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The Bar Formerly Known as the Eastside

Critical Critic



We are a shit generation. Let’s be honest here. We’ve substituted apathy for politics, John Campbell for incisive journalism, and hipster irony for good taste. When somebody says they like Journey these days, you can’t tell if they’re saying it because Journey are the shiznit (which they are) or because they think it’s hipster clever to play ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ in between incessant loops of Wellington bands which all sound identical (i.e. Jamaican). But at least we’ve got an excuse – we were raised in the moral vaccum of the eighties, and once we’d finally got our footing and started to hate communism and the USSR, the fucking thing collapsed on us, leaving us nothing but Nirvana and impotent teenage rage. Baby Boomers, though? Fucking Baby Boomers have no excuse. They were the rage generation, growing up to change the world in the sixties, but then somehow selling out and taking a new mission in the eighties – the journey to the centre of their egos.
university is the best years of our lives. Bullshit to that. University was the best years of their lives, because they didn’t have to pay real money to go, and lived in a fantasy welfare state where the money came from magic farms. Back in those days drivers’ exams were easy, AIDS was still a drunken fling with a chimpanzee away, and classes could be carried out in the bucolic splendour of the university commons, surrounded by the best and brightest of their generation. These days we pay far out the ass for an increasingly mediocre education, live in genteel poverty as we scramble for money for food and Xbox games, pay obscene sums of money for what is really a very simple driving test, and every one-off shag comes with the risk of waking up to the first day of the rest of your life with the dong rot. And classes with an easy-going lecturer in the local pub? Not even. These days you’ll sit through a tutorial with a frazzled tutor who’d rather be anywhere else, and if by some miracle you can afford to drink in whatever Eastside is called now, you may as well quit university and go back to living in your miracle money palace in the sky.
This, of course, is what I’m reviewing today. The Mount Street Bar, although, really it barely qualifies as a service. I might as well review ‘getting kicked in the crotch by a drunken first year slapper from Weir House’, which would at least by somewhat cheaper. Eastside was always kind of a hellhole, mostly populated by smokers and those shady mature students who aren’t here for a second chance at an education but more just to try and fail to fuck as many nubile first years as possible (either gender). But at least back in first year, many moons ago, I could occasionally skip LAWS 121, trembling at my own daring, and knock back a few ‘cold ones’ before running off to beg somebody for their notes because “oh no. might fail if I don’t attend every class. These days I skip class for much better reasons, such as “fuck this”, and spend my time trying to overdose on caffeine at Starbucks. Times have changed and though the letters pages have suffered a dramatic slide in quality as many of the leading lights have either quit the game or apotheosised into sell-out Salient hacks, one of the features man does notice running through the pale ruins of past glory is that the new bar is run by new devil-worshipping management who charge insane sums of money. I’m not philosophically opposed to such practices – it is ok to charge more money at a nice bar, one which is patronised by a better class of people and at which the risk of the dong rot is minimised. Unfortunately, new Eastside is not a nice bar. It is still a skanky student dive with some new decorations. A skanky student dive at which the prices are now bullshit high. Fuck that. What kind of a marketing plan is that? Did they learn it in classes such as Marketing 321: Going Broke and Failing?
The truth is that I am in a lyrical mood (i.e drunk) and the reverse apotheosis of Eastside into an even shitter bar is a good metaphor for the university experience as a whole. In distant times it was a nice place to hang out where everything was cheap, now it is a hellhole where everything is dear. I give new Eastside FOUR AND A HALF MIGRAINES OUT OF FIVE, mostly for reminding me that Baby Boomers suck, and a little bit in anticipation of my epic hangover. Peace out, yo.