Dionysia doesn’t live up to TOMMY SHANE’s fantasies, but he does have another run in with Jessica O’Driscoll Breen.
When I begrudgingly parted with four pounds at The Fountain for all of last term’s Arcsoc events, I was reassured that the party masterminds of our most enigmatic department were using the money for a follow up to their hallowed raves. So, paying to listen to the Pulp Fiction soundtrack in a bar was actually an ingenious investment.
After pursuing what these ‘hallowed raves’ exactly were, rumours of some police-raided, drug-fuelled, dystopian night spread like hushed wildfire. It was so crazy, they said, that Arcsoc had been banned from ever throwing a party at the Arc Fac again. It was so libidinous, they said, that model buildings had to be meticulously unstuck from sleeping bodies. The morning, they said, was a minefield of tiny model trees that were indistinguishable from abundant but perfectly trimmed pubic hair.
So, having missed last year’s event, and unable to hark back to the glory days of the year before, I was to finally have my taste of Dionysia and depravity.
However, finding out it was to be at the Union, symbol of testosterone, privilege and 2 a.m. shutdowns, my anticipation was stifled. The Union is a fiendishly difficult place to conquer, not just in presidential races (R.I.P. Prance 4 Pres), but in establishing an aesthetic identity. The upside down glasses that were strung together with the low hanging black material was surprisingly effective in counter-acting this, reshaping the easily awkward corridor between the chamber and the bar.
But ultimately the night was fairly indistinguishable from many others at the Union. If Denim is about the drag queens, and Klubnacht about the music, I’m unsure what gap Dionysia filled. The music was okay, the design was pretty good, the drinks were limited in range and amount, and the night finished at 2 am. I think people could justifiably ask what it is they bought with their £10.
The only real unique focal point of the night was the life drawing, and I’m not sure how I felt about this. As one person has pointed out on Facebook, the life drawing seemed dominated by groups of people keen to see the breasts that were rumoured to be on show, resulting in a lot of questionable photographing. I know that Arcsoc does not use life drawing in an exploitative or cynical way, but I think they might need to consider how well this transfers to the context of a party at the Union, and at least ban photos so that it veers away from the tone of a zoo.
However, if it wasn’t for the life drawing, the night would have been indistinguishable from a party that the Union could have thrown. With forgettable music and the drinks running out (Jaeger and soda water was all that was on offer at the end), the night didn’t live up to my fantasies.
That said, I cannot get away from the fact that I had an utterly brilliant night, especially when I ecstatically danced in front of the projection of animated sculptures. But Arcsoc may benefit from thinking more about how it can carve out a specific identity in Cambridge’s changed nightlife scene. Whereas it previously had a niche, I think many will now opt for nights at The Fountain or Fez instead, especially when they are all-nighters and cost half the price.
Before I finish, I feel like it would be an oversight not to update you on my situation with Jessica O’Driscoll Breen after my public profession of love for her. She was actually there on Friday night, and I saw for the first time since the ball. And, unbelievably, she wasn’t furious with me. I really thought I had a chance to convert this openly acknowledged lust into some form of conjugal bliss – but after boogie-walking onto the dance floor, I lost her. And, having broken my phone at that very ball, I’m now thinking it may have been the last chance I’ll get. King’s Bunker may be my only hope.
So, if anything, Dionysia will at least stick in my memory as a glimpse of life with my heart-throb, cherished as much as the old-timers’ memories of previous Arcsoc events.
Photos courtesy of Tom Porteous