The medical students of Southampton have again hit the press, this time with their adaptation of Jay Z’s ‘Empire State of Mind’. The video, released on YouTube two days ago, is already close to hitting 10,000 views. No doubt popular with viewers, it remains to be seen how impressed locals are with its less than flattering portrayal of their home town. Portswood Info, a community news service, has questioned whether it can be interpreted as ‘biting satire’, or simply ‘disgustingly awful’.
Comments on the youtube video show the divide in opinion over the video, which has raised money for two charities. It has done nothing to mend the ‘town-and-gown’ divide which exists between Southampton locals and its student population.
With serial criminals as neighbours, a flasher wandering around and the smell of the rubbish strikes still lingering, it is not surprising that many student residents are less than impressed with Portswood life.
However, the video does not shy from the part students play towards Portswood’s more negative aspects. Happy recounts of acting ‘like a sex pester’ at Jesters, wandering ‘off to Manzils, yeah I’m off my head’, accompanied by a girl in the video being sick on the street, show how a large student presence, and their behaviour, contributes to Portswood’s notoriety. Students have been long blamed for contributing to Portswood’s problems, especially regarding anti-social behaviour, usually involving alcohol.
A local claiming be living on Alma Road appears less than impressed with his comment describing students as ‘rah pricks’, and warns that his ‘7 iron will meet your face’ if any students touch his bins whilst drunk. Another comment kindly tells the ‘posh twats’ to leave.
Referring to Portswood as a ‘Pole ghetto’ may prove to have been a mistake, with one comment describing the writers as ‘racist idiots’, and several comments condemning this particular lyric. It is unclear whether the Polish community will take offence to the lyrics, but if so relations between locals and students are likely to become even more strained.
The medics of Southampton University have already been in the press this year, after two of them were allegedly caught participating in oral sex on hospital grounds. The University has since issued a statement denying that anything happened. It is unclear as of yet if the video will raise objections within the local community beyond YouTube comments.
The view count alone shows the medics have been highly successful in tapping into Southampton students’ love-hate relationship with the area, its high crime rate, anti-social behaviour and cheap alcohol.