Friday, September 2, 2016

Punk Pappa Goes To College

It’s been a while since I wrote here, a couple of months since Victims played Gdynia… It’s been summer, I’ve either been working at the homeless shelter or been on holiday with my family, and I haven’t had much time to write. I’ve had a lot of ideas of things to write about flying around in my head, as always, but have not had the time or the energy to sit down with them.

And that is not likely to change in the near future. Although I understand of course that I’m writing right at this very point in time, but I don’t intend to make it a long one. The frequency of my writing on here (which when home from tour has rarely been more than a couple of times a month, granted), is possibly about to drop another gear since this week I started studying towards a degree in sociology and ethnology at Stockholm University. And judging from the first week of the introductory course the pace is going to be quite fucking frantic, what with family, a couple of bands and the extra job at the shelter to fit in and all.

That said, the ideas for things to write about on here are constantly flowing so I’ll try and find the time to get them out, now and again. Either that, or I’ll simply try to contain myself to shorter pieces. But that doesn’t always quite work out for the rambling, bumbling human being that is me.

This first week at “uni” has been a bit of an eye opener. I always hated when my friends and aquaintances of youth that became students used to call it uni, always hated the whole thing with "students" for that matter, thought they were all a bunch of pretentious wankers, probably because I didn’t belong to that group and felt left out.  Quite obviously an inferiority complex on my part. Anyway, this first week I’ve been filled with equal parts enthusiasm and self doubt. The schedule is tough, especially the introductory course, as will be the challenge of writing in a more advanced, academic form of Swedish. But the toughest thing to get past in the beginning is the feeling of not belonging. Which is actually one of the sociological themes we’ve touched upon in this first week. Pierre Bourdieau observed as part of his theory on cultural capital, that children from academic families are more likely to go into academia than children who are raised in non-academic families. It makes sense that most children are shaped by the language and environment they are brought up in. Continuing that theory, university students that have been raised in non-academic environments are often left with a feeling of not belonging. And that’s how I felt for a brief moment as I sat on the lawns of the university grounds for lunch, taking in the sun, eating a sandwich, with no one to talk to. I felt both old and a little alone. The feeling soon passed as a half hour later I was partaking in my first seminar and we had been split up into groups to tackle our first examination work. The three others I was coupled with turned out to be very nice young people indeed. I still felt old, but no longer alone.

I’m really into sociology, I think it’s fantastically interesting. I think punk rock has a lot to attribute to that particular interest. As too has my good friend and fellow punk Karl Broome who is himself a professor in the subject. I could listen to Karl talk for hours about the theories of Emile Durkheim, Max Weber and other such giants.  Hopefully I’ll get through this first introductory course relatively unscathed and the self doubt will peel away a little. The course ends with a verbal exam and the biggest fear there is making a cunt of yourself in front of others and being doused in shame. But really, what’s the worst that can happen? It’s not exactly a matter of life and death is it?  I've had far worse experiences in my life than a verbal exam in a subject and level of education I'm still relatively fresh in, chopping cabbages in half for eight hours a day for one thing...

The first week is now over and for the most part it has been enjoyable. Next week will be a challenge, we have a report to hand in on Monday, followed by opposing that and another group’s work on Wednesday, followed by the verbal exam on Friday. Once past that I have around one hundred and fifty pages to read and devour for the first lecture of the next course that begins the following Monday. But after that things should plane out a little, and then, once I’ve found my feet I should be able to find the time to write on here now and again.  Writing here is after all predominantly for myself.  It's the closest thing I have in my life to therapy.

One thing did tickle me as I was leaving campus a couple of days ago. The lawns were full of young people engrossed in activities like watersliding down flumes handmade out of plastic sheeting, getting themselves both drenched and drunk in the process. I glanced at them as I hurried my way to the tube station, back still aching from the Victims show at Cyklopen a few days earlier, and thought, “There’s no fucking chance I’ll be signing up for any of that! Way too fucking old.  My back couldn’t take it for one thing”.  Rubbish back or not, that carry on was never my bag.  I would just as unlikely have been involved with those kind of group activites had I gone to uni twenty years ago.  Fucking students...


  1. Good for you to take on this challenge Gaz!
    I'm sure you'll do great :)
    Will think of you on Friday for your verbal exam.

  2. Thank you buddy. Your support means a lot. By the way, Jen and I will be in Amsterdam a couple of nights in October, would be great to see you if you're home! x