I can’t be alone in wondering: Why is everyone at Bristol from London?
It’s like Made in Chelsea decamped to Clifton Down Sainsbury’s
When you move to Bristol for uni, distant relatives and family friends often joke about how you’re bound to come back with a strong West Country twang. In reality though, it’s rare you’ll ever hear the native tongue once you relocate.
Why? Because Bristol is inundated by swarms of Londoners. Not Londoners as popular culture would have us know them: it’s more Made in Chelsea than Phil Mitchell thuggery. The South is assumed to just be London, and you’re met with blank stares if you dare to mention you’re from a location other than the capital. “But you’re from the South?” they reply, and after a few desperate attempts to prove there are other places in existence, you resign yourself to saying “I live an hour or so from London”.
What of the other places in the South which deserve recognition? Kent had a brief flirtation with infamy earlier in the year, with well-known immigration lover Nigel Farage causing a stir with his campaign to be elected in the county. Yet unless you’re strolling around Clifton with an anti-EU slogan brandished across a badge on your fluorescent velour tracksuit, nobody would ask a person speaking with a Southern accent “So, you’re from Ramsgate?”. Seaside towns lay forgotten amid the sand and used condoms, with London reigning supreme as the most recognisable voice at university.
The population of the sprawling metropolis is high, so it’s logical to think you’ll meet a lot of people who are from there. This is particularly true when you consider how expensive it is to live in the capital. This combined with the reputation of Bristol as being a “posh” uni means it doesn’t take a genius to figure out Bristol is an obvious place for wealthy Londoners to escape the crowds for an idyllic three years.
But what about the other large cities? Cities like Birmingham and Manchester are full to the brim with bright young adults, and yet you’re lucky if you hear a single Northern syllable in the midst of the endless elongated vowels. People are expected to change at university, but surely when you find yourself desperate to hear a Brummie accent – especially since a study once concluded speaking with a Birmingham accent was ‘worse than staying silent’ – perhaps this a sign you can be changed too much.
It’s no surprise there’s a Northern society at Bristol, but a significant lack of a Southern society. The entire South is just lumped into the same category as London. The entire university is basically London Soc, while every Northerner has to take refuge in the idea of strength-in-numbers by forming a whole society to defend itself against the Kensington lot.
The huge amount of Londoners you encounter at uni could be part of some wicked test to prepare you for your future once you’re churned out of university and pressed straight onto the corporate machine. Maybe this is Bristol’s sick attempt to prepare you for the years ahead when you’ll slowly have your soul chipped away at by the London-hardened colleagues you meet on the grad scheme.
Either way, none of us look forward to the future slog of working in a bleak office block, surrounded by people who immediately think they’re superior because of their SW7 postcode, so why cruelly remind us of our fate so early on?
Please, Bristol, prove yourself to be as edgy as you strive to be. Give us some variation, and stop the unrelenting onslaught of bland accents belonging to people who all seem to know each other. London is enough of a bubble already, don’t turn the university into an extension of that bubble.