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The House Of Bamboo, 1999 and beyond

first year 99-00
Wenty Wiles : Vague recollections and rose-tinted glasses
Wenty Wiles? What the hell does that mean? Anyway, here we present to you (in some sort of half-arsed order) the recollections of the members of Wentworth College for your enjoyment and education. If you are unfamiliar in the ways of Wenty circa 1999 to 2000, you've come to the right place to see how the first year of University shouldn't be done. Will the giddy depths of such a place be reached again? Who knows? Hang on, shouldn't that read 'should be done'?

In the beginning... (October 1999 to December 1999)

First Impressions : Sunday 10th October 1999 was the first day of University for most of Wentworth. And what, pray tell, was to greet us but a huge gridlock of cars. Thanks to the letters we received from the University in the summer, virtually everybody turned up at the specified time of 2pm. Dunderheads. Having finally reached the porter's lodge (and with nerves barely intact) the next bit of business was to collect the keys and begin life in Wentworth College. It was to be B124 for Al, B125 for Ian and B126 for Dan. The room doors were already open to welcome us. But aaargh! The room's tiny! It looks like a cell! The curtains smell! It's cold! I want to go home!

After the initial shock, it didn't take too long to settle. We were all in the same boat anyways. The rooms weren't looking to be so bad after all.

I got two A's and a B : The problem, as always, with meeting new people is striking up a conversation. Inevitably, at University, you will have at least five times in your life the 'What A levels did you do?' conversation. Similar questions include 'What degree are you doing?', 'Where are you from?' and of course, 'Why does Roy Walker not do Catchphrase anymore?'. To be honest, these conversations are how most of us met up so don't knock it all right? After all, would we be having complex conversations about masturbation techniques if we hadn't got those questions out the way? It's just when you get asked them in second and third year, that curse words and light uppercuts will be exchanged.

What the feck is a Baby Belling? : It's a mini-oven, Bill. The kitchen facilities at Wentworth left a lot to be desired. Especially in the first floor of B block, where twenty five people, including Al, Dan, Ian, Mike and Toby, had to share a kitchen. This didn't stop such ground floor vagrants as Robin keeping stuff in our freezers though. Bastards! To give you the lowdown, the kitchen contained two Baby Bellings, two fridges and one freezer. Oh, and one of the fridges had an ice box. Can't forget that, can we? Still, at least the cleaner was nice. Unlike the heathen SOB's some of us got at the end of third year.

Wenty Burger! : Since the kitchen facilities were rudimentary (you couldn't use two hobs at a time if the oven was on!) and the fact that the girls were always cooking vegetables and stuff, the men of the house ensconced to the bar every Monday night for the greatest burger known to man. The Wenty Burger. Two quarter pound beefburgers, cheese and lettuce in a toasted bun, served with mini potato waffles, all for £2.50! The Wenty burger became no more after the first term. But, like they say - it's better to have loved and lost than never loved at all. Boohoo. A burger replacement was soon on it's way, however.

Snakey B : One of the facts lost in the haze that is the first term is who ordered the very first Snakebite and Black in the bar. A luminous concoction of a half pint of lager, a half pint of cider and a dash of blackcurrant is what made up a 'Snakey B'. A real love it or hate it drink (most loved it, Al hated it), it rapidly became the signature drink of Wentworth. A visit to a campus bar by a Wentworthian could always be spotted due to the several empty pint glasses left behind, still holding a trace of the pink liquid. Of course, the stolen bar stools, vomit and piss on the wall also indicated a visit.

Eight VK Energy please : Isn't life cruel? At the time when most of us were absolutely loaded thanks to student loans, Toffs and The Gallery did all flavours of VK for 50p (and soon 80p) a bottle ALL NIGHT. However, at a time when most of us were broke (third year), VK was £1.50 before midnight and £3.20 after. Long gone are the days walking round the dance floor, four bottles of VK Energy in one hand, four of VK Iron Brew in the other. Sigh.

9:15! : Hang on a minute! Isn't University supposed to be a place of learning and self-improvement? Why are so many brilliant young minds (ahem) pishing their life away when they have been blessed with a great opportunity to better themselves? No, but seriously, if you happened to analyse the three years of a typical student, the first term of the first year is the one in which the most work is done. Such was the extent of some people's naivety (i.e. Al), 9:15 lectures would be used as an excuse not to go out. Fools! Hopefully, they learned the error of their ways and found that there is an unwritten rule that 9:15's are meant to be skipped (and eventually, 10:15's, 11:15's, 4:15's and 5:15's). It's true.

Bird Breakdown : Not all of Wentworth's residents were human, you understand. Who can forget Nancie the barmaid? Only kidding, you fine young hipster, you! We are, of course, referring to the birds. It turned out that there were three main types of birds situated around Wentworth, namely the stupid ducks, the little, annoying coots, and of course the big grey bastard geese. There was fourth type of bird, that was rarely seen by many of us, more commonly known as 'girlfriend'. Ouch!

The end of the 20th century : Ten weeks down and we'd reached the end of 1999. University is still scary. Hope Santa brings me a BMX!

Somewhere in the Middle (January 2000 to May 2000)

Wenty 2000 : Still the same Wenty. Thanks to Wentworth's policy of only allowing 30 week lets of the rooms, we all had to pack our stuff up before Christmas and take it home. So, the first day back in the 21st Century was spent unpacking again. Goldarnit. Several of us also had exams to look forward to in the first week. What a way to begin a new century.

Erm. Hello. : Here's the thing. When you begin University, you aren't quite sure what people are like, so you invariably end up meeting at least a hundred people in the first week or so of first year, in the hope that you'll hit it off with at least a couple of them. Of course, you ultimately end up knocking around with the people you live with, out of sheer laziness. This leads to the awkward situation of passing people you met in the first week and never saw again. At first, you politely say hello. A couple of months down the line, you both just nod in mutual recognition that you don't really know each other. A year later, you both look down at the ground as you pass. And, in a couple of years, one or the other forgets entirely who the other person was! Woohoo! And it only took three years.

Fancy a pint? : None of us were ever going to be first class degree candidates and we were slowly facing up to that fact. To ace an exam at University was a totally different prospect to aceing one at A level, as some of our results showed. Feeling slightly deflated, many found solace in Wentworth bar. History will show that it was at this point, our future was beginning to take shape. And it was in the shape of a pint glass.

9:15? Sod it : The first casualty of our new way of life was early mornings. At 18, we should have had the stamina to go to a 9:15 lecture after a heavy night out but who could be arsed? All we needed to do was make friends with someone else on our course (who were obviously not as rogue-ish as ourselves) and copy the notes off them later. Respect.

Fuzzy Duck : Why go out to vomit, when you can vomit right in the comfort of your own abode. 'Fuzzy duck' is one of the worst drinking games in the world but at least it gets you pissed. Regular fuzzy duck sessions were held in the kitchen on nights when students were forbidden to enter the town, namely Friday and Saturday. One particular game led to Al downing a lethal cocktail of vodka, lager, cider, blackcurrant and peanuts which ultimately led to their regurgitation in his basin. Never again has Al drank a Snakebite and black.

It's at 54, Heslington Road (Part One) : Not much has been said so far of the seven vagabonds who occupied the house that became The House of Bamboo. The original seven were in fact, Al, Dan, Ian, Mike, Robin, Toby and another character from B block known, for our purposes, as P. It was surprisingly early in the year (around January) that we managed to clinch the deal that would see us live in the house between June 2000 and June 2001. However, as the change in housemate shows, things weren't so plain-sailing even at this stage.

The day in January began as the seven of us (minus P) walked down to Heslington Road to meet the landlord, Zaf, and have a look around the house. It was by no means perfect but it was the first house we looked at that could hold seven people. We said our goodbye's to Zaf and walked back. It was during this journey that we decided to take the house. However, we needed P to come and sign the tenancy agreement with the six of us.

By now, it was night-time and it became apparent that P was having cold feet about living with such a bunch of shitkickers like us. The fact that he was heavily inebriated didn't help either. Nevertheless, we managed to carry P, a man to each limb, to Wenty bar where we called for a cab. We really wanted the house, I can tell ye! As soon as the cab pulled up outside Zaf's, P immediately made a dash for another taxi to take him back home. However, we managed to get him back and sign the agreement. The house was ours!

So, how did we end up living with Richard instead? You'll just have to wait until June...

Make mine a special! : Wenty burger was no more and take-aways were still pretty much unheard of unless loads of people wanted to get a pizza or something. However, this began to change as we discovered the mightiest of all burgers - the Special Burger. The story is of a simple man, known as Al, who, one day, perusing the take-away menu of Ali's Kitchen hit upon the novel idea of purchasing a burger instead. 'I could fuckin' eat the arse off of a rhinoceros,' he would so eloquently describe his hunger. But what burger to choose? There were so many delicious alternatives - cheeseburger, onion burger, hawaiian burger and, oh, what's this? A special burger? It's only 20p more than a cheeseburger and it has doner meat in it too! 'Make mine a special!', cried Al, his lips quivering with delight as he ordered from the greasy Turk at Ali's. And the rest, as they say, is history. However, there was to be a new pretender to Ali's throne which would not reveal itself until the second year...

Glorious beginning : At this stage of our University life, in the middle of the first year, we were beginning to get accustomed with what the campus and the close-by area had to offer. We knew what nightclubs to go to on what nights, what campus bars were good and which were bad, and the fact that the Charles' Sunday dinner was five for a tenner for a reason. A metaphorical spreading of the wings was required. It was during this time that we discovered The Gimcrack, The Northern Wall and the (now former) Pub of Kings, The Bay Horse. Thanks to Mike's acquaintances in the third year we discovered the Bay Horse at the height of it's powers - a great Sunday carvery for £4.45. And you could have as many roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings as you wanted! Of course, now the Bay Horse is a shadow of its former self. Shame.

Pissed at 2 : The earliest recollection of being truly hammered for Al was an experience that he and Mike endured on a particular Saturday in February. Mike had been asked to go along to The Northern Wall, by the third year chaps he hung around, to go and watch some football and rugger. He got Al to go along too (he liked football, after all) and the day was set. Of course, the day quickly descended into madness. A couple of pitchers of lager up, the two miscreants decided they were off to find a chippy in the middle of York. Memory fails to recollect if they made it, but they returned to the pub nutritionalised enough to have another pitcher. The rest of the day was spent drinking in random people's houses, the Charles and Wenty bar before Al gave up and collapsed on his bed, fully dressed. What a lightweight.

Having doubts : Everyone was having them about this time. 'Why on Earth did I pick Horse Studies?', 'Do I really want to be a criminal psychologist?', 'Why didn't I go to a University that had a Fruit Pastille society?', 'What's the meaning of life?', 'Why is a pint of Snakey B £1.65 in Langwith bar but £1.45 elsewhere?'.

The second term was drawing to a close as we asked these questions. Perhaps a nice, long five week break from the place was what we needed. Time to pack again!

The Third Term : The first third term ever. We couldn't quite understand that the third term is really designed for revision. In other words, it is designed for getting more pissed than ever before! The five week break probably did us all a lot of good. Were we beginning to miss Wenty when we had to leave it?...

The End (June 2000)

It's at 54, Heslington Road (Part Two) : It was late in the year that the story of filling the house came to a close. By now, P had officially declared that he would not be joining us at 54 the following year. To be blunt, we were fucked. Who would want to live with six other fellas? And anyway, most of the other people we knew had already found accomodation elsewhere.

We considered a few candidates before a victor emerged from nowhere (well, A block) - Mr. Richard James Morfitt Jr. Not many of us knew who this guy from A block was but we were willing to extend a warm, manly handshake to our new housemate. The seven of us met in Wenty bar for a pre-house warming drink.

The Ladz had met for the first time.

'Wenty Leavers' : The customary end of year shindig had finally come around and this was an opportunity for the whole of Wentworth to come together for one final piss-up. The event was tinged with a bit of sadness with the knowledge that Wentworth was likely to be knocked down the next year. In fact, they couldn't get rid of Wenty that easy and it took the good part of another year for it to be truly demolished.

The event itself was pretty unspectacular to be honest. You'll find photographs of the event elsewhere in the website so feel free to have a look. At least it was a chance to dust down the old suit and then throw it out because the waist was 4" too small.

We Still Here? : This was it. The end of the first year. Some of us had resits to face up to over the summer, all of us had new homes to settle into, many had reached their overdraft limit, the last remnants of the student loan had been pissed away, grafitti had been left for the next occupants. Wentworth for us was now a piece a piece of history.

What on Earth was second year going to be like?

hobhome | first year 99-00 | second year 00-01 | third year 01-02 by A. Findlay 2002-2004... 2019
...Until I get bored again.