Monday, 15 August 2011


I don't live in Southampton, but I do spend five days a week attending college there, and I often end up making trips into the city during Weekends and Holidays as well. So, when I found a "You know you're from Southampton if..." list on Facebook, and I thought I'd brush technicalities aside and see how much of it rang true.

You were GUTTED when they closed Charlie Chalks: 
And to get off to a good start... I wasn't. I have no clue what Charlie Chalks is. For all I know I might be too young to remember it. Sorry.  

It's The Marlands, not "The Mall Southampton", no matter how hard they try to rebrand it!: 
This one rings more of a bell. I'll always think of it as Marlands. 

There's something slightly sinister about the Bargate shopping centre, and the only reason to go in there is to get a shakeaway: 

Eh... this is a tricky one. I see what they mean- Bargate always reminded me more of a Nightclub after closing time than anything else, with it's bad lighting and vacant lots. However, it has to be said that out of the shops that are left, a lot of them are quite nice ones. There's an independant alternative clothing shop in there that I've bought many a fantasy art-adorned top from, and the little cafe's ideal if you want to have a quiet drink. Also, there's a sweet shop, which is about as sinister as Bambi. 

You resent the Boat Show: 

Nah. Although, knowing what the traffic's like in the City Centre at the best of times, it doesn't surprise me that it's very existence gets on people's nerves. 

You're aware of the game of musical shops that's going on in the city centre at the moment:

If by 'musical shops' you mean 'things closing, sometimes only to re-open in the next street', then yes, I am. AND JE NE COMPRENDE PAS. 

You've referred to our glourious city as "Skankhampton"

Nope. 'Chavhampton'. 

You've been thoroughly confused by the half arsed attempt at a one way system in the city centre:

Yeah, there are bits of road that definitely qualify as 'a bit daft'. 

You've played pitch 'n' putt at Woodmill:

Nope. And I have no intention to, either. 

You've stood on Weston Shore wondering who in their right mind would go in the sea there: 

Never mind Weston Shore, the thought that people see any part of the Southampton coastline as prime beach material boggles the mind. It's an industrial port, for crying out loud! The water's grim as hell! 

You remember when we had The Dell and not St Mary's Stadium

No, but that's probably just because I never paid attention to football.

You or your immediate family have worked for British Gas, the council, Skandia, HSBC or Ordnance Survey (or all of the above)

No. Both my parents work for the Norwich Union- I mean, Aviva

You've smelt the desperation emanating from Portswood High Street and have noticed how pretty much everyone there looks like they may be homeless:

Well it's not exactly Shangri-La, but I wouldn't go that far... 

You remember when Bitterne Park triangle had a bank:

No. Don't think I've ever been up that far- not properly, anyway. 

You immediately know what someone means when they say "the triangle":

No. (Never heard anyone mention 'the triangle', so... yeah.) 

You know that Southampton should really be spelt Sfammton:


You've rolled down the hill at Mayflower park, rather than using the slide provided:

Again and very regrettably, no.

You've had ice cream from an ice cream van in February:

I can't remember, but it wouldn't surprise me. The van probably wouldn't have been in Southampton, though. 

You've jumped off Mansbridge, Cobden bridge, Northam bridge or all of them (disclaimer: I'm not advocating this, especially not Northam...):

No, because Northam's the only one I've been over on foot, and I don't have a death wish.  

You know that any area with more than 1000 residents has a Charcoal Grill takeaway place: 

This is completely new education. I'd change 'Charcoal Grill Takeaway' for 'Sklep Pod Orlem'. They're everywhere!

You've walked along the low wall that goes around the civic centre: 

I don't think so. But then, I haven't been in there very often. 

You slag Southampton off no end but still get offended when anyone from another area does:

... maybe. **shiftyeyes** 

You involuntarily tut (or worse) whenever you see someone wearing a Portsmouth shirt, even if you couldn't care less about football: 

The intensity of the Saints/Pompey rivalry has always been lost on me. Football was only a game last time I checked. 

You got lost in the maze in Mayflower Park as a child:

**Has just found a bottle of herbal cooling gel with Best Before End 2007** WTF- eh... oh, no. No, I didn't. 

You scraped your knee on said maze attempting to escape:

I'm intrigued about this maze, now. 

You know the difference between "scum" and "skate": 

I'm guessing this is an in-joke I've never come across. I think I'd better leave it alone... 

You've been in West Quay at least four times when they've evacuated everyone:

That's only happened to me once, and we were only just inside the door at the time. I feel left out. 

You know about ninety Amys, extra points if they're an Amy Louise:

Yeah, there are a lot of Amys around. And I'd wager at least one of them's an Amy Louise, because around here, at least 50% of everyone have Louise as a middle name. Don't know of many other people who have it as a first name, though, which is a bit odd. 

You know it's only a matter of time before SouthCity/The Saint/Radio Hampshire changes its name again:

Oh, so THAT'S what happened to The Saint! 

You've come very close to being hit by a pigeon in the city centre:

Yes. I've also seen many pigeons almost get hit by things. They're a bit thick. 

You've been in the Daily Echo at least once, usually looking slightly "special":

I genuinely can't remember. Might have blocked out the memory...  

You're not sure whether you should like Craig David because he's one of us, or hate him because of his terrible music:

No, I'm sure. I don't care where he's from, the guy's music really, really isn't my cup of tea.    

You know what I'm talking about when I say "go in Itchen, come out scratching":

Yeah, this is advice I ignored- the Itchen in question is my college. It's not actually that bad, though- the biggest problem is the complete lack of organisation. At Itchen, everything gets left to the last minute.  

Two words - Regents Tarts:

Non comprende, sorry. 
You're familiar with the tramp who hangs out by The Square (used to be the Square Balloon):

Not sure where it is, so... no. 

You still call it the Square Balloon:

Well, it sounds more interesting than just 'The Square', so once I work out where it is I will indeed call it the Square Balloon. 

You remember when Ocean Village was good:

Think this is one of the places I've either never visited, or have visited but didn't form much of an impression of. 
You were forced into the paddling pool on the common during summer, no matter how cold it was or how much you protested:

I'm the opposite. I remember really wanting to go in but never being allowed/able to. 

You've seen the huge rats in the city centre parks near Debenhams:

No. Again, I feel left out.  

You can't understand how East Street shopping centre hasn't been pulled down yet:

I actually can't. What was even more baffling was that there was a plan, at one stage, to pull the Bargate down. How does a half-empty shopping centre get targetted over a one containing nothing but a lonely furniture shop up the far end? I quite like that they've left it, though. Give the urban explorers something to do. 

You regularly see tourists posing in front of the Bargate and wonder why they're so fascinated by it:

All the time. I know why they're there, though. Old City Gate and all that. 

You're gutted whenever they scrap plans for an ice rink, yet still get your hopes up every time they re propose it:

Never felt quite that strongly about it, but basically yes. 

Every year you think they can't get someone worse to turn on the Christmas lights, yet they still pull it off:

Don't really pay attention who does this anywhere. Maybe I should start. Hmm... 
And the lights/decorations get worse and worse each year:

Eh, I don't know. From what I've gathered, they basically get the same ones out every year. 

You've been on a school trip to the Tudor Museum: 

I don't think I have, which surprises me, actually. I vaguely remember being taken to the art gallery in year one, though.

You know Southampton FC used to be good:

I vaguely remember them being in the Premiership. 

You've seen Matt Le Tissier or James Beattie around town and actually felt a bit star struck:

Is now a good time to mention that I have no clue what either of them look like?

You've felt the urge to put washing up liquid in the fountain by the Jury's Inn:

That's never occured to me. Great idea though, thanks.  

You were surprised at how quickly the Jury's Inn was built:

Now I come to think of it... yeah. It's huge, how'd they get it up so quickly when it takes 3 months to fix a hole in the road? 

St Mary's fills you with a sense of foreboding:

Yes. It means Football. **le gasp** 

You've been accosted at least four times by some nutter in St Mary's:

I haven't had that happen once, actually. Maybe I just haven't been in the area enough. I did once get some guy peer over the side of the Itchen bridge at me as though I was a unicorn with the body of a puffin, though. 

You know who Paul Miller is, or even better, you've phoned up and been on his show:

Eh, name sounds familiar, but I can't quite place it. I think it's a radio thing, and I'm stupidly radio-illiterate (wait, is radio-illiteracy technically possible? Answers on a postcard). 

You've met Chris Packham at least once:

... not to my knowledge. 

You went on a school trip to Meridian Studios:

Sadly, no. Oh, and I've just realised that the Meridian logo isn't the little multi-coloured sun anymore. Aw, shame. 

You've got an opinion on Fred Dinenage and/or Sally Taylor:

I can't remember precisely what Fred Dineage does and Sally Taylor... reads the news in a nondescript, perfectly acceptable way. So no. 
You look upon Carl Tyler (weather man off the telly) as an uncle, even though you've never met him:

No other weather presenter matters when there's one who went to your Junior School, and brought the local news crews to film it when you were about seven.  

You're secretly quite jealous that Portsmouth has the Spinnaker tower, but you'd never admit it:

Don't be daft, of course I'd admit my mild jealousy!

You were born in the Princess Anne Hospital:

Winchester, I think.

You've been to a birthday party at Ollie's Ocean World:

I don't think so, but come on... how do you expect me to remember? 

You've wondered how on earth it takes an hour to get to the Isle of Wight by ferry:

No, but I am now. 

You've been at a concert in the Guildhall when an argument's broken out about football with Pompey fans:

No, thank God. Surely a football fight is the last thing you want when you're trying to pay attention to a band? 

You wonder why the Marlands even bothered getting renovated when West Quay's about seventy times better:

OBJECTION! Marlands has The Market Gallery and CEX. 

You've braved the dual carriageway between West Quay Retail Park and Leisure World:

What, that sea of traffic islands? I've crossed there several times... somehow. 

You remember the days of Tyrell and Green

Only very vaguely, but this makes me sad somehow, as if the name brings back a long-buried memory of joy that I wish I'd held on to. Chances are it's just my brain being strange, though. 

Your year six residential went to Calshot or Stubbington:

Nope, Fairthorne Manor, where we learnt an annoying song about a crazy moose who drank a lot of juice. Why annoying? Because even now it occasionally gets stuck in my head for no reason. I have been to Calshot, though. 

Your parents hated you going to the Joiners Arms:

Is it really really depressing to admit that I've never been in the Joiners Arms? 

IKEA = Traffic:

Never been there in the car, so I couldn't tell you. 

You've been on the train round Royal Victoria Country Park:

Yep. I think I was quite young, though, 

You used to go to Power in the Park, until they started charging for tickets: 

Nope. Can't remember whether I ever went to Power in the Park at all, actually. I had a deprived childhood. 

You just know it's a Hoot Hoot at Paulton's Park:

When you're eight, it most certainly is. 
You think it's ironic how all the places in Swaythling with the nice names (daisy dip etc) are the worst places to live: 

Swaythling never struck me as being that bad, but I do know that Daisy Dip's dodgy and it did make me laugh when I found out. 
I think you can sort of apply this rule to Southampton in general, actually. St Mary's. Shirley Warren (which includes roads with street names like 'Tremona' and 'Jessamine'). The Flowers Estate (which Saisy Dip may or may not be part of, I'm not sure). Oasis Mayfield Academy. 

"Cantell can't spell!"

Another in joke I'm going to leave alone for fear of saying something stupid and looking like a Charlie. 

You know of the Bevois Valley cheese grater:

I don't think I... Oh, wait, that thing? The 20 foot tall cheese grater at the side of the road on the way into town? Yes, yes I do know that. So, that's where Bevois valley is. 

You think that the Itchen Bridge must surely be paid for by now:

Isn't it? Blimey. 

Mutant mile - you know where it is and avoid it like the plague:

I had to look this one up. Wasn't surprised to learn that it's in Shirley. 

You know of the "05 H1T" mini in Bevois Valley:

No. I'm intrigued now. 

You don't think anything of getting stuck at traffic lights every 200 yards:

YES. YES, thankyou! This is why I hate going into Southampton on the Number Two bus- it goes down all the main roads, every single one of which has enough traffic lights for a small country. And if you get a red once, you'll be getting a red every time. 

You know Portsmouth have a better football team but you won't admit it:

Meh. Football. 

You got excited about playing Southampton Monopoly but after a few games concluded it was a bit rubbish:

I... don't need to have played it to guess that it was a bit rubbish. Monopoly games tend to be. 

You hate how you have to have your network on Facebook as Portsmouth, especially as there are more of us!:

Do we? I didn't know we did XD

Also: You know you're from Eastleigh/Chandler's Ford when nothing happens really... at all:
Sad but true, my friend. Sad but true. 

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Question 2: Share photos and experiences from your Babybat days.   

I'll have to duck out on the photos. Partly because I don't have any to hand and quite frankly, don't really have time to go hunting about for some right now, and partly because I'm not really embarassed by what I wore. True, I wouldn't wear half of it now, but I don't sit and cringe. My haircut, on the other hand...  **shudder** 

So... experiences. Well... there isn't really much to say. In terms of what I wore, two things stand out. One is the Claires jewellery and badge that I bulk-bought and did all sorts fo weird and wonderful things with. I seldom left the house without badges stuck to my T-shirt, my wristbands, even my trousers from time to time. The other is the virtually all-alternative clothing shop wardrobe. I was picky about what I bought, so hopefully I avoided the doom cookie look, but for a few months around the age of 14 I had it in my head that I had to buy from these places or else I was a poser- Ironic, ne? Anyway, these places were generally either independant shops or part of small chains, and therefore they weren't very polished inside. Half the time you'd be the only customer in the shop, and the assistants, when they weren't staring irritatingly at you, thought nothing of talking on the phone, wandering off into the back room or, one on occasion, standing in front of the counter discussing Judas Priest. They weren't always as unobservant as they seemed though. The Sikh guy in Underground Clothing recognised everyone who'd ever been in the shop, or so it seemed. I recall being more than a bit startled when when I paid my second or third visit to the shop and realised he knew who I was. 
The changing rooms could also be a bit scary. Half the time there was only one, facing right out into the shop, which meant that if the curtain didn't cover the entrance properly (as it often didn't), you'd find yourself feeling woryingly exposed. 

I remember the very first time I bought an alternative article of clothing. I was thirteen years old and shopping with my Mum. When I selected the top- a plain black T-shirt with an X-ray style skull and wings on the front, I felt nervous about showing her, knowing full well she'd wonder what I wanted that for. I also bought a white top emblazoned with rainbow musical notes, because I really didn't have a clue what I was going for at that stage. All I knew was that I wanted something **gesticulates wildly** different.

I remember my Mansonite stage. Well, I say Mansonite stage, I never once claimed the band were Goth. On the contrary, I'd always leap to correct anyone who made that mistake. Also, my Marilyn Manson T-shirt fell top bits after no time at all, and never got replaced. 

My fondest babybat memory... no contest, when I got my first pair of New Rocks. I'd wanted some for over a year by that point, but hadn't been able to afford them and didn't know where to purchase a pair from. After a while, when the converses I'd been going around in finally got a bit cruddy (I still own them, mind. They're my back up for whenever I need 'sensible' shoes), I finally struck got my arse onto the computer and gold online. After a brief protest from my Mum, who hadn't been in a very good mood for unrelated reasons, I ordered a pair and had them arrive within a few weeks. I loved them from the start, and they served me well for the next three or so years. Even when they finally fell to bits and had to be replaced back in May, it took me ages to find the heart to throw them out.  

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