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February 28, 2005 | by  | in Features |
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UNICOMM

Unicomm…. Unicomm… Unicomm…

Only after a long summer spent recovering can I recapture vague memories of this place. A place that I left in October sick and dirty, a little bit more dead than alive. It is a place for the off-cuts, the ones who start the year still idealistic after the inevitable Weir House or Vic House rejection. They start idealistic and end up bitter. No one chooses Unicomm as a first choice and if they do you must beware this bunch. They are of a dangerous breed.

Unicomm offers what any other hostel offers: A small room devoid of personality (to which in turn you provide personality through your tasteless carryings-on), bland decor, dirt poor hostel food and over zealous security guards (often they will stop alcohol being bought on premises after a certain time. Arseholes.). On one level it is no different from any other hostel – but what Unicomm offers you is a living experience with all the grandiose delusions of splendor one may find elsewhere totally removed. It is the Compton of the hostel world, frequently dirty with many unpleasant vagrants. It is no wonder that Unicomm has probably the highest level of mid year move outs (informal survey, no official statistics, just a feeling…).

It is not for the quiet, or the weak of stomach. There is fun to be had for those who can cope, but for the socially shy or those who run from noise and mess, elsewhere might be a more pleasurable environment. The strong will survive but the weak will flounder. Some of the more tasteless hostel stories happened right here and probably some even more tasteless things probably happened that have been lost to history forever in the same alcoholic haze that brought them on.

Unicomm doesn’t offer the same sense of community, which is perfect for those who aren’t the join-the-debating-team-or-organize-a-culturally-significant-outing type. For those who crave themed dinners and hand holding – maybe start sleeping in the Weir House Library. Or with someone at Weir House (probably more comfortable and there would be sex involved). The drinking is copious, drugs aren’t out of the question. Bonds are infrequently returned. And evictions aren’t uncommon. It is for the Bukowskis or the Hunter S. Thompsons (R.I.P…) of this world. The people who 5 years later will be living on The Terrace in a filthy flat doing the sixth year of their B.A. (well maybe not… But everyone oves a cliche).

Another serious side effect of Unicomm is the heartbreaking walk up the hill. For a first year law student, having to walk up the hill at 8am is a serious deterrent to attending class. Which doesn’t bother many in Unicomm. And if it does, you are in trouble. That walk really sucks and on a hangover, it’s just that little bit worse (on a sidenote, maybe make friends with a Cable Car driver. Takes the hill out of play. You’ll be happier. I promise.).

B4. Sigh… Good times. The ace in the Unicomm’s hole, the diamond in its rough – the glint in its eye. $1 handles at selected times, often coinciding with rugby games. Go early if you want a seat. And be prepared to be in, or at least be watching, a fight at the end of the game. It’s a fun place to be.

I had a blast. And everyone I know had a blast. But some might not. I passed (mostly) and many around me passed. We lived out of the spotlight, glamour and hoopla that was afforded to some other hostels. In the heart of town you’ll get a great feel for Wellington. But for those who grow to hate this place – you’ll have a long year. Not in Unicomm? Sound like your thing? Walk up to the sliding door, slide your hands in the crack and rip the door open. A perfect remedy for drunkenly misplacing your keys. Also you can smoke inside, the alarms don’t work.

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