Potterrow: The Non-Prescription Perspective

The Tab’s new Hipster-in-Residence experiences the horrors of The Big Cheese.


The Tab, who I must admit I had never heard of, as I do not use the internet, approached me and asked me to provide an ‘alternative’ perspective on university life. Over the next few weeks, I shall submit a number of anecdotes detailing my thoughts and perspectives on studenthood here in Edinburgh.

Last Saturday began as usual. I awoke at first light and selected my first outfit of the day; blending Saddam Hussein (dictatorship chic is huge this season) with a dash of Mongolian horse whisperer. I devote Saturdays to my emotions, which involved hours spent strumming some classics of The Typhoid Collective (you’ve probably never heard of them) on my grandfather’s vintage ukelele.



From these auspicious beginnings, the day took a sinister twist; my Motorola clamshell proceeded to vibrate violently. My childhood friend Aubergine never dares summon me by telephone; our communications are exchanged exclusively by posted letter. I answered immediately to a frantic invitation to a venue known as ‘Potterrow’, for what I assumed was a cheesemonger evening; a skill which I had yearned to improve since my first childhood experience with a cow. I immediately stepped into my vegan Chelsea boots and sauntered to Bristo Square.

Upon arrival I was faced with a queue not unlike a biblical scene of rapture. I do not believe in God. The sprawling mass of people extended from the door of the venue to beyond the Medical School across the square. Upon closer inspection, it seemed that most of the congregants were adorning quasi-mainstream ensembles: terracotta skin tones; checked shirts; and skinny jeans. I assumed that Aubergine had neglected to inform me of the ‘common-people’ theme for the event. My vintage gorilla fur jumper made me stand out. This was nothing new. I live to be different.

Animalistic Queueing.

Animalistic Queueing.

After a 2 hour wait for entry, we entered through a side door and paid an admittance fee, which at £5 was steep compared to other dairy-craft evenings. After my wrist was manhandled and stamped with an abrasive pigment, I realised I had made a horrible mistake: the black floors shimmered with glutinous, unidentifiable liquids; the great unwashed were drinking directly from fluorescent alcohol bottles; and the bass emanating from the speakers could only be attributed to unspeakably nefarious 90’s pop. This was not an evening of cheese – this was a popular club night.

Everything about it was terrible and I wanted to leave.

Before I could make any attempt to escape the tacky clutches of the mainstream, I was ensnared by a very large woman, possessed of odour that amounted to a rather potent blend of mediocrity and shame. Presuming she had the sole intention of being vaginally stimulated on the dance floor, I quickly broke free of her New Look-clad grasp and lost myself in the centre of a throbbing mass of the gyrating proletariat.

'Gyrating Proleteriat.'

‘Gyrating Proleteriat.’

As I shuffled uncomfortably, entangled breathlessly by the moistened limbs of the resident mouth-breathers, my well-travelled and educated life flashed before my eyes. Tongues used to uttering idiotic but well-meaning contributions in biology tutorials were interlocked as far as my (clear lens) bespectacled eyes could see. I accepted my fate; I was to perish alone, surrounded by creatures bedecked in tawdry high street abominations. With seemingly no possible method of escape, Aubergine burst through the ranks of the culturally impoverished, dragging me out of the premises to bohemian salvation.

I have come to the conclusion that the Big Cheese is the Noah’s Ark of the undesirables: rugby lads homoerotically peacock in their ghastly tweed ensembles; medics interbreed amongst themselves with the desperation of a Carthaginian queen; fashion show wannabes mill around with less style than Peruvian street urchins (many of whom I can call friends); and ravers adorn their unsculpted torsos with t-shirts emblazoned with images of a Miami skyline, all with aspirations that extend no further than 2:2s and managerial positions at McDonald’s.

And if you hadn’t noticed; yes, the semi-colon is in.