York alumnus Phil Lester talks about his ‘messy’ uni experience in new video

AmazingPhil used to get screeched at by the same geese, crazy right?


As far as famous alumni go, I think a lot of OG YouTube fans at York will be ecstatic that we can claim Phil Lester as one of our own.

Phil recently posted a video titled “I was a mess at university” (something I think we can all relate to), where he takes a virtual tour of campus and town, reflecting on little random snippets of his experience in the four years he studied English Language and Linguistics At York and mainly obsessing over the number of geese on campus.

Funny to think that he started his YouTube channel in a tiny Halifax College bedroom. Let’s review, shall we?

Phil passed out in his Halifax kitchen

Phil Lester (or AmazingPhil) is a YouTuber that made his debut back in 2006 and has since grown in popularity as a part of the Dan and Phil duo, together with Dan Howell. Though their content has evolved from the cat noses and whiskers, Phil is still active on his channel well over a decade later and creates regular content. Watching him take his viewers through a virtual tour of York and the university campus gives us an insight into where it all started.

His experience as a fresher is one many of us can relate to. He lived in Younger Court in Halifax with 10 excessively messy flatmates and a kitchen he deems to have looked like the centre of an apocalypse. They shared two bathrooms in a flat of 10 with thin walls and a tiny bed that he apparently ended up falling out of, multiple times.

After a very nervous Phil endured some awkward encounters on the first night and a “H party” in JJ’s bar where his hitman costume got mistaken for a haemorrhage (mortifying), it’s safe to say he had a typical chaotic freshers experience.

Looking around campus West, he talks about the hundreds of geese: “I think there were more geese than students at university. Was that a myth? I don’t know, but it was a lot of geese.”

All the birds

He said he enjoyed going to a campus uni as opposed to a big city: “I don’t think I was ready for the big city at that point” which is a selling point for lots of York students.

He points out the brutalist building style “UFO-nature” of Central Hall, which he ties to some horrendous exam experiences, but overall, he seems to think it was a lovely place to go to uni. Most importantly, however, he agrees with the results of our survey finding that Derwent is, in fact, the ugliest part of campus.

Phil also says he regrets not having joined many societies and clubs at the time: “I am so annoyed at myself that I didn’t join more clubs. Imagine how much I would have thrived if I went to the LGBT Club and went on that night out.” So take this as inspiration to go and get involved as much as you can.

Going on to tell some fun stories, including one where he broke his hand during a drunken piggyback ride, Phil deemed his go-to drink, vodka-Vimto, the “drink of York”. Although a classic Blue Shit would definitely take this title now I do genuinely now want to try a vodka-Vimto.

Moving away from campus, he shows us his second year house in Fulford, which “was falling apart inside, but it was functional”. Safe to say that’s typical for any uni house. He also described his house as a “prank house” with his housemates filling his entire room with balloons while he was away.

He then went on to live in Wentworth College for his fourth and final year.

In the City centre, he talks about spending summer afternoons at the top of Clifford’s tower, visiting the Viking Centre and working on Coney Street. He used to go to a club on Tuesdays called The Gallery, which we all now know as Kuda, so it turns out that Kuda Tuesdays have been around for quite a while.

He mentions how fun nights out were had at Dim Sum Bar and Disco, a gay disco/Chinese restaurant that sadly no longer exists (I don’t know about you but I think that sounds brilliant).

The Gallery AKA Kuda

He also notes a first date he had with a guy in Evil Eye who ended things with him because he was “more into guys that drink beer” after Phil had ordered a cocktail. Oh well, probably dodged a bullet there.

The video was very chaotic, but he gives us a nice little compilation of memories from his time at uni. I don’t know about you, but it is very cool to see someone you used to watch as a child talking about the campus and city you’re currently living in.

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