Old Before My Time. I am old before my time. I have decided I make a mockery of being 19. According to magazines and TV shows I should be out on the town every night of the week, getting ridiculously drunk, kissing strangers and occasionally being sick in a bus stop. But it‟s just not me. I would much rather be snug on the sofa with a good book and a latte than falling over in the high street while my friends abuse a taxi driver – and unfortunately I am talking from experience. The clubbing lifestyle, and the people that participate in it, amaze me. It takes every ounce of willpower to drag myself out of bed at 8am when my alarm starts barking incessantly, and that‟s with going to bed at 11pm with a Peter James novel to keep me company. How on earth do people manage the same, turning up (relatively) bright eyed and bushy tailed to a 10am lecture after just five hours sleep. The cries of “I think I‟m still drunk” and “I haven‟t been to sleep yet” are becoming a regular morning occurrence, and something that never fails to amuse me. Its this idea that I‟m supposed to be jealous of these people, that they‟re the ones having an amazing time that never fails to make me laugh. Hangovers and vomit stained shoes are not something I long for, funnily enough. My nights in are not simply full of reality TV shows and dawdling mindlessly on Facebook, however. I have become a pretty good cook, if I do say so myself. I read more books than I have room for, and I have become addicted to knitting. I am also in the process of finishing a quilt. Hardly rock „n‟ roll, I‟m aware, but nonetheless there is something incredibly satisfying about finishing a scarf and then wearing it out the next day. Plus, what could possibly be better for a student budget than making your own? There is no doubt I have inherited this vaguely reclusive behaviour from my Mum. When she comes to stay with me we can both immerse ourselves in our knitting for hours, and not say a word. Discussing upcoming projects and the technicalities of a cable knit over a glass of rose have become a regular occurrence, and as mad as it may sound to die hard clubbers, I look forward to it ridiculous amounts. Unfortunately, my aunts and even their cousins are the same. They even have knitting parties. I had no chance. As mad as it may seem, a lot of my friends are exactly the same as me. I know it must come as a shock that I have friends at all. After moving to Southampton for university, one of my best friends who is studying at Nottingham Trent came to stay with me. While everyone else was giving me abuse for not going out, it was amazing to see that she too would rather stay in and drink tea and watch Frozen Planet. My obsession with David Attenborough‟s voice, however, is another matter entirely. The one night we did attempt to go out, we sat in a local bar offering £1 drinks and after doing a few obligatory shots we secured a table near the side of the room. Sitting there watching the most random looking bunch of people gyrate in quite a violent manner to “I‟m sexy and I know it” was enough to make me run for the last bus home, never wanting to venture out of my lovely little bubble again. Another shock for you all is that, even though I sound like I have the social schedule of a 74 year old, I do in fact have a boyfriend. The fact that I found someone who would also rather snuggle up on the sofa with a duvet and a table full of snacks than go gallivanting around the city still amazes me. This may have something to do with the fact that he is 26 years old, and lived out the typical laddish lifestyle to a tee after turning 18. Some of the stories are, quite frankly, grim. Whenever we do decide to venture into the outside world, it is usually together. We have an innate ability to be able to communicate a full escape plan from a packed club with one flick of the eye, and usually go home and throw ourselves in bed sighing: “What on earth did we do that for!?” Sometimes I do long for the life of a wild child. Getting all dressed up, wearing shorts on a night out even though
it‟s the middle of November. Just looking at them makes me shiver, drinking ridiculous amounts of some vile alcoholic beverage and waking up on someone else‟s bedroom floor not quite remembering how I got there all sounds so frivolous and fun that it does almost appeal. I just don‟t think I will ever manage it. I am constantly thinking that it‟s too cold to go out without my leather jacket, I hate the taste of most alcohol, hangovers are like hell on earth and how is everyone going to get home. I feel like the designated driver, even though I can‟t drive. I don‟t think the appeal of a giant mug of tea, an amazingly gripping, dark crime novel or the beautiful new Rowan wool collection will ever waiver. However much I try time and again to adapt to the reckless lifestyle of the stereotypical student, I think I will always be drawn to the lighter things in life. You are much more likely to find me in the wool section of John Lewis than propping up the bar at Oceana. I am currently trying to find a knitting group, and I am seriously considering a cupcake decorating class I spotted at a tiny cake shop near my flat. I feel like a Nan at 19, and I don‟t think I would have it any other way.
Southampton Cultural Quarter Members of Southampton City Council today revealed some information behind the development of a Cultural Quarter in the heart of the city, and discussed some of the key elements to what they hope will mean an exciting new start for Southampton. With the culmination of an extensive and occasionally fraught project to regenerate the Above Bar area of the city centre still a few years away, project leader Jill Low wants to ensure that Southampton residents have not lost faith in them. “Culture is an essential part of life. We want to both regenerate and bring new life to the city, in a way proven to work in other cities around the country.” she explains, and with a background in the arts her passion is contagious. Previously working at The Gantry before its closure in 2001 and within the regeneration of Salisbury art centre, Jill ensures that she will not put her name to a project unless she is completely committed. The main development is based around two buildings, to be erected opposite the newly refurbished Guildhall Square. The North building is primarily a performance area, with bars and cafes at the base leading up to 2 extensive auditoriums on the upper floors. The entire complex is a flexible multi use space, with a distinctive and well thought out flow between the two new constructions. The South building provides a new home for the John Hansard gallery from the University of Southampton, allowing them to create more traffic through their unique contemporary art gallery. A distinctive factor is the use of windows on the ground floor, allowing people walking past to glance in and become intrigued at the contents of the buildings. This idea of losing the mystery around galleries and enhancing excitement and interaction is focal to the plans of the council, with many of their ideas revolving around participation from the public and students from Southampton‟s many schools, colleges and universities. Already with a uniquely cultural feel, Southampton is a city that could benefit hugely from a new injection of life, and something that the council are keen to enforce is that this is a project for all residents to enjoy. Negativity surrounding the project can be based around people having different ideas regarding culture, as Jill explained:
“People often don‟t realise that culture is a big part of their lives already, like watching TV or going to the cinema. Limited knowledge of arts projects is also to blame, we want to get away from the idea that its for rich londoners and broaden peoples horizons, bringing the arts to everyone.” The venture has not been without its difficulties however. Grosvenor is the third developer to be on board with the scheme, after previous developer City Lofts was put in to administration. However, she wants to reiterate that this is a positive period in time, and that starting afresh with new arts council funding of £7.2million is going to make all the difference. Grosvenor‟s alterations, working with CZWG and Glenn Howell‟s architects, have focused on practical and commercial spaces, concentrating on social areas and cafes to bring life to the centre rather than a residential focus. The 36 residential apartments are situated above the South building, and will be sold once the area is completed. Ben White, the communications director at Southampton City Council, wants to ensure residents have the utmost confidence in the project and that they understand the commercially viable status of the development. “Public finances are dire at the moment, which is why this project has to be a commercial success. We want to attract people to the city, both tourists and residents who already have their lives in Southampton.” explained Ben White, also using the trade created by the cruise ships as an example of the variety of people that will frequent the city. The Cultural Quarter wants to bridge the gap between shops shutting and bars and clubs opening, encouraging more people to go out in what will be a safe, well lit and unique space in the heart of a bustling city. Attracting a mix of the arts, the quarter will be a hive of creative activity where people have the freedom to explore and participate. Jill Low confirms her dedication to creating a haven for Southampton citizens: “We really want to create a hub within the city centre, a place that looks and feels special. People will want to come and have a coffee, and sit and watch the world go by.”
What Fashion Means?
Stylish Southampton residents were out in force today, explaining exactly why looking good is important to them. Well, most of them. A recurring theme within peoples opinions on shopping at the moment is the economic climate. Charity shops, car boot sales and vintage stores have experienced an influential revival, becoming somewhere to find an onslaught of fashion followers looking for original yet bargain buys. “My favourite shop is a little vintage store in the centre of Nottingham called „cow‟. I love it because every week I go in there is a new collection of clothing and you never really know what you are going to find,” said Jazmine Johnson, an 18 year old fashion communication and promotion student from Nottingham. This idea of people putting more thought into where they shop is also a very current idea, predominantly eco clothing and the evolution of fair trade brands. One of the most successful and popular brands to appear doing
this throughout the year has been TOMS, a company founded by American traveler Blake Mycoskie which operates a One for One movement. For every pair of TOMS brought worldwide, the company provides a pair of shoes to a child in need. Small independent companies that resonate this theory are gaining increased popularity with young people. Alfie Jefferies is a Music graduate from Shirley, Southampton who said: ” The frontman from one of my favourite bands has recently set up his own clothing line called Step Up HQ, which I have bought quite a few pieces from. Not only do I listen to the bands music and enjoy it, but the profits from purchasing them go to a great cause so you‟re supporting something with real body and meaning.” Street style is also a constant source of inspiration for many people, providing fresh new insight into trends without having to search online or look through magazines. “I get most of my inspiration from being out and about, just walking around and seeing people dressed nicely and thinking „I want too look like them,” said James Allen, 26 who lives on Shirley Road, Shirley. This is not a view shared by people who work within the fashion and retail sector, as Vicky from St.Denys explained: “As I work in a clothes shop, I get a lot of my inspiration for trends from what comes into stock. I also love reading magazines, especially More, to keep me up-to-date and give me ideas on how to escape my uniform at the weekends!” Wearing a uniform is something that also affects Topman employee Adam Cruse from Bristol, who is staying with friends in Southampton: ” It is my job to follow and wear Topman‟s newest and best trends and always be up to date with the new lines. At the moment I‟m employed to wear cord chino‟s and stripy T-shirts, however I like to try and add my own twist to the look as sometimes I disagree with the image they try and promote through their staff.”