Lights Out!

VIDEO: Check out what it was like for 21 lucky students and staff who got the chance to eat dinner in total darkness…


Meeting new people over dinner can be a challenge at the best of times. But imagine doing it blindfolded.

As part of a future leaders competition run by energy firm RWE npower, three students hosted dinners around the country for university staff, students and local residents.

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Durham’s dinner was held last month at Chapter’s Restaurant, hosted by third year Hild Bede student Caspian James after his sister Saskia heard a talk about it from a previous winner up at St Andrews.

Caspain decided that “a meal in the dark would underscore how dependent we are on power. We have got so used to having light at the flick of a switch that we cannot conceive of life without it.”

Caspian James, organiser of Durham's Lights Out dinner

Caspian James, organiser of Durham’s Lights Out dinner

Invited along on behalf of The Tab, I had no idea what I was letting myself and my housemates in for.

We arrived to a candlelit welcome drinks at Chapter’s Restaurant, and were shortly invited to take our seats. Having put on our blindfolds, our mysterious starter was served and the fun began…

I immediately regretted my decision to wear a white top.

Suddenly the most trivial of acts became a challenge. Pouring wine took ultimate concentration and care. We found ourselves eating at half the speed and speaking at twice the volume that we would at any normal meal.

But it was exciting. Exciting because we could not see the faces of those around us. Exciting because we had no idea what type of food we were next about to eat. Exciting because the conversation immediately became more deep, more meaningful, and, as bad as it sounds, we had no phones or gadgets to distract us.

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For two hours we were immersed into a mysterious world of good food and great conversation. I cannot quite decide whether I learnt more about what life would be like without power, or how it must feel to be blind, but it was a truly eye-opening (excuse the pun) and unforgettable experience all the same.

BlindfoldedAnd all simply because it was dark…

“I didn’t know how to approach my food,” said student Sarah Broadbent, “Do you scoop, stab or slice?”

Rosie Robson continued, “I had a great time and only wished I could’ve stayed longer.”

Harri Endersby commented on how the event had inspired her to try her own: “We’re going to put our own dinner in the dark this Saturday – we want to try it for ourselves!”

Organiser Caspian told The Tab: “It was interesting to have so many different perspectives, from students to leading oil experts and heads of the Energy Institute. Everyone’s views on our use of power varied so much!”

His sister Saskia also felt that the evening was a success: “I think the evening went phenomenally well, and hopefully the experience of eating in the dark will encourage people to think a little more about how reliant we are on power, and not to waste it so much.”

Watch the video here: