Life up in the ‘toon’
Before leaving home to start university life I had many preconceptions of what Newcastle would be like. Some were stereotypical, a rough city perhaps with a good helping of crazy Geordies thrown in. Soon after settling in I fell in love with the city, it doesn’t have the typical landscape and space of a city and maybe that’s its charm. Iconic is the word, Angel of the North, the Tyne Bridge, the Sage, even the train station give off an image of Newcastle that people don’t expect for a city ‘up north’.
I have lived in Leeds all my life and although the city is great it doesn’t leave an imprint on you like Newcastle does. There is something fast paced and moving about it which I don’t think I have ever felt living in Leeds. 45 minute bus rides into the city centre were soon replaced by a 5 minute walk, one big factor in the quick disappearance of my loan. A metro which can take you from Monument to thriving bars of Jesmond in minutes and taxi services so cheap you almost question the price, are reasons why living here can be high speed. A ten minute walk to uni can pass in seconds with so many familiar faces and conversations had, usually aided with a painful hangover and the memory of last night fading into a distant memory of the next.
I soon discovered it is all about the nightlife in Newcastle. The city is pretty subdued in the day once you know where to avoid and a variety of options open at night for wherever the trebles take you. Tup Tup Palace nightclub boasts a list of celebrity fans including Chezza Coles mam, howay man yes she does apparently dance on the tables. The Den and The Cut provide an alternative scene and certainly prevent you leaving your bed the next day. Admittedly there is a tacky side, head towards the gate and you’ll become bombarded with more promo workers, hen and stag do’s and more police patrol than I ever thought possible. Here you will find Sinners, Sam Jacks and Mood keeping cheese fans happy. Surprisingly, all this nightlife doesn’t come at a cost, in the routine of checking of my bag for all its contents the morning after a night out, rest assured I can spend less than a tenner.
Watching my first riot between Newcastle and Sunderland fans a.k.a. Geordies and Mackams was certainly an experience to forget, or remember I can’t decide. The city is a lot more under control than people think. Being a student in a new city is often daunting but in my experience safe for city centre living, not that I would advise on a trip through Byker at night.
I have had a lot of firsts in Newcastle, first time living away from home, my first tattoo, first time flooding an entire kitchen and the first great fire of Byker. It seems almost impossible that so many memories can be crammed into one year almost equalling out the 19 years previous. Starting my journalism course at Northumbria University has enabled me to realise that this was the right course for me. The friends that I have made often make me question whether I picked the course for them or the subject; I’d like to think both. After being placed in a flat with people you have never met before and meeting friends that make you wonder what you did before them makes university life what it is.
Perfecting Geordie slang, consuming gallons of drink, draining my bank balance, meeting a wide variety of people has made me wonder whether my second year in Newcastle will live up to the first. Fresh opportunities will arise next year, living in a different part of the city, with a different prospective will no doubt add to my amazing student experience.
Written by Helen Flannery, Northumbria University