Louise Harris: Week Five Blues, Song-writing, and Cambridge

Would ‘Dating me is like a Cambridge term’ fit with the proposed new term structure?

With over 285,00 TikTok views and 15,000 hits on Spotify, Cambridge alumna Louise Harris’ new hit ‘Dating me is like a Cambridge Term’ has introduced to the world, not only to Week Five Blues but also to her wacky songwriting.

The Tab Cambridge asked Louise about her opinions on the new term structure, the Cambridge dating scene and delved into the story behind her single. 

The Inspiration: ‘I’d make him cry, then say goodbye’ 

Written at 5:00 or 6:00 AM, ‘Dating me is like a Cambridge Term’ was born out of a “break-up from a toxic relationship”. Louise describes how she decided to “turn” all the “horrible things that he’d said to me” and “accused me of being and doing” “on their heads.” She elaborated that: “when there are narratives written about women or people, the only way to claim back that power” is to “make that narrative your own.”

Louise has an amazing ability to turn negative experiences into positive ones through songwriting. Her ironic and witty sense of humour shines through as she reclaims her “narrative”, lacing with irony as she refers to herself as a “crazy” and “fucking mental bitch.”

By the end of the song, she turns the narrative away from herself and onto what “dating men” is like- one description being: “dating men is like an Oxford term / All spunk, no sperm” (ouch). 

Apparently, writing a song is also a useful way to help you get through a breakup (step aside tub of ben and jerries there’s a new sheriff in town). Louise explains that it can give you an insight into the differences between “what actually happened, and what they claimed you were.” Furthermore, she suggests that it can make everything a bit “lighter” by letting you see “the ridiculous” and “funny side” of it all.

Louise is inspired by the work of Raye, who “defies genre” (Image credits: Louise Harris)

Week 5 Blues: ‘By the fifth week you are completely burnt out’

One of the punchlines of Louise’s single is comparing dating herself to the infamous Week Five Blues (or Week Two Blues if we’re counting how Lent Term went down). When asked for her opinion on the Student Union’s proposed term structure which advocates for a reading week in Week Five, Louise was “surprised” that the burn-yourself-out-for-eight-weeks tradition might be over.

However, she described that it would “definitely be a good move for people’s mental health.” Having suffered in the first year and felt “overwhelmed” by the intense “pressure”, Louise describes that surrounded by deadlines, you often forget to just simply “enjoy your life.” 

For Louise, surviving Week Five blues is “about trying to find a balance” and “to distract yourself mentally.” Her suggestions include “going to the pub,” “cycling around,” “meditation,” and “writing poems and singing.” In particular, she recommends having a “dance in public” with your headphones in. With a smile, she comments that, through this, “you learn not to care so much” about what people think – socially distanced danceathon down king-parade anyone?

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, according to Louise, the key to TikTok success is to grab viewers’ “attention in the first few seconds” with a “caption” or “something weird or funny.”

As a PBS graduate from Fitzwilliam College, Louise is well-acquainted with the term structure (Image Credits: Louise Harris)

Dating advice: ‘I’m getting DMs daily’ 

10 seconds into the song, we learn that Louise is “getting DMs daily” so, in true Tab fashion, I thought it only right to ask if she had any dating advice for our Cambridge readers. Straight off the bat, she advised not to take a three-week long messaging hiatus before “meeting up in person”, warning that it’ll just be a “really awkward” date.

Having gone out with a non-Cambridge student in her time here, she also emphasized the importance of escaping “the bubble,” and recommends that “you shouldn’t feel guilty for allocating time to relationships.”

As the Cambridge dating scene (along with the rest of the world) has largely moved online, Louise also gave some advice for virtual dating. She suggests going beyond the “daily” DMs, by sending “voice notes” or “calling” to really see whether you “hit it off or not.” 

Louise shot her music video on the streets of Cam (Image credits: Louise Harris)

‘Dating me is like a Cambridge term’: from Cambridge to beyond

Before we ended our call, Louise wanted to highlight that the song and its music video is a special “tribute to my experience at Cambridge,” adding: “I really don’t know where I’d be today if I hadn’t gone there.” She explains that, sometimes, cycling around Cambridge, she felt like “I was in a fairytale, like everything and anything is possible.”

From making her parents film her doing “ridiculous things” as a child, to getting involved with the ADC and May balls, to writing her first song at the age of nineteen, Louise describes that she’s always been passionate about music.

Looking towards the future, she is planning to release a new single every three months from a range of genres. She has already drawn attention from the music industry as Tom Robinson from ‘BBC introducing Mixtape’ compared ‘Dating me is like a Cambridge Term’ to Lily Allen and Bob Dylan’s revenge songs.

At the end of her songs, Louise wants listeners to be left with “confidence.” As “one of those people who’s always looking up at the sky,” she describes how ultimately “it’s so freeing to just be you.” If ‘Dating me is like a Cambridge Term’ is only the start, we can’t wait to see what she’ll do next.

You can find Louise’s Song here and music video here.

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Feature images credits: Louise Harris