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We students of Lancaster are intelligent folk. We enjoy activities as diverse as the theatre, journalism, politics, gaming, cinema and mountaineering. We’re a pretty cultured bunch, I’m sure you’ll agree. Yet we insist on partaking in that weird phenomenon that is… clubbing. And I mean the kind with drinks in dingy vomit-stained rooms; not that thing that Canadians do with baby seals. Alas, although I’d have to say the latter is probably worse (have you seen how cute baby seals are?), our weekly ritual of paying to dance to music we don’t like is almost as high on my mental list of things that humans probably shouldn’t do.
In fact, I’m convinced that no one actually likes clubbing (though bear in mind I’m probably being incredibly biased before you hurl overpriced shots at me, please). Surely it’s all just a huge, sweaty mistake? I’ll recap what invariably happens every single time, just for the benefit of those that drank way too much last night and can’t remember. The evening tends to go in four stages:
- The pre-drinking session: Almost certainly the best part of the night. Getting progressively drunker with some of your best friends; playing interesting variations on card games, video games and, best of all, scrabble; listening to music that you’ve picked. The drinks are cheap, the music is almost certainly fantastic and you can see and hear your friends. Hooray! What could be better?
- Oh yeah, that’s right, clubbing will be better! But hey, guys, don’t you remember last time? When you projectile vomited all over the security guard’s face, told him that his shoes were ‘way too shiny’, and then proceed to spew all over those too? No? OK, so we’ll just stand in this line that isn’t moving, wearing as little clothing as possible, before paying to enjoy the body heat of 1000 strangers! The only logical choice. Socrates would be so proud…
- ‘The experience’. To be honest, apart from the music, it’s probably not too far removed from the aforementioned ‘Canadian clubbing’. There’s the same sort of panic. The same confusion. The same tall men in checked shirts with bludgeons. Alas, you’ll have to pay twice what the pub next door is charging for drinks and you’ll lose all ability to communicate with your friends or meet new people, since it is a) too dark to see them and b) impossible to talk over the sound of those seals being brutally murdered.
- The aftermath, or ‘apocalypse’ stage. Really, look around as you leave the Sugarhouse, you’ll know what I mean. This stage includes the purchase of dubious meat products, pulling the one who inevitably drank too much back home (before they’re sick all over your floor, for good measure) and the hangover period. Even if you totally disagree with me over the entirety of this article- you can not disagree with the hangover.
Perhaps I don’t understand something, or perhaps I’ve just been incredibly unlucky during my time as a “clubber”. Anyway, there always seems to be plenty of things to do around Lancaster that don’t involve clubs… With no further ado, I present Joe Henthorn’s guide to things that aren’t clubs!
Pubs – Probably the polar opposite of clubs. First of all, drinks are considerably cheaper and better. Secondly, communication with your peers is not an impossible task! You can talk, as opposed to the screaming, yelping and wild gestures one must perform in clubs. If you’re mathematically inclined you can combine the pub with other ideas to take your pub experience further. For example: Pubs + food = pub lunch. Pubs to the power of 10 = pub crawl. Pubs + general knowledge = pub quiz! Luckily for us, Lancaster has an extremely high pubs per capita rating, which means there’s loads of choice – from the Water Witch to Yorkshire House and (most) places in-between. And don’t forget your college bars!
Gigs – It’s relatively unknown compared to the big cities like Sheffield and Leeds, but Lancaster has a thriving music community. Again, it’s the pubs like Yorkshire House that are good for this, although the college bars usually showcase University talent, too. Lancaster even has its own music festival! Who’d have thought it?! Bigger bands are starting to come to town too, what with the likes of Pulled Apart by Horses having played in Lancaster by the time you read this. Of course, it only costs £15 at most to get out of town too, so with Manchester and Birmingham nearby it’s easy to see pretty much anyone (and probably for about the same amount you’d spend at the Carleton, too).
Societies – Pretty much every society has some great socials, and sometimes (really) they might not end up at Sugar! But most of them do, if you’re in to that sort of thing. There are a couple of more interesting examples though – Hiking Society do “ultimate night”, which is sort of a pub crawl with challenges and bloody good prizes. There are the weekend hikes too, as well as their famous Social Weekends. Gaming Society have a penchant for their gaming themed pub crawls, the most recent being Mario Pub Golf 64, which was a strictly Bring Your Own Moustache event. Finally, you could take the Saturday night off and wake up early for the Paintball Society’s weekend exploits. I’m assured by their president that it’s like Call of Duty- but for real.