Survival of the Skint-est

The student loan comes in, the student loan goes out. But even when money gets tight, London still has plenty to offer.

Nobody likes January, and it would be an exercise in futility to go into why the first month of the year sucks since you are already reeling off the list of reasons in your head. Instead let us focus on the major January issue: being skint. It’s easy to blame your (fictitious) generosity during the Christmas shopping period for this lack of readies, but be honest with yourself: there was nothing real about Mum’s smile when she unwrapped that £3 compilation CD from’s bargain bin. Most of us were scraping the barrel before the first airing of that Coca-Cola advert.

Sure, there’s that brief shared moment of deluded grandeur when Student Finance cough up and everyone can suddenly afford this pen designed by Sly Stallone or 6 ounces of Heroin, but this is soon scuppered by the accommodation invoices delivered to First Years and (being a Fresher I can only assume) the wizened voice of experience echoing around the sensible cavities of all you hard-working students that are currently writing essays and taking exams “that actually count” in the latter years of your degrees.

So it can be safely assumed that we are in fact all skint, or under the self-imposed impression that we are. Nevertheless, we all still need to eat, sleep, breathe and go out – so here are a few suggestions for ways to spend your evenings during The Devil’s Month™ without having to resort to, getting a job (God forbid) or tapping up Mummy and Daddy:


LIVE MUSIC – just don’t be an idiot and buy pints once you’re there

Club Fandango @ The Bull and Gate: Indie showcase in Kentish Town that normally works out at just over £1 a band. In effect the sooner you get there the cheaper it is.

Every single night @ The Dublin Castle: Similar idea but more of a mixed bag of genres, the place has a penchant for some very awesome bands playing there in their formative years (namely Blur, The Killers and Arctic Monkeys)


BE ON TV – kind of

It’s like watching TV shows but the stars are all fleshy and 3D. In return for slapping your palms together at the required moment, you can get yourself in the audience for all sorts of BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky filming and it’s free – ironically this way is a lot cheaper than actually watching TV and having to pay for a license. Check out


NATIONAL THEATRE – over 50% off with the free Entry Pass scheme

Sign up for nothing and get £5 tickets to all of the NT’s productions. This month there’s a great selection of performances: Hansel and Gretel for the thumb-suckers and an Alan Bennett for the chin-strokers, as well as a rollicking Victorian farce and what looks like a live version of a cross between a graphic novel and a silent film.


FABRIC – if you are up for a late night

If none of the above tickles your fancy due to the distinct lack of skull-mashing bass then there is a solution, although be prepared to seriously adjust your body clock. Every Saturday night after 4am Fabric drops its entry fee to £10, which gives you four hours in London’s best club with the hardcore… and the tube will be open for the journey home.