Zayn Malik wants to study in the UK. But which uni should he go to?

Probably not Hull

Zayn Malik is doing well right now: he had the best voice and most symmetrical face in One Direction, left at exactly the right time and will release a debut single about “dirty and raw” sex in a few days time. But it’s not enough for him.

In an interview with The Sunday Times he revealed  he’d like to go to uni and study English. He said it would be: “something that is only, solely for me, you know what I mean? And when my kids ask me, in the future, and I try to tell them to go to school, they can’t turn around and say to me, ‘Fuck off, Dad, you were in a band!’ I can turn around and say, ‘Excuse me, I went back to school and got my degree. So you definitely have to do your schoolwork!”

Zayn continued: “You know what, to educate yourself isn’t that hard these days. You can do it at home. You can go to lectures – just sit there, which hopefully,  at some point, I can do – like, just sit and listen to a lecture.”

But nobody wants Zayn to do his lectures from a soulless LA mansion do they? Let’s explore his options.

St Andrew’s

If it was good enough for Prince William, surely it’s good enough for Zayn. And what worked for Will could work for him too. St Andrew’s is full of people as rich as Zayn and being in the middle of fucking nowhere ought to keep the paparazzi away. I could see Zayn pulling on a tux and heading down to the Xavier Ball, the Masquerade Ball, the Welly Ball, the Christmas Ball, the May Ball, the DRA Hall Ball. I could also see him getting very tired of all the balls.


Aberystwyth is a two club town stuck like a barnacle on the Welsh coastline. Like St Andrew’s it’s remote and there a lot of seagulls. Unlike St Andrew’s there a loads of loads of Welsh people here who won’t appreciate your big time, big city stylings, your mellifluous singing voice and your supermodel girlfriend. Probably one to avoid.


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Look Zayn, with your good looks, excellent clothes and love of RnB flavas I’m not entirely sure grey post-war Belfast is the place for you. But if you do fancy a burrito at some point, then you could hit up Boojum.


Birmingham is the UK’s second largest city (don’t they bloody go on about it) and the uni there is one of the best for graduate recruitment (don’t they bloody go on about that as well). It’s hard to imagine Zayn settling down in a crumbling, mould-afflicted terraced house in Selly Oak, with only a few heavily doctored Instagram pics of Old Joe and a box of  reeking chicken fingers from Rooster’s for consolation – especially when he could be taking Gigi Hadid to the Met Gala instead.


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Yeah, Zayn, mate, this could work. Settle into Badock or Churchill in first year and meet some public school guys with great coke connections and get into punishing double nos afterparties before settling down in third year with a wardrobe of windbreakers bought from Urban Fox, Sobeys and Don Majors. They’d expect you to get loose in Motion or Lakota but I could see you doing an intimate, soulful set in The Cori Tap to an audience of baffled, cider abusing locals.


Alan Turing. Isaac Newton. Hugh Laurie. Charles Darwin. Zadie Smith. Oliver Cromwell. Eddie Redmayne. Sacha Baron Cohen. Marshall McLuhan. Sylvia Plath. Naomi Harris. Tilda Swinton. John Maynard Keynes. Salman Rushdie.

Do you know what would make that list of Cambridge graduates much, much sexier? If you chucked Zayn Malik in there. Isaac Newton never released a song called Pillowtalk did he? Amateur. 


I asked a recent Cardiff grad if Zayn would fit in at Cardiff. “No, I don’t think he would fit in at Cardiff,” my mate replied. “But we do have a nice castle, I could take him to the castle.” Zayn, if you’re reading this, take that as an offer, a very hard to refuse offer, of a tour of Cardiff castle.

If you don’t fancy that you could always buy a few bottles for your adoring fans in Clwb Ifor Bach. 


Durham, with its smallness, its bubbleness, its parochial rowing and rugger culture, its halls with names like College of St Hild and St Bede. Would this be a good home for a guy who sat in the front row of the Louis Vuitton Menswear Spring/Summer 2016 show?

Well, to be fair to Durham, it’s fashion show is the best in the country and Zayn would easily get the best seat in the house. Not sure he would worry for an invite to the afterparty either. Going out, he’d have to show off his hair in Empty Shop because he’d be in serious danger of hearing old One Direction tunes if he went to Klute.


Zayn stood alone in the hallway and sipped his glass of Glenfiddich 18, the liquor tasted disgusting but he appreciated how tasteful it made him look, how the liquid shone under the light, the same colour as a golden May sun. Taking another horrible gulp, he wondered whether a house party where a good 85 per cent of the guys were wearing kilts was really the kind of house party he wanted to be at. 


Zayn could get on with his essays in Boston Tea Party and host Our House at Cavern. It might be a bit too basic for him though.


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Zayn if you were feeling depressed and you wanted your depression to deepen, expand, worsen – generally grow bleaker and more harrowing – then I would recommend Hull, a town that definitely doesn’t know it’s beautiful.


This would be your home town uni Zayn, it could have been the one you went to if Simon Cowell hadn’t snatched you out of your mother’s womb and forced you to sell out stadium after stadium on one world tour after another. But that’s over now and Leeds is still here, with so much still on offer for you.

Smoking rollies on a battered, threadbare sofa in front of the Hyde Park shithole you’d call home, maybe thinking about and then definitely not replying to all the emails Niall keeps sending. You could keep your solo career going here: flyering outside the Sainsbury’s local and playing 11pm sets to an empty room two at Canal Mills.


Zayn would spend his days smoking weed (we all remember what happened in Peru mate) in his new room at Carnatic while spending his nights at Chibuku and Waxxx, where there’d be no danger of hearing heavily autotuned voices and heavily unautotuned voices screaming the words “Everyone else in the room can see it!!!” 

By second year he’d have moved into the doll’s house on Smithdown where his legendary parties would be the ones you see pictures of on Facebook (no, you wouldn’t be on the list). He could get into DJing at LEVEL and chill out with the Cool It! crew to launch his new music career but then instantly regret it when he’s swamped with JMU girls who just can’t keep their cool. 


Justin Bieber sometimes goes to Loop. Maybe Zayn could join him?


Zayn Malik in the Northern Quarter. Zayn Malik sipping on an independent flat white, checking out the vintage shops and the tattoo parlours. Would Fallowfield welcome him into its juddering basements for all the way through morning pill parties? Of course it would. After a week of excess he could stroll down to Whitworth Gallery and do some yoga on a Sunday, before picking up some goji berries from the 8th Day Co-op.


So I looked up Perrie Edwards and I think it makes Newcastle a no-go Zayn, sorry to say it. Just look at this on Wikipedia:

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That says Tyne and Wear doesn’t it? No trebles at Bijoux for you my friend. 


I would pay good money to see Zayn Malik do this around Norwich.


Have you seen Zayn recently? Blonde highlights, plenty of rings on those fingers, sleeve tattoos, piercings – well – it’s all a little bit Trent isn’t it? He could still chill in Market Bar on a Tuesday though, hip-hop blaring out of the speakers, Zayn resignedly starting into his black cup full of rum and coke, asking himself if his celebrity status means true love will be impossible to find.


Simon Armitage is the current Professor of Poetry at Oxford. He once wrote:

Only then could I bind the struts
and climb the rungs of his broken ribs,
and feel the hurt
of his grazed heart.

Zayn Malik could potentially study at Oxford. He once wrote:

Let’s go crazy, crazy, crazy ’til we see the sun
I know we only met but let’s pretend it’s love
And never, never, never stop for anyone
Tonight let’s get some and live while we’re young

Fuck Armitage, make Zayn Professor of Poetry at Oxford imo.

Royal Holloway

Royal Holloway looks like a big crenellated box, all covered in gargoyles and spires and clock towers. It’s a bit mental, a bit Hogwarts. I mean there’s not much more too it than that Zayn. They have a club night where they literally give you pieces of toast. I think it’s called Toast actually.


Kicking back in East Slope with your flat mates bong, surrounded by people who are striking out on solo careers from their own lives, who appreciate the new direction you’re taking with yours – put Sussex on your maybe list Zayn.


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Yeah, I can’t see you taking your shirt off with 5,000 others as the Baywatch theme pounds away in Ocean. You’re welcome to give it a go though, although if you went there you’d probably be crushed to death or something.


Zayn, if you have a secret passion for 13th-century Gothic cathedrals then I think we may just have hit the jackpot.