The Roxy: A Fond Farewell

SSEES stalwart Joe Jackson laments the loss of the Roxy.

Joe Jackson Loop Bar Sex sports SportsNite SSEES SSEES Football The Roxy UCL Sports Night

I was drawn to SportsNite by the social behemoths of SSEES football club. A group of wise party-goers had taken me, a mere fresher, under their wing.  They were a throng of second and third years, thus I presumed that they were learnèd in the art of binge-drinking and that they would guide me well.

On my first night out with the footballers I found myself outside a club, in unpleasantly cold October air, queuing for a little longer than would have been comfortable. I cut the drunken furore of my compatriots.

‘What’s this place called again?’

‘The Roxy,’ someone slurred.  Curiosity compelled me to dig a little deeper.

‘Righto.  I haven’t been here before, what’s it like?’  Zeal, gesticulations, an upward shot of eye-brows.  Their incredulity concerning my Roxy-virginity developed into a relentless tirade against the very establishment that we were waiting to enter.

‘It’s full of slimy old men.’

‘It’s too crowded.’

‘The floor is sticky!’

‘The queue is usually slower.’

‘It smells of piss-’

‘-and sweat!’

‘The music is terrible.’

‘IT’S SHIT.’  Upon hearing all this information, I philosophised for a moment or two.

‘Well… then why are we here?’  I was greeted by a unanimous, knowing chuckle.

‘It’s really bad,’ offered one, ‘but that’s why we love it.’  The queue shuffled along and I was left to chew on this profound retort as we proceeded forward.

Our entrance to The Roxy was not smooth (why should it be?).  A bouncer deemed the majority of our party fit to enter, but apparently I was too intoxicated.  This was perplexing, considering I was not being loud, my balance was perfect, my vision was not blurred, my voice not slurred and the microscopic detail that I had only drunk one bottle of cider that night (and that was an hour ago, thanks to the bloody queue).  After articulating an argument that highlighted these various points, the less-than-gracious guardian of our intended destination allowed us to go through.  We were in; welcome to The Roxy.

‘I know that time spent well is so rare’ – Bryan Ferry

There was Piña Colada spillage everywhere.  The fruity smell was thicker than the necks of the rugby players, who ate what little space there was with their sheer presence.  Generic chart hits blared and reverberated about the low ceilings.

All the while, perverts preyed; the cramped nature of the dance-floor poorly disguised the attempts of these sleazy men to grind the hell out of every female/living thing within their vicinity.  Indeed, the footballers had been correct: this was a bit of a shit-hole.  However, for all the misgivings surrounding the place, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  We had music, drinks were available and reasonably priced, and I knew a decent amount of people aside from the group I had arrived with.  The Roxy possessed the basic requirements of a midweek piss-up, raw elements of a fun time. 

Already, by January, I have a collection of fond memories; Jägerbombs culminating in head injuries, friends passing out in the queue for the cloakroom  and getting ferociously strangled by a rugby lad (fond, fond memories).  I can only imagine what it must be like for the older members of the SportsNite contingent who have grown through university with The Roxy, only knowing one place where they might assault their livers alongside like-minded sport enthusiasts every Wednesday.

Unfortunately, my affair with The Roxy may be over very soon, as swiftly as it began.  I’m sure the readers of this piece are well aware that the twelve largest sports clubs of UCL have signed a contract that will move the Wednesday night fixture to Loop Bar.  The Roxy’s official capacity is 300, whereas Loop Bar boasts a restaurant and three bars: the Ground Floor Bar (capacity 100), the Opal Bar (capacity 300) and the pièce de résistance, the Groovy Wonderland (capacity 450).  Hopefully, the two hour queues will cease to exist, whilst images of the brightly coloured Groovy Wonderland suggest that it will have a slightly contrasting vibe to the dungeon realm of The Roxy.

The amount of people willing to celebrate their sporting achievements once a week demonstrates that the social aspect of sport at UCL is thriving.  It was this healthy popularity that prompted the move; SportsNite simply outgrew The Roxy.  Many will be glad to see the back of the place; however, it did have a certain allure.  It is not as glamorous as many of its counterparts, but once a week the UCL sports teams could unite there and it was ours as a collective.

A move is necessary, yet I’m thankful for the nights I’ve had at the establishment.  My expectations were always fairly low, which is probably why she never let me down during our brief flirtation.  I’m a fresher, a thrill-seeking hedonist under pressure to have a good time, and I was seduced.  Roxy, I raise my fishbowl and offer a toast in your honour.