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Liverpool: Student central

They are back in their tens of thousands – but cabbie Tony Schumacher discovers we aren't all chuffed

Published on September 29th 2010.

Liverpool: Student central

IF it was a film, it would have the tag line “They are back... and this time, they are even more pissed.”

Yes, its fresher’s week - or should that be weeks(as it seems to have become)?

They come home shouting at four in the morning every night of the week, have parties and throw half-eaten food all over the place, we are overrun with rats

Had Enoch Powell visited Liverpool on Monday, he may have rephrased his infamous speech to say the streets will run with rivers of vomit.

Now while I can’t quite get my head around the Liverpool John Moores University website boast that:“With over 500,000 students, Liverpool is one of the biggest student cities in the UK” (that actually means there are more students than residents).

But whichever way you count them, there is an awful lot of students here.

On Monday gone, I marvelled at the length of some of the queues outside nightclubs that had, the week before, been shuttered and silent: sticky carpets slowly drying out in preparation for the slosh of one pound shots and sweat from packed-in punters.

And let’s not forget, if it wasn’t for the wandering lunchtime student, Hardman Street and Bold Street would surely be barren deserts of shuttered shops, their only movement being the slow waft of To Let signs blowing in the breeze, like punkah wallahs cooling the chambers of the long gone Raj.

All in all, the impact on the city of these returning hordes is akin to holiday makers arriving on a Greek isle, the summer, weekday, night-time economy dwindles to a pittance in their absence and many businesses choose to close when they go. One sandwich bar owner told me his takings dropped over eighty percent during the summer, “as much as I hate them, they are paying my mortgage,” he lamented.

So we need them. They are the city's lifeblood through the long, dark, winter nights, and those who stay after graduation bring new blood and ideas to a place that has watched its sons and daughters drift away in a population decline over many decades.

But at what price do we accept the student sheckle? The young Liverpool lad I drove home the other evening (I'm a taxi driver by night)complained he’d not been granted entry to any bars because “I’m not a student, all my mates got in but I’ve got a job and don’t have a student card”.

Or the old lady, who lives off Smithdown Road, who remarked: “I am having to take sleeping tablets because of the noise. There is only me and a handful of others who aren’t students left in that road. They come home shouting at four in the morning every night of the week, have parties and throw half-eaten food all over the place, we are overrun with rats”.

God forbid that, in the latest round of Government spending cuts, one of our universities should close or reduce admissions - that would be be a greater loss of income than any of our leftover factories folding.

So we’ll offer up our pound of flesh and sell our city to the party animals that rampage in fancy dress shrieking and singing along once quite suburban streets.

No wonder the most popular student night carries the name “Carnage”... because it is when they are here - and it would be if they left.*(http://tiny.cc/960k8)

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8 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Nik16September 24th 2010.

Personally I find the student antics around St Patrick's day to be particularly distasteful and this is because students are dumber. There are too many students, full stop.
This is because they have made the exams easier and you can get into uni and study media studies and go out and get pissed every night and be stupid.

Retired ColonelSeptember 24th 2010.

What a mean minded article and mean minded message from Nik16.
Given a choice between students and scally chavs who used to dominate the city centre, I know which I prefer every time.
If more students means less scallies, then bring 'em on!

Z-CarsSeptember 24th 2010.

Tony is right in pointing out that the city's economy at night can't do without students. How is that mean-minded?

Student GrantSeptember 27th 2010.

When I was that age I was regularly turned away from places for wearing the wrong trousers or shoes and I was stopped and searched by the police all the time just for quietly walking on the street in the evenings. A friend of mine was actually arrested for attempting humour in one such situation.

These current students don´t know they are born, they live a consequence-free life and they are allowed to get away with outrageous antisocial behaviour that normal people could not.

T. TotallerSeptember 27th 2010.

If the students were to go the only businesses that would suffer would be the ones that only moved in to exploit the burgeoning student numbers. The bars, sandwich and junk food shops, the Tesco Metro branches that don´t sell proper food and of course the big property companies that own the new city centre halls of residence. How much of this money actually ends up in the local economy? Not much I´ll bet apart from low wages to cleaners and staff.
Before the explosion of student numbers and new bars to take their money Hardman Street had upmarket shops and was quiet and safe at night, fights and assaults were unheard of.

Salty SamSeptember 27th 2010.

There used to be a small open shrine next to the old Atlantic Hotel dedicated to merchant seamen where people could go in through the glass doors and pray, but the growing numbers of drunks on Hardman Street were using it as a toilet, resulting in it being locked and then closing altogether.

A girlSeptember 27th 2010.

I was once headbutted on Hardman Street after going to the aid of a student who was being beaten up by scallies. What does that tell us?

AnonymousSeptember 29th 2010.

Shekel ffs

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