I don’t understand why everyone loves Jesters so much
You can’t handle the truth
You’re at a gathering in your hometown with a few people you haven’t met before. Polite small talk ensues, and inevitably reaches ‘Which uni are you at?” You tell them you’re at Southampton, and a hush descends upon the crowd.
Finally, one of the group musters up the courage to ask; “What’s Jesters like?”
All of the Monday nights come rushing back in some sort of traumatic, nostalgic whirlwind, leaving you unable to speak. “Is it as bad as everyone says?” they ask. You put on a brave face and manage a “It’s actually a laugh” followed by a nervous chuckle.
Later that night as you are brushing your teeth, you curse yourself for being too cowardly to tell them the truth.
You didn’t mention the ‘dancefloor’. A great place to go if you fancy feeling like a freshly canned, sweaty sardine. You don’t actually dance, you just cling to a roof beam for dear life while a swirling mass of people drags you from side to side like a ragdoll and threatens to squash you like a fly.
You didn’t mention the music. Sure we all love the odd Disney binge, but how are you meant to cut shapes to the Lion King opening song? You might be granted brief respite by some semi-respectable chart music, but before you know it the Baywatch theme is blaring and you’re dodging a hurricane of sweat-soaked shirts.
You didn’t mention how the toilets keep you up at night. Whether you’re a girl in the infamous ‘twobicle’ or a guy doing your best to dodge the pyramid of piss-filled cups, there’s plenty to be on the lookout for, and almost no way for your shoes to avoid a thorough urine drenching.
You didn’t mention the things you’d seen. The couple getting to third base on the dancefloor, the various bodily fluids being dumped in every corner, the fights, the people passed-out outside, the smell.
It would be unfair to not give credit where credit is due. On a Monday, drinks are ludicrously cheap, with 60p Snakebites and pints quickly balancing out the entry charge. The outside area has also benefitted from refurbishments, which make it almost OK to sit outside when it’s not too busy.
The trouble is, taking advantage of the drink offers is kind of the only way to make a Jesters night bearable. To quote Ashley, a third year Law student, “Jesters is shite unless you’ve had a 70cl bottle of vodka beforehand”.
While drinking is an inseparable part of a night out, there’s a line between getting tipsy to enjoy a night and having to be completely obliterated to enjoy it. Jesters leans strongly towards the side of the latter. You would probably enjoy being in most places if you’d consumed enough alcohol to subdue a medium sized African elephant.
You can’t deny that Jesters puts Southampton on the map, but we are infamous, not famous. We’re not admired for our persistence with Jesters, we’re the guys who other students laugh about behind our backs, we are pitied for our misfortune.
You might say that it’s better to be known for something bad than to fade away into anonymity, and you are completely entitled to do so. But if you take a long, hard look at Jesters, you might join me in reevaluating just what it is that we actually go there for. A sweaty, filthy hole in the ground may be some people’s cup of tea, but it isn’t mine.