I went to TP Wednesday sober, and here’s what I learned
‘Perhaps there is place for a sober night out’
A sober night out in Exeter?! You must be mad, I hear you say.
Arguably you have to be absolutely smashed to even remotely enjoy the nightlife here, let alone face the hoards of rugby lads and rowdy socials at a TP Wednesday.
But think about it. A sober night out = no regrets, no hangover and no money spent, right?
Walking stone-cold sober into a miserable Exeter night, trying to hear myself think above the maddened screams of freshers, this is my story.
Pre-ing without drinking is an experience
The first thing you notice is the singing.
When you're whisked away with drunken merriment it's fine, but the constant screech of 'Wonderwall' and 'Hey Jude' filling the air of everywhere within a mile's radius, like vultures converging on their prey, is enough to drive anyone mad.
There are police EVERYWHERE?!
Next came the sober walk to TP. I'd never noticed before, but there are police everywhere!
I suppose its reassuring knowing that any crimes not punished by The Tab will go through official circles, but I counted six police cars on my pilgrimage to the shrine of VK.
A bit excessive.
And you thought the queue was bad enough when you're drunk…
Then our drink-less voyage reaches the queue. It is 12:45am, and I am already tired and grumpy.
We witness people who've never met before greeting like best friends, and others spending twenty minutes trying to figure out each-other's names to no avail.
The queue moves slowly, and we reach the first wave of bouncers. Now maybe I'm just a heavy drinker, but these bouncers normally seem god-like, towering figures who have every power to ruin my night out.
Sober however, they strike me as strange people. Just bored-looking, middle-aged locals, who've made an active choice to spend their evenings policing drunk students. Odd.
The TP experience wasn't all that different
I enter the club.
The clubbing experience itself was largely unchanged; the masses of rowdy people, the loud music, the flashing lights.
The only thing that really struck me was just how easy it would be for anyone to slip away; there are dozens of people floating on their own around the club, who could easily leave unnoticed.
Enough is enough
After about an hour I decide I've seen enough.
There was a real mix of characters leaving with me; some stumbling home alone, others linked arm-in-arm murmuring vaguely romantic gibberish to one another. But not one of them was sober.
For all the horror of a sober night out in Exeter, I woke up the next day with one thing in mind. There I was, hangover free, with both my bank account and my dignity intact.
Perhaps I thought, there is a place for a sober night out…
Then I remembered the singing, and promptly ordered a crate of lager.