The plan had, originally, been to go to a ritzy, snobby kind of club. I’d been told to get a bit dolled up, to make sure I could get in. Once we were all out, though, walking the long way on a taxi-less Friday night, we discovered, en masse, that we wanted to have more fun than that.
Of course, I say that as if I had a lot to do with the decision, where in truth I would have followed wherever we went that evening, even if we ended up with a boombox under a dripping oak tree. Just so long as I could dance. I’d spent the entire day, from the moment I’d woken up until the moment I was in the club, dancing wildly in my head, shaking my ass and waving my arms and thrusting my head up and down in time to invented music. I had energy to spend and I was going to spend it.
Tipsy – I’ve been to clubs stone-cold sober, and I find that the experience is really not as fun – I went through the double doors, payed my five quid, had my wrist stamped, and checked my coat. All the while, I was impatient, my knees already loosening up and my shoulders and neck tightening in anticipation for the soon-to-come movement. The music was loud, familiar as an old friend; not in its specifics – I couldn’t mouth along the words to the songs nearly as well as everybody else could – but in the general sense. It was the kind of music that wants to be danced to. When it comes on the radio, while you’re driving down the freeway, you drum your fingers on the steering wheel and unconsciously speed up. When it’s on at a bar, you start to smile. When it’s on at a doctor’s office, you want to laugh, because it’s so, so wrong for the setting.
I danced. For some two or three hours. The night ended with chips bought out of a 24-hour food truck. I counted the night as a massive success and just what I needed.
As if that wasn’t enough, the next night was Wadham’s first College Bop. The student body turns up in droves, dressed in the silliest costumes imaginable – but many put real effort into them, coming up with puns that get the meaning of their outfit across, while others take the time to sew their costumes painstakingly together. It’s a mixture of the ridiculous, the frenzied and the greatest fun.
The theme for this bop was DRESS AS YOUR SUBJECT. I was lazy. I bought a white shirt for a pound at Primark on Saturday and wrote – had my flatmate help me write, to be specific, since she has better penmanship than I – “MY AMERICAN ACCENT IS FAKE.” Hence, my subject is – drum roll, please – English! I’m sure you’re rolling around in your chairs, clutching you’re tummies, in fits of helpless giggles. And if you’re just rolling your eyes, well, to be fair, that’s really how I feel about it too.
I enjoyed the evening – I won’t deny that for one moment – but I wasn’t overwhelmed by it. That might have to do, partly, with having been dropped off the shoulders of a friend during a crucial and traditional part of the evening (The Mandela, as this serious business is called) and it might have been because I had some awkward moments that I wish I could erase. Other moments, of course, as with every mixed experience, I wouldn’t erase for the world – the dancing, from start to finish, was incredible.
I think, if I’m honest, I wanted to be a fly on the wall that night. I wanted to watch and watch and watch. I wanted to take in everything, every expression, every gesture, every hookup and flirtation and smashed expectation and fulfilled fantasy. I wanted to eavesdrop on every conversation between people I’d never met and be able to watch them drunkenly talk about serious things while wrapped in togas or boxed in by cardboard structures.
There will be other bops. There will be other nights of wild dancing. But I will never be able to both experience and watch an event at one and the same time. Oh, for that Time-Turner; oh, for that shape-shifting ability; oh, for that daemon who could watch and listen for me; oh, as usual, for more hours in the day.