Page 1


EDIT OR Emily Dennis editor@wessexscene.co.uk DEPUTY EDITO R Sam Pearson deputy-editor@wessexscene.co.uk H EAD O F DESI GN Ren Neoh design@wessexscene.co.uk H EAD O F I MAGERY Sayli Jadhav image@wessexscene.co.uk ONLINE & MARKETING MANAGER James Huford publicity@wessexscene.co.uk SUB-EDITO RS

Sam Pegg

Rachel Manthorpe

Chloe Wade

FE AT URES EDITO R Elizabeth Sorrell features@wessexscene.co.uk OPINI O N EDI TO R Ellie Griffiths opinion@wessexscene.co.uk POLITICS EDITO R Hector Hemingway-McGhee politics@wessexscene.co.uk SCIENCE & TECH EDITOR Jack Davies science@wessexscene.co.uk LIFE S TYL E EDI TO R Daisy Gazzard lifestyle@wessex scene . c o . uk T RAVEL EDI TO R Hannah Griffiths travel@wessexscene.co.uk

a celebration of firsts... Hello and welcome everyone to another glorious year of Wessex Scene! This year is set to be a year of firsts for everybody: some have moved away from home for the first time; for others this year will mark the first time they’ve ever been ‘out-out’; for a fair few, this will be their first time completing an 8000 word essay. Whether you’re new to the university or not, this year will mark something special for all of us, so we thought we’d take the opportunity to reflect on some of our own first memories. Our first magazine is usually centred on the ‘Fresher’s Experience’, but after the past year or two, it feels a lot more like there isn’t really a fine line between new and older students. In response, our writers have discussed Firsts that’ll be useful for the whole cohort of students: whether that’s where to go on a night out (p.14), how to behave on a night out (p.10), or how to look after yourself while chasing Firsts (p.06). We even discuss more sensitive topics like the idea of a ‘special first time’ (p.08) and Jeff Bezos (p.12, p.18). I hope this magazine helps to celebrate the start of many people’s journey here at the University of Southampton and with Wessex Scene itself. I implore you to look amongst these pages and get lost with our writers and illustrators as we follow who they’ve become and where they began. This past year has been a great jumping off point towards the future, and I am so fortunate that we can prepare to begin a new chapter together. Your Editor,

EMILY DENNIS Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this magazine belong to each author alone - Wessex Scene is a neutral publication which aims to publish views from across the student body. To respond with an opposing opinion, please contact opinion@ wessexscene.co.uk or join our Opinion Writers’ Group.

SPOR TS EDITO R Mitul Mistry sport@wessexscene.co.uk PAUS E EDITO R Alyssa-Caroline Burnette pause@wessexscene.co.uk

NEW S & INVESTIGA TIO N S

news/investigations@wessexscene.co.uk

FRONT COVER IMAGE BY SAYLI JADHAV IMAGE SOURCE: FREEPIK.COM


FEATURES 04 THE INTERNAL STRUGGLES OF FIRSTGENERATION UNIVERSITY STUDENTS 07 BURNING BOTH ENDS: CHASING FIRSTS DURING COVID-19

OPINION VIRGINITY AND OTHER NUISANCES

08

POLITICS SCIENCE & TECH 12

DOES IT MATTER WHICH BILLIONAIRE IS FIRST INTO SPACE?

PHONE, KEYS,...PASSPORT? THE FIRST NIGHT OUT SINCE FREEDOM DAY

10

MY FIRST GENERAL ELECTION

11

LIFESTYLE 13

FIRST BOOKS AND A LIFESTYLE OF ESCAPES

14

WHERE TO GO FIRST: A FRESHER’S GUIDE TO SOUTHAMPTON

SPORTS THE FIRST TIME I FELL IN LOVE WITH FOOTBALL

15

TRAVEL FROM PIRATES TO PASTIES: HOW THE COAST OF KERNOW STOLE MY HEART

PAUSE 17

A SARCASTIC GUIDE ON HOW TO NAIL A FIRST

18

JEFF BEZOS IS FIRST BILLIONAIRE TO ENTER POUNDLAND

W ESSEX SCE NE . CO . UK @ WE S S E XS CE NE

F B . C OM / W S C E N E @OF F IC IAL W E S S E X S C E N E

16


FEATURES

The Internal Struggles of First-Generation University Students

ince I was a toddler, my grandmother would hold me in her arms, look me in the eye and tell me: ‘One day, you will become a scientist’. She didn’t know for sure, but this idea was instilled in me at an early point in my life. Coming from a family of farmers and factory workers, both my parents did not possess the financial resources to attend university. Although they are now happy, as a homemaker and a First Lieutenant in the Italian Navy, there was a time when they regretted not having the same opportunities as their peers. Therefore, ever since I was barely an infant, my parents directed my attention towards developing my already curious mind. They were lucky to have a child who did not care for running around and jumping but preferred to sit reading a book, drawing, or writing. When it came to choosing which type of high school to attend at age 14, I knew I wanted to go to university afterwards. For those of you not familiar with the Italian school system, there are certain high schools that require students to continue their studies at university. Since I attended this type of school, I spent five years thinking about my passions, abilities, and my future career path. I cannot describe the pressure that my family put me under, voluntarily and involuntarily. There was an expectation I would come out at the top of my class, apply to the ‘best’ universities, and study a degree highly regarded by social norms. Looking at my classmates, I thought I was the only one facing this kind of struggle. However, a research article by Dr. Morag Henderson in 2020 highlighted how the anticipations of students coming from families where no one else had attended university before were higher than in families with graduates. Apart from the pressure to succeed, there is another factor to consider. First-generation students do not benefit from the same support system as students with graduates in their family. I could not ask my parents for guidance on university choice, academic requirements, or campus life. Dr. Henderson emphasises the difficulty in settling into university life and how this struggle might lead to higher drop-out rates. The evidence 4

gathered by his team showed that first-generation students are at a disadvantage from both the academic and practical aspects of their life at university, causing them to end their studies before graduation. One solution to these issues, as discussed by Dr. Henderson, would be instituting a support system at the universities themselves. Universities could give students the opportunity to communicate the lack of higher-education experience in their family, so that the institution can offer guidance “both at the application stage and once they have enrolled, so they have the best chance of fulfilling their potential”. As a personal note, I would have benefitted from a guidance scheme in my first year, so I was glad to discover it was already being discussed. Although I am now at a point where I feel confident about having settled into my adult life, I still sometimes feel the pressure of being the first university student in my family. We need to teach our first-generation students to be more lenient towards themselves, and not to let the expectations of their families overburden them. We need to create a safety net for those who continue to struggle, so that they can achieve their potential.

WORDS BY NOEMI CASTELLO IMAGE BY SAYLI JADHAV SPOT BY REN NEOH

FIRSTS




FEATURES

BURNING BOTH ENDS: CHASING FIRSTS DURING COVID-19 earning during uncertain times has led to unprecedented amounts of pressure, resulting in many students focusing their energy on achieving a first-class degree.

Burnout is a problem inherent in the academic system: because of how narrowly it defines excellence, and how it categorizes and rewards success. 52% of students say their mental health has deteriorated since 2020, which can be attributed to exhaustion, cynicism, and feelings of negativity about work. It is no surprise, therefore, that 40% of students have seriously considered dropping out of university over the 2020-21 academic year. All university students can relate to the struggles of less time on campus, limited face-to-face contact, and laptops plagued with weak Wi-Fi. I, amongst many, have constantly felt this mounting pressure to succeed (even without a global crisis). My secondary school preached success stories about their first-class alumni with no regard to the inevitable symptoms of burnout. Applying to university through clearing made me anxious that I was disadvantaged compared to my successful colleagues. Ultimately, I accepted the consequence of teetering on the edge of a first-class degree in service of affording my monthly rent through a part-time job. Although I was already juggling multiple commitments, the arrival of the pandemic kickstarted my rocky relationship with burnout. I travelled to South Korea in my third year and conquered double the number of modules and assignments than are expected in the U.K., with at least six hours a day hunched over a desk. The eight-hour time difference was isolating, giving me one sole task: to succeed. My exchange did not count towards my degree, but I prioritised chasing a high grade in exchange for my mental health in the most irrational quid-pro-quo ever. Hillary Gyebi-Ababio has urged the government to

WESSEX SCENE

recognise the ‘barriers posed by remote learning and digital poverty’, yet even the support from universities has been met with dissatisfaction. Only 57% of students seeking help are content with the support they’ve received, outlining an inherent problem with how universities approach mental health. Academic success has sadly been met with 55% of students not sleeping well and over one third of students feeling they have had limited social contact during the pandemic. So, how do degree classifications compare in the face of Covid-19? In terms of starting salary, there is no significant difference between undergraduates who receive a 2:1 and a 2:2, despite two-thirds of graduate recruiters expecting a 2:1 as a minimum requirement. Employers are increasingly ‘contextualising’ recruitment to consider not just grades, but also social background and work experience. Chasing firsts, then, seems to be a precursor to burnout rather than an explicit route towards success. Conversely, universities have experienced a ‘chronic grade inflation’ during the pandemic, awarding a staggering one in three students with a first-class degree. More students graduated with a first-class degree than a lower second grade. Damian Hinds criticises this as an ‘unjustifiable rise’ and urges universities to ‘reset the norm’ without acknowledging how hard students have worked throughout the pandemic. Rather than reflecting institutional bias, academic success instead ‘reflects a combination of national trends’ because of an isolating academic experience - hard work in the face of adversary that has fuelled the burnout wildfire across the world. Locked up, burnt out, and desperate to secure a successful future, students have been pushed to their limits. I do not need a first-class degree to be happy. We should be proud of what we have achieved, regardless of our grades. They do not define us. Let us try not to burn the candle at both ends.

WORDS BY EUAN COOK IMAGE BY SAYLI JADHAV

7


OPINION ex is one of those subject areas in school that is never taught enough about, but is also seemingly all there is to be discussed. I hadn’t registered the word ‘sex’ until I was nine years old, and even then, everyone on my table used it as a joke. Regardless, I had a deep feeling that we shouldn’t have been saying the word, for reasons that I didn’t fully understand. Naturally, it felt like a really funny joke. That was until British sex education began, in all its ambiguity...

Virginity a

I remember every scientific term and those weird cartoons that everyone in Britain above the age of eleven will mutually remember. ‘Zygote’, ‘meiosis’, ‘identical and fraternal twins’ - all of the words that imply sex, without actually having to talk about it. Virginity was never a subject of conversation in science; it was part of religious and ethical studies. Even then, it was your standard talk about chastity, homosexuality, and purity. We walked away with a vague understanding of virginity. By secondary school, everything I had learned about sex had originated from my own peers. The word ‘virgin’ came up a lot. Who is a virgin, who isn’t? In what ways are they a virgin, in what ways are they not? From these conversations alone, it was clear that something was shifty about the concept of virginity. Some people kind of were and kind of weren’t. But it would take such a toll on your social status. The working definition of ‘virgin’ was never set in stone, but you could still tell who was sexually active and who wasn’t by the way they were treated. Rumours, gossip, and hearsay would arise out of the blue about someone’s sex life, and with this, their treatment at school would suddenly change. They became ‘players’ as guys or ‘slutty’ as girls. On the flip side, they were considered ‘prudish’, ‘frigid’, or a ‘tease’ if someone’s advances were rejected, or were knowingly holding out on sex. All these social complications don’t even take into account what virginity means among those who don’t fit into a heteronormative framework. Amongst gay people, what is the concrete way of saying that you have lost your virginity? As a fifteen-year-old, I thought it must have been some inexplicable change in the air, in the way people acted, or the energy that they gave off once they lost their virginity, which made it so obvious. How can we know so much about a person based on whether or not they have had sex? For a concept that implies people’s purity, moral standing,

8

and religious piety, virginity actually has no working definition. There are no physical markers among men or women as to whether they are a virgin or not (although an abundance of film and media would suggest otherwise). Despite this, for the most part, the concept of virginity and its perceived entailments has been detrimental to women. Although men are often shamed and harassed for their virginity, the loss of virginity for women can be the difference between social inclusion and exclusion; marriage and rejection, and a morally pure woman and one who is ‘not the type to bring home to the parents’. We do not have an objective definition for virginity. Instead, it is a social tool that has harmed, isolated, and in many instances, killed, women who did not fit into its narrow parameters. Even the origin of the word ‘virgin’ specifically connotes a sexually inexperienced young woman, in particular. The importance that is ascribed to a woman’s virginity places women in danger across many different cultural landscapes. Even in places where there is less stigma against premarital or casual sex, the mere presence of virginity is problematic for women and girls.

FIRSTS


and Other Nuisances

The perceived personality traits that supposedly accompany virgins (such as purity, innocence, and naivety) are actively sensationalised and sexualised. A woman’s first time is something to be sought after, and the act of ‘taking’ someone’s virginity is an accomplishment, an act of conquest. This further perpetuates the idea that a woman’s body is purely reactive to men’s sexual desires, rather than an active body with its own sexuality and agency. The idolisation of women’s virginity only exacerbates the notion of women being at the behest of men. We only need to look at the resurgence of the ‘Lolita aesthetic’ to understand the dark side of equating virginity with innocence and purity. Regardless of intent, romanticising sexual innocence endangers young girls. The iconic heart-shaped sunglasses not only remind us of Vladimir Nabokov’s masterpiece, but drag us into the widespread misinterpretation of it that romanticised a predatory idolisation of young girls. From Lana del Rey to Alice-in-Wonderland-esque fashion trends, the conflation of virginity and innocence naturally leads us down an ethically disturbing approach to sex, targeting young girls

WESSEX SCENE

and ignoring the sexuality of adult women. The myriad of social problems that have come about in the name of preserving one’s virginity and the supposed purity of women demands a drastic revamp regarding how we examine sexual experience. It may be too much to ask people to mind their own business, but at the very least, we can try to remove the perceived connection between someone’s sexual experience (or lack thereof ) and their consequent social worth. Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.

WORDS BY ELIZABETH SORRELL IMAGE BY REN NEOH

9


POLITICS

Phone, Keys, ...Passport? The First Night Out Since Freedom Day

n 23rd March 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the U.K. would enter into a ‘Lockdown’; a radical move to limit the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed. Overnight, the freedoms that formed the cornerstone of British life were severely limited in ways not seen in peacetime before. Yet almost 18-months later, at midnight on 19th July 2021, all mandatory restrictions such as the requirement in England to wear facemasks in shops and indoor settings, capacity limitations in bars, restaurants, and on socialisation were lifted. This so-called ‘Freedom Day’ proved a gamble for the Prime Minister, with case numbers continuing to rise and hit 46,000 the day restrictions were lifted. However, the reality of Freedom Day seems to have evaded the dire predictions of epidemiologists. Just a week after 19th July, cases per day had fallen by 40% and continue to do so almost a month later. There have been questions, however, over how accurate the data is on this fall in infections, given that young people are averse to being tested, and the school summer holidays have begun, signalling a pause in perpetual weekly testing. Yet the explanation advanced by epidemiologists is that the high levels of vaccine uptake in the U.K. – the highest in Europe – in tandem with high levels of natural infection, the U.K. has developed some form of herd immunity. Despite the optimism the data is providing, Number 10 have refused to rule out domestic vaccine passports for use at nightclubs and bars. In fact, Vaccines Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, has indicated that individuals will need proof of full vaccination to enter nightclubs and other crowded indoor venues from the end of September. This has been met with anger from the Night Time Industries Association, the body representing such venues who have struggled to stay afloat over the course of the pandemic, and who believe that such a move will exacerbate the decline of the sector further. Others point to the Government’s own Events Research Programme, in which only 28 cases of Covid-19 were recorded out of 58,000 who attended events included in the programme.

10

The necessity of Vaccine Passports also raises profound questions regarding civil liberties, as it could discriminate against those who choose not to be vaccinated, or who cannot be vaccinated owing to underlying health conditions. Where such passports have been introduced, the reaction from the citizenry and parliamentarians has been equally volatile. For instance, the decision by France to require proof of full vaccination to visit night-time venues was met by large and sustained protests. In Italy, an MP was filmed being chased out of parliament after waving a placard in opposition to the proposed ‘Green Pass’ scheme. Whatever your view of how the Government has handled the pandemic, thanks to the herculean vaccine programme, it seems that the U.K. is shifting from a pandemic outbreak to an endemic one. Although case numbers are falling at a sustained rate and the Government’s own research trial has shown that large events do not necessarily lead to major outbreaks, come September, when checking your pockets for your wallet, keys, and phone, you may also need to remember your vaccine passport too. As ever, only time will tell... Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.

WORDS BY HECTOR HEMINGWAY-MCGHEE IMAGE BY SAYLI JADHAV

FIRSTS


My First General Election ho do you vote for when there is no one to vote for? It was a disappointing question to be asking for my first general election. They’re events of significant fanfare, after all. The broadcasters break out their ever-expanding collection of infographics and CGI maps. The BBC dust off that opening music. We get treated to weeks of blowby-blow coverage as party leaders, each with their own comet tail of reporters, staffers and activists, shuttle around the country, giving stump speeches and (if we’re lucky) occasionally sinking their teeth into each other in a scramble for the keys to Number 10. Of course, eventually the country arrives at the business end of matters. Polling Day. Cue a curious absence of political content on the news, as the cacophony of election coverage is hushed by legally-binding tradition. Pictures of smiling party leaders at polling stations. And the small matter of actually casting your ballot. But I was torn. First off, as a student, I had to decide before polling day where to vote, and frankly I was none too sure. Both my home and shared house in Southampton were in Labour constituencies. The Labour party was a bit less entrenched in my home constituency, so I was tempted to vote there, to keep the red flag flying. But did I really want that? Despite being able to trace a labour-voting tendency in my family through to the generation of my great-grandfather, I wasn’t necessarily convinced I wanted Labour in power. They were weak on the issue of Brexit, which I saw as an era-defining error, serving as a vehicle to legitimise the far-right. I thought their leader was well-intentioned, but weak and foolish, content to be carried by his fan club. I thought their policy programme looked good. It was somewhat congested, and perhaps over-ambitious. But better to fail while daring greatly, so my thinking went.

But again, Brexit. Trying to ‘both sides’ morally charged division, and failing to oppose a project that would leave us a xenophobic set of islands off the coast of Europe in the eyes of the world. Had we always been that way? Possibly, but Brexit threatened to entrench that in the heart of government. Not to mention threatening to disrupt the Northern Ireland peace process. And our food supply. And the immigration of healthcare workers that keep the NHS on its feet. But Labour were offering something. A second referendum. Another throw of the dice, however absurd it was that the leadership was undecided on whether it would campaign for or against its own deal. Plus, it became apparent over the course of the campaign that Corbyn would only make it into Number 10 with either the Lib Dems or the SNP, both of whom could be relied upon to force Labour into a more pro-Europe position. Furthermore, voting for the Liberal Democrats, as much as I admired their decision over repealing Article 50, would only have split the anti-Conservative bloc in either constituency. So, Labour it had to be, in my home constituency.

Enter the punchline: none of this mattered. Why not? Surely all of this agonising can’t have been for nothing? Reader, it was. Because at 10 pm on 12th December 2019, I saw the exit poll indicate a major Conservative victory, foretelling the political earthquake that would fell my dreams of harmony and cooperation with Europe. Elections are theatrical, they are exciting, but they can also be crushing if you care to believe in them. Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.

WORDS BY SAM PEARSON IMAGE BY SAYLI JADHAV

WESSEX SCENE

11


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

n July of 2021, two members of the global super elite each took to their space plane and strangely phallic rocket, racing to the edge of our atmosphere in a PR stunt to launch a new era of tourism. After conjuring these multimilliondollar toys from the depths of their pockets, all the billionaire CEOs needed to do was make sure they could convince their peers in the top 0.5% give them more money once they’d finished playing. And so, the endeavour would be branded as a ‘billionaire space race’, grabbing the headlines and getting the money pouring in. Considering the nature of this article, it clearly worked as a PR stunt, so does it even matter who got there first? Perhaps we’d have a greater insight if there were a clearer winner. Although Sir Richard Branson flew first into ‘space’ with his Virgin Galactic spaceplane, rival company Blue Origin were quick to point out in a tweet that they never crossed the Karman Line, ‘the internationally recognised boundary of space’ located 100km from sea level. While it is true that reaching an altitude of 100km would be universally recognised as reaching space, many countries would recognise it at 80km, a margin exceeded by the Virgin Galactic flight. The required altitude for becoming an astronaut is notably at 100km, an important metric for Blue Origin, who actively invites customers to ‘become an astronaut’. This has been dismissed by the FAA, however, who award astronaut’s wings to those who carry out a public service in space, which they have decided isn’t fulfilled by tourists. Should we instead be anticipating the first company to offer ‘voluntourism’ in space so people can earn their astronaut wings? Considering we live on a warming planet; we might want to incorporate a points-based penalty system in the billionaire space race to reward cleaner contenders. Rockets do not contribute anything healthy to our atmosphere. The negative effects from massive emissions from each launch are exacerbated by the fact that these emissions are injected right into the upper atmosphere. At the small scales seen currently with relatively limited

12

access to space, rocket emissions make up only a fraction of global CO2 output. If, however, we are going to increase that access to allow civilian tourism, with Virgin Galactic alone hoping to offer 400 flights annually, this could quickly become more of an issue. Blue Origin’s rocket uses hydrogen as a fuel, with the only emission being water, which although still has warming effects at high altitude is much less damaging than the refining and use of the fuels used by Virgin Galactic. So, does it matter which billionaire is first into space? For me, no. For the history books it will do, but because it was a two-horse race the loser will always be remembered as well, so I doubt it will affect the future endeavours of the companies. For me, it matters most which billionaire is being most responsible with their extravagant pastimes. They can throw about money as much as they want, but the smaller the negative impact of their exploits on the prospects of the planet, the better. It says a lot about society when you can simultaneously witness a plague of natural disasters around the world from climate change and the launch of the global elite’s expensive polluting toys. Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.

WORDS BY JACK DAVIES

IMAGE BY EESHA KARDILE

FIRSTS


LIFESTYLE

It was the first time I could read a book without the pressures to learn around me. It wasn’t a quick affair, I think it took a total of three weeks to finish, and yet somehow this one book changed my relationship with reading in an instant. I didn’t quite love it yet, but as a pastime it was certainly engaging enough. I remember soon after asking my mum to take me to the library (excited though unconvinced at my sudden change of attitude towards books). I wandered in, and having questionably grown up on crime TV shows like Bones and CSI, I picked up Emma Kennedy’s Wilma Tenderfoot and the Case of the Frozen Hearts, and I finished it in about a week. Slowly then I made my way through Kennedy’s series and dipped into my own collection of Dahl books like Matilda and Danny and the Champion of the World. However, the moment I truly realised I had fallen in love with reading was when books began to make their way onto my Christmas and Birthday lists.

can remember it clearly, that first moment I sat down to read a book off my own back. These weren’t Biff, Chip and Kipper books anymore, nor were they the occasional exploration of Dahl in the confines of the classroom (although I would revisit Dahl later on). Instead, it was a book given to me at 11 (I discovered reading a bit later on in life than most), called The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh. While initially I planned to never read a single page of it, by chance, an excess of boredom, and having read the first thirty pages at school during a quiet reading hour, I finally discovered the cliched expression of the magic of a good book. From there my first book turned into a hobby and then rather surprisingly a lifestyle of escape, as I consumed the worlds of words contained within a book. I remember everything so clearly because I largely have books to thank for who I am today. At 11, I had just failed my grammar school entry exams for English, passing maths with flying colours. I was bitterly disappointed but, no matter how hard I tried in lessons, I never could quite grasp the finer literary skills. All the times I had picked up a book before were always with the aim to make me better at English, and that made it a chore rather than an escape. I didn’t want to read outside of school because if that’s what school wanted me to do, that would make it homework and no one really likes homework, do they?

WESSEX SCENE

What was most amazing about my newly discovered love though, was how it changed me to become better at English. All the things I felt forced to connect suddenly developed while reading on the couch. My hobby was developing my English skills which paved the way for the escapist learning experience I crave today. I’m not particularly someone who loves to learn in the classroom, but give me a book that deals with the problematic nature of time encompassed in a metanarrative of a library and a talking ape, and I’ll pick up a lot of real-life knowledge from it. I seek books to escape, but I always choose the ones that let me fall in love with reading all over again while learning something real from their narrative. That first book back when I was eleven helped paved every step I’ve taken since, and there’s nothing I cherish more than that first moment.

WORDS BY SAM PEGG IMAGE BY SHUBHI JAIN

13


LIFESTYLE

W H E R E T O G O F I R S T: A F R E S H E R ’ S G U I D E T O SOUTHAMPTON WORDS BY EMILY DENNIS IMAGE BY SAM ELSTON

o you’ve made it to Southampton - what a place. There is so much intrigue and curiosity written into the many bricks of this walled city, but it does beg a very obvious question - where should I go first?

the UK’ but oh how it holds a very special place in many Southampton hearts. Along this same road is The Hobbit, for Lord of the Rings ‘themed’ drinkies and Manzil’s, a happy little curry house that loves to take care of drunk students at 3 am.

Look no further. Shopping The main shops to stick on your map are the big Sainsburys in Portswood or the ALDI that is a bit further down the exact same road. Other supermarket choices are a bit further away from the campus, but there is an ASDA quite close to Mayflower Halls if you’re over in that direction. The city itself has two shopping centres: Marlands (which is like every typical dilapidated town centre) and Westquay, which is where you’ll find most of the popular shops as well as a large variety of eateries. Food Outside of Westquay, there are quite a lot of restaurants to finish off any day out, including everyone’s favourite pizzeria, L’Osteria. Other popular venues beyond Westquay are such places as 7Bone (burgers), Mango Thai (Thai food) and of course, Charcoal Grill (for when you’ve finished with your night out). McDonald’s has a high delivery charge, so students in Wessex Lane halls may want to consider walking over to the end of Burgess Road. If you’re into brunch, Bedford Place has a number of restaurants that fit the bill, from Revolution and XOXO to Turtle Bay if you want to journey a bit further. Nightlife This has been a very disappointing few years for a number of reasons, but perhaps the most prominent is the closing of Oceana (the most decent club in Southampton). It now has a takeover night over at Switch which otherwise predominately plays DnB. For the LGBT+ scene, there is The Edge which is a bit further towards the city, and there is always Jesters, known as ‘the worst nightclub in 14

Entertainment If you’re into live performance, Southampton is home to a whole host of venues. The MAST theatre is where you’ll find your dramatic theatre, the Mayflower is where you’ll find musicals, the O2 Guildhall is the place to find some popular music performances. That being said, there are also some more quaint music venues, including the Joiners, The 1865, and, quite exclusively, Stags on a Thursday night. Wild Card Somewhere that doesn’t really fit into any categories is Southampton Common, a huge park that is almost central to Southampton. This is where many societies choose to meet, where barbecues are held and where ducks have a swim. It’ll become a part of your university experience, which is quite nice, natural, and simple. If you want more adventures from your Wild Card, get yourself into a car and travel to the New Forest which has wild pigs, the ocean, and an inflatable watercourse. *I hope this guide serves you well as a starting point to life in Southampton, but remember - this is your opportunity to experience life for yourself, so get out there and have yourself some fun!

FIRSTS


SPORTS

THE FIRST TIME I FELL IN LOVE WITH FOOTBALL

ove is a powerful word. In the sporting world, to love is to be passionate. To love is to stand strong with your team whether you win, lose or draw. Football is one of those sports where one side of the party is almost guaranteed to leave disappointed. Football is one of those sports that leave you biting your nails from kick-off to full-time. Yet amidst all the chaos and agony that the beautiful game brings, few can be left to doubt the impact that such a sport can provide from a young age. This is the story about the first time I truly fell in love with football.

Growing up in a country like England, where football culture is so striking, it seemed inevitable that I would get a taste of the sport from childhood. Instilled from as far back as I can remember, Liverpool was my team. My father raised me the right way, unlike my brother who became an Arsenal fan - sorry Gunners. At the age of 7, I decided it was time to join my local team. Being hit with several options, I became lost in the sea of teams: Bedgrove Dynamos, Aylesbury Town, or Aston Clinton Colts. I researched for days, checklists were designed, strengths and weaknesses considered as I attempted to determine the right team for me. After days of struggle, I realised that it didn’t matter what team was the right match for me. Rather, it was the club where I believed I would enjoy the most. I joined Aston Clinton Colts. I was finally part of a team. Aston Clinton Colts’ new signing was ready to be unleashed. At 7 years old, puny yet speedy, it was time for my debut. After weeks of gruelling one-hour training sessions in the 2008 January cold snap, the time had come for my first outing on the football pitch. Playing away

WESSEX SCENE

against Marlow Youth (the Celtic to our Rangers), my manager informed me that I would be subbed on to play the entirety of the second half. The wait for the first-team action infuriated me, awaking a raging beast inside of me who was ready to be set free. When the referee, a father of one of the opposition players, blew the whistle for halftime, my manager instructed me it was time. I laced up my boots, pumped like Rocky, as the second half kicked off. In a gritty second half, we trailed 1-0 as I struggled to get involved, feeling fatigued which most likely came from eating breakfast too close before the game. A rookie mistake. With minutes remaining, morale was down until a glimmer of hope appeared. Our captain won a free kick on the halfway line, it was time for the good ol’ fashioned ‘hoof it up the pitch and pray’. The ball was lofted high as I scrapped with the defenders in the six-yard box. Suddenly the ball ricocheted off the defender as my teammate struck for goal. The ball miraculously presented itself to me, with a clear shot on goal - this was the moment of my dreams. Shoot and you go down in the history books of Aston Clinton Colts (ok, maybe not but you get the gist). I slotted home before being bundled by my teammates. Words simply cannot describe how I felt, the elation of not only scoring a debut goal but saving the team from defeat. Seconds later, the referee blew the final whistle as we celebrated. Not only was this the first time I fell in love with football, this was the first time I felt part of a team.

WORDS BY MITUL MISTRY IMAGE BY SAYLI JADHAV

15


TRAVEL

F ROM PIR AT E S TO PAS T I E S : HOW T HE COA ST OF K E R NOW STOLE M Y HE ART was six when I first visited Cornwall. The promise of daily ice creams was enough to spark joy in my young heart, but little did I know that it would be the start of a long-term love affair with the most beautiful corner of the British Isles. The journey was four hours, an unfathomable distance for my younger self. We trundled down the A30, our greenwindowed caravan in tow, as my parents tried to keep my sister and me occupied with ‘eye spy’ to get a break from the complaints coming from the backseats. I imagine we were just about ready to kill each other by the time we got there, but as we came over the brow of the hill, that first look at the glittering sea of Newquay’s Towan beach was enough to make it worth it. The qualms of the car ride were soon left behind as once we were settled on the pitch that would be our home for the week, the entire holiday was effectively spent beach-hopping. First it was Perranporth: the one with a swimming pool in the rocks, then Fistral: waves so big they would have swallowed six-year-old me up, and finally Holywell Bay: the one with a river that led from the top of the beach into the sea. Each of them became construction sites for my dad’s infamous sand sculptures, the most notable being The Speed Boat, which was precisely engineered to cut through the strongest Cornish winds, and always included seats that just allowed room for our small bodies (the other children were always jealous.) When we weren’t digging viciously into the sand, we splashed our way through the bitterly cold Atlantic, covered head-totoe in neoprene in an attempt to lessen the numbing of our limbs. We carelessly flung ourselves at the waves with our bodyboards as we tried to land on top of one to carry us back to the shore. Being a young child I was never very successful, but just existing in the water, hair frizzy, tongue burning from the salt, I was having the time of my life.

16

When my parents were able to encourage us away from the beaches, we ventured to the quaint town of St. Ives. Arriving on the train carrying us along the coast from St. Erth, I was greeted by an unforgettable scene of slanted buildings and cobbled streets. They were filled with tourists, but away from the high street there was a rabbit warren to explore. That particular visit did have a minor hiccup in the form of a battle with a seagull over an ice cream (I lost), but the yet-to-be-bettered pasty from S.H. Ferrel & Son did make up for it, and that event hasn’t deterred me yet (even if I do still cower slightly at the sight of a seagull.) That’s just one memory amongst a dozen others, and if we survived a bird attack together, there can be nothing that breaks us apart. I doubt I realised I was falling in love at the time, but that holiday was the start of a lifetime of windswept walks, evenings on the harbour, and a yearning to be back in the grasp of my beloved Kernow.

WORDS BY HANNAH GRIFFITHS IMAGE BY SAYLI JADHAV IMAGES SOURCE: PIXABAY

FIRSTS


PAUSE

remember in one of my first lectures, I sat down with pen, paper, and laptop (the laptop made the pen and paper a little redundant but it was all for that student aesthetic and snazzy Instagram post), and watched with awe as my lecturer strutted into the room, and commanded it to silence. In a relaxed manner, he made his introductions as he removed a precariously placed ring from his fourth finger on his left hand onto the desk in front of him. In that moment, the perfect First became clear - and that’s what I’m about to share.

contemplate if you really want to commit to a minimum of three years of this lifestyle, and get that brain moving! Step Five: Burn Out

Step One: Realise your sexual charm

A really useful tip when you’ve written an essay or come out of an exam is to just complain to everyone about how bad you did. The Law of Surprise means that if you tell enough people, and they start moaning behind your back (you do realise we do that, right?), you’ll automatically get a good grade as weird cosmic karma. (This one only really works for overachievers though sadly).

You’re a human being with the body of a God/Goddess (manifesting it really helps with self-confidence), and now it’s time to flaunt that body with some pretentious elegance and a sprinkling of charm, to get some one-to-one help with the lecturer... Ooops, is that a pencil I just saw you drop...

Well done! After a day of working hard, you’ve officially burnt out. It doesn’t matter you rewarded yourself with an hour break every fifteen minutes, you were doing some hard work, so wipe away those tears and feel proud of that textbook you highlighted. Step Six: Tell Everyone You Did Really Bad

Step Two: Realise how illegal and unethical Step One probably is

Step Seven: Contemplate if you’re really above Step One

Step One works a treat in movies, but in reality, morality, laws, and ethics make it a sure-fire way to get yourself kicked out of University. While that removes the worry and stress of trying to achieve a First, it’s counterintuitive to this guide.

I’m sorry, but Step One just becomes more and more appeasing as this guide goes on. If I make the same joke three times, is it still sarcastic? I’m asking for a friend here.

Step Three: Contemplate Legality

Step Eight: Pay Someone

But now we’ve mentioned Step One, and you’ve noticed a missing ring on a finger, it does sound like a desirable plan. Are we really above this? Is time spent at University really the right time to follow the law? (If your answer was anything other than “yes”, then I refer you to the word SARCASTIC in the guide’s title). Step Four: Decide to Work Hard and Study So, gaining sexual favours from your lecturer probably isn’t the right way to go about things. The next best option is to study hard. Get to the library, play some relaxing music,

WESSEX SCENE

This step is self-explanatory. There are literally websites that let you pay someone to write your essay. Can you guarantee the quality? No... But it will probably be better quality than what you were going to write though if you’re really following this guide. Step Nine: ... Wow, you must be desperate if you’re still reading. Ummm, I don’t know, wish upon a star? Rip out your eyelashes and make the same wish hundreds of times? Ignore the “Sarcastic” in the title and stop reading after Step One?

17


PAUSE

JEFF B BILLIO POUND eff Bezos has shocked the entire globe in his latest feat of innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, and practical knowhow. Not only has Mr Bezos defied expectations far and wide with his successful space flight, but he also continued to stupefy the British population upon landing. Bezos is the first known billionaire to set foot inside a foundational part of the British fabric: Poundland. That’s right, for seven minutes, the world-famous business tycoon was spotted majestically gliding along the toiletries section in the Above Bar Street branch, in the very heart of Southampton. Wessex Scene was able to ask Bezos a few questions about this rather alien experience.

WORDS BY ELIZABETH SORRELL IMAGE BY SAYLI JADHAV

18

FIRSTS


BEZOS IS FIRST ONAIRE TO ENTER DLAND I’ve heard so many humans situated in the British Isles about Poundland. See, the thing about humans is that they tend to regret the things that they don’t do. It’s those acts of omission that they -WE- regret 20 years later. I also have enough people in my life who love me that I was willing to take such a risk to my reputation and my business. Bezos was first spotted by a middle-aged woman who was looking for a calendar with dog treats inside. She asked him for his autograph, filled to the brim with glee that she had met her idol. After a few minutes of chitchat, she exclaimed that she couldn’t believe that Eminem’s diss against him at the 2002 MTV Awards was uncalled for and his hit single Natural Blues ft. Christina Ricci got her through some really hard times. Upon informing her that he was not the legendary techno musician, Moby, she immediately left in an embarrassed fluster. Regardless, it was a strange sight to see the face of the New Shepard rocket ship so astounded by the age-old concept of everything costing exactly one pound. We encouraged Bezos to delve a little deeper into his surprise at this wonderful shop: It was a very enlightening experience and really took me back to the old days when I still consumed human sustenance. I really thought that I would stick out like a sore thumb in there but the clientele were remarkably clean and there wasn’t a single instance of knife crime. That being said, I did feel a little like

WESSEX SCENE

a fish out of water as it broke my regular schedule of orbiting the earth, swivelling around in ominously large chairs, and stroking hairless cats. Overall, I would say it was a very positive experience. We spoke to the cashier who served Bezos at the till who was utterly speechless as he scanned what would have looked like any normal person’s shopping list. The cashier had been watching You’ve Been Framed and TV Burp since he was a child, and to see his favourite comedian in front of him was a dream come true. No one on the Wessex Scene team had the heart to tell him that he didn’t serve Harry Hill. Even for the few minutes that Bezos was in Poundland, he quickly felt the cultural dissonance between British people and our friends across the Atlantic: I thought that I would be more in tune with Europeans as my family immigrated to America from Denmark. I had researched British vernacular and pretended to hate Portsmouth, but people were ecstatically yelling ‘get out my pub’ at me and I’m yet to find the reason why. A few people called me Phil Mitchell, who I suspect owns the store. Bezos is currently developing exciting new plans with regard to Poundland. Specifically, he is undercutting them by selling their inventory for 70p per item on Amazon.

19


W ESSEX SCENE. CO . UK @ W ES S E XS CE NE

F B . C OM / W S C E N E @OF F IC IAL W E S S E X S C E N E


Millions discover their favorite reads on issuu every month.

Give your content the digital home it deserves. Get it to any device in seconds.