Cambridge A-Z, Part 2

Wise up on plodges, May Week and why everyone hates John’s with Part 2 of our essential Freshers Guide

A-Z Cambridge charlotte ivers Guide patrick brooks

Catch up with Part 1 here.

J is for John’s

You know how hating someone purely on the basis of geographical location and ill-defined stereotypes that stem from a deep-seated cultural bias is frowned upon in the real world? Yeah, not in Cambridge.

Here, we manage to maintain our fluffy liberal outlooks by taking out all our tribal instincts on the students of John’s.

We’re not jealous at all

K is for Being Keen

There are people who will tell you that Being Keen is a bad thing. Fuck these people. These people are the balding, divorced, aging, suburban accountants of tomorrow.

Cambridge is the most thrilling melting pot of interesting people doing interesting things, and if you want to meet one of these people or better still be one of these people, then you had better be fucking keen.

L is for Lola Lo’s and Life

Lola Lo’s fights weakly but admirably for Tuesday nights, but is let down by its ridiculous attempts to create an atmosphere of tropical island bliss through plastic fronds and little pots of bamboo, and by the fact that its music is mind-numbingly bland and generic, without even Cindies’ pull of corniness.

That said, the open-air roof/smoking area is a unique and redeeming feature. This alone probably makes the price of entry worth it.

This is Life

Then there’s Life (actually called Kuda, confusingly), which dominates Fridays and Sundays.

Life is truly horrible. In essence just a glorified underground corridor, the carpeted walls sweat at least as much as the dead-eyed patrons.

Nobody really disputes that Life is a horrible sweaty passageway of human filth, an anus dribbling with jaeger and vomit, but in a similar irrational, masochistic manner to Cindies love, perhaps because of its horribleness a large proportion of the Uni seems to end up there on Sunday nights.

M is for May Week and Medics

After exams comes May Week (confusingly in June). May Week is insane. Everyone is glowing with emotional exhaustion and euphoria, and every night for a week several colleges host May Balls.

These are colossally extravagant Gatsby-esque parties that fill entire college grounds with thousands of black tie and ball gown attired guests.

The alcohol is bottomless and free, likewise the food, there’s magical decorations, lightshows, comedy tents, casinos, fairground rides, huge varieties of musical acts, it all goes on till dawn, and the most prestigious have majestic firework displays and headliners with serious clout.

Of course, the stunning levels of decadence means that tickets are absurdly expensive, ranging from £70 for the cheapest, comparatively frugal events, to £160+ for Trinity and St John’s Balls.

Taken at Clare Ball last year

Medics. Turns out they have a pretty big workload. Don’t worry though, they never mention it.

N is for Natscis

Natscis (natural science students) are like a less extreme version of mathmos (maths students), engineers or compscis (computers science students), but there’s more of them and they have even less interest in art students’ sorry tales of getting up at 2pm only to find that the book you’d especially needed for that essay had already been taken out of the UL.

They’ve also got the most chance of any of us of actually doing something useful with their degrees. Poor sods.

Investigating the average Arts student’s expected salary

O is for Oedipus

Every time a fresher sleeps with their college parent, a fairy dies. Don’t do it kids.

(Jaded second year story alert: I slept with my college great-great-great-great grandfather. Rivers of blood in the streets of Fairy Land, kids. Just say no.)

Just because they’re second years and they’re all knowledgeable and kind and plying you with alcohol, doesn’t mean you have to fuck them.

It’s not a rite of passage, it’s icky and stems from weird power dynamics.

P is for Plodge and Punting

The Porters’ Lodge is where the porters abide, in eternal judgement of your forgotten keys or punctured bike or stumbling sexual conquest. By second year, the porters will probably just take to laughing whenever they see you.

Obviously ‘Porters’ Lodge’ is far too much of a mouthful to ever say, so we say Plodge instead. Most colleges have a South Lodge and a North Lodge, or Splodge and Nodge respectively.

Just chillin’ in the splodge

Punting is propelling yourself down the river in a boat, with the help of a long pole.

It is basically quite cool, but don’t be surprised if you are shit at it. Don’t try it in Michaelmas, it will be grim as fuck and freezing cold. Wait until your exams are over, grab some friends and pile into the punt with all the food and alcohol you can carry, because it’s not illegal to drink and punt (yet).

And make sure you have a camera, because one of your party will fall in the Cam at some point, and posting the resulting slow motion video will get you several billion likes on Overheard at Cambridge.

Tune in tomorrow for the final part of our A-Z guide!