There’s something about university. All of that first-time freedom, and lifelong friendships, and everything else that goes along with 3 or 4 years of a degree, that endears one to a place.
I know that this feeling isn’t unique to the town where I was as an undergraduate, but I think that for those of us blessed enough to have gained degrees from St Andrews, that Royal Burgh holds a particularly special place in our hearts. Partly because it is so very, very beautiful and wonderful and charming, but also because, pretty much without exception, as soon as we walk across the stage in the Younger Hall, kneel to get a tap on the heid from a piece of John Knox’s tartan trews, receive our hoods and scrolls, enjoy a glass of champagne and a cucumber sandwich at a garden party, dance the Gay Gordons on Lower College Lawn, and spend a final night at the beach in a ball gown, we leave that ancient city of St Andrews behind, and, other than the odd nostalgic visit, we don’t go back.
I suppose that for us the cobblestone streets and long sandy beaches remain as they always were when we were 21. We don’t stay long enough for the realities of life to set in, so it remains in our memories as a sunny, carefree place filled with dancing and Pimms, while we go on to settle into normal: 9 to 5, commuting and council tax.
As it happens, today I was pointed in the direction of two videos giving two slightly different portraits of Scotland’s first university. One of the gentlemen whose fine teaching enabled me to write the letters MTheol after my name (although, come to think of it, I’ve never actually done that, thus far) posted a link to these videos, and so I thought I’d share them with you fine readers today.
The first is the official trailer, ‘Ever to Excel’ created to celebrate the 600th anniversary, and featuring young men dressed in 15th century garb, young ladies playing golf, and the dulcet tones of James Bond himself, Sir Sean Connery, as the featured voiceover artist.
You can go and watch the video here.
The second is a new video from The Other Guys, an all-male a cappella group who have existed (in various incarnations, as their members have graduated and been replaced) for a wee while now. This new song, ‘St Andrews Girls’, features a re-enactment of the Chariots of Fire scene on West Sands, and a delightful chorus detailing the features of a St Andrews girl: Hunter wellies, Barbour jackets, sunbed tans, Rayban sunglasses and an Art History degree.
Sadly I only possess one of the above criteria, so perhaps I’m not a true St Andrews girl after all.
In summary: a bit of love for the auld place.