March 05, 2006

Manifesto: or, How To Save The Union


How are you? I hope you are having a nice Sunday morning, or any day you happen to read this.

I went to Metropolis last night. It was entertaining. I had a good time, although I was tired and didn't feel like dancing much. I enjoyed Guns N Roses and The Clone Doors, they were both rocking with a heavy portion of the good.

Now, something occurred to me when I was leaving. As I passed through the Martetplace, a LOT of people (more than I've seen at Top B at an equivalent time) were dancing and singing along at the top of their lungs to a Lion King megamix.

This got me thinking.

See, the problem with a lot of union events is that people are simply bored of them. I'm aware that people will eventually get bored of anything, but the key notion here is change.

Why insist on the same old dreary themes? We have a rock night, an RnB night, all sorts of different nights which cater to niche audiences. Excellent stuff.

What we need are themed nights which don't necessarily depend on muscial genres.

For example, and I'm spitballing here, take the upcoming September-December term. Ten weeks, ten Saturdays. How do you feel about this:


Based on the apparent success of Metropolis, it's clear that people enjoy hearing music from movies. The wonderful thing about movies is, they're a ripe ground for picking any kind of music, and most of it will be familiar without necessarily having been played to death. Kick the night off at nine with singalongs from old, classic musicals, work your way into 90s film soundtracks via things like the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Grease, Disney, Bond themes, and really get people going with Tarantino, Blues Brothers – fill in your favourites here.

So, say that happens every other week. Would you go? I fucking would.

And in the alternate weeks?

Thing is, the union haven't really thought about what people think is cool. We all know what's cool:


(I'm allowing a week for the Halloween Ball there, but it's entirely possible to make that week Zombies and stick something else in there – Gangsters, maybe.)

So, roll up in costume for prizes, get down to chart pop/rock/RnB/whatever, and run amock in the Union while dressed as Captain Jack. Pirates get A Pirates Life for Me, Ninjas get Battle Without Honour or Humanity, Zombies get Don't Stop Me Now (think Shaun of the Dead) and Robots get Intergalactic. At the end of the term, the attendance is totted up and the winning, er, creature is given a one-off night every term that year. Then, looking at the numbers, possibly repeat the process.

See what I mean? It's not hard. Creativity, variety and fun – that's what we want. Throw in a couple of drinks promotions and wham – there it is. That Pandora's Box is already open, thankfully.

People drink in halls because alcohol's cheap and they're lazy: the thought process involves 'What am I going to miss in the union if I stay here and get whazzed,' and the answer is usually: nothing.

But how many times do you get the opportunity to dress like a Pirate and dance to have loud music with a load of your friends in a large space?

(Minus 50 if you're actually a pirate.)

Tell me what you think. Tell me you couldn't come up with two, three, four events of equal viability in half an hour. Maybe, somehow, we can make the union listen – and have a good time next term.

- 4 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

    Based on the apparent success of Metropolis, it's clear that people enjoy hearing music from movies. [...] So, say that happens every other week. Would you go? I fucking would.

    Every other week? I think that's a novelty event that could be run at most once a term. I just don't see enough potential in it to run it 15 times a year! Wouldn't you get pretty bored after the first two? Isn't it much the same reason why Top B shifted away from cheese and more towards "general party theme"?


    Liking the idea, but they're a bit specific. Dress-up nights like the Halloween Ball always go down well because they're essentially theme-free, and also because they're one-off and special. If you cheapen the experience too much, by having a fancy-dress big night out every week, it would get boring pretty quick. Skooldayz being the exception, of course, as it has lasting appeal for reasons that we either don't understand or aren't prepared to admit – the comedy interpretations of what some people thought their school uniforms looked like notwithstanding! :)

    My suggestions:

    Theme – FETISH NIGHT (believe me, it works!)
    General – Make the Cooler and the Graduate viable options! Far too often nowadays the Cooler and Marketplace are playing the same shit that no-one wants to hear, and the Grad is far too "local pub" ish. Something for everyone = more customers!

    Just my $0.02.

    05 Mar 2006, 12:21

  2. My comments were in relation to one term's activities, if you'll go back and have a closer read. The Saturday Night line-up should be recognisable, branded – but not repetative. One term of that, a term of something else. On a Saturday night you want quality, recognisable music you can dance to and sing along to, surely five 'Soundtracks' in a term would be worthwhile?

    Top B did shift away from cheese, but the general party theme seems to be no more effective.

    What about the Seven Deadly Sins themed Score? That was popular, and was a weekly fancy dress theme. You don't need to go crazy for the prizes: anything goes, and it's something you don't see elsewhere. If you want to go the extra mile, you'll be rewarded. It's about having fun, and it would be for one term, every other week. I'd make the effort, but then again, I really like dressing as a pirate.

    Thanks for your input, though; it's nice to get a comment with quotes in and everything!

    05 Mar 2006, 16:08

  3. It is my personal opinion that, if people aren't enjoying nights at the union, and their main gripe is in fact the playlists, then perhaps it's time to change the DJ's. Tarbit has been a DJ for TopB since at least summer 2003, though I don't know how long he's had Carter. Maybe they're due to move on, and fresh talent will come with a playlist more in touch with students' dancing needs.

    07 Mar 2006, 14:03

  4. Tarbs

    Just you try it MacKin ;o)

    Hi Hannah – hope you don't mind my getting back to you on this. Some interesting ideas. The problem is, as I see it, all the events that you've mentioned have the same music policy – chart/rnb etc etc.

    If you're looking to put these themes into Top B, then it sounds cool. We've trialed themes beforehand, but they've kinda been taken away from us now that Score (a chart/rnb/cheese event no less) runs a different theme every week. I (and Chris) are definitely keen to get some more dressing up involved in Top B though, so watch this space!

    If you're talking events other than Top B, then the problem comes from a point of view of programming. If you have a mainstream chart event every Monday, a mainstream chart themed event every Wednesday, and a mainstream chart event (however themed) every Saturday – all playing the same music – then people won't go to all three of them.

    I also agree with Alex from a point of view of a Soundtracks night 5 times a term getting a little repetitive, especially given that you're limiting the playlist quite considerably (especially if you want people to dance!).

    Any ideas you have on the ents programme though, feel free to drop them in to me – just come into Advance (which is, allegedly, my office…)



    P.s. Personally I think the change from cheese to party music has been pretty effective – but I would ;o)

    10 May 2006, 17:44

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