So what began as an innocuous invite to a pub quiz last night ended up morphing from a couple of hours of casual drinking and socialising to hours of Jäger-fuelled fun around the beautiful city of York. Certainly after stumbling into bed at approximately 4am this morning, having been roped into a journey of Homeric proportions from near-enough West Country cider (Heaven be praised for Old Rosie) to a Korean-Pop themed club night (no, that’s not a typo) to the Ithaca of York nightlife that is The Willow, I pondered just how these situations always seem to occur. Perhaps it’s my bad luck, or maybe, much as all objects have a tendency toward disorder (yes I paid the slightest bit of attention in sixth form Chemistry), so too must all roads lead to Willow as far as the entropy of alcohol consumption is concerned. Then again, these objects don’t disorder themselves: it’s probably fair to say that it’s all my fault, as I am often told by my best friend vis-à-vis most things that go wrong in my life. But I digress.
The point is, I do wonder sometimes why as a species we put ourselves through the – if we’re being honest here – hellish nightmare that is clubbing. Extortionate entry fees; all manner of sticky surfaces; music so loud that I’m still unsure as to when this temporary (touch wood) tinnitus will actually bugger off and leave me in peace: in short, it’s shit. It’s expensive, and it’s shit. In fact I’d go as far as to say it’s very shit. Controversial I know. At the same time, most of us do it. Some of us love it, some of us hate it, some of us are fairly ambivalent (lo and behold: it’s not Marmite). And despite my moaning, I did have a good time last night. One of the best nights I’ve had in a while, actually. So what is it about this frankly bizarre social ritual that we put ourselves through that lends itself to fond, if hazy, memories?
It’s not rocket science to be honest: it’s the people. I’m fairly sure I could go pretty much anywhere and have a good night out, but that’s not down to the location: it’s down to the people you share it with. Whether it’s a night in the pub with a small group of close friends, or like last night a larger event with mostly people you don’t know, it’s the people you’re with that make, or break, an evening: I think most people would agree with me here.
And this is why I love university. Since coming here I’ve met people from all across the globe, from a wide variety of cultures, backgrounds, and classes, and it’s brilliant. It’s a monstrous conglomerate of values, beliefs, attitudes, ideals: a blaze of mindsets and personalities which, when fanned by alcohol and late-night McDonald’s, erupts into a Bonfire of the Vanities that puts Tom Wolfe’s depiction of ’80s New York to shame. And all this from a group of adolescents barely old enough to blow their own noses. Not too shabby when you think about it.
When I first mentioned the possibility of staying on at York for a couple of years to do an MA, my mother joked that she often tells people that she half-expects (hopes?!) me to go to university and never leave. Whilst she is referring to my love of studying (and certainly that’s a factor), one of the main things that triggered my thoughts of further study was an event, held a few weeks ago now, that celebrated our year being halfway through our degree. Which is a very sad prospect. I’m not ready to leave yet. Maybe I never will be. Maybe I’m doomed to roam these corridors until the end of my days, slowly growing more and more decrepit and irritable until, one day, I simply vanish into the very pages of the books in which I immerse my mind. Part of the ship, part of the crew, so to speak.
On a completely unrelated note, and terrible Pirates of the Caribbean references aside, I’m off to nurse the mysterious headache that has been afflicting me since this morning. Can’t possibly think where the bloody thing has come from. Ciao.