Trying To Be Cool

Posted: August 1, 2014 in As If I Actually Ended Up Going To Uni, Back To The Edge, Chawn, Nexus

trying to be cool



I am at university, waiting for my tutorial to begin. And it finally feels real. I have actually got to uni. And now I’m cool. I speak in Buffy-like ways, and have a satchel. All I need now is a hat and I’m ready to get paid for being so cool. I’m almost Will Smith. Or Idris Elba.

I could even say ‘aw, hell no!’

“Would you like to come in then, Dan?”

I smile. And choose to not to.

“In every way.”

Lecturer invites me into her office and I pull my assignment up on the screens before her. This is fun. I’m so ace.

“Why is this all in grey text, Dan?”

“Well, you know. Uni rules are that you can only see a certain amount of the assignment. So I’ve greyed out everything but what I genuinely definitely want you to read.”

“Have you nearly finished?”

“Well not really.”

“Ah, don’t worry. I’ll see all of it for now then. Most of it will probably get changed anyway.”

I smile, and grab the mouse.

“Hang on then, let me just black the text up for you.”

I highlight the whole essay, and click the make-it-black button. And smile, because the way I just said that sounded so much cooler than just saying ‘let me change the colour of the text into black’.

I’m so ace.

I smile.

And look at Lecturer.

Who is not smiling.

And, who I suddenly notice, is black.

And who I’ve just told that I’m going to black up my assignment.

Oh no!

Lecturer says nothing, and takes the mouse back off me to scroll through the text, before giving me some sensible assignment-y suggestions. I say nothing either. And hope that nobody will ever speak of this again.

It is later that day, and I am in Walsall, sitting next to Williams the unbelievably talented singer-guitarist I lost to once in a John Mayer-off. We’re catching up, and I’ve been telling him about the jammy moment when I told a black lecturer that I would black up my assignment that I hoped nobody would ever speak of again. Williams smiles, and says how jammy I am. I smile. And agree.

“Hey, I don’t suppose you’ve got a spare guitar pick I could borrow for my set in a minute?”

I smile. Williams went to Nexus. The unbelievably-excellent musician factory that produces guitarists who are both very humble and very plectrum-spoilt.

Guitarists just like me.

“You need a pick? Then I guess you’ll be looking for a…”

“…A Jazz 3.”

I wink.


I reach into my pocket, and realise that I have not brought a spare Jazz 3. I fetch my wallet, with its’ trusty emergency backup supply of little red Jazz 3 fellas, and unzip the change compartment. There is one in there. A special one that Colin recently bought me for a superb surprise present.

“Oh, you’re in luck Williams!”


“Yeah, I’ve got one Jazz 3 left.”

He smiles.

“Here you go, man. You can use this little black fella.”

His smile drops.

I look up at him.

And notice something.

Williams is black.

Oh no!

“Oh no! I’m so sorry about that!”

Williams smiles, and shakes his head. I sigh, and decide to stop trying to be cool.

“You don’t need to try to be cool, Dan.”


“Of course not. You just played live… in a hat.”

I smile. And show him my satchel.



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