Cambridge’s leading purveyor of quality entertainment.
Yes, it’s me! None other than Samuel Juniper, your personal tour guide through the boozy, less-than-sophisticated labyrinth that is Cambridge nightlife. After penning the iconic, best-selling ’10 Places You’ll End Up On A Cambridge Night Out’ – which was hailed as ‘magic’ by 2nd year Law BNOC/goddess Mollie Biggadike – I swore I’d retire, fritting away my 20s sipping espresso martinis in Novi’s garden which just also happens to be its smoking area… not that I do smoke by the way, but I wouldn’t say no when I’m having a drink as well, you know? You wouldn’t get it. Please don’t tell my parents.
Last week however, I received a call from The Big Fish (yes, an enormous, anthropomorphic, talking fish), asking me to compile a comprehensive guide to Big Fish Ents 2017 Cambridge Freshers Week. Of course, I couldn’t refuse – nobody says no to The Big Fish – so without further ado, here is the full rundown of your Freshers Week nights out!
What: Big Fish Bop
Where: Lola Lo’s
How would I describe a bop to all the pagans out there who have never been to one? It’s sort of like a crossover between an office Christmas party and a year 6 school disco, except it was the managers/teachers who spiked the punch, the music is substantially better as it won’t have to cater to a bunch of corporate drones/simplistic fucking eleven-year olds, and there’s a reasonable chance you’ll obtain something incriminating on a future member of the cabinet.
This one will be slightly different; it will be a lot better. There will be three floors, which is more than enough room to lose everybody you know, which will allow you to replace them with new friends! Who doesn’t want to have more friends? Unless you’re extremely introverted, which is fair enough.
If you’ve ventured over to the Big Fish Ents’ website (strongly recommend, it’s a cracking read: definitely in my list of top 5 things on the internet) you’ll see that they promise big anthems, packed dance-floors, and cheap drinks. Of course, they would say that, but I can guarantee you something better than that – pleasant memories. This is the first night of your Freshers Week and – I hate to break it to you – almost certainly not the best night of your life. However, you will be surrounded by other like-minded, enthusiastic, and welcoming strangers who can’t wait to immerse themselves in the university that you’ll no doubt get along with like a house on fire. What are you waiting for? Grab an advance ticket and come on down!
What: Foam Party
Where: Ballare (aka Cindies)
I like to think that the concept of a foam party is self-explanatory, but even I – the one behind the tills that is occasionally complimented for their cool jacket/dungarees/piercing (delete as appropriate) – was once a sheltered and introverted soul, ignorant to the majesties of foam parties. For that reason, I do not chide those not in the know: a foam party is like any other party, except the room has been filled to the brim with foam!
Oh Samuel, gatekeeper of sesh, what are the benefits of all this foam, I hear you cry?! Why, there’s several! Firstly, if you’re embarrassed by the company you keep because they’re all deeply unattractive, the foam will obscure everyone’s vision so you won’t be seen with them – this also saves you an awkward conversation since you won’t have break it to your entourage that you could never be friends with them due to your superior looks.
Second, you can pretend you’re playing in a massive, dry bath. That’s the very definition of fun. Finally, thanks to that damned climate change, the chances are you won’t be seeing much snow during your time in Cambridge. But do you know what you can press into a ball shape and throw at other people? Foam! This is one of your few opportunities to have a pseudo-snowball fight during your time at uni, don’t let it go to waste! The Big Fish has even insisted on extra foam, who’d have thought he’s so keen on these things? Grab your ticket before it’s too late!
Where: Ballare (aka Cindies)
I was never entirely clear on why Cambridge students insist on calling it Cindies. Cindy is the name of a generic husk of a suburban housewife romanticised by 1960s American literature. What’s wrong with Ballare?! Why are you all so damn finnicky?! You know what – never mind, I’m getting off track.
Do you like pop music? Then you’re brainwashed by the conspiracy. Rihanna, S-Club 7, the guy who did Despatico (which I don’t know because cool people such as myself are disassociated from popular culture): they are colluding with other popstars to overthrow our government and create a New World Order. A society where artists who produced catchy and upbeat songs for a huge commercial audience ten to fifteen years ago may live extravagantly due to their unbelievable wealth, whilst expendable nobodies with nothing to contribute such as nurses, freelance writers, and academics are condemned to a life of destitution.
There’s nothing like a hearty dose of nostalgia to distract you from the pressures of reality and this party is Cambridge’s worst kept secret, its iconic as its ironic. Its the newest pop party to hit the city. You get my drift, basically this is one party you don’t want to miss. Everything seemed so much simpler back in the early 2000s, when I could barely comprehend my own mortality due to my young age. Although it’s impossible to return to that infantile, ignorant state of being – where one believes the world revolves around them whilst neglecting its many, saddening faults – listening to music from those good old days is the best shot you have of emulating it.
What: Vice (with Ice-Nights)
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I’m afraid this is not a Miami Vice themed night. It is possible that I was somewhat overexcited at the thought of an event with a dark 80s detective show theme and ordered the finest drug trafficker costume I could find on the internet. If anybody is happy to take this off my hands for their own fancy dress needs, please drop me a line.
Despite feeling personally let down by this, after some discussion with my peers it transpires that the actual theme proves far more popular – which if anything betrays a lack of appreciation for compelling television dramas. Boasting a booming mix of RnB, Hip Hop, and Dance, you can bet your last £1.50 (which would coincidentally get you a Coors Light or shot of tequila or Sambuca) that this’ll be loud and messy.
This one’s a collaboration with Ice-Nights, who throw some pretty spectacular international nights – which as a local resident born in Cambridge to British parents, is obviously an unbiased opinion. If, like me, you can’t get enough of non-UK citizens ripping into you over Brexit, I implore you to find a better night to go out.
What: Let’s Kill Disco
Where: Lola Lo’s
It’s the big one: Let’s Kill Disco. You’ll need new dancing shoes once you’re done here, and not because the infamous Corpus Christi shoe thief is rumoured to be on the prowl yet again. Arrive early to avoid disappointment – it’ll be busier than a weekly support group for rowers who complain about rowing too much. With two floors of music pumping out the hippest happening tunes of the hour, there’s no excuse to miss the first of many LKDs!
Do you love smoking, or at least pretend to love it in order to fit in with a new crowd? Then I have good news! Lola Lo’s Cambridge is equipped with its very own smoking terrace. It gets better too: this one isn’t a shabby side street which smells of urine (cough, cough Kuda). It’s also a perfect training ground for honing your networking skills; remember that every friend you make now is another favour you can call upon once you’re plotting world domination!
This evening is guaranteed to have you pleading “I swear officer! I didn’t trip here, she fell! I don’t know how Disco died! What? I didn’t just contradict myself – it wasn’t me, alright?! Fucks sake, I didn’t mean for any of this to happen, okay? The lies, the drinking, the affair… she just made me feel special – is that such a crime? To be wanted? To be wanted how my lady love used to want me? Disco hasn’t looked at me with a shred of affection in years. She despised me. So yes, I am happy that monster has departed this Earth. But you want to know who murdered her? Not I.”
What: Friday I’m In Love
Most things instantly become better if they’re situated underground. Old vases, nuclear bunkers, Kuda – you name it. Why wouldn’t you want to spend the end of your Freshers Week raving to classic hit after classic hit, safe from all the scary essays and academia which plague the surface world? There’s no need to worry – even if Kuda is directly underneath a WHSmith – the books can’t harm you down there. Only alcohol poisoning can.
The name says it all: the chances are that if you attend you will become acquainted with your soulmate, with whom you’re destined to spend the rest of your life with. Or at the very least, two to twelve hours depending on how satisfactory your companionship is. But that’s okay, as one’s experience of love is an individual, personal journey which can never be felt by another.
Let’s cut the shit for a minute here: you will be studying at University of Cambridge, one of the top universities in the world. You’ve pretty much already won at life. Isn’t it time to start winning at your other, vastly more important, social life? This is your last chance to have a blast with your mates before the soul crushing, life draining, mind breaking work begins – you may as well take it.