Locals: Do they hate us?

A city dominated by students, Southampton is filled with an endless array of clubs, cheap food and bargain booze. As rollicking undergrads, we seize our precious few university years and frolic […]


A city dominated by students, Southampton is filled with an endless array of clubs, cheap food and bargain booze. As rollicking undergrads, we seize our precious few university years and frolic about, reaping up all that the city has to offer.

6487_10152864708700321_947135096_nBut as we skylark around the pubs, clubs and other social hubs in our student rabble, we often forget that we are not alone. We forget that in order for these places to exist it takes normal people, people who actually live here on a long-term basis, to work and oversee everything as our wild nights out transpire.

And although we do often tend to come into contact with these locals during our mental escapades on the town- whether it be bar staff, waiters or fast-food servers- our drunken, overexcited states often cause us to forget about their existence altogether. Even if we do interact with them during the night, we rarely recall it the next day.

I decided to take a walk down Portswood High Street and visit our favourite student hubs, asking the staff for their opinion on Soton students. First up, the Mitre, a favourite for student pub-crawls and a popular destination for casual drinks. Do the local bar staff in there like us? It would seem not.

Students piss me off,” said one young barmaid who chose not to be named. Surprisingly, this dislike was not due to our drunken ways. “I love the drunk ones, they’re normally quite funny. But in general students are inconsiderate and rude. A lot of them may have a degree but they have no life experience or common sense. Plus, despite having a student loan, they’re massive cheapskates!”

Over the road in Sprinkles, the staff are full of praise when it comes to students who visit the popular ice cream parlour in the daytime.

Students come in during the day to do work or chat with friends over a warm waffle,” said Gracjan, Sprinkles manager. “They’re always friendly and we have a good relationship with them.”

However, come night-time, it would seem things aren’t quite so civilized. Gracjan went on to tell the tale of twenty Jester-bound male students who had clearly gone hard at predrinks.

They stopped outside our window at around 10pm and all put their bare arses against it! We did nothing- there was nothing we could do,” he explained, induced to laughter by the memory of it.

And as we get down towards the other end of the ‘Portswood strip’, stories of students’ drunken antics only become more outrageous. Popular Portswood curry house Tariq Manzils sees a stark difference in student behaviour depending on the time of night.

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When they come in during the early evening they’re very nice, they’re lovely- they talk amongst themselves, everything is calm,” said Tariq, owner of the Indian restaurant. “But when they come in late, after nights out in Jesters, Sobar or town, they don’t even know what they’re doing! Often drunk students forget to pay, or even try to pay us twice. Oh, and some of them get… naked!”

But in spite of such mischief and misdoings, Tariq has a big soft spot for his student customers.

In all honesty, even though students are crazy, they are respectful. They respect me and I respect them. They come in at the end of the year and cry because they have to say goodbye to Manzils! It is like a family, we love the students.” Awh Tariq, we love you too.

Finally, the Palace of Dreams itself, the nightclub of lunacy, the basement of madness, the place we all go to get royally fucked. If anyone were to hate us, it would be the stone-cold sober staff who have to deal with our drunken shenanigans in there. I spoke with Lynda, who has owned and worked in Clowns and Jesters for twenty years, to find out what she really thinks of the raucous students who grace the place most nights of the week.

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Southampton students are a nightmare, always a nightmare!” she said. “They get drunk, they’re loud, and they’re incredibly destructive.”

But despite these cynical words, Lynda proceeded to explain that compared to other youths in the city, Soton students- despite our pisshead ways- are harmless and loveable.

They’re a nightmare in a nice sort of way. They just want to get drunk, fall down and be taken home,” she added. “We don’t have to worry about fights breaking out with students- it’s only when locals come in that things ever kick off.”

Thus, it would seem that despite all the havoc we cause during our Portswood nights out, despite all the mess we leave behind us when we trawl home afterwards, we are somehow not despised by those who are left to clean it up. In fact, it would seem that the further down the high street we get, and the more drunken and disorderly we become, the more the locals who witness it love us!

After all, we ultimately do no worse than flail around the dance floor, throw a bit of curry and vomit every now and again, is it any surprise that the likes of Tariq and Lynda, who have made a living off Southampton student for many years, hold us dear to their hearts?

Enjoy your time in Portswood, and just remember that so long as we continue throwing a portion of our student loans on a good night out there, the locals will continue to cherish and appreciate our intoxicated presence.

Do you have a good relationship with locals? Are you pals with Portswood’s restaurant and nightclub staff? Let us know in the comments below!