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On the 18th March 2012, it was announced that the term 2, week 10 Carleton would be “the last Carleton ever”! Everyone’s favourite place of ill-repute was finally calling it quits. The home of shameless ‘stiff-uns’ and appropriately inappropriate behaviour on Wednesday nights would be no more… Now, as a third year, I naturally took this news with a pinch of salt. You see, the tale that the Carleton is closing down seems to be an annual event stretching way back through time to the baldest of old boys to the days when people actually got buses from the underpass and walked gayly into Waterstones. Funnily enough, this story always seems to pop up around the end of Easter term due to “dwindling numbers”. Is it just me or is there a strong whiff of fish in the air?
OK, maybe I am just being cynical. After all I am, as aforementioned, a third year deep in the middle of important deadlines, nearing the middle of my dissertation and I haven’t been to Sugarhouse in three weeks, so you could say that I’m struggling somewhat and in denial over the news about the Carleton. Also, it cannot be denied that this year’s intake of freshers have been unable to experience the eccentric joys of the Carleton at full speed due to the stranglehold the Sugarhouse has over Lancaster nights out, luring the helpless victims in three times a week and zombifying their brains to follow the almighty Sugarhouse’s commands.
However, a key fact is this: the Carleton has always been more popular with second and third years, backed up with experience to handle its filthy ways. Take these two year groups away and the Carleton is bound to suffer, and yet this is precisely what Lent term does. Third years like myself become preoccupied with dissertations, and second years begin to feel the harsh reality of the step up from fresher life to studying for your degree. Going out to the Carleton in second term then for a large number of its key clientele becomes something of a luxury and not a weekly event. Add this to the rise of the Sugarhouse monster, and it should come as no surprise that the Carleton is struggling for regular business. And yet, shutting the weekly student night down altogether, in my opinion, does not seem like a good idea. Now I’m no business expert, (I am indeed the idiot who just purchased, with my last few pittance, a snapback cap I am unlikely ever to wear, when the costs of printing and binding my dissertation are going to arise later in the week), yet surely closing a club before its busiest season approaches beggars belief. Ah, there’s that strange smell of fish again. No, I am not going mental, I am trying to suggest that something fishy is going on, geddit? Lame puns aside, but it seems to me that the last ever Carleton on Wednesday 21st March may not indeed be the last ever Carleton. If enough people show an interest and turn up and buy dangerous amounts of ‘stiff-uns’, which it sounds like they did, I have a sneaky feeling we may be having this same discussion this time next year…