The New College Experience, Soft Cell and ‘Bedsitter’

It’s a fair while since I posted anything new around here and I can’t help but compare my current blogging output to that of the same month last year. Back then I had very ambitiously decided to come out in support of my college chums, who were embarking on NaNoWriMo, and decided to attempt 30 posts in 30 days. I was never going to write a novel so this was my blogging equivalent. Amazingly I got to day 18 before calling time on my challenge, more down to the worsening ache in my neck and shoulders rather than any lack of inspiration, and I actually outdid some of the wannabe novel writers in the class in terms of word count.

But here we are a year on, and suffice to say I’m not myself at the moment. I don’t know about you, but I’ve not been a fan of 2021, which is ironic considering what hit us last year. My old life has gone and isn’t coming back any time soon. Considering I use this place as my web diary, as well as a place to share music from my past, probably best that I’ve stayed away for a while.

My college course has all been online again this year, but no mention of NaNoWriMo this time around and few now drop by for the ‘live’ lectures. We seem to be just going through the motions to get the grades, and the institution appears to prefer it that way, so this will now be the future of higher education in my neck of the woods. Lectures are now finished for the semester and only one assessment still to submit but I haven’t got to know a single person from the new class this year and only know what three of them look like (ironically the other more mature students). I fear the younger ones who would have been excited about ‘going to Uni’ back in September, will have been disappointed.

At times like this I often hark back to when I last was a student, around 40 years ago. Back then the idea of gaining a degree without ever leaving your room would have been unthinkable. It was probably a really inefficient use of our time, but many happy hours were spent in the library sourcing material and copying it out in longhand before decanting to the refectory for food, or to the student bar for a very sociable drink. Wherever we went there were hundreds of people and you got to know a great many of them during that first term. Now, not so much.

I think many of us of a certain age have kind of lost the plot when it comes to new music and what young people are listening to at the moment. 40 years ago however I was in my final year of completing a really enjoyable degree in geography and was pretty familiar with everything that remotely made it near the charts. Looking at the chart from this same week all those years ago, here is something that jumps out at me, Bedsitter by Soft Cell. This was only their second single release after the massive success of Tainted Love earlier on in 1981. This time however it was self-penned and it reached No. 4 in the UK Singles Chart.

Bedsitter by Soft Cell:

I look at the lyrics in this song and think of some of today’s students holed up in their rooms for most of the day, rarely venturing out. We had to write a piece in the early weeks of this semester about a typical day in our lives, and some of the submissions shocked me. Other than popping to the supermarket for a pizza, most students now spend all day in front of a screen, as when the studying ends, gaming and the watching of YouTube clips takes over. Unlike Marc Almond who just seemed to spend his time in bedsitter land in between going out clubbing, I don’t think our town’s nightlife has really got started again yet after the pandemic. With covid restrictions still in place and the mandatory wearing of facemasks, perhaps a life lived online is still preferable, and more than Marc had in 1981.

Sorry I’m not on my best form at the moment, but decided to not hold off any longer before sharing something new. I’ve had quite a lot on this month and have more stories to tell so will return with them in due course. It’s been a crazy couple of years and we’ve all had our ups and downs. Hopefully I’ll pull myself out of this down sooner rather than later. In the meantime I have that last assessment to finish – Onward and upward.

Until next time…

Bedsitter Lyrics
(Song by David Ball/Marc Almond)

Sunday morning going slow
I’m talking to the radio
Clothes and records on the floor

Memories of the night before
Out in club-land having fun
And now I´m hiding from the sun
Waiting for a visitor
Though no-one knows I’m here for sure

Dancing laughing
Drinking loving
And now I’m all alone
In bedsit land
My only home

I think it’s time to cook a meal
To fill the emptiness I feel
Spent my money going out
I’ve nothing I’m left without
Clean my teeth and comb my hair
Look for something new to wear
Start the nightlife over again
Kid myself I’m having fun

Look out from my window view
I’ve really nothing else to do
Read a book and write a letter
Mother, things are getting better
Watch the mirror count the lines
The battle scars of all the good times
Look around and I can see
A thousand people just like me

Dancing laughing
Drinking loving
And now I’m all alone
In bedsit land
My only home

I’m waiting for something
I’m only passing time