BUSES, SOCIETIES AND COMEDY

Here are three short feature articles I wrote for my theories and techniques module at uni in my first year…

Are the University Buses overrated?

As a student I practically live on the University Bus Service. The service is free and having to live off a student budget means it’s hard to splash out on taxi fares or lots of petrol or parking tickets for my car. I am sure that many other students feel the same. Buses run every half hour from seven in the morning to midnight, which means free transport to practically anywhere on the campus radius. 

However saying this, there have been many occasions where I have been stranded at the bus stop for an hour and a half with bags of asda shopping. There have also been times when I have been late for a lecture because the bus was too full to let me on. So I wanted to find out what the students of Portsmouth actually felt about the buses.

Ronika Patel, a student who regularly uses the service said “it could improve by providing more at peak hours (…) and more frequently”. Joe Platt another student said that “extra buses on busy runs” should run. Gemma Dunlop also adds that there have been “several occasions when it just hasn’t turned up”. 

However in the same questionnaire students stated that they still use the service for nearly every journey around campus or town which was not in walking distance, except for the weekends when the buses do not run. However overall students did agree that the service was useful, after all it is free, even if there should be a slight change to the service.  

So it seems that the University Bus Service, while it could do with some improvements, remains the most popular mode of transport that gets students from A to B.

“A shot of Tabasco sauce” is all in a day’s training at Rugby club

I have always enjoyed taking part in new things, so during fresher’s week I could not wait to sign up to one of the many social clubs at the University. Well that was until I heard about ‘Initiation’ from a friend in the third year.

‘Initiation’ usually takes place on a social night out were new members of clubs are ‘Initiated’ into the group through outrageous drinking games. Alex Whitehead a member of the Rugby society told me about his ‘Initiation’, “I had to get naked and drink (…) a shot of Tabasco sauce”. Alice Thelwell a member of the Ski and Snowboard Society said “the hockey clubs initiations sounded disgusting, they had to drink pints with everything and anything (…) that would be my worst nightmare”.  However many of these crazy games are accepted when new members join the club. Katherine Kendall, president of the Cheerleading society said “I feel initiations bring a bond to a team”. Alex Whitehead also added “they are hard, but it’s tradition”.
But what about the health implications of games liked these? Laura Herman a member of St.John’s ambulance says “initiations are fun but should be more controlled, there should be extreme rules put in place. The excessive drinking and stupid games can easily put a student’s life in danger”.

These ‘Initiation’ games certainly deterred me from joining a social club, but this is obviously not the case for everyone. I guess it just depends on the person. Either way these weird and wacky drinking games have definitely become an infamous tradition for many social clubs at the University. 

“I am Joy”

Just like a well-known savoury spread, people will either love or hate Joe Wells. When you see him in the street you think to yourself, who is that weird fellow with the waistcoat and skinny jeans? Who is that guy with a selection of lucky charms round his wrist, and a reprint of the famous ‘Mona Lisa Smile’ painting as the head on his watch? Even if he is not the sort of guy you might hang out with, his unique personality and quirky appearance will have you gripped from the start.

Joe has come a long way in the last few years. At the age of only 19 he has already had a book published called ‘Touch and go Joe’ which explores his experiences as an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) sufferer. In his spare time he is also building on his career as a comedy act, and is doing all this while studying English Literature with Psychology here at the University in Portsmouth.

Comedy has always been in Joe’s blood, “I got into it because I’ve always loved stand up, I really don’t think there is anything else like it, (…) often the only way you can see these acts is by seeing them live, there is something special about that”.

Joe started out in his comedy career last September with gigs in the Chichester and Portsmouth area.  He performed at the ‘I AM JOY’ festival in Chichester last summer then moved out to pubs and clubs in Havant and Portsmouth.

 “It’s also ironic as I see myself as ‘I AM JOY’ making other people laugh”. He is now performing once or twice a month, but hopes to increase this number in the coming year, whilst balancing a heavy work load.

However it is not just his comedy act that makes Joe unique. He is also a member of the feminist society, a vegetarian and has recently announced that he is teetotal, are there any other strange habits that Joe will be willing to tell me about?  

I ask him about the first thing he would grab in a fire, “I have a notebook with lots of half-finished routines and ideas in which I really need, I also have a glow in the dark novelty condom which I’m sure will be useful one day”.

On a last note Joe tells me about his favourite band and food, “my favourite band is probably Nick Cave and the bad seeds, I like their love songs, the way in which they use both sexual and religious language. I think that’s probably what love is, a mixture of sex and Jesus”.

“I also love gnocchi which no one’s heard of but it’s really good, it’s like a potato based pasta, if you take nothing else from this interview take this – eat gnocchi”.

So if you have not met Joe yet, arrange an interview if you can, you might consider his habits to be a little strange, but if you embrace his quirky ways I guarantee you will be left smiling.

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