Rocks would be on there, uggs, crocs, the multifarious anklebreakers collectively known as heels...

Bring back places that are safe to walk barefoot.

One of these days, I'm going to find a decent pair of comfortable sandals.

Then be trollishly English by wearing them with socks.

Also, what's with the widespread wearing of University-branded clothing.

Always thought that a very '70s pseudo-American phenomenon, though I found it quite amusing a few years ago seeing some very white, very upper-middle class Little Lord Fauntleroy-type business school fresher at Bradford wearing a Howard University sweatshirt...

undergrads wearing mid-thigh denim skirts, opaque black tights, and the ugliest sheepskin boots known to mankind

Same here in Edinburgh; I haven't seen such uniformity in outfit since, er, I was in uniform.

As for branded clothing, it seems that every single member of any sports team or club is issued with an Edinburgh University fleece and/or hoodie, embroidered with their name. Mind you, when I was at Imperial College the physics undergrads were all very proud of their red sweatshirts with the wave equation; IIRC you had to pass your first year exams to be entitled to wear it.

The general viewpoint at Nottingham in the early 90s was that having a polo shirt (it was always polo shirts) with your name embroidered on it meant you were either a) a member of the union exec, b) a hilariously self-important wanker, or c) both. As a tech crew type I certainly encountered enough of b) (although less c) than you'd expect - union sabbatical folks were generally pretty sound after their first couple of months) at events. You know, the sort of people who HAD to be given an event radio even though they had no use for it other than for wandering around looking important. And who HAD to have all-areas passes, but only so they could hang around backstage or on the PA riser getting in the way. A pox on the b)s of this world, say I.

Oddly, b) was usually synonymous with "member of the ents committee".

Re: Uggs, I'm with you. It could be worse though - it could be bare legs that look like corned beef because of chafing by the winter winds ;)

In Oxford (and, I guess, Cambridge too) wearing an "OXFORD UNIVERSITY" hoodie/sweatshirt/etc is pretty much equivalent to wearing one saying I AM A TOURIST, particularly if it's in a big blocky American college typeface. Especially because the place is called the University of Oxford. College or society schwag, sure, but not the place as a whole. Of course, if you forget to pick any up during your visit you can buy "Oxford University" t-shirts at Heathrow, along with "Mind the Gap" stuff and teddy bears in guardsman's outfits. That said, very rarely you'll find "OXFORD UNIVERSITY" also meaning "NAIVE FRESHER".

I do have an Oxford University Cycling Club jersey, but that's because I'm a member. Being a university spouse isn't bad - you don't have to go to any lectures but they'll still give you associate membership of the college so you can drink in cheap student bars, and you can generally talk societies into letting you join.

But it has been ever thus! The uniform changes slightly but there always is one; the herd instinct is strong in undergrads.

The undergraduate herding instinct helps with not treating them like individuals, which then disperses any inconvienent ethical concerns regarding the marking-by-D20 process.

I bought some University of Warwick branded clothes last year - but it was freezing cold and they were the only scarves and hats that I could find to buy on campus! I did find the oxfam shop to get some gloves from in the end though, as there were no branded gloves.

I've been wearing the same hoodie sweatshirt emblazoned with my school's name for the past three days, because I've been taking final exams for the quarter. (To tell the shameful truth, I've been wearing the same jeans and t-shirt underneath, too, but at least I've been changing my underwear.) What can I say? It was free -- they gave one to each student when we enrolled.

I mean, I'm a complete tool to serve my school by advertising it. But it's been cold! And a hoodie doesn't mess up my hair as badly as a hat would.

Over here I don't think anyone thinks twice about wearing University-branded clothing, even if it's not your own school. What pathetic, in my opinion, is wearing a something that advertises some clothing brand in the style of an old college sweatshirt. "GAP Est. 1969" or "Abercrombie & Fitch" or "Nike" -- congratulations, you've paid 50 bucks for the privilege of promoting a multinational brand. How cool!

I know that things are different in the US, but I'm surprised at how much things have changed in the UK over the last decade. I can sort of see the reason for wearing a uni hoodie for your own place (tribal identification, mainly; I'm discounting practical reasons such as "it's cold", "the SU shop doesn't sell anything else", "wash day today"), but wearing University-branded clothing for institutions other than your own completely baffles me, much as do the faux-vintage, artfully distressed t-shirts beloved of lower-league hipsters, which ironically advertise athletics clubs from a continent and two decades away.

I have a similar attitude towards branded clothing in general, so I'm right with you on the matter of Nike, GAP, etc.

there has been a regrettable outbreak of Ugg boots

There has been a similar outbreak at Nottingham. The shuffly walk is very irritating.

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