The Tab’s Top Swap Spots

If you’re gonna do it, do it right, says LAUREN CHAPLIN, who gives us the low-down on Cambridge’s best swap locations.

Formal lauren harris Library Mahal PUNTING sesame spoons swap guide Van of Death

Where would we be without swaps, eh? Peanut butter without jelly, Fry without Laurie, essay deadlines without a panicked all-nighter, an evening spent listening to Teenage Dirtbag in Life for the millionth time without a swap before hand – these hit combinations work so well together that it’s hard to imagine life without them. Here are some of The Tab’s top swap spots to help you plan your evenings…

The Van of Death: It’s probably a bit like being a leper, owning the Van of Death. Why not take pity on these poor guys once in a while and have a glamorous curb side meal (chips are 30p cheaper than the Van of Life as well guys, bargain!!). If you happen to hit it off with any other swapees then the abandoned market stalls are just metres away, ready to be defiled…

Punting: Perfect for an intimate starlit gathering. Wrap up warm, grab a bottle of wine, and have a swap whilst gliding up the Cam. Breathy cries of ‘Oh Captain my captain!’ are bound to result as you get to know your fellow swapees in this romantic context, although be prepared for a damp dash back to shore if they end up being class A punts.

Spoons: It seems I was able to cross No. 274 – ‘Get kicked out of Spoons for singing Jerusalem’ – off my bucket list sooner than anticipated. This local institution makes for a banterous and affordable night, the food is actually pretty decent, and you know what they say – spooning leads to forking.

Sesame: If you went to an interior decorator and requested an underground sex dungeon, the karaoke bar at Sesame is what he’d present you with. Run by an old Chinese woman called Li, we rapidly discovered that the food was good, primarily because she kept shouting “Food good here!” at us. Complete the night with a teary rendition of Robbie William’s ‘Angels’ and you’re bound to have a swap to remember.

Formal: The sky is blue, being at Cindies sober is miserable and every college’s hall looks like Hogwarts. These are some of life’s elemental truths, so while at Cambridge you may as well make the most of it and sample the silver-serviced delights of other colleges. Additionally, take advantage of the fact that you’re just visiting and be a bit of a benedictus bendic-twat; a fact a friend of mine exploited by walking in after the fellows and answering her phone during grace.

The Library: Those cosy arm chairs, the musty shelves, the almost palpable sexual tension every time someone lightly turns a page – where better to swap than at the library? Okay, so ‘technically’ you’re not supposed to get lashed amidst the age-old tomes, but at least there’s not going to be any awkward small talk.

The Mahal: Where would a guide to swaps be without a mention of the infamous Mahal? Ruthless pennying, fines from all sides and the poppadum game make this the classic, if debauched choice. Better still, if you’re stuck with an obnoxious group of #LADs then why not spice up the evening by slipping a laxative or two in their curry? (N.B. The Tab does not endorse this…unless they really really deserve it).