Monday, 30 July 2012

Strawberry Shots and Plum Filled Plots #3 'Where's the trigger?!' - The Dark Knight Rises Review

"Come at me bro!"
Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy came to an epic conclusion in this summer's The Dark Knight Rises to mixed reviews from fans. People felt that while the film was good, it was nothing they had not seen before. I wholeheartedly agree.

As a film in itself, it was incredible. The plot was gripping (if a little hard to follow, but then that's Nolan for you), the characters compelling and the drama thrilling. However, it felt like a bit of a re-hash of Dark Knight (#2). The plot, while still good, again had Batman pitted against a super villain, this time Tom Hardy's 'Bane', and his criminal/terrorist gang while they try to carry out their plan to destroy Gotham City. Compare that to Ra's Al Gul in Batman Begins and The Joker in The Dark Knight and the similarities are not hard to spot.

Bane fights side by side with Batman in Arkham City
 However, I thought it interesting that Nolan chose Bane as the films main antagonist. In the comics, Bane is a bit of a nobody who is made strong by a mask which filters a chemical known as 'venom' into his blood. With the 'venom' supply, he doubles in size, goes into a rage and basically kicks ass. Think of him as the D.C version of Spider-man's 'Rhino' or X-men's 'Juggernaut.' Slow, a little stupid, easy to outmanoeuvre but strong as all hell. However, in this film, Bane is weaker (still strong enough to punch through brick however...) but much smarter, able to carry out intricate plans/plots/evil schemes. Apparently Nolan chose Bane over fan favourite 'The Riddler' because he saw him as Batman's physical as well as mental equal. Now that's a re-imagining.
Another thing I found interesting about Bane and the film as a whole was that in one scene, the famous panel of Bane breaking Batman's spine in Batman #497 was faithfully recreated. Don't want to give too much away but seeing it in that dark, dingy format was something else!

The only thing comical about Bane was that he sounded as if he was trying to do an impersonation of Ian McKellen as Gandalf or maybe Sean Connery as James Bond. Once I realised this, every time he opened his mouth, it was difficult not to laugh.

Bane aside, the film flowed very well. My only major criticism is that the twist came too late. It happens very suddenly (in the middle of a fight scene actually) but is quickly tied up within about 5 minutes. It needed fleshing out over about half an hour for it's full effect to be felt. Also, I feel that as a fan myself, it hit me harder. General film goers probably wouldn't have grasped the magnitude of the suggestion but because I have spent countless hours reading about it (to my academic detriment I must confess...) I think that the blow was harder for me (and indeed the rest of the die hard fans). 

Also, this film is set 8 years after the end of the second. However, all the characters don't look a day older than when they were last shooting. Understandable, but then don't set the new film so far into the future. Lucius Fox and Alfred should by all rights be well past it if that's the case, bringing Bruce his dinner on a tray while they hobble after it on zimmer frames. However, obviously they still look exactly the same as they did in the last film.

The conclusion however is perfect. Nolan outdid himself with that. No doubt. Again, I won't give anything away but all the loose ends are successfully tied up but there is enough Batman mythology reference to allow for a potential spin-off. All I will say is that the title may not be referring strictly to Bruce Wayne...Ah-haaa...

Anyway, must dash, Alfred is calling. Apparently there's some bright light in the sky in the shape of a cat idea what he's on about...

Total rating of 8/10.
Brilliant, one to watch if you've got the time but if not, stick on The Dark Knight and you probably won't have missed much. 

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Seed Strainer #2

Something effectively known as the Pinocchio paradox:

If Pinocchio said 'My nose will now grow!', what the hell would happen?

It can't grow if he tells the truth but if it does not grow then he is surely lying? Thus, his nose must grow. However, his nose does not grow if he is telling the truth!

Mind = Blown...

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Seed Strainer #1

If, as the scientists say, the Universe and all in it are expanding thanks to the Big Bang, what, may I ask is the Universe expanding into?

   Rather, if you were somehow able to stand on the precipice of the edge of the Universe as it was expanding and stick your arm out into the nothingness that it is supposedly expanding into, what would happen?

Exotic Flavours #1 - The Daffodil (Cheltenham)

   I wouldn't really consider myself a 'foodie'; although I must say, I like to think I know what good food is, where to find it and how to review it. So, with this in mind, it was last night that I first set foot inside (arguably) Cheltenham's finest dining restaurant.

Of course it was for a celebratory meal honouring Sarah (my girlfriend) and her graduation that day (from Birmingham...with a first...I'm telling everyone!) so it was with some trepidation that I entered, garbed in my most finest, fine, finery. 
   The first thing I noted was that the building itself was actually an old cinema complex that was up and running during the 1920's and 30's and the décor itself spoke volumes to this. Old film posters advertising such Marx brothers films as The Cocoanuts and A Night in Casablanca as well as Marilyn Munroe's saucily titled Don't Bother To Knock adorned the walls and the old striped ticket booth, still stands like a friendly sentry to one side of the entrance, hearkening back to the golden age of cinema when Hollywood ruled.  
The menu too almost embarrassingly split first and second courses into such categories as 'Screen 1' and 'Curtain Raisers'. However, this only really added to the sophisticated charm. 
   I was mainly excited by the fact that it was 'Martini Monday', between 6 and 8 when you buy a Martini, you get one free so, sidling up to the circle bar in what used to be the upper circle of seats, I was feeling like James Bond. However, just before ordering my vodka Martini (shaken not stirred mind you...) I was directed toward a pre-written list of Martinis that were compatible with 'Martini Monday'. With my ego deflated slightly (but not completely) I ordered the next James Bond sounding thing; a 'French Martini'. 

   I later learned that this was in fact Grey Goose vodka, Chambord, pineapple juice and fresh raspberry to counter balance the dry kick of the vodka and give it a well rounded, sharp tang. 

   When it showed up however, I felt all but cool. Bright pink and frothy (from the shaken juice) I gazed down at the orange love heart sprayed onto the top foam by the bar-man. However, after the first sip, the vodka kicked in and I quickly ceased to care.

Sounds like an exotic disease if
you ask me. "Sorry love I've got
Arabella Sprot. Better get down to
the clinic, pronto..."
   Taking our seats at the bottom of one of two great curving staircases, the music for the evening: the Arabella Sprot Group, began to play. With the lights dimmed slightly and the soft jazz playing in the background, it was much more of a dining experience than I have had in other restaurants. The attitude at the Daffodil was much more relaxed. There seemed to be no rush. Once you were there, it felt as though they expected you for the evening. They wanted you to take your time, something that other restaurants seem nowadays not to do. 

   Food wise, I ordered the 10oz Black Angus rump steak with a choice of three sauces (green peppercorn, a red wine jus and béarnaise sauce) however, I chose the green peppercorn. Served with it were hand cut chips and a stem of lightly roasted cherry tomatoes. 

   Again, the wait was not long but it did not feel rushed. It sounds horribly cliché but it really did feel as if the chef had taken his time to ensure that the food was as perfect as possible before service and it was most certainly that.

   I am not a big meat eater and I rarely eat steak but this was a beautiful piece of steak, perfectly cooked and juicy. It literally fell away and there was little fat on it. I am a man who notoriously avoids fat on meat but as I say, I devoured pretty much everything. It was wonderful. 
Perfectly formed balls...
   The chips themselves were utter wonderment too. Hand cut and gently fried before being lightly dusted in what I can only assume was garlic salt, they melted away as soon as I bit into them. The most incredible chips I have ever eaten (and I like to think myself a connoisseur because I have eaten a LOT of chips in my short time...) without shadow of a doubt.

Dessert followed shortly after and controversially I decided upon their intriguingly titled 'Popcorn Ice-cream Sundae'. With home-made gingerbread coating the bottom of the glass and their very own popcorn (again following the buildings cinematic history) flavoured ice-cream, topped with popcorn and caramel sauce, I greedily tucked in.
   The popcorn ice-cream was strange. The texture and temperature was of normal ice-cream but it had the unmistakable flavour of popcorn. Almost like if someone handed you an enormous, juicy orange; it's sides bursting with crisp, refreshing juice but when you hungrily bit into it, the bright, sweet orange flavour you were expecting dissolved into ash in your mouth and instead all you were tasting was a water biscuit. Possibly topped with a little bit of cheddar cheese...  

Anyway, the 'fireyness' (not strictly a word but we'll pretend it is) of the gingerbread juxtaposed with the creamy, bland (not a bad thing) flavour of the ice-cream was enough to create a pudding that exceeded my expectations. It was much more enjoyable than I had expected.

All in all, the entire place was amazing. Not only was the building itself impressive but the service was swift and was still able to make you feel comfortable enough to relax and enjoy the music without a stressed out waitress named Chardonnay, accidentally dripping sweat into the leek and potato soup and stinking of stale smoke from her last 'king skin' fag break, accidentally dropping an assorted collection of filthy crockery over your bonce in an attempt to get you and your party to leave because 'we have to seat other customers'.

A bit 'P.T. Barnum' in terms of overall presentation. More a show and an experience than somewhere you'd pop into if you had the munchies but I would recommend this to anyone who would be interested in a classy evening out. If they could afford the price that is. Again, not bank-breakingly expensive (for 4 people and a total of 7 dishes plus sides it was roughly £120) but enough that I won't necessarily be popping back in the next few weeks.

I'll need to sell a kidney or liver first...any takers?

Total rating of 5/5.


Thursday, 5 July 2012

Strawberry Shots and Plum Filled Plots #2 - 'Spins A Web, Any Size...' The Amazing Spiderman Review

Spidey knew he'd left his bloody contact
 lens somewhere...  
During the aftermath of the overly ambitious puke-stain that was Sam Raimi's 2007 flop Spider-man 3, it was announced that due to 'disagreements' between Raimi and Sony, the Spiderman franchise was to receive a re-boot scheduled for 2012.

   Well dear reader, I went to see this re-boot after a long 4 or 5 years of highly strung anticipation on opening night (is anyone else seeing a pattern here?) and after the huge build up of excitement and after the person sat next to me had to ask me to calm down because I seemed to be vibrating slightly, all I can say is that I was disappointed.


Again, I love Spider-man. The original films, the comics, the TV cartoon series, the whole universe, all of it genius.
However, this new re-boot left me with a feeling akin to when someone promises you a huge piece of chocolate cake but when you open your mouth to bite into the rich, chocolatey bliss, that person instead crams a handful of nachos into your gaping wide squeal-hole...

Not unpleasant but not exactly what we'd been promised.

   The first thing that struck me was that for all the promises of this being a movie focussing more on how Peter Parker dons his spandex and becomes the web-slinger for the first time, it didn't do that much more of a better job than the original 2002 version. The back story is there but it has no real sticking power. Peter seems very quick to accept his powers and seems immediately set on leaping around New York in brightly coloured pants, saving the cities fair citizens.
   Also, after the death of Uncle Ben, Peter is seen briefly crying at school but then the plot moves swiftly on. The death of his Uncle, the man who raised him in the absence of his real parents is barely mentioned again and Peter's desire to find his Uncle's killer seems to shrink into nothing as the ball eventually gets rolling into the main plot.

   However, in the re-boot vain, this film sticks more to the comics in that Peter designs his own web shooters; an aspect that was slated by fans in Raimi's adaptation. However, this played no real part in the film and did nothing to add to our opinions of Peter or the drama of the story. In fact, he doesn't even make the webbing himself but instead orders it in batches directly from Oscorp (possible sequel there?). It wasn't a problem necessarily but I felt the action could have been improved ten-fold had he suddenly run out of web fluid and needed to refill his web shooter as he frequently does in the comics.

Also, Rhys Ifans is here as famous Spidey villian The Lizard. However, the overall design of the Lizard doesn't feel like the Lizard that appears so much in the literature. Although Ifans plays the 'Jekyll and Hyde' mad scientist 'Curt Connors' very well here, he doesn't look or feel like anything really reptilian. He looks like a man made to look a bit like a lizard with some cheap C.G.I. There's no signature snout or torn lab coat. May I ask why? Why change what all the fans grew up with? What is the gain?

   Wow this makes it sound like I'm really slamming it...

It really wasn't bad. But then that's just it isn't it?
   It wasn't bad...but it wasn't great either. 

   I love Spidey and any kind of action movie but I have to say, I was mildly entertained at best. For an exciting re-boot and re-imagining, it didn't grab me as much as I had longed it to (and indeed as it had promised to).

 I wanted it to enthrall me and take me away to the Caribbean for a saucy weekend of love. I wanted to come home and find it lying naked on a pool table covered in beer and Skittles.
    However it felt more like an errant child who had brought a drawing home from school done in macaroni and glitter glue. It's crap, but you know you have to put it on the fridge in order to appease it. It felt like it was constantly trying to please but never seemed to be able to successfully do so. 

   It could have been so dark. It needed a 'bat-man, Christopher Nolan-esque' re-boot. Not a Marc Web 'I've-only-directed-one-other-film-that-wasn't-remotely-action-oriented-and-it-was-shite-anyway...' re-boot. It needed someone like Danny Boyle or Gore Verbinski who understands the gothic architecture of New York and the slightly frightening side of Spidey himself. 

   Having said that, it was nice to see a slightly more Ultimate Spider-man take on the character. Where Toby Maguire's Spidey was fairly stocky and built, Andrew Garfield's Spidey is tall and spindly, gangly where Maguire is thick and actually fairly amusing where Maguire is cringe-worthy in his humour.

   All in all it wasn't bad but it had so much potential that was never explored. It was a very safe film. The plot is predictable and weak; it didn't really excite enough. I didn't get the impression that people sweated over the plot too much. It just sort of came together and they stuck in on the script and sent it out. It could easily have been the plot to another film. Bio-chemical threat in the last twenty minutes but everything is cleverly sorted by the hero just in the nick of time. No real effort, no real planning or direction, just apply a template from another film and pretend no one has seen anything like it before.

   All in all, it was okay. Not bad at all and worth a watch if you've got some free time but this is not the Spider-man that I had been waiting for.

Total rating of 3/5 I reckon.

   Anyway I must run, some giant Lizard just crawled out of my toilet and is currently shedding it's skin on my living room floor... Oh for goodness' snake...

Rob out.

Monday, 11 June 2012

The Tastiest Licks #1 Coldplay Live

Already topping album charts in thirty countries, Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto tour hit Manchester’s Etihad Stadium last night in a powder keg of flashing neon lights and chest-rattlingly uplifting anthems. 
   Front-man Chris Martin and the lads seem to have come on leaps and bounds since their now seemingly tame 2000 album Parachutes, opting for a more aggressive, and in my opinion, interesting style. With the release of Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, Coldplay moved away from the image of the quiet, humble-mannered, charmingly buck-toothed (watch the video for Yellow and you’ll know what I mean) Englishman to the aptly revolutionary musical soldier. Running from mid 2008 to early 2010, the style of the Viva La Vida tour encapsulated this radical change. However, instead of alienating loyal fans, Coldplay managed to successfully add to their continuously swelling numbers of adoring followers. 

   With the Mylo Xyloto tour comes yet another stylistic as well as musical change. Opting for juxtaposition of style between a post apocalyptic grimy refugee centre and the bold fluorescent neon lights and graffiti of the 1980’s, the band certainly knows what to do to keep their hangers on uh...hanging on. The tour budget has also been beefed up since Viva La Vida and as I push my way through the ticket barrier, I am handed a brightly coloured wristband (that looks oddly like a child’s watch) that I am told will light up during the show.
The stage is set with five huge circular screens that I initially took to be enormous trampolines but after a moment a notice is projected upon the screen instructing everyone to put on their wristbands as ‘it’s part of the show!’ The stage is perfectly in keeping with their new look with the entire goal end being covered in a sheet with one or two lines of their poetry splashed all over it in neon graffiti. 

   The support acts on this date of the tour were hot new British icon Rita Ora and Swedish pop siren Robyn. Odd choices I initially thought. Where Robyn is Euro-zone-pop-nonsense, Coldplay are sophisticated and thought provoking. Where Rita Ora is the latest party girl, blazing the trail for independent young women, Coldplay are producing music of a much higher level about issues more than just how ‘everyone loves to party’. To be fair though, both were surprising.
   Rita Ora seems totally unfazed by her sudden shot to fame as she sprints out on to stage to mixed levels of applause (coked up chimpanzee to mild, stifled yawn). Sporting a pink netted top, multi-coloured animal print rain jacket and what appeared to be a pair of gentlemans briefs, her hair falling in dyed yellow ringlets, my thoughts drifted to the resemblance she bore to Madonna in the video to Lucky Star. This aside, she performed incredibly well. She has a fantastically varied vocal range, able to keep the bass down but also able to blast out some serious notes as well as an eyebrow raisingly impressive ability to free-style short vocal licks over the top of her own tunes. There is a tendency among musicians who find themselves suddenly topping the charts to become so overwhelmed and excited by their new found fame that during live performances they lose track of their vocals and deliver less than recordable renditions of their songs (see Rizzle Kicks at Radio 1’s Big Weekend 2011. I should just say that I love Rizzle Kicks but listening to them live just after they hit it big was naff).  However, listening to her performing such numbers as How We Do (Party) in which she, to varying degrees of success, got the audience to participate in the eye-rollingly annoying hook “party and bull-shit and party and bull-shit” to her current (as of 11/6/12) number twelve single R.I.P I was pleasantly surprised.  Interestingly enough, R.I.P is only three places above Coldplay themselves at number eight with Princess of China so all in all, good on ya Rita! Don’t think I’ll be rushing out to buy the album but there is much potential here.

   Robyn was next and as I stood on the pitch with the twenty thousand other Coldplay fans watching the roadies remove Rita Ora’s drum kit to replace it with Robyn’s (WHY?!) I began to look forward to seeing what Robyn would do. I knew her whole ‘thing’ was her platinum blonde, tightly cropped hair but with a length hanging down nonchalantly over her right eye. She came on slowly after her backing band to a mish-mash of electro noise that sounded almost like a recording of two dial-up modems making violent love on top of a photocopier then played out over a loudspeaker. However, this was soon replaced by her singles Call Your Girlfriend as well as With Every Heartbeat and a rather catchy rendition of Cobrastyle done with her own techno-pop flair to great effect and I will admit, although being a well known cynic of all things dance music, I found myself quite enjoying it! Although my excuse is that it was originally done by hip-hop/reggae/punk artists Teddybears so I don’t feel too bad...

   After a long wait, the audience were eventually rewarded with a recording of Jay-Z’s misogynist rap anthem 99 Problems, probably as a salute to his friendship with Coldplay (he famously lives next door to Chris Martin and apparently Gwyneth Paltrow and Beyonce are very close friends). Following this utter tune to which I made an utter ass of myself, rapping along to all the words and getting strange looks from all who were stood around me, Coldplay took to the stage to the theme tune to the epic Back To The Future films. Not only was this a brilliantly uplifting and pulse poundingly exciting song to come on to, it also subtly suggested the links to both their previous discography as well as their huge steps forward with the unspoken promise that while striding forwards musically, they have not forgotten their previous works and would be remaining faithful to the sounds that made them. As I previously mentioned, the budget for the tour had clearly gone through the roof and this was made clear by all the things that they managed to grab people’s attention! Not only did they begin the set with the album’s title track Mylo Xyloto, they followed it with the fast paced yet soulful Hurts Like Heaven. During this, multi-coloured fireworks were set off and the lasers burst through the thick layer of stage smoke and lit up the dusky evening sky in a bright kaleidoscopic array of flashing neon lights. At this point also, our wristbands began to flash on and off in time with the music. All around the grounds people were jumping up and down in wonder as their friends and the people around them too began to throw out brightly coloured lights from their wrists, creating their own visual performance as Coldplay created their musical one.
   During Lovers In Japan, cannons full of butterfly shaped confetti were set off and the audience were left to fend for themselves as the baby pink and green mess cascaded down upon our heads, down our bras and shirts and littered the stadium floor so thickly that leaving after the show was akin walking across a thick pulpy carpet. Yellow followed soon after, arguably Coldplay’s best song and it was given a much more intimate feel when after coming to a vibrato shuddering end, Chris Martin bashfully admitted he had “fucked up” and asked the audience if he could go from the first chorus as the audience had not had time to sing a certain lyric. This level of honesty and commitment to fans is what makes Coldplay so endearing. They come across with a level of ‘English-ness’ that others tend not to. They have a quality about them still that seems to shout, “We are just some guys who make music and this sill feels way beyond us.” In fact, at one point after The Scientist, Chris thanked the audience for giving the band “the best job ever”.

   Certain highlights for me were stadium levelling anthem Viva La Vida in which, by way of applause, the audience continued chanting the songs refrain long after the band had stopped. The atmosphere of good times was palpable and for a brief moment, as cheesy as it sounds, the crowd were united in love for Coldplay and as we all sang our hearts out, the guys took to the stage again to perform Mylo Xyloto’s anthem Charlie Brown. This was time for the wristbands to come in to play once more. Flashing on and off in time to the music, the stadium lit up and flashed back into darkness every few seconds. From greens to blues, reds to whites and yellows, everyone was in awe. It made us feel like we were part of the show. Not only were we an audience, standing there singing, we were all part of the same visual experience! For a final song before their encore they played the hit single and knee tremblingly powerful Paradise. I have always thought the bass was incredible but it was something else entirely live. Those first few notes go right through you and as soon as the rest of the band began to play, everyone found themselves jumping in time.

   For the final encore, they ended with Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall to which I jumped about like a loon and once more made an ass of myself. More fireworks erupted as they finished the set and they stepped forwards to bow. Unfortunately I couldn’t make out Chris Martins final words as the applause was too loud for him to even be heard over the P.A. However, I think it’s a good thing if your fans can drown you out with cheering. Again, it just shows that as Coldplay continue to produce music that (seemingly) the world adores, they have managed once again to step up the level of performance. They really did give their all last night. Not one of them was not drenched in sweat yet all were smiling happily as they joined hands and took their final bows and thanked the audience for coming. 

I loved every second. It was fantastically produced, excellently performed and all in all, faultless.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Just Popped Up #1 Student Life - Wasted?

 Having been a student myself for the past two years of university and seven of secondary school, I feel this gives me a somewhat unique insight into how students these days are living and adapting to the world that they will soon help to maintain.

  My overall concern is that student life is really not all it's cracked up to be. Let me explain; my girlfriend, when she began her first year at Birmingham (so proud...) attended  a kind of taster day in which students who had received a place were introduced to the university and given a general welcome. During the introduction, the representative, in an attempt to win popularity excitedly exclaimed that the main focus of university life was to get wasted and party all night long.
   While no doubt the Beastie Boys fought and potentially died for my right to party, there is a strong focus among the youth of today that university life is a chance to get as drunk as humanly possible and post pictures about it on as many social networking sites as they can manage. This, readers, reflects everything that is wrong with this generation.
   The attitude of many students nowadays is: 'Get so wasted you have to receive medical attention and do some work when you wake up in hospital three days later at which time you can proudly tell your friends that it was 'The best night of my life."  
   At the risk of sounding like a dessicated, dried-up old fart, I must remind you that I have been to my fair share of parties and have too experienced the effects of alcohol on more than one occasion (the fact that my liver has immense trouble processing any thimble sized amount of booze out of my blood before I make a total gimp out of myself by giggling at flower pots may have something to do with this...) However, being the kind of strange, social observer I like to think myself, logging on to Facebook and being pestered in the notices that person A has recently uploaded photos of themselves being violently sick up the backside of person B makes me want to bury my face in my hands and weep myself to sleep while possibly listening to Morrissey records...

   While university should be a time of one's life in which freedom from parental restraint should be relished, the 'all-guns-blazing' thought process of many students I have met just ends up sounding childish. When I hear people excitedly boasting, 'I was so drunk last night. It was amazing. I had twelve vodka shots and a few pints after and then Jodie ended up throwing up into Ashley's face...' I want to lean over and point out that it makes you sound like a complete buffoon, unable to process a full sentence without adjusting your gentle archers and lemonade drip deeper into your vein.

   The main issue is alcohol. When I turned eighteen, I went to the pub. No problems. It wasn't particularly exciting for me. It was just something that I couldn't do legally before but now I could. I bought a pint and while drinking it wondered why I had bothered. Buying alcohol was never something that interested me before I was eighteen and now I am twenty, whatever excitement I felt at purchasing a pint of Fosters has quickly gone down the drain (ba-bum-tsshh).
However, while observing students in bars, (the boys wearing tightly fitted t-shirts, muscled arms rippling, ego's swelling like over-sized zits just waiting to be popped by a witty put down in a shower of yellow mucus, and the girls scantily clad in the remnants of Mick Jagger's wardrobe, tottering drunkenly across the dance-floor in packs of no less than three, sporting foot high stilettos...) it is clear that the excitement for them is still very much there. It's thrilling to grab the first round in for the lads. It's fun to slide over a tenner and in return get a chopping board laden with only four different flavoured vodka shots.

For these people, I actually feel bad. Not only are you giving your livers a damn good kicking, you're being suckered in by the whole gimmick. You're amazed by the flashing lights and the idea that what you're doing is rebellious and a little bit dangerous. You love the idea that it makes you look like one of the gang and is therefore hiding your character deficiencies that only become apparent when you're not slumped at the bar with the lads slamming pint after pint after pint. You think yourself cool and edgy, a little bit glamorous and cheeky when all the while, everyone is actually thinking the same thing: Why are we doing this? This is not why we are here.

True, it is an aspect of life as a student, in moderation at least. But in actual fact, society as a whole has a negative view of the student lifestyle. Any organization that claims otherwise is trying to sell you something. Any one who says otherwise is telling themselves and anyone else who will listen,exactly what they want to hear without being true to what they really think.

Again, I am not opposed to going out with the fellas to grab a drink (in fact I should hopefully be doing just that in a few days!) but my point is mainly that students see drinking as a means to an end. The end being solely getting completely off their faces. I don't really mind or care but the more I thought about it, the more I wondered why it's considered a cool thing to do. No-one cares if you're violently sick after eating some off tuna. No-one would care if you jumped off a roof and broke both your legs whilst sober. So why does alcohol become a factor in which these things are kitsch and fun?

  Anyway, if you are a student and you find yourself out on a night out, just stop for a moment and think to yourself, 'Do I actually want to do this? Or am I doing this in an attempt to fit in?'

Thanks for reading,
Rob out.