Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wednesdays in town just ain't what they used to be

I agreed to write an article promoting Hostage's new student night Evill Duck, because that's my job, and mainly because I'd been meaning to have a rant about the state of the Gong's night life for a while anyway. The article was never even used. I had my fun though.
The challenge I set for myself was to make the message subtle. My boss thinks spam works. I disagree.

Now I don’t know about you, but I think Wednesday student nights in town are getting a bit shit.

Sure it’s winter, so a lot of former party people stay indoors, where a chai tea and an episode of MasterChef provide an enticing alternative to the booze-fuelled hypothermia they’d otherwise be risking. And ok, it’s the holidays, so a lot of the Gong’s Glassy regulars are being treated to Mum’s special recipe baked dinners at Wagga, Goulburn, Ulladulla, Bathurst, or wherever they originally hailed from. Hell – they may even be hitting the town in these various destinations: The Duke, Dingoes, The Marlin…and whatever the mind-numbing and trashy equivalent is for Bathurst.

These arguments aside, student nights just ain’t what they used to be.

Remember the glory days of the Cooneys beer garden, so packed with like-minded loud mouth boozers that you’d have to camp there over night just to find a seat, and where the signature cheer “Taxi!” was guaranteed to accompany the sound of breaking glass every ten minutes or so. Or what about when The Illawarra was more about belting out falsettos and novelty dance moves to your favourite 80’s hits than standing in line for two hours before hailing a cab home in frustration. Remember when cheap drinks at The Glassy actually meant that they cost less than normal, and you’d be able to spend more than an hour on the dance floor before realizing the ‘Guest DJ’ was just a Ministry of Sound album on repeat? And when the Ox still cared about supporting the local music scene(now I’m all for the ban on smoking in pubs, but some have argued that once the thick veil of smoke cleared from the Oxford’s interior, the previously obscured shabby d├ęcor was enough to kill the soul of our former music Mecca).

With return business essentially guaranteed, even the kebab joints stopped caring. Last week, my falafel with the lot consisted of two hard, stale falafel balls, lettuce, the one remaining slice of wet, soft tomato, and a distinct lack of sauce, onion, olives, hummus and jalapenos. To add insult to injury, I was subjected to a half-hour lecture of the value of owning a kebab joint which doubled as a restaurant on certain weeknights, and would I like a flyer, and a loyalty card, and did I want a drink or baklava with that, and that would be $12.95, please.

Where was the love, Essen? When did you, too, turn to the dark side, and begin viewing our socially-ingrained drunken loutery as a commodity to be exploited, rather than treasured.

I sat at home last Wednesday - TV guide in hand, bed socks on feet, and a friend’s snuggie wrapped conveniently around my shoulders, its disturbingly naff shade of blue clashing with everything I have, do, and will ever own. I sat there, my arms toasty warm in the snuggie’s ingenious sleeve system, and prayed for an answer to my reluctant cynicism.

After Masterchef, I was compelled toward my laptop, lest some vital occurrence had happened on my Facebook account in the past hour and a half. There was a drunk photo that I untagged myself in before too many people noticed it. Crisis averted. There was also friend request, from someone called Evill Duck. Toting themselves as “New Wollongong Uni Night: Coming Soon”, I felt warm and fuzzy that a ‘night’ would be named after the biggest student in-joke in the Illawarra. We will have to wait and see if this new event is in any way different, innovative, or exciting. I have high hopes. Will it deliver on its promises? You’ll have to wait for part two of this article.

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