A lumpy pavement walk down from the Union, (the bumps more or less jarring according to how much Taverna Rouge had been gagged down at the Union) the Vic skulked like an inevitable full stop on the end of every evening.
It’s Raining Sweat
With hindsight; the Vic was a dank armpit of a place, the Quasimodo of dive bars. I recall a packed summer night early in second year, where the sweat condensated on the ceiling in dripping patches and rained down on us. But, it was the only place we had. When life gives you lemons, drink enough alcohol to fell a concrete elephant (or something like that). So much for drinking the girls pretty, we drank the Vic cool.
A common step in dating someone was showing each other your drinking injury scars sustained in wild, reeling Vic nights. Common accidents included: stage-diving off the table you were dancing on (hello Nadja?); somersaulting down the stairs at boaters (Neil, I know you’re reading this); and very occasionally, breaking your ankle on the step at the entrance (yes, you Emily). Friends rushed to administer first aid, usually a whiskey, and slurring reassurances.
By 11 o’clock the mens’ toilets looked like a beer slaughter house. Wall-to-wall vomit, splattered toilets , and malcontented queues for the loos, with always some lurching enterprising spirit leaning against the wall and pissing in the sink. All in all a sight to make even the most slovenly maggot gag.
DO YOU COME HERE OFTEN?!!
Trying to pick someone up amid the Vic dance floor riot was like trying to steal a wheel from a moving car. Chatting up someone amid the RMR house music carpeting bombing of was futile as reciting poetry in a wind tunnel. Better to lay down your smooth Nick Gray moves in the relative calm of Boaters, then ask said paramour to dance.
Would You Like to Come Back to Mine for Coffee?
In other words “Let’s go home and do naughty things to each other”. The coffee was mainly just a ceremonial observance to form. The lunge and resultant snog was usually consummated before the kettle had boiled, and the Gordian knot of the bra strap pawed at before the “Chicks Dig It” mix tape was finished.
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Hill Dweller
Even if you were lucky enough to get the coffee green light, the long walk from the Vic back to Kimberley Hall on the hill was a bigger passion-killer than Andrew Lloyd Webber. Most girls would say “Oh, you’re on the Hill? Uh, goodnight”, leaving me to walk home in a lather of aggrieved sexual agitation, railing to the sky at my res allocation. The trick was to break the walk into passionate pit stops: some electric eel tongue action against a New Street wall; a leafy tumble in the Drama department bushes; some hot and botheredness near Kotch creek; then throw her over your shoulder and do a running fireman lift to the steps of the Cullen Bowles quad. If you got her that far, you’d better pretty much propose marriage on the spot.
Shake Your Money Maker
By the time I got to the Vic, the music was, to my drunk ears, somewhat vague and removed, like a couple next door fighting with power tools. I do remember some anthems though. AC/DC’s Thunderstruck was guaranteed to get the sweat flying, The B52s’ Love Shack would have Stevie and I running whooping on to the floor and doing the spastic weather girl. Groove is in the Heart by Dee-lite would every time convince me (erroneously) I could dance like a black woman.
The Vic. If you weren’t there you’ll never know.