The Lonely Smoker

Thrusting YUSU cardboard brings stress into our lonely smoker’s life, but fear not, the calming tunes of one Taylor Swift are here to help. Just don’t tell the hipsters…

Apathy has hit the University like a great bloodied piece of horsemeat. Frankly, it’s week nine, no-one can really be bothered any more, and I’ve genuinely forgotten what it feels like to smoke somewhere other than outside the library.

Fortunately, last week I was roused from my dissertation-induced coma by the thrusting cardboard banners of wannabe YUSU candidates. I therefore spent most of the week cowering, trying desperately to avoid the attention of the feckless multitude running for that holy grail of all Facebook-related jobs. In the few weeks when it looks as if the characters from Sesame Street (having taken a shit-load of acid) have decorated our usually drab concrete walls, it is open season on any poor bastard unintentionally loitering on campus.

Luckily, I was able to fall back on an old coping method I developed back in first-year. At the risk of social ostracism I will confess to being a huge, profound, and (probably) life-long fan of Taylor Swift’s music. (I write this full in the knowledge that friends who write for Circulation probably will have to stop talking to me for fear of damaging their reputation at nights in Fibbers.) Blaring ‘We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together’ into my ears throughout a long day in the computer room was therapy on a whole new level.

Although Swift’s music has invited comparisons from cats screeching in the night to mindlessly saccharine generic pop, I have to stand and fight her corner. Not only does she not sound like cats screeching in the night – my mother has such a creature and it hasn’t got $165 million sitting in the bank (I would have bumped it off years ago for the inheritance if so) – her pop is definitely not saccharine gooey goodness. Instead what Swift unleashes onto her audiences is nothing less than an Olympian exercise in passive aggression. Having only been alive for 22 years, she’s managed to write (apparently) over 73 tracks – all available on YouTube in one handy playlist, in case you’re interested – and I would say the vast majority are incredibly personal attacks on previous boyfriends.

‘Stay stay stay’ features a line which goes: “Before you I only dated self-indulgent takers / who took all their problems out on me”, and the song ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ is just waiting for a reversed ‘80s interpretation blared out of Eric Milner. Screw passive aggressive, with that latter vignette you know some poor bloke is probably experiencing a sensation akin to having someone kick him in the balls, film it, and then play it back over YouTube to billions of viewers. Clearly, Swift, whilst having mastered the art of verbal retaliation, is a still little shaky on the meaning of words such as “privacy” or phrases such as “too much information”.

Just like the couples who overshare – nope, we didn’t need a photo of you two in bed together but thanks anyway – or couples find it acceptable to get off in the library, who are you? Ironically, most of the people who display the most ‘Taylor Swift’ characteristics are those who would rather be photographed wearing Jack Wills than admit to ever having listened to her. The attendees of every night in Fibbers should probably all listen to the opening line of ‘22’, which goes: “It feels like a perfect night to dress up like hipsters”, so they remember not to wear anything from Urban Outfitters. The saddest thing about it all is that they’ll probably appropriate Taylor Swift soon – listening to her in an ironic non-ironic post-pretentious way. Christ help us.

So whilst my friends can keep their nights involving something to do with ‘Deep House’ (Dress code: strictly paisley shirts and alternative tops, exposure of back/stomach suggested. Smiling when dancing frowned upon, please bring your own drugs), I’ll be the one jumping up and down and actually enjoying my Taylor Swift.

Not that I ever go out anyway.

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