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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Gosta Green

The snow that crunches underfoot is winter's parting shot. It isn't daunting mountain snow, it is crisp, polite English snow that folds away gently beneath you. The transparent blizzard that cuts away at my exposed face and manages to creep past the defences of my scarf, makes me - for a split second - hate my second favourite country in the world. Like a hoard of gloating frost-demons, the wind dances and pounces and howls about my ears. But Gosta provides refuge for weary youth; shelter from the wind and the rain and coursework. There is an unmistakable warmth that greets you as soon as you close the door behind you, that unique blend of carefree conversation and warm air purring as lager caresses it.

My university doesn't really have a campus. All the rooms are contained in one gigantic, Soviet style building. It's like a palace that a colour-blind Inland Revenue accountant would have built. The halls of residence aren't much to look at either. The lake is a puddle and the library is about as inspiring as yoghurt.

But walk past all that, just for a minute or so, and feast your eyes on my favourite part of England. Gosta is so much more than a pub. I feel like I'm insulting it when I class it as merely another watering hole for procrastinating students. The Pub is an idea that is celebrated in England - and I celebrate with them.

All over the world, bar owners have tried to rebuild the atmosphere in a British pub. It needs to be experienced first hand though. 'Tuesday night, when the footy is on' is something that needs to be experienced. The lighting is perfect: no squinting needed here - shades of red-orange lap at strangers faces and provide just the right contrast to the deep green of floodlit football pitch on the projector screen. When the cheesy music (which everyone loves deep down) is switched off and the commentary and surround sound of the stadium flicker into life and you take a sip of crappy cold beer and exhale in satisfaction anyway, you will know what I'm on about.

I love England.

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