The alternative Leeds prospectus
Because they don’t tell you what snapback to wear on your open day
I can distinctly remember my open day at Leeds, as can most students lucky enough to be at our fine educational institution can. You sit on the train, or your parents’ 4×4 and await the excitement of Leeds as you travel up (let’s be honest, it’s always North, not Southwards) to your Northern-most experience yet.
However, having now fully discovered my true self (see Beaverworks for more self-discovery) in my first two terms at Leeds, I feel that sadly, these open days do rather miss the point. You trawl around campus, visiting your parent school in which you will learn to love academia by meeting your tutors and being constantly enthralled by the syllabus. However, five weeks into the first term, after 165 Jägerbombs down (abso-bloody-lutely guilty) and a reputation as the [self-proclaimed] King of Flux, one often finds that the taste of university life left in your mouth by the open day isn’t leaving the aftertaste you were longing for. Tutorials are clearly expendable, with lectures as certified extra work, and, I mean, what even is a proctorial?
So welcome to the alternative (in both senses of the word) prospectus, or open day itinerary so to speak. If you really want to know what life as a Leeds Fresher is like, lose the laminated leaflets, stop following that bespectacled third year in a shady looking wind breaker and get to know the real Leeds, much like you got to know the real Cambodia on your year off, you know.
This may surprise as you as the first stop on our Alternative Open Day, namely because it is not on campus, or even anywhere close to it. However, do not fear, as this is more of an administrative stop on our long, drawn out intoxicated journey to a degree at some point. Think of this as buying your school uniform, only that you replace cheap shirts with ill-fitting overpriced cheap shirts, house ties with dodgy bling and dress shoes with the “freshest crepes” (translation: ‘crepe’, n; overpriced garish trainer, see Huarache or Air Max Ones.)
In fact, it has been said that Best has the highest snapback-to-customer ratio, with roughly 20,000 lurid patterned Supreme caps for every unassuming cool cat that swaggers through the door to some sort of vintage-or-maybe-just-old streetwear Nirvana. Once you have successfully rid your self of well fitted clothes, we can continue onto other future regular haunts.
Next stop is the library. Not the pub, for that matter (although that gag will never get old I can assure you) but the actual library.
You know, the one with actual books. No not magazines, and renting DVDs doesn’t count. I mean the Edward Boyle library, or the marginally swankier Brotherton Library, which is located in the White House of Yorkshire, the Stowe of Leeds, the House(s) [Music] of Parliament: none other than the Parkinson Building, or ‘Parky’ to those in the know.
You may ask why a library of any sort in this itinerary, and the reason is this: you will spend almost all of your time avoiding tutors and any scheduled academic work, but like any good student, you don’t actually want to be a drop out: you just want to look and smell like one. Therefore, to avoid social temptations of halls of residence, many a fresher will sadly find themselves in here with 4 minutes until the deadline and 470 words until the deadline, but another 269 is okay as that’s ‘like ten percent under which is calm, right?”
Halo (RIP in peace)
Thankfully, seeing as our work is all done, academia has been covered and we are appropriately dressed with our streetwise garms, we are now ready to have fun. Whilst some work will be done, it would be a lie to say first year is anything but a softly disguised and thinly veiled social outing. And any truly good night for a Fresher would be incomplete without a classic Monday night at the revered Quids In at Halo.
Halo, for those who inhabit the underside of dark rocks,
is was an infamous student centred nightclub in nothing other than a church. With one pound entry, one pound drinks and a one pound DJ, it really does separate the men from the students. Featuring a commercial cheesy music room, and a hip hop and R&B room (the Drake room for short) fun is never far away, I’m told, in Halo.
Absolutely packed to the sweaty rafters with tight tee shirts and stumbling consequences of Electricity, Ring of Fire and varying other after dinner entertainment and of course, at least ten girls, this
is was the only club for the elite nightlife expert. If you want to not only feel like a fresher, but also seriously underwhelmed but overly drunk, this is the only way to somehow overspend even with one pound drinks on a Monday evening.
Though the unfortunate news has now spread its way around that Halo in its current form is to be ending this year, word on the grapevine is that we haven’t seen the last of the sloppiness that occurs within those four walls. Either way, such scenes are so ingrained in the psyche of a Leeds student that it’s a vital part of your education. You’re welcome.
Now, if commercial music just isn’t your cup of Red Stripe, and you just can’t stomach that many badly dressed blokes eagerly awaiting their favourite night at Warehouse, why not give something a bit alternative a try?
Yes, onto many a favourite haunt: Beaverworks. Rumoured to be in an old beaver skinning factory (not a brothel), this stereotypical alternative Leeds venue is revered and mocked by some, but for some strange, almost chemical reason, no-one ever seems to have a bad night there. Think of it as as as a high achieving public school: it gets results and it’s very good at what it does, but a lot of the people have been there for far too long, there are definitely a lot of things which shouldn’t be happening there going on behind closed cubicles, and its intake is predominantly caucasian. One could think of that energetic house DJ as a teacher, looking down onto his eager class of [dilated] pupils.
If you’re lucky, you may be able to coincide with a Flux night, an every so often sort of affair, in which the least repetitive but most memorable names in house music blast out prolific sets until the sunrise, where our street-friendly private school kids in their funny hats stumble out, wide-eyed and sniffling, and jump in awaiting morning taxis to return to their Hyde Park squats to wash off those Bindis and tuck into a
key bowl of Special K.
But a word of caution: be careful to avoid collision with any number of shuffling students, walking crips and any type of oblivious house lover. At least 100% percent of the crowd can and will two-step for the majority of the evening; I think that’s now an entry requirement on Arts subjects in fact. Flux, or any visit to Beaverworks is a personal recommendation of how to not only realise Leeds is the place to be, but that house music actually is freedom.
If your night ends marginally prematurely, or you somehow manage to get bored of Halo, there is no other penultimate stop on your night than Flames. Now kitted out with its own tongue-in-cheek Facebook page, this greasy spoon, jack-of-all-cuisines, master-of-salmonella-esque joint is famous around the student body, especially those first years in its proximity, from the penthouses of Charles Morris to real world of Leodis, for many things.
The pound burger, for example, is a surefire way to calorific suicide but a culinary legacy nonetheless. Its chicken wings are quite an indulgence, and a better option to a one night companion that can be found at 2:48 in Halo. Rumour has it that one black-eyed chap was able to order the famous aphrodisiac of ‘6pcs spicy wings, chips and drink please’ and was able to find a suitable lady friend before the food even arrived!
Ah, the clientele of Flames is quite something. You should finish your night here, even if just for the sake of being in first year before the freedom of cooking in second year (all first years are catered right!?!?), and you can look through the lens of true pride unto the Halo heathens as they too run across the road from the Parkinson Steps to give a new meaning to bursting into Flames (credit Miss Rolls).
So – ladies, gentlemen, and prospective DJs – here we have arrived at the end of the tour. Do not forget to visit the gift shop, Essentials, on the way out, and yes, they do charge for those shitty paper excuses for bags. I hope you’ve enjoyed the innovative and improved prospect experience and I sincerely hope to meet you all next year on the dance floor. At Fruity. I will see some of you, hopefully, on the other side. Bon Chance!