Tab Meets The Masterminds Behind Life, Fez and Lola’s
What happens when you put the managers of three of Cambridge’s biggest (read: only) night-spots in one room under interrogation? SOPHIA VAHDATI finds out
So, at least once a week (twice/thrice etc.) many of us will dress up to the nines and don the fancy dress of a fun-loving care-free student with lots of free time and cash to splash on beverages that are slowly destroying our livers, waist-lines and self-esteem.
Cambridge nightlife has always been a specific and interesting experience, but what do you think it’s like to manage the most popular venues in town? Who are the managers behind the magic of our nights out, the minds who cater for us and provide us with spaces where we can let loose with our friends, dance like mad, get shit-faced and occasionally (try and) pull?
Meet Alex, Kate and Pete the respective managers of Fez, Kuda (Life) and Lola’s.
1) How long have you been managing in Cambridge?
Fez Alex: I’ve been with the venue for 10 months now.
Lola’s Pete: Coming up to 6 months
Kuda Kate: Weeks! I think about 2 months now – the time’s gone so fast!
2) Alex and Pete, your clubs both have clear themes, have you ever been to Morocco or Hawaii on an expenses paid trip for research purposes?
Fez Alex: Sadly no. Frequenting the Copper Kettle is about as Mediterranean as I’ve had the opportunity to be of late.
Lola’s Pete: No, but I believe my bosses have.
3) Alex, do you own a fez?
Fez Alex: I own two. And they’re magnificent.
4) What’s your vision for your club?
Fez Alex: I’m really happy as we are at the moment to be honest. We have an incredible loyal customer base and an outstanding team at the venue. If we could be in as strong a position as we are currently in a years’ time then I’d be over the moon. I do have a dream that one day we will have suitable air conditioning though. One day.
Lola’s Pete: My vision is to be the premium venue for students during the week and over 21’s on a weekend. There should be no change in our service or delivery of our product whenever you visit.
Kuda Kate: I see Kuda as the place that fits this city – special to everyone, not just to some.
5) How would you describe your venue in three words?
Fez Alex: Sweaty wholesome fun.
Lola’s Pete: Fun, cocktails, service
Kuda Kate: Life, lore, beguiling.
6) Fez has a specific clientele and sometimes is proclaimed to be too edgy? Do you think Fez is for everyone?
Fez Alex: We’ve got a wide spread of events through the course of the week, ranging from very broadly appealing student nights, r’n’b nights, live acts, wildly successful indie nights, and all-night disco parties (personal fave), all the way across to some amazing DJ bookings covering a wide-breadth of genres. I think we do have something for everyone.
7) What’s your worst and most shocking story?
Fez Alex: We had a month this summer when we kept catching customers shamelessly masturbating in the gents cubicles. Not one or two, but quite a number of people over a number of weeks. And they kept trying to shake my hand. Those were some fairly unpleasant moments.
Lola’s Pete: A guy jumping over a railing in a club not realising there was a 25ft drop the other side, luckily for him, but not the people involved, customers broke his fall and there were only minor injuries.
Kuda Kate: Compared to my last club, so far you’re tame…
Kate, have you not even had any trouble with some of the rowdier drinking societies? What do you think of the drinking societies here for which Kuda/Life has become sort of an institution?
Kuda Kate: None! I’m not used to such high spirits! They are all so full of energy – I get tired out just looking at them getting down on the dance floor, and in some of our booths…
8) Highest point to date?
Fez Alex: 2013 so far. Though our recent all-nighter with Ben Pearce was one of the favourite nights I think I’ve ever run.
Lola’s Pete: Watching the staff we have grow in to the team they are today. Some of them were bar backs and cloak room attendants and today they’re one of the best groups of staff I’ve ever worked with.
Kuda Kate: Our Sundays! I’m so excited with what we’ve got planned for Cambridge..
Of course Pete, you must also remember how Lola’s was recently voted the ‘least shit’ club in Cambridge on a survey ran by the Tab.
Lola’s Pete: Proudest moment of my career.
9) What do you all think of Cambridge students and our behaviour?
Fez Alex: I’ve never seen such completely brilliantly eclectic behaviour in my life. You make Manchester and Leeds students look like pussy cats. Never a dull day.
Lola’s Pete : They’re actually pretty well behaved on the whole, certainly the best dressed! I’ve never seen so many students in suits on a night out, I do wonder how many of these suits survive though!
Kuda Kate: A breath of fresh air! Where I come from everyone is set against the other, but here you get a real sense of community – it’s beautiful. It is suitably unique to match this incredible city.
10) If you had an unlimited budget what would you do with the club?
Fez Alex: I would fucking love a roof terrace (Lola-envy).
Lola’s Pete: Adjustable capacity!
Kuda Kate: I’d prove that Life still flows through Kuda…