An ode to Carnatic
It’s a shithole, but we love it
Everyone remembers the disgust they felt when they first arrived at the 1970s army barracks-meets-financial-prison style “halls”.
Many of us were still bitter from the Vine Court rejection, but by the end of our first year it really felt like home. Whether living in Carnatic makes you more, or less, of a person would probably be up for debate. But once you learn to look past its aesthetic flaws, you begin to understand how these prodigious halls are richer in qualities far more important than appearance, hygiene and dignity.
Carni socials will be the height of your uni socialising
Everyone knows if there’s one thing Carnatic is good for, it’s socialising. With quite literally wall-to-wall freshers, having a million flatmates on your doorstep was one of, if not the best, part of living in Carnatic Halls.
No matter what, there’s always mates by the dozen to go and procrastinate with. Whether it’s all piling into one tiny room for no apparent reason, or spending revision weeks sat outside in the sun, there is never a dull or lonesome moment.
While your need for procrastination is unlikely to disappear into thin air without your neighbours, living in an actual house with a fraction of the people you were with in halls will be a tough adjustment.
How to avoid this Carni-blue: regular sleepovers, dinner parties (if you’re into that), or perhaps just turn up at your old neighbour’s doorstep and bang on the door, crying uncontrollably: “Just take me back to Carnibar!” *sobs*
Hygiene is (a lot) more difficult than it looks
The cleanliness of a Fresher is a topic no student really wants to ever discuss in great length. A quick shove of all your ‘recreational’ shit into one drawer before a family visit is usually enough.
Your hygiene standards do, uncontrollably, plummet throughout the year, and what once was a bedroom is now a festering pit of Uncle Ben’s and weed. Life after Carnatic may not see the hygiene levels rise much higher for the majority, but at least people won’t be pissing in their room sinks.
Gone are the dog-eat-dog days of the laundrette (when you have five machines between some 1,000 people, no one is your friend). That said, having the luxury of being able to do whatever you wanted and someone would just clean it up for you will be sorely missed. Second year will bring alien behaviour to us all, such as organising a cleaning rota, or, as one fairly middle class student said: “Can we not just buy a cleaner?”
Herded into the dining room like cattle, the dinner ladies delivered their daily doses of sass in bucketfuls, and the food, for the most part, was stodgy and curiously coloured. That said, the indulgence of crawling into the dining hall on a Sunday, hungover, to food and drink on tap was invaluable. As was the vast amount of money saved through catered halls.
Once second year is upon you, the inevitable question arises: “so what are we supposed to do now?” How to avoid this Carni-blue: befriend a fresher (easy task) and use them for their catered benefits. If mingling with the fresher sort is all a bit too much for you, you’re looking at a long takeaway-filled year ahead.
The 699 bus
Where every bus ride resembled a stag or hen do, it’s fair to say the behaviour on the 699 was, in modest terms, lairy. The home of many a controversial chant- such as “I’d rather live in Baghdad than Greenbank” and“Kolo, kolo kolo, kolo kolo, kolo KOLO TOURE YA YA”- you often didn’t know where to look.
Sadly, that prestigious Fresher journey is stripped from each and every one of us upon graduating from Carni. So what now? A regular bus into town? A taxi?!
How to survive this Carni-blue: get a couple of Tesco’s own vodka down you and those chants will be calling your name. Thank god the 699 goes through Smithdown.
Flying the nest
So how will you manage in an actual house, on an actual street in normal society after a year of anything goes?
Being a modicoddled student at Carnatic hasn’t necessarily prepared you for the real world. You’re fed, cleaned up after… you even have your own security force (not to mention your RAs). You’re not V.I.P anymore. No cleaner, no cook, no receptionists to collect your mail for you. Now you have a landlord (who is probably shit scary).
It’s a fight or flight situation, and whilst some may revel in the luxury of their own bathroom and food, many will be poking the dinner ladies’ den by attempting to sneak in for a Carnatic breakfast every once in a while. What’s a breakfast between friends, ladies? That said, one thing you will never, ever miss is the fucking fire alarm.