Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Wolverhampton, We Have A Problem

The other day I stood on the platform of my local train station, took a deep breath and boarded my train. I wasn't heading anywhere new, and the journey was one I'd undertaken many, many times before. You see, I was off to my university - aka The Hegemon - to use the (surprisingly good) library resources and crack on with some work.When I say "work", I mean "blog". When I say "blog", I mean "catch up on last week's episode of 'OMG! With Peaches Geldof'".

But this time I was slightly excited. Because I'd been thinking about my university, and about universities in general. They're great, aren't they? Inside just one university building you'll find so many great minds and learned people. And I'm not just talking about the lecturers either - this is Higher Education. This is young, intelligent people striving to fulfil themselves academically, as well as the "more mature" folk like me who try desperately to cling onto their youth. But whatever the age, every uni student is there for one reason - to showcase their knowledge. To voice their opinions. To inform, and to contribute. To prove to the moaning OAPs that the kids ARE alright. Universities are fine places, I reflected as I got off the train, and The Hegemon is certainly one of them.

I began to make the walk from the station down to The Hegemon, and as I did so my mind began to wander, until eventually I found myself thinking about a piece of uni work I've been writing for a while. That in turn led me to thinking about Simon and Garfunkel - I'd referenced one of their lyrics and I couldn't work out whether it was genius or patronising - which in turn led me to wonder what my favourite lyric of theirs was. I pondered it for a while, before I settled on this one, from my favourite song of theirs:

"And the sign said, 'The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls...and tenement halls'"

That's good that, innit? If you want the words of true prophets, don't turn to any holy book, or any scripture. Walk down to your local underground station, or the nearby underpass, or look at the dark corridor in your block of flats. That's where you'll find wisdom.

By this time I was in the uni library, and after booting up my computer I thought I'd just pop to the toilet. Taking my phone with me, I walked to the toilet with all the stuff I had been thinking about still very much in mind.

And then I didn't know what to think.

So I sat there, with racism and xenophobia on one wall, and Nazi insignia on the other. I sat there, stuck in the middle, like Gerry Rafferty. And then some more lyrics popped into my head, and as I silently walked back into the library, passing blacks, Asians, whites, Indians, Muslims and others, I realised they weren't going away any time soon. They still haven't.

"Father, father
We don't need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some loving here today"

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