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The Week That Wasn't

What a week. 

The weekend and Monday was a rush to get my column out (see the cut); after that I had to fix my laptop and eeepc (I can't get Windows 7 to install on the former and the latter can't find the home network).  Right now I'm back to Vista and it sucks.

And yesterday was an editorial meeting for the uni's rag at the North campus, meaning a two-hour journey each way. 

They've had to extend the deadline again, which gives me until tomorrow to knock out an article or two.  Time to put 'staff writer and commentator' on my CV, I think.  

But here is an important question - did FOX news mentalist Glenn Beck rape and murder a girl in the 90s?  (answer: no idea, but this is exactly how he spread bullshit, and what goeth around cometh around).

The Guardian's Organ Grinder asks an important question - could Question Time work in the US? (Probably not - look at the medic circus that are US predidential debates).

Today I should be running Supernatural, and tomorrow is working to the deadline.

The Vervezine is all about the new people this month, all those people flooding in for the new academic year.    

Of course, there's something we're forgetting here.  Amidst all the incitement to get hammered (or, as I like to call it, 'networking'), collect sexual conquests and blow the student loan on household goods you never knew you needed, one thing is being forgotten.

Old people. 

Or, as the term is nowadays, 'mature students'.  I'm not quite sure if that's to stroke egos, or imply that older students smell like an adventurous cheese. 

Either way, I'm here to tell you what's useful from an older point of view; where to go if you prefer The Clash to whatever the kids listen to, what it's like in class and where's good to eat out.  You can thank me wth beer.

Afer all, things are a different on the other side of the age gap.  When it comes to pubs, you actually want to leave at chucking out time; in the clubs you're more Granny Smith than forbidden fruit and in the classroom, the desire to learn can feel over-enthusiastic. 

Throw in the hyperactive pace of teenage life and all of this can leave a mature student feeling like they're caught in a whirlwind.  That is, if whirlwinds were constantly on the phone to their friends about some major catastrophe that wouldn't even rate as minor gossip back at the office.  

Firstly, coming back to uni after spending years in the Wide World of Work can feel like coming back to secondary school, and not in a good way.  A lot of secondary school behaviours still apply here, most annoyingly cliques.  Yes, you're trapped in a Teen Movie.  

However, there's nothing really to be done.  After all, a mature student is twenty-five or older, a good seven years older than the average.  There will be differences in behaviour; the only question is how you deal with it.  Will you give advice where needed - or go hide in the pub?      

Which conveniently brings me to point two.  If you're in North Campus and need to eat or drink, head out.  Holloway Road is packed with great cafes and it means not sitting in the Rocket having to listen to 'yoof' music. 


If you prefer a more heh, liquid lunch, head out past the overpass, again up towards Seven Sisters.  On your right is the Coronet, a Wetherspoons with no music and lots of old men waiting for God.  Past that is a punk bar if you're feeling brave, but further up and on your left is the rock bar Big Red, where it's easy to spend more on the jukebox than drinks and there are enough pool tables for everyone.  Try the nachos. 

If you need to pick up some food or goods before going home, there's a Morrisons, Argos and Waitrose on the way to Seven Sisters Road, while a Tesco lurks near the Highbury and Islington underground station.   Seven Sisters Road also has a ton of small shops and cafes, as well as a small market with fresh meat and veg.       

I haven't been to the city campus much (twice in the last year or so), but the Hoop and Grapes on Aldgate High Street is a good pub, both for beer and food.  Fortunately it does special beers at cheaper-than-average prices.  There's also a bunch of food places down there, though I've never really tried them.

Inside the classroom, things are a little different.  One issue I had was whether I should acknowledge that I know more or shut up and give the kids a chance to speak.  But most students won't say much at all if they can get away with it, especially in Year One when everything's still new.  After all,  they could be embarrassing themselves in front of people they don't know.  But the great thing about being mature (cheesy?), is that such concerns died off years ago.

So go for it.  If there are other students who don't like your hogging the limelight, they're welcome to start getting involved too.  Think of it as friendly competition, encouraging each other to know and work more.  Any tutor worth their salt will let you know if you need to be quiet.  Mine did.    

The last big thing about life as a greybeard in London Met is that you're not alone.  The university takes in many older students, all of them wondering if they were just as bad at that age and whether they have the stamina to do it all again.  My advice is do what you want; just don't overdo it.