I Don’t Go Outside

Recent graduate Daniel Malice presents a brief justification for staying indoors with one’s own company.

It’s the end of September and I should be starting university again. Shouldn’t I? No, I don’t want to do your MA, your MRes, your postgraduate anything, thanks very much. Other than my education, what even was/is Portsmouth?

I don’t go outside! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of these socially anxious youths stuck behind their Apple brand laptop and phone. I’ve got an Acer and a Nokia thank you very much. I mean I saw some of Portsmouth but everybody tells me I didn’t see nearly enough. ‘What about the Historic Dockyard, what about all the bits that aren’t Fratton ASDA?’ Whatever, I got what I needed. I got my semi-regular fix of movies and shameless consumerism thanks to Gunwharf Quays. Even the occasional Nandos. Cheeky.

I went to the pub with select individuals or in small groups. Did I need Tiger Tiger and Popworld, getting comatose on 50p pints of paint thinner? No! ‘Oh but uni is where you lose your inhibitions, your dignity and a good deal of sanity as a result of work stresses!’ Maybe for you, mate, but I was quite happy to stay indoors playing video games and scraping 2:1 grades or lower in 90% of my assignments. Yeah, I got a few firsts but I didn’t actually put much effort into those pieces of work. Never enough to feel proud.

Do I give a toss about a load of boats? I’m not a sailor, though I did live and sleep with one during my third year. Funny world isn’t it? I’m from a coastal town, I can see boats and water and all that caper at home. I didn’t choose a semi-far away university because my hometown is crap. Far from it! I like where I live, and that’s a rare position to take. Doesn’t mean I give a damn about the history of it, same with Portsmouth. Is there a cinema nearby? Is the sorting office within walking distance? How far to the nearest supermarket? These are my concerns.

Hampshire is lovely – lots of green landscapes, sea breeze and few chavs. Sod off Owen Jones. I enjoyed the environment, some of the people were a bit ropey but that’s no fault of the city. I just don’t enjoy what you enjoy. I like sitting at my computer with one hundred thousand tabs open on ever obscure Wikipedia articles: North Korean human rights abuses, A$Ap Rocky, bird migration. I like ordering endless books and CDs online then waiting for them by the front door like a dog anticipating the newspaper.

If/when I come back to Sunny Southsea and surrounding areas, could I be convinced to take in the city’s rich history? I suppose so, but only because I’d be visiting on purpose rather than living there for the sake of education.

As much as I enjoy Arthur Conan Doyle’s works, the novels of Dickens and British militaria, I could just look that stuff up online. I don’t feel like I’d enjoy Sherlock Holmes more if I went to a museum about his author. I went to 221b Baker Street once and it was rubbish, didn’t do a thing for me.

Ultimately, Portsmouth is probably lush but I feel no obligation to try and prove that to myself. So what? Shoot me. Ten out of ten for effort, Pompey, but I’ve got other things to do.