|A Guide to Durham Slang|
Entering the Durham bubble is a lot like being thrown head first into a foreign country. Before you’ve had much of chance to master the language you’re catapulted into a unique culture; in this case probably dancing a drunken night away to a Spice Girls medley in a small and sweaty club known as Klute. However, there’s no shame in this! The vast vocabulary that constitutes the dictionary of Durham slang has been known to daunt many a third year linguist, but fear not freshers - here’s just a small selection for you to get to grips with.
Let’s get the worst over with shall we?! Cardiac Hill is the highly descriptive name given to the extremely steep hill that runs down through the science site, linking a group of the lecture buildings. But don’t worry, it is possible to make it to the top without suffering a heart attack and even for those sensible people not willing to take the risk there is an alternative route. Plus I’ve heard going down isn’t that hard at all!
Durham may be over 200 miles from the capital but the influence of cockney rhyming slang has still managed to creep this far north. Hound is a result of such influence and is the affectionate name given to the DSU’s Friday club night, ‘Planet of Sound’.
It has little to do with the MC Hammer. And by little I mean nothing whatsoever! MC refers to Maiden Castle, the University’s main sports centre, and if you’re involved in either college or university sports then there’s a good chance that this may become your second home.
Though every university has the equivalent of ‘stash’, it seems that this term may be fairly unique to Durham. Stash refers to items of clothing shamelessly identifying you as belonging to the University, the college or any of the sports teams. Make sure you get some; it’s all the rage in the bubble’s booming fashion scene! Current students can order stash here.
A few drinks follow now, starting firstly with the Snake Bite. Snake Bite has been a popular student drink for years and is a pint made up from half a pint of cider and another half of lager, often with a bit of added blackcurrant cordial for effect. If you haven’t tried one yet it’s well worth a go!
Most of the Durham colleges have their own college ‘cocktail’ and Skittles is the name given to the genius invention belonging to Collingwood. The exact make up of the drink is somewhat of a secret, but it consists of a healthy helping of shots, and a few fruit based mixers. The important thing is that it actually tastes like the sweets!
Perhaps the only other college drink that comes anywhere near to challenging the supremacy of the Skittles is the Smenergy. Castle (University College) Bar specialises in the beverage, which is made from a ‘blend’ of Smirnoff Ice and Red Bull. Certainly one to kick start the night then!
An odd one here. Chat is generally used to describe informal conversation (the kind of stuff that is spoken after a few in the college bar!) and is often categorized as either ‘good’ chat or ‘bad’ chat. There can be a lot of bad chat around Durham, but none is heard around Collingwood!
A close relative to chat, this word refers to chat that excels in comic content. Banter is commonly exchanged amongst friends, but an event that provides comedy or fun can also be termed to be ‘good banter’.
Hopefully every teenager knows the meaning of the word lash. For those who are unfamiliar with the term it refers to a few quiet, civilized drinks, usually occurring between the hours of 9pm and 2am. It follows then that pre-lash is period of earlier, and often cheaper, civilizing, that commonly takes place in a friends room at around 7pm. Well, you’ve got to be social haven’t you!
This term is particularly popular among the sports teams and is a title awarded to a guy (or girl, though I guess others might use the less attractive sounding ladette...) whose life philosophy is centred round good chat, banter, and a commitment to the student lifestyle. It goes without saying that the life of a lad is a matter of choice, with most people simply content to avoid the title of ‘shlad’. This title defines the opposite of a lad, with a prefix that denotes that they are, in fact, sh... well, I’m sure you get it.
The word lid is used to refer to someone’s hair cut and when it comes to lids Durham can be quite a multi-cultural place. The ability to sport a good lid is always a positive attribute but there’s no cause for concern, especially considering some of the howlers already on display.