Living On The Edge

Ratty ‘tashes at the ready: Alex Bower brings you ‘edgy’ in 7 easy steps

Alex Bower Natsci Roll Up The Union

Want to dip your toes in the outskirts of the action? Here are The Tab’s 7 Steps to drifting passively towards Edge Heaven.

Step 1: No one can really define ‘edgy’, but conflation of meaning will work in your favour.  It is ‘mish-mash’, mis-match and generally wonky combination that will win you sartorial edge points. If anything fits properly, stay well away. Bodycon is not edgy.  Colours which clash drastically are too obvious (definitely not edgy); instead, think similar colours which don’t go together very well. Cream and yellow is a great combination, because it reminds one of the bathroom in a Cotswolds B&B – so uncool that it’s actually very edgy.

Step 2: Think about your subject. History of Art used to be edgy, but that’s been done to death. 2011 is the year of the edgy NatSci. There’s no time like the present to start brushing up on your organic synthesis knowledge.

Step 3: Go native. Everybody in the world has seen The Lives of Others, but how many people do you know who have seen Das Leben der Anderen? They might be the same film, but there’s nothing better than being able to quote a film or book in the source language. Norwegian is easy, niche, and gives you access to films like Død snø, the zombie flick no one is talking about – perfect to alienate people with.

Step 4: Establish a habitat. You know those deserted ghost-stations from Communist-era Berlin? Model your room on them: distressed 1960s posters for German films (see Step 3), good coating of surface dirt, strong sense of foreboding. Buy some pot-plants, let them die, and hide all evidence of Nuts magazine.

Wave farewell to going on a swap and pulling someone dressed in army print by the cashpoint. Edgy is about being unexpected, so don’t go to Kambar. That is where the self-consciously edgy folk reside, and you will be there with a pre-established aura of edge. Instead, go to a bop, or a ceilidh, or the very tame film-night that your JCR have organised. Avoid dancing: it’ll make it look like you’re enjoying yourself.

Adopting some kind of higher ground to suit your state of mind is a bonus, as it gains you an extra few inches of disdain with which to look down on the thronging, sex-starved masses grinding beneath you. Be inventive (very edgy): yellow pages (see previous advice on colour concepts), obscure Czech novel, etcetera.

Step 5: Be subtle. Everyone has their needs but when it comes to sex, make sure it’s private. As you won’t be going to Cindies or Life, there’s less of a chance of you wrapping dentures with some random rugby player from John’s, but if you do suffer the embarrassing inconvenience of actually fancying someone, repress your feelings. Therapy will be really edgy come 2015: you’re laying the groundwork now. If this is not possible, leave their laptop open on this page or write them a poem in Braille.

Step 6: Think about your daytime haunts. You might love the new café at The Union, but unfortunately your membership just has to go. The Union is an interesting place, but it’s about as edgy as a tea cosy wrapped up into a perfect sphere. Now you’ve switched to NatSci, you could try going to all of your 9am lectures, which will help you avoid all the cool kids who never go. You could also try going to bed incredibly early. Nobody will expect that.

Step 7: The holy grail is to make people question whether or not you are indeed edgy. (This does, however, make it difficult for you to establish if you have succeeded in your quest.)  If you’re quoting tracts of your Chemistry textbook in Norwegian, fondling your ‘tash absent-mindedly with one hand while awkwardly adjusting your rumpled beige garments with the other, you’re almost there.

Just stare blankly into the middle-distance (a given when you glasses with plastic lenses), proceed to construct an under-filled roll-up, and smoke, sadly, contemplating the object of your unrequited affections and the fact that £1 Union teas are a thing of the past.

A final thought: do all the above without trying.

Illustrations by Helena Izett