My Shit Week So Far: The unexpected niceness of Tang Hall

Pine trees may have been on the offensive this week, but at least the Tang Hall hoodies are polite

Cartoon: Kate Mitchell

Cartoon: Kate Mitchell

I think, for a change, that it’s time to start with a positive in this column. The most fortunate thing to happen to me this week was being twatted by a pine cone as I walked under a pine tree on a blustery morning in Derwent. Aside from that, this week has been another week to put behind me.

Every day this week, I’ve been mugged off by a Number 4 bus driver, meaning my morning routine into campus now involves the inevitable run downhill through Hes East as I attempt to catch the Unibus in time.

There are some positives to take from this, however; it’s highlighted how unfit I’ve let myself get as I sit in my morning lecture looking strangely sweaty (despite the cold), wincing at the burning pains in my calf muscles from a minute run that I had made twenty-five minutes earlier. My fitness evidently needs to improve.

Or I could simply ignore it and just get up earlier so that I actually make the bus on time. In any case, I will concede to the residents of Hes East that watching fat people running for the bus must be a hugely entertaining spectator sport – not that there’s anything else to do in Hes East, mind.

As essay deadlines come at me thick and fast this term, I have made the library my second home, living off Library Café sausage rolls and butter croissants (although this probably explains why I now struggle to run downhill). The library is a strange Mecca for the socially odd and pretentious twats (although this is probably why I get drawn to it daily).

All these distractions have led to new levels of procrastination that go beyond doing difficult Sudokus, shouting at Flappy Bird and laughing at people who accidently play their shoddy music taste out loud on their laptops.

One new pastime of mine, for instance, is taking the piss out of a mate doing a Geography degree, with insults like “don’t worry, we’ll get you some more crayons for Christmas” and “blimey, they’re moving you on to words now” being my particular favourites.

Saying this, at least they’ll get a job out of their nine-grand a year educational investment – I study Sociology. One unwelcome distraction is listening to some of the pretentious conversations that many stuck-up students come out with.

“The Latin graffiti in Tang Hall is a sign that you have nothing to worry about”

Just as I’m about to settle into some work to the sound of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours in its entirety, some deluded fresher will pipe up with an outlandish view of how shit and dangerous Tang Hall is.

Most views on Tang Hall are based on the basic observation that it’s a shithole because ‘the houses are closer together than in the rest of the city’.

The ‘hoodies’ that come from Tang Hall are also not much of a threat either. Two kids often come to cycle and smoke outside the library, but when you actually talk to them, they’ve very polite, moving out of the way for people whilst making a conscious effort to use the bins.
In fact, if I went up to a smoking twelve-year-old in this city and asked for a lighter, I have no doubt that he’d politely oblige and probably strike up a conversation about my day (although asking me about my day is often a bad idea).

I’ve had more trouble with students than I have with locals. The niceness of Tang Hall is put into perspective by this: the only bit of street art that I’ve come across is the word ‘Ebor’ sprayed on a paving stone. The fact that the graffiti is being written in Latin is a sign that you have nothing to worry about.

Dedicating this much to the library, however, has meant that all the notions of social interaction have been forgotten and replaced with the boring theories of the transnational capitalist class that currently fill my mind. My ability to speak to girls, even those who I consider to be in the ‘fit friend zone’ with (an acronym of which is scarily close to FFS), has disappeared completely.

I can’t even latch on to chivalry. This morning, I stood next to an attractive blonde as we both looked to cross Hull Road in the hope that a misogynistic motorist would stop to let her across, meaning that I’ve become a strange chivalry repellent.

But as soon as drivers saw me within her five-metre radius, they actively sped up. It’s gotten this bad.


  1. Unexpectedly turning into the consistently best column. Kudos Mr Fennelly.

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  2. “The library is a strange Mecca for the socially odd and pretentious twats (although this is probably why I get drawn to it daily).”
    This is an astute observation. I sometimes have these conversations in the library and then think, “Wow, these people who are actually here TO WORK must think I’m such a pretentious twat”

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