Has ARCSOC become a parody of itself?

The ~eDgE- of glory

architecture ArcSoc cool Cutting Edge edge of reason edgy Fez Indie jaded third year The Cambridge Union third year

Week 1 arrives, and with it the sense that you 'deserve' to continue the fun from Freshers' Week because you work so hard all the time! If only such thoughts in my head matched a discernible reality.

Either way, Week 1 saw the return of what has become one of the most hotly anticipated events on the Cambridge calender, ARCSOC – the architecture society's famously 'edgy' night.

Events usually take place twice a term in varying locations, from the utterly edgeless Union building to the-little-less-edgeless-but-still-not-very-edgy Fez Club. Tickets evaporate almost as soon as they are released. Many a kidney have been sold in the past for access, to the one event that promises pure, unadulterated, fantastical edginess.

The Edge of Reason

The Edge of Reason

Or so one is inclined to think. Time, energy, and even some expense is paid into finding a costume to fit a suitably ambiguous yet covertly subversive theme. This time round: Double Glazed. A cue to roll out the sparkly, the synthetic and the uncompromisingly see-through.

It wasn't in short supply. On entering the unwaveringly average Fez Club, you couldn't miss the cling film wrapped and glitter adorned attendees. Translucent sheeting falling to the floor, strobe lighting and smoke stunning the senses. So far, so ARCSOC.

And then it happened. One, single moment that was to alter my night (and perhaps my life) forever. In and amongst the haze and dancing, through a crowd of younger party goers I saw it: A sugar coated donut handing from a wire by a single string. Then, a moment later, a teradactyl lookalike swoops in and procedes to nibble the 'double glazed' donut before him. Then it really hits me. This has got fucking ridiculous. Hang on, I think, these aren't the cool architects I used to emulate in first year! There's Runny Nose Rupert from lectures! And Book Worm Bethany from college!

Do-nut try this at home

Do-nut try this at home

In a way, it's a serious comfort to know I'm in the company of Rupert and not some pretentious Percy Parker who regulates when and what is appropriate to enjoy. It dawns on me that I was completely at fault for taking ARCSOC seriously in the first place. ARCSOC isn't ARCSOC, but a parady of ARCSOC. It's one big, collective ironic joke, shared by a nerdy, wacky, intoxicated room on a cobbled back street in a thouroughly bourgeuois university town. And that's awesome.

I get back to college much earlier than I had on previous occasions. That's fine, I thought. In fact it's more than fine. An early return from ARCSOC is about as EDGY as you can get. That and a dose of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.

Perhaps this is all part of the process of third year, of graduation, of impending retirement and likely death. Perhaps Cambridge has just taught me to laugh, at anyone, at anything, but most of all at myself.