A foolproof guide to Cambridge Nightlife
Step 1: Lower your expectations
Whilst most of your friends from home have probably been blessed with a Reading Week, you may have thus received the classic text from your mates back home declaring that they just miss you soooo much and want to come up visit, take cute touristy photos, have brunch and maybe hit up the cloobs in the evening…
Whilst resisting the temptation to send back an essay to them on why this is possibly the worst idea ever, you either politely interject about how you are just too far behind with work which does not even permit you to have a night off, or you bite the bullet, swallow your pride/dignity and say goodbye to any shred of esteem that your friends once held for you and agree to let them come to experience the tragedy of Cambridge 'nightlife'.
When is the best day to come? As you well know, there are only really three feasible options.
Sunday evening is possible for Life, though your dear, unspoilt friend may not make it home the next morning unscathed after the inevitable stampede in the queue as soon as the clock hits 11. That, or they may suffocate after being pressed up against a human wall of hard-core Sunday Life go-ers.
The refined intellectuals who your friend probably expected to meet will submit to bestial instincts when the chance to drink painfully sweet, misleadingly alcoholic drinks and listen to a few seconds of some upcoming grime artist in a cramped, dingy, sticky basement is up for grabs.
It's a lose-lose situation; before braving this mess, give your friend a suitable pep-talk to prepare them for this harsh reality. But if, by some miracle, you gain admission before 12:30pm, you can always rely on the Jaeger deals to drink away the horrors you have experienced in the queue.
They might also question who on earth had the atrocious idea to make Sunday, of all days, a big night on the town, or why it is referred to as "Life"; a question which you, and everyone else from the sea of desparate, cheap drink, cheesy-tune craving Cantab's cannot explain.
There's always Wednesday Cindies too. Cheap, cheerful; the classic night out in Cambridge which, who knows, they may have even heard of before. They may even spot their best friend's, neighbour's tutor's cousin in the ridiculously large smoking-area as literally the whole of Cambridge seems to descend upon the infamous venue on a Wednesday.
But again, if you're club-smart you'll remind yourself of the mantra we all shall do well to remember; no ticket, no go.
The Cindies queue rivals that of Life except you've got the bouncers to scare all those eager, pushy club-goers into submission. Don't even try slipping yourself and your mate through the gap in the barriers at the front. You may not live to tell the tale.
If you have keys to the Underworld or can acquire a ticket from a mysterious, fabled source, do so because Cindies, despite every clip of some Now 24 throwback or Disney showtune and sip of garishly coloured VK, is actually quite good fun.
You may feel as if you are at some perverse Year 8 disco where alchohol and boy-girl contact is now embraced, and your friend may well feel a very long way away from Bristol and the familiar, comforting Drum and Bass beats and crowds of edgy, pill-dropping, wavey-garms wearing club-goers who are also just painfully good-looking and ridiculously cool, you've just got to grin and bear it. It's a unique experience! They wanted to come after all…
This is all subject of course to conditions; It's a very good idea to have consumed a reasonable (read: large) quantity of alchohol prior and ensure to curb your friend's expectations adequately. Also, don't make eye contact with your mate when The Lion King plays. It's only 45 seconds, you can do it.
You could alternatively wander down the the less beaten tracks to Lola's on a Tuesday or Thursday, or even go really rogue and venture down the dark alley's to Fez. But you may run into hoards of Anglia-Ruskin students, or clans of 'too-cool-for-school' Cantabs who are simply too edgy for the usual haunts.
However, drawing on past experience from Fresher's week, you'll have to decide whether you can hack getting dripped on by the ceiling again or nearly getting boiled alive in a sweaty, suffocating mass of despair.
Alternatively, if you are an experienced clubber and also very organised, you could sort tickets for you both to attend one of the better nights out here potentially Haze, ARCSOC, Turf or the like. A better, but hopelessly innaccurate picture of the Cambridge 'nightlife' such as it is.
I did have a giggle when a friend who attened last week's Turf at Junction recounted to me his meeting of a girl in the queue who travelled up to Cambridge from London to attend the night who actually uttered the words; "I wish I came to Cambridge! The nightlife is just amazing, you're soooo lucky!!"
She obviously hadn't been chundered on in the Life queue before…
Despite how tragic the nightlife is here, there is no reason why you shouldn't bring your friends up anyway as it is what it is; you can both have a laugh, get shamefully drunk, lose your voices from belting out all the words to Stacy's Mom and stagger home after via the Van of Life and crash knowing you've provided them with a true taste of the Cambridge nightlife in all its glory.