Freshers Week: A Basic Survival Guide part 2

Continuing on from Part 1 of my basic survival guide. So you’ve picked your mates, and you’ve picked your club… how do you act when you’re there? Be nice to the staff… […]

Continuing on from Part 1 of my basic survival guide. So you’ve picked your mates, and you’ve picked your club… how do you act when you’re there?

Be nice to the staff…

It might seem a little strange to have to point it out, but these are people staffing the doors and bars. Ever been the designated driver on a night out?  These guys and girls have to deal with that experience every night, and they have to mop up your sick too. The least you can do is avoid being a raging dick to them. From the girl on the cloakroom who took more than five seconds to find your knock off Vuitton, to the Igor-looking barback that accidentally picked up your last 4 millilitres of ice-water, they’ve all had someone be an aggressive knob to them that night. Just be pleasant.

Equally – a bouncers job isn’t to arbitrarily keep people from seeing their friends inside. It’s to keep the real dickheads in line. If you’re pissed off enough to take a swing at one of them, chances are you’re the dickhead of the night. If you’re still not keen on them, take a pragmatic approach: if someone does take a violent disagreement to your continued existence, you want the fifteen guys who are built like brick shithouses on your side.

If a barback is doing his job well, you’ll never know he exists. They are the roadies of nightclubs. They are also the only staff members that look better off the job.

Don’t bring your debit card, and definitely don’t bring your credit card.

You’ll walk in the door of your first bar of the night, your mates complaining about how much the entry fee was; about how they only have four quid, a spare button and some lint to try and barter with. “It’s fine”, you think. “I’ve got my debit card, I’ll just cover them for tonight. Just a drink or two.” The next day you wake up in a bush, it’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon, your jeans are torn in half, and you have a one way ticket for the ferry to Cowes clutched in hand. Oh, and you’ve just hit your overdraft limit. Well done, you muppet.

Don’t go overboard when drinks are on discount.

This one is similar to bringing your card along. It’s very easy to get a little excessive – bribing 30 people to hang out with you by bulk buying £1.50 triples can get expensive by round nine.

Friends don't let friends drink more than four Jesticles in one sitting.

Friends don’t let friends drink more than four Jesticles in one sitting.

The PDA (Public Display of Affection) is a real thing.

No one minds if you have a quick peck on the lips, or passionately make out with the bloke you met in the queue for the loo that you’re sure is the one. But don’t start pulling each others clothes off and flinging your fluids all over the walls. No one wants to see that.


Don’t do ‘em. But, frankly, this is a practical guide and not a fairy-tale about students that go to bed at 10pm – according to this survey by The Tab, around 70% of students will use an illegal drug at some point, so I ought to say something at least. If you really insist on scrubbing your nostrils, at least know what you’re buying beforehand. If you buy drugs off of shifty looking forty year olds in cargo shorts in club toilets, you’re really just gambling with more than your money.

Stay away from club photographers with a sense of humour, and an intimate knowledge of Photoshop.

Don’t be a creep. Or, worse, a persistent creep.

A tricky issue. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with flirting with someone, trying to pull, whatever. But really, you should be aiming for a cool, detached, Han Solo vibe; not Ted Bundy with a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey. For example: take those losers nagging girls to go home with them even after they’ve had to explain they’re in a relationship. Best case scenario – she’s trying to politely tell you to fuck off, and you’re too socially inept to read that. Worst case, she does have a boyfriend, and he’s right behind you.

Same goes for anyone who feel entitled to get overly grabby on the dance floor. Guys and girls: grabbing someone else’s private regions without their consent is sexual assault. Don’t do it. And if it happens to you, don’t hesitate to tell a bouncer. Don’t take any shit you don’t want. You absolutely do not have to be OK with it, it is never anyone’s fault but theirs and if they’re persistent, feel absolutely free to smack someone up.

The smoking area is your conversational Mecca.

About a third of you just screwed your nose up at this point. “Ew”, you think to yourself, “why would I want to go to a smoking area? It’s full of smokers.” And right you’d be. It is also full of people who don’t smoke, people who want a breath of fresh air (ironically), and people who want to drink their smuggled in Lambrini without being jostled. There’s something about the place that just makes people more vocal, and you’ll have some of the best conversations of your life with people you’ll never remember again. Just ask for a lighter (doesn’t matter if you use it), get chatting, and avoid the lads trying to smoke a shisha pipe that’s been cold for the last three hours.

Don't be the moron that asks the DJ to play Taylor Swift on a Deep House night.

Don’t be the moron that asks the DJ to play Taylor Swift on a Deep House night.

Get dancing!

Here’s what it’s all about. No one will care if you’re a bad dancer. They will care if you’re the boring tosspot who stands on the side throwing poses. Remember – clubs are dark. They’re full of people, most of whom are so hammered they couldn’t tell their friends from the bouncers. And none of them really care that much about you. If you’re standing to the side, darkly muttering into your drink about how you’re above all those sheeple getting down to Aoki and Guetta and scrolling Pitchfork on your phone, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb.

Have I missed anything out? Got a good tip for dealing with the trials and tribulations of a night out in Southampton? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments!

The author would like to thank Da Vincent Photography, Cafe Parfait, Taffy Lynch and all of his drunk mates for letting him use their pictures.